November 2000

11/29/2000 Wednesday

I have an intense distrust of lawyers. While doctors go to school to learn about the body so they can fix it, lawyers go to school to learn about the law so that they can find ways around it.
16:25 permalink

Unionization at a Dot Com. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out. (via Wired)
09:30 permalink

I'm getting into WAP lately (well, WML and WMLScript really but WAP is a better sounding acronym). WAP. The word reminds me of Warner Bros. cartoons. WAP, WAP, WAP!
09:00 permalink

11/28/2000 Tuesday

Best Client Quotes - a very long list. My favourite so far is: "can you guys make it more like a power-point presentation, you know, with the sliding text stuff and all?". Well, that's what it's all about dontcha know. (via Xblog)
08:50 permalink

11/27/2000 Monday

A Public Service Announcement: The word party is not a verb.
13:55 permalink

Remember when you were young and yelling 'Wheeee!' made whatever it was you were doing just that much more fun? Well, it's doesn't seem to work in later years.
13:45 permalink

<rant>I have difficulty accepting the fact that the money I am currently making and saving will go towards supporting people who are on a life-long binge of consuming - deep in debt and still spending more than they earn. They will have no money for their retirement and I will have to help them by doling out some of my savings. If you are currently one of these people, please slit your neck the day after you retire. Thank you.</rant>
09:40 permalink

WebWord is always a source of lots of interesting and important usability stuff. Good comments, too.
09:05 permalink

11/26/2000 Sunday

The newly-resurrected Eatons' stores opened this weekend. Analysists have said that if Eatons wishes to survive, they need to concentrate on service. Prior to closing last year, the average age of sales staff was probably around 40. Now, it looks like it is about 30 (the greeters averaged about 23). Good service, which comes from experience, is obviously not what the new Eatons is concentrating on. I would suggest that, in order to survive, Eatons must appear exclusive. Service doesn't matter. What does matter is to look young, dynamic, and relevant. And be expensive. People like to spend much more than they have to in order to feel like they are participating in something exclusive. I noticed that they are selling the pot set we recently bought at exactly twice what we spent. I think it will do well.
18:30 permalink

11/24/2000 Friday

I'm midway through redoing the left-hand navigation on most of the site. I've decided to put local navigation in this area and limit global navigation to the breadcrumbs at the top of each page. Things may be messed up for a short while.
18:20 permalink

A mailing list I'm on featured a compiled list of Netscape 6 problems and someone mentioned that it can't handle XHTML. The real problem is that NS6 can't handle XHTML DTDs (specified by the <!doctype>). All images in a page with such a DTD will have 3 pixels added to the bottom padding (which will probably screw up the layout). Use HTML Transitional DTDs instead. You can still use XHTML rules in your code. In fact, it's advised.
10:45 permalink

Today is Buy Nothing Day. The one day in the year you are asked to think about what rampant consumerism is doing to the world you live in. You can think exclusively about yourself on the other 264 days of the year (though, obviously, that really isn't the purpose of today).
09:35 permalink

The Skeptical Internet User Does Not Search - A lot of usability articles implicitly assume there is one class of user. It's interesting to see a breakdown of user types and an explaination of the attitudes and expectations of these user classes. Find out who your users are and meet their expectations. They may actually appreciate something other than the Jakob usability ideal (though this is still a very small fraction of users). (via WebWord)
09:25 permalink

Back from LA. To me, the US is a weird carnival - equal parts entertaining and scary. I had no idea Thanksgiving was such a festival of absolute consumption. Not just food; Christmas shopping gets a serious start on this holiday. I have no idea why anyone would want to live in there.
09:20 permalink

11/22/2000 Wednesday

Project Pluto - An article about a missile project in the late 50's. But doesn't this sound like a quote from someone at a dot-com: "I was young. We had lots of money. It was very exciting."
12:25 permalink

CHiPs absolutely rocks. The best part is when they get off their motorcycles at the same time - like synchronized swimming. The Clan of the Cave Bear is just silly.
09:10 permalink

