Archive: September, 2005


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Friday, September 30th, 2005

Ipod My Baby

Cute baby wear for geek parents.

He comes from a land down under

The podcasts and the photos have started coming in from Web Essentials in Syndey. Oh, how I wish I could be there!

But if I can’t go to Australia, I can still bring an Australian to me.

As I was browsing through photos from my contacts on Flickr, I noticed that Daniel Boud was posting pictures from England. A quick browse of his website revealed his itinerary. I noticed that he had a few free days this week so I invited him down to Brighton.

Dan was a charming and gracious guest. I endeavoured to show him the sights of Brighton to provide fodder by his camera. Despite our best efforts, we couldn’t get arrested (or even stopped and searched) for taking pictures of the Labour Party conference. I did manage to get him to a small, thrashy, noisy gig by some Swedish riot grrrls. He fitted right in.

Dan is off to New York next and San Francisco after that. If you live in either of those places and you’d like to meet a charming antipodeon blogger who happens to be a supremely talented photographer, drop him a line (his email address is on his website).

Wednesday, September 28th, 2005

Connecting the dots

Whilst trawling through my regular RSS feeds last month, I came across this plea from Min Jung Kim:

"I’ve decided to try and move forward with keeping my phat apartment and finding 3 new roommates for the place. Instead of going the blind craigslist route, I’m hoping that friends or friends-of-friends will help me hook this up."

Then, a few days later, I saw this post from Sergio Villarreal:

"I’ll be moving to San Francisco shortly, and I could use some help finding a nice apartment near public transportation. I’m also one hell of a roommate (feel free to construe that as you like), so if you’re looking, do drop me a line."

I made both authors aware of the other’s blog post.

Cue music.

Monday, September 26th, 2005

Stop & Search form for a photographer in Brighton

He took a picture of a building. Note the tick next to terrorism.


Belgium, man, Belgium

While I was away in Florida, an opportunity arose for a Salter Cane concert. We were offered the support slot for Holly Golightly.

The concert was happening straight after Jessica and I returned, with no chance for a rehearsal beforehand. In true rock’n’roll, flying by the seat of our pants fashion, we went ahead and played the gig anyway. It went surprisingly well. I think we won over some new converts.

Unfortunately, the gig coincided with a concert by Okkervil River. I’m a big fan of theirs so I was very disappointed to have missed them.

However, I may be able to catch them on another leg of their European tour. They’re playing in Brussels on the 14th of October. Dame fortune smiles upon me and grants a happy coincidence: I too will be in Brussels for le weekend.

I’ll be attending Europe’s first Information Architecture summit. At first, I was only idly toying with the idea of taking off to Belgium for a weekend of IA and frites but an irresistible offer on the Eurostar website clinched it for me.

The conference itself is very reasonably priced and has some interesting items on the agenda. I’m looking forward to hearing Thomas Vander Wal talking about the Personal InfoCloud (although I may have spoiled that for myself by listening to the podcast from Webvisions).

If you’re thinking about attending (and you should be), drop me a line and we’ll meet up to eat moules and sample some of Belgium’s 450 beers.

Sunday, September 25th, 2005

Liquid Designs

This is something I always meant to do but never got around to: a gallery site for good liquid design.

Saturday, September 24th, 2005

What's wrong with this picture?

Spot the anachronism from the forthcoming movie, Good Night And Good Luck.

Friday, September 23rd, 2005

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Suspicious behaviour on the tube

A truly frightening description of what can happen to any person in Britain today.

Thursday, September 22nd, 2005

Beach to beach

Hurricane Rita has swept past Florida as it heads out across the Gulf of Mexico towards Texas.

The storm didn’t come anywhere near Saint Augustine but its effects could still be felt. For the past few days, a red flag has been flying on the beach. The waves and churning and it’s a bit too scary for my liking. It might be a good environment for kitesurfing but it’s not so great if, like me, you’re learning how to swim.

Nonetheless, over the course of my stay here at the beach house, I’ve spent a significant fraction of my time immersed, if not quite submerged, in saline water as I either frantically thrashed my limbs or simply floated on the surface. The rest of my time mostly involved shrimp and the eating thereof.

Today, I’m heading back to Blighty. It doesn’t look like Rita has affected flights out of Orlando so I’m hoping that the flight back will be as uneventful as the outward journey which I timed at three movies and a podcast in length.

The next time I see the Atlantic ocean it will be at the other end of the Gulf Stream in the significantly less florid setting of Brighton & Hove.

Wednesday, September 21st, 2005

Pirate fallout

Monday, as I mentioned, was Talk Like A Pirate day. It most gratifying to see so many people using my pirate-speak page converter.

But the amusement doesn’t stop just because Talk Like A Pirate day is over. I’ve been getting some hilarious emails ever since.

This, for example, is from the Managing Director of Aeronautical Services And Procedures:

“Why have you got my front web page on your site? … and why is it defaced??”

Scott Vezdos writes:

“Please remove the pages from your web site regarding KUNI Public Radio 90.9 FM - specifically the “talk like a pirate” section using design layout, graphics and text from our web site. These pages you have copied are copyrighted material and the property of KUNI Public Radio.”

I informed him that I wasn’t hosting any of his files but I pointed him to some websites that are. Here’s a snippet from my reply:

“I found some other websites that have stolen the materials on your site… Google, Yahoo! There may be more. I suggest you write threatening emails to all of these sites: they have copied your copyrighted material… The scurvy dogs!”


Most of you probably know this already, but I’ve joined forces with Andy and Richard. Collectively, we are known as Clearleft.

