21 January 2005 1 pm est

Picture for a Friday afternoon

As the weekend approaches, I leave you with two good links and one interesting stinker:

The Mindness of Strangers
Over three months, Danish designer Simon Hoegsberg stopped 150 strangers on the streets of Copenhagen and New York City and asked them what they had been thinking about the second before he hailed them. Using a microphone and a dictaphone, he recorded their answers, then snapped their photos. The result, launched today, is The Thought Project.
Dooces Loaded
Dooce.com, the website of Heather B. Armstrong, continues to provide the pleasures of real human writing (see, for instance, “Why simply enjoy an organism when you can experience a sensational organism?”) in an enviably clean yet smartly branded blog layout. There are even nifty Categories for those who like to slice reality into comprehensible pieces. If you like your personal sites personal, this Dooce is for you.
Not so bright
Mensa International is a society of people who are much, much smarter than you or me. (You or I? See, that’s one reason I’m not a Mensa member. Them cats knows they grammar.) Anyway, the people of Mensa are bright, which makes deliciously ironic the fact that their website is kind of dim.
For openers, when you go to mensa.org, you are redirected to mensa.org/home.php. No, I am not kidding.
According to the home page, Mensa “‘provides a forum for intellectual exchange.’” (I use double quotations because Mensa wraps quotation marks around its own site copy.) Perhaps they should exchange intellectual ideas with someone who knows how to configure a web server. There’s tons more but I’ll leave it as an intellectual exercise for the reader with time on his or her hands to list all the bone-headed mistakes on the smart folks’ site.

20 January 2005 12 noon est


Years ago, I toiled at an ad agency that employed clever, dedicated art directors, writers, and account executives. Sadly, the agency’s potential to do good work was blunted by the creative director who ran the company. This fellow suffered from two afflictions:

  1. He was talentless.
  2. He thought he was brilliant.

Time and again, the art directors, writers, and account executives tried to do the right thing. Time and again, the talentless, arrogant creative director led them in the wrong direction.

I’m not sure what made me think of those sad, misguided days, but here are some U.S. presidential inauguration day links:

Herzberg: Unsocial Security
How the Administration is pretending there is a Social Security crisis. Why they might be doing it. How they sell this hogwash to the American mass media.
U.S. tells D.C. to pay inaugural expenses
A mostly poor, mostly black city that mostly voted against Bush is paying $11.9 million for inaugural security. The money comes out of federal funds that are supposed to protect D.C.’s citizens if terrorists attack.
Inaugural Ball Resources
No reason except I liked writing the name.

18 January 2005 11 am est

ALA 192: The Way it’s Supposed to Work

In issue 192 of A List Apart, for people who make websites, managing editor Erin Kissane introduces a new feature to the magazine:

Groundbreaking accessibility information. Project management and information architecture theory from old-school experts. Plug-and-play solutions to universal design and development problems. Experimental CSS/DOM hacks that use non-semantic elements to do funky design tricks. One of these things is not like the others...which is why we’re introducing a tiny new feature to the magazine.

17 January 2005 (post facto)

Martin, Martin

MLK Day links, published ex post facto as we took the day off:

14 January 2005 6 pm est

Weekend Burps

Thanks to all who sent birthday greetings on 12 January.

11 January 2005 12 noon est

ALA 191 (double issue)

In the 11 January double issue of A List Apart, for people who make websites:

Big, Stark & Chunky

by Joe Clark

You’ve designed for the screen and made provision for blind, handheld, and PDA browser users. But what about low-vision people? Powered by CSS, “zoom” layouts convert wide, multicolumn web pages into low-vision-friendly, single column designs. Accessibility maven Joe Clark explores the rationale and methods behind zoom layouts. Board the zoom train now!

Cross-Column Pull-Out Part II:
Custom Silhouettes

by Daniel M. Frommelt

The cross-column pull-out gave us a new technique for marking up a layout with a pull-out positioned between columns. Now we examine a variation of the technique for wrapping around the edges of a non-rectangular image positioned between columns.

7 January 2005 6 pm est

In today’s Report:
New Cogs in town
Happy Cog welcomes Erin Kissane and Jason Santa Maria.
Web design: a decade under the influence
Streaming video of Zeldman’s Web Design World keynote.
A change of imagery.

New Cogs in town

Happy Cog Studios welcomes Editorial Director Erin Kissane and Interactive Graphic Designer Jason Santa Maria to the crew.

Erin is a writer and editorial strategist and the managing editor of A List Apart, where she helps sift through the web development community’s new ideas to identify and promote better ways to publish content and build websites. At Happy Cog, she’ll help clients hone a “brand voice” and develop copy strategies that meet user needs and business goals. When not focused on client communications, Erin writes about writing at Incisive.nu.

Jason Santa Maria has been recognized for designing web interfaces that are fresh and imaginative, yet always usable and content-focused. His graphic design skills have been put to use on two Happy Cog projects that are now nearing completion; we liked him so much, we asked him to stick around. Jason is a well-known blogger; he also wrote the cover story for the January 2005 issue of Design In-Flight Magazine, a PDF-formatted design zine available by paid subscription.

