school picture
St. Norbert School

An Alumni Website

Site composed using NoteTab Pro, IrfanView, BKCoder, Catalog Wizard , Photoshop Elements, and FileZilla

In case there's interest in what's going on with the site behind the scenes I thought I'd jot a few notes from time to time. Send comments if you like.

7/5/08     Firefox and Opera     displayed this site in a pretty botched manner. I really need to completely overhaul the front page, but every time I try I realize the daunting task it will be. But I did some work today and was able to modify a few things to help it look much better in Opera (the browser that made the page look the worst) and Firefox, which only messed up a little. These problems existed because I designed the site with Internet Explorer in mind mostly. I really would like to simplify the whole thing so it looks identical in all browsers. But til then, the changes I made today in borders and table data valign should help considerably. At least so that I didn't look like a complete hack when it came to web site design.

1/1/05     The Color Scheme     has changed. I thought I'd make an adjustment from the original green color scheme. I think the new blue is attractive. I hope everyone else does. I'll change over the Reunions section soon, but you can see the difference between the two for those who might be new to visting this web site. If you have any suggestions let me know.

7/18/04     The Alumni Forum     has been removed today. It hasn't seen an updated post in 12 months. I had hoped that it would be used heavily by the site's fans to communicate extensively. Maybe I shouldn't have had any registration requirements.

I had some problems with the software for it also. I couldn't log in as Administrator and make any changes, corrections, or updates. So I guess, considering those problems, it is best if I just delete it and maybe reinstall it in the future. Do you think a Forum would be of use to our alumni and friends? The guestbook isn't conducive for threaded discussions; only for short greetings. If you think there is a use for reinstalling a Forum let me know with a comment below.

6/30/04     The Colored Horizontal Rulles     are finally displayed in Firefox! Yippee! I didn't realize why the front page rule lines didn't display like they did in Microsoft's Internet Explorer, that is, a lime green. I just Googled for "HR color &43; Browsers" and found this page. And there it states that "Opera still displays 1px borders around the rectangle" or box, which made me think, what if I add "border-width: 0px;" and sure enough, that did the trick. I had to add a background color, also suggested on that page, "you have to use both the color and the background-color properties - the former for IE, the latter for Opera and Mozilla," thus my use of "background-color: #00e028;". Now the bright green rules look just like IE. Cool!! There is still some issue concerning the table borders but that might not be solved in Gecko-based browsers.

6/27/04     The Solution to Gecko Browsers     display issue was finally discovered as I browsed my usual newsgroups (alt.html; comp.infosystems.www.authoring.stylsheets; alt.www.webmaster). Using the browser Firefox the dark green background wasn't being extended all the way down past the bottom content. After reading a message dealing with a non-related issue I thought about placing a clear tag [ <div style="clear:both;"></div> ] to an appropriate spot near the bottom. And that solved the problem. I hate these nagging little issues that make the site display abnormally for some viewers.. Now that issue is behind me.

11/31/03     Today's Thought History link, for those who've missed some days, or are just curious.

11/9/03     More Spamming     of the guest book occurred this past week. I believe someone was using an automated program to multiply guestbook listings on our web site. Last Saturday there were 30 Spam and porn entries in the Guestbook. I caught it after 3 hours of their posting and deleted them, and I also banned them from the Form page. Friday 20 more were posted, virtually identical to the others. I have since found a code to put on the file that writes to the guestbook blocking someone from using the Entry Form from anywhere other than on this site. Such a referrer check should have been part of the code from the author. But it is there now. This should help greatly.

If more problems occur I have one more trick I can use, a two page submission form. I hope few people saw the junk that was entered on the guestbook. I'm doing what I can to eliminate this problem

9/15/03     Banning IP addresses     is the final solution implimented to stop Spam Guestbook entries. There is currently a plague of Porn and pestilent entries infecting guestbooks all over the web, and after trying a number of solutions, the best one is to ban the offender's IP address from accessing the site altogether. The logs make it easy to compare and match the times the offensive entry is posted. This seems a better alternative than to have the scourge actually post its refuse and have me read it and delete it.

So, I will resume the ability to have a visitor post directly to the guestbook and if an offensive or scurrilous entry is made I will ban that particular IP address. A list of 15 such offenders has already been collected and banned. If anyone hears of a legitimate visitor who can't connect to the web site let me know.

9/7/03     Internet Explorer 4.0     I reformatted one of my hard drives this weekend and reinstalled everything fresh. In the process Internet Explorer 4.0 was installed as a normal occurrence along with Widows 98, just as I intended. I then upgraded to the current IE 6 version. But before I did I opened this site and discovered that it really looks awful using IE 4. The top and bottom of the Index page is messed up, the rule lines are jumbled along with the site's title and subtitle. This is because this old version of the web browser does not work well with Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) which is today's current preferred method of styling web pages.

