Monday 25 June 2007

Browser Wars: Pshaw! I Use Camino, iCab and Shiira

Some might find this funny, but you know, it’s the truth.

Outside of specific testing and tools issues, which of course must be done for a wide variety of browsers, here’s where I’m at with my personal browser relationships.

I met Camino about 1.5 years ago and it’s been my primary browser ever since. Except for a few rendering oogies, I’ve rarely if ever had a serious problem with it. It’s fast, it’s Gecko, it’s Mac.

And then I found iCab. I love that screaming browser. Lightweight, standards savvy and silly enough for a silly girl. It’s just so fast.

Not long ago I met Shiira. Some people say it’s much like Safari, I don’t agree. Shiira is a curious browser that I hope continues growing. I like it because it’s fast, has some intriguing UI features and also has a dashboard widget that makes it very easy for me to quickly browse a site.

So, as a W3C Invited Expert, a Microsoft consultant and a fan of open source, I have to say: These are my browsers and I believe they are each best of breed.

What’s your browser and why?

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 14:45 | Comments (90)

Sunday 24 June 2007

Train the Trainer: Dates for September and October

I’d like to announce the first available Train the Trainer events to be held in Tucson, Arizona, USA during September and October of this year. I’m going to take this slowly instead of mapping out the entire year since it makes more sense considering my schedule to do it that way.

  • 15 – 16 September 2007
  • 29 – 30 September 2007
  • 13 -14 October 2007
  • 27 – 28 October 2007

For interested parties, I will take the first six (6) people who follow the instructions properly for each event. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Write a short cover note about yourself and what you hope to gain and offer from the event
  • Include documentation of your ability and commitment to retrain others (teaching certificate, proven affiliation with training organization, and/or letter from organization or company stating their commitment to empower you to train others). This documentation should be sent in PDF format on letterhead as an attachment to the email address I provide below
  • Include your preferred dates and secondary date options. If they don’t fall on any currently available dates, suggest your best weekend
  • Note if you are able to sponsor and/or contribute to sponsorship of coffee service, lunch, and final night event
  • Email this information to: ttt[at]

I ask you to please follow these directions exactly to make my life on this end easier. Queries about the program rather than actual submissions for attendance should be posted here in comments and not emailed to the Train the Trainer email address. If you are accepted, you will receive a letter of agreement plus some information to fill out regarding any special needs or concerns you might have. I will also provide plenty of travel tips and a selection of local accomodations at a variety of prices. There will be WiFi available for free during the event and you are encouraged to bring your laptops. There will be no hands on demos in the actual sessions, although people will be encouraged to share during lunch and break discussions.

Also, it would be very nice if the supporting organizations sending people along could assist with sponsorship of coffee service, casual lunch and the planned Sunday dinner, but if those aren’t covered they will be provided anyway. Ideally, we would have some sponsors for those oh-so-human needs.

Here’s an overview of the program content:

Day One

  • 8:30 – 12:00: HTML & XHTML intensive. Principles, best practices, issues of concern
  • 12:00 – 13:00: Lunch discussion: Open discussion of issues and concerns to group
  • 13:00 – 17:30: CSS Theory Part I
  • 17:30 – Dinner on your own, downtime for me 🙂

Day Two

  • 8:30 – 12:00: CSS Theory Part II, contemporary design considerations
  • 12:00 – 13:00: Lunch discussion: Open discussion of issues and concerns to group
  • 13:00 – 17:30: Standards workflow, SEO, basic Accessibility, intro to Microformats
  • 17:30 – 19:00: Time on your own
  • 19:00 – 23:00: Dinner and drinks at a local Sonoran Mexican restaurant including vegan & vegetarian as well as a wide range of other options
  • Let the fun begin!

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 14:35 | Comments (16)

Friday 22 June 2007

I’m Laughing and So Should You!


The boys pointed this out to me as relevant. Am I old or indifferent for not noticing?

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 12:25 | Comments (26)

Wednesday 20 June 2007

Train the Trainer Program

I’ve written a lot about HTML and CSS lately, and now I want to do not say.

Every other weekend I’m in the U.S. from this September ’til next and I will offer a FREE two day course to six (6) educators each available weekend, with dates to be announced following my schedule.

Here’s the deal: You demonstrate to me that you will take your knowledge forward to other educators, students, trainers and evangelists who can and will talk to their students and/or companies about standards.This is a MUST. I only will train people for FREE who can prove they are in education, technology training, or work with a company where they can provide in-depth training for their teams.

