Silence Is Golden

These past few weeks have been really busy for me at work, so much so that I’ve been doing a bit of work during my commute on the train. I usually write most of my entries while on the train so I haven’t had much time to work on updates. However, before too much time passes I figure I may as well post on what I have been up to recently: working on some site updates, travelling back to Michigan to see the family, and preparing for fatherhood.Much of my free time has been spent working on updating the template for the BetterHTMLExport plug-in that I use with iPhoto. I’ve got a temporary sample up for anybody who’s interested in checking it out. It’s been, um, interesting discovering the various levels of support that the various browsers on various platforms have for Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). I’ve also had to learn a bit about JavaScript and browser Document Object Models (DOM). I’ve made the image pages meet the XHTML 1.1 Strict standard. The main thing I’m going for with this template, however, is minimizing visual distractions. I’m not a big fan of the photo galleries I’ve seen that have a lot of thumbnails on the page. I’ve tried to minimize the number of distracting elements on an image viewing page, including navigation controls. These elements are summoned with a click of the mouse. The photographic information (shutter speed, F-stop, ISO value, etc.) becomes more readily visible using a mouse-over but then fades back to a faint grey that blends into the background. The images can also be browsed by pressing keys rather than using the mouse. This has the advantage that the cursor usually disappears from the screen, thus removing an additional distraction. I’ve been told that the navigation controls are not intuitively obvious, though, so I’m exploring various solutions to address this. Please leave some comments if you have any suggestions.Jennifer and I also took a trip back to Michigan a few weeks ago to visit our families. It had been about 5 months since the last time we had seen any of them so we were overdue for a trip. It was the first time they had seen us since our baby announcement as well as the first time they had seen Jennifer with her hair cut short. It was great to see everyone. I got to ride in a dune buggy with Jennifer’s sister Robin’s fiance Andy’s father (*whew*) at Silver Lake Sand Dunes. I also went fishing on Pentwater Lake with Jennifer’s father and grandfather. We caught a ~5 1/2 lb. brown trout, ~6 lb. dogfish, and ~2 lb calico. Oh, and we also checked out Jennifer’s cousins’ new coffee shop in Lowell, MI called Voyages Coffee Shop. Sehr chic! I hope to have pictures up soon.Last weekend Jennifer and I took a trip to Babies R Us to look into items for our baby registry. I think it was the first time that it really hit me that I was going to be a father soon. Everything up to this point has been great… ultrasounds, gifts from family members, long conversations with friends. This was the first time that we had to explicitly set aside some time to “run errands” for this someone who doesn’t even exist yet (with exception to the doctor appointments I suppose). The adventure begins.

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4 thoughts on “Silence Is Golden

  1. FYI, your comments repeat at the end.New website navigation: I understand you are trying to take the distractions away from the page, but the instructions to navigate via keyboard are difficult to read.Another idea about navigating, what about putting a sliding menu of thumbnails to pick from at the bottom of every page in the photo set (similar to Apple’s iTunes Music shop). That would still allow users to select/skip/view pictures, limit the screen space devoted to navigation and give the selected picture the prominence you are looking for. Just an idea.Kurt

  2. Thanks for catching the duplicate paragraphs. I’ve fixed the post.The sliding thumbnails might be an interesting project to undertake, but it’s going to require quite a bit of effort to pull off well. I think in the short term I will try to make the navigation instructions more obvious. I’ve thought about putting a link in the upper right hand corner of the page that opens a layer with instructions similar to how the navigation elements appear above the image. Putting it in that corner makes it more visible and won’t require scrolling to see.I’ve also tossed around the idea of dynamically scaling down images that are too large to fit in the browser window so that no scrolling will be necessary. I’ll need to experiment with that one a little to see whether having the browser scale the image will significantly degrade its appearance.

  3. Hey Brahm! Jennifer sent me the url for your journal…I hope it’s ok that I peeked in 🙂 Congratulations to you two- you guys are going to be amazing parents.I just put my own little one to bed, and I fall more in love with her everyday. I’m enamored with being a parent even though it’s been 3 months already, and I’m even more in love with how she’s changed my life 🙂 I won’t begin to venture into telling you what it’s like, or describing my loooong and sometimes rocky pregnancy- I know you will have your own wonderful, unique experience (and besides, plenty of people like to offer their opinions and experience anyhow…) But I do want to let you know that you will become very familiar with errands to Babies R Us for the little one, and you will suddenly start to care about things you never knew you would.;) Oh, and Jennifer will really appreciate the "expectant mother" parking spots in front of the store in a few months. OH, and my experience so far? It’s a whole lot more fun and a whole lot easier than I thought! :)I’m glad to hear you two are doing well, hopefully we can keep in touch 🙂 Take care!-Becky (Howard) Myrick (artbecky@charter.net)

  4. Becky,Thanks for dropping by and leaving a note. It’s great to hear that parenthood has been good to to you so far. We’re certainly looking forward to it ourselves. Please come back and check the site every now and then. I’m sure we’ll have many more updates for everyone in the coming months.

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