This Saturday afternoon—the day after FFConf—there’s an accessibility meet-up in the Caxton Arms here in Brighton with lighting talks (I’m planning to give one). ‘Twould be lovely to see you there.
Tuesday, November 8th, 2016
Thursday, June 30th, 2016
The website for Brighton’s astronomy meet up:
Every month we will have one or two talks aimed at beginners with an interest in learning more about astronomy, but assuming no prior knowledge.
Also, we will take our telescopes out to observe in and around Brighton on clear evenings - on the seafront, Hove and Preston Park, Devil’s Dyke and beyond.
Sunday, October 18th, 2015
The inaugural London accessibility meet-up is happening on October 28th with two great presenters: Robin Christopherson and Julie Howell—that’s right; she’s coming out of retirement for one last talk!
Thursday, August 6th, 2015
Brighton Homebrew Website Club
I really enjoyed the most recent Indie Web Camp in Brighton. Some of us were discussing at the event how it’s a shame that it only happens once or twice year, considering how much everyone manages to accomplish at each one.
Well, to help keep the momentum going, Charlotte and I are going to start running a Homebrew Website Club meetup here in Brighton. It’ll take place every second Wednesday in the auditorium—or, if that’s not available, the Clearleft office—here at 68 Middle Street from 6:30pm to 7:30pm (although myself and Charlotte will be there from 6pm so feel free to show up early).
There’s no set agenda to these meetups. Simply put, it’s a chance to work on your personal site or side project while in the company of either people doing the same thing. We can help each other out, or just have a chance to chat and compare notes, very much in the spirit of the original Homebrew Computer Club …but applied to your own website.
The first Brighton Homebrew Website Club meetup is on Wednesday, August 12th. It would be lovely to see you there.
Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014
Responding to the Responsive Web: Insights on Reshaping User Experience - The Digital Pond (London, England) - Meetup
Sally and I will be speaking at this free evening in London on August 7th.
Wednesday, January 8th, 2014
I was up in London yesterday to spend the day with the web developers of a Clearleft client, talking front-end architecture and strategies for implementing responsive design. ‘Twas a good day, although London always tires me out quite a bit.
On this occasion, I didn’t head straight back to Brighton. Instead I braved the subterranean challenges of the Tube to make my way across london to Google Campus, where a panel discussion was taking place. This was Meet The TAG.
TAG is the Technical Architecture Group at the W3C. It doesn’t work on any one particular spec. Instead, it’s a sort of meta-group to steer how standards get specified.
Gathered onstage yesterday evening were TAG members Anne van Kesteren, Tim Berners-Lee, Alex Russell, Yehuda Katz, and Daniel Appelquist (Henry Thompson and Sergey Konstantinov were also there, in the audience). Once we had all grabbed a (free!) beer and settled into our seats, Bruce kicked things off with an excellent question: in the intros, multiple TAG members mentioned their work as guiding emerging standards to make sure they matched the principles of the TAG …but what are those principles?
It seemed like a fairly straightforward question, but it prompted the first rabbit hole of the evening as Alex and Yehuda focussed in on the principle of “layering”—stacking technologies in a sensible way that provides the most power to web developers. It’s an important principle for sure, but it didn’t really answer Bruce’s question. I was tempted to raise my hand and reformulate Bruce’s question into three parts:
- Does the Technical Architecture Group have design principles?
- If so, what are there?
- And are they written down somewhere?
There’s a charter and that contains a mission statement, but that’s not the same as documenting design principles. There is an extensible web manifesto—that does document design principles—which contains the signatures of many (but not all) TAG members …so does that represent the views of the TAG? I’d like to get some clarification on that.
The extensible web manifesto does a good job of explaining the thinking behind projects like web components. It’s all about approaching the design of new browser APIs in a sensible (and extensible) way.
I mentioned that the TAG were a kind of meta-standards body, and in a way, what the extensible web manifesto—and examples like web components—are proposing is a meta-approach to how browsers implement new features. Instead of browser makers (in collaboration with standards bodies) creating new elements, UI widgets and APIs, developers will create new elements and UI widgets.
When Yehuda was describing this process, he compared it with the current situation. Currently, developers have to petition standards bodies begging them to implement some new kind of widget and eventually, if you’re lucky, browsers might implement it. At this point I interrupted to ask—somewhat tongue-in-cheek—”So if we get web components, what do we need standards bodies for?” Alex had an immediate response for that: standards bodies can look at what developers are creating, find the most common patterns, and implement them as new elements and widgets.
“I see,” I said. “So browsers and standards bodies will have a kind of ‘rough consensus’ based on …running code?”
“Yes!”, said Alex, laughing. “Jeremy Keith, ladies and gentlemen!”
