Aleksandar • Vacić

iOS bits and pieces - wow!

The official F1 site has, over the years, seen more than a good share of changes. Year after year I was visiting it, hoping to be something usable and pleasant. Alas, it wasn’t the case. From the Flash-all-over-the-place stages to the designed-for-640px - this site had all the signs of a site being designed by agencies going for bling-bling instead of usability and friendliness.

It was so horrible, that I often went to, because official site rarely offered anything interesting or up to the minute news. The only usable thing was a race countdown. The track and driver’s information were fine, but often so poorly executed that I had no inclination to read through.

Imagine my surprise when Damir sent me an IM how come you have not commented on the new F1 site. The current site is almost fantastic. It finally uses a decent amount of screen real-estate. It has normal columns with just the right use of whitespace in between. Design is clean with the right amount of speed spiciness, navigation is understandable and well organized. Underlying code is XHTML Strict and the whole layout makes heavy use of CSS.

They have not stopped with technicalities and graphics - the content is a-must-read. I spent half a day reading through Hall of Fame articles. Gerald Donaldson writes with so much passion and wit that I couldn’t stop grinning every second paragraph. It’s passages like this that drives you to explore the site and look for more:

He affected an aura of bravado and cut a dashing figure to match. With his flowing moustache, untamed mane of long blond hair and swaggering walk he resembled a swashbuckling pirate who might plunder and pillage for pleasure. He used his car like a sword, swinging it about ferociously, cutting a swathe through the corners, kicking up dust, grass and tyre smoke and carving great chunks of time out of each circuit.

(On Keke Rosberg, 1982 F1 champion)

This section alone is a prime example of copy-writing being the important part of the overall site quality, just like good design and technical fluency.

Web site is not perfect and there are some stuff that could be changed, but I don’t want to nit-pick - I’m gonna read the rest of the Hall of Fame articles instead.

Clean sweep in Indian Wells

Ana Ivanović won her first title in 2008, Novak Ɖoković continued his fantastic season with second major title.

Ana Ivanović, celebrating good point in the final
Photo by: Getty Images

Novak, clearly relieved to have won
Photo by: Getty Images

Indian Wells is probably the most important tournament apart from the Grand Slams and our little country got both singles titles. With Nenad Zimonjić playing in the men’s doubles final and Jelena Janković losing to Ana in the semi-final, this week was great week for Serbian tennis.

Ana’s victory was almost straight-forward. She maintained the lead and never gave Kuznetsova any chance. I watch her play for several years, she is truly at her best so far, especially on the mental side of the game.

Men final was different, with ups and downs for both players but with Novak keeping the lead…until the middle of the second set, when he really crumbled. I think he meant it’s closing time and Fish showed remarkable resilience and played like on fire. The key moment was Novak’s 1st serve game in the third set. He was 0:40 down and then fired 3 aces and one service winner. Those 3 aces must have stayed in Mardy’s memory for some time as he made several mistakes in his next serve game and Novak built 3:0 lead which was enough to the end.

In a country without any tennis center, with little - if any - government help and effort, these people became Serbia’s greatest sport ambassadors. They did it on their own and I bow to them for it.

That annoying neighbor

Apple’s approach to Windows - that whatever exists there is crap and it’s our mission to offer a glass of water to those in hell - continues with interesting push technique.

First there was iTunes - yet another media player, one of many with its own idea about the interface. Microsoft is not less guilty here, with each new version of Windows Media Player bringing yet another graphical experiment that has no connection to actual OS interface. Then, with iTunes 7 (can’t really remember which minor version) came Apple’s Software Update. It controlled QuickTime and iTunes, since they came bundled together.

Now it seems that Safari is being pushed through it, even when you did not have it at all.

IE8 test: z-index problem is no more

I have updated my z-index tutorial with tests in IE8 beta 1. There was nothing new to write as IE8 correctly passed all tests and rendered test cases according to CSS2.1 spec. The horrible z-index scripting trickery I used to control complicated layouts (like on will not be required in few years.

I took the opportunity to add some screenshots of reference rendering vs IE6/7 rendering, to make it easier on those just casually reading to see what the errors are (previously you needed to open the pages in IE6/7 to actually see what is wrong).

Additionally, IE8 also supports :after, which I use for float clearing.

As it is, there will be no need for ie8.css hidden under conditional comments. Yipi! :)