2008-12-26: Moments of Connection

We talk about connection a lot. We talk about social objects, social networks... technology to connect people.

But for all that, a lot of the time we remain distracted by the tools we're using. The experience is often "using the service" rather than "connecting with friends".

Then there are some moments which show us what connection really means.

2008-12-03: Choose your resolution

The old rules for supporting screen resolutions were simple. Monitors were basically all the same shape and new ones just got a little bigger... so all you really had to do was support the standard resolution of new monitors, plus one resolution "back". Easy!

But these days the rules aren't so simple. Desktop monitors are generally bigger, but they come in a variety of sizes and ratios; and users don't always maximise their browser windows anyway. People are browsing on tiny mobile phones that weren't really designed for anything longer than a text message. Devices like the iPhone, Nintendo Wii and Asus Eee PC are new and shiny, yet their resolution is retro.

2008-11-19: it's barcamp season...

Hot on the heels of barcampsydney, it's time for Queenslanders to get their barcamp on! BarCampGoldCoast 2 has just been announced. It's being held at Griffith Uni's Gold Coast campus on 29th November 2008. Registrations are open now; head on over and sign up.

They're also looking for sponsors - it's incredibly cheap ($150-300) to sponsor a barcamp, yet it puts your brand in front of some seriously bright people. So it rates very high on the 'bang for your promotional bucks' scale. [/pitch] ;)

Not only but also... word on the street is that there are barcamps coming up for Canberra and Adelaide. Keep an eye on http://barcamp.org/#Australia for details.

2008-10-06: wds08: the stream

What follows is Web Directions South 2008, as seen on my flickr and twitter streams. With some annotations where I felt it was appropriate. I kind of like the picture that emerges :)

wds08: the notes

In the tradition of my "big stonking posts", these are my notes from WDS08 - basically unfiltered for the most part (so, effectively they are "liveblog" in tone). Anything [inside square brackets] is an aside, my own thoughts rather than something the speaker said. I did think about putting these into the stream post, but it was just getting insanely long :)

2008-09-29: opera web standards curriculum updated

The second batch of articles has been released at the Opera Web Standards Curriculum. This update really gets the curriculum up to a full head of steam - students can now learn everything they need to know to create a valid, accessible, fully styled website. The next update will see the Javascript articles added.

I contributed two articles to this round... styling lists and links; and styling tables. They were chunkier topics than we originally imagined, as it turns out... :)

Anyway, if you haven't checked out the Opera Web Standards Curriculum already, head on over and take a look.

2008-09-10: adventures in blogger's openid support

Webjam 8 is announced. Awesome!

Need to register with OpenID. OK, well I signed up for one of the OpenID services a couple of years ago, but it was the least memorable URL in history and well, I can't even remember which service it was.

I do have a Blogger account though, which I can remember and should work for OpenID now: Blogger in Draft: New feature: Blogger as OpenID provider.

Awesome! My blog already has OpenID meta tags, so I bang in the URL.

Your blog is not supported for use as an OpenID URL. Please check the following: Is your blog externally hosted? OpenID is only supported for blogs hosted on Blogger...

Not awesome. I host my blog on my own domain. But wait! I can delegate to any blogspot-hosted blog: Blogger in Draft: Using Blogger’s OpenID with any URL

OK, so I need to make an extra blog on blogspot just for open ID. Not awesome, but hey it's their infrastructure. Hopefully they'll sort out the problem later anyway and I can delete it.

Add delegation meta tag to my real blog. Republish. Now my real blog is my OpenID URL.


2008-09-03: shiny chromey new things

It's not every day a whole new browser comes out. It's even less common for that new browser to make lead story status in mainstream media outlets*. But today both happened as Google released their browser, Chrome.

2008-08-30: ie8 not defaulting to ie8 rendering after all

A while back, Microsoft stunned the standards world by responding to developer objections and agreeing to have IE8 render like IE8 by default (and yes there are many things in that sentence that should be wrong, but aren't).

Nobody could quite believe that Microsoft would really do something that genuinely supported web standards, especially when they were reluctant to do it.

