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9 posts from 2006

The Quilting Bee

You know, it's funny. If you had mentioned the Q*Bee to me last year, I'd have told you I had no interest whatsoever in it. I thought the members were elitist, very 'cliquey' and generally unfriendly. I thought you had to be an expert pixeller and all that. very wrong I was.

I got curious and started visiting people's quilts, and was admiring their patches and the activities that go on. I was seriously considering joining, but I didn't have a patch yet and didn't have time to make one, so I left it. Then, Jem became Queen Bee. Being as omgz i heartz jem!1!1! Jem was a friend and claims not to have any pixelling expertise, I thought I should probably start on making a trial patch to see how it went. I asked her what she thought of my efforts and she said it was good enough to join with :D Sooo, I applied, made my quilt and got accepted on May 24th. Since then, I've joined the BBS, traded patches with loads of people, won awards, participated in several activities and made a whole bunch of new friends. :)

If you've been putting off joining because of the same reasons I did, don't worry - no one is elitist, and you don't have to be able to pixel. You just have to be able to make a 40×40 patch. I started by filling up the square with a load of different coloured dots - then gradually started changing the colours and attempting to draw a bit more. This failed, but I ended up with a patch I'm actually quite proud of. I think that with a bit of practice, I could probably end up a better pixeller... And I'd have never discovered this 'talent' if it wasn't for the Q*Bee. :P

And no, I wasn't paid to write this - it's part of the Q*Bee blog day :)

The problem with accesskeys.

In case you haven't noticed, I've tried to make this site more accessible since the revamp last week. I had got everything to AAA/priority 3 standards about a year ago, but I got lazy and started using silly things like "click here" as link text and forgetting my accesskeys.

So, I put the accesskeys back in for this layout. When I went to test them, nothing happened. I know they work, since I was able to use them in IE, but in Firefox and Opera every time I tried the key combinations, a menu would popup, an extension shortcut would get activated, etc. etc. etc. (or in the case of Opera, nothing happened. Eh?) Of course, a solution to this is to do what many others have done and use numbers as accesskeys - but I disagree with doing this. Why? Because it's not symbolic enough (to me, at least), and ... I don't know, I just don't like it. I prefer to use letters if at all possible. Besides, the number thing doesn't solve the shortcut problem - I like to use accesskeys on others' sites because I'm lazy and prefer to use keyboard shortcuts than the mouse, but when I went to press ALT + 0 to go back home (or whatever it was), I was once again presented with some options for an extension. Hmph. Seeing as I never use the keyboard shortcuts for those extensions, I tried disabling them, but apparently that's not possible.

Having said that, the site should conform to priority 3/AAA accessibility levels now. The automatic checker at WebXact doesn't seem to like my previous/next page links though, and tells me they don't make sense out of context... I think they do, but I tried changing them to such things as "View more blog posts" and even more detailed sentences but it didn't like those either. I've manually checked everything else and to me it seems fine, but of course many of the accessibility checkpoints are to do with personal preference and/or opinion. I may think those links make sense out of context (they don't have a context anyway... They're pretty much standalone as it is) but that doesn't mean everyone will.

Just a small layout note: I know about the slow/jerky scrolling - this is caused by the transparent PNG background. I will try and change that, but when I tried a solid background, it didn't really work :\ Likewise, I also know about the fact that this centre column looks odd in high resolution/widescreen monitors, since it is fixed width and the rest of the layout is not. Again, I'll try and fix this when I have a moment.

Because I am not a sell out.

As tempting as the idea is, I refuse to be paid to blog. My site is not a tool for anyone - least of all me - to make money; it serves as a creative outlet for me so that I can show off my super-1337 intarwebz sk1llz1!11 because I'm geeky and I simply must have an internet presence.

Do you see any advertising on this site (other than a couple of links to similar sites, but they are all non-profit and generally agree with me on this standpoint)? No. There will never be advertising on this site, and especially not spam disguised as a blog entry. I am not going to lie through my teeth and bore all 2 of my visitors to death by talking about how great it is now that my [begin obligatory link] mortgage debts [/end obligatory link] have been cleared by some scammy company or how I really should be [link!1!1] losing weight [/link] by taking some dodgy pill just to get $5 out of it. I could work a real job (*gasp!* Those actually still exist!1!) and get that in under an hour.

Want to lose all your visitors? Go ahead, sell your site. And your soul. To me, you just look greedy and like you can't be bothered to go out and get a real job.

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