UPDATES

IE LOSES MORE SHARE, SLIDES TO NEW LOW
February 1, 2009 (Computerworld) Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Explorer (IE) again lost market share last month, although at a slower rate than the previous two-month stretch, but still ended at a new low of 67.6% as rivals continued to steal users, a Web metrics firm reported on Sunday.

Apple Inc.'s Safari, meanwhile, outpaced the growth of Mozilla Corp.'s Firefox for the third month in a row, according to Net Applications Inc.

Overall, Microsoft's browser lost 0.6 percentage points of its market share last month, ending January with 67.6%, the lowest number since Net Applications began tracking browser data in 2005. In the past 12 months, IE has slipped about eight percentage points in market share, nearly as much as the 9.8% drop during the preceding 24 months.

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CONFERENCES:
18th International World Wide Web Conference - April 20-24, Madrid, Spain - www2009.org/
WebVisions - May 20-22, 2009 in Portland, Oregon - www.webvisionsevent.com/
An Event Apart 2009 - May, June & December in Seattle, Boston and San Francisco - http://www.aneventapart.com/news/2008/10/an_event_apart_2009.php


MOBILE WEB 2009 = DESKTOP WEB 1998

Jakob Nielsen's take on the state of the mobile web affair is that it parallels the advances made up to the desktop web of 1998. He uses words like "Abysmal success rates" to describe how users failed more often than they succeeded when using their mobiles to perform assigned tasks on websites.

Because of extremely slow download times users are reluctant to request additional pages and they easily give up. Scrolling causes major usability problems. Bloated pages hurt users because they are frequently stumped by big images or by long pages that bury the items they want to see.

Nielsen's conclusion about modifying your site to go mobile is, "For the best user performance, you should design different websites for each mobile device class — the smaller the screen, the fewer features, and the more scaled back your design. The very best option is to go beyond browsing and offer a specialized downloadable mobile application for your most devoted users. In practice, however, only the biggest and richest sites can afford all this extra work on top of their desktop-optimized website."

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FIRESCOPE -- THE SITEPOINT REFERENCE TOOL FOR FIREBUG

by James Edwards (SitePoint)

FireScope is a new add-on for Firebug, the popular web development tool, that extends it with reference material for HTML and CSS. Using data directly from our reference sites, the tool provides the most accurate and up-to-date information on usage and browser compatibility, and it’s all right there in your browser!

FireScope’s core functionality is centered around a new Reference panel, which contains a search tool for looking up HTML elements, attributes, and CSS properties. The tool also hooks into context-menus in the HTML and CSS panels, the DOM crumbtrail, and the Inspector, adding options to look up a selected item (ie. search for it in the Reference panel) or to view a code example. For more information, screenshots and to download the extension, please visit the FireScope homepage.

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ONLINE INTERACTIVE WEATHER MAPS

While attempting to attract someone to the this area it is sometimes helpful to show them the current weather patterns from a reliable weather site. A long-time personal favorite is Intellicast. And, it's newest feature is a highly customizable local radar map.

Type a location in the Local Weather search window and you get the normal current conditions along with a 10 day forecast. But click on the Radar drop down and choose Java Radar Loop and you're treated to a full color, terrain map that allows you to zoom in or out, change satellite layers, change cloud opacity levels and run a 15 minute delayed loop of the previous hour's weather pattern. It also allows you go click and drag the map while maintaining the cloud pattern that's being displayed over the entire globe (sometimes the image may take a while to catch up to your choice of sites).

These features also come in handy when you want to track a certain weather pattern that may be encroaching on a favorite destination or family location.


ANSWERS TO FIVE QUESTIONS ABOUT IPV6

Similar to when the phone companies run out of phone numbers the Internet is slowly running out of IP addresses. Right now, Internet Protocol version four (IPv4) is the dominant Internet protocol. Meaning IPv4 is the common digital electronic language our computers use to communicate on the Internet. It’s a best-effort protocol, meaning there’s no guarantee of delivery or correctness of the data. That’s handled by Transmission Control Protocol (TCP), which is defined along with IP in the Internet Protocol Suite. In simple terms, TCP and IP are the Internet protocols that do the same thing as snail mail addressing.

Initially, IPv6 was developed simply because there aren’t enough IP addresses available using IPv4. If you are interested, the exact number of IP addresses using IPv4 is 2 to the power of 32, or 4,294,967,296. That may seem like a bunch, but most experts agree that the amount of IP addresses available in IPv4 will run out by 2010. That prediction is partially based on the fact that there are 6.7 billion (6,720,539,678) people inhabiting our planet right now, and a large percentage of them will be needing at least one IP address.

Watch this video to learn more.


Notes from Campus

STYLING THE HTML AND BODY ELEMENTS
by Andrew Tetlaw (SitePoint)

One of the most common ways to begin a layout in HTML is this:
<html>
<head>...</head>
<body>
<div id="wrapper">
<div id="container">
...
</div>
</div>
</body>
</html>

That’s the ol’ double-wrapped div layout technique. But, since we already have the html and body elements, the div elements might be redundant in a lot of situations. So in order find out if CSS styles can be applied to the html and body elements just like our hard-working wrappers, I tested a range of CSS properties. Here’s what I found.

Adding a background image to the html and body elements works fine, and you can use it in place of multiple background images that only Safari currently supports.

You’ll be happy to note that centering a single fixed width column is a snap:
html {
background-color: #333;
}
body {
background-color: #fff;
width: 750px;
margin: 0 auto;
}

There’s one big gotcha though: if you need to use absolute or relative positioning for elements inside the body element. I’d assumed that since all elements obtain a positioning context from the body element by default, if I centered the body element the default positioning context should adjust accordingly. I was wrong! The default positioning context remains fixed to the viewport; you have to add position:relative; to the body style to create a new positioning context:
body {
position: relative;
background-color: #fff;
width: 750px;
margin: 0 auto;
}

Refreshingly, that’s consistent across all tested browsers.

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