14 December, 1999
Big News coming soon. Watch this space. (We love writing stuff like this, especially when it's true.)
Refreshed the Core page and Guest Book and poured a few new haikus for the long-suffering Mr Jenkins.
Mr Usability himself, Jakob Nielsen, seems to have
linked to the text version of our A List Apart article, The Day The Browser Died. Thank you, Sir, may we please have another?
11 December, 1999
Barbelith.com is running a poll inspired by our Visions piece in this month's Mappa Mundi (see 2 December). The poll asks readers to visit the independent content sites honored in the Vision, and vote for the one which gives them "the most hope" about the Web. Barbelith creator Tom Coates hopes the poll will guide newcomers to "the best content on the Net" since the big portals clearly don't do this job. (They point to large corporate sites that advertise in their pages.)
By nature, polls are popularity contests, and that makes us uneasy. Competition is beside the point. We think the last entry should read "All the Above." Still, we are happy that Barbelith - itself a damn fine site - is promoting independent content on the Web. 'Cause, people, it's our Web, not corporate America's Web.
10 December, 1999
It's Friday, and that means we've got another piping fresh issue of A List Apart Magazine, for people who make websites. This week's issue is all about Fear and Loathing in The Year of E-tail. In DESIGNED TO FAIL, Michael H. Goldhaber explains how a good e-commerce site should work, and then fails to find any good ones on the Net. And in THE E-TAILER WHO STOLE CHRISTMAS, we point you to a variety of sources on the eToys scandal and related corporate misbehavior on the Web. Ho, ho, ho!
9 December, 1999
Now playing in Les Misc: a little ramble we like to call If The Great Movies Had Been Websites. Enjoy. Also refreshed the Exit Gallery and the usual pages. Shifting gears, it is with some embarrassment that we note the existence of a Zeldman Fan Club deep in the recesses of the otherwise sane and wholesome 24-7cool. We wouldn't mention this, except that the Fan Club's creators used the magic words. ("Love slaves.") We're suckers for that kind of talk.
8 December, 1999
More gushing love letters. More bizarrely epic alcoholic haikus. Secret Project 2000 continues apace.
7 December, 1999
A day that will live in infamy. But a quiet day in these parts, as we toil at Secret Project 2000, and prepare the next issue of A List Apart Magazine. Updated the usual pages.
6 December, 1999
Released A List Apart Digest No. 210, fixed an error in the Exit Gallery, updated the usual pages, and refreshed Mr Jenkins's Last Martini.
The etoy saga (see 5 December) is spreading throughout the Net. Alan Herrell has an open letter to Hasbro on the subject. We expect to see several new etoy-related domains go up in the next 48 hours. And remember, kids: Free speech is a human right. Don't let greedy corporations kill the Web.
5 December, 1999
EVIL CORPORATIONS (AND THE COURTS THAT LOVE THEM): Don't read our site today. Instead, read Slashdot's No EToy For Christmas. It tells how a six billion dollar corporation persuaded a U.S. Judge to shut down a similarly named art site. Trademark infringement? Not really. The art site came FIRST, by two years.
So how can a corporation kill an independent website that preceded it to market by two years? Simple. Corporations have more rights than individuals, and the American justice system prefers e-commerce to free speech.
There are protests at eviltoy.com and HELL.COM, and the issue is getting heavy coverage on the praystation mailing list.
4 December, 1999
New haiku epics in the ongoing song cycle known as Mr Jenkins's Last Martini. (Sci-fi fear: what if the world were to end, and the Jenkins haiku contest was the only surviving evidence of human existence? Yeah, you bet it's a scary thought.)
Antonio Cavedoni, of the spankin' new Italian web design magazine .n e t A r t ("La Nuova Rivista Italiana di Web Design"), has begun translating our Ask Dr Web tutorial into Italian. You'll find it here, and we couldn't ask for a better person to do this job. We have mixed feelings about the World Trade Organization, but we are totally committed to the idea of a one-world Web, and language barriers should never get in the way of that. May the poverty barriers break down soon as well.
