My apologies to readers but all that work building the website to display on desktop computers, tablet computers, and smartphones is now out the window. Maintaining all the pages was just too time consuming and onerous. As of this date there is only one size for the entire website of 1920 pixels wide. Daily news at 300 pixels wide will still be available for smartphones however.
Revised the website's main index page to display more data and spruce up its look.
A newly created website was uploaded on this date. Unfortunately, I rushed the publication with the result being far too many bugs and bad links appearing. Five days later and things seem to be sorted out. The intention of this revision is to provide three versions of the website for display on either a desktop computer, tablet computer, or a smartphone. There was a lot of background work invisible to the reader such as creating new cascading style sheets and re-building folders but for the website reader the most dramatic change will be the initial opening of a tunnel page with buttons where they must choose on which device they wish to display the website, DESKTOP, TABLET, or PHONE. A reader can avoid this page later by setting a bookmark in their browser once they make their initial selection. The next website update should possibly consider adding code that would automatically determine which device a reader is using then take them directly to the appropriate website pages for their device. We will see...
The main pages have been reduced in width to better fit on tablet computers.
The menu names have changed slightly with the order also revised. The Synopsis page is discontinued. Daily Canadian news once again includes more than one article. The Last Week page has been discontinued as that news appears on the Canada page. The Wallpaper Archive pages now display the current background.
The W3C CSS validator is now disallowing the margin:left; property. Replaced it on all current pages with margin-left:0px;.
Added a "Back" button at the top left side of the news pages.
There are two revisions on this date. Firstly, the old Synopsis page, the third image below, has been revised to include a slide show displaying a photo from the lead article for each day of the week. Clicking on a day-of-the-week button at the top of the page, or on an image, brings up the news article for that particular day. Secondly, the OKthePK Homepage has been altered to include a slide show of the weekly news articles. Click on an image to read the news article.
Some time ago I started using several Dublin Core meta tags. This required a link relationship meta tag linking to their website. Well... the buggers changed their address so now I have hundreds of pages containing that Dublin Core meta tag. Rename or remove? Guess what... no more Dublin Core!
Removed click sound from menu.
OKthePK logo modified slightly.
HTML5 start tag modified to <html lang="en"> as per W3C specifications.
Major changes have been made across all pages although little will be noticed by the frequent reader. The main menu buttons are now fixed in place on the left side of the screen and also sound a low beep when the mouse pointer touches them. If you don't hear that sound then your browser doesn't support the HTML 5 audio element. Currently, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, FireFox, Opera, and Google Chrome support HTML 5 although Opera and Chrome are still not completely compatible with HTML 5 as they have some special issues.
Link to auction page removed as auctions have ceased.
Added links to a Synopsis page.
Does your screen look like this?
OKthePK web site is designed to look best at a screen resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. But it is designed for a MINIMUM screen width of 1,366 pixels. If you reduce your browser width to less than 1,366 pixels the rightmost column will move below and to the left as shown above. Continue reducing the browser width and the next column will follow... etc. and etc. until only the menu buttons remain with all else below them. Try it... switch to the home page then drag the righthand browser window border to the left. So... if you're using a smaller screen size, say 1024 x 768, then the rightmost column will appear as above. Statistics show the most common screen size is now at 1366 x 768 pixels. If you're still using 1024 x 768... Sorry. But... you can make the home page fit your screen by setting the browser's zoom function to 75%.
Still more nested tables removed from pages for faster load time. Site map page changed to standard page format.
More nested tables removed from pages for faster load time. With HTML5 the best practice seems to be to use as few tables as possible.
Remove tables from news and mobile pages to increase download speed. From this date forward the up and back buttons on the news pages will move beneath the ariticle content onto the background. Fair Dealing footer added to the news pages.
More nested tables were removed to speed up browser loading even more.
Using nested tables on a web page increases the download time because the browser has to do additional calculations loading the nested tables. To speed up downloading most nested tables here were removed.
Reduce all pages from a maximum size of 1920 pixels wide to 1330 pixels wide.
