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The day before the mass exodus to Copenhagen was an exciting one at the Clearleft HQ. Tickets went on sale for dConstruct 2008.

Sales were going at their usual quick pace until five eighths of Clearleft were safely ensconced in Denmark. At that point, Murphy’s Law struck with a vengeance. The server at Joyent, where both Clearleft and dConstruct are hosted, decided to experience—to use the modern parlance—epic fail.

This was no minor outage. Our sites were down for days while we frantically moved our cyberworldly goods to a different host and waited for DNS changes to propagate. Joyent did finally managed to get our sites back up but we were faced with the unwanted time travel experience of losing five weeks of changes: that’s how infrequent their backups had been. Fortunately we had a somewhat more vigorous backup routine in our office so we were able to get things back to their pre-fail state.

So if you were trying to get hold of a dConstruct ticket but found your quest frustrated, I apologise. If you weren’t trying to get hold of a dConstruct ticket …are you crazy!? Don’t you realise that for a measly £125 (including VAT) you can attend the kickassingest conference there is?

Just look at that line-up: local games geek Aleks Krotoski; newly-published author Joshua Porter, designer-extraordinaire Daniel Burka, the microformats man himself, Tantek Çelik. Last year we had one brilliant Matt, this year we have two: the Dopplr duo of Jones and Biddulph. But most exciting of all, the event will be keynoted by Steven Johnson, author of Emergence, Everything Bad Is Good For You and most recently, The Ghost Map.

So what are you waiting for? Register now!

Oh. Wait. I think I’ve just figured out why you might not have yet grabbed a ticket. Perhaps you’ve noticed the little glitch in the line-up.

‘Tis true, I’m afraid. If you fork over one hundred and twenty five of your hard-earned squid, you’ll have to suffer through one of my rambling pretentious flights of fancy (unless you duck out early).

I have no idea what my name is doing on such an illustrious roll call but I’m going to do my utmost to live up to the honour. That means that, as September 5th approaches, I will be shitting bricks with ever-greater frequency. Why not come along to dConstuct 2008 at the Brighton Dome and watch me make me a complete idiot of myself?

Visual

Jason Kottke points to a a beautiful collection of literary maps by Stefanie Posavec. Meanwhile over on A List Apart there’s a new article by Wilson Miner called Accessible Data Visualization with Web Standards. He shows some of the nifty CSS tricks he used on EveryBlock. The end results are very impressive though I don’t necessarily agree with the assertion that when what we’re really building is navigation, tables are an awkward and often clumsy tool for the job — I still think that tables would have been not just semantically correct but also malleable enough with CSS. But I’m nitpicking. It’s a great article.

There was oodles of data visualisation goodness at BarCamp Brighton 2 courtesy of Robin Harrison. Check out the links from his presentation. As well as the Tufte favourite of Napoleon’s Russian invasion map, he mentioned Florence Nightingale’s map of mortality causes which reminded me of the cholera map of London. That is the subject of the newest book from Steven Johnson called The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic—and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World.

There are some fine examples of data visualisation over at the New York Times:

Some more data visualisation: