Monthly Archives: December 2002

My “Thesis” on Desktop Linux was kind enough to publish my really long musing on Desktop Linux for the Home: How and Why? –
Since they seem to be well read by a lot of OS people I’m hoping that at least a few will notice it and maybe take a little bit of it to heart.

Using Transparent PNG Files

I had read about the gimmick mentioned in the article A List Apart: Cross-Browser Variable Opacity with PNG: A Real Solution a while back. But this article sums up the hack to use transparent PNG files in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and makes it easier to use by bundling it with some JavaScript so you can use it in your web pages and still be compatible with modern browsers (Mozilla 1+, Netscape 6+, IE 5+).
So, why do you care? Well, if you’ve ever wanted to do a graphic for a web page and the edges of that image didn’t fall perfectly on pixel boundaries then you’ve typically had to do one of two things: a) force the edges to end on pixel boundaries or b) blend the edges of the image with a color and then make sure that you used that color behind the image when it appeared on the web page. The latter is why you often see sites that have button sets and they include different sets of buttons for white backgrounds, black backgrounds, etc.
But what if your background is indigo or crimson or something? Then you have to alter the buttons for your website. But not if you could make parts of images partially transparent. Then they could have edges that would blend and look right on any background. The PNG format allows for that and this article shows you how to take advantage of it (even if it is a hack on IE).

Piracy is Progressive Taxation

I’m usually very reluctant to link to things that it seems like everybody is linking to. It makes it seem (to me at least) like I’m one of those blogs that just repeats what is read from three other people’s blogs. But in this case I don’t care. Read this, even if you think you know everything there is to know about peer-to-peer, piracy, the RIAA, the MPAA, etc. I’ll bet that there is still stuff you could learn from Piracy is Progressive Taxation, and Other Thoughts on the Evolution of Online Distribution. It’s an excellent article by Tim O’Reilly and it should be required reading for everybody, sadly though, some of the people who most need to read it will not, and even if they did would not really “get it”.

Poseidon 1.5

It’s been far too long since I last did an update to my blog so I thought I’d start off my return with a mention of the new release of the Poseidon 1.5 UML Editor. The last couple of releases of Poseidon have really put massive amounts of polish onto this software. Given what Rational wants to charge you for a UML editor (and I’ve used Rose plenty at work), it’s amazing that Gentleware gives you a free community edition of Poseidon and they are offering $100 off of their various commercial editions right now.
That makes their cheapest commercial version only $99 and I think that’s a very very fair price if you need a UML tool.