We work on the Internet and are constantly consuming information. There's a lot of it out there. We'd forget it if we didn't write it down someplace…

Visual Lizard's blog covers everything from web standards to the muppets, from php to comic books to music, just about anything we find interesting

Katelin Brooke Arrives

We would like to introduce Katelin Brooke Moffatt to the world. She was born at 8:21pm, on Friday, May 19, 2006.

Teri started labour at 2 am with contractions steady at 10 minutes apart. We tried to get some more sleep, but that went poorly and Teri ended up getting out of bed, doing some stairs and laundry. She took a break to watch a recording of Thursdays ER and then got back to laundry at about 6:30 am.

By then, contractions where getting to be more frequent and stronger. She woke her sleeping husband at 7 and told him that her contractions where 6-7 minutes apart. He looked at her and said, "67 minutes? That's pretty good. What are you waking me up for?" ... This resulted in some physical clarification with a poke to the forehead ... 6-7 minutes. Yeah. That's getting close to check-in time he agreed.

After some phone calls to the grandparents, grammy Sharon was off for the day and on her way over to take care of little miss Kyleigh for however long was needed. The McAuley grandparents where called out at the cottage, and according to Bruce, he had to pull Linda out of the car in order to get her out of her pjamas and dressed before heading towards town.

We checked into the hospital at 10 AM and were in our room by 1 PM. Contractions are now up to 3-4 minutes apart and Teri is having a glorious back-labour. Without any complaining she agrees to and epideral. By 8 PM, we were in complete delivery mode and waiting for the Doc to arrive. She walked in, baby arrived. Amazing timing on her part.

Teri did magnificently well through all of this. Calm at home. Calm at the hospital. Calm during the delivery. Calm afterwards. Dad on the other hand, not so calm. Not only was his mental state out of zen, his lame attempts at humour to lighten the situation sucked.

Anyhow, enough of my yapping. Please meet Katelin Brooke Moffatt who weighed in at 7 lbs 12.5 oz and 20.5 inches long. 9 | 9 on the apgar scoring (if you wanted to know) and was feeding by 15 minutes of arrival.

There are more photos over here at Flickr.

Now to get some rest. Thanks for all the kind wishes everyone. We look forward to many years of joy and mischief from out latest addition. Based on her arrival, her little smirk and her older sister, they will be a force to be reckoned with by the time they are 7 and 5 ... look out boys.

Launch #5 in 10 days -

Merit Motion Pictures, a Canadian production company with Gemini Award winning shows, has relaunched their website! The site went through a few designs before settling on the current iteration. The site uses a set of flash navigations along with a database, to provide the viewer with detailed information about productions that Merit Motion Pictures has been involved with, as well as productions that are in the works.

Design for the site was provided by Spacecadet Design while the Content Management System and database were built with the talents of Visual Lizard (that’s us). Have a look at Merit Motion Pictures, you’ll probably recognize a few of the shows they have been involved with. We are glad and proud to have released this one into the wilds of the internet. If you like what you see don’t hesitate to leave a comment.

More Apple Love

the new macbook, in black, from apple

Apple announced the new MacBook line of laptops. They come in 13" black or white shells and house the core duo Intel processors found in the MacBook Pro line. Oh, did I mention they start at $1249 (canadian)?

While definately not a chic as the Pro line, these little guys should be just the ticket for Apple to forge even further into University classrooms and lecture halls, as well as making them perfect for any developers who already have smoking desktops but want something to take on the road. Get your Apple stock now!

Yahoo! Relaunch... failure

Considered by some to be the world’s most popular online destination, Yahoo relaunched it’s site today. The look and feel are much nicer than the old late 90s look that had followed it around for way too long.

Apparently new look doesn’t mean new standardized code. Being web developers here, we decided to take a look at the coding behind the new look, and boy are we disappointed. One of the things we pride ourselves on is creating our code to follow web standards. We are a small company who take the time to build properly. I would have hoped that the big guys (like Yahoo!) who are such a huge presence on the internet would have taken the effort to promote the high standards that the web development community is trying to bring to the world. Apparently that was too much for which to hope.

Nice Job Ford

Being in the market for a new car I have been visiting the car dealers online. I'm looking for something with 4 doors and perhaps 4 wheel drive - because we actually use it to get into small lakes out near the cottage - and I would certainly like it to be more environmentally friendly than my current SUV. Hybrids are the talk of the environmental world, so naturally I'm checking into all of them.

To give you a little technical background, I am a MAC OS X user. I work on the internet for a living and have the following web browsers at my disposal: Firefox, Safari, Opera and several otthers. I am WAY more tolerant of web site errors than 99% of the people online. In fact, I'm even taking the time to tell Ford directly that there is a problem via this post. Most people would just move on and not bother.

Ok. With that out of the way, lets have a look at what the "Build and Price" system on does in my browser(s):

  • Safari - v 2.0.3 - I can not get past page 1. Dead transaction.
  • Firefox - v - Again, nothing past the 1st page. Dead transaction. Firefox also fails in the same manner on the PC, which I tested from home and from in the office.
  • Opera - v 8.54 - Opera works but the internal option links fail. I could not open information links on options. Nothing happens. At least I was able to use the build and price system to a point and get some rough ballpark pricing. However, this was the 3rd browser I tried and most people don't even have 2 on their systems.

