Archive for September, 2003

SVG Competition

Monday, September 29th, 2003

The SVG Working Group are running an SVG Competition, basically you’ve got 30K, SVG Tiny, and your imagination, win and you get a Nokia 3650 and a lot of goole juice - I’ve not got a hope (and I already own a 3650 anyway), but if you’re a designer you should definately go for it!

No markup perhaps more harmful?

Tuesday, September 16th, 2003

If you’re reading this in the RSS feed, then there won’t be any links, or any mark-up at all, it’s just text, you’ll need to read the HTML version to see the links and the pictures, this is because Escaped markup is considered harmful and I listen to Norm. However I’m too lazy to write the code to convert my HTML (XHTML being an irrelevance you shouldn’t deliver on the web to unsuspecting clients) into well formed XML safe for embeddeding.

This might be more harmful, in that with the links, you’re missing much of the content, mind you you’re missing the Zebras bums anyway, so come read the HTML with a CSS browser and images, and you get my boring musings, and the bums of stripey ruminants, so I’m not gonna bother fixing up my HTML so it’s safe for embedding, well not yet anyway.

Skype and social networking

Tuesday, September 16th, 2003

Stuart Henshall thinks Skype could be a good online social networking tool, I don’t agree, Skype is a one at a time (currently one to one) communication mechanism. You can only talk to one person at a time, and whilst you’re in that conversation you’re out of communication with everyone else, even if they develop an answerphone system, you’ll still have to listen to each message. Speech is a very slow medium of communication, and it requires full attention. You can’t talk on skype whilst in your office, or in the middle of cooking a meal, or doing any other task that takes you away from your computer momentarily. (I have a bluetooth headset which solves some of the problems - but popping to the toilet, or to the door, or somewhere out of bluetooth range is still impossible)

The most important feature of instant messaging systems, is not the communication, but that you can communicate whilst doing other things - you can SMS on the train without having everyone hear your business, you can IM in the office, you can talk to the person sitting next to you, and still be in the middle of conversations. Instant messages aren’t immediate, and don’t need an instant response, audio exchange methods don’t cope with this

I communicate with maybe 5 people a day by phone, I couldn’t communicate with more, it would simply take to much of my time - skype is no different, it’s also no cheaper, my phone calls are free (or rather effectively unmetered). Voice calls are also invasive, I’m not going to call someone with relatively unimportant points - the kind of thing that’s important in maintaining social ties with those you don’t want to devote a lot of time to. Also of course an important way to stay in touch with those who are too important to currently devote any time to you, but important for the future development of your career etc. Staying in touch with these, keeping your name in their scopes, won’t work if you’re going to rely on Audio techniques.

Skype is a useful tool, but voice networking, is very different from IM/email networking, they can both be important parts, but they are not substitutes for each other, just like the letter is’t always a substitute for the visit.

FOAF Presence, Bluetooth, and getting the girl.

Sunday, September 14th, 2003

Richard Herring recently had an experience which FOAF Bluetooth presence detection would have solved outright. He was sitting at a cafe, thinking of Poo and looking at a pretty girl convinced that he knew her, but not actually making a move. Later he discovered that he did know her, but had missed his opportunity.

If his phone had FOAF Mobile ability to recognise the other persons phone as someone he knew, by the power of bluetooth and foaf, he’d now be sitting with the pretty girl taking things to another (not necessarily, but probably sexual) level instead of sitting alone and Talking Cock.

Another interesting thing about talking cock, is that amazon thinks if you want that book, you also want Natural Penis Enlargement with Enhanced Ejaculation Control”. I’m not totally sure what this says about Richard’s audience, but I’m sure it says something, I’m definately thinking twice about buying, just in case…

GoogleAd frustration

Friday, September 12th, 2003

Googles adverts have really begun annoying me recently, they’re never relevant to the search I’ve made, I don’t know if it’s the success that’s driven people to buy loosely related search terms or what, but the lack of relevance is making me consider other search engines. Consider the google search for OWL Transitive Property, Google is fully aware from search results, that this has nothing to do with moving house, yet I (with a UK IP address) get adverts for Rightmove and Mypropertyforsale - and the incredibly annoying ebay ad, which seems to appear for all queries you make.

So I made my user stylesheet just hide all Google adverts, sorry advertisers, but if you get Google to sort out the relevance, I’ll turn them back on, but irrelevant ones - I don’t want to know. It’s a shame Google Ad’s were once relevant and useful, now they’re just a pain.

Javascript, keep it simple

Thursday, September 11th, 2003

Peter-Paul Koch, wrote the article I’ve been meaning to write for ages Javascript, keep it simple, and of course did a much better job than I could’ve done.

People seem very keen on over-engineering client-side javascript, leading to slow pages, download times are getting a lot better, but instead of having to wait on downloads, we’re waiting on scripts to finish doing simple things. If a script takes longer than 1/2 second on a slow machine, don’t put it on your page - break it up with setTimeout or something, please.

My RSS feed is pretty useless

Monday, September 8th, 2003

My RSS feed is pretty useless, it removes all the markup, since I can’t ensure it’s valid with the simple system I use, this means you don’t see the links, or the images, or anything like that, not sure what I’m gonna do about it, might work on it one day, but until then, if you’re reading it in RSS, you need to realise there might donkey polishing pics or other interesting things next to the HTML version…

Content-Negotiation

Monday, September 8th, 2003

Joe Gregorio has a problem with content negotiation, he concludes you shouldn’t use it. The reasons seem to be two-fold, you might it get wrong, and it doesn’t let you specify a specific representation when you can’t control the Accept headers to a specific format. Neither of these are good reasons not to use content negotiation, we all might get something wrong, content-negotiation isn’t particularly hard, we can generally just trust our servers configuration, Apache’s multiviews are reliable for example. Getting a specific representation is easy, you just ensure that the resource is also available with a specific url. With multiviews for example you can have /moomin content-negotiate, and /moomin.html return an html representation or /moomin.rss return an RSS one.

Content negotiation on mime-types isn’t useful as language etc. not least because browsers such as Mozilla, don’t seem to get the idea preferring the generic over the specific. However content negotiation is useful, and Joe’s problems revolve around his implementation, and not the concept as far as I can see.

Content negotiated content should always be available from a unique URI - not least because you should link to the specific formats from a 406 response and non-content-negotiated formats are required for that.

There’s also the question of how reliable a document which is deliberately served with the wrong mime-type is…

Free of wires!

Monday, September 1st, 2003
A very messy garden looking more like a building site

I’m now free from wires, and very impressed with the range, it almost reaches around the whole house and out into the garden, even when it’s just stuck in the corner where the ADSL arrives.

So I can sit in the wonderful garden, and enjoy the pleasantness of a hot summer evening and work away.