Accessible Rich Text

I have been looking for a rich text editor that I could drop onto a PHP form and that would not break my XHTML strict mark-up. I downloaded a handful of them, and tried various combinations within custom content management widgets that I’ve put together.

What I noticed is that a lot of them still use the <FONT> tag with various formatting attributes. Or worse – they weren’t free. This became something of a pet project.

I found two worth mentioning:

I like this one, and it made a good start with it. It’s based on the Mozilla Rich Text editing API included with Mozilla 1.3+. I spent some time figuring out how to get a MSSQL recordset into the form field via all the document.write gak, and then had to attend to other things. Some time went by before I could pick this up again.

I then discovered the FCKeditor, and was able to implement it within 20 minutes. I chose a simple format, meaning that I didn’t want to give my CMS users a lot of extraneousness options:

FCK Options

The extra option are mostly *not* accessible, but that’s ok. I don’t need them. The site CSS handles the styling – I want my user to be able to quickly input text and have it show up correctly when published. POW!

I did spend a little time looking how to format text myself, thinking it would be easy to use custom CSS classes, since that’s something I usually have full control over and do consistently – I could build them into the editor. I managed to get the several of the buttons done, and started on the text color picker when it was time to move on once again. I hope to return to it, and when I do, I’ll post the code up here. In the meantime, maybe give FCK a spin.

Inner Ear (Drums)

In July/August of 2004, I had the pleasure of recording most of the drum tracks for Patrick O’Donnell’s CD, Cold Drinks. The really cool part for me was the fact that we recorded at Inner Ear in Arlington, Virginia. Many a fine Dischord Records release have come from there, and enjoyed working with Patrick and Chad from Beauty Pill/Smart Went Crazy.

While my drums were set up, I recorded a bunch of tracks to use with future material in my own studio, the Dead Chicken Ranch. Today, I received a DVD of the audio files and the timing couldn’t be better. The DCR is just about to open its doors again. More on that soon.

Here are some pictures of my set-up from that session:

Drum set up @ inner ear

Another view of my tubs

birdseye view of my drums

One last picture of my drums...

I think this CD is Patrick’s best yet. It’s coming out shortly on SKODA records (Patrick has been very busy making films in New York).

Green Commuting

I live close enough to the train station that I can ride a bike there. Recently, I noticed there are bike lockers available, so I dusted off my green friend here.

The green machine

I love this bike.

Getting Sponsored (sorta)

I recently attended An Event Apart in Seattle. I took the time to investigate any local skateboard shops that I could find. Element’s national “Ride a Skateboard Day” was that week, and I marveled at all of folks on longboards that I continually encountered all over the city.

Happily, I stumbled on two Flip Lance Mountain decks, and due to a rather strange (yet legal) accounting process, I procured them for almost nothing. It was almost like being sponsored!

Lance Mountain Crest

The bigger deck is extremely comfortable, and I outfitted it with Independent trucks, bones reds bearings, mini-logo risers + grip tape and Powell-Peralta Bones wheels. It’s really fun to ride.

Lance Mountain Crest Complete

I took the hardware off an older mini-logo and put it on the Mod series deck.
Lance Mountain Mod Series

The conference was great, too. I was amazed at how approachable the presenters were. I recommend it. Highly.

Holy Hellfire Sandwich!!!

The big haul from the garden this year has been peppers. I have lots of jalapenos, a cayenne, and multiple varieties of the habanero. The peppers I grow seem to alternate in intensity each summer. Last summer? Super wimpy peppers. The one before that? The hottest Jalapenos I’ve ever eaten. I was delighted to learn that peppers freeze really well – I have 8 gallon sized zip-lock bags already, and no end in sight. I am harvesting a bowl full of them every other day.

Bowl of peppers

I’ve been making a sandwich most mornings that goes like this:

1 fried egg (sometimes with cheese)
1 toasted whole wheat muffin (or just wholegrain toast)
2 jalapenos, with seeds, chopped
1 or 2 habaneros with seeds, chopped
1 dab of ranch dressing

I add the peppers to the egg while it’s cooking, so they are fixed in the egg white. The vapor from the pan can be a little intense. And so can the sandwich, but that’s what makes it fun.