July 27, 2005
Russ Weakley and I have been touring Australia these last couple of weeks with our Web Essentials CSS Workshops, visiting Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra so far. We've still got Melbourne to go tomorrow and Friday. If you are interested, you can still sign up today.
The response has been fantastic. People have really enjoyed and benefitted from them (they told us so themselves). We got from the basics of CSS right through to complex descendent selectors, multi column layouts, and the intricacies of all kinds of things like floating, media types, and much more.
While Russ and I will be flat out in the lead up to the Web Essentials Conference at the end of September (really filling up now, so if you are interested, please start making your plans or you will miss out) we are interested in the possibility of taking the workshops to other cities not too far away So if you are keen, drop us a line and let us know.
And stay tuned for an exciting announcement relating to Web Essentials some time in the next few days.
July 20, 2005
It was the best of days. it was the worst of days
Sport plays a central role in the cultural life of Australia. Domestic sport is certainly important, but where Australia differs from many other nations is the importance international sport plays culturally. Not just the four yearly olympics, but cricket, rugby union, soccer (football), field hockey, and increasingly cycling. Always a strong track cycling nation, Australian road cycling has gone from strength to strength since Phil Anderson unexpectedly wore the Yellow Jersey of the Tour de France in the early 1980s. In recent years, the Australian track cycling team has been the strongest in the world, while professional road cycling has seen wearers of the Yellow Jersey, winners of the Green Jersey for the overall points winner for the Tour (usually won by the strongest sprinter) and stage wins aplenty. Michael Rogers is the world Time Trial Champion, so two of the three legs of road racing are well covered. Where we have perhaps not excelled in mountain climbing - the ultimate test in road cycling. To do well in the General Classification (G.C.) at the Tour you must climb well. Here is where time is won and lost dramatically, high on the slopes of the Alps and the Pyrenees. Australia is, as you may know, pretty flat. No great mountain ranges like the Alps, the Andes or the Rockies. So perhaps it is not surprising that our riders tend to prefer the flatter sprints and time trialling. Ironically, we produce our fair share of great mountain bike riders, and right now, one former Aussie world MTB champion is having a great time in the mountains of the Tour de France. Consistently strong in every mountain stage so far (with several top ten finishes), yesterday Cadel Evans lead a breakaway of four that put minutes over much of the field, and jumped Evans from a very creditable 12th overall to a dizzying 7th, among names like Ullrich, Mancebo and Leipheimer, and ahead of such huge names of racing as Vinokourov, Landis, Moreau, and podium finishers like Andreas Kloden.
It was a great day for the future of Australian cycling.
But it was also a dreadful tragic day for Australian cycling, as a women's team training in Germany was hit by a car, killing Amy Gillett, and seriously injuring five team mates. My sympathies and best wishes to these women and their families.
July 17, 2005
Russ Weakley and I are about to kick off our 4 city tour of the Australian east coast Web Essentials first series of workshops. Response has been fantastic, with around 100 people all up, in Sydney Brisbane Canberra and Melbourne.
Russ and I are also introducing a bit of an innovation - duelling projectors. While one of us presents, the other will code live on a second projector. I thinks its going to be fun and a very informative way of doing it.
So, if you are on the east coast, we kick off tomorrow in Sydney, but there are still a few places in Brisbane on Thursday and Friday, Canberra on Monday and Tuesday next week, and then Melbourne on Thursday and Friday next week.
Hope to see you there,
July 11, 2005
Web Essentials CSS workshops looming
Web Essentials first series of CSS workshops, featuring Max Design's Russ Weakley (SelectTutorial, ListTutorial and more) and me is just around the corner. We kick off in Sydney next week for two days. We are in Brisbane that Thursday and Friday (21 and 22), then the following week in Canberra on monday and Tuesday (25 and 26) before wrapping up in Melbourne on Thursday 28 and Friday 29.
Day 1 covers the foundations, including getting your HTML/XHTML structural, semantic and valid, as well as the fundamentals (and more) of CSS.
Day 2 features a raft of up to the minute CSS techniques. All with a focus on best practices in accessibility, usability and Web Standards.
The workshops are interactive, hands on, intensive and fully catered.
