Prettify your html, make me want to help you

I don't try to help everyone with their problem. It has to interest me, for one thing. Or, it has to be easy to spot the problem. The inverse is that if it's hard to make heads or tails of the markup, I'm likely to move on to the next post.

There are plenty of articles aimed at asking good questions, providing good information, having a good attitude, and et cetera. I'll be talking about some mechanical aspects.

This is the first of what should be two rants about formatting for ease of reading. This part deals with html formatting. Forget about so-called html optimization. The bandwidth savings due to squeezing out the white space, etc. are trivial compared to the savings you've already gained by dumping table based layout in favor of external stylesheets. What is not trivial is the importance of the code being easily read by the Mark I, Mod 0 human eyeballs.

Magnetic Island

I grew up in Townsville and used to spend all of the school holidays on Magnetic Island at my grandparents place. Now days we live about 1300km away and haven't made the effort to visit for about 8 years.

Last weekend was my uncles 80th birthday, so we had a family reunion at the old house on Magnetic Island. My children got to meet nieces, nephews, uncles and aunts they didn't know they had.

Magnetic Island was named by Captain James Cook after his compass played up. It's a beautiful place where time seems to slow down as soon as you step off the boat. There are nice quiet beaches, plenty of bird life with and without feathers, wallabies, fish and koalas.

School daze sure don't seem like the old daze

It's hard to think about school starting soon, when temperatures have hit 100°+ more than 30 times this summer. So far this August, only one day has failed to reach 100°, and it hit 104° yesterday. That's 40°C to you furriners.

So what has that got to do with anything? Well, in the middle of all this non-fall, non-school-like weather, I received a catalog from the local community college. I don't know about other two year colleges, but Dallas's has more than 80,000 students on eight campuses and the tele-college. The catalog reflects the diversity of student needs. One set of courses caught my eye.


As if I haven't had enough challenges over the last week or so.
Mail has not been sending to external email addresses. My simple testing used local email addresses which went through fine and contact email were working so I had no reason to expect anything was wrong. Thanks Kevin for contacting me and letting me know.

So if you signed up recently and are wondering what happened to your registration email, now you know.
Click on the "Request new password" link to receive a password.

I am sorry for any inconvenience caused. This should be added to my signature. Smile


Last week, after the site upgrade we were hit pretty hard by bots, crawlers and spiders while they tried to re-index all of the site content. Luckily things seemed to have calmed down a lot since then.
As a means for keeping tabs on what bots are online when and if we get hit hard again I have created a simple module to log and display visits by robots. If you are logged on and there are some bots on line you will see a 'bots online' box on the left hand side. It provides a simple visual of how many nodes (pages) are being visited by bots over the previous 15 minutes.
The module only detects a few of the popular bots and is not meant to be 100% accurate. In time I can use the information logged to block out some bad bots or refine the module.

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