Dropped modified news pages designed for viewing on laptop computers.
Changed the page title format and header for the lead news article:
Just when you get comfortable with the web site I go and make another annoying change. Why? The idea behind the new design is that when the Home Page opens all the railway news links are readable without scrolling. A reader still has to scroll down while reading each individual news article and other pages. It is either this or scroll sideways to read, not a better choice. All the previous screen designs required a minimum of 1024 x 768 pixels but this new design requires 1920 x 1080 pixels to be viewed properly. The new design is based on the assumption most computer owners now own larger screens so this change shouldn't be a problem... hopefully. Internet Explorer, FireFox, and Opera browsers have a zoom feature that will change the viewing area if that helps. Use the menu buttons on the left side of the screen to navigate around the web site. Below this paragraph you'll find screen captures of the new and old designs followed by all the revisions since 2011 when this page was commenced:
Modified the Home page header somewhat.
Added a Special Events page to the web site.
Corrected the web site background to display properly in monitors with a width of 3840 pixels or less.
The news article of the day now contains a large photo applicable to the article headline such as this:
A daily external link to the news story of the day is now provided at the top of the Home page as follows:
OK, here we go again, another damn change! You readers out there don't appreciate the amount of time required to prepare this web site for publication each week. This was the reason for discontinuing the news pages for smartphones some time ago. It simply took too long to prepare two sets of pages, one for large screens, and the other for mobile phones. But... I think I've found a way to have my cake and eat it too. So now the mobile pages will return. But... (Compromise, compromise, such is life.) because of this change the Home page layout has changed. Not as pretty now but more functional, and boring, compromise, compromise.
A News Flash section was added to the Home Page today. This section will appear at the top of the Home Page when appropriate as breaking news happens. Click on the banner or the news headline to read the article.
The Windows 8.1 upgrade was released today so I upgraded my operating system by downloading and installing it in about an hour and a half. The return of the old Start button is a joke. It doesn't bring back the programs menu as before. It should now be called the Tile button as all it does is bring up the tiles screen. The install set-up menu forces you to log onto a Microsoft account before continuing. Your original password being replaced by the logon password you provide. It took some time to figure out how to restore the original password which is now called a "local" password. Previously installed anti-virus software, Avast, doesn't function in Windows 8.1 so a dialog box indicated where to go for an upgrade. However, if you select a Microsoft account during the Win 8.1 install versus a local password this seems to interfere with Avast. After several un-installs and re-installs of Avast 2014 the program still failed. A Windows update downloaded 3 additional files not included with the 8.1 upgrade which included a patch for Avast. Avast now appears to be functional even though the browser's Manage Add-ons menu says it is incompatible. Go figure! HTML 5 files in Microsoft's Internet Explorer seem to appear the same as before but several browser add-ons are now marked "incompatible" and don't function. There is no way to remove incompatible add-ons by using the browser's Manage Add-ons menu. Also, the browser tends to lock up more frequently since the 8.1 update so it must frequently be killed with the Task Manager then restarted. Next problem...
Although not particularly apparent the web site underwent a fairly major revision making most of the web pages more uniform with a standardized blue gradient background. Logos and images with links now appear on the left side of most pages, with a couple of exceptions. The layout of the THIS WEEK and NEXT WEEK news pages is somewhat simplified. Next? Wait for it...
Shrunk the page headers slightly and changed from white to blue for no particular reason.
I've had a request to increase the size of the small photos on the home page, (the "This Week" page). I've done that, but it's a trade-off, just like everything in life, compromise, compromise. By increasing the photo size that also increases the page load time. The solution was to decrease the number of small photos to keep the load time short. So instead of small photos there are just text headlines in some cases. Next...
Sorry folks... but Canadian news will now be presented weekly instead of daily. OKthePK mobile news for smartphones is no longer available. I've had to cut down my work load... and try to get a life.
Here are some visitor statistics for the year 2012 collected by the OKthePK server that you may find interesting, or not...
