laphriini blog

taxonomy and ethology
of robber flies
as an avocation

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A Blog for Laphriini.com

January 7, 2012

This website has needed some sort of running commentary on what I will be doing and when for a long time. I've also wanted to comment on the general principles of taxonomy, systematics, and ethology; and on how they apply in the present situation. Last, there're some useful techniques I've become proficient at over the years, and I wanted to lay them out for other people interested in robber fly natural history, or just in the natural history of flies in general. This blog should answer for all of these ends.

These pages will be formatted differently from the main Laphriini pages. Specifically, they use "style sheets" or CSS, and not HTML 3.2. CSS makes multiple files much easier to change globally. But it's also a lot less straightforward than plain HTML.

I code by hand, using a DOS text editor (yes, you read correctly). I don't usually use it on DOS itself; I'm typing this using a Windows command-line version on Vista. But it's still a DOS application, just ported. I don't believe in WYSIWYG editors, or in "black boxes" in general. With a black box, you can't understand what's going on. I developed the present style years ago for another blog, and haven't changed it much in the interim. So when it comes to something that's not already incorporated, I'm still learning. One of the things I have yet to figure out is how to center the pages as a fixed-width table, as I've already done for the main pages with regular HTML. Meanwhile just use the zoom button in your browser menu to increase the page width so it fills up the computer screen. BTW, I use the Opera web browser for everything, and recommend it for viewing this site. There is even a stand-alone version that will work from a USB stick or thumb drive, without installing anything or changing registry settings. I use the version that comes in a zip file. You can get it here.

This site is also designed to work with a screen width of 800. I know that's small by today's standards. But I find large screens with tiny text hard to read, and I suspect other people do, too. A really wide screen is just too different from the page of a well-laid out book, and books are what I'm used to reading. And although icons aren't really relevant here, while I'm at it I'll have to say I hate tiny icons, too. So everything is fixed to be viewed at 800 width. The blog is set up perfectly at this resolution. The main pages can be viewed at higher resolutions without distortion, because they are centered.

The only thing I should say in addition is that soon I should have sections up for at least the species in the two new (and still unpublished) genera as well as for Choerades. This will include keys to all the North American species that were once included in Laphria s. lat., as for example in the 1965 Diptera Catalog. The biggest implied criticism I've seen of this site on the web is that the present keys are not complete.

The new sections will include terminalic drawings and distribution maps. Otherwise they will be laid out as much as possible as I've already done for the species in Laphria s. str.

That should be enough for tonight.