August 2010 Archives
Yesterday, Wired caused much ruckus on the intertubes with their article entitled The Web is Dead. Long Live the Internet, where the main argument goes as follows:
Two decades after its birth, the World Wide Web is in decline, as simpler, sleeker services — think apps — are less about the searching and more about the getting.
Arguing that companies seeking return on their investments are abandoning the web for more profitable pastures, the article has some interesting points and is well worth reading. Although the sentiment and conclusions can, and have been argued, the idea that the (free) web’s dominance is challenged is worth reflecting on.
Later in the day, BoingBoing rebutted with a modified graph, showing the “decline” of the web with the growth of traffic taken into account. By counting the explosive growth of traffic on the internet, the web no longer seems in decline, but rather joined by an even more explosive growth in high-bandwidth services like file-sharing and video.
Wired has clearly picked a sensationalist headline for their cover feature, but in the same issue, Tim O’Reilly and John Battelle debates whether The Web Is Dead, and Evan Hansen discusses How the Web Wins.
In all, an interesting debate — when you go beyond the stirring headline.
Lovely. Words on Devour:
Light as a feather, come on… Light as a feather.
Let there be light!
wool-tweed educators it’s no surprise to discover that we’re committed to events that help move the state of web design education forward.
We first spoke about the possibility of running just such an event with Andy Budd at last year’s Build Conference after party. Mr Budd went on to write up some thoughts on The Sorry State of Web Design Education (a great piece that kicked off some interesting discussion) and, admirably picking up the baton, Richard Eskins, Senior Lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University’s Department of Information and Communications, put the wheels in motion and organised a Web Teaching Day.
We’re delighted to have been invited to speak at the event and will be joining a host of respected speakers, including Chris Mills, the gentleman behind Opera’s Web Standards Curriculum and Andy Clarke, the gentleman behind Looking for Yogi.
With speakers from both education and industry backgrounds it looks set to be a great day to share examples of best practice and help shape a vision for web design education moving forward. Better still, it’s free and you can even win some schwag - a copy of Adobe Creative Suite 5 - courtesy of Adobe.
Instead of writing notes for this very publication, we’ve squandered the last few days in the illustrious company of The Incident, a retro-themed action game for the iPhone and iPad, which comes complete with a glorious chip-tune soundtrack and a variety of wonderfully obscure falling objects rendered with pixel perfection which lead to inevitable certain death if not avoided.
For those of us blessed with the BBC iPlayer, there’s a chance to catch the always excellent Stephen Fry lament the rise of the QWERTY keyboard over other, more sophisticated, input methods, like the alternative keyboard layout of the sadly misunderstood Mr. Dvorak.
If you can’t access the iPlayer the BBC provides a short summary:
Just as AC beat DC, the audio cassette beat 8-track and VHS beat Betamax, QWERTY won the format war.
An interesting story, and even if you’ve heard it before, Mr. Fry is always an aural delight.
You have to feel for Louis J Montulli II (The Netscape Guy). His illustrious career has included no shortage of considerable achievements, not least being widely credited as the inventor of the
<blink> tag (though truth be told, he only suggested the idea).
In 1991, while at university, he wrote a program that would eventually become known as Lynx (a milestone and one of the first web browsers). Whilst working on this he was heavily involved in the development of HTTP and HTML, a time he reflects upon as follows:
That time period was one of most exciting and fast paced periods I can remember. Innovations that are completely ubiquitous now were proposed and implemented in incredibly fast cycles. It wasn’t until the later days at Netscape that we coined the term internet time.
In 1994, Montulli moved to California to become one of the founding engineers at Mosaic Communications Corporation, creators of Mosaic - the web browser widely credited with popularising the world wide web. Mosaic, which later changed its name to Netscape, was a hotbed of activity, innovating relentlessly. Whilst there Montulli reflects that he was, “largely to blame for several innovations on the web including cookies and the blink tag….” His list of achievements goes on…
His reflections on The Origins of the Blink Tag, though not recently published, are fascinating reading and well worth a few moments, to either: wander down memory lane, or gain some insight into how things were in ‘the good old days’ when the web we know was being born. Montulli states:
For those of you who are relatively new to the Web, the
<blink>tag … causes text to blink, and many, many people find its behavior to be extremely annoying. I won’t deny the invention, but there is a bit more to the story than is widely known.
Reminiscing, Montulli casts his mind back to a fateful day in 1994 bearing all the hallmarks of a spot of creative inspiration: a bar in Mountain View, California; a 30 foot tall statue of Wonder Woman; a “fair amount of drinking”; meeting a girl (who would later become Montulli’s first wife); and, of course, a great deal of laughter at the thought of blinking text and “blinking this and that” and how absurd this might be.
The rest, as they say, is history. A “pretty harmless easter egg” turned out to be “a lot like Las Vegas” except on Montulli’s - and everyone’s - screen.
Spare a thought for Montulli, who writes:
<blink>tag will probably be remembered as the most hated of all HTML tags. I would like to publicly state that at no time did I actually write code or even seriously advocate for the
<blink>tag. It is true that I put forth the initial inspiration, but it really was merely a thought experiment.
A gentleman to the end, he refuses to name the names of those who undertook the dastardly deed, and reserves his sympathy for his humble Lynx browser which - ironically - never did get to blink.
Erik Spiekermann about pitches:
Our strategic and creative resources are our most valuable assets. We cannot afford to give them away for free.