You come to me. I already travel a lot, so this is good for me. You pay nothing to me, only your travel expenses. I will teach HTML, XHTML and CSS technology principles. I will also offer project management ideas and provide for code reviews and one-on-one time.

I will teach anyone who will teach others whatever it is that I know, for free, for a year. What do you say? If you like the idea, post here and we shall work together to put dates to the plan.

I also challenge my colleagues to do the same formally.

Who’s ready?

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 19:16 | Comments (68)

Tuesday 19 June 2007

So How Do We Fix the Web, Really?

Here are thoughts I’ve been having since I wrote the post “HTML5 and XHTML 1.1 Must Stop For Now.” There were many fine responses and discussion of various viewpoints, which of course was part of the point of the blog post in the first place.

We are, each of us, shaped by the experiences we have. It’s funny that skeptics would suggest that Microsoft has me drinking too much kool-aid, or that the WHAT WG has my ear, or that I just want to shake up the W3C. The truth is to some extent all these are accurate: I do maintain my defense of Microsoft, I respect the WHAT WG members and have talked to many of them in depth about this issue, and my esteemed colleagues at the W3C have certainly gained my respect and love over the years, if not my general distaste for the processes and in-fighting that’s historically shaped the organization.

As we are shaped by our experiences, I want to point out that mine are perhaps unique. I’m an independent developer who has worked the Web since 1993, in IT since 1988, and when I caught the standards bug I threw my time, money and passion into ensuring that I went out and shook hands with as many people as I could. I might talk a lot, but I do a lot of listening too, and I’ve had the tremendous good fortune to travel the world and speak with designers and developers in every possible work environment, with every conceivable skill sets, passions and needs.

Fundamentally, I’ve always been an educator, not an evangelist. My agenda is pretty simple: Help people live their lives and do their jobs better by doing my honest best to share ideas, solutions, perspectives, life experiences and to improve my life in kind with the sharing and collaboration that emerges out of those relationships.

As some folks know, I’ve been touring Europe and presenting on Web browsers, Web standards, and CSS. Here are some of the general and sobering situations I’m running across the deeper I go into under-represented countries when it comes to educational opportunities and resources.

Let’s start with a visit to Hungary. The conference attendees in Budapest were made up of people from all over Eastern and Central Europe. Of approximately 200 attendees:

  • 90% have been working with HTML (or XHTML) for five years or longer
  • 15% have been working with CSS for three years or longer
  • 75% are still using tables for layout
  • 2% knew what the DOCTYPE switch was
  • No one expressed interest or concern in accessibility for the Web
  • About 4-5 people were on par with advanced developers in the UK, US or Australia

Next, Amsterdam. Mostly Dutch attendees. Typically perceived as a more technically advanced country, of the some 200 folks I interacted with over 2 days:

  • 90% have been working with HTML (or XHTML) for five years or longer
  • 45% have been working with CSS for three years or longer
  • 65% are using tables for layout
  • 10% knew what a DOCTYPE switch was
  • No one expressed interest or concern about accessibility for the Web
  • About 20 people were on par with advanced developers in the UK, US or Australia

Now, Zurich. Swiss and German attendees. Smaller group, 50 – 75 or so:

  • 90% have been working with HTML (or XHTML) for five years or longer
  • 10% work with CSS at all
  • 98% are using tables for layout
  • 2 people knew about the DOCTYPE switch
  • 1 person expressed a great interest in accessibility (he explained his mother has a disability and that’s why he got interested in the topic)
  • 1 person actually asked me “Is it really possible to use CSS to lay out sites?

Okay, this is just an anecdotal sampling, but it reflects what I’ve seen in Asia, too. We forget how elite we are, how privileged to even have the conversations that we do.

Afternote, 20 June 2007: I have de-emphasized the word “elite” there. It wasn’t meant as a me-better-than you as a person. Think about an elite force within the military. The point is that they are trained more specifically and can be more agile in their responses due to that training. That is what I mean, and I’m afraid some people are missing my point completely because of the heated feelings around that one word.

Perhaps there is a better solution than pausing standards development. If so, I’d like to know what you think it might be. One thing is absolutely key and that is there is no way we are going to empower each other and create the Web in the great vision it was intended to be if we do not address the critical issue of education. And stability. And these things take time. It requires far better orchestration than I personally have been able to figure out, and while the W3C, WHAT WG, WaSP and other groups have made numerous attempts to address some of these concerns, we have failed. We haven’t done a good job so far to create learning tools and truly assist the working web designer and developer become informed and better at what he or she can do. We haven’t done a good job sitting down at the table together and coming up with baseline strategies for user agents and tools.

