January 17th, 2004



I run a Red Hat server at work and am responsible for the bulk of the websites on it and for making sure the sites and databases run efficiently.

One of the labs recently redesigned some of its websites using Flash. They're not using Flash for any fancy animations, just for rollovers it seems. The guy who designed them says he wants to make the pages a little more interactive, but I'm not sure what he plans to do that he can't do with JavaScript, CSS, or Perl.

One concern I have is that I'm under the impression that Flash is a resource hog. I don't want something using up memory on the server needlessly. Also, it takes forever to load if you don't have a broadband connection.

The other concern is with accessibility. By using Flash, they are locking out anyone who doesn't have a fairly recent (probably version 4 or higher) graphical browser. Their intended audience is the scientific community, principally clinicians and researchers who are seeking information on gene chips. Many of these users simply, in my experience, won't be using the latest browsers to visit the site. Am I wrong? I'm of the opinion that if they're going to insist on using Flash, they should at least implement some browser detection and redirect users with non-Flash-compatible browsers to a non-Flash page. They are balking at this suggestion, as they seem to be under the illusion that everyone uses the latest Internet Explorer on Windows XP or 2000 and that only "compsci/engineering types" use lynx or other browsers that are not compatible with Flash.

I want your thoughts on this, since many of you are more experienced with this sort of thing than I am, and all of you are more experienced with this sort of thing than the folks I am dealing with. Thanks.
Relax!  Grab a Book!

(no subject)

As I sat on the couch next to the window to read All the King's Men, it occurred to me that, on such a cold night and reading this particular book, a tumbler of Scotch would be just the thing.

I looked in the hutch where we store our liquor. The folks at work found out that I like Scotch, but they don't realize that I don't drink very often at all, so I inherit at least 1-3 bottles of Scotch a year, none of which have been completely dispatched. Looking in the hutch, I saw the Lagavulin 16 year, a couple of Balvenie 12 years, a couple of unopened Glenfiddich 12 years, and I don't remember what else. I chose to open a bottle of Glenfiddich.

It's a very nice Scotch, smooth and warm, but has a bit of an odd aftertaste. Initially the Scotch had just the effect I intended. However, I only got a few pages into my reading and a few sips into the whiskey when I woke up several minutes later, eyelids heavy with sleep. One of the nice things about Scotch, though, is that I don't have to toss that glass. Matter of fact, I just had a sip a minute ago, when I got up to go back out to the living room looking for something, and I can finish the rest of the glass tomorrow afternoon. I'm sure it won't lose much sitting there overnight covered with a napkin.