Yeah, it’s a geeky name: kind of an in-joke for any CSS designers. I wanted us to be known as Super Best Friends Club but the others weren’t so keen on that idea.

Clearleft is a registered company. A real, proper grown-up company. Gulp!

Andy and Richard are the company directors. I am what’s known as a non-executive director. Like, you know when they have ex-prime ministers on the board of a company? That’s me. I am to Clearleft as Al Gore is to Apple (except I didn’t invent the internet). Basically, I’m still technically freelancing but I’ll be gradually moving all my work over to Clearleft. At some future point, I’ll probably become a fully fledged director complete with anointing ceremony.

The company has been up and running for a little while now and we’ve just launched the first incarnation of our website.

It’s a fairly bare-bones brochureware affair. It will be expanded over time with articles, a blog, case studies and anything else that life throws at us.

If you hate the design, blame Andy. If the site architecture and copy makes you puke, it’s Richard’s fault. If you have issues with the XHTML, CSS or JavaScript, I’m the culprit.

Google Secure Access

Looks like Google is getting into the WiFi game.

Tuesday, September 20th, 2005

Opera is free

As in beer.

Monday, September 19th, 2005

Progressive Layout

Using JavaScript to serve up fixed or liquid layout based on browser width.

Talk like a pirate, me hearties

Don’t forget, ye scurvy dogs: September 19th is "Talk Like A Pirate" day. I suggest sailing the seas of the internet in the hold of my trusty ol’ piratifier, arrr…

Sunday, September 18th, 2005

Small world of pastry

I first met Cindy Li in Austin at South by Southwest. When she later visited England, she stayed over at Chez J&J in Brighton.

Now, Cindy lives in Washington DC (working at AOL) but her family live in Jacksonville, Florida. Jacksonville is close to Saint Augustine where Jessica’s family have their beach house. Naturally, Jessica inquired as to whether Cindy ever made it down to Saint Augustine. Indeed she had, back in her school days. The main reason for visiting Saint Augustine was to go to a French pastry shop where wonderful delights, like a cream-puff swan, were served up.

As it turned out, the French pastry shop was very well known to Jessica’s family. In fact, the Belgian owners of the shop (Guy and Christine Denoel) are old friends of the Spenglers.

So there we were in England, all discussing the cream-puff swans from a little pastry shop in a North Florida town. It was an obtuse but somehow fitting point of connection.

Fast forward to last month. Jessica and I are preparing for our holiday in Saint Augustine. Whilst IMing with Cindy, I find out that she was thinking of visiting the folks in Jacksonville at the same time. Plans are drawn up and a rendez-vous is arranged.

Jessica and I met Cindy’s cousin (and her adorable little daughter) and Cindy met all of Jessica’s family. Together, we went to the French pastry shop and indulged in napoleons, eclairs and of course, a cream-puff swan.

A smiling Cindy holds up a pastry swan

Sunday, September 11th, 2005

Have iPod, will travel

I’ll be travelling to Gatwick airport tomorrow morning to board a plane bound for Florida. Now that the state seems to be relatively hurricane-free, it’s as good a time as any to take a break and hang out at the beach house.

I fully intend to spend as much time as possible gorging myself on shrimp and paddling in the warm Atlantic ocean with the occasional passing pelican for company. That said, I will still be tethered to the internet.

Last time I was on holiday, I was in Alaska and I spent a significant proportion of my time squirrelled away in my cabin, writing book chapters. Now, the book is finished but I’ve still got writing that needs to get done. So I’ll be out on the back porch, iBook in lap, stringing words together that will hopefully form some coherent articles about DOM Scripting.

I’m just about packed and ready to go. I’ve got my swimming trunks, I’ve got my iBook and I’ve got my iPod. Said iPod is loaded up with plenty of music and podcasts. It also contains a little something else I’ve put together…

Normally I wouldn’t point to something new over on "my other site" but this is pretty cool: I’ve put together a Podbook containing the entire reference section of my book. It uses the Notes feature of the iPod to create a self-contained look up for DOM methods and properties. Just download a .zip file, unzip it and drag the resultant folder the Notes section of your iPod.

Voila! I can spend the nine hour flight to Orlando scrolling through all the DOM geekery I could ever need… or I could try to get some writing done.

Brain tumor removal - a photoset on Flickr

As far as photoblogging an event goes, this is a hard one to beat.

So cute (she is)

Tuesday, September 6th, 2005

An Event Apart News: Lightning Strikes

Eric and Jeffrey are going to the city of brotherly love.

Sunday, September 4th, 2005

Entertaining Joe

My brief foray to Londinium is at an end. On a balmy Wednesday evening, Jessica, Joe and I went to Leicester Square to watch a captioned film: the wonderfully entertaining Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Afterwards, Jessica and I (sans Joe) enjoyed a wonderful meal in a cosy Soho restaurant.

Joe Clark’s one day workshop was, needless to say, most edifying and educational. Equally enjoyable was the opportunity to meet and chat with the attendees from The Guardian, MTV, RNIB and other stalwart institutions. Much fun was had during and following the workshop. I always relish any opportunity to mingle with my fellow geeks.

I’m back from London now and I’ve brought Joe back with me. I’ve been showing him the sights and sounds of Brighton but all he wants to do is take pictures of shop-front type and the arse end of trucks. He is subsisting on a diet of Jessica’s vegan pizza and my vegan chilli. He will be returned to Canada unharmed.

Saturday, September 3rd, 2005

Accessibility… why can’t we all just get along?

A transcript of the panel from SxSW, painstakingly transcribed by James Craig. Audio is also available.

Friday, September 2nd, 2005

Glenn Feron - The Art of Retouching

Airbrushing with Photoshop.