Title: 1230

Monday, Jul 5, 2004

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An attempt to head off the angry mob… (Book Stuff)

July 5, 2004
4:31 AM

So, here’s the deal. Yes, I know I said the book was going to be available July 5. That is preciesly why it is NOT available today. You see, when I say something as a definite, it is the role of the universe to work against me to prove me wrong.

Essentially, there was some sort of mix-up at the printers, and rather than start when they were supposed to, they only just began printing the book on FRIDAY. They had the book files a full two weeks ago, but I generally wasn’t the one dealing with the printers, so I kind of had my hands out of it. Consider my hands in it. They started work on friday, which means I should see the proofs for this sucker either tomorrow or wednesday, at which point they go whole-hog printing it out. The usual turnaround time for these things is around 18 days from beginning to end (though methinks we can shave some time off that), so considering they started on the 2nd, that puts us right at the 20th of this month. THANKFULLY, that’s in time for Comic Con. I was going to have a coronary if we didn’t make it in time for Comic Con.

I know it kind of sounds like a bait and switch, and I wholeheartedly apologize to those of you who were ready for your books to ship out today. It’s one of those things that’s kind of out of my hands, but things should go swimmingly from here on in. *knock on wood* And rather than give an exact date, I’ve said it’ll be out BEFORE 7/20, not ON 7/20. No exact dates. Nosiree. I’ll let you know the moment the books ship out from the printer, I promise.

Also, to the international customers who were having issues with the store charging WAY too much for shipping and handling, that error’s been fixed. Ellen’s been working her butt off getting that store in shape, so if it has any other errors, let her know and she’ll jump right on it. 🙂 Thanks for being so understanding, (please be understanding!) and I’ll keep you updated. Take care.

Safari Issues (We’re close… I can feel it…)

July 5, 2004
2:37 PM

So, you Safari users are probably noticing that things look a bit better now. Allow me to explain. See, I decided when I started designing the new page that I was going to work SOLELY with PNG files, for the obvious benefits. PNGs are smaller, on average, than a GIF, still have binary transparency (and ALPHA transparency, if a few of the big browsers would get off their butts and support it. Argh.), and they can be run through a few compression methods to get lossless compression of often as much as 20% or more. Pretty handy little graphic. They also have this other feature, which, if used PROPERLY, would be just fine. They have built-in gamma correction. I became aware of this when complaining that I was having some color issues in IE. It seems Internet Explorer kind of has its way with the gamma info, and in doing so, screws it up royally. Thankfully, astute readers told me that with PNGcrush, I could elect to have it strip all gamma information out of the PNG entirely. I did so, and it looks spiffy in IE now.

But then we come to Safari. Apparently, and i’m working PURELY with guesswork here, Safari sees a PNG and immediately begins looking for that gamma chunk. When it doesn’t find it, it says “Well, hell! It’s a PNG! It’s GOT to be gamma corrected! I’ll do it myself!” Thing is, it obviously doesn’t know what the hell it’s doing, since the end result was pretty much the same thing I was seeing in IE WITH the gamma infomation included. I thought to myself that there probably wasn’t an easy solution, but I was wrong. Drop in a 2x2px PNG background image, instead of using the background color. That way, Safari can color-correct all it wants… it’ll color-correct them both the same. Nobody will be the wiser.

So there you have it. We still have the issue of the menu loading behind the flash banners, but that’s something that may well be a while before it’s fixed. Have a few idears, but we’ll see. 🙂