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the useless personal web log of adam mathes

Blueblog is going away.

I'm going to try doing this instead.

So, new format, new location, same lack of design. I hope you'll take a look at it.

2/19/2001 12:32:48 AM | +

I'm way late on this super 3l33t meme, but anyway...


2/17/2001 10:45:27 PM | +

The Web Standards Project is advocating that sites detect older browsers and redirect them to their spartan (and in my opinion, totally useless to end users) browser upgrade page in order to facilitate quicker adoption of modern, more standards-compliant browsers.

"'We're offering browser detection that can sniff out old browsers and direct them to the upgrades page,' said WaSP steering committee member B.K. DeLong, 'as well as other techniques that don't rely on JavaScript.' When developers create sites using valid HTML, CSS, and other web standards, the WaSP's toolset can send users of sub-par browsers to the upgrades page.

'This is radical,' said Zeldman, 'and not every site can participate. Yahoo and Amazon, for instance, can't afford to risk alienating a single visitor. We recognize that many sites are in that position. Our hope is that if enough sites are willing to take the plunge, the typical 18-month user upgrade cycle will be drastically shortened, and a Web that works for all will no longer be something we just talk about: it will be every web user's experience.'

What site could possibly be in a position to deny users access?

This is just wrong on so many levels, I'm not even sure where to start.

I'll begin with some words from WaSP founder Jeffrey Zelman. From Zeldman's Daily Report -

"18 January, 2001
[5 am]
'We're sorry, but the browser you are currently running is not compatible with' What browser would that be? Any browser on a Mac. (Mac users, try it and see.) We don't have a Linux box here, so we can't say if other computer minorities get the same treatment"

Zeldman Daily Report -

"26 January, 2001
Jim Heid has been looking for sites that exclude Mac users. They are not hard to find. Two of Jim's latest discoveries: Sony Style and Sony Computing. Dear Sony, you're worth billions, and your sites represent millions in potential purchases—not to mention immeasurable amounts of consumer goodwill. For pity's sake, buy an $799 iMac and test your code. Better yet, use standard markup, and your sites will work for everyone."

Clearly, Zeldman thinks that it is wrong to exclude Macintosh users from a site, and not just because it inconveniences him personally. Why would you want to completely deny viewers access to your site just because of the computer they happen to be using? That's antithetical to the whole idea of the web.

Your choice in browser is much more relevant to this discussion than the type of computer you are running it on, but the basic principle is the same.

The most important aspect of the web is it's universal accessibility. Fracturing the web by forcing users to use a particular technology or deny them access is a clear violation of that principle.

Try viewing the International Herald Tribune in a modern browser and you'll see one of the most effective uses of DHTML on the web. Try viewing it Netscape 3 and you'll see a very readable, usable site that has the same content, but doesn't have any of the features that would require a modern browser.

Does this require writing multiple versions of your pages? Probably. If you're using a decent content management system, this sort of thing should not be a problem. More importantly, who ever said web development was supposed to be easy? This current action by the WaSP to me sounds equivalent to "developing for crappy browsers is so hard that we need to force users to use the super latest in technology to make our jobs easier."

Earth to web developers: users are not interested in making your lives easier.

Yes, it'd be nice if all users upgraded their browsers instantly and every browser vendor adhered to and implemented standards in correct, compatabile ways. It's not going to happen. Whining and creating user-hostile attempts at forcing upgrades is not going to help.

A WaSP campaign that encouraged web savvy people to get out, yes, physically get out, and help their fathers, grandmothers, and English major friends upgrade to the modern browsers would be a much healthier, friendlier action.

As it is, I have a hard time seeing how the WaSP's recent actions are helping the web community.

2/16/2001 09:59:22 PM | +

Filler Friday: Mail Day! Again

2/16/2001 12:11:31 AM | +

Dan Gillmor reporting on O'Reilly's P2P conference -

"In that world, every client -- that is, every PC and other device connected to the Net -- should also be a server. Lots of people are working on this, but a Menlo Park startup called KnowNow has figured out something that just might set off a new Net revolution.