How this should be accomplished, I don’t know. What I do know is that we have to find a way to mitigate this problem. We have to. I do know that complicating specifications isn’t the solution. Trying to manage bugs and implementation problems across all user agents and rushing to make “new” specs adds pressure and confusion to software and browser developers, book authors, technical trainers and of course the designers and developers working on the front lines and having real challenges, not theoretical ones, every day.

So what would you make of this in light of what’s going on with browsers, specifications and implementation? How on earth can we expect the hard workers of the Web, who tend to be highly motivated to be educated but have precious few resources to get well educated quickly and effectively? How to we strengthen the platform, catch the world up to current practices and continue innovation?

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 04:47 | Comments (90)

Thursday 14 June 2007

HTML5 and XHTML 1.1+ MUST Stop for Now

I’ve been holding this post in for so long my kidneys hurt.

Discussions about HTML5 should stop. Discussions about XHTML 1.1+ should stop.

Full stop.

  1. COMPLETE HTML 4.1, XHTML 1.0 and CSS 2.1 in specs and browsers where applicable
  2. CALL for consistent implementation of these most basic specifications in all current browsers and devices to this point
  3. WAIT for future HTML, XHTML and CSS implementations until these implementations are complete
  4. FOCUS on JavaScript and DOM fixes and implementations as we come up to par with markup and style

Let’s discuss.

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 19:15 | Comments (125)

Look What Pete Did to My Mac!

Look What Pete Did to My Mac!

This got a few good comments on Flickr but really, it’s so important I felt necessary to blog it here for your pain and pleasure. When I told Pete he put a pit in my Apple, he told me “No, Molly, it’s a seed from which amazing things shall grow.”

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 04:47 | Comments (24)

Wednesday 13 June 2007

T.S. Eliot Must Have Known Me in a Prior Life

I’m in Amsterdam at the moment and unable to do a proper update post of all the conferences and fun times in these past few weeks. I promise more when I have a chance to catch my breath.

In the meantime, this quote from T.S. Eliot really hit home:

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”
– T.S. Eliot

Yep, I’m sure of it. He must have known me 😉

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 20:20 | Comments (18)


Parliament Building, Budapest

Some new photos from Budapest, Hungary.

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 01:32 | Comments (19)

Tuesday 5 June 2007

Guess the Question

Originally uploaded by petele.

Now if that isn’t a classic WTF look on my face, I really don’t know what is. The fun now begins as you guess (or make up) the question I was asked that resulted in my WTF face.

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 21:36 | Comments (72)

Monday 4 June 2007

Passages: Leaving the Web Conference Circuit

I sit here in Orlando, Florida, exhausted from not sleeping enough before the day’s begun and many more miles to travel before I rest.

It’s been a wonderful ride, amazing – I’ve met great people and seen parts of the world I’d never even imagined I’d get to visit. But I’m very tired, and my passions are changing. I’m moving toward a time where I want, and need, my life and work to be a bit more quiet and focused.

So, as a pre @media07 London announcement, I want to let folks know that this will be one of the last major public Web events I will be appearing at. There are a few more smaller events, but as of October, I will no longer be speaking or keynoting any popular Web conferences.

This doesn’t mean I’m leaving public life, however. I will continue to present at specific, technically-oriented conferences, and Microsoft-related events. But my main focus will be shifting away from the globetrotting and toward the hard work on interoperability and Web standards both within Microsoft and on-site at companies and organizations worldwide such as AOL and the BBC.

This way, I get to sleep in on more days, and spend a heck of a lot less time in pressurized air cabins. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll find the inner peace that’s eluded me since, well, pretty much my life began some 44 years ago.

So I’m off to yet another convention center in yet another city, spending a day with my good mates from Microsoft who have been keeping me together in ways they probably don’t even know, then getting on a Virgin Flight to Gatwick.

By Tuesday morning I will be cozying up in my Bayswater studio and visiting my English kitty friends Zeus and Hera. Then on Saturday I go to Budapest, followed by Amsterdam, Zurich and Cannes before returning to the UK to visit with friends, and an unexpected surprise: My youngest brother, who just received his Ph.D. (on top of his MA, BA and JD) will be in London at the same time so we are planning a day together to celebrate his success.

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 04:14 | Comments (44)

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