- Joe Kral Needs Help
- Type designer and Test Pilot Collective founder Joe Kral recently survived emergency surgery. Now his medical bills are killing him. (Like millions of Americans, Joe is uninsured.) Visit Joe Kral Needs Help to contribute, if you can — or buy one of Joe’s fonts from Veer.com. (Veer will send all revenue to Joe.)
- Digital Web needs an editor
- When I’m not reading A List Apart, I read Digital Web Magazine. It’s a wonderful and deep resource of information about web design and user experience. In the past few years it’s grown particularly wonderful, in large part thanks to Editor-in-Chief Krista Stevens‘s ability to recruit great thinkers and writers. Alas for Digital Web, Krista will step down at the end of 2006. If you have what it takes to replace her, Digital Web needs you.
It’s de-lightful, it’s de-lovely, it’s the city on Puget Sound. Join Eric Meyer, Jason Santa Maria, and Jeffrey Zeldman on Monday 18 September 2006 at Bell Harbor International Conference Center for An Event Apart Seattle, a concentrated, creative learning session that could change the way you approach web design. Save $50 when you register by August 18th, 2006.
Two weekends ago, my office phone line and an unknown number of other phone lines in my area went dead. I was in Chicago so it didn’t bother me. By Monday night, Verizon had apparently fixed the problem, and phone service was restored for me and my neighbors.
Come the following Sabbath, Verizon rested again.
If you called my office Saturday morning, you would have gotten a busy signal. If you tried Saturday afternoon, also a busy signal. The same on Saturday night.
Things got interesting on Sunday, if you consider no change interesting.
By Monday morning, the phone line was still dead. Noon brought no sudden restoration of telephony. 2:00? A disappointment, quite frankly. As the sun sets on a New York Monday, the absence of phone service attains a mystical sheen. Call me now. Busy signal. Dial again. Busy signal. Busy, busy, busy signal.
I tried using Verizon’s website to find out how to report the problem but it was like searching the moon for goats.
So I went downstairs to the Verizon pay phone, jotted down the “repair” number listed beside its little coin slot, and dialed it on my mobile.
See, if a pay phone goes down, that’s a problem.
That pay phone repair number was honey. After a mere six minutes of voice menu negotiation, I received my prognosis from the computer voice emulator that provides Verizon’s customers with quality service.
Thus spake Verizon:
“At present there is an outage in your area. Verizon is committed to restoring your phone service by … 8:00 … P.M. … on … Wednesday … June … 14th.”
“Committed to restoring” is the sweet part.
As far as I can tell, the problem involves phone lines, so you can see why it would take one of America’s largest phone companies five days to tackle a brain teaser like that.
Fortunately I only use my telephone to run my business, contact my family, and report medical emergencies. So the next few days should be just fine.
Thanks to all who applied for the A List Apart internship. We now have more qualified candidates than we can hire, so we’ve stopped accepting letters and resumes. The chosen one will hear from us soon. If you are not chosen, don’t feel bad. Everyone who wrote in was great. Deciding between you is like choosing a favorite star.
A List Apart Magazine, “for people who make websites,” is looking for one good intern. You will help Erin and Jeffrey cope with incoming, potential articles. You will be a gatekeeper, honest and true. You will see concepts weeks before the public sees them. You will know where the bodies are buried. You will work hard for no wages. You will love it. Your name will appear in the illustrious A List Apart credits. You will dine out on your new fame. All this and more (hard work) awaits the chosen one. Will she or he be you? Please write and tell us a little about yourself and why you’d like to be an ALA intern. Include a resume (informal is fine) and a brief discussion of an ALA article you enjoyed, along with the reasons you enjoyed it and anything you’d change about it. Please also include your views on the hyphen and the serial comma.
Summer means warm lemonade, sunburned shoulders, and Field-Tested Books at Coudal Partners — with reviews by a double dozen writers who “read a certain book in a certain place.”
The Count of Monte Cristo, field-tested on Mohawk Mountain, Connecticut, is my contribution to this year’s collection.
You can buy an elegantly designed 2006 Field-Tested PDF “book”, including all field-tested reviews from this year and years past, cross-indexed and formatted for portability and printability.
A man who needs no introduction is joining a line-up that has no equal. New media satirist/superstar zefrank, creator of the show, is coming to An Event Apart NYC. (zefrank replaces Adam Greenfield, author of Everyware.)
Join Tantek Çelik, zefrank, Aaron Gustafson, Jason Santa Maria, Khoi Vinh, Eric Meyer, and Jeffrey Zeldman for two days of design and code in the heart of New York City. Hurry! Early Bird Savings end Friday. Register today.