So, if you have an older version of your web browser and you find some web pages look odd, I recommend that you upgrade your application to its current version

7/25/03     Browser Displays     As novice website builder I restricted my use of browsers while creating and testing this site to one, Internet Explorer by Microsoft. This was done mainly because over the years I've had a bit of computer trouble cause probably, by having too many programs runing on it. I didn't need, so I reasoned, more bug ridden applications forcing me in yet another system reformat. But recently I have downloaded the new netscape navigator and Mozilla to see what the site looked like. And it's a good thing I did because I found some very bad display errors caused by mistakes (mine) in coding the HTML. And today I downloaded the new Mozilla Firebird browser based on a report by J-Walk Blog that you don't even install it, you just copy the files to a folder and run the executable. I found that astounding, so I tried it (at work!) and it ran great! I love the built in Pop-up Stopper; I'll continue using it at work for that reason alone.

Well I brought up the St. Norbert's site to see how it looks and found there are some distinct differences. Bottom line is I don't like how it displays the site. This has less to do with my HTML, though I was glad to notice an error or two, like how on the Reunion Update page the party details block was off center! I made the correction by addind a <div align="center"></div> tag around the box, and problem solved. No, the issue is one of beauty, how the elements of the page are translated.

For instance, the horizontal rule lines shown as thin yellow lines on the Index page, as rendered by IE are made ugly, 3-D green lines by Netscape and Mozilla. The thin dark green border around the three middle columns on the page and missing entirely and the type in the colums is too small causing trouble all around it. The thin green rule lines at the top and botom of the page flanking "an alumni website" and "Sponsored by the St. Norbert's Alumni Group" are the right color but not thickness; it doesn't look right. The summary is IE will display elements in better detail than the other browsers. So why can't the others be written to take advantage of these particular elements? Some say it has to do with Microsoft's proprietary death grip on some of its code. While I'm no Mocrosoft-a-phile, I do want my web site to look the way I intend it. Like on the other browsers, the upper right Java Script drop down menu runs off the background. At the bottom of the Polovio picture pages the display is butchered. There are more issues. But in IE it works as intended.

Internet Explorer does have its own weaknesses, like having no internal anti-pop up window killer, and the tabbed browsing some like are missing. Some of the issues are solved with simple free programs like the Proxomitron (which I highly recommend). And it may indeed be probable that Microsoft will never feel compelled to improve its browser since 80 or 90 percent of web users browse with it. But my take is, the browser displaying web pages the most correctly, that's the one I want to use. And, for all it's faults, IE does it better. And that's the bottom line of web browsing, if you ask me. What do you think?

7/24/03     Guest Book Spam     I don't know if anyone has noticed the occasional Spam guest book entry. What in the world is up with that?! On 5 other web sites I administer there are perverts that drop in porn and bulk advertisement entries that have nothing whatsoever to do with the guest book! It is an epidemic on the web as seen from one article here. After wasting much time over the course of months manually deleting the spurious refuse I was forced to resort to directing all guestbook entries to a filtering page where I pull the legitimate entries off and deposit them in the legitimate guest book. This is still a pain because I have to still manually strip the hyperlinks to the Porn and Ads so no ne can use them but people can still see what a problem this is. I pray that the St. Norbert site doesn't become infected, though there have been a few bizarre entries posted which I've ended up deleting. In the immortal words of Brian Fellows, Safari Planet (Saturday Night Live), "That's CRAZY!!"

7/23/03     Screen resolution     I noticed that 2% of the visitors are looking at the site with displays of 640x480 pixels. That will require scrolling from left to right because the site is set up for monitors displaying at least an 800x600 resolution. I thought I'd write an alternate version of the site for 640x480 displays but that's an awful amount of work and I probably won't do it unless I hear a ton of input. Images would have to be reduced even further and the layout completely reworked; that's too much effort and energy to be practicable.

Fifty percent of the visitors are using resolutions of 800x600 or higher. People using the small size of display really should change to at least an 800x600 resolution, if their monitor can deal with that, because they will see more while web browsing and pictures will look better. I know it is sometimes considered poor form to require visitors to use particular parameters in their browsing habits but the site needs to look a particular way because of its layout. Even on a 15" monitor a resolution of 800x600 is viewable. Though I would be interested in comments by users of those small screens and their reasons for them (using laptops, failing eyesight, etc.).

5/14/03     We have our own domain!     On May 14, 2003 this web site obtained its own domain: It's been a long time coming, but finally the St. Norbert's alumni web site gets its own domain and I can move it off the Rootsweb freepages server. Since they're practically giving them away these days it is time we shed the former long and ill worded URL, especially since is available! Read More Here!

Sponsored by the St. Norbert's Alumni Group