June 18th, 2008

My Prom Date… is now a Preist… O_o…

I took Regina to my Senior prom in 1995. I Googled her to see if I could say hi… and found out that she is now an ordained priest of the Episcopal church. Wow. What do you even say to that? I mean, granted, I’m a minister of the gospel in a different way now, as well, but wow. Well, all I have to say is “You go (spread the Gospel) girl!”

May 30th, 2008

I got hired based on this…

Ok, so… I got a little bored and figured I do some Google searching for fun. My idea of fun is rapidly declining, apparently. Anyway, I Googled my wife’s maiden name… and only one website came up. Only one… and it was a site that I made… in like 1998. Seriously. Wow.

For those of you who believe there is no God, here is proof positive. I got a seriously high paying contract position, my very first “real” job, based on this horrifying, yet hilarious website. Most of the links still work! I might have even used a Blink tag or two! I dunno. O_o… any link with a file for download is now broken, but wow… Check out that amazing animation. HA!!! Wow… just… wow. To think I actually grew into a legitimate web professional out of that! Unbelievable.

May 16th, 2008

Satellites and Tracking Shipments

Does anyone know if this yet exists to consumers? I think a shipping company like FeEx, UPS, or DHL would have this ability on their websites… basically watching exactly where the truck with your shipment on it is so you can know about when it will arrive.  I don’t know… I’m not a political or economic commentator. I could go off on ramifications that would ensue if this were available…

But I won’t. I just want to be able to see where the truck is… right… NOW!

May 5th, 2008

Overlay-Style Form Summary

Ok, it’s time for a very geek post about a particular aspect of web-usability: Form Submission Summary.

Before I get into it, here’s a brief rundown of what it is and a link to the demo, in case you don’t want to read the post and just want to get the goods… which is what I would do if I were in your shoes:

  1. It’s a form with some cool Prototype functions that actually overlays a summary of the form information in a “light-window” without actually submitting the information. I used PHP, but you can use any programming language.
  2. It’s cross-browser compatible with IE6, IE7, Opera 9, Safari 1, and Firefox 2… maybe more, I didn’t test other browsers.
  3. I didn’t do much styling. You can do that stuff yourself if you want to.
  4. The Demo for the Summary Window can be found here.
  5. The source code and images (there are only 3 images) can be found here (35kb zip file).

Now it’s time to get into why it exists… Read the rest of this entry »

April 23rd, 2008

Final Fantasy and Google Earth

I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s thought this, but a Final Fantasy Game that uses Google Earth would just all out freaking rule. I mean, the interface of Google Earth is pretty much exactly like flying the airship in Final Fantasy 7. Ok, I know there’s been more iterations of Final Fantasy since 7, but do they really count? My Knights of the Round Materia tells me “No”. I mean, it uses a spell called “Ultimate End”. Shouldn’t that be a clue?

On that premise, however, there should never have been a Final Fantasy 2… because that negates the part of the title that uses the word Final. It’s a video game, so it can break the rules.

Anyway, I’m really looking forward to video games being developed using Google Earth. They’re gonna be wicked.

An old school Legend of Zelda-style Action/RPG using Google Earth would rule too. Just my two-cents.

April 18th, 2008

Jai’s Web 2.0 Phraseology

I always get clients and bosses and higher-ups telling me things like “We’ve gotta be more Web 2.0!”. Granted, they say this whilst spouting the greatest attributes of tabled layouts and how they just discovered this amazing new technology called Instant Messaging. But I digress.

Their point is valid – make designs and code “up to date with the latest trends”. There’s a ton of information on the webernet to find out about all of this stuff, but a search for “Web 2.0″ yields a bunch of seemingly different ideas as to what Web 2.0 is… and a whole bunch of articles, just like the one you are reading, saying that no one has it quite nailed down yet. So why are we still using that term?

Someone needs to coin some phrases to differentiate the parts of what people think Web 2.0 is so that we can be more clear about what we’re talking about… more clearer than that last sentence… more… clearer… *pours a glow stick into Homestar’s Mountain Dew*… And that someone may as well be me.

Since no one reads this anyway, no one will actually use these phrases but me, myself and I. And the three of us will have our own clairity about Web 2.0 that will make you all (who aren”t reading this) jealous. The blog title is starting to come true… Ok, so, let’s break it down.