Eight hours after leaving Laguardia Airport, I must go back.
I’ve got the underwear and striped shirts of a Mr Mbutu Alibekoglu (not his real name) from Fort Wayne Indiana (not his real location) in a suitcase that looked just like ours when I grabbed it off the American Airlines luggage carousel at Laguardia late last night.
I’ll return Mr Alibekoglu’s suitcase; hopefully ours will still be there. American Airlines Lost Luggage couldn’t tell me, mainly because they never answer their phone.
In other news, my office phone was out all weekend, but Verizon seems to be fixing the problem remotely this morning. Already, the phone works again in a buzzy, clicky, clacky, poppy way.
Not that I’ll need an office phone where I’m going.
I’m going to Laguardia, lugging a stranger’s suitcase I picked up by mistake at the end of a weary day. It’s the kind of error you make when tired and travelling with a toddler. You beat yourself up for it, blowing the whole thing out of proportion. But it’s a mistake, not a moral failing; a three-hour chore, not a descent into hell.
Mr Mbutu Alibekoglu’s suitcase contains underwear and socks, not anthrax and grenade launchers. The FBI won’t pounce on you and whisk you to Gitmo when you drag his suitcase into the airport.
An Event Apart Chicago has wrapped. It felt like the best one yet. Everything clicked.
There were as many designers as coders in attendance, as many Chicagoans as out-of-towners, as many agency people and freelancers as in-house folks, and nearly as many women as men. They engaged at “good morning” and stayed involved all day, asking shrewdly penetrating questions and sharing their own insights and experiences. Energy flowed not only between the floor and the seats but also from one seat to another. It felt like community.
This was the third time out for Eric, Jason, and me. Our talks were sharper and shorter — looser and more relaxed, yet also more focused than before. The rhythm was better. The balance between technical and aesthetic subjects, how much time was alloted to each, the way one theme flowed into another — the music of the day — felt tighter and truer than at events past.
Thanks to our sponsors at Adobe, AIGA, New Riders, and Media Temple, we were able to give away thousands of dollars worth of software, books, and services. (We’ll be doing the same at An Event Apart NYC next month.)
Guest speaker Jim Coudal‘s leisurely stories were like little grenades of inspiration. He tossed them out casually; moments later, they detonated.
The day formally ended with lively critiques of sites submitted by attendees. We tried this once before, at An Event Apart Philadelphia, with mixed results. This time it felt like it really worked. The day informally ended at Timothy O’Toole’s pub, with a mixer sponsored by Jewelboxing.
Time, and the blog posts of those who attended, will tell if the event was as good for you as it was for us. Sincere thanks to all who attended. Thanks also to Dawson, John Gruber, Amy Redell, Michael Nolan, and Orrin Fink.
And a reminder: the Early Bird Rate for An Event Apart NYC ends June 9th. That’s a week from today! On June 10th, the price will increase by $100. So if you’re thinking of attending An Event Apart NYC — two days of design and code — please register soon.
Here we are in Chicago, city magnificent, blessed by architects, lake and river, where in less than twelve hours we’ll present the third Event Apart. I pray all who tread Chicago’s streets look up each day and feel how lucky they are to inhabit this Rome, this Paris of the American heartland.
I have always wanted A List Apart to connect web designers with web design jobs and never gotten around to making it happen. Now, thanks to 37signals, it’s on.
Starting today, the sidebar of A List Apart displays one random job from the 37signals Job Board — a new job on every page. It’s a great match for ALA readers seeking work and web-smart businesses with jobs to offer.
Companies including The New York Times, CNET, Facebook, Adobe, and American Express already use the Job Board to find today’s brightest web minds. Now they will find more of them. The best designers, developers, and information architects in the world read A List Apart, to the tune of 14 million page views a month.
14 million a month! I don’t know of another web publication that reaches so many clued-in professionals. ALA readers are uniquely concerned with accessibility, web standards, and crafting exceptional user experience through deeply considered design, writing, and structure.
Over the years, ALA readers have written to tell us that they owed their careers to skills our magazine helped them hone, and concepts our magazine laid before them. Adding the 37signals Job Board to our sidebar is a logical next step.
I am delighted to think that one day soon, we’ll get email from readers who found great jobs through A List Apart. And I’m even more thrilled to think about all those web standards fans taking their accessibility concerns and user experience chops to great companies like Crate and Barrel, TBWA, and American Express.
Today, the 37signals Job Board comes to A List Apart. Tomorrow, standardistas go to work at leading companies. The revolution will be salaried.
