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Questions - shadows of echoes of memories of songs — LiveJournal
j4
j4
Questions
Questions (mixed bag). Will swap for answers. All reasonable offers considered.


Glastonbury:

My mum is planning on going to Glastonbury. She's phoning me tonight (before ticket o'clock!) to ask about stuff. I'm worried that if I tell her the horrid bits (toilets, not being able to sleep EVER, etc.) she'll feel I'm trying to put her off going because I'm embarrassed about having parents there, but if I don't tell her, she'll be miserable when she's there. What do you reckon I should tell her?

Church:

The other day I got a mailshot from a church I used to go to. God knows (ha!) why they're sending me the 2002-03 newsletter, but anyway: they've included a "Do you want to stay on our mailing list?" card, and I definitely don't want to stay on their mailing list, but I'm wondering whether I should try to tell them why.

Sewing:

I want to learn the basics of sewing with a sewing machine. I have a very old hand-cranked sewing machine, and ideally I'd like to learn to use that -- a) because I already own it so I wouldn't have to buy one, and b) it's not as scary as electric ones. Would anybody be willing to teach me the very basic basics if I came round with a sewing machine? Will buy beer/food/etc. in return.

Web design:

Or, "Do my job for me". But seriously: I want to do some pages with tabbed sections, but with the tabs down the side of the page, displaying the sidebar menu for that section when that tab is selected (if that makes sense). What I'm looking for is examples where somebody else has already done this well, so I can a) convince people that it'll work, and b) get an idea of how to do it neatly.

Current Mood: questioning

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Comments
marnameow From: marnameow Date: April 1st, 2004 08:22 am (UTC) (Link)
Glastonbury - Tell her that the icky bits *exist* - although she'll surely have a fair idea that they do already, won't she? But also tell her about all the wonderfully amazing cool bits that make the icky bits worthwhile.

Web design - You could do something funky with javascript, or with entirely-css, but I there are access issues with both of 'em. The simplest way to do it would be to create a little menu-template for each section and copy+paste into the relevant pages, but this really only works if you're not going to be adding things all the time - otherwise Too Much Work. Depends some on what you're making the pages with, though. What are you using to create and edit?
j4 From: j4 Date: April 1st, 2004 08:50 am (UTC) (Link)
Tell her that the icky bits *exist* - although she'll surely have a fair idea that they do already, won't she?

Well, I dunno... she's never been before. And I usually just rave about the good bits.

Web design

Entirely-CSS would be nice. But accessibility is paramount... we're aiming for triple-A on everything, which is hard. And this is for the prospectus, & it's even more important there because it's so outward-facing.

It's not so much the techy how-to-do-it as the design how-to-do it, really, though -- how to make the tabs big enough that you can read them, but small enough that they don't take up too much space on the screen (though the ones we have at the moment [look!] are huuuuge, and stupid). I can sort of see in my head how it's supposed to look, but I can't quite see how it'll all [waves hands] fit together. Hence wanting example-ish things. I know this sounds stupid and clueless, but I'm not really a web designer, I live in fear that my employers will realise this any day now... :) I was employed as web-editorial-thingy rather than l337 HTML guru, though, but I don't think anybody else cares enough about this particular bit of the web to do the design nicely, because the Design department "don't do web stuff" (they're paper-design only) and the web team "don't do design". (Grrrrrrrr.)

Rambling, sorry.

The simplest way to do it would be to create a little menu-template for each section and copy+paste into the relevant pages, but this really only works if you're not going to be adding things all the time - otherwise Too Much Work.

Well, we're using a content-managing system that lets us divorce header/footer/sidebar/etc. bits of template from each other and dynamically serve pages which are scrunched together [waves hands non-technically] from all those component parts. So we'd theoretically only have to do it once. Maybe.

Depends some on what you're making the pages with, though. What are you using to create and edit?

I tend to just use emacs for simple stuff (since I'm only doing the content bits -- see above), and Homesite for other stuff. But then I don't usually do anything very complicated.

We're getting Dreamweaver (in fact, we're getting the whole Macromedia shebang, Flash/Fireworks/etc., hurrah!) soon... everybody says "no no Dreamweaver is evil" so we're buying it in the spirit of "know your enemy", but it might be useful... we'll see.
marnameow From: marnameow Date: April 1st, 2004 09:17 am (UTC) (Link)

Well, we're using a content-managing system that lets us divorce header/footer/sidebar/etc. bits of template from each other and dynamically serve pages which are scrunched together [waves hands non-technically] from all those component parts.


Is it possible to apply different side-bars to different sections of the site? If you can do it that way then you should be able to create a sidebars for each section of the site, with the other sections collapsed and the current section open.

The CMS might well be able to do this automagically, though. Can you find someone and prod them about it, do you think?

Are you looking for something like this:

http;//www.marna.org/sidebar.gif

It could be easily made to expand to another level, and made *much smaller* as well.

