January 2011 in the Life of Ben (Blog)

  1. January
  2. February
  3. March
  4. April
  5. May
  6. June
  7. July
  8. August
  9. September
  10. October
  11. November
  12. December

Dinner Party & Taking Kids to Park (30th January 2011)

Went to a dinner party with some friends of Fiona and her brother. Enjoyed some spaghetti with tiny bits of fish in it, cooked in a sauce and server with a dressed rocket salad. Tried some liquors and found them very strong and very sweet.

Next day, we went to a pub lunch where a different set of friends had taken their children. It was a very child-friendly venue. There was a big common opposite so we went there. I’d brought by frisbee and football, not for my own amusement by any means. (Believe that and you’ll believe anything!)

The friends pretty much all have kids and are nice people. The kids are just about old enough to not be an annoyance and all behaved well. They have a lot of energy and agility but surprisingly low top speed. Structured games aren’t possible, which was actually quite refreshing.

Inaccessibility Experts (27th January 2011)

As reported in detail by HTML5, ARIA Roles, and Screen Readers in May 2010, using ARIA makes your site less accessible in current real-world assistive technologies. This is after, what, over half a decade of ARIA fanboys exclaiming it “makes web pages more accessible” and is needed because “HTML5 will take too long”. Pfft…

If you visit Bruce’s site with Window-Eyes and IE8, none of the links in the header or the #sidebar nav are found since both of these HTML5 elements also have ARIA roles implemented.

But there is no problem with the links in the main content area, even though it has role="main since it just uses a regular div. If it used a section element instead, most of the links on the page would just disappear for Window-Eyes in IE8.

It’s worth noting that the reporting website is from an exemplar of accessibility in it’s own right. A few things I noticed:

Rather belatedly, ARIA fanboys have been testing the support of their dearly beloved. And they have found… pretty much nothing supports it. Big surprise. (Not.)

Sigh… if only me and Joe Clark and other people who can actually write HTML were influential. And funded.

Dear Internet, HTML is a good format. Please, use it and develop it more thoughtfully.

Drupal’s Temporary Path on Windows (27th January 2011)

The default value was /Application/tmp/php" but this didn’t exist. Changing it to C:\WINDOWS\Temp\php worked. Similar issue on Stack Overflow and another on Drupal’s website. Has anyone tried explaining good URL design to the people behind drupal.org, btw?

IE8 Standards Mode in Local Intranet (25th January 2011)

When testing sites from your filesystem or localhost environment, you may notice IE8 switches into Compatibility Mode. The rules about this are complicated, to say the least. Thankfully there’s a setting so Local Intranet always gets Standards Mode:

  1. Tools > Compatibility View Settings
  2. Untick Display intranet sites in Compatibility View:
  3. Click Close.

½ Anniversary with Fiona (23rd January 2011)

Arrived on Friday, which is half a year since our first date on 21st July 2010. I bought her a small bar of chocolate, with an even smaller bar of white chocolate. We watched some DVDs, played in the park, then a couple of her friends came round to arrange our big skiing trip for March 2011.


Went to a pub party for a friend of Fiona’s birthday. Nice gaggle of people. Had some food while we were there, which was nice.


Went out to the Landseers’ for a somewhat late lunch. Played draughts but had to use chess pieces. There seemed to be two sets of white pieces and only a partial set of black ones. It ended with a tie, although I thought I would lose at a few points.

We bought a very light plastic football and took it to a nearby park. The dedicated footballing areas were all filled with rather serious groups and teams of locals, so we ended up on ‘our’ frisbee field.

Somewhat inevitably, the ball ended up on the roof of some small buildings. After scouting around to find a way up, spotted where the ball was. Managed to clamber up, retrive it, then clamber down. Fiona helped guide my feet the fencepost I had jumped from.

I explained: “This is no longer just a football. It’s a trophy. That’s how men work.” Maybe that’s just me…


Fiona made me breakfast in bed, which I ate very carefully over the plate. We lazed around for a while, then I headed back to my flat (aka ‘the burrow’) to have lunch, do washing and so on.

Took the bus which proved hassle-free and fast enough. Stopped at Waitrose where I stocked up on a few favourites. After lunch, I resumed the coding for and testing of MultiSlayer Cops & Robbers mode. Tidied up some PC stuff.

While writing this, remembered I was going to call my parents. Everything is basically fine with them. I could do with a haircut and my hometown hairdresser is the only one I’ve ever been happy with. My mum’s birthday is on the 9th February, which is a Wednesday, so we’ll pick the weekend before or after to celebrate.

Waitrose Has Pie (9th January 2011)

Located opposite Russel Square Tube Station, the Brunswick Centre has an interesting, alsmost sci-fi look to it. Filling the closed end of it is a big Waitrose, where I shopped today.


Came to £30 in total, which looks rather steep on the receipt. This will keep me going for a couple of weeks or even a month since I’m at work during the day and sleep elsewhere some nights.

The pies with a modest portion of boiled vegetables is an entire tummyfull and takes about half an hour for me to much through. This is just what I need, sometimes. In terms of diet it’s probably the amount I should eat at every dinner but I just don’t have that much appetite.