3 December, 1999
In Issue 1.44 of A List Apart Magazine, for people who make websites: THE TAXMAN COMETH. Read Our Lips New Internet Taxes are on their way. Alan Herrell tells why the Web has tax collectors in a tizzy, and explains the ins and outs of the world's second oldest profession.
Two very different sites k10k and Tomalak's Realm picked up our Vision piece at Mappa Mundi. (See 2 December.) Probably anyone who cares about the Web can relate to the feeling that philistines are turning it into a giant parking lot. THE INDEPENDENT CONTENT PRODUCER REFUSES TO DIE!
2 December, 1999
The December Mappa Mundi offers a lovely pictorial treatment of our story about duelling visions of the Web.
1 December, 1999
Now Korn stole our underwear. Dang. Looks familiar, don't it?
29 November, 1999
Some fool stole our old underwear. Visit this guy's page, all you hand-coders out there, and VIEW SOURCE on the frameset.
28 November, 1999
"Upgraded" the design of Mr Jenkins's Last Martini, using Style Sheets with relative font sizes, so you can make the type bigger or smaller. As usual, this works well in some browsers, and poorly (or not at all) in others.
Because the Netscape CSS Crashing Bug is only partially fixed, we've gone back to the old ways (deeply nested tables). This hurts us worse than it hurts you, as Sister Mary Catherine used to say. Again, it also works better in some browsers than others.
Updated the Mac Tools page, for people who use Macs to build websites. Fixed a META tag error discovered by eagle-eyed reader Gerald Stanley, and continued to slog through hundreds of dead links.
27 November, 1999
Link Rot - Threat or Menace? As you'd imagine, when a site's been around for nearly five years, it picks up a few links. And links go bad.
Links to news stories go bad because many news sites don't archive their old content - they dump it to make room for the new. Links to readers' home pages go bad because readers let their sites die - or move their sites to new servers without telling anybody. Even links to fancy websites go bad. One superb site, a finalist in the H5/ALA Web Design Contest, has actually moved three times in the last month.
What happens when readers click dead links? Frustration happens, that's what.
Thank Goodness for linkalarm.com. This service burrows through your entire site and sniffs out all the dead links, allowing you to manually delete or update them. There are 376 pages on this site. 12,765 internal links, and 4700 external links. Linkalarm found all the dead ones, and we've been going through the site to update them all.
We do it for you because we really, really love you.
We've also updated the usual pages. And poured another for poor Mr Jenkins.
26 November, 1999
Leftovers, schmeftovers. Have a piping fresh issue of A List Apart Magazine, for people who make websites. In this week's issue:
THE DAY THE BROWSER DIED 2: Last time, we despaired over the CSS Crashing Bug in Netscape Navigator 4. This time, we bring you good news from Netscape, plus CSS workarounds and little-known MIME issues that can help protect your site.
25 November, 1999
U.S. Thanksgiving Day. Published The Loneliness of the Long Distance Coder, another of our rare and shameful excursions into the personal.
24 November, 1999
Refreshed the martini of Mr Jenkins. Updated the Exit Gallery, the Guest Book, and the usual sundry pages.
21 November, 1999
Hard at work on Secret Project 2000. More will be revealed. Refreshed the Guest Book and Mr Jenkins's Last Martini, the alcoholic haiku contest we can quit any time we want.
The judges at Searchbots ("diligently retrieving the best of the Internet for the good of humanity") have declared The Web Standards Project to be "truly stunning and worthy of lavish praise!" Not to sound ungrateful, but we can't figure this one out. The deliberately no-frills WaSP site is as basic as dirt.
More to the point, the WaSP is about core standards like HTML and Style Sheets. Searchbots is an entirely Flash-based site (not that there's anything wrong with that), with screen after screen of Flash movies before you get to the "search" engine.
We wish we had half the visual talent of the creators of Searchbots - it's lovely work. But we don't understand the conceptual model. (Watch ten minutes of Flash movies every time you want to search the Web?) And we don't get why these Flashmeisters would honor a site that is the opposite of theirs in every way. Color us confused.
