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Randsco News

It takes time to create blog entries and not everything that happens, merits an entry. So, we've created this 'news' section, to keep readers up-to-date with our misadventures and accomplishments. Read about it here FIRST, before it makes it into a blog entry.

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Big CSS Rollover Links

November 28th, 2010  · stk

NewsBrief: [Big CSS Rollover Links] Randsco Labs unveils a new pure-CSS technique. The new technique utilizes large CSS rollover images to be combined with small target areas. (It inverts normal link behavior and provides for a multitude of innovative and new ways to style traditional links.

Big CSS Rollovers for Little Links

Randsco Labs Develops Amazing pure-CSS Technique

Randsco Labs - Reporters learned Friday that the rumors were true. Randsco Laboratories has indeed developed an amazing, breakthrough pure-CSS technique that combines large rollover elements with graphical links.

"Rollover links are nothing new," said Scott Kimler, Vice President of Research and Development at Randsco, "What is new are combining large rollovers with small target areas."

css rollover splatcss rollover for paintball store

Scott then demonstrated the technique and the assembled crowd clapped.

"The magic of this lightweight CSS code is achieved by harnessing the power of CSS directives in a unique way, taking advantage of built-in specificity hierarchy, natural z-index order and the ability of modern browsers to apply hover styling to any element," Scott explained.

The code was developed (and is currently deployed) on a Randsco Canadian-sponsor website - Nicol Street Pawnbrokers. On that website, the image is twice as large as the demonstration here and has a much more colorful "pop".

The technique is difficult to describe in words and much easier to show in a demonstration, like the one here. When you hover your mouse over the paintball graphic, an astonishingly large "splat" pops up, completely covering the graphic and surrounding elements (i.e., sidebar, adjacent links, images, etc).

"But ... and here's the tricky part," said Scott, "the link target area doesn't change. When you move your mouse outside of the paintball graphic, the splat disappears. That's the opposite of what normally happens and is the key to this newly-developed technique."

"This CSS technique allows an almost unlimited ability of developers and designers to style links, without interfering with neighboring links and other hover-able elements," said Scott.

Several reporters wanted to know when the technique would be available to the general public and Scott replied, "Soon. Right now our technical team is quite excited about the potential of this code and are eager to develop some uniquely-styled examples."

"Basically," Scott continued, "The geeks at Randsco Labs want to play with it a bit, before they release it into the public domain. They are hoping to transfer the technique to text links and utilize the code in some stunning slide-shows and other graphical displays. Once this work is done, Randsco Labs will summarize the technique in a White Paper and release it on the main company website. We're hoping to have this work finalized sometime during the first two quarters of the new year."

About Randsco Labs

Founded in 2004, Randsco Labs is the technical research laboratory for Randsco, specializing in XHTML and CSS web techniques.

Randsco Labs is responsible for popular pure-CSS techniques such as Photo Caption Zoom, popInfo and @font-face tutorials and more.

Randsco Labs occupies a small portion of the 5-acre Randsco campus, which is located on beautiful Vancouver Island in British Columbia. Randsco moved operations from Alberta to British Columbia in 2006.

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Updated: 29-Nov-2010
Web View Count: 10281 viewsLast Web Update: 29-Nov-2010
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White Power Chickens

November 23rd, 2010  · stk

NewsBrief: [Mo' Chickens] The Kimlers bring home 10 new laying hens • [White Stuff] The Hutton House sees it's first snow • [Power Outage] Snow in, power out - for 18 hours.

Mo' Chickens

Hutton House - Reporters learned today that the Kimler clan has added ten more chickens to their egg production company. These new additions more than doubles the number of producing layer hens, as the Hutton House is now home to 19 laying hens.

Rachel, Scott and Alex made the drive down to Duncan on Sunday, to fetch the ten young hens. All of the birds are of the famous ISA-Brown variety, which are bred as laying hens. All were purchased as POL (Point-Of-Lay) chickens, which means they are approximately 5 months old - at the point where they are due to begin laying eggs.

Purchasing point-of-lay hens is a change for the Kimlers, as all of their other ISA-Browns hens were raised from week-old chicks.

"Buying point-of-lay birds is more expensive," said Scott, owner of the Hutton House Hen Farm, "but we actually save money on 5-months-worth of feed, reduce our chances of losing stock due to illness or predation and they begin earning their keep right away."

The 10 hens were transported in the back of the Kimler Subaru wagon, to their new home at the Hutton House. There, they are acclimating to their new environment and getting to know the 9 older girls.

"It will take a couple weeks till the new hens become acquainted with the older birds," Scott says, "During this time, they'll be lots of clucking and pecking, as the older girls will make clear to the youngsters, who is in charge!"

Ah yes. The pecking order must be established!

About ISA-Brown Hens

ISA Brown is a hybrid Sex-link chicken, the result of crossing Rhode Island Reds and Rhode Island Whites. The ISA Brown is a hybrid, not a true breed. They are known for their high egg production (approximately 300 eggs per hen in their first year).

