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Tuesday, January 31st, 2023

The preserved body of an enormous squid in a long transparent tank. Two people standing to one side give some sense of the scale. A collection of specimens, mostly fish and one tortoise, with labels from Darwin’s voyage on the Beagle. Rows and rows of transparent containers filled with creatures preserved in liquid in an underground industrial room.

I met Archie the giant squid, Darwin’s tortoise, and many, many other fine specimens thanks to the lovely folks at the Natural History Museum! 🦑 🐢

Monday, January 16th, 2023

Line heights in CSS work better with ratios | Andy Bell

There’s a broader point here about declarative design:

Setting very specific values may feel like you’re in more control, but you’re actually rescinding control by introducing fragility in the form of overly-specific CSS.

Wednesday, January 11th, 2023

Colin Devroe - Blogging is alive and well

The past, present and future of blogs.

Tuesday, January 10th, 2023

The Power of Indulging Your Weird, Offbeat Obsessions

  1. It’s enormously valuable to simply follow your curiosity—and follow it for a really long time, even if it doesn’t seem to be leading anywhere in particular.
  2. Surprisingly big breakthrough ideas come when you bridge two seemingly unconnected areas.

Sunday, January 8th, 2023

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Checked in at Cat Inn. Anniversary Sunday lunch — with Jessica

Wednesday, January 4th, 2023

My hand holding a postcard, the front of which is a contour map of Antarctica. The back of a postcard stamped from McMurdo Station that reads: Jeremy + Jessica, Happy New Year from Antarctica! Hope you have a year full of adventure! — Ariel Waldman

Got a postcard from Antarctica! Thank you, @arielwaldman@xoxo.zone

Tree views in CSS

Styling a list of nested details elements to create a beautiful lokking tree view, all in CSS, all nicely accessible.

Monday, January 2nd, 2023

2022

This time last year when I was looking back on 2021, I wrote:

2020 was the year of the virus. 2021 was the year of the vaccine …and the virus, obviously, but still it felt like the year we fought back. With science!

Science continued to win the battle in 2022. But it was messy. The Situation isn’t over yet, and everyone has different ideas about the correct levels of risk-taking.

It’s like when you’re driving and you think that everyone going faster than you is a maniac, and everyone going slower than you is an idiot.

The world opened up more in 2022. I was able to speak at more in-person events. I really missed that. I think I’m done with doing online talks.

There was a moment when I was speaking at Web Dev Conf in Bristol this year (a really nice little gathering), and during my presentation I was getting that response from the audience that you just don’t get with online talks, and I distinctly remember thinking, “Oh, I’ve really missed this!”

But like I said, The Situation isn’t over, and that makes things tricky for conferences. Most of the ones I spoke at or attended were doing their best to make things safe. CSS Day, Clarity, State Of The Browser: they all took measures to try to look out for everyone’s health.

For my part, I asked everyone attending dConstruct to take a COVID test the day before. Like I said at the time, I may have just been fooling myself with what might have been hygiene theatre, but like those other events, we all wanted to gather safely.

That can’t be said for the gigantic event in Berlin that I spoke at in Summer. There were tens of thousands of people in the venue. Inevitably, I—and others—caught COVID.

My bout of the ’rona wasn’t too bad, and I’m very glad that I didn’t pass it on to any family members (that’s been my biggest worry throughout The Situation). But it did mean that I wasn’t able to host UX London 2022.

That was a real downer. I spent much of 2022 focused on event curation: first UX London, and then dConstruct. I was really, really proud of the line-up I assembled for UX London so I was gutted not to be able to introduce those fabulous speakers in person.

Still, I got to host dConstruct, Leading Design, and Clarity, so 2022 was very much a bumper year for MCing—something I really, really enjoy.

Already I’ve got more of the same lined up for the first half of 2023: hosting Leading Design San Francisco in February and curating and hosting UX London in June.

I hope to do more speaking too. Alas, An Event Apart is no more, which is a real shame. But I hope there are other conferences out there that might be interested in what I have to say. If you’re organising one, get in touch.

Needless to say, 2022 was not a good year for world events. The callous and cruel invasion of Ukraine rightly dominated the news (sporting events and dead monarchs are not the defining events of the year). But even in the face of this evil, there’s cause for hope, seeing the galvanised response of the international community in standing up to Putin the bully.

In terms of more personal bad news, Jamie’s death is hard to bear.

I got to play lots of music in 2022. That’s something I definitely want to continue. In fact, 2023 kicked off with a great kitchen session yesterday evening—the perfect start to the year!

And I’ve got my health. That’s something I don’t take for granted.

One year ago, I wrote:

Maybe 2022 will turn out to be similar—shitty for a lot of people, and mostly unenventful for me. Or perhaps 2022 will be a year filled with joyful in-person activities, like conferences and musical gatherings. Either way, I’m ready.

For the most part, that played out. 2022 was thankfully fairly uneventful personally. And it was indeed a good year for in-person connections. I very much hope that continues in 2023.

Sunday, January 1st, 2023

Fiddle, flute, and bouzouki players gathered in a kitchen, playing tunes. A group of musicians—mostly fiddle players, with a piper and box player—gathered round a kitchen table covered with plenty of food and drink.

Starting 2023 as I mean to go on: playing loads of trad.

Friday, December 30th, 2022

Words I wrote in 2022

Here’s a highlight reel of some of my blog posts from 2022:

I also published the transcript of my conference talk, In And Out Of Style, a journey through the history of CSS.

Sunday, December 25th, 2022

A joint of beef, right before going in the oven, rubbed with a rosemary and orange zest mixture. Slices of roast beef, nicely pink in the middle. A joint of beef right out of the oven with a nice brown crust on it.

Christmas roast.

