Tuesday 30 May 2006

Best Intentions and Roads to Hell

It’s been said that good intentions pave the path to hell.

Being of skeptical faith I think of the things that have led me down a path I am unsure of.

I want to ask a very personal and important question: Of all the things you’ve ever done in your life, what was the most wrong thing you’ve ever done?

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 16:15 | Comments (73)

Thursday 25 May 2006

Of Best Friends

picture of molly and kitty tara

Seventeen and a half years ago I met a tiny kitten with a huge personality. She demanded that I take her home. So she moved in that day, rearranged the furniture, and became mistress kitty of what was once my place within a few hours.

To this day Tara sits in my desk chair, looking hard at work when I’m not. She’s got her routine and her spots picked out. She knows exactly the spot where the sun shines warmest, loves the perch where she can look out on the pigeons and say rude things to them. Tara is sure to commandeer the couch or the bed or wherever it is that the humans might like to be.

Tara is a tiny cat, but she’s got mighty attitude.

My brother Linus says:

She is feisty and spirited and tenacious as hell, and nothing less would do for a cat of yours.

In January of 2005, I cancelled a trip to visit Opera Software in Oslo, Norway, where I’d been invited to discuss going to work for Opera. Tara had become suddenly ill, and was hospitalized. I made the decision to not leave her, and the good folks at Opera were really understanding. However, certain friends and other colleagues made remarks to the effect that I had to be crazy to stay home from such an exciting opportunity to take care of a cat.

Diagnosed with Chronic Renal Failure (CRF), a very common disease in older cats and certain breeds, she was treated and sent home with prescription diet. She has done fantastic! No vet expected her to stay that healthy for that long. Of course, I know there’s a lot of strength in that cat. You should see her. Even diagnosed with a progressive and fatal disease, if she misses a step she just goes back ’til she gets it right.

I wish I had that kind of tenacity.

I’m writing today because the inevitable is happening, and that’s that Tara’s health has taken a signficiant downturn. She just spent three days in the hospital receiving fluids and antibiotics, and her kidneys have reached a point where, without regular treatment, they cannot sustain life.

She’s home now and it’s good to have her here. She hates the hospital so much, mostly because of (don’t say it too loudly) all the D O G S.

I have to give her an infusion of fluids via an 18 gauge needle every day. This keeps fluids moving through her kidneys so she doesn’t feel ill or have any pain (except for the injection part). Not only has she survived but she’s gaining weight and doing quite well all things considered.

Tara might weigh a mere 4 pounds, but she’s got the strongest will of any creature, human or not human, that I have ever met.

Me, I’m not so strong-willed. I’m hurting. A lot. I stayed home from work and friends to be with her, knowing that these days will probably be her last. I chose to stay behind to be with her because I feel I owe it to her for her years of loyalty and greatness.

I stayed home because I love her.

My brother Morris writes:

Only those who have loved and lived with a pet could begin to comprehend what you are going through, even then of course each relationship and experience is unique. From what I have learned of life so far our animal friends provide and share a very deep and pure bond that is much more profound and important than people might presume. The challenges and emotions of watching a loved pet come to the end of her life are no less than of a human companion in my belief.

I was raised to believe, and I firmly do believe, that when we take a pet home, we are responsible for that pet for its lifetime. Even if we find we can no longer care for our animals, we find someone who can. This is a responsibility, an obligation, and ultimately an honor. Because, if you’re good to your non-human pals, they will, as Tara has done for me for so very long, provide you with the most loyal and fulfilling relationships you’ll ever have.

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 17:31 | Comments (67)

Tuesday 23 May 2006

World Grows Small

A new article from me to you today. World Grows Small: Open standards for the global web, on A List Apart. There’s also an interesting article, To Hell with WCAG 2 by Joe Clark as well as all the expected ALA juicy bits.

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 04:04 | Comments (29)

Sunday 14 May 2006

Personal Priorities

Here’s a riddle. Let’s imagine you have five activities you could be doing right now. You can’t do all five things at once, so you have to order them in terms of your personal priorities. Here are the five activities:

  • Working with your shiny new computer
  • Buying shoes
  • Watching Star Trek
  • Making love with a person whom you adore and desire
  • Catching up with an old, beloved friend or family member

What would be your priority order?

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 15:46 | Comments (88)

Thursday 11 May 2006

Yes, We Have the Power

Yes, I have the power to enact change. Yes, I will continue to improve standards support and compliance in IE, and make the web better. That’s my job, my charter, my vision, and my passion. The day it isn’t, I’ll quit. The day the development of the standards-based platform in IE goes on a back burner again, I’ll quit. My management up to and including Bill Gates has said we are back in the saddle with IE, so I have a job to get back to.

– Chris Wilson, Group Program Manager of the Internet Explorer Platform team at Microsoft, “Microsoft, IE and the Web Standards Project

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 18:29 | Comments (22)

The Meaning of Content

This isn’t the first time I’ve questioned what the word content really means, and I’ve got a gnawing feeling it won’t be the last.

I was reminded by a client yesterday that using the word “content” in a meeting was most decidedly not a good idea. The clients are highly educated professionals who spend large amounts of time researching and writing, but aren’t necessarily tech-savvy. Particularly the older members of the group.

Content to these folks, I’m told, is a threatening word. It means they have to write more, organize more, do more when they’re as busy as anyone, and all they want is a good web site.

Now we all know that we can’t make a web site without content. We need the stuff, or it’s not going to happen. And the more we work with semantic markup, the more having the content from the get-go is critical to our web development and design workflow.

Content to the web designer and developer can be an upsetting word. Clients and associates who don’t get around to giving us content often still demand that web site.

Which we can’t make without their content.

Clearly, there’s a mismatch here. Maybe we need to look more closely as to what we really mean when we use the “C” word, and then break it down for our clients in far more specific terms. “We’d like three client case studies and associated testimonials” might work better than “we need content for the client section.” That sort of thing.

What does content mean to you? To your clients and associates?

Maybe you’ve even got a content-rich story about content to leave in the comments, which of course will result in even more stuff we can call “content.”

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 08:28 | Comments (32)

Tuesday 2 May 2006

Rites of Passage

I’ve been thinking a lot about rites of passage and how they affect us. Do our given societal rites of passage enculturate and stabilize a person? What happens when a person doesn’t go through important rites of passage in accordance with his or her societal influences? Is that better or can it cause feelings of marginalization and a sense of being, as Patti Smith put it, “outside of society”?

According to Wikipedia, a rite of passage is:

. . . a ritual that marks a change in a person’s social or sexual status. Rites of passage are often ceremonies surrounding events such as childbirth, menarche or other milestones within puberty, coming of age, weddings . . .

Did you not go to the prom? Your Bar Mitzvah? School graduation ceremonies? Which rites have helped you, and which rites do you feel have perhaps constrained you?

Did you miss a rite of passage, such as often happens with unconventional people – a young gay couple unable to go to a school dance; unmarried spouses that are shut out of spousal benefits and so on?

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 10:04 | Comments (27)

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