Total number of web site hits during year = 1,942,481
Average hits per month = 161,873
Average hits per day = 5,322
Busiest month of the year = October
Busiest day of the week = Wednesday
Browsers reading this web site:
Microsoft Internet Explorer = 48%
FireFox = 18%
Apple Safari = 18%
Google Chrome = 12%
Opera = 2%
The first upload of this year includes all the recently constructed HTML 5 pages. I had missed the search results page earlier but that too is now HTML 5. The web site appears substantially the same in four browsers, Microsoft Internet Explorer, FireFox, Google Chrome, and Opera. If you're using Apple's Safari browser please advise me of any anomalies, perhaps I can correct them.
Way back when, I don't recall how many years ago, HTML (Hyper Text Mark-up Language) became popular. It was simple, easy to learn, and compact, saving bandwidth with each small file holding a web page. One of the early complaints was the difficulty in displaying where text and images appeared on a web page. This short coming was soon solved when the table tag came along providing many ways to position text and images.
Then some genius decided that the mark-up (WHAT text and images are displayed on a page) needed to be separated from the presentation (WHERE and how the text and images are displayed on a page). The resulting solution was CSS (Cascading Style Sheets).
So now simple HTML was complicated by the addition of CSS, a new language to be learned. However, even after the introduction of CSS each new version of HTML, up to 4.01, generally still had the ability to place text and images where you wanted without the use of CSS. A web page designer could avoid using CSS entirely if they chose.
Then along came HTML 5 and all that changed. In HTML5 the presentation is totally separated from mark-up so a web page designer is now forced to use CSS.
It took nearly 2 weeks but this web site is now entirely constructed with HTML 5.
I miss the good old days of simple HTML.
Below is my Reliability History chart from the Action Center which indicates some of the problems I've experienced since upgrading to Windows 8. The red dots with an X indicate critical failures of Windows 8. In some instances when there is a critical failure the "blue screen of death" appears and all current work in progress is lost as the computer shuts down. There will be no warning to save your work! The yellow triangles indicate a warning but the system seems to remain stable when that occurs. The blue dots indicate the operating system has taken some action, such as updating Windows Defender, and have no apparent effect on computer use. The chart covers the period from 14 Oct 2012 to 9 Dec 2012. The large increase in critical failures began with the installation of Windows 8 on 27 Oct 2012. Since then there has been an improvement but critical failures still occur.
This annoying Windows 8 Internet Explorer browser version 10 error message:
Is caused by an Avast anti-virus program module named WebRep. Running the Windows 8 troubleshooting program against the Internet Explorer program will find the Avast WebRep module and disable it. Microsoft Internet Explorer browser then functions normally. My apologies Microsoft, thought you were to blame for the problem. I'm still monitoring the Windows 8 reliability history with the Action Center. Critical failures are still occurring but with slightly less frequency.
Windows 8 Internet Explorer browser version 10 produces this annoying error message continuously.
The Windows 8 Action Center keeps track of system failures and produces a graph. Here's what my PC installation of Windows 8 looks like for the period 31 Oct 2012 to 18 Nov 2012. The red dots indicate critical failures.
Changed the lead story photograph on the mobile page to full screen size and moved the headline text beneath it.
ATTENTION Windows Users: DO NOT UPGRADE to Windows 8. The operating system is unstable on a PC and may crash or freeze up the computer at any time. The big blue screen of death has returned! Too bad... Windows 7 was very stable. Over time Microsoft will most likely fix these problems but waiting to upgrade would be a wise choice.
Today Microsoft Windows 8 Pro Version 6.2.9200 Build 9200 was installed and updated running Microsoft Internet Explorer 10 Version 10.0.9200.16384. OKthePK pages were specifically designed for Microsoft Internet Explorer version 10 running on the Windows 8 operating system. They will display properly at 1920 x 1080 or 1176 x 664 resolution. Other browsers, operating systems, or resolutions may be problematical. If you have a problem please contact me. Happy Halloween... Boo !