But one thing slightly puzzled me. The idea of everyone creating whatever new elements they want isn’t a new one. That’s the whole idea behind XML (and by extension, XHTML) and yet the very same people who hated the idea of that kind of extensibility are the ones who are most eager about web components.
Playing devil’s advocate, I asked “How come the same people who hated RDF love web components?” (although what I really meant was RDFa—a means of extending HTML).
I got two answers. The first one was from Alex. Crucially, he said, a web component comes bundled with instructions on how it works. So it’s useful. That’s a big, big difference to the Tower of Babel scenario where everyone could just make up their own names for elements, but browsers have no idea what those names mean so effectively they’re meaningless.
The evening inevitably included a digression into the black hole of DRM. As always, the discussion got quite heated and I don’t think anybody was going to change their minds. I tried to steer things away from the ethical questions and back to the technical side of things by voicing my concerns with the security model of EME. Reading the excellent description by Henri, sentences like this should give you the heebie-jeebies:
But the whole DRM discussion was, fortunately, curtailed by Anne who was ostensibly moderating the panel. Before it was though, Sir Tim made one final point. Because of the heat of the discussion, people were calling for us to separate the societal questions (around intellectual property and payment) from the technical ones (around encryption). But, Sir Tim pointed out, that separation isn’t really possible. Even something as simple as the hyperlink has political assumptions built in about the kind of society that would value being able to link resources together and share them around.
That’s an important point, well worth remembering: all software is political. That’s one of the reasons why I’d really appreciate an explicit documentation of design principles from the Technical Architecture Group.
Still, it was a very valuable event. Bruce has also written down his description of the evening. Many thanks to Dan and the rest of the TAG team for putting it together. I’m very glad I went along. As well as the panel discussion, it was really nice to chat to Paul and have the chance to congratulate Jeni in person on her appearance on her OBE.
Alas, I couldn’t stick around too long—I had to start making the long journey back to Brighton—so I said my goodbyes and exited. I didn’t have the opportunity to speak to Tim Berners-Lee directly, which is probably just as well: I’m sure I would’ve embarrassed myself by being a complete fanboy.
Thursday, August 15th, 2013
This is a great idea—the Brighton Cookbook Club:
You know when you get a new cookbook, but you only ever end up using two or three recipes from it? Coming along to Cookbook Club means that you’ll get to try a whole range of recipes from one book to see what you fancy, maybe broaden your palate, and have a jolly fun evening meeting others while you’re at it!
Monday, September 24th, 2012
Do you live in Charlotte, North Carolina? If so, you might be interested in this event that I’ll be Skyping into.
Wednesday, January 7th, 2009
Organisers of BarCamps â€” and other geek gatherings â€” take note: Campaign Monitor will provide sponsorship in the shape of pizza and drink.
Wednesday, October 29th, 2008
Trying to find the perfect geek venue for meetups, coworking, networking and boozing in Brighton. I love the smell of scenius in the morning.
Monday, March 31st, 2008
Live in San Diego? Interested in web standards? Come along tomorrow to the inaugural San Diego Web Standards Group meetup. You won't regret it.
Friday, August 10th, 2007
Videos ands slides from the recent Oxford Geek Night.
Sunday, July 15th, 2007
This is simply marvelous! A meatspace gathering of musicians that know each other threw the Irish music website I run, The Session. I wish I could have been there.
Monday, June 25th, 2007
A list of just some of the cool geek stuff going on in Brighton right now. This town really does rock.
Sunday, March 11th, 2007
Upcoming events about Identity. A lot of these are happening in Europe; I should try to get to one.
Thursday, March 1st, 2007
Gareth has mashed up Google Maps with meatspace geek gatherings in the UK.
Wednesday, October 18th, 2006
It’s seems like I’m going up and down to London like a yo-yo this week.
On Monday, I gave a day of Ajax training at
Yesterday evening was the Opera event which, despite the technical hitches, ended up being an enjoyable night out. Once the sales pitches and PowerPoint were out of the way, everyone was able to relax and enjoy the free booze, the mysterious canapés, and of course, the company.
After my talk and my hasty blog post, I spent the remainder of the evening explaining to people that no, I don’t have any connection to Opera, and wishing I had introduced myself before I started spouting my little after-dinner speech.
Today is the one day I won’t be getting on a train to the big smoke. Band practice takes precedence. Tomorrow, though, I’ll be returning to the bosom of mother London.
The second ever Web Standards Group meetup in London is taking place at the New Cavendish Street campus of Westminster University. The theme of the evening is microformats. Norm!, Drew and I will be covering the past, present and future of the single coolest thing happening on the Web right now. Why not join us for an evening of entertainment and education? The event is free. You can find more details on the Upcoming page. Try to get there for around half past six. Afterwards, we’ll decamp to the Bricklayer’s Arms for drinks ‘till late.
Be there or be square.
Tuesday, June 14th, 2005