I hate IE

Submitted to me by Anonymous, an excellent rant about Internet Explorer.

Turning on a cell’s borders on mouseover should be easy, right? You should be able to give the cell a class, like “selected” and in your CSS specify that td.selected has borders. Then on mouseover, you can add the selected class to the cell.

Except that everything jiggles around. No one wants that – but wait, just give all the other cells a 1px border of “none”, right? Or “transparent” color? Sorry, no luck. IE won’t let it work (to be fair, I’m not sure if FF will either). So you’re resigned to setting the other cells borders to the background-color. It feels dirty, but at least it works.

Actually, it doesn’t. You see, the browser can’t read your mind, it doesn’t know which borders take priority. Enter the border conflict resolution spec, a beautiful piece by the W3C. Just give the background-colored borders a lower-priority style (dashed or dotted) and the solid borders will override them!

Except in IE. Because IE hasn’t bothered to finish implementing the border conflict resolution spec. No, I’m not talking about IE6 – this is broken in IE7. And it appears to still be broken in IE8. So I had to resort to a browser-specific javascript hack that adds a new “prevSelected” class to the cell before the selected cell – just to make IE happy.

And no, “border-collapse: separate” didn’t work as a work-around because the corner pixels showed through.


Well said Anonymous, +5 insightful.

Office 2007 on Macbook?

Is Microsoft sending mixed signals by showing Office 2007(2008) on (what I assume) is a MacBook on Office.Microsoft.com? There is just so many things wrong with that, I’m not sure where to start.

Some possible messages from this:

  • Macs are better for students.
  • Office 2008 is prettier on a Mac.
  • Current PC laptops are ugly.
  • We really do care about Apple and the Apple user base!
  • …add your own (possibly conflicting) message in the comments.

Not that there is anything wrong with these conclusions individually. Taken together though, from Microsoft, just seems strange.

Hat tip to Scott Hanselman for the find

Windows XP SP3 installed easily

I installed WIndows XP SP3 onto a PC over the weekend through Windows Updates. Everything went smoothly with no problems. That has not been the case for every one, but you come to expect that with service packs. I’ll be testing the redistributable and ISO installs soon to see how they work. Although the release is tagged as final, make sure you backup critical data before installing.

This PC also happens to be the first one I’ve ever had to replace the CMOS battery on. Let me be the first to tell you what kind of crazy errors a system gets when it thinks it is the year 22098. iTunes and Firefox both crash hard.

Virtually running

I got my first taste of virtualized Operating Systems.

Virtually running

I am running Windows XP Pro SP2 as a host environment. I wanted to be able to run IE7 as we are going to need to support it soon, while still having access to IE6. Other environments like Ubuntu were needed also. I stumbled upon VirtualBox from innotek. Using version 1.5.4 (released 27 December 2007) I was able to quickly get Windows XP Pro up and running. I used a fixed size virtual HDD (10GB) and dedicated 256MB of my system RAM to the environment. Installation from CD was straight forward, but mounting an ISO to boot from never worked for me. I’m still not sure if I was doing something wrong or if their is a bug.

Once I had XP up and running, I took a shot at Ubuntu 7.10. Again, booting from an ISO didn’t work. I put the CD in and ran the Live CD features in the virtual environment. When it came time to install, an error was generated during both the automatic partitioning and manual partitioning. The ext3 root was created quickly, but the swap refused to mount. After reading through the Ubuntu forums, I couldn’t find a solution on the VirtualBox site, I found that I had to use a dynamic sized virtual HDD, not a fixed size. Once that change was made, I got back into the live CD environment and had no problems getting the system installed. When I left work tonight, I was updating the 185 packages as prompted by the built-in updater.

Installing the “Guest Additions” software in both the XP and Ubuntu virtuals made the host user experience just that much better. I could easily move my mouse between windows without hitting the right control button first, mesh all of the desktops together, use windows remote desktop connections, etc. The additions ISO is included in the download and can be easily mounted to run from the command line or terminal as appropriate.

The benefits to my employer could be significant if we move to a virtualized environment. We have several desktops acting as single purpose servers that could easily be consolidated onto one server acting as a virtuals host. VirtualBox made the whole experience pleasant, fun, and exciting to see that many operating systems going at once.

My hardware consists of a Core 2 Duo E6660, 2GB 800Mhz RAM, dual 160GB WD hard drives, and a 256MB 7600GS PCI-E graphics card pumping bytes to a 20in Acer Widescreen LCD monitor. Having the host OS and the two virtuals running wasn’t a problem in any of the environments. Everything was smooth, I didn’t have any problems.

Time will tell if VirtualBox is ready for the enterprise primetime. I’ll need to look closer at the license options, stability over time, and ease of use.

For now, I’m just having fun running virtually.