"ISA" stands for Institut de Sélection Animale (the company which developed the hybrid in 1978). In 2005, via company takeovers, the hybrid is now maintained by Hendrix Poultry Breeders. More information about the ISA-Brown can be found on the Hendrix website

ISA-Browns make great family pets. They are confident and not afraid to try new things. When they get older, however, they show their love by pecking you a lot!

About the Hutton House Hen Farm

Hutton House Hen Farm is renown for farm-fresh, free-range brown eggs, which are distributed to local Vancouver Island clientele. Sales inquiries may be made by clicking the email link.

White Stuff

Hutton House - The arrival of ten new hens to the Hutton House was coincidental to the arrival of the first winter snow. Nearly 5 inches of the white stuff fell, mostly on Friday night, but more fell on Saturday, Sunday and a bit on Monday.

Most of the accumulation occurred Friday night, however, blanketing the Hutton House acreage with a thick blanket of big, heavy, wet flakes.

"The thermometer has definitely taken a flight south this week," reports Rachel, who has had to dust off her car several times, in order to make tracks into town, "Temperatures are well below freezing and we have to keep hauling warm water out to the chicken run, so that the hens have liquid water to drink. There's nothing more difficult for hens than to have to peck at ice cubes in order to quench their thirst!"


Power Outage

Hutton House - Along with the arrival of heavy snow and winds, came the first power outage of the season. It started early on the morning on Saturday (3:30 AM), just as Scott was returning from a MVI call-out near the North Cedar Fire Hall. As he was sweeping snow off of one of the temporary tarp "garages", the lights went out.

The power remained out for approximately 18 hours. Fortunately, the Hutton House is heated largely by a wood stove, so the power outage doesn't affect home heating. Water, however, is an issue, since the pump, cistern and pressure tank are all powered by electricity.

The 2Kw gas-powered generator kept the television, lights, microwave and computer functioning for most of Saturday, enabling Alex to watch her Saturday morning cartoons and Scott to catch the Penn State Indiana college football game (Penn State won, of course!)

Power was restored at approximately 10 PM Saturday night, this after the family meal - roasted chicken, pan-fried potatoes and salad - was prepared largely on the outdoor barbeque (which has a side-burner).

Everyone was happy to have electricity - flush toilets, hot water, lights and a clothes dryer - though it did mean setting the time on several blinking clocks. Extension cords were coiled and remain at the ready. Rural life can be "rough"!

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Updated: 28-Nov-2010
Web View Count: 21527 viewsLast Web Update: 28-Nov-2010
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New Rescue

November 17th, 2010  · stk

NewsBrief: [New Rescue Truck Arrives] The North Cedar Fire Hall takes delivery of a new 4x4 rescue vehicle. First look at this custom-built bad boy!

New Rescue Truck Delivered

North Cedar - During practice last night, firefighters got their first, close-up look at the new North Cedar Fire Department Rescue vehicle. Sporting a 6.7 liter twin diesel engine, crew cab that seats five, LED emergency lighting, 4-wheel drive and a frame-mounted 5-ton winch ... this baby is going to rock the streets of North Cedar.

The custom-made box by Express Custom features convenient and curb-safe roll-up doors. Slide out gear racks provide quick access to emergency equipment and an on-board SCBA air-compressor means on-scene refilling during major fires. Powerful scene lighting can be rapidly deployed and will assist in during nighttime emergency calls. There appears to be enough room to stow ample medical and rescue gear, including the equipment for newly acquired capabilities - swift-water and low-slope rescues.

The details on this new vehicle haven't been confirmed, but on first look, it appears to be an excellent replacement for the existing Rescue truck, which will likely be refitted and recycled as a multi-purpose forestry/utility vehicle. The new truck costs just a tad more than your base-price Masarati sports car, but the Department didn't have to raise taxes to pay for it. Because of foresight and responsible fiscal planning, money for this vehicle came from an existing "Truck Fund" (a long-term budget item ear-marked for major apparatus improvements and replacement).

The new truck is awaiting registration, decals and an equipment transfer. Fire Hall officials hope to have the new truck in service sometime during the next week. Look for it responding to calls in the North Cedar Fire Protection area soon!

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Updated: 23-Nov-2010
Web View Count: 6815 viewsLast Web Update: 23-Nov-2010
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Bathroom Update

May 16th, 2010  · stk

NewsBrief: [Bathroom Update] It's been a week of renovation work on the upstairs bathroom. Here's where I'm at with the work.

Bathroom Update

It's been a busy week at the Hutton House!

I know all-y'all are just dying to know how I'm making out with the bathroom remodel. Well, there was a fair bit of destruction last week, which everyone knows I'm quite good at doing. After removing the rotten drywall from inside the skylight, I then *poof* became an electrician!

I tied into the electric baseboard heater and chased the wire around the corner, so that our vanity could actually be mounted directly to the wall. (The previous owner - and builder - had to set the vanity off the wall by a good six inches, because of the heater placement. The open gap between the vanity and wall was ugly!)