  • Web 2.0 Web Applications – These are typically Ajax ridden, super slick web apps that make people say wow with their awesome animations and superior speed. So I am going to coin these… WebberTapps. Why not? – “Sir, I think the best way to achive that goal is to build some shiny new Webbertapps! STAT!
  • Web 2.0 Graphics – These are those bubbly, shiny graphics that Steve Jobs likes because he used to watch H&R Puffin Stuff. They’re all over the web now. There are all these reflections and shimmery goodness and cutesy icons. It’s like we’re surfing the web under horrifying florescent light whist playing Candyland… Which, I assume, most of us are… Candy Mountain, Charlie!… Anyway, an example of these crazy graphics resides in the “Web 2 Point 0″ css version of this very site. You can see it by toggling the page styles in the sidebar. Anyway, these bubblicious graphics need a term… Candy Blubbles. This old site needs a complete overhaul! We need to Candy-Blubbleize it!
  • Web 2.0 Content – Oh, you’ve seen it. It’s that snazy content that just doesn’t quite qualify as spam, but if someone talked to you in this manner in real life, you’d think the person speaking to you thinks that you are a moron. Everything (such as information pertaining to search engine optimization… which is the process of optimizing words, phrases, code, links, blogs, websites, and other internet rich media for the sake of drawing more internet traffic to a particular website, which is an online entity capable of delivering information over great distances from computer to computer… blah blah SHUT UP!) is said without using simple terms (like it, they, them, her, she, him, the firm, the client). The content is very bloated, but does get the search engine’s attention. Because Lieutenant Commander “Walking talking Mr. Google” Data can process all of that information without feeling insulted. Let’s call this content Deep Space Whine. Ok, now we need to optimize this puppy! Pour me some Deep Space Whine, Code Monkey!
  • And my favorite… Web 2.0 Code – which is really the best part of Web 2.0. Code that is readable, understandable, semantic, and just plain short. If the predecessor to this code was called Tag Soup, I think this code should be called Distilled Codewater - Oh man, the simplicity of pure water, the beauty of good code.”Ugh, this tag soup tastes like Grandma’s foot fungus!”…
    • “How would you know what Grandma’s foot fungus tastes like… have you been licking her feet again, Code Monkey?”

    “I dunno, but I’d sure like to wash it out with some fresh Distilled Codewater!”

So there you have it. My completely nonsensical approach to Web 2.0 phraseology. Wicked.

April 15th, 2008

Why Do People Like Antiques?

Do people like antiques? Seriously, where is the allure in buying really old stuff to put inside your house? It’s baffling, actually.

On my way to work, down lovely Rt. 611 in PA, I pass by about 6 different antique shops. Is there really that much business in antiques to have that kind of local competition? The thing about antique shops is that they are almost all run out of what looks like a condemned nineteenth century house. There’s a rusty wheel in the corner ($115, from 1923), a picture of Super Mario’s Great Grandpa ($50, from 1912 – Frame $3 from Bed, Bath and Beyond), and some old rickety chairs that should come with warning labels (if you weigh over 100 lbs, please do not sit in the antiques. They’re old, and they’ll break. Try sitting one of these creepy little antique dolls on there instead. [$247 apiece]). What in the world am I going to do with any of this stuff? They have homes for this genre of crap. They’re called museums.

Now, granted, I don’t want to be too harsh. There is certainly a place in life for totally awesome stuff from the past. I get that entirely. But what I’m talking about here is the decision to seek out things like furniture, the original lawn gnome, black and white TVs and the like. What possesses people to want stuff that’s so old and, frankly, useless? Most of the time you can buy new and vastly improved items that serve the same purpose but do it better, and the price difference isn’t that much (if at all).

I’m probably just missing something. Any insight into what makes antiques appealing, drop me a comment. I’m interested.

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April 11th, 2008

Evil Robots May Be Searching Your Website. OoooOOoOo…

So, I’m on this site and I’m looking to do a search through their help forums… and after typing in the search item, I find myself face to face with one of those wacky CAPTCHA images… you know the ones, they basically won’t let you submit the form unless you decipher the digits in some wacky image and input it into the field correctly. These are mainly to keep out the evil army of spambots and are typically found on forms where you may be able to add some spam to a blog or a social bookmarking site.

So, first off, why exactly am I filling this into a search box? Is the site owner so paranoid that ROBOTS MAY BE SEARCHING THEIR HELP FORUMS? I mean, I’m all for being paranoid about robots… I mean, do you have robot insurance? Cause seriously, those robots will steal your old people medication… but I digress.

Secondly, what the flip am I supposed to make out of this image?

Anybody got an idea on what that is? I think I see a bear in a cloud… eating tuna fish from a can? And maybe that’s a letter W… or a sideways M? Oh look, the two last letters are hugging. They must be in love. OH! that must be a left carrot character and a 3! Love = <3.

I <3 stupid CAPTCHA.

The saddest part about this whole deal is that the site I was looking for help on… was a site focused on Usability… I’m filing this under dumb.

April 8th, 2008

Can you spell that out, please?

Ok… so here’s a blog. Woohoo, introduction over.

So… I’m at work today, and I’m calling the help desk (in India) to speak to the guy who “set up” my administrative privileges last week. This is call #3, because the first time it didn’t take, the second time it worked, and all of a sudden it stopped working. At any rate, he asks me for my user name. Simple enough, let’s just pretend my user name is jbrinkofski. I tell the heavily accented gentleman my username in this manner

“Ok, ready? My username is ‘Jay’ ‘Bee’ ‘Are’ ‘Eye’ ‘En’ ‘Kay’ ‘Oh’ ‘Eff’” “Ess” “Kay” “Eye”. For those of you who are slow, that’s “JBRINKOFSKI”. “Oh” “Kay”? Anyway, after I did that he asked me this question, no lie, and I have to admit I literally sat there for a second not knowing exactly how to respond…

“Ok, Yason” (His accent is thick), “Can you please spell that out for me, please?”


I’m a nice guy. I just said it again, but I did it slower… you know, just in case I was asked to SPELL IT OUT again.