Now, lets pretend for a minute I know nothing about Ford's web site traffic. For easy math, we will round out their visitors and say they get 2,000,000 visitors a month, which would not be far off given they average 1,000,000 page views a day. If we make the assumption that Firefox and Safari account for 10% of the browser market (and recent stats show this is much higher than 10% - another sample - and another sample), then Ford is missing 200,000 people with their Build and Price system. Regardless of the actual numbers of visitors Ford is excluding, if we agree that Firefox and Safari are 10% of the browser market, this number is going to be huge. For Ford to release a component of their web site that is not working to this degree, in my opinion, is completely irresponsible to both their dealers and their shareholders.

I know, this is only a web site and you can't actually buy the car online. But you know what, you can get pre-qualified for credit, which basically makes the sale for the dealers. So missing this significant portion of the market with their system means less sales. How many north american car companies can survive with 10% less sales per month? Would you eat in a restaurant that only served 90% of their patrons? Would you go to a mall that refused access to 10% of the people trying to get in? You might go once, but you wouldn't go back again.

I have been a Ford owner for 10 years. I've had issues with the workmanship in the last 6, but nothing that would prevent me from thinking about them as a possible source for my next vehicle, given all the variables. However, by making it hard for me to build and price a car with their web site, I'm automatically viewing the Ford Escape Hybrid in an unfavourable light. If their web site doesn't work, how reliable can their hybrid be?

On another note, Toyota's web site works for me in every browser I tried. Guess what I am thinking of buying? on CSSremix

Neat! has been picked up by CSSRemix. This is quite an honour, as CSSRemix only showcases the best in design and programming.

Actually, we might have never know had it not been for the 240+ visitors that popped up in our stats in the first 12 hours.That makes CSSRemix the second most popular repeat referrer (so far) to The first most popular is this story over at the CBC.

If you are interested, you can visit the CSSRemix's posting on and leave a comment and/or vote on the site.

Launch #4 in 7 Days -

Having worked many, many hours on, we are very pleased to announce that it is now live and ready for your shopping needs.

We have been working with spacecadet design on this one. They have provided their expertise in the design department.

Under the hood, we have built a custom catalog management system. Layered on top of Catalyst 3.8.4, the new catalog system allows for import / export via CSV files of product data, management of all products within the site, detailed statistics on product views, adds to the shopping cart, completed transactions and a complete review and administration system for orders past and current.

Needless to say, we are very excited about going live. We have some more to do yet, but it is live and we couldn’t be more pleased. Congratulations to Collegiatemall and spacecadet for a job well done and all the effort everyone has put forth has yielded a terrific product.

Look for a detailed project write up in the near future. All comments and suggestions are welcome, use the contact form or the comment form below.

We will see everyone after a few hours of sleep! ;)

Video of Wii in Action at E3

Here’s a video at Kotaku, from Nintendo’s E3 2006 announcement. It shows Reggie Fils-Aime, Satoru Iwata, Shigeru Miyamoto and one lucky contest winner playing Wii Tennis live.

No, the graphics are not your top-par, HD-DVD, Xbox360-slash-PS3 killers, nor were they ever expected to be. If you’re bitching about that, your not paying attention to the four people and the way they’re playing the game.

Tell me that isn’t the coolest damn thing you ever saw. I know it’s the damn coolest thing I’ve ever seen! :)

Is Sony's PS3 A "Me-Too, Me-Too" Machine?

Above is a press photo of the upcoming PS3. The most apparent thing about it is that it seems to resemble a familiar Sony console you may already have. And it seems to have functionality you've heard of before. And it will play games you've probably played before.

My main reaction concerns the controller. I think most people who read this article remember the original controller design. It was a cross between a dildo and a boomerang. I never got to hold it, so it may really have been the most comfortable thing to use in the world, but I would be embarrassed to be seen with it.

"Hi Wil, I just dropped by to.... what are you doing?"

"What? What? I'm playing video games! I'm playing PS3!"

"Video games?!?"

"It's a controller! Seriously, it's a controller! Oh god, don't tell anyone!"

The internet community completely slammed Sony on the controller design. Sony apparently took this to heart and redesigned the controller. After months of silence and research and development and focus groups and whatever else multi-million dollar corporations do to design controllers they decided on...

The PS2's controller.

Okay, I know we were hard on the first design, but what happened? Did you fire your entire hardware design department? This isn't a new controller design, this is lazy. They can tout it's "reliable design", "comfortable familiarity", and "industry standards" all they like. As far as I'm concerned, this is the same as Hollywood's habit of pumping sequel after sequel at us: it's financially safer to give people something the market has already proven is successful than to try to be innovative.

And hey, on the theme of "if it's getting a lot of buzz, let's jam it into this machine", it seems the "new" PS3 controller has some motion sensing capabilities.

