just missed @xpacecc’s video projection workshop

When I finished ironing out all the problems moving my Ubuntu-on-a-USB-thumbdrive to a larger thumbdrive (because I literally ran out of space) it was already 12:30. I went to Xpace’s site and checked when the workshop would start… and realized I wouldn’t have time to even get halfway down there in time.

Oh well, next time…

(I’m supposed to be working on something else anyway… But this is ridiculous. I need to take back my weekends.)

But video has been something I have been toying around since first year. So when there’s another chance I definitely am going to learn how to do these things.

HTML q tag not compatible with North American typographic conventions

Just a few minutes ago I came to the conclusion that the q tag must not be rendered with quotation marks, and was surprised to find Stacey Cordoni’s article “Long Live the Q Tag” which came to the exact same conclusion, albeit for a different reason.

Anyway, I was editing my previous post and was looking at this:

…or he wouldn’t have suggested that I “get ready to feel unbored.”

The period being inside the quotation mark is an artefact of North American typographic rules. It’s purely visual (something I have been trying to emphasize every time this “rule” is mentioned in editorial circles), and you could argue it’s a case of kerning taken to the extreme. But logically it doesn’t make sense because what the person actually said was

Then get ready to feel unbored!

So the period doesn’t really belong. How do we mark up this fact? Of course we have the q tag, so imagine

…or he wouldn’t have suggested that I “<q>get ready to feel unbored</q>.”

which would have made perfect logical sense, and would mean “the quote doesn’t actually contain a period, but for presentation purposes the period is inside the quotes,” except it doesn’t work, because Chrome actually renders this as

…or he wouldn’t have suggested that I ““get ready to feel unbored”.”

Confused, I looked up the specification of the q tag and found that indeed, the q tag is “supposed” to be rendered with quote marks. Bummer…

Since I thought there was another tag that acts like q but rendered without quote marks, I tried to look for it, but came up empty-handed. Instead, I ran into Stacey Cordoni’s article.

The only logical way to solve the q tag problem is to make it, through CSS, render without quotation marks. But of course, if current versions of lynx really are rendering the quote marks, then this workaround doesn’t even work.

In retrospect, I realize I had come to the same conclusion years ago. The q tag is just badly designed: Being incompatible with typographic conventions aside (and useless as a workaround for illogical typographic conventions), if browsers implemented it to spec, then it’s not possible to add tags to an existing text and not mess up the punctuation.

I have no idea why the W3C designed the q tag the way it is. Didn’t they have any North American typographers—or even copy editors—on their committees?… Maybe everyone was European. Sigh.

boredom and busyness

The third time in two weeks I tried to submit an art proposal. The last two times I gave up 20 minutes before the deadline. This time I think I missed the deadline by two minutes, and it was a terribly put together submission, but at least I tried. Oh well, next year. I actually asked to take off early today to work on my submission, so technically I had a whopping six hours to do it (which wouldn’t have been enough time the last two times, but this time it’s much simpler and I really felt confident to be able to submit something even if I had just two hours). Yet I still wasted enough time and procrastinated enough to have—at least technically—missed it. Anyway, I ran into VM, UH, and MBV today (by dropping by the studio to see who’s there, of course). I literally quipped that “It’s so rare to run into people in the summer.” (Turns out both VM and UH have their monitor shifts on Wednesdays, and VM’s start at 7.) And oddly enough, when I said I feel disconnected in the summer, VM said she feels bored. “Bored,” of course, is also how I’m feeling (maybe even more so than “disconnected”). A few weeks ago I actually mentioned this to PC and he totally misunderstood what boredom means. He must have thought boredom is when you have nothing to do, or he wouldn’t have suggested that I “get ready to feel unbored.” I knew better (and it looks like VM would have totally understood me): boredom has nothing to do with the amount of work you do. The last few weeks have been so ridiculously busy I couldn’t put together a single proper proposal: I’m still bored to death.

Random stuff I found out from redoing this blog’s layout

A few random things I learnt while I pretty much gutted the entire CSS file and redid this blog’s layout from scratch:
  • Drupal supports subthemes and I have absolutely no idea how to use them.
  • The html.tpl.php file controls how HTML is emitted.
  • If you centre an element using margin-left: auto and margin-right: auto, adding padding will not produce any effect.
  • It is supposedly possible to insert Javascript by modifying the .info file in the theme directory, but this does not seem to work.
  • The .focusin, .focusout, and .on methods did not exist in very old versions of jQuery.
  • If you want to hide a menu at the bottom of the screen, make sure to test whether the hiding and unhiding work with keyboard navigation (plain tabbing and shift-tabbing). There are a number of unexpected points to note in order for unhiding to work correctly:
    • Nothing will trigger the hover event when using keyboard navigation, so don’t put, for example, important things like the menu’s background colour into the hover trigger.
    • Contrary to what you might expect, keyboard navigation will not trigger a CSS focus event. So putting :focus rules into your CSS won’t do a thing.
    • Hiding through absolute positioning is better than setting display to none. Otherwise, when the focusin handler fires, unhiding might not work correctly.
    • Inserting a dummy A element (e.g., with a URL of javascript:true) is better than just setting tabindex to 0 on an ordinarily inert element.