Monday, December 19th, 2022

Jessica on the beach clutching a colourful beach towel, looking back over her shoulder at a lifeguard tower on a sandy beach under a clear blue sky. Jessica and Lola (a lovely old dog) sitting in the sun in the back yard. Two fish tacos and a wedge of lime.

Bidding farewell to San Diego.

Friday, December 16th, 2022

Two old-fashioned looking white ships docked in a calm harbour with green water under a clear blue sky. Looking across the street to the green-coloured Flatiron-like Zoetrope building with the spike of the Transamerica building in the background. In the foreground is a traffic sign that reads Do Not Enter.

Bye, bye, San Francisco!

Tuesday, December 13th, 2022

Pluralistic: Web apps could de-monopolize mobile devices (13 Dec 2022) – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow

But you can’t have a web app without a web-app-compatible browser, and you can’t get a web-app-compatible browser in Apple’s App Store. The only browsers permitted in the App Store are those based on WebKit, the browser engine behind Safari. This means that every browser on iOS, from Firefox to Edge to Chrome, is just a reskinned version of Safari.

Sunday, December 11th, 2022

Artemis I | Flickr

NASA is posting some lovely pictures on Flickr from the first Artemis mission.

Flight Day 20: Orion and Our Moon

Friday, December 9th, 2022

A low winter sun in a clear blue sky illuminates a sandy beach with the silhouettes of people walking by the sea. An unoccupied lifeguard tower painted with the number five at the edge of a sandy beach under a clear blue sky. A headland next to a beach with shallow water making a reflective surface under a clear blue sky. A lifeguard tower in front of some rocks reflected in the shallow water on a sandy beach.

Greetings from San Diego, California.

Wednesday, December 7th, 2022

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Checked in at Jolly Brewer. Wednesday night session 🎶🎻☘️ — with Jessica

Leading Design San Francisco 2023

My upcoming appearance at An Event Apart next week to talk about declarative design isn’t the only upcoming trip to San Francisco in my calendar.

Two months from today I’ll be back in San Francisco for Leading Design. It’s on February 7th and 8th.

This event is long overdue. We’ve never had Leading Design in San Francisco before, but we were all set to go ahead with the inaugural SF gathering …in March 2020. We all know what happened next.

So this event will be three years in the making.

Rebacca is doing amazing work, as usual, putting together a fantastic line-up of speakers:

They’ll be sharing their insights, their stories and their ideas — as well as some of their pain from past challenges. It’s all designed to help you navigate your own leadership journey.

I’ll be there to MC the event, which is a great honour for me. And I reckon I’ll be up to the challenge, having just done the double whammy of hosting Leading Design London and Clarity back-to-back.

I would love to see you in San Francisco! If you’ve attended a Leading Design event before, then you know how transformational it can be. If you haven’t, then now is your chance.

Early bird tickets are still available until mid December, so if you’re thinking about coming, I suggest making that decision now.

If you know anyone in the bay area who’s in a design leadership position, be sure to tell them about Leading Design San Francisco—they don’t want to miss this!

Monday, December 5th, 2022

Jamie

Jamie Freeman passed away yesterday.

I first met Jamie as a fellow web-nerd way back in the early 2000s when I was freelancing here in Brighton. I did a lot of work with him and his design studio, Message. Andy was working there too. It’s kind of where the seeds of Clearleft were planted.

I remember one day telling them about a development with Salter Cane. Our drummer, Catherine, was moving to Australia so we were going to have to start searching for someone new.

“I play drums”, said Jamie.

I remember thinking, “No, you don’t; you play guitar.” But I thought “What the heck”, and invited him along to a band practice.

Well, it turns that not only could he play drums, he was really good! Jamie was in the band.

It’s funny, I kept referring to Jamie as “our new drummer”, but he actually ended up being the drummer that was with Salter Cane the longest.

Band practices. Concerts. Studio recordings. We were a team for years. You can hear Jamie’s excellent drumming on our album Sorrow. You can also his drumming (and brilliant backing vocals) on an album of covers we recorded. He was such a solid drummer—he made the whole band sound tighter.

But as brilliant as Jamie was behind a drumkit, his heart was at the front of the stage. He left Salter Cane to front The Jamie Freeman Agreement full-time. I loved going to see that band and watching them get better and better. Jonathan has written lovingly about his time with the band.

After that, Jamie continued to follow his dreams as a solo performer, travelling to Nashville, and collaborating with loads of other talented people. Everyone loved Jamie.

This year started with the shocking news that he had inoperable cancer—a brain tumor. Everyone sent him all their love (we recorded a little video from the Salter Cane practice room—as his condition worsened, video worked better than writing). But somehow I didn’t quite believe that this day would come when Jamie was no longer with us. I mean, the thought was ridiculous: Jamie, the vegetarian tea-totaller …with cancer? Nah.

I think I’m still in denial.

The last time I had the joy of playing music with Jamie was also the last time that Salter Cane played a gig. Jamie came back for a one-off gig at the start of 2020 (before the world shut down). It was joyous. It felt so good to rock out with him.

Jamie was always so full of enthusiasm for other people, whether that was his fellow musicians or his family members. He had great stories from his time on tour with his brother Tim’s band, Frazier Chorus. And he was so, so proud of everything his brother Martin has done. It was so horrible when their sister died. I can’t imagine what they must be going through now, losing another sibling.

Like I said, I still can’t quite believe that Jamie has gone. I know that I’m really going to miss him.

I’m sending all my love and my deepest sympathies to Jamie’s family.

Fuck cancer.

Jamie smiling as he rolls up his shirt sleeve to show his F-hole tattoo. Jamie in winter time, looking stylish with sunglasses and a scarf.

My friend Jamie passed away yesterday. I’m going to miss him. ❤️