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12 August 2002
Attorneys. Can’t shoot ’em, can’t beat ’em with a tire iron and dump the bodies in an abandoned cornfield. Toho, owners of Godzilla, have sicced their laywers on indie web publisher Dave Linabury. Either Dave deletes a dinky dino from his site, or Toho’s lawyers will do to him what their fictive giant lizard did to Tokyo. Toho’s beefs include many that are false and absurd, as is often the case when lawyers go infringement hunting. We wonder if Mozilla is next on their list.
Contrary to popular belief, most (X)HTML table layouts can easily be made accessible. It’s data tables that send developers to the medicine cabinet. Ian Lloyd’s aptly named Accessible Table Builder relieves the pain fast.
Basefield is taking a breather. Helmed by Design is Kinky’s Jade Palmer, the project supports children’s charities through the sale of posters created by members of the design community. While the site hibernates, you can satisfy your designer poster cravings elsewhere. Pixel:Industries has original posters for sale, including unlimited, limited, and single editions.
9 August 2002
[? | 4 pm]
Our little web agency Happy Cog has teamed with Hillman Curtis to redesign Fox Searchlight Pictures.
Tuesday, on another site, we noted that Cast’s Bobby™ accessibility validator had been acquired by Watchfire. Alas, the transfer of ownership broke third-party bookmarklets enabling designers to test their pages’ accessibility with just one click. Scott Baldwin’s revised Bobby bookmarklets solve that problem.
8 August 2002
A week late but a day early. How very zen. In Issue No. 148 of A List Apart, for people who make websites: XHTML for structured markup. CSS for presentation. What more could you ask? How about an easy way to manage your site, using free, open-source tools? Christopher Robins’s “Manage Your Content With PHP” shows how to build a simple, template-driven system that handles maintenance chores and remembers visitor preferences.
7 August 2002
[5 pm | 10 am | 9 am]
The cover story at Hotwired’s Webmonkey, “Web Standards for Hard Times,” discusses the financial benefits of designing and building with standards, and provides tips on getting started. Six nicely written pages, worth reading, printing, and sticking under the noses of recalcitrant bosses and colleagues.
Andy Warhol famously said, in the future everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes. Why wait? Submit to the Warholiser and get your fifteen minutes today. Somewhere, Andy is smiling.
NotLimited NYC version 2.0 has launched, and the company is looking for a few good (wo)men to sell its services on a commission basis.
Three years in the making, the K10k tees are now available. We’ll take a medium pixel chick, please.
We try, we really try not to broadcast stories like the following, but some simply demand to be told. Segment Publishing, a Sydney-based design house and web hosting firm owned by Jeremy Bogan (brother of Waferbaby) discovered that its navigational graphics had been lifted without permission and were being used on the site of a competitive British web hosting company, along with Segment’s CSS and HTML. Vpod.Biz, the competitors in question, hadn’t even bothered to rename the files they swiped (i.e., the style sheet was initially named “segment.css”) and their meta tags still include the Waferbaby-patented phrase, “We eat bandwidth for breakfast.” All pretty cut and dried.
But when Segment amiably requested that Vpod take down the stolen artwork, Vpod claimed Segment had swiped the work from them, and now it appears the matter will go to court. If it does, Vpod will lose. Segment owns the original Photoshop files used to create the navigational graphics, and they also took screenshots demonstrating Vpod’s infringement.
It’s a pity that companies don’t realize the web is too small for theft to go unnoticed, and a double pity some companies that steal aren’t smart enough to cease and desist when asked nicely.
Since we posted the entry above, we’ve been flooded with mail telling similar tales. One in particular is too outrageous to believe. Rather than bog down in a litany of ripoffs, we remind zeldman.com readers that Pirated Sites is your One Stop Shop for tales of piracy and side-by-side comparisons of perps and their victims.
