Welcome to the Sep 01, 2014 issue of
CompuNerds.Net-News
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TODAY'S TOPIC - Back to Work!

(See those colorful blobs up on the left? They aren't Christmas tree bulbs, they're buttons - click on them to tell others about this nifty newsletter!)

Click to see full-sizeSummer's over, it's time to get back to work! Today is Labor Day, and we got in one last swim for the season in our condo association's outdoor pool before it closes for the season. No matter that it rained for a few minutes and we had to get out of the pool to avoid a possible lightning strike... we were able to relax a bit. And the week before last we had a nice vacation back in Madison, WI, so last week I got back into the swing of working on my websites.

For the past five years or so, I've been wrestling with the idea of converting my websites to be HTML5-compliant. That might not seem like much to those of you who might maintain a small website or two. But to me it seemed to be an insurmountable mountain of work, because I maintain about 15,000 files on four websites. Last week, however, I finally bit the bullet and converted the header tags on about 12,800 web pages (the ones containing old HTML) to the "new" HTML5 header tags, tested them and uploaded them. That's the start of making them HTML5-compliant.

HTML5 isn't really new anymore, it's been around for roughly five years. But whenever a new web technology comes out, I like to wait and see if it will take off. XML and XHTML were introduced a couple years before HTML5, but they never took off: less than 1% of all websites use these technologies. By now HTML5 is the accepted standard, because XML and XHTML were too strict - if a web page contained just one error, it would display an error message in the browser and crash. This discouraged most website designers from trying to convert old websites to the strict XML and XHTML standards. But HTML5 is very "forgiving" - if your web page has a little flaw or two the browser will try to display what it can. (But I have managed to crash an HTML5 web page!)


THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read! - Groucho Marx


Another reason for my waiting so long is because Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser was late in adopting the full HTML5 standards, and still has its own quirks. Alot of people still use IE, and I didn't want to leave them in the dust. But then a few bright web programmers created and published a big Javascript that other programmers can simply link to, and it will adapt most HTML5 web pages to display properly if a person is using IE.

Perhaps the biggest reason, however, for my finally getting around to converting my websites to be HTML5-compliant is because by now over half of all computer-like devices are mobile: tablets and smartphones. HTML5 and the new, fancier CSS3 (Cascading Style Sheets - Version 3) standards let programmers develop websites that will display nicely on all sizes of screens. Over the summer I began experimenting with a couple test web pages, and saw that they displayed rather nicely on my smartphone.


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So over the past weekend I've converted my www.CompuNerds.Net website to HTML5-and-CSS3 features. Now I've been able to remove big chunks of repeated HTML code from each webpage, place that code in separate files and simply include a link to those files in my CompuNerds.Net web pages. This means that if I need to make a change to those chunks of code, I can modify just one file and the change will appear in all web pages that contain that link.

Soon I will begin converting my other three websites to use some of the nice HTML5-and-CSS3 features such as sliding menus that only appear when you want to use them. HTML5, Javascript and CSS3 let you do real programming on the Web. Now that I've converted one website (even this newsletter is in HTML5), the others don't seem like such a daunting task!


The Security Blurb:
In our last issue of CompuNerds.Net-News I reported about the story of over a billion passwords stolen. Well, that's what it was: just a story, fabricated by a small so-called "security" company in Milwaukee whose only claim to fame was in releasing a similar story a few months earlier. Apparently there has been no huge theft of "one billion" passwords.

The bigger news, although not as well reported in the mainstream media, is that there are two more "security leakers" in addition to Edward Snowdon. He has denied that some leaks about governments spying on their own citizens came from his trove of data, and now it appears that at least a couple other government employees or contractors are blowing the whistle on government spying.


The goal of our CN.Net-News is to share information that we think you'll find helpful as you wrestle with that little monster on your desk or at your side, your computer, tablet or phone. And we aim to present this information from a Christian worldview. Thanks for your time!

Best regards,

"Dr. Bob the CompuNerd"

Robert D hoskEN
See the "nerd" in my name? (It helps if you're a little dyslexic!)
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