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June 2004 Archive

Google Yourself

posted by DL Byron on June 30, 2004

I googled the term slime flat tires today and was a bit confused by the results. Slime is a tire sealant and I wanted to use it to seal up the tires on a kids bike. Check the result, if it’s still there, it includes the word loser and links to an even more confusing landing page. I don’t know if that’s an inside joke, a marketing program gone awry or what. Maybe Slime is big enough in retail they don’t care too much about the web. Whatever they’re doing, it’s a good example of why you need to Google yourself and pay attention to the results.

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Work less. Bicycle More

posted by DL Byron on June 29, 2004

I’ve been working less and riding my bike more. And that’s a good thing. Consulting, blogging, speaking, and Clip-n-Sealing, all leads to much time in front of a computer. In August, Pam and I will ride our bikes around the SouthCentral Alaska, from Anchorage to Valdez (DOT map, check the cameras) on the Glenn Highway. Our trip isn’t nearly as ambitious as those that Cycle Around the world, but we’ll ride hundreds of miles just the same.

When I’m in Alaska, I can truly disconnect. Not just electronically, without a computer, but mentally. Instead of work, I’ll be worrying about the next climb (images from the Glenn Highway), if we have enough water, food, and bear spray.

tdf Next month, the Tour de France starts and it’s more hyped than ever with seven Americans starting. Locally, TDF posters are showing up on telephone poles.

Work less. Cycle more.

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About to Jump The Shark

posted by DL Byron on June 25, 2004

I put a ton of research into the how/why of blogging presentation and found all the marketing, business blogs, PR blogs, blogs on blogs, media discovering blogs, a Time story, NPR, NYTimes articles, the whole crescendo of blogging exhausting. I’ve been updating the presentation with links as they come in and thought, “any day now, something will happen — like a Hamburgler blog that posts directly to your adult happy meal pedometer via RSS for mobile brandwashing.” Or a Billg Blog!

It’s Definitely not a diss to Billg, I’d read his blog, and MS has done a remarkable job blogging, but I expect that many bloggers are watching a medium they created pass right by them. As blogging gets sucked up into business, PR, and media, having a blog is like “having a home page” ten years ago. Jonathan Hardwick emailed on this topic earlier today and wrote, "if blogging does Jump the Shark, Billg will be the Fonz." Agreed and maybe that’s a new term: “fonzblog.”

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Out of the CSS Zen Garden and into Business

posted by DL Byron on June 17, 2004

A point we haven’t heard in the recent Scobelized Standards Backlash is the value of bandwidth reduction. For example, view source on MS.com and imagine how much bandwidth could be saved by cleaning up that code and reducing it. Yahoo, AOL, et al are moving to standards for that very reason. Why wouldn’t MS? Less important than the box model hacks, floats, and divs, is how a company can save money with Standards. Do it with tables if you must, but clean them up, and reduce that code. There must be real shareholder value in that. Veen wrote about it last year, in The Business Value of Web Standards, and I remember that as one of our top Standards evangelism topics. Lately, it’s all been about validation and how IE sucks.

As designers and developers, maybe it’s time for us to get out of out of the CSS Zen Garden and into business. To not evangelize beautiful CSS layouts as much, but the value of clean code. That’s not a discredit to the garden, what we’ve done or how much progress has been made, but what’s going to convince a business owner more? Spending days on a hacked, cross-browser, liquid, floated layout or a reduction in code and bandwidth?

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Bloomsday and What does Dreeping in the Rain Mean?

posted by DL Byron on June 16, 2004

Today is the 100th anniversary of Bloomsday, a day when all the action in James Joyce's classic work Ulysses takes place. There's a Bloomsday blog (of course) to follow and this morning a well-timed, Joyce-related email exchange.

feeling the dreep "BTW, what the hell does ‘dreeping in the rain’ mean? I've been meaning to ask. Hell of a company slogan, using nonsense words."
Rick Bruner

That was the tag line from the site when it was more personal, artsy, when we were producing net.art projects. Because the tag line is still cached on google and linked all over the place, I decided to keep it in the title when we redesigned the site and shifted the focus. I also added it to our Q/A:

"Dreeping is a Joycean word found in Chapter 18 of Ulysses and Book 3, Chapter 2 of Finnegan's Wake. It's a fusion of dripping and creeping and if you live in Seattle long enough, under gray skies, you'll feel the dreep."

