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26 February, 2001
Another day, another DSL blackout. It always seem to happen when we're up against a tight deadline. Then again, we always seem to be up against a tight deadline. Anyway, we're back—for now.
        Yesterday's five hour blackout could be traced to a network outage. Today's three hour blackout couldn't be traced.
        Troubleshooting intermittent packet loss is a technician's worst nightmare—and a customer's. They come, everything checks out, they leave, the system dies. They come back another day, everything checks out, they leave, the system dies. Soon you're on a first-name basis. Then you're telling each other your life stories. You still have no service but you've made friends with the technician. The technician's daily visit is the one bright spot in your otherwise blighted existence.
        Then, because the blackouts have prevented you from getting any work done, you can't pay your bills. Eventually you become homeless. At that point they close out the "trouble ticket" and the problem is considered "resolved."

On a lighter note, A List Apart briefly went down tonight due to a problem it would be imprudent to discuss in public. Hmm. That wasn't really a lighter note.

Anyway, at least our keyboard is still workkkkkk :::
25 February, 2001
[3:30 am]
More about truth and harm. ::: Netscape, etc., Now! — a trip down memory lane. ::: Congratulations Amsterdam Stories.

An ALA reader notes that IE6 beta appears to be getting the CSS box model right, but ignoring CSS-2 selectors that make it possible to work around problems in IE5. It's way to early to make predictions about this browser, but the news about the box model is very encouraging. We suspect that Microsoft is aware of and working on the rest of the puzzle. :::
24 February, 2001
[6 pm]
"This was an unscheduled outage at your Central Office. All telespeed services out of NYCRNYWS—NYCMNY30-SL1 are now up and running." Glad we cleared that up.

[1 pm - published 5 pm]
WhatRoute: Can't resolve host name. Translation: No Internet connection. Who's to blame: No way of telling, too many providers involved. How long it's been going on: Access has been spotty for a week; now it's dead. How long it might continue: No way of telling. When you see this, connectivity will have been restored, perhaps for a moment, perhaps for good. What we were doing: Working on four projects that are badly behind schedule. Guess we'll never finish now. :::
[2 am]
Someone we love read something we wrote and felt hurt by it. This is why people stop writing, or confine themselves to writing about impersonal things. Opera 5 beta for Mac is amazingly good but implements font-sizes incorrectly. Things like that.
        We stopped writing once and stayed stopped for years. We can't stop now and won't. How to modify what we do: that's the question. We have not yet learned the trick of speaking harmlessly.

The European leg of the World Tour has been cancelled for now. We will not be visiting Amsterdam in March or London in April. We hope these events can be rescheduled.
        On a happier note, we'll be doing two panels, a performance piece, and a book signing at SXSW 2001. Design fans should note that Joshua Davis has been added to the roster. There goes our groupie status. :::
23 February, 2001
[3 pm]
For the love of all things holy, not another blurb about the WaSP Browser Upgrade campaign? Yep. The editor of Web Review chimes in with an intelligent endorsement and a reminder to look before you leap. (Thanks also to Web Reference for an earlier plug.) :::
[11 am]
"Times are bad. Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book."—Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BCE). Courtesy: Wordsmith. Hat tip: Champeon.

Undesign presents undesigners: "Creative individuals can harness the power and accessibility of the Internet to make media to their own standards and promote social change in the world around them. But how many are actually doing it? How many good designers (and writers and artists) are, in the words of the late Tibor Kalman, out there 'making trouble?' We've made it our mission to find them."

Wise Women have announced their support for the WaSP Browser upgrades campaign.

Several folks have reminded us to cue the Mac users in the house that the Opera browser preview for Mac OS is now available. It's a very fast download (2 MB), and despite Opera's warnings about beta software with limited features, it works as well as or better than some finished web browsers.
        The Opera beta displays pages faster than any browser we've ever seen: if you frequent discussion sites that use tables to format 100K+ pages full of text, you'll be amazed at how quickly Opera can display them. And aside from a couple of minor glitches (fonts too small, no forms element styling yet) Opera's CSS display is superb. If this is the beta, we can't wait to see the final browser.

Redcricket presents clickable photo fun from Web Design 2001, Atlanta.

Yakking about browser upgrades and the ALA standards-compliant redesign continues at Metafilter, I-DESIGN, and, natch, in ALA forums 49 and 52. Meantime, we've gotten word of so many standards-compliant redesigns that we can no longer list them all here. This is a good thing. (However, a hasty hat tip to Coolstop for pointing out Statikmajik.)

Speaking of ALA, where is issue No. 100? It will be a little late. For one thing, we're upgrading the CSS template, and also upgrading the forum software. For another, this whole Browser Upgrade push has cost us two weeks' work. Our clients are frantic and our accountant informs us that we need money. More news later. :::
22 February, 2001
[4 pm]
Joe Clark: Accessibility on the Mac: Trouble in Paradise. :::
[3 am]
As of this moment, if you visit the International Herald Tribune using a non-standards-compliant browser, a popup window will invite you to download IE5 or Netscape 6. Coincidence? The front page almost validates—it misses by one errant character. According to Rebecca Blood, the "download a better browser" popup appeared for the first time today.

"We at dysfunction8.com fully support the Web Standards Project and will be redesigning and relaunching a standards compliant dysfunction8 in spring 2001."

"You can add me to the list of active supporters of the Browser Upgrade campaign; excellent stuff. Fortunately the first step has been fairly easy because I've been using XHTML for a year and CSS for two, but this is the first time I've felt bold enough to risk scaring away NN 4.x users.
        "I have to admit to still using tables for layout in some parts of my site, but getting to grips with the CSS box model is now one of my priorities, which it wasn't a week ago. Thanks for the nudge!"

