Stuff and Nonsense

Malarkey is Andy Clarke, a UK based designer, author and speaker who has a passion for design, CSS and web accessibility.

Andy has been working on the web for almost ten years. He is a visual web designer and author and he founded Stuff and Nonsense in 1998. Andy regularly writes about creating beautiful, accessible web sites and he speaks at events worldwide. Andy is the author of Transcending CSS: The Fine Art of Web Design, published by New Riders in 2006.

Lost any CSS lately?

If your Internet connection happens to lose a bit of CSS data, you get a mess on your screen.

John Allsop has already responded sensibly to John C. Dvorak's hilarious article, Why CSS Bugs Me, over at PCMag.com. Far be if from me to contradict the respected CSS authority Mr. Dvorak, but I do have a question for you folks stemming from his insightful article.

For me Mr. Dvorak's most salient point is that,

If your Internet connection happens to lose a bit of CSS data, you get a mess on your screen.

Fortunately this has not happened to me on a regular basis, but it has seemingly happened to one BritPacker who reported on the BritPack scooter club mailing list only today that,

It's happened to me. Only this evening I lost some (CSS) but it turned out that it was down the back of the sofa all along. No wait, that was bacon crisps.

The last time I lost some CSS, I found that I had left it in that tiny pocket in my jeans and washed it without knowing. Fortunately it dried out OK, albeit a bit wrinkly, and I was able to use it again on another project. I'm just glad no one noticed. After all, if it had made a mess on my screen, things could have taken a real turn for the worse.

Imagine having to admit to a client, I'm sorry your project is late, I washed the CSS in my trousers and it kinda went all, err, funny.

Have you lost any CSS?

If you have ever lost any CSS, where were you and what were you doing when you lost it? Did you find it again and where, and if not, what were the consequences for your screen, underpants or anything else that might be so badly affected by its loss as Mr. Dvorak suggests?

Replies

  1. #1 On July 20, 2006 04:34 PM Tim Parkin said:

    My cat was scratching around at the back of my computer yesterday and came out with a great gobbet of CSS in it's mouth. It were wriggling like a b**d til he bit it's floaty bits off. I don't know which site it came from but Google looked a little ropey today... I dunno, web developers these days..

  2. #2 On July 20, 2006 04:36 PM Dave Simon said:

    Is losing your CSS permanent, like losing your virginity? Or Dvorak losing his mind?

  3. #3 On July 20, 2006 04:41 PM Tim Shortt said:

    I lost some CSS one time riding The Hulk roller coaster down in Orlando, Florida. Falls right out of your pocket. Nothing you can do!

    Those maintenance guys are cleaning up.

  4. #4 On July 20, 2006 04:44 PM Cole Henley said:

    What a coincidence - why only this morning I espied the following on my way to work:

  5. #5 On July 20, 2006 04:50 PM David Horn said:

    I lost some CSS once. It ended up on a desert island, troubled (originally) by polar bears, and, increasingly, some apparently sentient black smoke, an ominous Nigerian, as well as some non-compliant Others.

    My advice:

    !- [if LOST]>
    link rel="stylesheet" type="plot/device" href="css/open_hatch.css"
    [endif]-->

    (hmmm ... you get the drift!)

  6. #6 On July 20, 2006 04:58 PM Kate Bolin said:

    I lost some CSS, but that's what I get for deleting mp3s...

  7. #7 On July 20, 2006 05:00 PM Chris Heilmann said:

    I haven't but I keep a kleenex under my laptop to collect any memory leakage. So far it made my computer run a lot smoother.

    God, isn't it enough that dozens of people with no clue try to "better" JavaScript? Do they have to do the same to CSS now?

  8. #8 On July 20, 2006 05:01 PM ppk said:

    Andy, in your otherwise excellent piece I missed one obvious tip to keep your CSS from getting lost:

    Always keep your floats in a dry place, or they'll just float away.

    About your main question: I never lost any CSS, but I vividly remember the day that I lost large swaths of HTML from a client's site. (This was back in 1999, so I hardly had any CSS to lose yet.)