11/21/2000 Tuesday

European Software Patent Horror Gallery - A list of patents that should never have been granted. They cover things like a stateless shopping cart, visualizing a process, creating dynamic webpages by invoking a script, multitasking, and dynamic pricing. The whole computer industry is hereby put under arrest for patent infringement. (via Slashdot)
16:50 permalink

A New Viewpoint on Internet Imagery - Yet another 3D plugin that will revolutionize ecommerce because "a majority of 1,500 users tested were more likely to purchase products from a site that displayed their products in 3D than with standard 2D pictures". So, why didn't VRML become more popular? (via WebWord who makes a good point)
11:30 permalink

11/20/2000 Monday

Apparently, one particularly contentious issue these days is "youth in Asia". Lots of people seem to be against youth in Asia. Personally, I can't see what the problem is. Youth in Asia has my full support.
15:00 permalink

Best examples of e-commerce - Specific good-usability aspects of some popular sites compiled by Creative Good. (via Kottke)
14:15 permalink

11/17/2000 Friday

Been playing with Netscape 6 for a couple days. I think I agree with Snowdeal on the Windows memory leak - after about 10 hours, it starts to take up to a minute to give a window focus. It's handling of textareas is pretty bad - the display gets all messed up if you re-edit anything you type. And if you type in a view-source: protocol to see the page source, it displays it in the current window and then you are locked into view-source mode. As you navigate through your history, you just see the source code for all sites. Click in the location box and hit 'enter' to go back to normal mode.
10:10 permalink's employee thank-you page has some hidden messages. Check out the page source.
10:00 permalink

Quoted from Tremendo:

This article is for web developers only. If you're a web designer, you can stop reading.

Yes, we are elitist.
09:50 permalink

Should a browser that doesn't allow interaction even exist? The web is interactive by definition. The user has (or should have) the ultimate control. Any designer who thinks otherwise is deluding themselves and should consider switching to designing screensavers instead. (via Tomalak's Realm).
09:45 permalink

11/15/2000 Wednesday

I think it's funny when people have photos taken of them where they are trying to look like porn stars. You know, eyes half closed, tongues hanging out. Yep. That cracks me up every time. It's so original, too.
14:30 permalink

11/14/2000 Tuesday

An American Advertising Federation full page ad in the Wall Street Journal of yesterday has a close-up of a Coca-Cola bottle label that reads Enjoy Advertising. Very scary.
12:30 permalink

I hope they publish the entries to this dot-com failure story contest - they'd probably make really interesting reading. (via Internet News)
09:45 permalink

I know MarchFirst is an enormous company as web consultant firms go but 1000 people is a lot to layoff. (via Fucked Company)
09:45 permalink

But if I want to get some ad-blocking software, I want to block all ads. I don't want to give the author the priviledge of replacing every fourth ad with their own. Wait for some college kid to write something that will actually complete the job. (via Tomalak's Realm)
09:30 permalink

Looks like the Netscape 6.0 release is official. Stay tuned for hell to break loose.
09:10 permalink

A Public Service Announcement: Quotes do not denote emphasis. Colons are not graphical elements. Thank you.
09:00 permalink

11/13/2000 Monday

The unusually dry fall weather (for Vancouver) and the city workers strike have combined to provide huge piles of leaves for those of us who like to run through them. I hear the strike may end soon, though.
15:30 permalink

11/10/2000 Friday

Hasbro loses it's suit against Clue Computing over the domain. Good.
14:00 permalink

There's a rumour on SlashDot that a non-beta Netscape 6 is available. At this point, none of the links to the Netscape ftp server are working. You can see a '6.0' directory but you can't access it. Wonder what's going on? Reading the post has made me realize that there will be a good standards-compliant application browser - Mozilla. Now I don't care if Netscape dies.
09:20 permalink

Fucked Company has a new logo and font (Fast Company order them to 'cease and desist' the use of the old font 'cause it looked too much like their own). Hmm, I dunno...
09:05 permalink

Class in a 3-D Lecture Hall - The theory is that traditional online courses don't provide the student with a sense of being part of an experience. In a virtual reality style learning environment, student's can interact with each other's avatars to build that sense of community. However, the article is full of examples where the participants seem to be goofing off and not learning. In fact, motionless avatars indicated to the lecturers that some people were, in fact, paying attention. Community is important to online learning but shouldn't be so disruptive to the actual learning. (via
08:45 permalink

