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Archive: June 2002

Friday, 28 June 2002

I now have in my possession two real physical paper copies of Eric Meyer on CSS.  It looks as beautiful as I could have hoped—better.  310 pages of practical CSS, divided into 13 projects, each and every page in glorious full color to really show what CSS can do.  I’m really, really, really very happy right now.

Sadly, this joy is tempered by the fact that most e-tailers think the book will become available in August; Barnes & Noble is the exception, with a fairly realistic 9 July availability date.  Even the New Riders Web site claims the book isn’t available, and encourages you to search for a newer edition(!).  Trust me, folks: this baby is revved up and ready to go.  There just seem to be a few annoying roadblocks in front of the starting gate.  If you’re interested in ordering a copy, and of course I hope you are, please try again in a few days.  I’m looking at the two copies as I type this (please excuse any typos), so I know the book actually exists.

Wednesday, 26 June 2002

The first review of my new book, Eric Meyer on CSS, is now available at Digital Web.  The reviewer seems to have liked it.  The book should be available this coming Friday, despite what Amazon says.  Better to trust the information on New Riders site—I double-checked with my editor and she says it’s on track to start shipping within the next few days.  Two words: “ya” and “hoo.”  (Yodeling not required.)

Saturday, 22 June 2002

As some of you know, I have a weekly radio show on a local community/college radio station.  We’ve been Webcasting for a while now.  So yes, this is going to be another rant against the recent ruling of the Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel (or CARP; feel free to rearrange letters as you like).

It isn’t necessarily the fees that I mind so much, although they obviously could be ruinous to any highly popular Webcaster.  They also don’t make a lot of sense, since we don’t have to pay anyone to broadcast our air signal to (potentially) about two million people in the greater Cleveland metropolitan area.  No, what I find so objectionable are the parts that regulate what you can play in a given period of time.  For example (and thanks to Jim Gilliland for pointing me to this information), per Section 114(j)(13): In any three hour period, [a Webcaster] may not play more than:

  • three songs from the same record, two consecutively
  • four songs by the same artist, three consecutively
  • four songs from the same box set (even if “various artists”), three consecutively

On my most recent show, as it happens, I played a number of album sides and live recordings.  When you’re a non-profit, non-commercial radio station staffed by community volunteers, you can do that kind of thing.  My playlist included:

  • Duke Ellington: “Small Band Shorts (1928-1935)” – Side 1 (soundtrack to the short film Black and Tan Fantasy)
  • Louis Prima: “1944” – Side 1 (recording of a live broadcast from 1944)
  • “From Spirituals To Swing” – Side 3 (concert recordings of various artists at Carnegie Hall, 1938-1939)
  • Benny Goodman: “On the Air (1938-1939)” – Disc 1, Tracks 2-11 (recordings of radio broadcasts from 1938-1939)

Under the new CARP rules, I spent two hours violating the law with that show.  The same would be true of my D-Day special, which draws fairly heavily on the compilation “Swing Out To Victory.”  If I can’t come up with enough war-themed recordings on different records or compilations, then I’ll have to discontinue the D-Day special, which has become an annual tradition and always draws appreciative calls from listeners.  Ditto for my occasional broadcasts of the first Benny Goodman and Duke Ellington concerts at Carnegie Hall.  History?  Eh, who needs it?

Of course, all this becomes moot if we stop Webcasting.  So we have a choice: interesting and diverse music or worldwide reach.  One gets the feeling that the media conglomerates, who obviously chose reach over diversity, are trying to impose that same choice on the rest of us.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m all for honoring the rights of artists, and seeing that they’re fairly compensated for their work.  The CARP ruling isn’t the way to do it.  For that matter, neither are the contracts offered by media conglomerates—but I suppose that’s a whole different story.

Wednesday, 12 June 2002

Digital Web has published an interview with yours truly, conducted by Meryl K. Evans.  I get to babble on for a bit about CSS, the W3C, Netscape, and my radio show.  Now, if only I could figure out what they did with the picture I sent them… I just hope I don’t get Photoshopped onto Salacious Crumb’s body, or something.  (Update: I found out what they did with the picture.  Whew!)

Scott Andrew LePera’s brilliant Netscape 4 birthday gallery has a new home on his site.  If you haven’t seen it already, go forth and partake of its artistically acid bounty.

Tuesday, 11 June 2002

Today, on the fifth anniversary of Navigator 4.x’s release, the Web Standards Project rebirthed itself.  Check it out—the sprightly new site is remarkably free of birthing fluid!  And even this soon out of the womb, the WaSP has some things to say to you, not all of them soothing.

Speaking of NN4.x turning five, Scott Andrew has some things to say about that.  Go now, before the day is over.  In addition to some lovely digital artwork, it’s haikuriffic!

Monday, 10 June 2002

The last paragraph of Wired’s article “Browsing Around for New Targets” caught my attention:

But one HTML contractor, who asked not to be named, illustrated the uphill battle the WaSP faces in getting programmers to lay aside their old browser-specific tricks: “Do you know how much I get paid for knowing this stuff?”

Yep.  And can you imagine how much more you’d be paid if you knew how to code to standards, thus delivering a superior product with outstanding delivery capabilities?  Not to mention what kind of reputation you’d build up for doing so, and how much more you could charge then?

Actually, it occurs to me that something the WaSP ought to do (if they haven’t already; we’ll find out tomorrow) is create an executive-level whitepaper that basically says, “If you’re still shelling out for multiple versions of a site and 80KB HTML source, you’re paying way too much for way too little.  Stop paying people to know how browsers worked two years ago, and start paying for people who know how to make your site work two years from now.”

Tuesday, 4 June 2002

The power supply arrived today, thanks to a “I’ll pay for overnight delivery” call to Arescom, and we’re back on DSL.  You can still expect me to take longer than usual to reply to any e-mail you may have sent, as I was effectively offline for three days and the latest session of my CSS2 course just started up on Monday.  So I’m going to be a touch busy.

Monday, 3 June 2002

The power brick for our DSL modem fried itself late Friday afternoon, so now I’m sipping the Internet through a 45.2Kbps straw.  Expect longer-than-usual delays in responses to e-mail and newsgroup postings.  I hope to have a replacement brick in hand by tomorrow… keep your fingers (as opposed to your wires) crossed for me.

June 2002
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