Archive for July, 2005

Criticising Molly? Shut the fuck up.

This is an angry post. It’s filed under “personal and family” because it’s to defend a friend of mine from way back – Molly – who’s sad because of hate mail she’s getting about the IE7 beta.

Regardless of your ideological standpoint about the Web Standards Project’s involvement with Microsoft, no-one can deny that she works tirelessly to help a volunteer grassroots organisation that will ultimately benefit all of us.

IE7 is a program. The Web is a network of machines. Molly is a person and you should treat her respectfully, no matter how you disagree with her. Or you’re rude AND ungrateful.

Posting for posterity

I’m finding it hard writing this blog lately. It’s not that I haven’t got stuff to say. Far from it – I’ve got about 12 draft posts on the go, about screenreaders, the Ben Jonson play I’ve just been to see, Islam, and Sri Lankan rap music.

Previously, I wrote about whatever I’m thinking about at the time as a kind of catharsis. In the old days, people used to shout at passers-by in the street; these days, we blog. It keeps the peace and normal people don’t have to be harangued while they do their shopping. Nutters get their outlet, so everyone wins. I didn’t even have comments: it was a solo pleasure, like wanking.

But now I’ve got performance anxiety. To continue my wanking analogy, someone who gets pleasure from a daily tug won’t necessarily feel comfortable having a porn film crew around them recording it.
Continue reading Posting for posterity

SiteMorse stung #2

SiteMorse sent out “league tables” to lots of local government webmasters, ranking their web sites for accessibility, download speed, metadata etc.

The developers were then put under pressure to change their sites to get higher “MorseMarks” even though automated accessibility tests don’t work and SiteMorse had very odd criteria in their closed-source secretive testing suite. Many felt that they had to make their sites *less* accessible in order to please their bosses by being higher in the league tables.

Things started to get nasty when SiteMorse issued a press release criticising the Guild of Accessible Web Designers’ web site and then changed the press release when Gawds cried foul.

Isofarro, Malarkey and the WaSP ATF blogged it.

The Public Service Forums website (“created for use by e-Government practitioners in central and local government to encourage the sharing of knowledge and good practice”) has decided to stop publishing SiteMorse’s league tables, thus depriving the snakeoil salesmen of the oxygen of publicity.

Yay.

Poem: The Ballad of Julie Blue

A poem that I wrote 20 years ago, and forgot about. But it came back to me, walking with the kids in the park today and seeing everything sweltering in this febrile July. Without being specific, it’s about a love affair that is time-limited, which makes it all the more piquant. You both know that promises to meet again won’t happen, because if they do, both of you will have had a world of seperate experiences and can never be together in the same way again. The poem is celebration, carpe diem, lyric and elegy.

(Sharp-eyed readers who know my love of Elizabethan drama will see a stolen line. There’s a free subscription to my RSS feed for the reader who can spot the source. )

The Ballad of Julie Blue

Jan left me cold and April cried
June came when I finished with May
through the signs and the seasons
with her rhymes and her reasons
Julie blew the clouds away

a perfect shadow in a sunshine day.

A month of summerday nights she stayed
blue skies all day each day clear
til the sun in her eyes began to fade
with every daisy chain she made
and she kissed me goodbye like a razor blade
singing I’ll return next year

But tomorrow’s a world away.

“You’ll do for now”

James, star of 'You'll do for now'The London Gay Men’s Chorus are performing a musical this weekend called You’ll Do For Now, and my delightful friend James is starring in it.

You’re hungry for more details, right? And, because you and me are friends, if you book through a chorus member, you get two tickets for the price of one! Just email James!

More than just a succession of songs, this specially devised concert takes the form of a journey through time. From the Wolfenden Report to gay communes, from Sondheim to Oasis, from a cottage to a chat room, from polari to club culture, the narrative follows the experiences of four gay men and their younger selves through the meeting places of gay London over the past fifty years.

Beyond the ephemeral and sometimes unsatisfying nature of these encounters, the show tells with a song and a dance how today’s relative freedom is the result of past battles for gay rights and more recent ones against AIDS, and also how our own personal battles make us who we are.

Semantics, Standards, Accessibility …

… the three legs of the Stool of Truth

As the thickest member of the WaSP ATF, I’ve been having a bit of a think about what the terms Accessibility, Standards, Semantics mean, trying to reach a working definition of the three terms, and how they inter-relate (while the other ATFers do hard work).

A good, modern website is like a stool. (The wooden kind. An inaccessible website is like the other kind.) The most stable stool is the one where each of the three legs is the same length, carries equal weight and supports its load well. Of course, it’s perfectly possible to sit on wobbly stool – but if it’s too wobbly, you’ll fall flat on your arse, in much the same way as this metaphor does.

Gurus need read no further; here’s my beginner’s guide to the Stool of Truth.
Continue reading Semantics, Standards, Accessibility …

London terrorist attacks

(11 a.m. ) It had to happen, and now it’s happened.

Let’s realise now that this isn’t about Islam. Al Queda are murderous fuckers who worship nothing but death, and they bear as much resemblance to the muslims I know as the IRA do to the teachers at my daughter’s catholic school.

News reports still coming in. Colleagues in our London office are told not to close the windows and leave the building (secondary devices, I guess).

When the mess is cleared and the dead people are counted, their loved ones consoled and their children comforted, let’s round up everyone who believes their religion requires or allows them to murder – whether they be Jews, Christians, Moslems, Sikhs or Hindus – and hang them all.

Civilisation can’t progress until that happens.

Continue reading London terrorist attacks