IE, I bite my thumb at thee!

When you can broadcast to the entire world in a few clicks of the mouse, you sometimes forget what a strange and terrible power this is. And as it turns out, I seem to have the odd regular reader at M7, which was my intention of course, but it's also sort of odd to be in a meeting where people start making random references to something I wrote. Or making requests (sorry guys, I've decided, somewhat to my own disappointment, to keep this as professional as possible – besides, it's a big Internet out there and there are plenty of venues besides this blog for me to go past the PG rating).

Strange as it is, though, I'm glad to know that one of the goals I had in kicking this blog's posting into high gear has sort of been reached. I feel like my colleagues in San Francisco sort of feel like they know me a bit, after only one and a half weeks. And just think for a moment how strange this is. We've never actually met. The amount of actual conversation, IM'ing and initial interviews included, that I've had with everyone there combined is certainly less than 24 hours. But with the combination of these daily posts and M7's own prolific blog, which also allows a lot of personality to come out in addition to talking about the product, we're able to have an ambient awareness (read the article – it's great!) of each other that augments the more active communication.

Anyway, I've started to settle into this new definition of "normal" fairly well. And, at long last, my first few contributions to a feature on the site have made it to acceptance testing! How do you know that you've gotten back into the groove of a web development job? You start complaining about Internet Explorer and its ability to land developers in purgatory without warning. Did you know, for example, that it only allows you to load a total of 31 CSS files for a page? Now granted, you normally want to keep your file requests to a minimum (and the production version of the app, like many others, concatenates CSS to avoid doing so many calls), but when you're developing, it's nice to have things split up. So I was driving myself nuts trying to figure out why the hell absolutely nothing was working when trying to print something from the application's script module (which uses a CSS file targeted to the printer instead of the display), commenting out line after line of what I'd done and noticing that nothing seemed to be making any difference. And then I remembered one of my co-workers at Nexopia running into a similar problem with Internet Explorer (but in this case, it had to do with the size of a CSS file, which apparently matters a lot to some browsers) and took a closer look at what files were being loaded. Sure enough, the one I was after wasn't in the list, and sure enough a google search about CSS file limits and IE resulted in the magic number 31.

Come on, Microsoft. Seriously? 31? I mean, I know us web developers whine about your product maybe a bit more than is warranted, and somehow you have managed to capture the attention of the masses so that when we develop to web standards (for browsers where the development tools actually help us track down errors and fix them), we have to turn around and re-develop things for you unless we want to turn away half of our potential customers. And I can even buy the argument that because of this huge user base and big important sites that have been developed to work well with your browser and its quirks, that it's hard for you to take those quirks out later when you finally come to your senses. Too many people rely on the bugs. Yeah. I get it. But when you do something like set a 31 file limit on CSS files loaded from a page, it's like you're taunting us. Why? Why must you be so cruel?

The other thing I fought with was my Parallels/Windows 7 installation that allows me to test all the IE stuff out on my Mac. When I installed the thing, it was beautiful. You could suspend Windows when you weren't using it, and then fire it up in a minute to start IE. Or, with enough memory, you could keep it running and simply use the Windows programs almost as if they were native Mac ones. But this was no more. Even starting it from a suspended state, it would take half an hour before I had complete control of my system again and Windows was actually running. And I'm not talking about running it on a laptop. This is an 8-core desktop with several gigs of memory. My google-fu turned up nothing of use. Any of the stuff that even came close had to do with previous versions of Parallels and Windows. So, I decided to take an educated guess and turn off the Windows virtual memory swap file. I looked this up too and everywhere I found something about it, it either said not to do this because bad things will happen or not to do this because people who say it makes a difference are crazy. Well, count me in with that crew because as soon as I stopped it from using the swap file, it ran as smoothly as it did in the beginning. I even tried setting a static swap space of a gig, but that was still worse than having nothing at all.

Now for the news that's gonna make y'all sad. I'm planning on turning down the frequency next week on the posting. Like I said in a previous post, this sort of reflects me getting into the swing of things (so now you know, it takes about a couple of weeks). Things are picking up with M7 now, so work will probably be a bit more intense over the next little while, and I'll want my downtime to be real downtime (though by downtime, I mean being able to concentrate more on the music and the more artsy writing that I kind of put on hold to be able to work out the details of this slightly more complex day job). At the very least, the posts here will be shorter and less of a "stream of consciousness," as I won't be trying to recount an entire day in each of them.

Quantity? Been there, done that. Now lets go for quality! And by the way, in case you missed it, I couldn't resist making good on your request, M7 hecklers. It's up there somewhere, floating around in a sea of other words. How good were you at Where's Waldo?