Waist deep in design projects and in the preparation of an upcoming announcement by The Web Standards Project. We hear there was a football game or something.
You know your client is an insomniac when he sends you site design feedback at 2 a.m. Sunday night. (You also know he's digging it, or he'd save his comments for Monday morning.)
Refreshed Mr Jenkins's Last Martini and various minor pages here.
29 January, 2000
Building a website takes months of careful planning and thinking.
Or it takes two days.
(We finished "the San Antonio site" in two days, and are now moving on "the Los Angeles site." Obviously these are client projects, and obviously we'll say more when we can.)
Under the circumstances, today all we can offer you, gentle reader, are pointers to other people's work:
Just for Geeks: CNET offers a perspective on the Mozilla alpha release - and, separately, covers the continuing kudos for XHTML in an article ("XHTML ... gets thumbs up") which also references Invisible Worlds' proposed protocol for transporting XML data across the web. (When they're not reinventing the web, Invisible Worlds publishes the independent content site Mappa Mundi.)
Just for Artists: The clock is ticking for Iconfactory's Pixelpalooza contest. Iconfactory is the web's best-known Mac icon site, and the annual Pixelpalooza contest is peerless and prize-rich. No submissions after 1 February.
Also on the "artistic" tip, Netdiver Network is a lovingly designed new media and freelance resource created by Carole Guevin of Soulmedia.com. Netdiver includes a gallery of third party sites chosen for their creative or artistic value, and we are
28 January, 2000
In this week's issue of A List Apart, the magazine and mailing list for people who make websites:
BEING JAKOB NIELSEN. Are designers cattle? Are venture capitalists insane? Has anyone had an original thought out there? ALA columnist Wayne Bremser takes a terrifying (and hilarious) look at the IPO mentality and its effect on web designers. Don't miss this one.
In other ALA news: yesterday, Elbow Grease, the Webmonkey newsletter, praised the winners of the H5-ALA Web Design contest, and all hell broke loose on web design mailing lists everywhere.
In non-ALA news: yesterday and today we designed, produced, and completed the English language version of a client's website (they were kind of in a hurry), and tomorrow we'll finish the Spanish language version.
In zeldman.news: we refreshed good old Mr Jenkins's Last Martini, the web's oldest alcoholic haiku contest. Updated the Guest Book, too.
In news-news: a Norwegian teenager sits in jail, essentially for playing DVDs on his Linux box. A petition is online. You know what to do.
27 January, 2000
We may be leaving the Stone Age of the web. The World Wide Web Consortium - the people who develop standards for the web - have just announced XHTML (Extensible Hypertext Markup Language).
You have to be a PhD on amphetamines to get through the documentation, but the concept is amazing. One language (like HTML, but better) that lets you create sites that work on cell phones as well as the desktop. Sites that can include text, database functionality (think: Amazon.com), and even lush media like moving images and music.
The next few years should be very interesting.
26 January, 2000
Online toy seller eToys.com has dropped its lawsuit against the artists of similarly named Etoy.com, and agreed to pay all court costs.
Why did this giant e-tailer crumble, when the American legal system was willing to let the company get away with murder? Because thousands of citizens, free speech advocates, and independent web authors fought back.
This is a victory not only for the artists of etoy.com (who will soon regain their online domain), but for all who believe the web is for people. (See "The E-tailer Who Stole Christmas" in Issue 1.45 of A List Apart if you missed this 'Net-wide millennial drama.)
::: Yesterday marked the birthday of late Brazilian composer Antonio Carlos Jobim, who wrote some of the most beautiful sambas, jazz, and pop songs of the 20th century.
25 January, 2000
Yesterday marked the 65th anniversary of the invention of canned beer, and today marks the 528th entry in Mr Jenkins's Last Martini, the web's oldest alcoholic haiku contest. Cheers.