Next, I ran a new wire from the over-the-vanity light, into the attic and added a recessed light above the toilet (for library reading purposes). It was an absolute joy to be wearing coveralls and a dust-mask, crawling around in a rat-poop infested attic. (The previous owners built the house in two phases and the summer they were adding the 2nd phase, rats took over the attic. They're all gone now, but they made a fair bit of mess before they were chased out.

I also tied into a three-way switch in the hallway, running a new line down the stairwell and into the utility room. (Has nothing to do with the bathroom renovation, but I had to cut holes in the bathroom ceiling, to chase the wire and ... since I was already committed to a bunch of drywall work, what's a bit more?)

With the electrical complete, it was time to start putting things back together. We (the royal "we", since Rachel was away most of the week on some nursing union convention thingy in Vancouver) used water-resistant drywall in the skylight (blue paper). The rest of the holes, either the ones I made to chase electrical wires or the gaping hole behind the vanity - which was an odd clothes chute directly into the utility room below, were filled with regular 1/2-inch drywall. Then came the taping and mudding.

I used a fairly new product for the inside corners. It's called "SLAM" technology - stands for "Structural LAMinate". It's supposed to be way stronger and more dent resistant than metal corners (won't rust either ... key for a humid bathroom), but the reason I used it, was to straighten out the wavy, 135° drywall corners in the ceiling joints. (Previous owner just used paper and they looked wavy and non-professional).

A couple of coats of mud ... propane heat and fan to help speed drying ... and now we're down to the final coat - which Rachel (now that she's back home) can't wait to have done.

"I'm tired of all the junk in the bedroom and I can't wait to have order back in the bathroom!" she says. (I'm wondering if she has a nursing convention to go to next week, so I can work in relative peace!)

Rachel has picked out the colour (light tan color that has some fancy-sounding name) for the walls. The ceiling will be white. We're still looking at a new counter-top, sink and fixtures.

Next weekend, I'm off for spring firefighting training in Oliver, BC, so we'll have to see how far I get with the bathroom during the week. I'm guessing two weeks till the bathroom is fully usable again, because it takes time to pick out the right sink and fixtures, plus the weekend interruption. LOL ... stay tuned!

Oh ... and Rachel's already got me working on another project! Some time ago, she saw a street number sign she liked. She put in a custom order for the oval number (white text/numbers on "slate", not sure what the material actually is, but it's made to look like slate). The custom order is in - they called today - so she's gone off to have another look at the one she likes, then Home Depot to pick up the order, as well as buy the lumber.

I'm sure she's expecting me to have that done too, next week! 2010 is definitely turning into the "Year of the House"! LOL When will we have time to go to the floating cabin for some fishing? Cycle touring, backpacking or kayaking? (She's bought us a new tent and we're supposed to be buying a tandem kayak this year, so we can haul Alex with us on our kayaking trips!)


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Updated: 16-Nov-2010
Web View Count: 6294 viewsLast Web Update: 16-Nov-2010
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Rainy Day Reno

April 18th, 2010  · stk

NewsBrief: [Rainy Day Reno] If it hadn't rained today, I wouldn't be doing this! •

Bathroom Reno Starts

The day before yesterday, it was a bright and sunny day. Scott was working outside, mowing the pasture and fighting the first wave of dandelions.

Yesterday, it was rainy. Because we had scraped off the textured ceiling in the bathroom, in preparation for a new coat of paint, we looked at the bathroom with a more critical eye.

"It'd be nice to move the baseboard heater around the corner," said Rachel, "because then it wouldn't interfere with opening the vanity drawers." (and the vanity could be placed against the wall, instead of having an ugly gap).

"Yeah," Scott said, "and we really need to redo the drywall in the skylight, since it's not finished well, peeling and probably has moisture damage."

One thing let to another and now, we've somehow committed ourselves to doing a mini bathroom renovation (mind you, not the big bathroom renovation, because the BIG bathroom renovation involves splitting the one full bathroom into two 3/4 bathrooms, giving Alex her own bathroom and removing the super-sized jacuzzi bathtub that we never use because it takes so much well water to fill it (when you're on well water and septic, the jacuzzi tub seems like an impractical luxury ... and we already have another full bath downstairs).

So, Scott grabbed the hammer and started the demolition phase.

Rachel asked, nervously, "This will be done soon, right?" adding, "I mean, you're pretty good at the demolition stuff, but fairly slow at the rebuilding stuff."

Scott glared at Rachel.

Rachel's only hope is that it rains for a week straight!

To be done: Replace the rotten drywall in the skylight with water-resistant drywall and finish it off nicely, change the angle of the drywall at the bottom of the drywall to continue the line of the vertical wall across the entire room, move the baseboard heater, move the vanity back against the wall, which necessitates a new counter top, sink and fixtures, build a shelving unit above the commode, add a pot light above the commode, straighten out the wavy drywall joints for the two non-ninety-degree angles, prime, paint and re-caulk.

No worries, eh?.

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Updated: 25-Apr-2010
Web View Count: 8121 viewsLast Web Update: 25-Apr-2010