19 November 2004 4 pm est

In today’s Report:
ALA 189
Invasion of the Body Switchers
Suck it up
A personal note from the author
Spam wars, nothing but spam wars
What to give the aunt or uncle who has everything else

ALA 189: Invasion of the Body Switchers

If A List Apart were asked to justify its existence, the magazine’s publisher would no doubt assert that ALA interested a generation of web developers in standards-based design. If The Web Standards Project was the steak, ALA was the sizzle.

Among the allurements with which ALA seduced a panting design community, few were as alluring as Paul Sowden’s 2001 Style Sheet Switcher. In this week’s issue, that old favorite gets an infinitely extensible update, handling any number of options and media types — all from a single JavaScript and CSS file.

With no further ado, we proudly present “Invasion of the Body Switchers,” by Andy Clarke and James Edwards.

Suck it up

I quit smoking in August. Some people say it is as hard a habit to kick as heroin. Wrong. Kicking heroin is harder.

My main beef since I quit is that I find it almost impossible to write or design.

There were these thirty years where I smoked day and night, indoors and out, while also constantly working. I worked while I smoked; I smoked while I worked. Suck suck peck peck. It was obsessive and self-destructive and it worked great for me.

Then there were these two years or so where I only smoked outdoors. At first it was a bitch trying to get any creative work done in a smoke-free environment. But after a while it got possible. Then it got bearable. And then it got doable. Eventually I was nearly as productive as I had been when I was able to smoke at work. Plus, when I got stuck creatively, I could always go out for a smoke break.

No more, and, God willing, nevermore.

Now, instead of smoking, I have the possibility of living a few years longer, and I even have a couple of great reasons for being interested in doing so. That is really good and it is worth it.

But, three months into my smoke-free life, writing and design still feel nearly impossible. I have nothing to say and no desire to say it. I can recognize beauty when I see it but have no desire to create it. I know that these feelings will pass like a stone, and that one day I will be a lean, energized karmic mass of creativity. Until then, merely updating The Daily Report feels like whitewashing prison walls.

Spam wars, nothing but spam wars

Last year at holiday time you got Aunt Maureen a sweater. The year before that, also a sweater. Isn’t it time you came up with something different? Sure it is. And now you can. You can buy Aunt Maureen and Uncle George Danny Goodman's Spam Wars: Our Last, Best Chance to Defeat Spammers, Scammers, and Hackers:

Pitched at folks who know their way around a computer (that leaves Uncle Bob out), the book offers insights on...

...how to protect yourself from attack and help choke off the economy that powers today’s time-wasting email floods.

Spam Wars puts to rest popular misconceptions about email, while equipping you with knowledge that email attackers don’t want you to have.

Author Danny Goodman is one of the few people you can call an internet guru and not be talking out your crack. Guy’s been around forever, and something like two million copies of his books on technology have been sold. The technical editors, Carl and Rebecca Malamud, are internet pioneers who know a lot more than I ever will. In short, you can trust the people behind this book.

Previously in The Daily Report...

Crawling from the Wreckage
Back after a 16-day descent into hell. And not just back, but back with stuff. Zeldman video and interview. Non-Flash slides via Couloir and Clagnut. Goto Guides for good little web girls and boys.
That new parent smell
Photo Phunnies.
I confess
On the birth of our daughter.
You light up my iLife
We review Jim Heid’s The Macintosh iLife ’04.