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January 2009

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Dear Internet Users Across the World,

Please stop using the horrible piece of software that came pre-installed on your PC known as Internet Explorer. Not only do you make the job of web designers a lot harder each and every day you use it, but you also leave yourself more open to attacks from malicious websites. I recently spent several hours over a few nights fixing a computer for my sister and brother-in-law because they were infected with a nasty bug that they got while using Internet Explorer. If they were using Firefox they would not have installed the ActiveX and gotten the bug, but they weren’t so they did. IE fails at security and fails at complying with web standards.

My beef used to be with the people who still use Internet Explorer 6, even though 7 has been out for well over a year now. Now my beef is with anyone who continues to use IE at all. I’ll tell you why. Microsoft had the chance to make IE7 standards compliant. What that means is it would properly render pages that were coded to the standards and rules set forth by the web development community to make the best looking and most usable websites possible. They didn’t. While it was better than 6, it was far from the other web browsers, such as Firefox or Safari. The first release candidate of IE8 recently came out. Again, they had the chance to make it standards compliant. They failed again. That makes the job of web developers harder. Now they have to support 3 versions of IE, each one supporting different standards that Microsoft decided it wanted to follow, and not true web standards. Please do yourself a favor and see the web the way it was meant to be seen. Use Firefox (or Safari, Google Chrome, Opera, etc). Thanks.

Your friendly neighborhood Web Developer and Family Computer Help Desk,
Mike Schepker

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Thanks to Kris Britt at Silente.com the PhoenixBlue theme has been widgetized.  I’ve also made a few other minor tweaks to a theme that seems to still be very popular even though I’ve not had time to update it in over a year.  Post meta information now includes what tags are used in the post and the theme now supports WordPress image captions that came out in WordPress 2.6.  You can check out a demo of PhoenixBlue Widgetized here. You can download the PhoenixBlue Widgetized theme here.

Thanks again to Kris for widgetizing the theme.  If time permits I may add support for threaded comments, but I’m not entirely sure I will yet.  If anyone else wants to add the functionality, feel free, just let me know.  Also if you find issues with the theme and want to help fix them let me know.  The theme isn’t exactly my main priority right now so if any help is greatly appreciated.  I know one area that needs some work is the tag cloud styling so if you want to take a crack at that feel free.

John Mozeliak recently gave even more St. Louis Cardinals fans a reason to hate him. I guess he figured that since people are already pissed at him for not doing anything to strengthen the Cardinals this season that he’d go ahead and throw professionalism out the window and insult Cardinals fans.

In a recent online chat Mr. Mozeliak fielded insults from disgruntled Cardinals fans. I am not defending the insults against Mr. Mozeliak, but he certainly should have taken the higher road and not responded with his own insults. He needs to understand that fans are unhappy with his job performance and instead of insulting them back he needs to explain his philosophy of waiting for the future. St. Louis has some of the best fans in all of baseball. We are very passionate about our team. If Mr. Mozeliak can’t understand this and handle these types of situations with some class and dignity, then he deserves the insults he receives, especially since he’s creating another disappointing season for Cardinals fans by “saving for the future.” The future won’t matter when you’ve driven away all the fans Mr. Mozeliak. When a team finishes 4th in the division we expect a little more action to make us contenders again, and when that happens we, rightfully so, get upset. Do not insult us. We pay your salary. We pay for the salaries of everyone in the organization, including players, we pay for the new stadium. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you. You can read the chat transcript via STLToday.

In the spirit of the week where we inaugurate Barack Obama as the President of the United States of America I thought I’d post a song of the week.  It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, but Obama’s campaign slogan reminded me of it.  The song is by a group called The Treacherous Three.  They were a hip hop group that formed in the late 70’s and had a few hits, including Santa’s Rap, and were featured in movies such as Beat Street and Wildstyle.  One of the members, Kool Moe Dee, went on to have a successful solo career.

With the success of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five’s song The Message, other rappers decided to try their hand at socially conscious music.  The song I present to you today was released long before Barack Obama declared “Yes We Can” but the sentimants are the same.  Let’s work together.  Let’s treat each other as equals.  Let’s rebuild America.  Yes We Can.  Here is song Yes We Can-Can by the Treacherous Three.

[audio:http://pieceofshep.com/audio/34-Yes-We-Can-Can-(Single_LP Version).mp3]

Wow, I’m a slacker. I didn’t stick with my things I’m thankful for like I wanted to. I’ve just been so busy at work and at home the past few days and I missed a couple. Have no fear though, I do have some to share with you. Here are my 4 this week.

  • The Budweiser flag in college that I wore as a cape and my roommates for telling our neighbors that they rented me from AB for the night and I was called Bud Man.
  • BBQing at the park with my family when I was a kid.  However, I’m not thankful for the time my dad broke his finger on the super death slide.
  • Instructions on the back of David Sunflower Seeds telling you how to eat them.  Why am I thankful for that?  Because I think it’s so funny that people actually need to be told how to eat them.  Funny.
  • Waking up Sunday morning and turning on the TV only to see one of the best Nintendo tie-in movies starring Fred Savage ever made.  (yes, there was only one Nintendo tie-in movie starring Fred Savage).  The Wizard ftw!