"Here's something of a small gift, a contribution to the WaSP campaign, with which I am down bigtime. A bit more restrained than the banner set currently on offer, but might appeal nonetheless. If I think of how many hours I've wasted and all the workarounds I've had to dream up, just because some browser was once rushed to market, well, like Howard Beale in Network, I'm mad as etc."

::: For the entrepreneurs in the house, two tips:
        1.) Don't spend your first year in business randomly tossing all your receipts, invoices, travel expenses, bills, and miscellanies into a giant folder.
        2.) Don't spend the night before you see your accountant trying to organize the contents of a giant folder full of unsorted receipts, invoices, travel expenses, bills, and miscellanies. Trust us on this. :::
21 February, 2001
[3:30 pm]
Tish, we're talking Russian! [Russian site endorses WaSP Browser Upgrade campaign. ALA text translated with permission.] A partial honor roll of early adopters who support the Browser Upgrade campaign and have already redesigned accordingly: Blue Robot, Where's My Latte?, Ernie's Photography, Shawnwall, and Brainjar. Hover over the links to learn more about each site.

Then there are sites like Gnudickens, that did this on their own over a year before the Browser Upgrade Campaign. And like Babble, that did it independently at the same time. And like K10k and Digital Web, that have announced plans to support it as soon as they can redesign. More, we're sure, to come.

For the first time in months, we're uncertain of what to do for our next ALA issue (No. 100). We have several great articles in the queue, and under normal circumstances, we'd choose one, edit, design, and publish. But somehow, with all that's going on, normal procedures feel inadequate. It is Issue 100, for Pete's sake, and Issue 99 created something of an impact. We have this silly desire to top that.

Anonymous Donors A and B have been working on CSS issues affecting printing and protection (protecting broken browsers from styles they can't read). Instead of planning what should be a major issue (let alone taking care of business), we seem to have spent all week responding to feedback. That's so us.

And there's a lot of feedback worth responding to. Comments in the "To Hell With Bad Browsers" forum alone have become increasingly sophisticated and interesting. Even the disagreements seem smarter and more civil. The forum is taking a performance hit due to its own success; ALA elves are currently working to optimize the software, and ALA itself is about to get a significant bandwidth upgrade courtesy of Webcore Labs.

On an unrelated note, our earlier Cardigan links owe a hat tip to Joe Clark (the original JC hat tip was buried in a TITLE attribute), and our Opera news flash came courtesy of the unsinkable Waferbaby. Our thanks to these folks.

On a truly unrelated note, in order to facilitate mysterious repairs, our NYC landlord has shut off water and heat for the third time in as many weeks. The services will be restored tonight; meantime, tooth brushing and similar hygiene basics present an exciting challenge. We felt that you needed to know. :::
[3 am]
On the assumption that everybody uses an HTML-capable email program, Spam Artistes are now embedding Style Sheets in the unsolicited crap they send us. It looks so good in Eudora 3.1 Lite. We can't see the intended design, but we can read all the code, including the mistakes. It's fun!

Fun with literary lions. Fun with web graphics. Fun with anagrams. Fun with jokes. Fun with old software. Good clean American fun. :::
20 February, 2001
[10 am]
We just finished a live interview on CNET Radio—made more nerve-wracking when the phone line in our office died. Technology keeps failing. It must be a message from God. ::: Press release: Opera coming to the Mac. :::
[3 am]
My Glamorous Life No. 33: The Best & The Brightest. :::
19 February, 2001
[7:30 pm]
        Q. How were you first introduced to the Internet?
        A. AOL. But don't tell anyone.
        Q. Your work has this unique signature. How does one achieve this?
        A. Limitations as a graphic designer.
        Q. What is this?
        A. The Netdiver Zeldman interview. An unframed version is also available.

BOUQUETS—From the pit of a thousand torments, some interesting comments at Slashdot: 1, 2, 3, 4. ::: From a reader, this lovely note. ::: From Eisenberg, creator of the ALA DOM Series, two nifty CSS tips.

BRICKBATS—Covad is once again treating us to DSL Hell. Access is spotty at best. Even checking email has become a terrible chore. This is usually God's way of saying "Log off for a while, my son." :::
The bitter genius of Cardigan Industries. The stupidity of nearly everything else. :::
18 February, 2001
[4 pm]
Making things interesting, our DSL connectivity began failing yesterday, sometimes for hours on end, and it's only now beginning to work reliably again. Covad outage, failing Verizon equipment, ten hours of hell, 'nuff said.
        We've also temporarily lost FTP access to A List Apart following a server relocation in response to Friday's power failure and blackout. The blackout occurred while the site was being viewed by hundreds of thousands of first-time readers. Timing is everything. The site's back but we can't update it.
        Upping the ante, a CNET article which erroneously suggested that the WaSP browser upgrade campaign was created to punish users of old browsers is now being repurposed on a massive scale at sites like Yahoo News. In the new information economy, misinformation travels fast.
        To help offset misunderstandings, we've hastily added a What is This? page to the WaSP upgrade campaign, and tweaked other pages ever-so-slightly. The WaSP Browser Upgrade campaign is about encouraging developer education and increasing the use of web standards. Period. You can participate without excluding anyone—we've done it at ALA. 'Nuff said.

In other news, we've begun rethinking our book cover design, penned a new column for Crain's Creativity Magazine, and actually gotten some sleep. :::
[4 am]
Well, the hate mail has finally come pouring down like diarrhea from some fatally stricken colossus. Sample letter: "You can come over to my house and blow me if you want me to switch to a newer version of [W]indows." And that's one of the nicer notes.
        We have no problem with folks who've read the WaSP's initiative and A List Apart and honestly disagree with our notion that web standards were written to be used. But we're irked by hate-spewing trolls who rage against things they haven't actually bothered to read. :::

The author and his opinions.
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