Reading List

The Girl In The Room

A 4 chord ditty that’s under 2 minutes but took ages to record; I moved it from acoustic guitar folk ballad to a chamber-style serenade (“a musical greeting performed for a lover… an evening piece, one to be performed on a quiet and pleasant evening”) because that’s what the lyrics are (kind of) about.

The girl in the room
talks at dusk of musk and sandalwood
Of warm winter mornings
and cool summer nights.
Telling tales without tomorrows
of her yesterdays and ancient times;
of a castle in the birch trees
in the calmness of twilight.

The girl in the room
is thunder-lightning: fiercely beautiful;
weighed down with words, then musical,
with her faces in her moon.
She asks if you could love her
and before you can recover
she needs to be somewhere or other.
Through the trees, the breeze sings tunes.

The girl in the room
talks at sunset in her box of text,
of monsoon rain and games and sex
and the ruins where bluebells bloom.
Lost in feelings like a forest,
there are no certain maps to happiness;
She spills wine on her Chinese dress,
and the breeze brings you tunes.

(Written in Barcelona and Cambodia, recorded in Birmingham, mixed in Santa Clara, California. No bluebells were harmed during the making of this song.)

Words and music © Bruce Lawson, 2015

Posted in my music . Comments Off on The Girl In The Room

Santa Clara, CA

Bah, five hours sleep. Bah overpriced breakfast (but nearest cheap, authentic diner is 5 miles away). Bah suburbia and freeways. Bah inescapable hum of air conditioning. Bah permatanned men named Chet and Dwight with immobile foreheads synergising over 7 am power breakfasts. Bah emails inviting me to meet Vladimir, director of sales, at booth 666 to discuss FelchCloud CDN, ‘our revolutionary cloud-based cloudycloudcloud, taking cloudycloudclouds to The Next Level(tm)’. Bah $4 bottles of water with a little tag printed “hydrate” without even a ‘please’. Bah shiny-toothed shiny-haired empty-souled TV news anchors talking about a lost dog in downtown Santa Nowhere. Bah ‘this life contains chemicals known by the state of california to cause sadness’. Bah “Democracy Boulevard”. Bah the George Bush Memorial Euthanasia Centre. Bah low-cholesterol omelettes made with egg whites. Bah 6 am joggers with bluetooth mobile phone earpieces. Bah.

Reading list

Reading List

Reading List

Reading List

Reading List

Web Components, accessibility and the Priority of Constituencies

Gosh, what a snappy title. I’m not expecting a job offer from Buzzfeed any time soon.

Today, Apple sent their consolidated feedback on Web Components to the webapps Working Group. The TL;DR: they like the concept, are “considering significant implementation effort”, but want lots of changes first including removal of subclassing, eg <button is=”my-button”>.

I think this is bad; this construct means existing HTML elements can be progressively enhanced – in the example above, browsers that don’t support components or don’t support JavaScript get a functional HTML <button> element. It also means that, by enhancing existing HTML elements, your components get the default browser behaviour for free – so, in this example, your snazzy my-button element inherits focussability and activation with return or spacebar withut you having to muck about with tabindex or keyboard listeners. (I wrote about this in more detail last year in On the accessibility of web components. Again.)

Apple raised a bug Remove the support for inherting from builtin subclasses of HTMLElement and SVGElement and notes “without this hack accessibility for trivial components is harder as more things have to be done by hand” (why “this hack”? A loaded term). However, it calls for removal because “Subclassing existing elements is hard as implementation-wise identity is both object-based and name / namespace based.”

Implementation is hard. Too hard for the developers at Apple, it appears. So Web developers must faff around adding ARIA and tabindex and keyboard listeners (so most won’t) and the inevitable consequence of making accessibility hard is that assistive technology users will suffer.

HTML has a series of design principles, co-edited by Maciej Stachowiak who sent Apple’s feedback. One of those is called “Priority of Constituencies” which says

In case of conflict, consider users over authors over implementors over specifiers over theoretical purity. In other words costs or difficulties to the user should be given more weight than costs to authors; which in turn should be given more weight than costs to implementors; which should be given more weight than costs to authors of the spec itself, which should be given more weight than those proposing changes for theoretical reasons alone.

Fine words. What changed?

Some lines about daisies

In many songs and poems
I find I mention daisies.
Blake and Wordsworth and the great English poets
wrote about roses and daffodils,
but you don’t hear much about daisies.
So here goes:

“O wond’rous daisy! How lovely thou art!”

No, that won’t do. Rhetorical bombast
before making it simply a symbol of some portentous theme.
A small flower shouldn’t carry such heaviness.

The name means “day’s eye”;
it opens its petals for the sun, and closes them at night.
I think the daisy is a watcher;
it contemplates, quietly, the day that it sees.
It is a witness.

It looks fragile.
But the daisy is strong.
Its Latin name is Bellis perennis
“Pretty”, “everlasting”.

You can trample a daisy,
but only for a short while.
It’ll grow back,
and open its eye
for the sunshine again.

Written after I edited You tread lightly on the world from its 3 a.m. scrawl, and realised I’ve used daisies in at least 4 poems and 2 songs.