What we do offer for free to potential clients is a strategic analysis and a creative debrief, as shown in this illustration.
Perfectly put. The guidelines, neatly summarised in a diagram, encapsulate the process clearly.
We’ve been overwhelmed with the response to our announcement this morning that the Prize Fund for The Standardistas Open Book Exam had hit £1,000. In the few hours since we made the announcement, we’ve been inundated with further offers of prizes. Thank you internet!
We’ll announce the full list of prizes when the Prize Fund hits the magical £2,000, but we wanted to tease you with some new prizes we’ll be adding to the list of awesomeness.
Enjoy conferences? Of course you do. Then you’ll be delighted to hear that we have a ticket for DIBI 2011 for one lucky winner, courtesy of the DIBI team. It gets better, we also have a ticket for Mr Simon Collison’s excellent New Adventures in Web Design, courtesy of the man himself (a true gentleman indeed).
Missed out on the sold-out-in-a-matter-of-days first issue of 8 Faces? Thanks to the generosity of Mr Elliot Jay Stocks we’ve got you covered.
If you love the nice things Realmac Software make for Apple Macs, good news, they’ve also very generously offered a whole bunch of licenses for their lovely software. Tasty indeed.
We’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity of our friends in the web design community. Thanks to them, it looks like our promise of a great night will well and truly be delivered and no one will leave the quiz empty-handed.
We have one last bit of good news…
One request we’d had from a number of people was for the event to move from the Monday night slot to the night before the conference. Great news, thanks to overwhelming demand, we’ll now be entertaining you on what looks set to be an action-packed Tuesday evening. First, the talented Ms Hische; then yours truly.
We’re working on a registration page for you to register your team members (four members per team) and team names (be creative) and will announce it when it goes live. Until then, get revising and follow @standardistas on Twitter to hear the news as soon as it’s announced.
We’re delighted to announce that the Prize Fund for The Standardistas’ Open Book Exam just hit £1,000 (and it’s continuing to grow).
We promised the evening would be one of the most exciting events in this year’s geek calendar and we weren’t lying. We’re delighted to announce that we’ve been supported by a who’s who of the good and the great of the web design community to ensure that the event will be a fun-filled night to remember.
Prizes confirmed so far include: a shiny, new iPad courtesy of Build supremo Mr Gordon Paper; a signed, numbered copy of the 2009 Feltron Annual Report, courtesy of our good friend Mr Nicholas Felton; three licenses for Silverback, courtesy of our friends at Clearleft; and a few other cherishable, hard-to-get goodies we’ll announce shortly.
What’s that you say? You like to read?
Well good news, we’ve got some books for you to win too. So far the reading material we’ve lined up for you includes: three signed copies of Andy Clarke’s CSS Artistry and three signed copies of Dan Cederholm’s Handcrafted CSS, both courtesy of our friends at New Riders; of course we’ll also have a few signed copies of our book to win, in addition to some other exciting goodies from friends of ED and Apress.
It gets better, this is just the start. We have another round of exciting prizes to announce shortly – we’ll announce them when the Prize Fund hits the magical £2,000.
Our goal? For every single person that joins us at the Open Book Exam to enjoy the event and leave with something that’s truly teh awesome. Don’t say we’re not good to you.
You should follow us on Twitter for hints and tips we’ll be sprinkling in our timeline as the event approaches, to help you win one of the many coveted prizes.
Inspire the web with just 10K. It’s time to get back to basics — back to optimising every little byte like your life depends on it.
With over $10,000 in prizes, the competition promises one grand prize for Best Overall App in Contest, with three runners up for Best Design, Best Technical and People’s Choice (decided by you, the people).
For inspiration you might want to take a look at The Gallery which includes Daniel Marino’s Daily Task Tracker and Ivan (No Surname)’s, Pong inspired, 10K Tennis (which is best experienced in ‘Retro’ style naturally).
The winner will be picked by a jury which has yet to be formed (volunteers?). I’ve got no prizes to give away … oh wait, I can give you a Google Wave inviation. Those count, right?
For inspiration you might want to take a look at the list of accepted submissions which include Steven Wittens’ pulsing wires and Hakim El Hattab’s colour particles, two minimal, yet elegant visual extravaganzas.
Goto Go to it.
If you’ve found yourself tempted by FontShop’s Web FontFonts – high quality, screen-optimised fonts designed specifically for web use – but have yet to try them out, you now have no excuses.
Using a spot of custom style sheet trickery and a sprinkling of fairy dust, FontFonter temporarily replaces your site’s font styles with Web FontFonts, enabling you to quickly and easily see how lovely it might look should you clothe it in FontFont finery.
Handy (and tempting).
FontShop has always aspired to be more than just a source of finely crafted fonts. Its FontShop Education resource is well worth a bookmark. Designed to, “improve your design skills with typography tips and tutorials,” it has a growing series of typographic field guides formatted for easy downloading and printing that are well worth reading.
Erik Spiekermann’s Seven Rules for Better Typography (PDF, 164 K) alone is worth the (free) price of admission. Get your copy now and start improving your typography with the help of the type maestro’s heavyweight advice.
If you enjoyed FontFont’s beautifully designed FF DIN Round PDF by Albert-Jan Pool, you’ll appreciate the latest FontFont Focus on FF DIN.
One in an ongoing series of beautifully designed and informative microsites it charts the history of a typeface that, in the words of FontFont, “Tells the truth.”