May I direct your attention…

Things have been a skosh quiet on the blog over the weekend, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been tappity-tap-tapping else where within the intertubes.

Mostly notably, if you’re interested in a fun, VERY challenging board game, may I direct you to this post on my gaming blog: We got our butts kicked by Shadows over Camelot, and it was excellent.

I’ll have some more stuff soon, but right now I’m wrestling with some technical glitches within WordPress itself, and it’s hard for me to write something when I know the machine I’m writing on is broken.

Must. Fix.

The Compleat Obsessionist

3295467822_62dcda39fb_m“Find your obsession. Every day, explain it to one person you respect […] and try not to be a dick.” — Merlin Mann, 43 Folders

While bowling this week (which I do with Kate, two of my gamer friends, and one gamer’s better half) I was talking with Tim about various ways one could cook up a blog in wordpress, and he expressed a small frustration with wanting to have a blog about everything he was into, but at the same time wanting to split things out into seperate tabs or something of that nature.

My response to this was a garbled version of some advice I couldn’t quite remember verbatim (the quote at the top of this post, actually); I said that in my opinion the thing to do was put all one’s interests “out there” without apology and trust that over time, adherance to that honesty (and, you know, interesting stuff to say) would ensure that the site would find people who’d find the whole mess interesting (or vice versa).

I then mentioned (as I sometimes do) that if I had it to do over, I’d have put all my gaming stuff and my ‘main blog’ stuff in one big kettle and let it simmer, no apologies.  Highsight. C’est la vie.

Unfortunately, I think Random Average had grown for too long on its own to allow it to be successfully grafted on here anymore, but that doesn’t mean I won’t still try to weave the two together when I can.  To that purpose, I’ve set up an interesting plugin on both sites that allows both blogs to pick up and crosspost specially-flagged entries from their sibling.  We’ll see how that works.

In the meantime I’ll continue my current blogging practice for this site: dumping my daily obsessions into a big pile and poking at the strange unions and bastard offspring that crawl out.


I’ve have tweaked the single-post page layout so that the comments appears alongside the original post.  This (in my opinion) lends both the relative importance they deserve, and conveys a kind of “margin notes” design that appeals.

This is the Fail Bear

fail_bearTwitter has a Fail Whale… I have this lovable guy.

I will be trotting him out after days like this, during which I wrestle for several hours with things that shouldn’t really be broken in the first place, only to finally ‘fix’ it by putting it back the way it originally was.

So here’s something I didn’t know (or forgot)

There’s this thing that one of my coworkers pointed out today that I’d forgotten about. We were checking out links on the company database web interface, and he told me to switch to using IE for our meeting “because Firefox doesn’t pop up the text description of the link”.

Wha? I was confused, because in my head Firefox is always performing a brilliant cover of “Anything you can Do…” as it dances around IE. And I knew I had seen pop-up descriptions of links and images in Firefox in the past, and I could imagine why it worked some of the time and not the rest of the time.

So, after the meeting, I poked around and found out that the whole problem boils down to the different between the “Alt” tag and the “Title” tags, with can both be added to either images or links on web pages.

Basically, the “ALT” tag is really only relevant for images – it provides a text alternative to display on browsers that are set up to repress image display; that’s its only purpose. A text-alternative to a text-based link is kind of pointless, so really there’s no reason to have an ALT tag on a text link; just images.

The “TITLE” tag is, as one might expect, the Title of the link and/or image. With Links, it’s often used as a description of the link you’re about to click on.

The basic problem arises from that fact that Firefox will pop up any TITLE tag when you mouse over an image or link, but does not do the same for ALT tags; IE will pop up either-or. Why does Firefox do this? Well, because it’s not supposed to: the ALT tag for images is NOT supposed to produce a tooltip when you mouseover an image or link, according to the HTML specifications for web design and browsers. This is supposed to be the job of the TITLE tag. Firefox has never done this for ALT tags, correctly obeying the spec. IE has always done it for both, ignoring the spec.

Which I really don’t have a problem with… except that:

  • It makes people think Firefox is broken, which it isn’t.
  • It confuses my brain, which means I frequently mistag links with an ALT instead of a TITLE, and miss out on providing helpful pop up descriptions (which is something I really like to do, especially in links on my sidebar).

So… there you go. Nothing profound; just me remembering how the internet works, again.

The number you are trying to reach…

Things have been a little crazy in my personal corner of the Internet for the last couple weeks.  Let me see if I can give you a tour and tell you where I moved all the furniture:


  • My ‘main’ blog, which was at, is now right at It also has a new design, which is apparently different enough that people thought it was a mistake.  The newsfeed for this blog has also changed — the new feed can be had simply by clicking on the big orange button in the top right corner of the page.
  • Random Average is no longer just a blog, but a blog, a forum, a scheduling calendar, and a PONY!  You can get to it via the same ol’, but the newsfeed has changed: there’s one for the forums and a different one for the blog.  They’re all linked off the front page of THAT site, top left.
  • Adrift didn’t move, but the news feed is different than it was, and the look is different.  Easiest thing to do in that case is to just go to and get new links.
  • With all this done, I’m completely ‘off’ of Movable Type — the only thing left up are the eight years of archived posts from both Average-bear (which didn’t make the jump to in the first place) and eight years of Random-Average gaming stuff.  The Random Average archives are linked off the new Ning-based R-A site (top left),  and the Average-bear archives are… exactly where they are… which is where you’ll find them if you know where to look.  Ahem.

Not changed:

  • FireflyWiki, RandomWiki, Storyball, doyceandkate — all safe as houses and very unlikely to change. (All those sites are built with PmWiki which, unlike Movable Type, has actually made updating and maintaining them easier, rather than harder.)