6 August 2002
Web standards bonanza
The W3C, creators of interoperable web technologies (standards), have been unusually busy this week. If you don’t design, develop, own, or manage web content, feel free to skip past the following:
CSS 2 Revision 1 has left the building. The update fixes errors and omissions in the original, and also includes a tutorial on using CSS with HTML and XML.
Meanwhile, the W3C has published an XHTML 2.0 Working Draft. XHTML 1.0 is an XML application of HTML 4, providing some of the benefits of XML while remaining easy to learn and use. XHTML 2.0 is more modular and more extensible — it squeezes more juice out if its XML underpinnings.
Not only is W3C busily issuing standards, they’re also evangelizing them. W3C’s Dominique Hazaël-Massieux has written a draft article pitched at selling standards to web agencies, and seeks feedback from the community to help strengthen her case. Dominique’s piece is part of a larger effort W3C is making to raise standards awareness in the business and development communities.
In other news...
The 404 Research Lab pays loving and detailed tribute to the most visited page on the web (404 Not Found).
Movie fans and would-be screenwriters, Script-o-Rama provides the complete screenplays hundreds to films, from 3 Kings to Zulu Dawn.
Using the consumer-unfriendly Digital Millennium Copyright Act as a bludgeon, giant type foundries are slamming grad student Tom Murphy over software he created five years ago for the purpose of embedding fonts of his own creation in documents mailed to friends.
Issue No. 4 of This Is a Magazine (“it has words and pictures in it”) has been released. Noteworthy features include “The Moral Circus is Back in Town,” featuring the compelling illustration work of Chiu Kwong Man, and “A Short Story About Isabella,” by Wonder Wagon.
iBlog has relocated to avoid charges connected with Apple’s .Mac, the $100 annual service that replaces iTools, which was free. Expect numerous sites once housed at iTools’s mac.com to change addresses or shut down in the weeks ahead.
The Davidson Bicycles site, created by Textura Design to promote a line of hand-built bikes, is marked up with valid XHTML 1.0, styled with CSS2, and includes a font size switcher to make the site more accessible to the visually impaired.
4 August 2002
Chapter Four has left the building. Despite the number, it’s actually our book’s fifth chapter. To get it written, we locked ourselves in the studio for three days and nights, ignoring phone calls, email, and life itself. Writing a book is like doing drugs. You start out happy and end up dirty, wasted, and trembling. The name of this book is Forward Compatibility: Designing and Building With Web Standards.
2 August 2002
Mark Newhouse’s new Real World Style is dedicated to CSS layout in the “real world,” where millions still use outdated, non-standards-compliant browsers like Navigator 4 to view modern sites structured in XHTML and laid out with CSS2. Newhouse says: “These techniques work. I know, because I use them every day in my real world job.” If you’re stuck feeding CSS layouts to old browsers, this site’s for you.
NewBreed Librarian, a quarterly zine and daily blog on all things bibliographic, has published its final issue. Rogue Librarian provides a short epitaph. R.I.P.
XHTML 1.0 Second Edition has left the building. It’s not an update to XHTML, but simply the latest version of W3C’s documentation on the XHTML 1.0 standard. Among other things, this edition finally includes a warning about the optional XML declaration that wreaks havoc with many browsers old and new. XHTML 1.0 (“XML Lite”) is a reformulation of HTML 4 as an XML application. Or, as we like to put it, XHTML is browser-friendly XML that anyone can write.
1 August 2002
W3C test suites enable browser makers to determine if their software complies with a standard or requires more work. No test suite exists for HTML 4.01 (the markup standard that is also the basis of XHTML 1.0) so, until now, browser makers who wanted to support standards have pretty much had to cross their fingers and hope for the best.
On behalf of Microsoft Corporation, Openwave Systems Inc. and America Online Inc., Microsoft has submitted to the W3C’s HTML Working Group “a set of HTML tests and testable assertions in support of the W3C HTML 4.01 Test Suite development. Additionally this contribution has been reviewed by Opera Software Corporation and The Web Standards Project.”
