Bruce Lawson's personal site

An Event Apart, Boston

I was pretty excited to go to this bash, as I’ve been out of the conference circuit for a while and was eager to find out what web professionals are talking about these days. The last time I was in Boston and saw Zeldman speak was in early 2003, and most of the questions were about the mechanics of xhtml and css (“Do all attributes need to be quoted?”, “What’s better? Floats or absolute positioning?”).

This conference was mostly design-oriented and “inspirational” rather than code-focussed, which meant a lot of it was over my head. Does this mean that five years later, most designers or developers are entirely at ease with xhtml and css?

My gut feeling in still a “no”: A List Apart readers are the top echalons of web professionals; back in the trenches, as recently as a year ago I was training up a young, but nevertheless tables-n-spacers IE-only developer until she saw the light. It jibed well with comments that Zeldman made in the keynote about there being a dearth of really good courses that teach people Standards-based development. (<teaser>And you can expect a big announcement about that in a week or so. </teaser>)

It was groovy to be in a place where everyone had heard of Opera. The big question was “when will Opera be on the iPhone?”. I don’t know, but it can’t come too soon for me, either!

For me, conferences are all about the people. My first breakfast begain with a gentleman named Todd Libby who told me that I “saved his life” by teaching him Conditional Comments (shh, Todd … my new employers have disappeared previous employees into a fjord for just mentioning proprietory stuff).

It was top to meet luminaries like Kimberley Blessing, Ethan Marcotte and Christopher Schmitt (and thanks for treating us to a huge American meal, Christopher).

I drank way too many beers with Scott Fegette, who was pimpin’ his Dreamweaver while I pimped my Opera, and it’s always a delight to hook up with old mates like Zeldman, PPK and Eric Meyer. Millsy and I went to dinner with Eric on the closing night, where we were privileged to see the baby photos of Rebecca, his newest arrival.

It was over sushi that Eric inadvertently gave me the best joke of the conference by misunderstanding my crazy Limey pronunciation of the word “kudos” (as in my complimenting him “Kudos to you for such a good conference”) as “Q-DOS“, an ancient operating system. No wonder he looked so puzzled: “Crappy archaic O/S to you for such a good conference, Eric!”.

It wasn’t Q-DOS at all; it was well-organised, fun and enlightening.

Photos here

4 Responses to “ An Event Apart, Boston ”

Comment by Todd

Well, I consider it a good thing for your guidance, because when I started using CC’s, the company I worked for was using an absurd amount of internal stylesheets and so I was faced with either, “keep doing what has been done, or if you find a better way, do it.”

Hopefully you’ll be back next year and we’ll get a picture together, I meant to get one with you before AEA ended. Then we can have a few beers also. 😉

Comment by Matt Machell

That gut feeling, it’s still pretty accurate from my experience. I’ve been teaching occasional courses in Standards and Semantics, and people are keen to learn, but they’re far outside the ALA / conference circuit loop.

Comment by JC Ahangama

Two years have gone by since you wrote this. So, I hope and prey that you’d get to read this comment.

Most of people of your caliber live on the side of the Latin script. If everything seems good with them, then everything is great.

However, Unicode and the countries concerned ruined chances for Indic to get a happy presence on the web. I tried an experiment on Indic (and still trying to get USPTO to patent it):
1. transliterate into ISO-8859-1
2. Make an orthographic smartfont.

The result is illustrated with my quick and dirty font at two web sites. Unfortunately, Opera does not support ligatures to view them in it. (I blocked out all but 4 browsers that support CSS3 ‘text-rendering’ rule. So please use either Firefox or Safari to understand what the web sites show.):

http://www.lovatasinhala.com/
http://www.ahangama.com/ (WordPress blog)

This is Sinhala that includes Sanskrit. I use a keyboard layout adopted from QWERTY — very intuitive. @font-family downloads the font. All Indic could be done like this. The advantage of using transliterated formats is that it makes it so much easier to type these languages, encouraging regular users to use their languages on the computer.

Would you care to write back to me?

Regards by fan.

JC

Comment by Bruce

@JC

Because I don’t read Sinhala, I can’t understand what you wish Opera to do that it isn’t already doing. (I’ve compared Opera 10.63 with the latest Firefox beta and to my untutored eyes, they look very similar).

Can you explain further?

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