11/09/2000 Thursday

MetaFilter thread on Canadian vs. American chocolate. Canada seems to be winning.
18:10 permalink

Found out yesterday that there appears to be a bug in IE5 on WinNT and Win2000 under certain circumstances (not sure what those are yet). What happens is that when you do image swapping (like rollovers) with gifs with transparent regions, the background of the page doesn't show through the transparent areas. Instead, either the original image or some other image on the page will be visible. The exact image that you do get glimpses of will depend on your interaction with the page. It looks like it's a problem with re-drawing the display. The solution is not to use transparent gifs in image swapping. A similar problem exists in IE5 on the Mac when moving and re-clipping dhtml layers - text or images will appear to smear. Not sure how to avoid this yet.
11:25 permalink

Regarding the Netscape 6 flap, I agree with Zeldman.
11:15 permalink

The 12th Amendment to the US Constitution states that the members of a team seeking the Presidency and Vice-Presidency must be from different states or the members of the state that they are both from can't vote for them. Bush and Cheney are both from Texas but Cheney was careful to re-register in Wyoming before becoming Bush's running mate. However, it also seems to indicate that presidential and vice-presidential candidates must be listed on separate ballots. From the only US ballot I've ever seen (the contential Palm Beach County ballot), this doesn't seem to be the case.
11:10 permalink

Traditional journalists are being drawn to web jobs and then being burned by the experience. When you are selling stuff that everyone else is, you need something unique that will draw users and keep them. Some dot coms use content - information that users will only get at their site. However, the content doesn't exist so they hire journalists to invent it. I think users very quickly learn what is real content and what has been invented. (via Tomalak's Realm).
11:00 permalink

11/08/2000 Wednesday

Using the Palm Emulator when you don't have a physical Palm is a pain. To get a rom (the emulator doesn't run without one) requires you to print out an acrobat form, fill it out, and mail it in. Or you could just grab one from your real Palm. But if I had a real Palm, I wouldn't need an emulator, would I?
17:55 permalink

Why does Netscape want to release a browser that sucks? Why can't they concentrate on standards compliance? I'm getting sick of all the bickering that's going on (see here, here, and here). I want a decent application browser, dammit. I don't want to have to cope with yet another proprietary feature-rich, standards-poor piece of crap. I'm beginning to wonder if AOL just wants Netscape (which they own though they still use IE for the core of their own browser) to die.
09:20 permalink

11/07/2000 Tuesday

Get yourself a brand new job title (a re-incarnation of the job title picker I made about 6 months ago for the company intranet).
11:50 permalink

11/06/2000 Monday

XHTML Basic has apparently skipped the traditional Candidate Recommendation phase and is now a Proposed Recommendation.
13:05 permalink

Restaurant mints aren't real candies.
11:30 permalink

E-Tailers Transfer Shelf Space Into Cyberspace - Online retailers are advised to select the best aspects of physical stores and applying them to online shopping. These are usually more abstract than visual properties (things like simplicity). Online stores also avoid some of the limitations of offline stores and allow such things as cross-promotion. The article also mentions the very popular use of product catagory tabs a la Amazon. This is one thing I wouldn't mind if Amazon patented and vigorously protected - it's a non-scalable technique that shouldn't be implimented blindly. Even Amazon has largely abandonned it after dabbling in a double row of tabs after they ran out of space for all their categories. (via Tomalak's Realm)
09:00 permalink

11/02/2000 Thursday

The <WEB4096> contest is back again. The object of the contest is to create something really cool in under 4k. The first contest took place in December 1999 to March 2000 but no-one outside of Europe really heard about it until the 5k was well under way (or even afterwards - I can't remember). Anyways, you can submit entries for this round until December 31. Submissions will be exhibited and voted on (by site visitors) during January, and winners announced in February. Look for some old 5k entries to be recycled in this contest and many more entries than last year. See the contest site for more details.
09:40 permalink

11/01/2000 Wednesday

Took the validators validate themselves thing one step further. Check out The Website Validator Face-off.
14:00 permalink

JWZ looks different. When did this happen?
08:50 permalink