    One Friday night I came home from the pub, slightly the worse for wear, and saw this HUGE pile of tables lying around on my desk. With one fell swoop I deposited them in the dustbin and myself in my bed.

    In my street, garbage is collected early every Monday morning, so it's my unfailing habit to put my rubbish on the street every Sunday evening. You guessed it: I didn't remember the Friday night very clearly, so I also put those tables out, and it was only when I arrived at work on Monday morning that I noticed they were absolutely vital to the project I was working on.

    Worse, it turns out that the Amsterdam garbage collectors use UDP as a protocol, not TCP, and as you know UDP is all about speed instead of reliability. Although I had my TCP client handy, I couldn't recall my tables from the garbage collectors' Extranet in any way and had to start all over again. It cost me two extra days, and my boss wasn't happy with me.

    Fortunately the site wasn't live yet, or else Mr. Dvorak' would really have had cause to complain.

  9. #9 On July 20, 2006 05:05 PM Jo�o Craveiro said:

    OMG, David Horn, it seems you just lost some HTML! (The irony of it! ;-) ). But don't worry, here it is (caught it in my sandwich, almost broke a tooth): <

  10. #10 On July 20, 2006 05:17 PM Eric Meyer said:

    Jason Santa Maria and I were just looking for some lost CSS last night, as it happens. Good job we found it, too, or else I might have had to re-write the missing bits from scratch, and that could've taken minutes.

  11. #11 On July 20, 2006 05:18 PM paul haine said:

    I lost my CSS to a starship trooper.

  12. #12 On July 20, 2006 05:25 PM Chris Heilmann said:

    Eric, you'd have had to call in Cindy Li, she rocks in taking minutes.

  13. #13 On July 20, 2006 05:31 PM Malarkey said:

    This is just slaying me :)

  14. #14 On July 20, 2006 05:36 PM Milos said:

    What about the real CSS? This doesn�t exsist at all. :-)

  15. #15 On July 20, 2006 05:36 PM Richard Quick said:

    I lost my CSS is San Franciso...

    So, basically CSS bugs him because:

    a) He doesn't understand it
    b) He doesn't know anything about it
    b) He's too thick to understand it

    In that case, I've got some other ideas for articles for Mr. Dvorak:

    - Why Quantum Mechanics bugs me
    - Why Shakespeare bugs me
    - Why Calculus bugs me
    - Why insects bug me...

  16. #16 On July 20, 2006 05:53 PM Drew McLellan said:

    The thing about CSS is, it's not something you can just dump something on. It's not a truck. It's a series of tubes.

  17. #17 On July 20, 2006 06:10 PM Carl Camera said:

    Maybe it isn't lost at all. Perhaps it is just visibility:hidden;

  18. #18 On July 20, 2006 06:37 PM nick said:

    Well, I haven�t lost any but yesterday while walking down the street I stumbled upon some CSS. Apparently, It have got lost and It won�t tell me how to find its author! I took It home with me, of course � it turned out the poor CSS didn�t have eaten for two days!

    So if anyone recognises this CSS as theirs, please call me home or send me an email asap! This thing is already clogging up my screen�

  19. #19 On July 20, 2006 06:51 PM Craig C. said:

    My pappy lost his CSS in 'Nam.

  20. #20 On July 20, 2006 07:03 PM Andrew C said:

    One time I lost some css when one of my friends sent me an internet through the pipes.

    It seriously scares me when commentators say things that make no sense at all. I can see someone reading that and begin to think "hey maybe that won't happen if I use tables"!

  21. #21 On July 20, 2006 07:08 PM Analgesia said:

    A good place to start looking would be the place where Dvorak 's brains used to be.

    But it's always better to prevent loosing css by taking good care of your Internet connection. Betting on horse-racing or the lottery once a month should keep your connection from clogging.

  22. #22 On July 20, 2006 07:12 PM jim said:

    Dvorak is a sensationalist who helps sell ads. I doubt that he's really an idiot, he just knows what buttons to push to get people to link to him and talk about him.

