Monday 28 February 2005
GOODBYE MARQUI PROGRAM. It’s been three months of an adventure that not only shook up the web world with controversy, but shook up my personal world, too.
Sometimes things happen for a reason, and I am confident that Marqui‘s paid-to-post blogger program has taught me lessons that needed to be taught. Primarily, I learned that I can’t blog naturally if I feel forced to do it, and that’s intriguing because I can write in just about any style. But, it turns out my blog is really personal, I take it personally, and I need it to be that way.
This process really helped me clarify my own thoughts about marketing and promotion. In fact, at the end of my time with Marqui, I do have to say I think that there’s still a lack of clarity about the product. In the next months, the bloggers going forward with the program will be writing a lot more in depth about the actual product, so there will be less hype about the hype and more focus on what Marqui really does.
I wish my fellow paid-to-blog bloggers all the best and a special thanks to the good folks at Marqui for providing such a compelling, growth-oriented experience for me.
Sunday 27 February 2005
WHAT IS MEANING? Check out my new article The Meaning of Semantics for beginning to intermediate readers at InformIT. Here’s a little sample:
Some of the elements we’ve misused are also some of markup’s most critical ones. Take the
pelement, which is used to denote paragraphs, and the
brelement, used to force a line break. Anyone ever commit this markup crime?
If you place the line above in a document between some text sections, you’ll get some white space, but the markup has absolutely no meaning. A paragraph tag should be used to denote a paragraph, period. A line break should be used to force a break in a line, not to gain white space.
I should be taken to markup prison and/or fined for having done this for years! Fortunately, I’ve got CSS by my side now, and can get back to cleaner living.
I know the InformIT site isn’t to everyone’s tastes because of the ads and so on, but hey, that’s how they’re able to pay their authors. So I hope you’ll brave it out, or if you just want to go right to the print-friendly page, which is free of ads, you can do that here.
Saturday 26 February 2005
FOR READERS WAITING for their Zen of CSS books, here’s a bit of information about shipment and arrival dates. The deal is this: Amazon and other booksellers will only list a book in stock if it’s in the warehouse. The books were only off about a week shipping from the distributors, but I was told that fulfillment should be taken care of this week, and books that have been ordered will be shipped ASAP. We appreciate your patience and hope those folks who have been in a holding pattern waiting for their book will find the extra week’s wait worth it.
Also, if you’ve not seen Digital Web this past week, there’s a review of the book by Karen Morrill-McClure and two great interviews with Dave Shea and myself. The fabulous Meryl Evans has an insightful chat with Dave, and the insanely funny Davezilla digs up some dirt about me.
Go forth, enjoy, and keep those horticultural jokes coming!
Wednesday 23 February 2005
It’s how I know I’m on the east coast of the US – The bartender asked:
“Do you want grilled onion and mushrooms?”
My answer . . . HELL YES!
Am I wrong? That was one great beef burger with a side of fries. Yum!
Which foods do you miss?
Monday 21 February 2005
THE BOOK IS here! I just got my copy of the Zen of CSS: visual enlightenment for the web. It looks terrific, and I’m very proud of Dave Shea and myself for pulling off what is really one cool book.
Some folks have been emailing me and saying that Amazon is delaying delivery. I have no idea what’s going on with that or why that’s happening. I’ll try to dig into it. However, both Dave and myself have received copies, as have several contributors. So my suspicion is it’s something to do with distribution. At least there’s proof it’s here, and if anyone is having delays with anyone other than Amazon, please let me know.
This just in: Dave’s posted about the book, too, and has a few cool pics of it!
In the meantime, I wanna shout out some love here. To Dave, all of the contributing designers, and of course, for the sheer existence of the CSS Zen Garden.
Sunday 20 February 2005
To have a token white male representin’ was important to me. Also, Eric happened to be the guy who ignited my feelings about this. Douglas had done it earlier, but when Eric posted about wanting to find a “CSS Luminary” for a book, and the only responses with women’s names at first were me, Holly, and Anne (who is a man) I began to take notice.
Tantek told me the other night to expect backlash – and that’s okay with me. So let’s talk about it.
Do you think it’s inappropriate to have a white male on a panel about women working on the Web? I’m curious, because to me it seems natural. The rest of the panel is made up of a diverse group of women.
Friday 18 February 2005
CONFUSED ABOUT ROOT? Apparently, so are people trying to interpret the W3C CSS 2.1 specification as it relates to the root element and containing blocks. Let’s help clarify the concern.
The root element in HTML and XHTML is always the
html element. This is because it is the element that has no ancestors, only descendants.
What seems to be confusing the issue is this language from the CSS 2.1 spec:
The containing block in which the root element lives is chosen by the user agent. (It could be related to the viewport.) This containing block is called the initial containing block.
That it “could be related to the viewport” is the language I think is confusing and very vague on the part of the W3C. However, the fact remains that the root element is still
html. To support that, here’s the W3C’s definition of the document tree and root element:
Document tree: The tree of elements encoded in the source document. Each element in this tree has exactly one parent, with the exception of the root element, which has none.
The viewport is not an element, but I suppose if one sees it as the “containing block in which the root element lives” a browser developer could conceivably interpret that to mean the viewport rather than the root element.
But to my way of thinking, if there is no other defined containing block, the root element must be
html and not the viewport, because it is the root of the document.
Darned confusing, and in this case I blame the W3C terminology. I’d love to hear more thoughts and opinions on this.
