27 June 2001
. Salon says
independent content is dead. We say
it is alive and well, and to prove our point we publish a weekly independent magazine
. But you may not be able to read our magazine—and this, while we are running one of the best and most important issues
in its history.
For over a year, Network Solutions has incorrectly listed
Fawcette Technical Publications, Exodus Communications, and the non-existent firstname.lastname@example.org as the contacts for ALA. A year ago, Fawcette officially corrected the error, and for exactly 24 hours Network Solutions properly listed us as the owner and Webcore Labs as the technical contact. Then, inexplicably, they reverted to their earlier incorrect listing.
Our efforts to correct this maddening stupidity on NetSol's part have met with useless form letters or silence. We were able to continue serving ALA because Exodus (who have nothing to do with the site) graciously continued to point to the correct server. We could not run mail or do the other things site owners do, but at least we could continue to publish.
Now even that compromise is in jeopardy due to strange changes at Exodus or NetSol. Our best guess is that Exodus has changed DNS servers. No SOA (Start of Authority) record can be found. We are trying to track down the source of these errors, but naturally we cannot communicate with Network Solutions, since they wrongly believe that unrelated and nonexistent individuals are responsible for our site.
DNS problems have cropped up worldwide and vary by location as the odd changes percolate through the network. Some readers view ALA as usual; others get nothing; still others receive only portions of the site due to base HREFs that point to the ALA domain. This situation may resolve itself, may be solved through third-party intervention, or may worsen. We are powerless over the outcome.
We spend at least 20 hours a week developing ALA, a site that generates not one cent of income. We do this work because we believe that ALA provides a needed service to the web design, development, and content communities. And because we believe the web is the perfect medium for focused, compelling content that speaks to particular audiences. And just because.
As we contemplate the possible death of ALA due to Network Solutions' colossal incompetence, we wonder how this former monopoly manages to stay in business. If we treated our clients the way NetSol treats us, our clients would sue us back to the Stone Age, and rightfully so. Is independent content
alive and well? Not if Network Solutions can help it.
Please don't write
to us about this issue, because it is out of our hands and too distressing to contemplate further.
26 June 2001
The Wrong Kind of Browser Upgrade Campaign
. Fire up IE5/Mac and navigate to umbra.com. You'll hit this cheesy "switch your browser"
page. Try to visit menswearhouse.com and you'll get stuck with something equally lame
. We thought browser-specific web development went out with the last century.
Build with valid (X)HTML, CSS, and ECMAScript, and you automatically
support most browsers, including IE5/Mac. Developers who "can't support" browsers that comply with web standards are abusing their clients' confidence and building the wrong kind of site. (Hat tips: Michael Clement and Adam DuVander.)
Now any dumbass can have a WAP site. Instant WAP CGI
beta 1.2. Free for your pleasure from Webcore Labs.
25 June 2001
"The book is absorbing." iBizBooks.com reviews
Taking Your Talent to the Web. More in Book News
::: "Read this article, because it's the best look at Smart Tags yet." Dan Gillmor praises
MUCH ADO ABOUT SMART TAGS in this week's
double issue of A List Apart
, for People Who Make Websites.
22 June 2001
[11 am | 4 pm]
Pundits keep telling us online content is dead. We wonder how they'd explain Issue 115
of A List Apart
, for People Who Make Websites. In this week's double issue:
MUCH ADO ABOUT SMART TAGS
, by Chris Kaminski. Microsoft's proprietary Smart Tags: boon or bane? Kaminski digs deep beneath the hype and paranoia in an extensive assessment of what Microsoft hath wrought. We believe this is the most complete, probing, and technically savvy coverage the subject has received anywhere. (And even if we're wrong, it's a damn good article.)
ALL THE ACCESS MONEY CAN BUY
, by Joe Clark. Just when you think online multimedia will never be truly accessible, someone proves you wrong. In BMW Films, Clark sees a tantalizing glimpse of a better web. Mandated by U.S. Law, accessibility is rarely perceived as sexy—but in Clark's hands, and at BMW Films, it gets the attention (and style) it deserves.
We doubt either of this week's articles would find space in a conventional, commercial publication. But both await your pleasure in this week's ALA
Happy Birthday, JazzRadio.net
. One year ago today we helped JazzRadio of Berlin take their music
to the web. We almost never talk about client work, but JazzRadio is special. Congratulations to Paul Druce and his team, who've spent twelve months evolving the site and keeping it fresh on a daily basis. (Peek-a-boo
In the WebReference.com
newsletter: "Effective Thursday, government Web sites must be accessible to people with disabilities. We interview three experts about the new usability standards, Doug Isenberg, Jeffrey Zeldman,
and Jakob Nielsen. By Andy King."
On an unrelated note, thanks to all who've written in
about Net Authority
. We should have explained that this seemingly outraged fundamentalist group does not exist. It's actually a parody
(and thus a political statement) conceived and executed by the creator of Mikey Comics
21 June 2001
Duh. Added a mail form to the Mail
The underadmired art of simplicity provides the focus for this month's issue of Digital Web
Magazine. Features include an overview by Pär Almqvist, an interview with Matt and Jason of 37Signals, a design analysis by Stephen Van Doren, and a high-flying cover by Marc Klein. Digital Web is a non-commercial, independent website.
Dear Jeffrey Zeldman,
It has recently been brought to our attention that you are, or have been, in violation of the Net Authority Acceptable Internet Usage Guidelines. It has been reported that you both distribute and view offensive materials over the Internet.
Net Authority has investigated these claims by checking your webpage at alistapart.com/stories/sizematters/
and verified that they are true....
May God be with you as you struggle to overcome these evil impulses. You will be in our prayers at night.
God speed,Net Authority Investigations Department