You can take either or both days, as suits you needs.
So if you are keen to get your improve your web design and development skills, take a look at the details, and hope to see you in the next couple of weeks.
July 05, 2005
Surely, instead of Live8 it should have been called masterb8
The sight of largely superannuated, mostly astonishingly wealthy, self indulgent corporate sock puppets ("rock stars") partying to end poverty, and the attendant media hoo ha (like when was the last time the corporate media gave a sh*t about poverty) has to be without doubt one of the more infuriating loads of BS seen on the planet in many years.
Patronizing, grandiosely hubristic, and frankly part of the problem, not part of its solution, the audience, "stars" and opportunistic politicians pledging some paltry, ineffectual, hypocritical "relief" from poverty and debt can all go home happy now, safe in the knowledge that we are all good guys.
There are genuine, profoundly entrenched, structural inequalities in the world. Going to rock concerts and giving a bit of money won't fix them. In fact, they will make them worse, allowing these conditions to last a little longer. Afterall, in the 20 years since Live Aid how much better off is sub saharan Africa (we'll see in a moment).
AIDS, increasingly devastating some of the least developed parts of the planet will only further impoverish these regions. And the world's answer (via the Vatican and the White House)? Abstinence, misinformation, "morality" driven solutions (like the death of millions, the impoverishment of countless more, tens of millions of orphans isn't immoral but sex is.)
Or how about the real story about third world debt. Much of it handed over to corrupt governments 20 or even 30 years ago in the form of armaments, and now the victims of those repressive regimes the west supported, are forced to pay it back, with interest.
Between 1980 and 2000, Sub-Saharan African countries had paid more than $240 billion as debt service, that is, about four times the amount of their debt in 1980. Yet, despite this financial hemorrhage, SSA still owes almost four times what its owed more than twenty years ago! One of the most striking illustrations of this apparent paradox is the case of the Nigerian debt. In 1978, the country had borrowed $5 billion. By 2000, it had reimbursed $16 billion, but still owed $31 billion, according to President Obasanjo
In the context of this, what value is the paltry few billions that G8 nations are so generously "forgiving"? Or the sales of some tickets to rock concerts?
Imagine if your father borrowed money to buy alcohol all his life, then beat you and your mother when he was drunk. Does it seem fair that when he died, you owed the bank the money he borrowed? That's largely what we are asking of these nations.
We have to keep in mind that the world changes from the bottom up (hey Mr. Bono, that means hobnobbing like the court Jester at the "World Economic Forum" at Davos won't address these problems).
And that's hard. It's not done with a signature and a press conference. Its not done in a day or a week or a year. And its not done without sacrifice.
But there are individuals and small groups whose actions have had a profound effect, both small and large. One of the most astonishing stories barely told is that of the Grameen Bank (because it breaks the stereotype of "impoverished developing world needs our moneyamd help, and pity").
Take a look at this story from the Independent, because I won't remotely do it justice here.
And I'll have another, rather different story about something one person can do to make the lives of many others a lot better. But I'll save it for a little later.
July 01, 2005
Web Essentials Early bird extended for a couple of days
The response to Web Essentials just keeps getting better. The last day or so has seen a lot of fresh signups, including our first from the US. In fact, we are now not that far short of last years attendance. Which shows an amazing growth in the interest in standards based web development over the last 12 months.
Last night, we held our first free seminar in Sydney, and a good crowd braved the elements to hear Roger Hudson speak on accessibility for data tables, and Peter Ottery to speak on redesigning mycareer.com.au, then stay to chat.
So because we are feeling very good about things right now, we've decided to let the early bird pricing run for a couple more days. Early bird pricing of AUD$700 (about USD$530, what a bargain) is now available until Monday, but that will definitely be the cutoff.
So if you are keen to hear Molly Holzschlag, Eric Meyer, Kelly Goto, Jeffrey Veen, Tantek Çelik, Derek Featherstone, Douglas Bowman and a host of great Australian presenters speaking on CSS, XHTML, Microformats, semantics, AJAX, User Experience, Workflow, Design and Accessibility, and want to save $150, you have until Sunday (to be on the safe side) to register at the early bird price.