I didn't know this before today, but it turns out that a Web browser can hold open the connection to the server. Normally, a browser sends a request for information, which is delivered by the server. The connection ends.

KnowNow holds the connection open. Then it adds some JavaScript and, voila, you have a mini-server inside the browser. You're not necessarily using lots of bandwidth, but you are pretending, in effect, that you're downloading a very, very long document while the browser keeps communicating with the server.

The application potential here seems almost limitless -- real-time, two-way communications with real sophistication and value. Rohit Khare, KnowNow's company's founder/CEO, and his colleagues are onto something huge, I suspect."

2/14/2001 08:39:19 PM | +

Just in time for Valentine's Day, the ever popular Application to Date Adam Mathes is back in service. Sort of.

2/10/2001 11:58:25 PM | +

Bathroom Pet Peeves, continued

People who talk on their cellular phones in the bathroom. I hate them.

2/10/2001 06:57:06 PM | +

Filler Friday: Micropayments Are Stupid.

2/9/2001 10:27:36 AM | +

Dear recruiting agents from high tech companies - if you send me HTML email, I will assume that you, and the company you represent, are not bright enough to realize how annoying HTML email is - especially for computer science students who tend to spent their lives staring at xterms. Based on that, I will never work for you.

Does this make me an unreasonable, asshole, techno-snob when it comes to potential employers?

Yeah. Probably. But that's already been established.

That reminds me, I think this is that part of the year I'm supposed to start "looking" for a "summer job." Of course "looking" here will more likely turn into "vaguely and inffectively attempt to sell myself on my unread weblog" and then taking a nap.

And I should probably update the resume and finally finish that "web portfolio" explaining what the hell Deepleap and Organizine were and blah blah blah. Want to just hire me for the summer right now and save me the trouble? No, I didn't think so.

2/8/2001 04:58:26 PM | +

I'm playing with some backend stuff... apologies in advance for any technical difficulties.

2/7/2001 06:01:16 PM | +

The absolute funniest thing that has been on TV Funhouse was a segment called "Porn For Kids." This version was only shown once, re-runs have shown a censored version that completely ruins the joke. [thanks fasthack]

2/7/2001 12:09:04 AM | +

I wish I had my own bathroom. Stupid dorm life.

New pet peeve: people who talk to me when I'm brushing my teeth.

Obviously, if I'm brushing my teeth, this is not the ideal time to start a conversation with me.

If I'm brushing my teeth, I don't want to talk to you. And even if I did, which I don't, because undoubtably you're just going to ask me for something or make idiotic chit-chat, I couldn't because I'm brushing my teeth.

2/6/2001 02:10:33 AM | +

Tog clearly and concisely goes over the Top 10 Reasons the Apple Dock Sucks and concludes -

"Apple seems to have lost all ability to tell real from imaginary. We saw this phenomenon with the round mouse, a 'cool' design that was completely impractical. It took two years of the trade press calling them idiots before they finally pulled the mouse from the market. That protest was nothing compared to what the Dock has generated, and still they are hanging on."

Tog calls OS X a shift form "user-centered" design to "ego-centered" design. Unless some drastic changes happen in OS X, I think it's going to be a disaster. This obsession over the "cool" and "slick" over the usable is going to be the death of Apple.

2/4/2001 08:08:30 PM | +

Highlight of my day - Who makes browsers happy?. (Hint: me.)

2/4/2001 04:25:34 PM | +

I really tried hard to avoid commenting, but I just can't. The "bloggie" for "best weblog about weblogs" was won by Haiku the Blog.

What the hell is wrong with you people?

2/3/2001 10:30:46 PM | +

Exciting Announcement Deconstructed -

"Also, a book? Paper? Everyone knows print is just a haven for those talentless people who can't make it in the much more important Web literary world."

2/3/2001 02:16:16 PM | +

A sad kind of day, Part II (of II) made me want to cry.

2/1/2001 11:28:19 PM | +

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