To reduce scrolling of the Home page news article photos and links are now side by side in pairs. Tightened up the header and menu spacing on each page as well.
Most noticeable change is the "Ballast" background. Text is slightly larger as Cascading Style Sheets are now employed on all pages.
Replaced the Download button link to a Wallpaper of the Month page.
Modified the CSS code to set the base font on all pages.
Rebuilt the Site Map page making it more interactive and perhaps more interesting. Added a second link from the home page to the site map marked "Explore this web site".
For consistency sake added more "Up" buttons to several pages and removed all the images from the About page. Thought the Up button was too large and distracting so reduced its size.
Changed the footer on all pages to provide an "Up" link to the top of the page and a Home page link.
Added a more effective free web site search feature by Free Find on the right side of the Home page. The old search function by FusionBot.com has been removed from the CPR Set-off Siding Latest Updates page.
Added "Up to top of page" links to Yesterday's news page. Changed link colours on all pages except Home page and Mobile pages to make them more readable. Added Canadian flag to header on all pages.
Well... it's a new year, so time for a change. It's obvious the Christmas holiday web site couldn't remain throughout the new year so there are really only four revisions to the web site. Rather than having one large photo for the lead news article all the news articles show a photo on the homepage along with their respective title. Click on either to read the article. This forced various icons and logos to move to the right side of the page. The third revision changes all page background colours from blue to grey. The fourth revision involves the mobile page. The large opening news article photo has been replaced by a smaller photo to match all the others appearing there.
Snow falling on the Christmas web site home page has accumulated on several of the hyperlinks. A Christmas tree appears to the left side of the screen while a gift marked "Do NOT open before December 25th !" will be found at the bottom of the page. Santa Claus has advised you really should wait until December 25th before clicking to open this present.
The Mobile news page was modified today. Large headline text now precedes the first photograph. Pressing on either the photo or the headline text will open the news article. Each story below the first article now includes a small photo along with the story title. Pressing the photo or the title will open the appropriate news article.
The "This Month" page was updated to match the latest changes. Added a link at the bottom of the "Home" page to this page then placed a link on the "Sitemap" page to this page. Added the QR code image to the bottom of the Home page with an appropriate link. Added a link from the Sitemap page to the QR code page.
Web site design rule number two, consistency. Since the menu buttons were moved to the top of the Home page yesterday they now appear in that same location on all other pages too. Also, the button colours have been reversed. Buttons now turn grey when the mouse pointer hovers over them. After clicking on a particular button upon arrival at the appropriate page the button remains grey to indicate it is inactive.
If you have visited this web site regularly perhaps you noticed the size of the photograph on the home page increased in size over time. (In the last iteration it went from 588 pixels to 640 pixels wide.)
This forced other columns on the page to become cramped. To compensate, the total width of the page then crept up to 1082 pixels.
Now, anyone who designs web pages knows there are many issues to address with the size of a readers screen being one of the most important. This brings up the question, "What size is the reader's screen?".
Over the years computer monitors have continuously changed. The analog TV tube types have been eclipsed by digital LCD monitors. Along with this evolution screen sizes have increased too (For instance, mine is 1920 x 1080 pixels.) so that there are many sizes to choose from. As a web site designer one must choose the most common size so as to satisfy the most common monitors that are out there. Therefore the size chosen as the most common today, and this is just a guess, is 1024 x 786.
So... this web site had been re-designed to fit within a 1024 x 768 screen. (You are still required to scroll up and down.)
To permit the headline story photograph to remain at 640 pixels wide the only way to accomplish this was to reduce the number of columns on the home page from 3 to 2. This necessitated moving the menu buttons to the top of the screen with the "CPR Set-off Siding", "The Foamer Files", and the "Slim Archive" buttons near the bottom. All other pages remain unchanged at this time.
Those of you running laptop computers with 1024 x 768 screens will thank me, but those with larger screens, not so much.
Compromise, compromise, life is full of compromises.
Alias the Car Knocker - "I love the smell of creosote in the morning".