Places NOT to stay in the United States

If you’re bored … read a few of the reviews posted on Trip Advisor for some of these hotels located in the United States… YIKES!


Read: 2009 Dirtiest Hotels

Years ago, I stayed in a Vegas casino hotel, the Stardust, that had been remodeled so many times, that the ceiling panels in the hall ways in one of the hotel towers actually dropped lower than the top of the frame of many doors!!! (And reports from other fellow travelers were that they wondered if the rooms had been cleaned after the last few people had slept there).

Thankfully, it’s no more (read).

Why write your own rendering engine anymore?

I just installed and ran the latest version of Lavasoft’s Ad-aware Free (Anniversary Edition) and was disappointed by the general fuzziness of the text.


So, I grabbed one of my favorite tools, Spy++ to do a little bit of technology spelunking. The interesting thing was that there was only a single window in use:


The fuzziness of the text initially made me think GDIPlus, but a quick scan using Depends seemed to indicate that wasn’t the case:image

The text rendering just isn’t right:


For example, check out the kerning of the “e” and the “m” above.  I tried the same text in Photoshop (wondering if it was a bitmap from a common image generation tool):


But, it looks fine in every aliasing option.

It wasn’t GDI, or GDI+:


And not WPF:


There are probably a handful of toolkits that it could be, but I don’t have the patience to try a match anymore.

I’m just not sure why they’d take the time to not use a standard Windows provided text / graphics engine? I’m not opposed to an architecture that minimizes HWND usage to increase efficiency or allow for some unique user experiences (like skinning), but why go this far? What’s the gain? When the quality of text isn’t near perfect, why wouldn’t you abandon the technique? Anyone know?

Usability Mistakes in Web Design

From Smashing Magazine: 9 Common Usability Mistakes in Web Design.

Some great tips.

For #1, I definitely appreciate web sites that use actual decent clickable areas for page navigation. These aren’t too bad for example (from MSDN):


But there’s still too many web sites like this:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 … 31 32

The clickable area for each page is no wider than the width of the character! Don’t forget that not everyone has the mouse dexterity of a 14 year-old avid game player! :)

5 Great Online Color Palette selection and design tools

Can’t find the color that matches your favorite cyan? Use one of these web based color palette selection tools to help you find the perfect match!  My current favorites are the first two, Color Scheme Designer and Kuler.

Color Scheme Designer

Easy to use and has a simulation of what some people may see who have various color vision deficiencies.




A slick Adobe Flash based color selection and sharing site.



Although not as easy to use right away, a very powerful color selection tool with many different features.


Color Wizard

Although the actual selection of color isn’t as much fun as some of the other online options, the Color Wizard has lots of onscreen colors at one time for easy identification of options without a lot of fuss. (The worst part is that the page is heavily loaded with advertisements).



Sessions Color Wheel Color Calculator

The link to this is actually mid-way down the middle of the page. This is a another nice interactive color selection tool. I would have prefered that they hadn’t picked an orange/gold color as the base color for their selection application.


And a bonus,

SitePro Central’s Colour Scheme Chooser

Simple and efficient.