Happy New Year

… to Heebs and all.

I am spending the Holiday with my grandparents in New York. It’s really nice to be able to do that.

I have been taking time over the weekend to revisit my accessible tree comparison code from a month ago. I then managed to waste two days trying to get Selenium to work with trunk build of Firefox. I took David Bolter’s suggestion and relooked at Windmill. I would hate to switch automation schemes mid-project, but I could tell that eventually it will be beneficial. Windmill has it’s shortcomings too. It is amazing how non-trivial it is to launch Firefox. Both Selenium and Windmill have issues with that.

Anyway, I decided to stop putting time into that for a while, and instead improve the whole tree comparison deal. There are a few issues that still need to be dealt with:

  1. Accessibility. Ironically the comparison display is not too accessible, it relies on colors for example. It should also have an optional column with info as to how that node changed (inserted, deleted, updated, moved). The “moved” string should be an anchor that by pressing it will put the focus on the other tree’s “moved” anchor and show where it moved to. Of course I could also add ARIA markup to this.
  2. Horizontal alignment. Equivalent nodes should be on the same row, this will also make it much more usable for screen reader users.
  3. More accurate matching. The heuristics I am using now are good for generic XML, but they could be made more relevant to accessibility APIs. A lot of the “moves” don’t make too much sense, and don’t make it any easier on the eyes. I am thinking that if I can’t improve this, I will just change “moved” markup to delete/insert.
  4. Prettyness. The output now is uglier than a monkey’s armpit. If I could get it together visually, I am sure it will be more usable and accessible too.

So here are two examples, they both use the dijit form demo:

  1. This is a comparison between Firefox 3.0.2 and Firefox nightly (9/29).
  2. This is a comparison between Firefox nightly and IE 8 beta 2.
Happy New Year

Stop The Coal Train

The United States in some respects has come to terms with it’s dead-end consumption of fossil fuels. A watershed moment happened a couple of years ago when Bush informed us all that we are “addicted to oil”, as if his administration reached that conclusion before the rest of us. Even global warming is not the same politicized issue it was a couple of years ago, today it could be regarded as fact without a partisan chip on the shoulder.

It is really sickening to watch the resurgence of coal energy, and it’s labeling as the energy source of the future. It isn’t. It is amazing that certain industry and interest groups could get away with such a corny mindfuck.

  • It doesn’t just warm your house – While just over half of the electricity generated in the US is from coal, coal sources account for over 80% of CO2 emissions, the main greenhouse gas. Yes, they talk about clean coal technologies, but as of today that is still science fiction.
  • Extraction methods are environmentally devastating – It absolutely amazes me that mountain top removal is a legitimate practice in the 21st century. The latest administration streamlined the process and relaxed regulations allowing coal companies to fill thousands of miles of waterways with toxic sludge.
  • It is destroying communities – Mountain top removal was developed as a mining technique that negates the need for a large (unionized) workforce. As such, coal-rich communities don’t get the same employment opportunities as they used to. But they still pay a heavy price in loud blasts, sludge, floods, dried or contaminated wells, etc. Often the homes in these areas are rendered unlivable and people are forced to leave. The mining companies are rarely held accountable for any of this, while families see the price of their home drop to nothing, and their children’s health compromised. This is happening here, in America. Some of the poorest communities in the states are demonized as being backward, inbred, and unsavable, while mining companies rob them of the little they have on this earth.
  • It is not renewable – When we finally deplete coal, rape our environment, poison our water, and pillage Appalachia, we will remain with the same hippie energy options we face today.

So I decided to do my blogger’s duty and get the word out, I also added a badge to my site which is very not like me. Sign it!


Stop The Coal Train

Speclenium – Easy Setup

I created a couple of packages that will make it easier to start using Speclenium.

Setting up the server

First, copy the Speclenium server to every test machine, if it is a Windows box, use this package, double click on speclenium.exe, everything needed for it to run is in that archive. If you are using Linux, use this package. You will need Python and Twisted installed for the Linux version.

Setting up the test suite

The test suite could be run on the same machine, or a different one. You will need Python 2.5 for this. Down load this package, adjust settings.ini for your environment, and run run_tests –help.

I need to set up a project page with all the latest packages and source code. Maybe on codetalks.org?

Speclenium – Easy Setup

Mom Visit

My mom is visiting me for the next few days. I’ll be showing her the sites, and introducing her to friends. So I guess I won’t be near the computer for the next few days. I guess it will be a fortified weekend.

Mom Visit