    When this isn’t done right very weird things can happen. For example, you can end up with menus that never unhide when you use keyboard navigation, or you can end up with menus that will pop up but with live links in the menu that the tab key will just skip right over.

Should PDF be killed too? (second thoughts on @NellChitty’s (rhetorical?) question)

Yesterday, Vitamin T retweeted an article on Web Designer Depot claiming Flash is dead (in Chrome), and we really mean it this time.” The article is surprisingly misinformed. (For one, Linux users will not “rejoice” because finally throwing out a piece of garbage that has been gathering dust in the attic isn’t cause for rejoicing – Flash is not working on Linux and has not been since ages ago. Let’s not even get into the question of how YouTube is even relevant.) But the article does suggest an interesting related question: Should PDF be killed too? Just as Adobe has artificially kept the zombie of long-dead Flash version 11.2 “alive” on Linux, what they’re giving Linux is also just the zombie of long-dead Adobe Reader version 9.3.3. Yet even Apple’s Preview on recent MacOSX versions cannot understand some of the newest PDF’s generated by Adobe Reader DC, such as those with custom stamps. If even Apple’s Preview is incompatible, Adobe Reader on Linux is useless. However, Adobe Reader DC features are increasingly used by, for example, professional editors. Just as most professional editors demand that their clients use Microsoft Word, they also demand that their clients use Reader DC. If the client uses only free software, then, it will not be possible to satisfy the professional’s demand except by succumbing to non-free software running on non-free operating systems. Then what Reader DC represents is really a privileged power (major software companies) trying to subjugate an already-oppressed population through the hands of unwitting accomplices. If a PDF win is equivalent to oppression, then PDF must be defeated. Perhaps the only defensible answer to Nell’s (rhetorical?) question – at least in light of current circumstances – is that PDF must lose and HTML must win, perhaps in the form of EPUB.

diversion from a bored day

Just some silliness to remind myself that I haven’t yet completely forgotten everything:

	f=SinOsc.kr(1/60, 0, 300, 440);
	SinOsc.ar([SinOsc.kr(2,0,100,f), SinOsc.kr(2,pi,100,f)]) 

Of course this is graphic design…

Yesterday I was mentioning to Emily that I couldn’t understand some of the graphic design work on the 5th floor. One looked like it came from Industrial Design. But the bulk of what I couldn’t understand looked just like installations.

Then today, while I was trying to find all my friends’ work in the final two hours, I ran into another one, Zviko Mhakayakora’s This Feels Like Home:

<cite>This Feels Like Home</cite> at GradEx 101

However, this time, although at first I felt puzzled for a short while, as soon as I read the artist’s statement I thought, “Of course this is graphic design!”

Context made all the difference. The designer framed this as an educational exhibit, and it clicked on me: This is environmental graphic design work for a museum exhibition. Graphic designers do this kind of work all the time.

So EGD is being taught at OCAD, and I think it appears to be taught well. One day, maybe OCAD’s campus will actually have good EGD.

An invalid question in the census. Seriously?

Statistics Canada is giving us a web survey. It actually looks good, but I’m less than impressed with some aspects of it. I’ve never seen a survey with a hashed code that does not have the ability to save progress. If you try to log out (such as… you need to find out something you don’t know, or your computer is forcing you to restart, such as how Windows Update often does) you’re told “Any information entered will be lost.” Not even the hack job I did for my thesis did this. If they didn’t trust their “secure access code” enough to store progress, how much should we trust it? Sigh. And we were asked whether people can speak “well enough to conduct a conversation.” What does that even mean? “How are you? Fine, thank you”? or does that mean a real conversation? If even the short survey has an invalid question like this, how is the long survey giving us valid data that can help us plan social programs? Don’t they test their questions at Statistics Canada? Sigh.

Forgot how to make a book

Almost a year after I printed a copy of my thesis (intending to put it on display at GradEx, but shelved the idea when I thought the print shop didn’t print it), I finally took a few hours to gather all the signatures, sew them together, and glue them together into what vaguely looks like a book. It’s still not in book form only because my X-acto is with my box of tools in the studio and I forgot to print the cover. Half-finished book, opened flat Yes, of course this was going to be in the form of a real book, because that’s how all the process books at GradEx look like! :-) Anyway, while I was doing this, I kept thinking things like “I’ve forgotten what the signature size was”, “I’m supposed to know how to do this”, “too many signatures!” and “I think I did this wrong,” A year after I did the Student Press’s bookbinding workshop I have already forgotten how to sew signatures together. I still managed to bind the whole thing together. I’m going to get my X-acto back tomorrow and do a layout of a front cover and print it out somewhere… (Hmm… that will have to be printed at 12×18…) (Oh yeah… and don’t bother to use staplers. Thread and needle is actually easier because you have more control. And awls… they make holes that are too big; I actually like pins better…)
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