Wednesday 31 October 2007

Self Portrait: Witchy Woman

molly in a surreal blue look, wearing a hat, and with pink lipstick

How about yours?

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 01:11 | Comments (12)

Photoshop and Designer Friends Please Lend Me Your Wisdom

When asked what I use to create web sites, I default to the three most important tools in my entire career: Photoshop, a good text/html editor with color coding, and an intuitive and secure FTP client.

As an educator focused on standards, and teaching technology to designers, I fear I’m not spending enough time in the visual world. I have all the tools, but over time, MY time with Photoshop has decreased while my attention to CSS and markup has increased.

Lend me your wisdom, oh designer friends. I need you!

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 00:07 | Comments (32)

Saturday 27 October 2007

The Word “Jew” is Considered an Offensive Google Search

I saw something I’ve never seen on Google tonight.

Friends and I were hanging out talking about this and that, and the topic turned to New Mexico. I brought up the “Crypto-Jews” which are an unusual sect of the Jewish culture that was given a choice by Spanish and other legislation to either be exiled or to embrace Catholicism at least as early as Columbus sailed the ocean blue, in 1492.

Encouraged by friends to Google for more detail on how a branch of the Crypto Jews wound up in the U.S., much less the dramatic environment of New Mexico, I used this search query:

jew new mexico

I was surprisingly greeted by Google with a rather cautious explanation:

“If you recently used Google to search for the word “Jew,” you may have seen results that were very disturbing.”

Google continues:

” . . . why is a search for “Jew” different? One reason is that the word “Jew” is often used in an anti-Semitic context. Jewish organizations are more likely to use the word “Jewish” when talking about members of their faith. The word has become somewhat charged linguistically.”

Ashkenazim and Sephardim

I am what is known as an Ashkenazi Jew. Easily explained, this means my heritage is Eastern European, and the unique language of my people is the more commonly known language, Yiddish. If you know Jews personally outside of Spain and nearby countries, you are most likely to know Ashkenazi Jews exclusively.

There are, however, quite a fair number of Spanish Jews, known as “Sephardim” who have settled the world. Though a smaller sect, the Sephardic Jews continue to follow their unique language and cultural versions of Judaic belief.

Historically, many of the Sephardic Jews who were unwilling to give up their rituals and beliefs chose to emigrate to other countries around the world. Many have come here to the U.S., but a unique group settled in New Mexico.

Isolated and very much to themselves these Sephardic nomads have hung on to their faith and, most notably, their language, Ladino.

Ladino, Zionists and The Proper Jew

Ladino, as it’s known, is the Sephardic equivalent to Yiddish – at least conceptually. Ladino has Spanish, Arabic, Hebrew, Italian, German, Turkish and even more exotic languages mixed in! Alas, it is mostly a lost language due to the ousting or conversion of Jews during the time of the Crusades.

Jews in the U.S. are facing a lot of challenges, particularly if they take a Zionistic viewpoint. As a Jew I have a spiritual but not necessarily religious relationship to my Judaism. I embrace my heritage with the love of a poet who hears the cadence in the words as they are written. I also have enjoyed the great glory of a strong soprano who has been humbled by the more ancient and holy; more haunting harmonies of a heritage thousands of years old.

What I am today is not a Zionist, nor a religious Jew. By the judgement of some, that’s not a proper Jew at all. But I am the culmination of those thousands of years, and proper or not, as a student of life but most especially words, for me, the word “Jew” isn’t offensive. Rather, descriptive as an ethnographic identity.

And Google . . .

So my question, at the end of all this soul searching, is: Is it up to Google to be a purveyor of political correctness?

Who at Google determined what my ethnicity, heritage and terminology therein means?

My Judaic and history as a U.S. born American has shaped me and made me the person that I am and for that I am very proud.

Maybe Google isn’t as emotionally secure?

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 23:00 | Comments (34)

Friday 26 October 2007

Train the Trainer Swag Prep

Ooh, yummy stuff for the Train the Trainer Swag bag courtesy Microsoft, Peachpit Press, O’Reilly Publishing, and Lynda.Com.

Train the Trainer Swag Prep

Juicy stuff includes:

Swag is set, shopping’s been done, the refreshments for this evening’s opening mixer are chillin’ and short of some general cleaning, the first official Train the Trainer event is about to kick off!

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 15:55 | Comments (17)

Friday 19 October 2007

Double Dare: Your Last Meal on Earth

So I posted this to Twitter:

Twitter Poll: If you had to decide your final meal on earth, what would it be?

Which emerged from this post:

you know, if I ever get the death penalty for offing some bad ex boyfriend, my last meal will be exactly that. (Rib Eye bloody, plus taters and veg)

Then a lovely fellow emailed me from Ask500people:

Hey Molly, Just saw your tweet, would you like us to run your question on We could gather 100 votes for it.

And snarkily, after eating a really good steak and “hopped” up on Pike Pale and red meat, I responded:

So you’re saying if we ask 500 people we’ll only get 100 responses?

Double dare you to make more than 100 posts about what is your perfect last meal on earth.


Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 19:20 | Comments (76)

Thursday 18 October 2007

Standards Needs and Wants

What do you need and want from Web Standards?

  1. I want generated content
  2. I want CSS3 features, especially design-oriented techniques such as better flow and layout, multiple background graphics, etc.
  3. I want to rebuild the Web

Rebuilding the Web would be a very sexy pipe dream from which we all woke up with cream in our respective jeans.

I’m hoping CSS3 is more sexy. I kinda think it offers us a lot.

Part of my role is to ask and to translate the collective concerns to organizations that need to hear (and most importantly, understand) your needs. I personally don’t know what is “correct” or “right” really. So, I’m asking. And I’ll keep asking, and hopefully our voices will have some impact. I believe they can, and ultimately will.

Would readers be so kind as to tell me what your role is (designer/developer/implementor/other) in your answer as that will help me understand the context of your responses?

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 22:16 | Comments (54)

Wednesday 17 October 2007

Redesign or FAIL?

Since about six months ago I’ve been talking about a rebrand/redesign.

I had some exceptional work presented to me, and I also had really great input from a variety of web leaders.

But you know what? As flawed as it might be (like me putting inline style everywhere, LazyMols) I really still am attached to this design. Patrick Lauke worked on it with me.

I’ve asked some of our top designers including Bryan Veloso, Dan Rubin, Christopher Schmitt and Andy Clarke to weigh in on my rebrand.

Nothing inspires me. Patrick was the original genius, and I still look at this web site, despite its flaws, as exactly what and who I am. I think Patrick really captured me, and now I need to think about next redesign steps.

What do you thinik?

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 02:04 | Comments (48)

Monday 15 October 2007

Shift in the Web Wind

It’s autumn here in the US. Time for pumpkins and Halloween and a different season. The seasons are changing. I can smell it on the Web wind.

I feel there’s a major shift in our industry. It concerns me so I want to chat about it with you.

The latest Dot.Com boom is declining as far as I can tell. Are we on the edge of another Dot.Bomb? What do we do?

What’s changing for you?

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 01:17 | Comments (50)

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