Archive for November, 2005

On “Web 2.0”

There’s a lot of talk about the so-called Web 2.0 at the moment, and I’m in two minds about what I think.

On the one hand, as a geek who used to be involved in publishing, “new” almost de facto equates to “exciting”. It could genuinely be the Web is metamorphosing from rather dull dumb-terminals sending and receiving screenfulls of data – just like the IBM MVS terminals I used to use in 1988 – to a rich, asynchronous, application-like environment.

On the other hand, I have two worries. The first is my natural scepticism (some might say “cynicism”) about the hype. It seems to me like a new venture capital orgy is being prepared. The bubble is being inflated by pompous and largely empty buzzworks like “folksonomy”, “social networking”, “tag clouds” and others brilliantly satirised on the Go Flock Yourself blog. And where are the business models?
Continue reading On “Web 2.0”

I HATE stupid stock photography

Most of the examples of dreadful stock photography linked to from this post have now changed – doubtless as a direct result of the excoriation they receive here. But the post attracted some great comments, so I’m leaving it up.

Photos are good. A picture is worth a thousand words.Web sites need photos. Photos of people are reassuring and help site visitors feel a lovely sense of society, community, and quiverings of loveliness in their astral karma. Or something. But I fucking hate stupid stock photography.
Continue reading I HATE stupid stock photography

Happy Birthday to me

Well, I’m thirty-nine today. You might think, if you read last year’s birthday post, that I’d be reporting a monumental hangover, or that I’d had a wild night of sex with a Jewish woman (and thus fulfilled my lapsed ambition of copulating with a female representative of each of the world’s major religions). But no. I awoke at 7.30 and went off as usual to my Karate lesson. On a Sunday morning!

As I approach the big 40, with two small kids, I’ve realised that my best chance of being healthy enough to see the kids leave home, and take Nongyow on our long-planned overland trip from London to Bangkok is to do something about my beer belly and my propensity to break into a sweat just walking to the fridge for another can of Guinness. And do it now.

So – it’s six months since I had my last cigarette; I’m doing regular exercise and enjoying it (this from the man who skived Games at school every week for four years!), and I’ve valiantly resisted the temptations of sultry Jewesses (because being dismembered by Nongyow obviously precludes any dotage at all, let alone a healthy one).

And, oddly, I do feel better*. Now, where’s my beer?

* Except for the lack of Jewish girls, that is.

Accessibility and Google rank

logo: art deco ship on wavesThere’s an article on A List Apart called High Accessibility Is Effective Search Engine Optimization which, while not saying anything revolutionary, is a useful paper to wave under a boss’s nose, along with Google’s advice to web developers.

I’m certain that it’s the case that developing an accessible standards-based site helps your Google rank. Some time ago, I redesigned a web site for the small not-for-profit Waterworks Jazz club as their old site was a bright pink anigif-ridden tag soup that didn’t say “Jazz” or “Art deco” so much as “Prawn Cocktail” and “aesthetic apocalypse”. Obviously, the redesign was with standards and accessibility in mind while trying to be reasonably pleasant on the eye.

I had a phone call from the site owner last week, who told me that they’ve had several newcomers to the club lately. When they were asked how they found out about the club, they all replied “from Google”, as it’s been the number one search result for “jazz club birmingham” since it was launched.

Mary the model

Iranian-Thai teenager in best clothes holding trophyAgainst her mother’s advice, my wife’s 18-year old niece, Mary, left her home in thrilling Norway to live in Bangkok and seek her fortune. Mary is tall, slim and very striking-looking because of her Iranian-Thai genes, so I gave her some leads for Bangkok modelling agencies.

And, who’d’ve thought it? She’s been there three months and wins 500,000 baht (approx £7,500) in a modelling contest and use of a Mercedes for the year-long modelling contract.

I’m switching from Web Standards wonkery to managing Thai teen models. Or I might even enter some contests myself.

(I just know I’m gonna get some worrying search terms appear in my server logs now …)

Acid 2 test: a dreadful failure

It was good to see that the new build of Safari passes the Acid2 test for standards compliance.

Opera and Firefox come close, but one browser in particular still fails it dismally.

I pointed Netscape 4.07 at the test page, and was horrified to see the results:

dreadful old browser with broken images and bits of text

Honestly, if those folks at Netscape don’t raise their game, they’re going to see their market dominance wither, you mark my words.

Anyone else noticed any CSS problems with Netscape 4?