July 20, 2007

I HATE rich text editors

I have wasted hours of my life thanks to the "convenience" of text editors that allow you to post formatted text online without learning a lick of HTML. Here's why they suck.

1. Limited usefulness

It sounds great, doesn't it. You can finally put yourself out there on the web without having to learn any coding. WOOT! . Ok, now how can I change those bullets from circles to squares. Hmmmmm. What?!? It's not possible and/or easy in the rich text editor of your choice? Well with the power of HTML and CSS, I can change those boring circles into Batman logos. Rich text editor ain't got shit on that.

2. The temptation

Confession time: I'm using a rich text editor right now. It looks so convenient. "I'm SURE it'll work fine this time." So easy to align text and pictures, change fonts, make things bold and add links. That's what you think. Unlike the (usually) intuitave behavior of Word and other document editors, rich text editors still define their styles in the background with .html, which is NOT a formatting language. This often leads to erratic behavior and frustrating situations where what you're telling it to do, and what it does are two completely different things. This is because of #3.

3. They suck at writing .html

One of the advantages of using a rich text editor is that you can see your visual styles and changes before you post it. You can switch fonts until you find what you like and sometimes even copy text from Word and paste it, leaving the exact styling intact. Try editing text copied from word, particularly lists. It's usually a bitch. That's because the text editor tries to copy exactly what you gave it, with no regard for intent or often more concise methods. That's why, even though I'm using a rich text editor, I'm editing the HTML. I'm making things bold with >strong<, and adding my own links though the HTML. This ensures I get only the code I want, and it's easy to change on a whim.

4. They suck at writing .html

No, that wasn't an accident. I wrote it twice. Cause this is another problem coming from the same reason. Look at the code below. This is code created by a rich text editor in a real-life situation (my job). See if you can find the actual text. Now see how many different fonts you can see.

<p class="MsoNormal" style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt 1in; TEXT-INDENT: -0.25in"><span ><span ><span >1.<span style="FONT: 7pt 'Times New Roman'; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal"></span></span></span><span ><span >>Overtime pay for all billable hours worked</span> <span >over forty(40)hours in a work wee</span>k<?xml:namespace prefix = o /><<o:p></o:p></span></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt 1in; TEXT-INDENT: -0.25in"><span ><span ><span >2.<span style="FONT: 7pt 'Times New Roman'; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal"> </span></span></span></span><<span ><span >Recruiting bonus @ $1,000.00 per each new hire, minimum ninety (90) day </span><span >hire<o:p></o:p></span></span></p><p></p>

Now, all that, produces the following.

  1. Overtime pay for all billable hours worked over (40) hours in a work week.
  2. Recruiting bonus @ $1000.00 per each new hire, minimum ninety (90) day hire.

That's it. And I did it using three tags: define the font style, declare a list, declare each list item. Point made.

5. They lead to stupid people getting blogs

I'm not saying this means if you don't know HTML or don't use HTML, you're stupid and don't deserve a blog. I'm just saying Myspace.com is one of the most trafficed websites on the internet. You can't tell me I'm the only one who finds that sad.

SPECIAL: 6. They can't interpret .html

This one is special cause I wasn't going to write it until I tried to post this. Most rich text editors come with the option to view and edit the raw HTML. WOOHOO! Something they do right. What? The fuck that up too? SHIT!

When I put HTML code into the "edit Html" section, I expect what comes out to be EXACTLY what I put in. I can forgive some formatting that applies to the general text such as colors that are explicitly defined in the CSS that comes with the template. But interpreting my hard returns as a <br /> or <p> is just wrong. Particularly when it only does that part of the time, not every time.

July 2, 2007


For all you Kevin Smith fans out there, I recently discovered the wonderful thing known as the SModcast. Each one is about an hour long and consists of Kevin and his producer Scott Mosier talking about whatever comes to their minds. Needless to say, it is extremely funny. Check it out here. You can scroll down and listen to all of them from that page.

Personally, I think this is a great idea and I wouldn't mind having something similar of my own... Something to think about.

Blame the iPhone...and iPod Racism

Alright, I've got a couple things here at the moment I want to ponder.

First. Here I am, writing on a blog open for the public to read. Where's my damn iPhone. Gizmodo got like 12. So did Engadget. Show some love, send me an iPhone. And the money to pay for the plan.

Second, a short story. Apple yesterday released a firmware update for the SuperDrive (aka CD/DVD drive). But there was a glitch. If you installed more than one update at a time, the install process dialog for the firmware was hidden. So I do my software update with the firmware and iTunes 7.3 (damn iPhone). It gets done, and I had just re-set up XP so I could play Neverwinter Nights 2. Right after I hit restart, a little window pops up that says "You're firmware is being updated. Do not restart while in progress." Progress bar is at 60%, but it's far too late now. My computer shuts down, and my DVD drive is now a bricked. It won't even pretend to accept discs. And every bit of info I've found says the only cure is to get a new drive.

Which brings me to my question. Doesn't it seem odd that a software problem could render hardware permanently useless? I mean, since it was software that messed up, there should be a software fix. Just putting in a second identical drive should yield the same results? I have perfectly good hardware, slightly messed up software, yet it's the hardware that needs replaced. Discuss.

Finally, this is just funny. I would to. What would each color mean (besides white = racist).