Dreamweaver's very good at some things - I use it quite a bit, for mananging several-hundred-page sites and things like that. And I find fireworks very nifty for creating web graphics in a hurry.
j4 From: j4 Date: April 6th, 2004 07:11 am (UTC) (Link)
Hm, right. Finally got round to looking at some of this.

Different-sidebars-for-different-sections is easy enough in Mason, it's just a question of telling it where to look for the sidebar for each section.

Your tabs look quite neat, but... one of the things I like about the tabs as they are currently is that they look like tabs; that is, one of them is "in front of" the others. I think that's a useful visual metaphor, it makes it easy to see at a glance which section you're in. I was trying to do that sideways -- think A4 ring-binder with section dividers.

Maybe the reason nobody's done this is that it's a really bad idea...?

Dreamweaver -- don't you find (this seems to be the prevailing view) that it sticks in lots of Stuff that you don't want?
karen2205 From: karen2205 Date: April 1st, 2004 11:16 am (UTC) (Link)
CSS generally doesn't create access issues. Use the @media attribute to write different CSS for different media. Obviously the visual presentation won't be the same for braille readers/aural browsers, but you should still be able to convey the same information.

Server Side Includes should get you around the too much work with copying & pasting to add new pages to the list of tabs.
ghoti From: ghoti Date: April 1st, 2004 08:22 am (UTC) (Link)
Mother: could you say somthing like 'it's really great that you're thinking of goin, and there are these greaty things, and these downsides'?
taimatsu From: taimatsu Date: April 1st, 2004 08:24 am (UTC) (Link)
Re: tabbed webpages. Is the navigation system on www.shardslrp.com the sort of thing you mean? Because (aside from it being a bit small) I think that's an example that works well.
j4 From: j4 Date: April 1st, 2004 08:51 am (UTC) (Link)
Hmmmm. That's quite shiny, actually; but I don't think the amount of STUFF we have in our sidebars would fit in something like that. Thanks for the pointer, though -- all ideas useful to throw into the brane-shaped melting pot. :)
taimatsu From: taimatsu Date: April 1st, 2004 08:26 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh yes, and I'd be happy to help with the sewingmachine if I were a little closer. If you get no other offers, though, I'll use it as an excuse to come and visit, if you like :) (Disclaimer: I am not an expert, but I can handle my electric sewingmachine pretty well now, and could make a good attempt at a handcranked one. It'd really be working out how to thread it, is all.)
j4 From: j4 Date: April 1st, 2004 08:55 am (UTC) (Link)
I'd be happy to come and visit and bring sewing-machine, I have a car & it's only a 2-hour-ish drive.

Working out how to thread the thing is half the problem, I can't follow the diagrams in the manual and I don't really know what I'm trying to do, IYSWIM, I can't fill in the assumption-gaps that the manual makes. The other half of the problem is I don't really know how to sew stuff together sensibly to make stuff... didn't pay attention in sewing classes at school, partly because our teacher was crap and horrible, but partly just because I was lazy... :-/
taimatsu From: taimatsu Date: April 1st, 2004 09:06 am (UTC) (Link)
That'd be great, but at present you'd barely be able to get in the door with it, the house is such a filth-pit!

I had the same problem - I bought an old electric from a mate but it had the wrong manual with it, and I simply had no idea where to start. Then Robert bought me the new electric, and that has little arrows on it to tell you where the thread should go :)

Once you know the principles it's not hard - a bit fiddly sometimes - but I agree that starting from scratch is not really feasible.

As for sewing things, it really depends what you are trying to sew :) I started off making big lumpy T-shirt-shaped tunics as costume, and those are mostly straight seams. Then I moved on to rather neater robes, skirts and aprons and things, and then a very simple bodice and a tunic with set-in sleeves, and then just this past weekend I made a BAG which is actually lined and has a flap and a strap and everything :) That's the hardest thing I have done so far. I don't really use proper tissue patterns from shops, though I have lots; but the bodice was done on a 'draw out your own pattern' basis and that was quite easy in the end.

Again, it's a learning curve and knowing some basic principles. I'm finding it hard to think of practical things to do on a very very easy kind of level - all the first things I made were as fancy-dress or costume of one sort or another. I'll have a think if you like and see what I can come up with - possibly easy bags and the odd cushion, and then a skirt. What kind of things would you like to make eventually?
j4 From: j4 Date: April 1st, 2004 10:57 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm finding it hard to think of practical things to do on a very very easy kind of level - all the first things I made were as fancy-dress or costume of one sort or another. I'll have a think if you like and see what I can come up with - possibly easy bags and the odd cushion, and then a skirt. What kind of things would you like to make eventually?