And since we're way over our word budget at this point anyway, here are two more words: Sleepy Hollow.
20 November, 1999
Kind readers continue to sketch the further adventures of Mr Jenkins, whose downfall is delineated in close to 500 reader-submitted haikus here. Fans of the dapper drunkard may enjoy watching him stagger down the page in Heather Castillo's DHTML animation at webfreaks.com. (4.0 browser or higher required.)
19 November, 1999
To most folks, Friday means the end of the work week. To us it means another new issue of A List Apart Magazine, for people who make websites. This week:
WHERE HAVE ALL THE DESIGNERS GONE? More and more Web designers seem less and less interested in Web design. What they're creating instead are fascinating artworks that avoid the problems of HTML, audience expectations, and client frustrations. But if our best practitioners abandon content and commerce, Zeldman wonders, who will build the Web?
Plus: OUTSIDE READING No. 15: Smart sites, redesigns, useful technology, and our ongoing love affair with independent content sites.
16 November, 1999
Oh, glorious day.
We've unveiled The Ad Store, the soup that eats like a meal. (It's a new site, kids. The WORK and SPEW sections are the most fun.)
With deep technical insights from Sue Sims of Opera Software, and the majestic MIME tweakery of mighty Omar, we've made progress in our battle with the Navigator 4 crashing bug and made all these sections safe(r) for democracy: Steal These Graphics, the Fun House, Pardon My Icons, Ask Dr. Web, the Desktop Pictures collection, and the Guest Book.
And we popped another olive into Mr Jenkins's Last Martini.
15 November, 1999
More progress on the Netscape 4 crashing bug, thanks to great insight from an unexpected quarter. Dozens of pages here have been tweaked today, but testing is incomplete and more work has to be done at the server level. (Can you believe all this?) More will be revealed.
14 November, 1999
A MIME configuration issue at the server level may have something to do with the Netscape 4 crashing bug on pages like Steal These Graphics.
While many readers find this week's ALA feature story funny, some Web design superstars are not amused. Guys, it's satire. We love you lots.
A movie star once told us he knew he had arrived when Mad Magazine parodied him. As for us, we don't mind seeing our work trashed in newsgroups, and we're even happy when another designer cops our style, because it tells us we're having an effect.
Needless to say, this is all terribly trivial in the wake of yesterday's news from Turkey. Children, mothers, and grandfathers die, while the rest of us worry about our egos.
13 November, 1999
A second earthquake hit Turkey. You can give aid through the Red Cross. Or pray, if you've a mind to. There's nothing else worth saying at the moment.
12 November, 1999
Thank God it's Friday, 'cause that means we have another spankin' new issue of A List Apart Magazine online for your viewing pleasure. This week:
HOW TO BE SOOPA FAMOUS: Every industry has its cliches, and Web design is full of them. New ALA contributor W. K. Lang turns an ironic eye on the rise of the teenage Web design underground in this affectionately satiric mini-essay. Plus: a status report on the High Five - A List Apart Web Design Contest, now in the final judging stages.
10 November, 1999
It's Joan's birthday! Wish her a happy one.
Released A List Apart Digest No. 207, a special issue dedicated to Netscape (past and future). Our partner, Brian Platz, put the digest issue together.
The SmartPlanet forum on Web standards continues today.
Tonight at China Club NYC, P.O.V. Magazine hosts its party for the P.O.V. 100 Top Websites. Zeldman.com is one of those 100 sites. See you at the party?
9 November, 1999
The SmartPlanet forum on Web standards continues today.
Flash cartoon whiz and generally under-recognized mental giant Peter Balogh contributes an epic poem today to the ongoing saga of Mr Jenkins, the alcoholic ad pastiche whose haiku contest here has outlasted his advertising campaign and his liver.
We've removed one of our favorites from the Ad Graveyard after learning that the ad campaign in question not only ran, it actually won an American Lion award at Cannes. Thanks to reader Lisa Cannon of Creativepro.com for setting the record straight.