    I haven't actually read the article, but I'm guessing that he's referring to a CSS file not loading. Such as your typography file loading, but not your layout file. Its a network problem.

  23. #23 On July 20, 2006 07:15 PM ScrambledHeads said:

    Not only did I lose some css recerntly but I lost some divs too, mind you perhaps this was what he meant when he lost the css

  24. #24 On July 20, 2006 07:18 PM Andy Higgs said:

    I have a whole box of other people's lost CSS that I'm trying to swap for a house. If no one will swap, I'm going to get each bit sponsored and become a millionaire.

  25. #25 On July 20, 2006 07:24 PM Alex Clarke ( Haga ) said:

    I thought I'd lost some of mine but it was just having a cssta!

  26. #26 On July 20, 2006 07:34 PM Christian Watson said:

    I lost some CSS driving down the motorway the other day.

    I opened the window to get some fresh air and out it flew. It landed on the windscreen of the car behind causing it to brake and a lorry to rear-end it.

    By the time the chain-reaction of collisions had finished, all four lanes were blocked and 16 people were being carted off to casualty. All because of a little piece of lost CSS - who knew?

  27. #27 On July 20, 2006 09:08 PM David said:

    Dvorak writes nonsense with frequency just so people like us will discuss his lunacy. As his buddy Leo LaPort said, " there is no bad publicity on the net". Dvorak likes to bait us to set himself up as a happening figure on the net. That being said, "If your Internet connection happens to lose a bit of CSS data, you get a mess on your screen." sounds to me a lot like senator Stevens' "the internet is tubes" spiel. I guess it had to happen, as the net has become ubiquitous more and more types of people are developing opinions on it. Dvorak and Senator Stevens are the internet's senile netizens, the grandpas who crankily bash things they can't understand. The one thing I give Dvorak, is that he has made himself a character. He's certainly entertaining in his ridiculousness.

  28. #28 On July 20, 2006 09:18 PM Small Paul said:

    I don't got anything funny, but I particularly like the in-depth knowledge of cross-browser CSS bugs displayed in the column:

    > "what's being done about it? Nothing!"

    Er, right. IE 7?

  29. #29 On July 20, 2006 09:22 PM Johan said:

    If my z-indexes are playing tricks on me, I will never find out what CSS has done to my elements ...

    Elementary my dear Watson

  30. #30 On July 20, 2006 09:31 PM Richard Conyard said:

    My CSS Lost
    Page is white like winter snow
    Sofa searching awaits

    I'll get my coat...

  31. #31 On July 20, 2006 09:42 PM Johan said:

    Another one:


    I lost my CSS instantly when I saw Jaws in front of me. When I re-opened the cunning Firefox, CSS flourished again.


    John C. Dvorak's might well be a CSS-phobic, a treatment should be proposed to stop the hallucinations.

  32. #32 On July 20, 2006 10:03 PM Andrea said:

    Once my page lost some CSS, but it didin't really affect my screen, because although I didn't see all the prettiness and the layout was different, I could still read and use everything.

  33. #33 On July 20, 2006 10:57 PM Ms. Jen said:

    I would like to lose my floats, but they just keep floating back to me, from the left and from the right, the little bstrds...

    Bugs have been bugging me this summer, but mostly because there are no window screens here in Dublin...

    ;o)

  34. #34 On July 21, 2006 01:15 AM Peter Mount said:

    I think John C. Dvorak needs a good woman

    And tell him to stop doing it with tables

  35. #35 On July 21, 2006 01:17 AM Robert O'Rourke said:

    I lost some CSS at Wimbledon and got done for streaking.

  36. #36 On July 21, 2006 02:39 AM Chris Lienert said:

    Just the other day, I found some old CSS in the back pocket of my boardies. Despite having gone through the wash several times, it was still in good condition and went straight into the site I was working on.

  37. #37 On July 21, 2006 03:57 AM Adam Bramwell said:

    Everybody loses their CSS eventually, but you you always remember your first. I lost my CSS over a table at the tender age of 15.

    I hear people are losing their CSS younger and younger these days, and it's probably not a bad thing.