Subject: Your commercial website is not as successful as you would want it to be?
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What if they‚ll never see your website in the sea of lnet information?
Don‚t let that happen anymore!
Make your website a visible island in this sea by registering with major Search Engines.
Let our professionaIs do it for you.
Three Saturdays ago, my father had a heart attack. Last Saturday, we rushed our baby daughter to the emergency room. In-between, my wife had to undergo scary and uncomfortable medical tests.
Everybody is fine, even my dad (truth in advertising: aspirin really can save your life) but my once-brown goatee has gone shock-white.
Everybody is fine, so take a deep breath and savor the unusually high pollen count.
Something else took place in these same tense two weeks: I finished my book. Designing With Web Standards, 2nd Edition (DWWS 2e) left my hands last night and will reach shelves this summer.
When I agreed to write DWWS 2e, I mistook the job for a quick spruce-up. After all, what I’d said in the first edition about the benefits of standards-based design was still true: accessibility and semantics make your content easier to find and faster and cheaper to distribute. And the browser most people used when I wrote the first edition hadn’t changed in five years, so how tough a rewrite could I be facing? I figured I was looking at an updated screenshot or two, a changed URL, and maybe a couple of sticky notes.
About four months into the grueling (but also magically riveting) process, I realized that what I was doing was writing a book.
A lot of 2e will be familiar to the book’s fans, but a lot is new. And new is work. New is infinite wash-loads of work. Messy, exhausting. At some point in the infinite rinsing and lathering I was told the book had to be finished by last night. And so it has been.
I finished. I finished while grappling with sudden existential crises involving the people I love most. But then, my mother died while I was finishing my first book. Books kill.
This is me being cheerful after completing a rather strong second edition.
2e! 2e! My father and daughter and wife are well. My book is good. My song is sung.
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 1.0 is an international standard for making sites accessible to people with disabilities. Many nations adhere to WCAG 1.0 as law.
That’s great, except that WCAG 1.0 is seven years old, and parts of it are murkily conceived. The W3C’s Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) committee has toiled for years to offer a second-generation spec that is clearer and more up-to-date. WCAG 2.0 is the result. It was presented to the web community for comment a few weeks ago and achieves “Candidate Recommendation” status at the end of this month.
Although WCAG 2 has its supporters, and although good people have worked hard on it, Joe Clark believes “the fundamentals of WCAG 2 are nearly impossible for a working standards-compliant developer to understand,” with untestable success criteria and strange new definitions that don’t map to concepts like “page,” “site,” or “valid.”
Because WCAG 1.0 forms the basis of international law and because the standard’s goal is to serve the disabled, the success or failure of WCAG 2 matters to all who use, own, or make websites. Whether you end up agreeing or disagreeing with Joe Clark’s assessment, time is short and the stakes are incredibly high. I urge every web designer to read this article.
Also in this triple issue of A List Apart (and only overshadowed here because the clock on WCAG 2 is ticking) are two other exceptionally fine articles:
- World Grows Small: Open Standards for the Global Web
Molly Holzschlag explains how the practices you already use to create standards-based, accessible websites can serve you in the growing field of internationalization.
- Community Creators, Secure Your Code! Part II
The men had called a strike. A 25-foot-tall rat, representing Management, had been inflated in front of the offending place of business.
Our little blonde daughter, just 20 months old, rolled up in her stroller and observed the giant rat.
“Mouse!” she cried, clapping her tiny hands. “Mouse! Mouse! Mouse!”
A block down the road, the strikers could still hear her laughing and clapping.
“Mouse! Mouse! Mouse!”
Events called me away, but I return, bringing news.
- Tantek Çelik joins An Event Apart NYC roster
- Tantek Çelik has joined the roster of An Event Apart NYC, where he will bring unparalleled insights on microformats and web standards to Code Day, July 11. Tantek is chief technologist at Technorati, co-founder of the microformats movement, creator of the Tasman rendering engine and the Box Model Hack, a contributor to the CSS and XHTML specs, and more. Come meet and learn from the man Meyer and Zeldman call “Master.”
- A List Apart 216: Making Time, Sharpening Skills
- Issue 216 of A List Apart, for people who make websites, features great articles from Derek Powazek and Ryan Carson. Mr Powazek’s Calling All Designers: Learn to Write! explains why it’s important for user-interface designers to sharpen up their writing skills. And Mr Carson’s Four-Day Week Challenge offers an approach to getting more done in less time. It’s a treat to publish Powazek again and a delight to welcome Carson.