Well, eventually in-the-long-term-future I want to be able to make exciting clothes. Things like cloaks and waistcoats don't look like they should be too hard (so long as they're not too fitted), and I figure if I learn to sew then I can learn to follow patterns, and then I can make anything (hahahahahahaha yeah right).

Right now I want to make cushions, which can't be very hard. I could make them by hand but there's just too much sewing in straight lines, I get bored doing that. I'm sure they'd only take minutes if I knew what I was doing.... maybe.
taimatsu From: taimatsu Date: April 1st, 2004 11:06 am (UTC) (Link)
With the sewing-machine they *will* only take minutes :) That would be a great place to start, because you can begin by just sewing two squares together and learning how to set a zip into one of the seams. Then you could move on to adding trimmings or more than one type of fabric or using buttons or piping or something.

Cloaks are not hard. I have made one. The more difficult bit is if you want the inside to look nice you have to line them, and while that would be fine if you had a pattern to tell you where to match the bits up I usually haven't.

I have a pattern for a simple skirt made in gored panels which I keep meaning to try, but I'm a bit scared of it :)
k425 From: k425 Date: April 1st, 2004 08:37 am (UTC) (Link)
Glastonbury: Like the other comments, I'd tell her the stuff you enjoy and then add that of course there are bad bits and like every festival the loos are dire and you can never get enough sleep, but it's only for a weekend and it's worth it and anyway, you can take the day after off too and use that to recover.

Church: Yes, you should try to tell them why.

I can't help with the sewing or the web design, though.
keirf From: keirf Date: April 1st, 2004 12:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Church: why bother? will it make them think differently? will they not have heard it before?
k425 From: k425 Date: April 2nd, 2004 02:36 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, I don't know the full details, but sometimes yes it does make them think differently, and I have no idea whether they'll have heard it before.
j4 From: j4 Date: April 6th, 2004 07:20 am (UTC) (Link)
Why bother:

Partly for my own peace of mind, so I can lay some of the ghosts to rest.

Partly because I wonder if maybe they genuinely didn't realise how much damage they were doing; maybe they thought they were doing the best thing for me. I'd've liked to think they wouldn't want to do that much psychological harm to somebody again; though I suspect the actual people involved at the time would have taken the viewpoint that all "psychological harm" is just an excuse made up by evil bad people who won't accept that GOD SOLVES EVERYTHING.

I've no idea if it would make them think differently; I guess that was part of the question I was asking.

No idea if they've heard it before. I'd be horrified to think that they had heard it before and still behaved the way they did, though.
keirf From: keirf Date: April 6th, 2004 12:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think they'll have heard it before, but they won't have listened. No one listens to what they don't want to hear.
From: rmc28 Date: April 1st, 2004 09:49 am (UTC) (Link)
Your mum: tell her the truth, bad and good.

Church: if you think telling them may change them, then maybe, but only if you feel up to it.

Sewing machine: I've a nice (electric) sewing machine you can come play with if you like (it also has a pretty good manual).
nja From: nja Date: April 1st, 2004 01:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Web stuff:

I used to have something similar as my work start page ("portal", if we're going to be pretentious). You can use the display:none attribute in CSS to hide the sub-menus and display only the headers, then use onclick to change the style to display:block, or in the context of a bunch of web pages where you're going to want different submenus to be displayed you can include the main menu with everything set as display:none, and then have an additional bit of CSS in each page to set the appropriate page sub-menu to display:block. I'll have a bash at this tomorrow and let you know if I have anything worth looking at. I'm pondering all this stuff at the moment because my work pages are looking a bit sad. I have an inflexible corporate scheme which has to be included too, unfortunately.

Reading Lie and Bos's Cascading Style Sheets: Designing for the Web tonight - it mentions "Indexing services like AltaVista, Hotbot and Lycos". Published in 1999 and the browsers are only just catching up.
nja From: nja Date: April 2nd, 2004 02:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Was this the sort of thing you were looking for?

http://www.engg.le.ac.uk/test/subdir/index.html

The menu on the right hand side drops down if you click on "Courses" or "Research". Making the submenus disappear again would require a bit of JavaScript, but it would be fairly easy to tidy it up. It's all done using CSS at the moment, works in IE6, Opera 7 and Firefox, and looks usable in Lynx. If you wanted the menu to be static with one of the submenus expanded depending on where the page was in the hierarchy, that would be even easier.

Today's tip: if you're fiddling around with the DOM, don't rely on a book on dynamic HTML printed in 1998.
j4 From: j4 Date: April 6th, 2004 07:20 am (UTC) (Link)
Sorry, finally got round to looking at this, will reply email...
sbp From: sbp Date: April 2nd, 2004 05:19 am (UTC) (Link)
I never have problems sleeping at Glastonbury. But then I don't take the funny pills and I used to go camping every summer when I was small. Toilets aren't wonderful but have improved a lot, and the hole-in-the-ground ones are generally still OK at festival end.
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