  38. #38 On July 21, 2006 07:14 AM Steven Tew said:

    My next door neighbour Gladys is a slipper-shuffling, crazy lady. She lives on her own and has hundreds of bits stray CSS crawling around her house. If you've lost some CSS, sleep easy with the thought that you may well have your very own neighbourhood Gladys, and that there's a chance it's being looked after her.

    I kinda feel sorry for her, but she smells.

  39. #39 On July 21, 2006 09:03 AM Matthew Pennell said:

    When I lost my CSS I thought it would make a mess on my screen, but one quick call to THE CSS INSURANCE COMPANY solved all my problems!

    THE CSS INSURANCE COMPANY provided me with a courtesy stylesheet while they processed my claim, and in just 48 hours I had my CSS back - and they even cleaned it up for me!

    Their friendly UK-based Call Centre answered all my questions quickly and efficiently, and my protected no-tables bonus was not affected.

    I'd recommend THE CSS INSURANCE COMPANY to my friends and family - call 0800 123 -9999px now for your quote, and protect your CSS today!

  40. #40 On July 21, 2006 12:03 PM Richard@Home said:

    Loosing CSS is NOT a laughing matter.

    Every year 1000's of CSS are lost from loving homes.

    We at the RSPCCSS are dedicated to collecting stray CSS from the streets (often in a terrible state of neglect), nuturing them back to strength and re-uinited them with their loving owners.

    In the case we cannot find their original owners, the RSPCCSS have a number of sites where the CSS can live out the rest of its days in comfort, cared for by our highly trained and dedicated carers.

    PLEASE remember, CSS is for life, not just for Christmas.

  41. #41 On July 21, 2006 01:55 PM Joe said:

    I lost my CSS in a game of poker with Bill Gates.

    He's using it as a draught excluder

  42. #42 On July 21, 2006 04:23 PM Ara Pehlivanian said:

    Actually I have lost CSS before. No joke. But it's only been because the web server was having trouble at the time and wasn't delivering the content properly. Thus my pages were only half CSSed. :-)

    Generally though, my CSS gets where it's supposed to without incident.

  43. #43 On July 21, 2006 05:17 PM Kevin Lewis said:

    Found!

    Large quantity of CSS found yesterday while reading this thread. Will return to the rightful owner of receipt of an accurate description (must match exactly).

  44. #44 On July 21, 2006 05:44 PM simon r jones said:

    my css melted earlier today in this damned heat. I placed my monitor in the fridge in the desperate hope my divs solidify over the weekend. If not, does anyone have any second hand css for quick sale?..

  45. #45 On July 21, 2006 07:26 PM Analgesia said:

    @simon r jones
    Here is a guy that seems to have experience with that. Maybe you can contact him.

  46. #46 On July 21, 2006 07:51 PM JustARandomGuy said:

    ok, guys, i'll try to explain it -- think of one possible moment when you lose connection with html file fully (100%) downloaded, and only 40-60% of css file downloaded to your computer. your browser attaches this css sheet to html -- and then it's all MESS!!! It makes sense! so i really doubt your humour is reasonable here

  47. #47 On July 22, 2006 01:59 AM HELP!!! said:

    I downloaded a picture from my website this morning, but I don't know how to put it back!

    Please, somebody, help.

    PS - Don't laugh - someone actually said this to me one.

  48. #48 On July 22, 2006 02:02 AM HELP!!! said:

    "someone actually said this to me one."

    You see!!! That SHOULD have read "once."

    I just lost a "c" - all I need is to lose another "c" and a "s" and I'll have lost my css altogether!!!

  49. #49 On July 23, 2006 03:55 PM Stuart said:

    I used to have a client who keep misplacing their CSS. He called me up one day to complain, so I burnt him a CD with a copy of the internet on it and that solved it.

  50. #50 On July 25, 2006 01:30 AM Thomas Frank said:

    I lost my favorite h1-css yesterday. At first I just thought it was just my internet connection that lost a bit of css data, as usual, so I waited around for it almost until Internet closing time... But no h1 in site...