Sadly the disbelief was justified - Microsoft have now done a backflip on their backflip. IE8 won't always default to rendering in standards mode after all, interoperability principles notwithstanding.

2008-07-27: speaking gigs coming up

For those of you who don't obsessively read my sidebar (and my goodness I've no idea how you can be so lax ;)) I have some speaking gigs coming up (including one this coming week!):

2008-07-08: opera web standards curriculum

I've often been asked if I know of a good, comprehensive set of standards-based web development tutorials. Something to give a student or keen newbie so they can learn the right way to build websites from the ground up, instead of learning outdated techniques they'll just need to replace.

2008-06-15: wordle meme

Meme: Go to your blog/website/whatever. Select-all (ctrl-a) and copy. Then head to Wordle, paste your clipboard into the text area and voila!

wordle tag cloud

Wordle takes a block of text and extracts keywords into a tag cloud. The cool thing is you can drop in any text. A fun exercise for the reader... compare the homepages of your favourite media outlets ;)

2008-05-07: dragonfly: developer tools for opera

Update 2011.05.06: Dragonfly has finally gone 1.0! It has matured a great deal since this post and is an extremely well-featured tool. You can now access it using Right Click → Inspect Element.

It has become more or less expected that browsers will release developer tools. Firefox really pushed this concept with its developer toolbar and, of course, Firebug.

Opera has been hinting at the release of developer tools for a while; and when dragonfly.opera.com went live, speculation was that we knew what they were going to be called. Well the release date is finally here and yes, Opera has released an alpha of their developer tools - Opera Dragonfly.

2008-04-01: captioning sucks

I don't know if you've ever tried to use TV captions in Australia or not, but from my small experience I sure wouldn't want to rely on them. Most shows have some level of captioning via teletext, which is good; but I've rarely seen a show with flawless captioning. Meanwhile, others are simply unintelligible.

2008-03-29: barcampsydney3

BarCampSydney is coming up again! BarCampSydney3 will be on 5th and 6th April (Saturday and Sunday) at the Roundhouse at UNSW Kensington.

If you haven't BarCamped before, it's a freeform conference. The agenda, speaker list etc is all decided on the fly by the people who are there on the day. It's inspiring, it's fun, it can be a pretty intense day of ideas and discussion. In short, it's geek heaven.

It has nothing to do with bars, although it does usually end up in the pub.

If you're planning to go, head on over to the BarCampSydney3 signup page. Note that the wiki password is at the bottom of the login page, if you get prompted.

2008-02-09: interview about the Australian IT homepage


A little while ago, we reached a milestone at NDM - the Australian IT homepage passed a W3C validation check, advertisements and all. For the uninitiated, that might not sound like much. But for anyone who's worked on a big site with third party code, you can probably guess that it wasn't a quick and easy accomplishment.

I talk about this further in an interview with Maxine, just published over at the Web Directions South site: Web Directions South | Validation: coming soon to a web site near you.

2008-01-25: X-UA-Compatible: let sleeping intranets lie?

The longer I think about X-UA-Compatible, the more I think it's not really about "not breaking the web". I think it's about "not breaking big bad web apps".

While it's possible that Microsoft wants to be friends with standardistas, or at least make us shut up, they really don't want to be enemies with a much larger group - large web application vendors and administrators.

forthcoming events

If you are in Sydney, Melbourne or Perth there's stuff coming up you should go to:

Update: let's add to the list... Web Directions has just announced Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra dates. No details precisely what the two new events will be, though. Anyway, details at Web Directions South: 2008.

2008-01-08: dashing into trouble - why html comments break in firefox

[Or, When Minutiae Attack!]

Update 2011.10.17: a quick test in Firefox 6 and 7 suggests they've finally fixed this issue. With the suggestion that FF 3.6 will reach EOL in the near future, we might finally be able to say goodbye to this curious little problem.

There's a perennial question that pops up on email lists and from other developers. The question goes something like this:

"This page works fine in everything except Firefox and I can't tell why... it's showing an HTML comment as raw code..."

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