Battling the Chaotic Style Sheet

August 23, 2005

Recently I've been in a battle against large, messy, unwieldy style sheets. I always start out so neatly, organizing my rules by selector and carefully keeping track of them. Then sometime around 3 a.m. one morning, the neatness wears off. I can't remember if I've already written a rule similar to what I need, and frankly I've stopped caring. The heck with it, I grumble, let's just write a new rule and toss it in there.

The Emergent Magpie

August 15, 2005

The other day my 5 year old showed me a picture of a totem pole she'd colored. She pointed out various things, then hesitantly confessed she'd copied one part from her older brother's totem pole. She was pretty surprised when I explained this was perfectly all right--that, in fact, I copy bits and pieces from other people all the time in my work. It's the way we learn.

Computer Woes: or So This Is What I Get for Being Kind to Electronics

July 27, 2005

I am in a pissy mood today. Everything that could go wrong lately has. Two days ago--and with the finest intentions, I'll add--I decided to give my computer a quick little tune up. I deleted a bunch of old files. I went out and bought an external hard drive so I can start doing real backups like a real profession. I saw the notice about Foxfire 1.0.6 and obediently downloaded the update. I was being such a good little web designer. And then the poop hit the fan. I couldn't get Foxfire to start. I installed and re-installed four times before I got it working, and by that time I'd lost all my extensions, Calendar, Thunderbird and what passes for my mind. I'm not kidding about that last one.

Visualization: Boxes and Tables

July 22, 2005

I had to edit this a little for sense. Apparently, I'm not at my best at 4 a.m.

For designers who are used to tables, the most frustrating thing about CSS isn't learning new markup or memorizing new style rules. No, the most difficult thing is changing the way we think about designing and building pages.

Hi Ho, Hi Ho

July 21, 2005

I've been thinking lately about how I work--and how much I work--and wondering what life is like for other designers. Specifically, I promised my husband and kids that I would only work like a maniac for the first year, while I was finding my feet and settling in. But it's now month 7, and I'm still pulling 10 to 16 hour days and only managing a day off once every week or two.

What in god's name do I do with my time?

Good question. The other day I mentioned in here that my projects average around 50 pages with a few scripts. That may be a little high. We'll say 30-40 pages. So far they've mostly been "redesigns" that are essentially completely new designs with new content.

Basecamp Update and Evaluation

July 17, 2005

I promised an update on Basecamp and how it's working for me. I've used it now for two clients for about a month and a half. At first I was very enthusiastic about it. I really liked the idea of keeping all communications in one place, and I particularly liked the to-do lists. I set up two for each project--a designer's to-do and a client's list--so it was clear what each of us still needed to do.