Panama (spwebdesign) wrote,

Brown Out

What's one of the surest signs that summer has arrived?  Is it the three days of sweltering heat and humidity that we've enjoyed?

Nope.  It's that the City of Medford can't keep up with the demand for electricity.

Got home from softball -- we lost 7-3, bummer -- and Tubby was home relaxing and watching t.v.  I decided not to sing and instead watched an episode of Scrubs and planned to watch Being John Malkovich on DVD after starting a load of laundry and fixing some dinner.

I put a load of whites in the wash and started steaming green beans.  Then I found out that Tubby was going to go out with friends.  I decided to sing after all.

As I was warming up, the power went out.  The town line runs through Tubby's house, and all the houses on the Somerville side were just hunky-dory.  For electrical purposes, though, I guess we are considered Medford, for our house and every other house on the Medford side was dark.

Fortunately, singing does not require electricity.  I finished warming up.  Then, as the Clavinova is useless without electricity, I searched for my old pitch pipe.  Only took me a minute to find it.  A few of the pitches didn't sound, but I was able to use neighboring pitches to find my notes.  So, using my old pitch pipe, my Schumann score in one hand, and a flashlight in the other, I sang through Liederkreis.

When I was done, I checked on my green beans.  Enough steam had built up, especially considering it wasn't going to escape anywhere, to continue to cook after the power went out, so my supper was ready.  (I know, not very fancy, but my meals tend to be on the boring side if I'm only cooking for myself.)

Before Tubby got a WiFi router for the house, I was bumming a signal off a neighbor.  I guessed correctly that the signal was coming from the Somerville side.  Thus, I was able to surf while I supped.

After dinner the heat and humidity inside the house finally became unbearable, so I decided to sit on the back porch, where at least I'd get the occasional breeze.  The wireless signal didn't reach the back of the house, so instead of surfing I did some coding.  I put together the basic architecture of a site I've been meaning to design for months.

After who knows how long, I noticed a faint warm glow coming from inside the back door.  I turned around and noticed that the house behind me, on the Medford side, was fully lit.  That's when I panicked.

I had no idea how long the power had been on, but I realized at that instant that I had neglected to turn off the burner when I took the pot off the stove.  I raced upstairs to find a hotter-than-expected kitchen and a bright red burner.  I'm fortunate that nothing worse came of that.

I then went downstairs to make sure that my wash had restarted.  It had.  I'll have to leave it in the dryer overnight.  I went back upstairs, to the bathroom, and then to the living room with the intention of watching Being John Malkovich only to find that Tubby had just come home and was going to go to bed soon.

So, here I am instead, blogging away.

I want to get your opinion on a couple of design points.  Most of you who read my posts are in the computer business (or have computer expertise) in some capacity, and all of you, obviously, are web users.  As a one-man outfit, my web design company has to rely on friends for usability testing, since obviously I would be biased towards my design and might miss something important.  There are two things I want to get your feedback on.

General Question:  I am designing a website for a surf resort in Panamá.  The site can be found at  Currently there is nothing but a skeleton there.  The resort owner is very naïve about the internet.  He knows he wants a website to increase his resort's visibility, but he wasn't able to formulate a clear idea of what he wants.  My strengths in web design, I think, are integrating efficient coding, navigable architecture, and attractive presentation.  But as for deciding what belongs on the site...that's definitely not a strength.  I've looked at various surf resort websites and have come up with the five categories you'll see in the menu.  Take a look at them and let me know if you think the big questions you, as a potential customer, might have could be encompassed by these categories.  (Rate information would be included under lodging; I think the other headings are self-explanatory.)  Also, let me know what you think of the general layout, the graphics I've created, the look, etc.  Any feedback would be helpful.

Specific Question:  Most of my recent websites have been designed within a 762-pixel-wide table centered in the browser window.  If you surf the web with an 800x600 screen (which is still 70-75% of web surfers), the site fills your screen just right.  If you have a larger resolution, the page will appeared centered in your browser with a margin on either side.  A friend recently commented that he didn't care for this design and that the standard is for pages to be left-justified.  I've seen it both ways, but I have seen left-justified sites far more often than I have center-justified sites.  There is no functional difference between the two approaches; it's merely a matter of aesthetics and possibly of conformity with a standard.  In your experience, is there an accepted standard concerning page-justification, or is this still the designer's aesthetic choice?  And do you feel my sites would look better if they were left-justified instead of center-justified?  (You can look at a sampling of sites in my portfolio.)

Thanks for your feedback.  I do appreciate it.

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