Monday, August 28, 2006

You Say It's Your Birthday

It's my birthday, too!

Today I turn 39.

Birthdays always seem to be a somber, reflective time for me. I tend to wake up feeling a little depressed and slo-o-owly work my way out of it over the course of the day. Why is this, I wonder? I remember being a kid and being so excited about my birthday that I couldn't contain myself. I think the only sadness I felt was when it was over and the last piece of birthday cake was gone (and, of course, when the last present was opened -- especially if it turned out to be clothes).

These days I actually enjoy getting clothes for my birthday. My enjoyment for the day itself, on the other hand, seems to have paled. Of course, on those rare occasions when I think that no one has remembered, I get really depressed, so I'm not about to swear off birthdays entirely. That little kid is still in there somewhere looking for the birthday cake.

What is your favorite birthday memory? What do you do to make your birthday into your special day?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

TLA Tutorial: A Recap

OK, I got a little feedback that my TLA tutorials are too complex. That's cool. I'm going to do a quick summary of the topics I wrote about before and this time include only the high points.


HTML is basically just the way to describe the structure of a web page. It provides the web page designer with a way to indicate which parts of the page are paragraphs, which are titles or section headers, and where graphics should go. When the browser receives a web page, it knows what to do when it reads these indicators (called tags). It knows that paragraphs have white space between them. It knows that rows and columns in a table are supposed to be lined up, etc. If you want, think of HTML as the blueprints. Your browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Mozilla, etc) acts as the construction company and the skyscraper it builds is that beautiful web page.


Have you ever watched those fun design shows on HGTV? In my favorite, "Divine Design", Candice Olson, the designer, comes up with these beautiful color palettes and fabric swatches. Then she and the design crew use those colors and fabrics to decorate the room. A Cascading Style Sheet does the exact same thing. Instead of what color the wall is in the dining room, though, it tells what color and what font will be used for the main body of the text on the website. This time, the browser takes the place of Andrew the painter and Edmond the sewing specialist and follows those instructions to make the webpage look exactly as the designer had pictured it.

In reality, it's becoming less and less necessary to know the details of how to create web pages by actually manipulating the HTML and CSS by hand. Modern editors, such as Dreamweaver, are getting better and better at doing this all behind the scenes so all the budding web designer has to do is be able to draw.

So tell me this: What other acronyms and terms or phrases have you heard which made you really curious as to what they were?