I’ve just been redoing a designer’s table-based layout as CSS. The code was a soup of table cells and spacer gifs. One thing I found interesting was that rather than use a 1x1 pixel gif and resize it everytime with HTML markup, they’d created a whole folder of spacers of varying sizes! Wow, this is old-school at its best!
Needless to say, the pages are now lighter and consistent, but you can be so blinkered in your minority ‘web standards world’ you can easily forget that there are still designers using these methods today.
Take heart: Whenever it frustrates you that you need to add css hacks, and the odd surplus tag, to get a page to work, remember this folder of spacer gifs.