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Technology

The Minnesota Mensa website is not optimized for any particular browser per se, but it would behoove you as a user to maintain the latest in Internet browsing software. There are reasons, after all, for new software releases. Mainly, to fix bugs found in previous releases, and to add support for new and emerging technologies.

HTML (the markup language used to create websites) is a very loosely defined frameset for the description of an HTML document. Companies that implement software which renders HTML code into a document are pretty free to support certain features as they deem appropriate. Combine this with the fact that monitor resolution and size, color settings, and Internet speeds are variable between users and a website takes on a different look for each and every user. This makes it difficult to construct a webpage in a consistent manner across all of the variables I have described.

Professional web content designers assume certain characteristics of a user that they use as a baseline for designing HTML pages. The goal is to achieve the maximum correct renditions of the page, and the assumptions can be broken down into the following:

Browser
The browser is the piece of software you are using right now to view this page. The two most popular browsers are made by Netscape and Microsoft (Internet Explorer, bundled on most Microsoft operating systems). Old software, like old socks, become hole-y and undesireable to use. Security holes are found, new technologies are not supported or supported poorly, and things are just generally not as fun to use. The great news is, web browsers are free. So why wouldn't you always have the latest greatest copy? Your life will be much better with a new browser, and if you still choose to use software that is 4+ years old, then you run the risk of seeing poorly formatted pages, the pages rendering more slowly, and style elements appearing different than they appear to everyone else. These problems are easy to correct by installing a new browser.

Here's a hint: For Netscape you should be using version 7 or greater, for Internet Explorer, version 6 or greater. Anything older than and you will run into troubles. If you're on AOL, upgrade to at least version 8.0.

Screen Resolution
The standard screen resolution that websites are designed to look 'nice' in is 800x600 pixels. Looking nice means there is never, ever a horizontal scrollbar at the bottom of the browser window. On the Internet, pages go top to bottom and never left to right.

If you have a teeny-weeny monitor (less than 17 inch diagonal measurement) it is likely that you have your monitor resolution set to 640x480 so you can still see whats what without fogging up the screen. The Minnesota Mensa website should still be well-formatted at that size, but be aware that it is not the optimal resolution, and very few sites will look 'correct' (as the designer intended) for you.

Again, this is very easy to correct. On windows, right click on the desktop and select 'Properties'. On the 'Settings' tab there is a slider bar for screen resolution.

This Site...
If you're interested, PHP is used to dynamically build all of the pages in this website. There is a MySQL database backend which stores content and calendar events which are retrieved every time a page is requested. This allows for wide-sweeping style element changes to be performed instantly across the whole site (navigation bars and such) and makes the site easier to maintain. If you're a budding or seasoned PHP programmer, designer or graphic artist I would certainly appreciate any help you'd like to contribute.

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