8 November, 1999
Today we'll be found with other members of The Web Standards Project in a live forum on Web standards hosted by Smartplanet. The forum runs all week. Come by to schmooze, or to show support for standards on the Web.
7 November, 1999
There's some funny new stuff in the Ad Graveyard, and just in time, too, as the new issue of Maxim Magazine has a print feature extolling the, uh, virtues of the Graveyard. It's gratifying that the intellectual community (represented by Maxim) is finally recognizing the DEEP CULTURAL SIGNIFICANCE of our work.
6 November, 1999
New Letter of the Month, with a public reply (for the first time ever).
Netscape may have its troubles, but it isn't exactly a great day for Microsoft, either. A U.S. Judge has ruled that the company built a monopoly by engaging in years of unfair business practices, and it smells like he'll push for a breakup of the software giant.
And how does the Microsoft Network react to the news? With this hard-hitting front page story: Pokemon Fans Break Phone Lines.
Folks, we can't make this stuff up.
5 November, 1999
It's Friday, and that means another spankin' new issue of A List Apart. This week: A funny thing happened on the way to the Shopping Cart. One Web designer found a simpler way to make e-commerce pay. Alan Herrell shows you THE MONEY PAGE.
Still on ALA: The good news is, we are moving to a newer, more powerful server. For some time we've been stuck on an ancient machine with very little memory. The site was slow. At times, painfully slow. We pride ourselves on delivering rich content at low bandwidth, but you couldn't prove it by some readers' experiences, as they waited and waited for pages to load. When we sent out the ALA digest, the site would positively crawl.
Things came to a head today when the revered Webmonkey linked to us. Forty billion Webmonkey readers hit the site at once. The hampster collapsed, the wheel stopped spinning, and ALA went nearly comatose.
That was our final reality check. ALA is now on a far peppier server, and the new D.N.S. is percolating through the world network. (We love saying stuff like that.) Expect performance to improve substantially in the days ahead. And thanks for hanging in there. We love you bunches and bunches.
4 November, 1999
Thanks to Dan Shafer's article, this week's ALA, and support from readers like you, our friends at Netscape are hoping to release a patch for their 4.0 browser. They want very much to solve the standards-related crashing syndrome we've been going on and on about. They ask that you use Navigator 4.7 if you plan to report any standards-related problems in their browser.
In this same vein, next week we'll participate in a forum on Web standards, being hosted by the recently launched Smartplanet.com. Rare photos are available on the official Smartplanet Bios page. Doesn't George Olsen look intense? He resembles the noble leader of an emerging nation. (Which, in a sense, he is.) Whereas we look like a tourist. (The pic was snapped outside the Royal Circumcision Chamber of the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul. Hey, everybody knows the camera adds weight. And recedes the hairline. And speckles the goatee with grey. And causes the skin to take on a sallow, unwholesome sheen.)
3 November, 1999
Updated the "hidden message" script in Steal These Graphics, encouraging Navigator 4 users to turn on Talkback, Netscape's automatic feedback mechanism. That way, if the browser crashes, data will be sent to the company, allowing Netscape's engineers to diagnose and hopefully fix this problem, which is as frustrating for them as it is for you and for us.
This message will be hidden from users of Navigator 3; Mozilla 5 beta; Microsoft Internet Explorer 3, 4, 4.5, and 5; Opera, iCab, WebTV, and other browsers. You folks will simply see the page as designed (to the best of your browser's rendering ability).
Released A List Apart Digest No. 206 (edited by Brian Platz). Refreshed the usual pages.
2 November, 1999
1 November, 1999
It's Logo a Go-Go time! But not in these pages. In these pages, we did our usual updates. Can you find them? You'd have to visit every day, and pay really close attention. And that, of course, is our Evil Scheme.
Today's meaningless phrase: "The New Economy." As far as we can tell, this resolves to "any 24 year-old in a suit can raise five million dollars by laser printing some 'business plans'." And its corollary: "We work longer hours than our grandparents did, and will never own our own homes." Unless we're that guy in the suit, of course.
Not that we're bitter.