What it means: Microsoft, AOL, Openwave, Opera, and The Web Standards Project have worked together to improve support for web standards. The test suite and any derivative works will be wholly owned by W3C without patent or royalty encumbrance.
“I’m not sure how an under-funded, over-extended .com in search of a business model provides a more stable operating environment than a team of engineers that has worked together for over a decade and ... built some of the largest public infrastructure projects on the net.” Carl Malamud of The Internet Multicasting Service responds to an analysis of the bidders to take the .org registry away from VeriSign and award it to those who can actually manage it. Required reading.
Pixel Industries has launched the PXL Design Portal and affiliated with zeldman.com, which hereby affiliates back. Pixel Industries and its subsidiaries are the skillfully wrought productions of Marc Klein, illlustrator, designer, and developer to the stars.
Consolation Champs presents the Eric Meyer Haiku Contest. First prize: a copy of Eric Meyer on CSS ( Review | Buy it). Hat tip: Uncle Joe Clark.
It was sad when that great ship went down: Brownouts caused by the NYC power crisis took zeldman.com offline for a few hours yesterday. Our mail was also affected. Not that we have time to read it.
31 July 2002
In the current issue of Boxes and Arrows, George Olsen considers the trap of simple-minded, absolutist approaches to complex problems of design and usability.
Last month, The Daily Report discussed display problems created by browsers that use Quartz antialiasing in Mac OS X 10.1.5. Even if you don’t use a Mac, many of your readers do, and your layouts may suffer. Matt McIrvin explains the Quartz quandary in greater detail in the current MacEdition.
The 19 July Daily Report discussed how Ian Lloyd’s Form Element Code Generator could help you create accessible online forms. Like all push-button solutions, it has its limits. Additional wrinkles are discussed in Lloyd’s blog.
Lucky Us: we’re hip-deep in our upcoming book’s fifth chapter plus three compelling web design projects. The downside: no time to read or answer email, no time to improve this site’s design and usability, and less frequent updates to A List Apart and My Glamorous Life. Thanks for bearing with us.
30 July 2002
We’re feeling limp yet sassy after shipping four chapters of Forward Compatibility: Designing and Building With Web Standards, due in 2003 from New Riders. Not content to merely explain standards, this book will sell them. (If not, we’ll take that job at Uncle Carl’s donut glazing factory.)
Speaking of standards, Library Journal has posted an online version of Carrie Bickner’s “Why Web Standards Matter.” Carrie is the co-author of the NYPL Style Guide and the author of Web Design on a Shoestring: Inexpensive Sites That Look Like Million Bucks, also due in 2003 from New Riders.
Last year we had the privilege of speaking at the first WebVisions in Portland. This year’s WebVisions promises to be bigger and better, with speakers including Gabe Kean of Born Magazine and Jesse James Garrett of Adaptive Path.
25 July 2002
[7 pm | 1 pm | 11 am]
My Glamorous Life No. 72: The Velvet Fist—a roller coaster from New York to Seattle.
¿Por qué un DOCTYPE?
DiK profiles illustrator Evan Hecox, whose work you’ll recognize the moment you see it.
Infamous Basement Studios’s Meta Helper helps you create XHTML compliant meta tags for your site. Works great, looks purty. Hat tip: Notorious Dave Linabury.
Dave Winer’s Userland Software has partnered with online mag Salon, enabling readers to create and publish their own sites.
Thumb Typing (spotted at Matt Rea’s Design Flea) is a fascinating Flash application designed to demonstrate an even more fascinating invention that turns your hands into a keyboard.
19–24 July 2002
Not at our desks
For the next few days, we’ll be speaking at Thunder Lizard’s Web Design World 2002, Seattle, doing pretty much the same thing we do here, except that we’ll be wearing pants. There’s a great lineup of additional speakers, and a good time should be had by all. Daily updates will resume when we return.