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Archive: 2002

Catching Up

The World Wide Web Consortium‘s Web site has been redesigned, although visually it looks almost the same as before.  The change is that they’ve dropped tables-for-layout and are instead using CSS to set up the three columns and style the content.  It’s nice to see them trying to live up to the motto “Leading the Web to its Full Potential…” or, at the very least, finally catching up with the present.

It turns out they’re using a design approach I personally dislike, where all three columns are floated left (leaving none of them fully in the normal flow), but it’s not an inherently bad approach.  I just prefer other ways of achieving the same effect… but, as David Powers once pointed out to me, CSS is a lot like Perl in that it often embodies the spirit of TMTOWTDI—that is, there’s more than one way to do it.  That may be one of the reasons I find CSS so compelling, even though its open-endedness makes it a bit harder to learn.

Digging Out

Things are relatively quiet for the first time in several weeks.  Outside, there’s close to a foot of powdery snow covering everything, which was fairly easy to clean off the driveway—it’s light enough that I used a push-broom instead of a shovel.  Inside, Kat and I have been enjoying hot cider in front of our fireplace and reconnecting with each other after all the stress of the last few weeks.  Occasionally I play with Gravity, the household cat.  It’s a markedly more peaceful mode of living, and I’m enjoying it while I can, because it won’t last.

It seems like there were things I was going to post, really cool stuff, but it all got buried while I was off at conferences, memorial services, and so forth.  I did notice that Tantek has redesigned his weblog, and the new look was broken in Mozilla for a few hours.  It’s fixed now, but I wonder if that was due to him working around browser bugs, or just tightening up his CSS?  Knowing Tantek, it could very easily be either one.  Regardless, it’s a very interesting design; very paperish.

I’d dig through my e-mail for more stuff, but the fireplace is softly calling my name, and I hate to disappoint anything that could theoretically burn down my house.

WDW Boston Presentation Online

The HTML document I used to present at Web Design World last week is now available on the Speaking page.  Note that in Opera 6+ for Windows, you can use the F11 key to turn the file into a slideshow, just as I did to present it at the conference.  Note also that the styles are tuned for a 1024×768 display, but an 800×600 stylesheet is also available in the document.  You can also print it out, and hopefully get more sensible line-breaking than what appeared in the conference proceedings.  If not, feel free to fiddle with the print stylesheet until you do.

I also added a couple of upcoming appearances to the page, both of which are in March of 2003.  There may soon be more to follow, as next year is already shaping up to be a busy one.  If you’re thinking about asking me to speak somewhere, now might be a good time to get in touch.

Slice ‘n’ Dice

As I work my way through an enormous backlog of e-mail, I found a message from last month telling me about a utility called pngslice.  Apparently J.J. Green‘s girlfriend was really impressed by the Ragged Float demo but didn’t want to spend her time slicing stuff up in Photoshop.  So, in the manner of good boyfriends everywhere, J.J. stepped up to help out by writing a Unix utility and then released it to the world.  Better than flowers, I tell you.

Ooh la la: “Faites bonne impression avec les CSS,” a translation of “Going to Print.”  Thanks to Stephanie Booth and Samuel Latchman for helping my work get en Français!

Homecoming

In her Web Design World keynote on Wednesday morning, Kelly Goto introduced us all to a “bored genius” and her thoroughly fascinating projects.  Some of my favorites are The BullRide, RealTime / Interface to the Future, Neologues: Bang Interface, Stump, and TreeLogic.

In the past 40 days, I’ve been to three conferences and five cities, two of them twice.  Last night I returned from Boston, and so far as I know I don’t have to board another plane until 2003.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy visiting other places (although the actual traveling isn’t such a thrill) and I love having the chance to see my friends and colleagues at conferences.  It’s just that the last six weeks were a little intense, and I’m glad to have a chance to slow down and relax at home.

I had a fascinating experience last night as we approached Cleveland.  As the plane was descending through a layer of dense snow on its final approach to Hopkins, the plane was struck by lightning.  Okay, I know, the bolt actually jumped from the plane to the air, but still.  Thank God planes are still basically steel tubes with wings.  After all, if you’re going to fling yourself around the sky, you may as well do it in a great big Faraday cage.

Another Passage

Early this afternoon, my paternal grandfather died unexpectedly.  I don’t know a lot more than that right now, but I suppose nothing more really needs to be known.

I think he would have agreed with Frank Lloyd Wright.

Imagery

Every time I look at the image currently topping that topped zeldman.com for the past two weeks, I see Ruth lying in a West Palm Beach hospital room.  Outside the sun shines brutally hot (by our pallid northern standards) in the last weekend of October and we know that we’ll never see her again.  My brother-in-law and I each promise her a dance at the next family gathering, and the lie doesn’t even seem cruel to me.  We are all certain that she’ll be dead soon, but the stubborn spark of hope and the thought that we can offer her a pleasant illusion to obscure the looming end seems like a blessing.

Atop her 10 November entry, Molly has a quote from Frank Lloyd Wright: “The longer I live the more beautiful life becomes.”  I wonder if Ruth would have agreed.  I wonder if I’ll agree, decades from now.  For now, I keep hearing the last line from the movie Seven: “Ernest Hemingway once wrote, ‘The world is a fine place and worth fighting for.’ I agree with the second part.”

A Space Between Silences

Kat and I are no longer sick, and I’d like to thank everyone who wrote with notes of concern.  Last Thursday, shortly after I wrote the previous entry, we got a call informing us that Kat’s grandmother Ruth had passed away.  This was not an unexpected event, but that doesn’t make the loss easier to bear.  So last Friday afternoon, still sick, we boarded a plane to New York City and were there until last night.  Fortunately we got over our illnesses before the memorial service.

Obviously, e-mail was one of the last things on my mind while we were away, so now that I’m back and it’s foremost again I’ll be trying to catch up before next week’s trip to Boston for Web Design World.  If I don’t, and you wrote me, at least now you know why I seem to be blowing you off.

On a lighter note, I’d like to share one of the best literary interpretations I’ve seen in quite some time.

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