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Archive: May 2004

Look Back In Awe

Just in case you haven’t seen it yet, John Allsopp posted a nostalgic note about the early days of CSS.  If you want to know who I hung out with back in the day, John’s got most of the names right there for you, and links to many of them.  There’s even a link to the CSS Samurai page, which I thought was long dead, and was greatly amused to read.

To John’s recollections, I would add Chris Lilley, who’s since been much more involved in SVG and other things; and Susan Lesch, who’s now at the W3C but back then was at macvirus.com.  (There’s a reason I didn’t link to that address, by the way.  If you go, make sure you can block popups.)

A more recent event of note is that it was a year ago today that the CSS Zen Garden opened its gates to the world.  Congratulations on an incredible first year, Dave.  I’m honored to have been able to contribute to the Garden in that time, and eternally grateful (and a little jealous) that you created such an awesome resource.  It opened a lot of doors, and a lot more eyes and minds.

Wakka Wakka Doo Doo Yeah!

I spotted a link to PacManhattan over at SimpleBits, and was immediately stunned.  I mean, sure, it’s like an episode of “When Geeks Go Crazy,” what with the use of cellular and WiFi communications to update player positions, and the Web-based arcade view of a live game in progress, but think about it.  These people are running around entire blocks of New York City just to play a live-action version of a 1980’s video game.  They’re actually getting exercise.  They won’t just be toning their wrists; this is a total-body workout.  That’s so not geeky.

Can’t you just hear the guy playing PacMan trying to cross the street?  “Hey!  I’m wakka wakka wakkin’ here!”

MEMoC Under Review

Andy King, author of the excellent Speed Up Your Site and purveyor of fine content at the new Optimization Week, has posted a very nice review of More Eric Meyer on CSS.  I think this might be the first official review of the book, and if he posts it over at Amazon it will very likely be the first review there as well be one of the first few reviews over there (someone posted the first review some time today!).

According to Andy, Jeffrey Zeldman (who just launched a superfine redesign over at The Daily Report) and I “actually make standards sexy.”  Oh, yes, big boy… mark up my content, you style stud, you…

Okay, I promise never to do that again.

If there are other reviews out there and I’ve missed them, please let me know!

Concerts… On A Steeck

This proceeds past cool, tears through ultra-cool, and lands somewhere to the west of übercool:  taking home a recording of a live show on a USB memory stick the same night you heard the show.  And it’s legal!  One wonders how much money the band gets for sales of their show.  If I were a club owner, I’d split my take with the band 50/50, but then that’s just me.

Maybe the recording industry could stop whining about piracy and bootlegging long enough to examine some of these new approaches to helping fans get the music they want, and spend some time thinking about how they could do the same kind of thing.  Nahhh… that would make too much sense.

Presentation Files Online

The presentation files from NOTACON and the UIUC Webmaster Forum are now available on the Events page (and the Events Archive page) over at Complex Spiral Consulting.  Share and enjoy.

Chat Lunatique

So there was a big deal made out of the fact that iChat AV 2.1 and AIM 5.5 can do videoconferencing.  Apple’s iChat page and a press release from AOL both proudly announce how the two can interoperate.  For example, here’s an excerpt from the AOL press release:

The new live video instant messaging feature in AIM 5.5 is fully compatible with iChat AV 2.1, Apple’s breakthrough video conferencing technology. Now AOL users from a PC can tap into the worldwide community of iChat AV users on Macs. iChat AV 2.1, the latest version of iChat AV was released by Apple today…

This would be ideal for me, as my father has AOL and the latest version of AIM for Windows XP.  He’s also moving to Florida, where he’ll have broadband.  So I view this as the perfect way for him to keep in closer touch with us, and to be able to see Carolyn as she grows, even though he’ll be living a thousand or so miles away.  When she gets older, it will be a way for her to keep in touch with him as well.

Now, neither Dad nor I own a camera yet, but we do both have microphones, so I thought I’d test out the audio chat capability.  So far, zippo.  He and I have both made sure we have the right versions of our client software.  We can’t establish an audio connection.

So, has anyone gotten this to actually work, and if so, how?  I’ve opened up all the ports I can find that even seem to be halfway relevant, as per an Apple KB article I found, and have checked my router to be sure it’s allowing traffic on those ports, but I still can’t establish an audio connection with AIM users.  Text chatting, no problem, but I don’t even get an audio-chat icon in my Buddy List.  I do get one for all the iChat users in my List, and have audio-chatted with a number of them.  Do we both have to own a camera for this to work?  I had figured, you know, if video conferencing was supported then audio conferencing must be supported, but perhaps that would be expecting things to make too much sense.

If anyone out there has a solution, or even a pointer to information about it, comments are most welcome.

Switcheroo

I’ve converted “Thoughts From Eric” over to use WordPress, dropping my lovingly hand-crafted XML/XSLT solution for something packaged.  Since there’s no actual package, I guess I use that term somewhat loosely, but then I was also being very loose with the term “lovingly,” at least as pertains to XSLT.  I decided to go with WordPress because it’s all driven by HTML+CSS layout, and it uses PHP to generate the HTML.  I don’t know from PHP, but I can figure it out well enough to hack in the features I want, and the CSS-driven nature of the layout means I can do my own thing in a jiffy.  In this case, that meant bending the PHP files to produce markup consistent with the old meyerweb, and then applying my existing style sheets to the result.  Thus the visual consistency between yesterday and today.

Some changes that may or may not be of interest to you:

  • By default, comment posting will be disabled but trackbacks will be permitted.  I expect things to stay that way until I decide what my policy will be regarding anonymous posting, comment spammers, and the like.  I’ll open up commenting on the occasional question post—I expect to put up one later today, in fact—but I won’t be opening up every post for comments.  I’ve taken note of how that’s gone at some other sites, and have rarely liked what I’ve seen.
  • All feeds will continue to use excerpts; I will not be publishing full-content feeds, mostly because if I did y’all would saturate the outgoing pipes.  Yes, dammit, bandwidth does still matter.
  • Both RSS feeds have lost their word-count and category information.  As soon as I figure out how to recreate those in WordPress, they’ll be back.  I had them figured out for WP1.0.2, but the very same functions seem to silently fail in WP1.2 beta, which is what I’m using.  I’ll get it worked out eventually.
  • The RSS2.0 feed now includes <pubDate> elements for your sorting pleasure.  FeedDemon users of the world, rejoice.
  • About 300 back-catalog posts (roughly speaking, December 1999 through October 2002) all got dumped into the “General” category.  You might not want to try to read that category all in one shot.
  • I’ll likely fiddle with the categorization of old posts as I come across them, so don’t do anything that depends on a post being in a particular category.  No, I have no idea what that might be.
  • The old archive pages still exist, so your permalinks won’t break.  If you want to update them to the new URIs, that would be appreciated, but if not, no big deal.
  • The vast majority of posts, including posts up through last month, show as having been published precisely at midnight.  That’s because the old archive file didn’t carry time information for those posts, not because I’m an obsessive-compulsive night owl.
  • Posts now show their categories, and clicking on said category names gets you a list of every post in the category.  Right now, that means a page that shows the full post content for every post in the category.  I plan to create a condensed-summary category view at some point.
  • I’ll probably also continue fiddling with the layout, displayed information, and various other aspects of the post and archive pages.  Just don’t refer to a particular layout idea in a debate unless you grab a screenshot, that’s all.

That’s about it.  I just thought some of you out there would be interested in the details.

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