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Archive: 2002

Waiting For the Ebb

We all have fluctuating stress levels in our lives, and I’m currently fighting through a relative high tide.  Starting a few days ago, all kinds of pressure came flowing in, and I keep waiting for the ebb.  A while back, I assembled the “Fear” quadrology in iTunes, and it was the first thing I fired up this morning.

To you—is it movement, or is it action? Is it contact, or just reaction? And you—revolution, or just resistance? Is it living, or just existence?
(from “The Enemy Within“)

After the quadrology finishes, it’s a tossup between The Prodigy and Trevor Pinnock and the English Concert.  That should tell you how divergent my internal states are getting.

Nevertheless, I’m still interested in hearing about outbound traffic rates for large sites (see Saturday’s entry).  I’ve found a few plans that charge a nickel per megabyte—is that about the average?  Anyone paying a lot more or less than that?

Back From Beantown

Kat and I just got back from a week in Boston, where Molly and I presented at User Interface 7 East.  The gang at User Interface Engineering put on an amazing conference, and I’m really looking forward to the next one.

As usual I’m trying to catch up with my e-mail, but in a bid to make it worse, I have a question maybe some of you can answer.  If you pay for your site based on the bandwidth its traffic consumes, how much are you paying for that bandwidth?  I’m not interested in the monthly charge for flat-rate plans so much as I am the per-megabyte fee for large volume accounts, or what you pay for exceeding your monthly quota.  Please let me know.

Wired With Standards

Wired News has redesigned their site, and not just the front end, either: the really important stuff all happened behind the scenes.  Using no tables to lay out the page, but instead applying CSS to XHTML, the site is a stunning example of how standards can be made to work today.  They have an article with some details (and a few quotes from yours truly).

There are a few flies in this ointment, but they’re fairly understandable.  The pages don’t always validate, in part because of third-party advertisement code (which is notoriously horrible) and in part because converting seven-plus years of pages isn’t a simple task.  Actually, most of their validation errors seem to involve unencoded ampersands in URLs, which ought to be easy enough to fix.

The Web Standards Project calls this a gutsy move, and I agree.  A site with their kind of traffic has to make a big commitment to do something like this and stick to it.  The management of Wired is to be applauded for approving this move, and the men behind the scenes deserve even more applause for their work.  Look for a DevEdge article soon where we interview Douglas Bowman, the point man on the Wired redesign.

Put Up or…

A random thought that came to me at 6:40am as I was pulling records for my radio show: wouldn’t it be cool if we restructured our government so that any declaration of war had to be approved by a majority vote of the country’s citizens, and those who voted in favor of the war were required to report for combat duty if the war referendum passed?  I suppose those physically unable to fight could be required to fund another soldier’s training, transportation, supplies, and funeral (if necessary).

I just wonder how many people would be willing to go to war if they knew they’d have to fight in it, or at least go broke for it—and how much more likely it would be to create a situation where we only went to war when it was felt truly necessary and just to do so.

Like In a Funhouse Mirror

I’m a little late coming to this party, but it was worth posting anyway: Ted Rall’s War Cry.  It just doesn’t sound quite so reasonable when we’re the rhetorical target, does it?

Catching Up

In all the head-pounding over learning XSLT last week, I let some things slide by without comment, so I’ll try to cover them all in a single post.  (And remember, if you have an RSS aggregator, you can syndicate these posts via my RSS feed!)

In early November, I’ll be appearing at Meet The Makers New York on a “standards mini-panel” with Jeffrey Zeldman, so I’d better get around to calling Moishe.  There will also be a San Francisco Meet The Makers where my co-worker Arun will be on a panel with Tantek Çelik of Microsoft.  You might be able to score a free VIP ticket to either event if you hurry (and are willing to fill out the questionnaire).

I’ve added more information to the upcoming events on my Speaking page, including promotional codes for events that have them.  I disclose when using a code will make me money, and have been thinking about ways to turn those into community-building exercises.  Maybe I’ll take everyone who used my code(s) to a group dinner, assuming I can come up with a way to verify code use.

Last week, we published a CSS2.1 Quick Reference sidebar tab for Gecko-based browsers, and French translations of the CSS2 and DOM2 sidebar tabs, to the Sidebars area of the DevEdge Toolbox.  I also published a technical note on fixing list-item marker size in the NS6.x series.

Over the weekend, I not only dug into more XSLT (which almost made me pound my head against a wall, again), but I wrote some Javascript bookmarklets to help manage the administration of css-discuss.  It’s been a while since I thought of myself as a programmer, and I certainly am no expert—but it’s been good to stretch those mental muscles again, after so long.  The neural paths needed for exploring and using CSS and structural markup aren’t the same as those needed for programming.  The sense of achievement I felt when I figured out how to do what I wanted to do was a welcome change of pace.

It’s really cold in our house right now, but at least the shaking and banging of workmen dismantling our 82-year-old boiler has stopped.  Kat and I are sort of sad to see the old beast go, but since it had suddenly started leaking enough carbon monoxide to form its own atmospheric system, we don’t exactly regret replacing it.  The replacement boiler is almost ridiculously smaller than our old boiler.  I have trouble believing that it can heat the basement, let alone the whole house.

A Transformation In My Thinking

Recently, at the urging of a well-known Web dude, I added “permalinks” to the entries here.  That’s what the little paragraph symbols are all about.  At that point, I figured that I ought to drop all of my past posts into some kind of system that could automatically generate said “permalinks,” as well as allow me to finally publish an RSS feed.

Most people would say “I’ll use Blogger!” or “time to install Moveable Type!” but I didn’t really want to run a CMS package just to store and syndicate my random mutterings.  So I of course did the obvious thing, and decided to pour the whole archive into XML, using my own private markup, and then teach myself XSLT so I could take that archive and produce whatever output I wanted—the home page’s five most recent entries, the permalink archives, an RSS feed, whatever.  Okay, there was an actual work-related reason: learning XSLT will make me better able to help manage DevEdge, which is driven by XML, XSLT, and CSS.  But mostly I was doing my usual thing, and effectively learning how to fly a helicopter just to get to the corner grocery store.

So here it is!  You syndicators can pick up the RSS feed if you like, and be automatically informed whenever I work up the energy to write another entry.  Aren’t you lucky?  I know you’ve just been dying to see this happen.  I even went to the effort of writing entry titles, which I didn’t have before, just to make the feed content look better.  Who loves ya?

Now I’ll probably decide to teach myself HTTP and Perl just to build my own skeletal RSS aggregator.  Yeah, that sounds reasonable…

Futurespeak

I’ve added upcoming events to my Speaking page, so now all you stalkers can effectively plan ahead.  These join the previously available archive of presentation files from past speaking engagements.

I’m working on some back-end improvements to the site, so there isn’t much else to talk about right now.  The political scene is too depressing to talk about now, so I’m not even going there.  Maybe in a few days I’ll have some cool things to ramble on about.

April 2014
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