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June 28, 2006

Announcing the McFarlane Prize for Excellence in Australlian Web Design

The McFarlane Prize for Excellence in Australian Web Design

Named in memory of noted Australian web pioneer Nigel McFarlane, the inaugural McFarlane Prize, aims to recognize and encourage excellence in web design by Australian developers.

The Prize will reward excellence in web design in the broadest sense, from the appropriate use of technology, to design aesthetics, to its impact more broadly on the web.

Open to Australian designers or teams for a site launched or significantly upgraded between August 1 2005 and July 31 2006, the Prize aims to be a showcase of the best in Australian web design, and to inspire other developers in their endeavours.

The McFarlane Prize will be awarded by a jury of Australian experts in various fields of web design and development. The decision process has two stages. In the first stage, entries are assessed for their adherence to best practices in accessibility and standards based coding (correct and valid use of CSS and HTML). These criteria are outlined in detail here.

The top 15 sites from this phase will be individually assessed in four areas by members of the jury who have expertise in a particular area.

These areas are


Full details regarding eligibility, as well as the nomination form, are available here.

Based on the two rounds of judging, the McFarlane Prize shortlist will be announced on September 22nd.

The announcement of the winner of the inaugural McFarlane Prize will be made at the Web Directions Conference Reception, September 28 2006, during Australian Web Design Week.

June 28, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 22, 2006

Almost full: Lars Rasmussen of Google Maps and W3C's Dean Jackson speaking in Sydney

Our upcoming event featuring Google Maps Lars Rasmussen and W3Cs Dean Jackson talking web apps, APIs, Ajax and all that <shudder>Web 2</shudder> stuff is amost full, so if you are keen, plase RSVP asap.

It's free, there'll be nice food, a great atmosphere, two fantastic speakers, lots of give aways (books, and even a conference ticket).

See you there,


June 22, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 16, 2006

video social software, podcasting, blah blah blah - now mapping on the other hand...

Regular readers will know my predilection for predictions, so let me indulge in one.

Right now, everyone who is anyone is all over podcasting, social software, and above all video as the new new stuff to be interested in, punditize about, start a company in, or if you have lots of money, buy companies doing (estimates on youtube's sale price? $0 as it follows Napster to the wall for facilitating unauthorized copying? Or $2 billion).

But none of this stuff particularly floats my boat. I think, as I said some while back societies are emergent phenomena, and the history of artificial social networks (Orkut, Friendster et. al.) suggests that after initially wildfire adoption they don't sustain themselves. We'll see if that's the case with MySpace and similar Social Software 2.0 sites.

Podcasting seems to be settling down into a quiet midlife as a valuable extension to traditional broadcast radio.

Video is, well, just video. Reasonably expensive to produce, particularly with any real quality, reasonably expensive to distribute (again, given reasonable quality). It's just not really something particularly new.

But for some reason mapping has really got my interest.
Whether Google and Yahoo! map based mashups, or just checking out the world with google earth, or I think (but have no idea how really) game changing open projects like open street maps, and location based wikis. All these things really excite me.

I'm even planning a cool little project along these lines at snow web (everyone welcome) where we'll grab GPS data as we snowboard, then create open trail maps, mashed up with Google Maps.

If you want to learn more about the truly amazing things people are doing along these lines, a fantastic Mapping related blog is Mike Pegg's Google Maps Mania.

This is genuinely interesting stuff - user created content on top of platforms provided by the likes of google and yahoo maps (and I wouldn't mind betting open projects similar to these before too long).

BTW, if you are in or around Sydney on June 29 then one of the people responsible for Google Maps, Lars Rasmussen is speaking at an event I am organizing. So get along, hear Lars speak about Ajax, web apps, and other cool stuff like that, and maybe even show off some of the stuff he is doing, and also hear the W3C's Dean Jackson talk about what the W3C is doing to standardize Web APIs, as well as meet with a couple of hundred people like you from in and around Sydney. Hey, it's even free, with free food and everything.

Hope to see you there. The more people who come to things like this, the more we'll organize!

June 16, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 10, 2006

Lars Rasmussen of Google Maps and W3C's Dean Jackson speaking in Sydney at a free Web Directions Event

One of the main reasons why we originally put on our first web development conference, and why we have continued to do so, is to bring people who work on the same problems, and have common interests when it comes to the web together. That's also the motivation behind Snow Web.

In keeping with this philosophy, we've always organised free events with interesting, stimulating speakers, in the lead up to these conferences.

We've just announced our first WebDirections event, an evening with Lars Rasmussen, one of the lead engineers with Google Maps, and someone whho really really really knows about web apps and AJAX. Come and learn some tips and tricks, and see some of the cool stuff Lars is doing.
On the same bill is one of my favourite people, Dean Jackson, from the W3C, the coordinator of the Web API working group. It's free, and right in the middle of Sydney in the Hotel CBD's Jam Bar, a little groovier venue than we might have come to expect for web development related events. But work can also be fun right?

We are also laying on some food for the evening, and there's a cash bar for those who want a beer, wine or whatever after work on a Thursday.
We'll be doing give aways (every child wins a prize), including a ticket to the conference, a couple of workshop tickets, and some places at the rapidly selling out breakfast featuring Molly Holzschlag

So if you work in or with the web, whether at the geekier or less geeky end of the spectrum, get along, meet some new people in your industry, renew some old friendships, have abit of fun, and learn something too.

As I said it's free, but places aren't unlimited, and after 3 days we had nearly half our places RSVP'd for, so please drop us a line at info@webdirections.org to let us know you would like to come

All the official details follow, but hope to see you at Hotel CBD, Jam Bar, Level 4, 52 King Street 6.00pm for 6.30pm June Thursday 29 2006.

Full event details at the webdirections site


June 10, 2006 in webdirections | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 01, 2006

Introducing Snoweb

Life can get just too darned serious at times. So, here is something a few of us downunder have put together to lighten things up a bit, and give us a bit of a change from the growing pile of work we all seem to be under (not that this is a bad thing).

Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, presenting the very first Snow Web.

If you work on the web, as a developer, designer, IA, front end, backend, rails, perl, python or CF, whether you write for the web, blog about the web, in short if your profession is the web, then you are more than welcome.

It's a long weekend of skiing and snowboarding at Perisher Blue (yeah, their site needs some work, maybe we could redo it one night?), Friday to Sunday July 27-29. And if you've never tried, don't fear - there'll be others like you, and plenty of help sorting out gear, lessons, the correct fashions - we were all beginners once.
If you are really good, then there'll be a couple of people at least to challenge your skills.

We already have a couple of dozen people signed up, and the more the merrier.

Now, its a bit like a barcamp - it's up to you to organise transport and accommodation if you want to come. Hopefully we'll organise some car pooling, and you'll get great company on and off the slopes, as well as some semi structured opportunities to hoodwink your boss into thinking you are going to a work related event network, show off your latest stuff, swap ideas, and just get to know others in our industry in Australia.
Of course partners who have the good sense to not work in the industry are more than welcome too.

So head on over to the site. Read more about it, drop us a line, and start counting down the days until July 27.

And if you want to start your own snow web (come on kiwi guys, give us an excuse to get over there eh!) drop us a line, and we'll do what we can to help facilitate your own snoweb. We won't sue, we promise :-)

See you on the slopes.


oh and for you folks who marvel that we have snow down here, now you know.


June 1, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack