Thanks, Bill… this is just how I wanted to spend my Saturday

Bill, I really don’t have time for this.

Internet Explorer 6 is incapable of properly rendering CSS applied to a <div> tag when the only child element in the <div> is a table. It sticks arbitrary margins in the document below the table. Here’s an example from a site I’m working on (colors removed to [sort of] protect anonymity). This is how it should look, as rendered by Safari:

Safari screenshot

The concern is the content in the dark title bar. The bar itself is a <div> and the two buttons plus the month/year text is contained in a table. Here’s how it looks in Internet Explorer 6 (note the gap below the header bar):

Internet Explorer screenshot 1

OK. So let’s see, maybe there’s a semi-logical CSS workaround. I already have margin: 0 defined for the class the <div> uses. So I added it to any tables contained within that class as well. No luck. Then I did something really off the wall and added a display: inline property for tables contained in that class. It still didn’t work. So then, appropos of nothing, I added a &nbsp; just so there would be something in the <div> besides the table. And here’s the kicker… I actually added it before the table (retaining the display: inline property of the table:

Internet Explorer screenshot 2

Once again, it’s good that the windows in my office don’t open, or there would be one less PC in this building right now.

Of course the &nbsp; solution is not satisfactory to me. The search goes on. Because, you know Bill, I really have nothing better to do when I’m working on a Saturday morning.

At this point another alternative occurs to me: it’s possible to use the CSS float property to position the buttons and eliminate the table altogether. That fixes the problem in Internet Explorer, but…

Steve, I’ve got a few words for you as well! Look what happens in Safari when I remove the table in the header:

Safari Screenshot 2

Sure, that makes perfect sense. Especially since I have a width="100%" attribute right there in the calendar table. Oh, and did I mention that the width of the panel body is explicitly defined in pixels in the CSS? How is it, how can it be possible, that removing a table from a separate (albeit adjacent) <div> could affect the width of this table?

Now where’s my glass cutter? I think there are one too many PCs and one too many Macs in this office.

After a bit more head scratching, I’ve discovered that the cause of the Safari issue is that I neglected to remove the aforementioned display: inline property I added to my CSS in the midst of the numerous futile experiments I undertook to resolve the initial IE problem. Steve, you’re off the hook.

So, in the end, it turns out that the solution to my problem is to abandon the old-school table-based method of layout and go strictly CSS. I’m sure that’s precisely what Bill wants me to do.

Dude, You’re Gettin’ Derivative!

By now it’s all over the news… Benjamin Curtis, better known as Steven*, the “Dell Dude,” was busted last night in Manhattan for attempting to buy pot. This, of course, is Big News, and is getting lots of well-deserved media attention.

But what I find to be an even bigger story is the way that so many of the news agencies, having classified this story for their “Oddly Enough” columns, are slapping incredibly lame plays on the Dell pitchman’s famous slogan into their headlines.

At 4:19 PM today, I did a search on Google News for this story, and 32 results came back. (Your results may vary, as Google’s news system is continually updated.) Out of those 32, only 4 did not have the word “dude” in their headlines, and many, in fact, went beyond simply referencing the “Dell Dude” and attempted a “witty” variation on “Dude, you’re gettin’ a Dell.” Let’s look at a few. (This ought to be interesting to see how long these agencies retain their news stories, as well. I apologize if any of the links below are dead, which I assume will start happening approximately 5 seconds after I post this rant.)

CBS News
Dude, You’re Under Arrest!

A weak effort, especially for a major news outlet like CBS. I guess Dan Rather is in charge of their humor. (No, I take that back… Dan Rather actually can be funny when he wants to. Let’s blame Andy Rooney.)

Dude, You’re Getting a Record

An improvement. It’s a more accurate play on the slogan than CBS’s craptacular attempt. Makes me think that Steven’s goin’ vintage and throwing out all of his CDs in favor of vinyl, though. Next, we’ll hear, “Dude, you’re gettin’ a Texas Instruments!”

WOKR-TV and WXXA and Baltimore Sun
Dude… You’re Busted!

At least three separate sources all coming up with this same lame effort! OK, the Sun actually used a comma instead of points of ellipsis. Way to stand out from the crowd, Jack Germond!

New York Daily News
NYC Cops Tell Dell Dude: You’re Getting Arrested!

CBS should learn from this one. It’s almost as lame as theirs, but at least it gets the cadence right (sort of). As an added bonus, it allows the reader to envision the cops gleefully slapping the handcuffs on the “dude” and delivering this line without missing a beat.

Dude! Dell Pitchman Busted On Pot Charges

Not really an effort to incorporate the slogan, but this is one of the countless stories that gratuitously dropped the word “dude” into an otherwise-serious headline.

Dude, Yer’ Gettin a Cell! Dell Dude Arrested

Yes, now this is the obvious choice. I am really quite surprised that more outlets haven’t picked up on this one; it’s got everything! Spot on with the cadence of the slogan and what would seem to be the natural, obvious pun. Bonus points for actually using “yer’,” even though I would dispute that apostrophe placement.

* Update, February 12, 2003: Not surprisingly, Dell has removed their Steven page. But I’ll keep the link in the first paragraph anyway, in case they, like, mellow out, dude. In the meantime, once again Google saves the day with its cached version of the page.