Explaining our nonsense slogan, with a Joycean response is a perfect way to celebrate Bloomsday. And today, I'll note, it's not dreeping at all. Sunny and bright.

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Digital Design World Sessions

posted by DL Byron on June 14, 2004

The How and Why of Blogging and Flash MX Accessiblity presentations for the Digital Design World Sessions have been updated and are now online. The presentations include related links, posts, and a panic guide. It’s going to be a great event and I look forward to seeing you there. Steve Broback and Scott Benish will be presenting with me.

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Best Week Ever Blog

posted by DL Byron on June 09, 2004

I just saw a TV ad for the VH1 Best Week Ever blog. A media company running a blog is nothing new, but that’s the first TV ad for a blog I’ve ever seen.

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Brill on RSS

posted by DL Byron on June 09, 2004

I read Brill’s post and realized that I hadn’t consider that email maybe dead or that it was a medium that needed defending. However, Brill’s observations are similar to my Reuters of RSS post. Brill asks, “Where did that time come from?” and I’ve been thinking, “man, I don’t have time for that.”

When busy, I still find it easier to visit Google news, scan headlines, photos, click if I want, and move on. I’m still down with RSS, but finding myself using it for topical websites and checking news on google.

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WaSP Survey

posted by DL Byron on June 09, 2004

The Web Standards Project wants to hear from you and has posted a survey. Speaking of standards, yesterday an alert reader noticed that the images in posts were not rendering in IE 6. Well, after a, “WTF,” it was determined that we had a peek-a-bo bug. Fixed now.

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Seattle Public Library and Permanence

posted by DL Byron on June 08, 2004

Wood Mesh at SPL During my first visit to the new Seattle Public Library (an earlier, related post), I was initially taken aback by what I called “upscale Ikea-like furniture and fixtures.” Later I realized that the interior is temporary, made to be flexible, movable, replaceable. It makes sense when understood as a whole, as explained here, but at first it’s uncomfortable to be in a library and not see permanence. Instead it’s bare concrete, steel, glass, plastic, and shiny surfaces. There’s decorative wood in a few places, as indicated in the photo.

Also, I don’t think Rem would approve of computer print out signage that tells patrons to, “push on doors ” or arrows that point, “this way.” Either the signage didn’t arrive in time, there was a cutback, mistake, or a librarian couldn’t take all the requests for directions anymore. It’s definitely not Schiphol signage. Crowds of people were lost, including me.

I’ll return books later this month and experience more of the library. Why does this matter to a web designer? It’s form and function, information architecture, and evidence that design is everywhere. The exterior is a modern wonder and something you must see to believe. I’m still thinking about the interior.

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Portfolios and Site Traffic

posted by DL Byron on June 03, 2004

I responded to a mailing list post about online portfolios this week and wrote:

“I’ve been recruited for jobs as a result of my blog. MS has a recruiter blog and I’d expect that they read a recruit’s blog to get to know a candidate. So, when you put that portfolio together, be sure to consider blogging about yourself and what you do. Think of it as a conversation with your market and that market is your clients or a hiring manager”

Previously, a colleague of mine asked how to drive traffic to his site and I said pretty much the same thing and sent him a link to the How and Why of blogging. To see a proficient blogger at work, visit DKR’s Asterisk. And click through the hundreds of Seattle Blogs.

Syndicate Yourself

If you’re an author or journalist, the same statement applies, with the addition of a link to RSS and a link to a google search on blog journalism. Part of the reason Asterisk is so successful is because DKR writes well and posts a lot. His posts get picked up by other bloggers and online magazines via RSS. He even syndicates the comments on his posts, which extend into lengthy conversations. For another example, see Zeldman who turned his site into successful books.

Sure this is redudandt to those already down with blogging, but to many blogging is new and they have many questions.

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