Web design: a decade under the influence

Last month I was honored to kick off Web Design World Boston with a keynote address sharing some of what I’ve learned during ten years of site design and independent content publishing.

Thanks to FTP Online, you can now watch the keynote in streaming video. (Requires Windows Media Player. The first minute is silent, and the audio kicks in while I’m delivering conference housekeeping announcements, but don’t let it throw you.)

At FTP's special issue site, you can also watch the other speakers’ presentations, and they are fantastic — which is no surprise when you have speakers like (in alphabetical order) Jason Fried, Kelly Goto, Tom Green, Molly Holzschlag, Andrew Kirkpatrick, Ethan Marcotte and Joe Marini.

The next Web Design World will be held in San Francisco; watch FTP’s Thunder Lizard page for announcements.


As will be obvious to most visitors, this site’s rotating photos have changed for the new year. We now feature images of New York City as it looked a hundred years ago. Enjoy.

6 January 2005 5 pm est

In today’s Report:
Cell Block
Fight the rising tide of jerkism.
Designers and developers sought
Dr Frankensite wants you.
Designing New York
The NYCEDC is looking for a few good consultants to redesign its big, busy site.

Cell Block

Don’t you hate it when inconsiderate jerks shriek their personal business into their cell phones while you’re trapped in the same elevator car or other enclosed public space with them? The next time one of these ninnies mouths off in your airspace, wouldn’t you love to hand them their ass? Now you can.

Our good friends at Coudal, together with the excellent people of Draplindustries Design, have concocted a beauteous and witty way to make your feelings known. Download the PDF. Print, cut out, and hand out to the next person who lets everyone in the checkout line know how their love life is going.

Designers and developers sought

Brian (Dr Frankensite) Alvey, creator of the standards-compliant A List Apart publishing system and CEO of Weblogs, Inc., seeks “front-end and back-end web geniuses — or anyone who fits both roles — for some freelance design and development projects starting yesterday.”

Front-end candidates should possess:

On the back-end:

For details and more information, see The Brian Alvey Weblog.

Designing New York

The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) seeks a consultant or team of same to redesign its site:

NYCEDC seeks to enhance our corporate image through a client-focused Internet presence in order to achieve our objectives of attracting and retaining businesses and jobs in the City.

Submission deadline is Monday, 24 January 2005. Additional Requests for Proposals are available. Go get ’em.

31 December 2004 1 pm | 12 noon est

In today’s Report:
How bloggers can support the Asia relief effort.
Blog Business Summit
Attend and save (special discount for readers of zeldman.com).
Apache Lenya CMS
An open-source Content Management System, written in Java, and based on open standards such as XML and XSLT, hits version 1.2.1.
2005 will mark our tenth year online.


As the death toll climbs in Asia, where millions who survived the 26 December earthquake and tsunami face now disease and death, designer Andy Budd has come up with a simple (and easy) way to help. On his newly launched BlogAid, folks whose sites include advertising (such as Google AdWords) may pledge their sites’ ad revenues for the month of January to organizations engaged in the massive relief effort.

The honor-system pledge reads as follows:

I agree to pledge the earnings from advertising, affiliate programs or site sponsorship made from my site during January to my country’s local Earthquake and Tsunami appeal.

Think of it as an internet pyramid scheme, but a benevolent one: the more bloggers who link to BlogAid and pledge their support, the more of their fellow bloggers who will do likewise. In addition to money generated, the public pledge allows people to stand in solidarity with the tsunami victims and those engaged in saving their lives. We endorse BlogAid and encourage you to pledge your support.

If you would rather help without calling attention to yourself, Doctors Without Borders is back online after DNS problems caused it to disappear earlier in the week, and will gladly accept donations.

Blog Business Summit

At the Blog Business Summit (“publish and prosper”), to be held 24–25 January in Seattle, an impressive group of speakers will show how to make blogs work for your business. As a reader of zeldman.com, you are eligible to attend the conference at the discounted price of $395 (while space lasts). Please see this special registration page before the last seats disappear.

Apache Lenya CMS

Apache Lenya is an Open-Source Content Management System written in Java and based on open standards such as XML and XSLT. Lenya is built on top of Apache Cocoon and other components from the Apache Software Stack. Its XML-centric architecture allows for content delivery targeted to the capabilities of various devices, and avoids data lock-in. Apache Lenya is built around Off the Shelf components from the Apache Software Foundation.

Apache Lenya comes with the features you can expect of a modern Content Management System, such as Revision Control, Scheduling, a built-in Search Engine, separate Staging Areas, and Workflow.


2005 will mark our tenth year online. Happy New Year, and thanks for your support.

Previously in The Daily Report...

Save a life
Help earthquake and tsunami survivors.
ALA 190
In A List Apart 190 ... carefully crafting cross-column pull-outs.
Going postal for Christmas
The U.S. Postal Service promises “holiday shipping convenience” but delivers wretchedly unsatisfying user experience.
Mac OS X safe update tip
Doing that voodoo: installing OS X 10.3.7 update without adverse side-effects.
Get a job
London (and Boston) calling.
Music for Elfports
Best Christmas Carol Maker Ever.
“Design Company of the Year”
Creativity honors Pentagram for a year of great design.
Kinja Fix it, Already?
When fake user accounts stay live after launch.