Friday, August 31, 2007

Terrorism: an excuse not to think


I saw this pop up on Digg and just glanced at it and my hair started to stand up straight.

"Mexican Trucks Begin Crossing Border Saturday"

Me being a European I just wonder if this is the first time Mexican trucks will the border. Probably not.

Digg user logicize
Making it even easier for the terrorists. Prelude to the North American Union. The Teamsters Union said it has been told by officials in the Transportation Department's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that the first Mexican trucks will be coming across the border on Saturday.

What? Terrorists? Did the Mexicans fly in to the Towers on 9/11? Must have missed that.

When you then start to read the numerous completely fear infested comments I begin to wonder why I am not afraid. IN the European Union we have open borders for years all ready. No gates to stop terrorists from Belgium, Denmark or, worse, Liechtenstein, a deeply fundamentalist philatelist country.

It's all about FUD

It sounds like too much FUD. Keep pumping fear and uncertainty into people and in the end they will believe anything. They will keep guns in their homes and believe that it keeps their children safe, until they find the gun and start playing with it.

It cannot be this bad

I thought the United States was about freedom and free trade and equal opportunities for everyone. Apparently only when you are a US citizen. Share more of your wealth and less of your polution.

Luckily, there are comments in there that show there are still people who use their brain. That gives me another glimpse of hope.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Wanna know how Gmail works?

.. different from what you expected!

On the official Gmail blog they announced a challenge for people around the globe: to show how Gmail works in an funny video.

The official Gmail blog
A few of us on the Gmail team came up with an idea to stitch together a bunch of video clips that all share one element: someone hands the Gmail M-velope in from the left of the screen, and hands it off to the right. Put them all together, and they form one long chain of hand-offs

This what came out of that idea.

Monday, August 20, 2007


.. bit of self reflection

In the past I always have been looking at consultants as people from a different planet. There was a time that I really believed that they actually know everything. Now I know it's just one big secret society with silent rules about what to do and say and when, how and where to say that. I know, because I am one of them now.


Some definitions and observations

The following definitions and observations concerning consultants are true.

  • A consultant is someone whom a manager gives a number and then takes that number goes away for some time and then hands that number back to the manager with an accompanying invoice. Somehow that is satisfying to the manager, as long as the number doesn't change.
  • When you ask a consultant what time it is, he will give you instructions on how to build your own clock.
  • There are three kinds of consultants: those that can count and those that can't.
  • When you ask a kid or any sane person how much one and one add up to they wil answer two. Which I still hold to be correct. A consultant will ask: "well, how much would you like it to be?"

And slowly and surely I begin to understand this.

And slowly and surely I begin to lose my senses.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Web Standards and growing pains

.. or is there no growth?

Molly Holzschlag has done it and again and yet again. She has raised a concern that has been brought up by others: "WTF are W3C and WHAT WG and HTML 5 WG up to? Are they completely from another planet? Are they disconnected from the real world end users and developers?"

Molly Holzschlag
Are you all just dumbed down by the fact you’ve got a job or what? Tell me. Let’s fix it. W3C, WaSP, whatever. We have problems.

Are there problems in this arena? Is it a bit of piled up frustration that has exploded? Or what?

Anyhow, the post triggered an enormous amount of comments and discussion (or at least poking at each other). Hence, follow up posts from Molly.

Plenty of storm

Reading most of the comments it mighht appear that there could be huge issues out there and that the world wide web is going to fall apart.

That sounds really, really awful.

In comes the King!

But then Jeffrey Zeldman puts me and hopefully all of us with our feet back on the ground with his post.

His point is that it is really easy to say that there is so much wrong with all the upcoming specs being compiled and coming out. But screaming murder without pointing out what exactly is wrong does nothing to help resolve the case.

That it takes long to compile specifications and have these in definitive state is something that makes sense. It's not making the menu for a Christmas dinner party with you and your parents. It's more like making a menu for a Christmas dinner for all your relatives. Each with their own diets and things they do not like to eat. And then also invite those Jewish people from across the street. And your Muslim colleague. And make sure everyone gets the right food prepared the right way and the right portion. Don't serve the Muslim wine, the Jew no ham, the vegetarian no meat at all. That is something like putting together a specification for HTML 5 is like, I guess.

Yes, it takes long to compile such a menu and I understand that the guests are getting hungry, but when it is finished each will have a great time and will experience a wonderful dinner and have their bellies filled with satisfaction.

It's not as bad as it seems

Molly in her third posts concludes in a way that's typical to her.

Molly Holzschlag
Is my approach passionate? You bet, and if you know me, it’s clear that the day that passion goes away I know I will have ceased to be effective in any way in this industry and I will leave it. But that day isn’t today. It’s a warm summer evening in Redmond, Washington, and I’m going to take some fresh lemons and make lemonade.
Anybody want a glass?
Well, it's clouded here so I will stick with a cup of cappucino.

Cheers, Molly!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Long live the King of Web Standards!

.. I bow to thee

It seems like so long ago already when I started to get into building web sites. Being the perfectionist that I am I wanted to do things right from the start. It was just a handful years ago that I really started building web sites. Although ky very first atempts must date back to 1995 or there abouts. I remember being proud of it and giving a colleague the url and him asking where the images were. Looking at the html I soon discovered they were still linking to my C-drive!

Well, years passed and I wasn't really active on the Net, other than trying to find stuff through AltaVista. Than five or six years ago I became more interested in web design and development again.

Being ambitious and working at Nike at that time "I wanted to do the right thing": and decided to just do it. I looked around for information and struck on sites like A List Apart and great inspring people like Eric Meyer and Jeffrey Zeldman. Through them and many other web standard evangelistas and web sites I learned the difficult trade of developing web standard compliant web sites.

And I am still learning today.

And I will still be learning tomorrow.

And I will probably still be learning for the rest of my life.

And I just love that

Back to the King

But do not stray too far from the path. Business Week has come up with a great article about Jeffrey Zeldman proclaiming him the King of Web Standards and rightfully so.

This is a must read and bookmark it and use it in the struggle to convince people of the need for web standards and the use of these.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Is there business life in Second Life?

.. or are companies just wasting money?

Is Second Life just one of those hypes that suddenly attract business attention? With the enormous amount of users or players Second Life seems like another interesting platform for marketing people. When there are people around put up some form of advertising and you can get rich. Even when the people are only virtual. You can get virtually rich, maybe.

Is it just a hype?

I just wonder if all the money put into it by governments, banks, insurance companies and what not will ever pay off. Clever companies are offering to create a presence for your company. They might be the only one benefitting from the entire hype. Good for them.

Recent reports have made it very clear that although there are many members of Second Life but only a small portion of them are regularly active. And only a portion of them is very active.

For example, recently the city of Amsterdam was for sale on Second Life. Well, at least a very nice representation of the city. But no buyers were found.

A virtual bubble

To me it's another version of an Internet Bubble. Companies and even local governments are running away with it. Investing lots of money into it and calculating huge benefits. When apporached with some doubt, they repost with the unmeasurable value of showing how much they are front runners. To me they show how gullible they are in an unmeasurable way.

Is it me?

Then again, it could be me, who's teh problem. I might be getting old and not seeing oppurtunities when they hit me in the face.

But still, I think Second Life can be fun for the players (it is a game in my perception). I am not buying virtual drinks in a virtual bar to virtually try and pick a virtually huge breasteed blonde (who probably is a pathethic middle aged unmarried unshaven bolding male from Wessex) for some virtual fooling around. Nor would I get virtual insurance for any virtual damage that might give me.