subCHILD

Archive for November, 2009

The "MS Shell Dlg" Mystery (Solved)

posted by admin in browsers, CSS, design, fonts, HTML

If you haven’t noticed (and are using a PC), the headlines on this blog should now be rendered using the MS Shell Dlg font [I've since changed this and have been experimenting with custom fonts via @font-face, but all information in this post still applies otherwise.] I learned about this font just now after trying to figure out why tadalist.com‘s input fields were rendering using it instead of the fonts specified in the CSS rule. I’m still unsure why the computed style lists MS Shell Dlg as the font since its never explicitly specified nor is the the default, but it is. (If you know why this is, drop a comment below.)

Anyhow, I really like the way this font looks at 20+ pixels and bolded, so its the new style for the (H2) headers. If you’re on a Mac, you should see Helvetica and since that font carries mad clout complaints will be appropriately ignored.

OK, I’m off to read more about this, starting here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/282187

Update #1

Just read it.  A very intriguing quote from that page: “It is not a font but a face name for a nonexistent font.”  What?  Its definitely a font and after testing all of the usual suspects, I’m still unsure which one. Bizarre.

Update #2

I found the answer on this page: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd374112%28VS.85%29.aspx.  The font that MS Shell Dlg maps to on all versions of Windows since Windows 2000 is “Microsoft Sans Serif”.  But I’m guessing that using MS Shell Dlg in the CSS rule instead makes more sense since it will map properly on other versions of Windows, and since its a shorter rule.  Though, specifying “Microsoft Sans Serif” explicitly, followed by more common fonts would make for a better rule and ensure no further surprises.

All this said, I’m still not sure why tadalist.com’s input fields are rendering in this font.

Update #3

Since writing this post, I’m noticing this font substitution taking place more often.  For example, Twitter‘s login input fields behave the same way, as does the h2 tag on Dictionary.com.  What all of these have in common is that they specify the first font name in quotes (presumably since it contains multiple words) and it happens to be a font that I don’t have installed.  While quotes should be permitted in such cases and are even encouraged by some, I find that its not necessary and here appears to not have the intended effect.

SWFUpload Doesn't Work with Windows 7

posted by admin in Flash, JavaScript

Uploading files using a browser has never been ideal, partly since JavaScript and/or HTML do not have the privilege to read size of files on the local file system which stands in the way of calculating upload progress and informing the user with a standard progress bar. To get around this, you can use a Java applet, one of the many hacks which involve Perl, PHP/CLI, or the awesome and very customizable SWFUpload. However, as a new Windows 7 user, I discovered that SWFUpload immediately reports 100% completion and the progress reporting fails. I’m guessing the problem is related to Windows 7′s restrictive nature and a new restrictions on flash plugin’s access to the file system, but hopefully the problem is solvable.

In the meantime, its assuring that the uploads using SWFUpload do work, only the reporting part doesn’t, but that’s the whole reason for using it. The problem was reported on the SWFUpload forum and hopefully its being looked into.

Recent Posts
Recent Comments
About
Simon: Hi there, i am looking for a parameter which can change direction of mov...
CM: Hi, Alex! I know exactly what king of messages you get, like "Hi, I'm new to php a...
admin: Alive and well....
SJ: If the array size exceeded 10 then sorting will not work. any help?...
shutterstock: I've learn several excellent stuff here. Definitely price bookmarking for revisiting....

Subchild is a blog about web development. It's author is Aleksandar Kolundzija, himself a web developer for 10++ years, presently a Hacker-in-Residence at betaworks. Prior to betaworks, Alex worked at Google, Meebo, MLB Advanced Media (MLB.com), Razorfish, and elsewhere.

Some of Alex's side projects include Gallerama.com, Slideshowify, LiveXmlEdit, and other blogs like Dopevector and blog.gallerama.com. When he's not working on any of those, Alex is probably playing guitar, producing music, mixing records, taking photos, playing with his kid, or watching documentaries about particle physics, the monetary system, etc.

Let him know what's up: ak @ subchild.com