Mike Cherim’s Blogging Past

These are older articles. Please bear in mind the further back you go, the more dated the material may be — in some cases.

Site Features Overload

Posted September 4th, 2006 by Mike Cherim

I sometimes see features on websites that, for a few moments, make me think wow, that’s cool. Then, upon using the site for a bit, I start thinking wow, that’s pretty damn annoying. Initially I feel the site’s developer or webmaster might be onto a good thing, but then the old usability angle comes into play and changes my mind. You may have experienced the same thing. It’s perhaps just a subjective thing. After all I am just a single user with my own tastes and preferences. I mean no disrespect to anyone, and some of the things I have grown to dislike most certainly have their place in world of the web. They can be neat tricks that, if used at the right time and in the right place, can make a site really shine and come to life. Okay, I suppose you want an example. All right, here goes, here’s one: CSS pop-ups; the kind used for tool tips. They often bug me.

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PHP Style Changer Experiment

Posted September 1st, 2006 by Mike Cherim

I wanted to open up this latest experiment for comments since it was the comments to Roger Johansson’s Build your own PHP style sheet switcher article that inspired me to add cookie acceptance detection functionality to my own PHP Style Changer Experiment. It seems to work nicely but I figure it’s always good to get some real-world feedback. And since I don’t accept comments at MikeCherim.com I figured I’d do it here. The link above leads to the supporting article, but here’s the actual experiment page, and here’s the well-commented script provided as a text file. Feel free to use it and tell others if you like it — it is safe from XSS so use it with confidence. It’s been in use a long time but I never released it.

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Better SEO through Blog Post Titles

Posted August 29th, 2006 by Mike Cherim

I was just asked by a fellow developer if I had any tips on how to improve SEO or Search Engine Optimization using WordPress. One thing, post headings, immediately came to mind — something I’ve been wanting to write about actually — and I took it as a sign and decided to make a quick post about it. In a previous article I discussed The Power of Natural SEO, and as if to exemplify the points I made there, I’m currently on Google’s page one for the “Natural SEO” and “Accessible SEO” search phrases. But with WordPress and other blogware where articles are being written often, what else can be done? Well, in addition to page accessibility, proper markup, title element use (which I do poorly here), solid content, and the other things I mentioned in that article, post title headings are really strong factors that need careful consideration.

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Not Quite Black and White

Posted August 22nd, 2006 by Mike Cherim

I have to hand it to Roger Johansson for being a master of coming up with interesting topics on his web log. His article, Light text on a dark background vs. readbility really generated a lot of feedback. And in that feedback there was of course myriad opinions about what’s best and what people prefer. The short answer is there’s no perfect way to do it. The saying, you can’t please all the people all the time, pretty much sums it up. Some like light text on a dark background, while others prefer dark text on a light background. It’s not easy.

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The IE6 Alternative

Posted August 16th, 2006 by Mike Cherim

If you’re like me — and you’re a web developer — you’ve been testing your creations in Internet Explorer (IE) version 7 (beta 3). (You should be, anyway.) But this leaves one problem: Trillions of Internet users are still visiting your sites with IE6, thus you still need to test with it. One solution is to have two computers, one running IE6, the other IE7. But this may not be feasible for everyone. Another option is to run concurrent versions on the same (Windows XP) computer. This scares me, though. I’ve never considered myself a computer guru so anything as involved as this sounds makes me as nervous as a cat in a house full of rocking chairs. Being the Luddite I may seem to be, I have found another solution. One that’s doable for even someone like me.

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Offset Class Jump Links

Posted August 13th, 2006 by Mike Cherim

I have written about these before under the post name Hidden Focal Navigation, but that was back in November of 2005. I have refined my technique and would like to share with you this more semantic method of hiding-by-offset “jump links” or “skip links,” all while they remain “visible” to those who really need them. The who in this case — the beneficiaries — refers to the following user groups.

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A CSS Starter File

Posted August 4th, 2006 by Mike Cherim

If you’re into web standards as I am, you will of course use Cascading Style Sheets or CSS for presentational purposes; you won’t use mark-up to control this aspect of your web pages. If you’re into web standards, you’ll also use proper elements, just like me. I use heading elements for headings, the paragraph element for paragraphs, etc. And you do, too, right? See how much we have in common?

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Web’s Future and the Automobile Industry

Posted August 1st, 2006 by Mike Cherim

For my wife’s birthday I bought her a (pre-owned, 2004) Dodge Ram 1500 pick-up truck. Her last vehicle was a Nissan Pathfinder and it was over ten years old. She lets me drive her new truck now and then and I made an observation when driving it the other night: The automobile industry has come a long, long way since Henry Ford said of his Model T: “You can have in any color you like so long as it’s black.” I made this observation because I got into her truck, adjusted the seat, popped open the cup-holder tray to set down my drink, tilted the wheel, set the air conditioning, figured out the onboard navigational computer, found my favorite radio station, opened the windows, turned on the lights, and few other not-very-exciting tasks. And not once during any of this did I need to consult the instruction manual.

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A Really Bad Neighborhood

Posted July 26th, 2006 by Mike Cherim

Is this a neighborhood you would want to live, work, or play in?

Imagine living in bad neighborhood; a really bad neighborhood. A neighborhood where nothing is sacred or respected. One where every single day various miscreants visit your home, business, church, club, bar, every place and any place you call yours. When they visit, without even considering whether you’re present or not, they jiggle your doorknobs and rattle your windows, testing your security, verifying you’ve locked up. And if you didn’t, even if the doggie door is ajar, they will enter your place and destroy what you own claiming it as their own or simply taking it away from you. They will rob you blind, rape your dog, raid your fridge, kill your houseplants, and flatten the tires of your car. Every day, all day, all the time.

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