However, built into the mechanics, the new Dual Shock will offer a promised six degrees of freedom for gamers. Bringing out the Producer and Director of Warhawk, Dylan Jobe of Incognito, Harrison explained that with a tilt to the left, players will be able to turn their jets in the same direction. With a quick raise of the controller, players can jump in altitude, or move forward and backward. What does all of this mean? Finally, those overexcited gamers who move to the left and right when turning in racing games will be able to make it really, really happen.

Hey that sounds cool. That's a neat concept, being able to control a video game through your actual actions, rather through pressing pads and buttons. It makes the interaction with what you see on screen more "real". Wow, if only a company would develop a whole system around this concept, and focus entirely on this type of gameplay!


So the XBox launched early, with comparable power levels, comparable graphics capabilities, an established online presence, and a hard drive. Then Nintendo completely bowls people over with the Revolution, now called the Wii. Say what you want about those two consoles, they are succeeding at their endeavors. Xbox was the console to have in North America at Christmas, the graphical wow factor HD TV early adopters' wet dream, and currently the only next gen console on the market. Nintendo skipped the whole more power, better graphics, next gen fight and introduced a console that has, over the past couple months, become the biggest buzz machinery in years. I don't know anyone who isn't interested in the Wii.

That kind of leaves Sony on the sidelines. Sure, they dominated the last two generations and have an amazing library of titles. So did Nintendo with the NES and the SNES. Then, with the N64, they tried to be everything, promise everything, missed everything, and people moved on. This console, though it may have a couple "must have" exclusive games coming out for it, comes across as an also-ran. It plays DVDs and it plays games and it plays music and it uses Blueray and it goes online and it has a PS2 controller you used to like and it does that Wii motion thing and it has a hard drive and and... really, it's good, honest, please still be interested!

Financially, I'm in a position where I can afford a next gen console, if I'm interested in it. I'm 20-30 year old geek with cash, I'm the target audience. But Sony also mentioned how much this puppy will cost.

The PS3 will be priced with two SKUs. One system will have a 20 GB hard drive, the other will feature a larger 60 GB hard drive. The system will launch in Japan on November 11th, and will launch on November 17th in North America, Europe, and Australasia. In Japan, it will retail for ¥59,800 for the 20 GB SKU, and a retailer-determined open price for the 60 GB. The North American system will retail for $499.99 ($549 Canadian) for the 20 GB and $599.99 ($659 Canadian) for the 60 GB.

Five hundred and fifty dollars for the base unit? Six hundred and sixty dollars for the full unit? Are you guys insane?

I thought the XBox 360's dollar figures were nuts. If they are looking to get "early adopters" with that, then I am not interested. Maybe all this "this is not working, rework it" and "this is getting all the press, cram it in" mentality is getting expensive.

The Wii is rumored to be launching at a sub-$300 US price range, and we all can expect the Xbox 360 to price drop near Sony's launch to steal it's thunder near Christmas. Good luck with your PS3, I'll might catch you a couple years later when the hype has died down and I can afford your console without taking out a loan.

Read the article on the Sony announcements here.

The Move to XP

This is it, the beginning of a new era. Welcome to the world of Microsoft XP at work. It only took me 8 hours to format and install XP and reload all of the base programs I need to work. Once that was done I had to pull all of my work files back onto the system. Now I am taking a break to write this post and showing my love for being updated. This is also a reminder not to do this very often. Pain in the butt! But now that I am here work should be more efficient with a clean harddrive and no excess files. Hopefully the next upgrade will have me learning OSX.

Iconbuffet Free Deliveries

If you’re into icons for desktop, application, or web design use, you should head over to IconBuffet and sign up for their free deliveries.

It works like this: You create a free login, and every month-ish, IconBuffet sends you an e-mail letting you know you’ve been given a free icon set. The catch is they release more sets than they give you, and it’s random which set you get. The idea is you convince others to login in (as I am attempting now) and trade your randomly received sets for their randomly received sets. It’s like trading cards, with the advantage of IconBuffet getting free advertising.

It’s a great idea, and the free icon sets are open for many uses. The problem I have is that I don’t have them all. You can help! If you’re signed up, let’s trade!

I’m looking for (as of June 28th):

  • Durango Research
  • Helsinki Hi-Fi
  • Mallow Buzz 1
  • Mallow Buzz 2
  • Manhattan Finance
  • Manhattan Night Life
  • Manhattan Veggie
  • Marseilles Cafe
  • Modena Alfanumerico Cold
  • Modena Simbolo
  • Shanghai Tech Smilies
  • Shanghai Tech Vector
  • Taipei Buddies 1
  • Taipei Buddies 2
  • Tower Grove Melee

I can offer (as of June 28th):

  • Alexandria Architecture
  • Blinksale
  • Dresden Tournament
  • Farewell Snow
  • Manhattan Metroplex
  • Manhattan Symbol
  • Modena Alfanumerico Cool
  • Modena Alfanumerico Molten
  • Oslo Atmosphere
  • Oslo Easter
  • Oslo Finance
  • Shanghai Tech
  • Taipei Monkey
  • Taipei Night Market
  • Taipei Plastic Primates
  • Tower Grove Promenade
  • Tower Grove Wedding

If you’re not signed up, please sign up and trade! Send me an email through the contact form or leave me a comment below!