    So I started to think about how I treated it lately (not as good as I should):
    I think it got angry with me for writing a script that color gradiented it into an awful green-red mess by mistake.

    It's orange (now that it got rid of my mean script), mstrebuchet-like and rather cute.

    If you see it please tell it I miss it...and that I'll be true to it even if it goes cascading all over the place.


  51. #51 On July 25, 2006 01:44 PM Mike Purvis said:

    We actually lost some CSS at work last week. It was a cracked pipe, and it was spewing everywhere.

    That would be caustic soda solution, for cleaning, of course.

  52. #52 On July 25, 2006 02:10 PM mike said:

    Just the other day one of my colleagues accidentally deleted the internet, and we weren't able to un-delete it all - yes, you've guessed, all of my CSS was gone! Not really lost though, more like de-materialised.

    And just the other day, I lost part of an image - all that came through was a red cross - nothing like the mug-shot I was expecting to see!

  53. #53 On July 25, 2006 06:44 PM Alex Wishkoski said:

    I lost some CSS on a Delta flight once. I talked to the flight attendant and she said my seat had multiple errors; it was best to read section 508 of the in-flight manual for help. Later I looked in the plane's for my missing CSS. Oddly enough on a plane this is where people flush their Java.

    You might think my CSS story just isn't valid, but soon it will be made into a full Hollywood production: CSS on a Plane. This is no laughing matter.

  54. #54 On July 25, 2006 06:59 PM kellegous said:

    I've never actually lost any CSS. However, I did have some CSS come out of my nose when I started laughing at a wildly absurd Dvorak article. And though it wasn't lost, I think you will agree with my decision to not use it again.

  55. #55 On July 26, 2006 01:48 PM Wheelz said:

    I've got lots of bits of CSS laying around somewhere. You know you did some really cool stuff and the put it some place safe so you didn't loose it.

    now, was it on top of the wardrobe or at the back of the cupboard.???

  56. #56 On July 26, 2006 04:03 PM WhereIsThatDeafGuy said:

    Last weekend, my buddy and I used my CSS car to drive to NYC. We decided to park my car in the worst part of the neighborhood to avoid paying a parking fee. A few ours later, my CSS car had been stripped - tires, engine, doors, hood, stereo, speakers, etc. We had to hop on a subway and then took a Greyhound bus back home.

    A few weeks later, I was surfing on eBay to look for a used CSS car. The weirdest thing is, I came across several CSS parts that I recognized because they were specially made.
    It was unbelievable that someone had the gall to sell my CSS parts on eBay.

    You know what is even more weirder? One of the bidders who tried to buy a CSS car part happened to be none other than Mr. Dvorak!

  57. #57 On July 31, 2006 03:25 AM Duncan said:

    Apparently you lose your CSS with age. Every day you lose a little bit more without even noticing. And then WHAM! - it's all gone.

    Your friends probably notice, they just wont say anything.

  58. #58 On August 3, 2006 07:36 PM Nic Johnson said:

    I left my CSS in El Segundo.

  59. #59 On August 3, 2006 07:37 PM Nic Johnson said:

    I also shot some CSS once, just to watch it die.

    I made a horrible mess on my screen.

  60. #60 On August 7, 2006 10:25 AM Francisco Diaz said:

    What is CSS by the way?
    How do I find something if I don't have an idea how does it look like?
    Does Google have a "lost and found" area?
    Does exist a downloadable toolbar with a button: "find your CSS here"?

    "I terribly miss my CSS and cannot cope with my messy screen anymore" (actually I think this would be a good title for a RAP song).

This article was originally published by Andy Clarke on his personal web site And All That Malarkey and is reproduced here for archive purposes. This article is published under a Creative Commons By Attribution License 2.0.

Andy Clarke Stuff and Nonsense Ltd.
The Cow Shed Studio, Eversleigh Gwaenysgor Flintshire LL18 6EP UK

Or call us on the dog and bone on +44 1745 851848. Download our vcard.

© Copyright Stuff and Nonsense Ltd. All Rights Reserved except as noted.