It appears that we will be speaking at a web conference in Sweden, and another in Boston - and meeting up with friends in both places. It also appears that we will soon be writing for a couple of well-known web magazines. Meantime, we continue to expand our corporate web empire. All of this is wonderful (for us - boring for you), yet the more we work, the less we can play, and we grieve for our lost playtime.
There are so many things we want to do: Create MYNY, a large personal exploration of New York City. Collaborate with Dan Licht on a dual-site serial tragicomedy. Redesign 15 Minutes; thoroughly update Dr Web; write a short story, "Poison," that came to us in a dream; replace the musical snippets on one poorly-designed old page of this site with a full-fledged MP3 album (the music is already finished). And blah blah blah. No time for any of it now. We gots to work.
24 January, 2000
High Five has spiffy additional features on the Web Design contest (see 22 and 23 January). Updated Happy Cog, our "corporate" site.
23 January, 2000
Due to a 5 a.m. typographical error, ALA's link to Shift incorrectly sent visitors to
shift.jpg.org, apparently a pornographic pop-up window festival. Thanks to reader Filipe Fortes for discovering the error, which was swiftly corrected. This week's ALA issue was created with production assistance from Nick Finck of Digital Web Magazine.
22 January, 2000
Announcing the winners of the High Five - A List Apart web design contest ... arguably, the five best sites of 1999.
The upgrading of our server here at zeldman.com temporarily prevented us from updating this page (or any other) last night. Unlike the server woes mentioned yesterday, these are more in the nature of server hiccups, since the end result is a faster, more robust web experience rather than pointless downtime.
21 January, 2000
The number of web documents online has now surpassed one billion pages. We wonder how many of them are Geocities pop-up ads.
Server problems temporarily blacked out The Web Standards Project and A List Apart. Both sites are hosted by Project Cool, which was similarly affected by short-lived server woes.
January has been the month of delays. Clients push back their launch dates, some of our favorite indie sites postpone their redesigns, and partly in response to the above this week's issue of ALA Magazine will be delayed a bit. Blame it on the webmaster, the weather, or the workload. Or just hang it all on snowy, mean old January.
18 January, 2000
Yesterday, Happy Cog Productions observed Martin Luther King Day, an American National Holiday, and one of the few we can actually relate to.
Yesterday on this page we discussed Flash. Today we will present a five minute long Flash movie to a client. You can see how the obsessions all come together. At least, the obsessions we talk about in public.
15 January's call for ALA assistants generated a torrent of replies, mostly from talented and highly skilled people who wished to volunteer. Embarrasse de riches, as Mater used to say. Now we have the painful task of choosing only two or three out of many qualified respondents. Everybody should have such problems.
Speaking of mail, there was also a flood of it in today's Guest Book. The stream ebbs and flows; we never know exactly why.
17 January, 2000
The trouble with most web ventures is that they're driven by marketers; the trouble with the rest is that they're driven by geeks. Both groups forget that they're dealing with human beings not demographic sectors, and not users.
We've failed to persuade a certain company to start bundling Flash with its web browser. It's a pity we couldn't change their minds. Bundled plug-ins are transparent to the person who's using the browser; and as millions of new people come online, it's vital to make things easy for them.
Updated the About section and the Guest Book. Posted new doggerel to Mr Jenkins's Last Martini, the world's longest-running alcoholic haiku contest. Cleaned up ancient, errant code in the Awards Department, though we discourage you from visiting that section, which exists mainly to thrill our blood relatives.
16 January, 2000
Our Happy Cog placeholder site is now online, marking the turf where we will eventually build a full-fledged fortress of webitude. (For now, it's just a kooky little gizmo we can point to when clients ask, "Where is your company's site?")
Speaking of web design, we recently unearthed an old front page, showing what this very site looked like back in early 1997. (We've updated the copyright, not that anyone is likely to steal this stuff.) Of interest: the "meaningless rollover," in which images disappear when moused over. (We were protesting the Rollover-itis of that year.) Also of interest: striped backgrounds and black outlines. The more things change ...