ETHICAL LINES ARE being drawn and redrawn in the blogging community. Marqui has been at the forefront of the debate.
In an excellent and detailed article, The cost of ethics: Influence peddling in the blogosphere, Marqui’s paid-to-post efforts lead the question about how we’re redefining the meaning of ethics in the context of journalism.
This is an issue that came up for me big-time, because I’m both of an independent spirit and interested in shaking up old models. Marqui suited me, because I felt I could work within my own ethics and maintain authenticity with my audiences under the guidelines of my contract with them.
So, while I’ve questioned the ethics of the general approach, and of how others might use this model less transparently than a person with my rather open style, I do think I got a bit of a surprise in the process. I did end up having to re-evaluate aspects of how I behave with my blog. Working through the program has helped me as an individual revisit what my sense of ethics are as a writer, educator, and public persona.
It wasn’t only until recently that I even saw what was a blatant request for leads for Marqui. I do have to say that had something like that happened early on, I would have bailed on the program. As it winds down, I’m finding it was an experience I’m glad to have undertaken.
Thursday 17 February 2005
MATT’S UPGRADE PARTY for WordPress was a lot of fun. It was great to see old friends and meet new ones, too. I took some photos that I’ll be posting at some point in the next few days. For now, you can see some photos via flickr and find some posts related to the upgrade party at Technorati.
Matt, a personal thanks for your wonderful hospitality, and for all you do. You are truly a prince among men.
Tuesday 15 February 2005
IT’S WORDPRESS UPGRADE day. If you’re a WordPress user, or interested in becoming one, take some time today to install or upgrade to the 1.5 release.
Everybody’s doing it, and some of us will even be doing it together.
Monday 14 February 2005
IT’S RAINING IN Sunnyvale, but Eric Meyer and I are enjoying our first ever and warmly received visit to Yahoo! I sure feel sorry for those visually oriented folk here who find purple and yellow an annoying combination. As is reflected in these photos, the company colors are everywhere.
Even among the most experienced designers and developers, the difference between absolute and relative positioning in CSS remains one of the most difficult things to get clear about. Interesting surprise in Safari: As Eric and I were describing the concern, Eric styled the
html (root) element with a border to show how if an absolutely positioned box has no defined containing block, that box will be positioned to the root element. Interestingly, when the border was applied to the example, the positioned box dropped below the border for the
Very odd – any Safari users out there ever notice this and if so – what’s up with that?
Friday 11 February 2005
HAKON GETS HOT and tells Bill Gates what’s what about interoperability. The article, Opera to MS: Get real about interoperability, Mr Gates must be read by every web developer and standards geek. Now.
Wednesday 9 February 2005
IS IT JUST ME? Am I the only one that is reacting to what’s wrong here? This, from an airline ticket, triple X’s added for your pleasure:
STANDARDS IN TUCSON? Why yes! After two years of never getting our standards meetup off the ground, last Thursday evening we had our first official and very pleasant meetup.
I tell ya, it’s times like this that my faith in Tucson is restored. While I love the place in terms of its natural beauty, I’ve never been very thrilled about the general interest level in the exchange of ideas here.
Aside from a few niches within the University of Arizona, and a few small groups of outstanding thinkers, in my experience the place is mostly filled with new age weirdos, slackers who are capable of bringing the art of slacking to unimaginable heights (or should that read “lows”?), and people who have lost all enthusiasm for their passions because working in an economically depleted, low-ceiling right-to-work state has sucked their confidence and hopes dry as the desert itself.
Well, let me tell you, finding a few like-minded people and spending a couple of hours with them over good beer and wine at a nice bistro was a refreshing experience.
We discussed, among other issues:
- Why so few web designers in general and in specific here in Tucson don’t seem to be interested in promoting and using standards,
- What challenges all standards-based designers and developers face,
- Why browsers should disappear altogether
- Where and when we should meet next.
So a hearty round of whatever you’re drinking, Lance – for bringing it all together, and the same to Aaron and Face. Thank you so damned much for reminding me that yes, Molly, there are people here that not only have style, but use it daily, too.
CHARITY BEGINS AT home, so it is said, and while this month wraps up my last as a paid-to-blog blogger for Marqui, a few words about charitable acts are in order.
A recent white paper from Marqui describes some of their clients. Among them are a number of charitable organizations, including Shriners of North America and the David Suzuki Foundation, which Marqui uses as a client case study.
We are already aware that web sites can really help donation campaigns. BlogAid, started by U.K. web designer Andy Budd, has closed pledging now, but has tracked 225 bloggers who have pledged upwards of $8,500.00 from their sites to the Asian Tsunami Relief effort. I contributed $250.00 from my last month check from Marqui (check total: $600.00) to the American Jewish World Service’s Tsunami Relief and Reconstruction Fund. It’s a pleasure to be able to spread the love around.
Something we don’t talk too much about, however, is how the inclusion of charitable activities on a corporate and/or organizational web site can be helpful to promote the positive nature of that organization. I first saw this years ago on the 7-up web site, where they had organized summer activities for underprivileged youth. I occasionally run across some sites that do this sort of thing really well. One of my favorite women’s clothing shops is J. Jill, whose Compassion Fund is an excellent example of the kind of thing web sites can do to raise their karma score. It’s nice to see Marqui taking this tack, too.
I’ve always believed the Web offers many opportunities to raise up the human spirit and condition of living for people worldwide. More of this sort of thing is needed, and I commend my colleagues and fellow bloggers for putting their money and resources where our oft perceived self-indulgent mouths are.