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August 29, 2006

McFarlane Prize nominations closing August 31

With all the other things going on round here in the lead up to Web Directions and more, the closing date for nominations for the McFarlane Prize has almost come by unnoticed. Nominations close this Thursday, August 31.

If you missed the announcement, the Prize is for Excellence in Australian web design, and is open to any Australian designers and developers, for a site completed between September 1 2005 and August 31 2006.

More details are here, and nominations are simply via this form, no cost, no fuss, it will take all of two minutes.

So far we've been really overwhelmed by the number and quality of the nominations. So thanks to all who nominated, and if you haven't yet, you've got two days to do so.

August 29, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 26, 2006

Microformats primer by me at Think Vitamin, new microformats blog, again by me, microformatique

Quick note about a new article by me on microformats at Think Vitamin - somewhat introductory, but pretty substantial, with a reasonably detailed hCard example.

On monday, hot on its heels, is an article in Digital Web, on who is doing what with microformats today - tools, publishers, services and user oriented stuff too.

Also, I quietly started a microformats focussed blog this week, microformatique. News, articles, events, people, interviews, and more. Come visit.


August 26, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

August 25, 2006

phone sex with mars - or why latency matters as well as bandwidth

A long time ago, I used to teach some technology subjects at TAFE, an Australian system for vocationally oriented post secondary colleges. Students are often straight out of school, but also, we had many people from all walks of life (including very senior network TV executives, film makers, and so on).

For some reason, in a conversation with Brian Suda yesterday, I mentioned one of my little riffs I had for getting people to think about the importance of latency in networks (back then, everyone thought the panacea for the web was going to be increased bandwidth - I wanted people to appreciate that networks have other limitations on performance too). My question was "why will there never be phone sex between people on earth and people on mars, no matter how advanced our technology becomes".

Brian, demonstrating that he would have been one of those students I loved, but whom I also treated warily sent me the following email this morning, which I liked, so asked if I could publish. Given Brian is just finishing off a PDF only book on Microformats for the O'Reilly shortcuts series, and a presentation at EuroOSCON on the same subject, he was happy for me to post it - so here is how Brian thinks that it may be possible to have phone sex, or telephone conversations more generally, with mars one day.

OK, last night my mind was racing trying to figure out a way to actually make real-time calls to mars (for any reason).

I think i figured out a theoretical way to do it, so bear with me.

It has been awhile since my College Physics course, but i remember Tachyons

Some modern presentations of tachyon theory have demonstrated the possibility of a tachyon with a real mass. In 1973, Philip Crough and Roger Clay reported a superluminal particle apparently produced in a cosmic ray shower (an observation which has not been confirmed or repeated) [1]. This possibility has prompted some to propose that each particle in space has its own relative timeline, allowing particles to travel back in time without violating causality. Under this model, such a particle would be a "tachyon" by virtue of its apparent superluminal velocity, even though its rest mass is a real number.

So from that snipit and from what i remember, you CAN get tachyons to travel backwards in time. If they traveled backwards at the same rate as the speed of light, they would negate each other.

So, if the time to send a message between earth and mars is 10 minutes.

Senario 1

  1. I get on my tachyon voip phone and make a call from mars to earth at 9:00am it takes 10 minutes to travel there, but the tachyons travel backwards (so i think) that would be negated and arrive real-time

  2. 9:00:01am the person on earth hears it, and talks back.

  3. that message takes 10 minutes to travel to mars, but since it too is a tachyon phone that is negated.

Senario 2

  1. I get on my tachyon voip phone and make a call from mars to earth at 9:10am

  2. It travels back in time 10 minutes to 9:00:01am

  3. earth receives the call and returns it with a NORMAL telephone call 4. this takes 10 minuntes to reach mars - 9:10:02am

So how do you encode HTTP packets over particles? well from what i remember, atoms (maybe not sub-atomic particles) have a spin. Either clockwise or anti-clockwise. That's your binary 1 or 0.

I have no idea how we'd built a tachyon phone or if this would even work - but you never know.

August 25, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack

August 19, 2006

Digital Web - looking for a volunteer editorial assistant

I recently read the the producer of Survivor, started as an unpaid intern for Eco Challenge, the initial foray into television by Mark Burnett. This by way of encouraging you to think about volunteering some time to one of the web development world's best publications, the pretty much all volunteer Digital Web.

Digital Web are looking for a volunteer editorial assistant. Sure, they can't pay you, but I reckon the experience and the contacts you'd get from being involved are worth their weight in gold. Oil even. Heck, truffles.

For details, see their volunteer openings page.

August 19, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

August 17, 2006

Web Standards developer position with MathWorks

From time to time, people ask me whether we know anyone to fit a position, or to do some deveopment work for them. We are always happy to try and bring developers together with potential clients and employers.

Eric Ellis from Mathworks just got in touch with us, as they ahev what looks like a really interesting job, for what is definitely a really interesting company. If you are keen, there are contact details for Eric at the end of the post.

Hope this is exactly what someone out there is looking for

(oh, and if you do get the job, yo can buy me a beer one of these days :-)



Since its founding in 1984, The MathWorks has become the leading global provider of software for technical computing and Model-Based Design. Headquartered in Natick (Boston), Massachusetts, The MathWorks currently employs more than 1,400 people worldwide.

Web Front End Guru - Manager In this critical role within the eMarketing and Creative Services organization, you will define, develop, and maintain the presentation layer systems for mathworks.com as well as 10 international sites. The ideal candidate is a self-motivated, highly-technical Web design guru with management experience.


  • Bachelors degree
  • 7+ years or more of relevant experience building large, complex Web sites
  • 5+ years experience with design and usability of Web-enabled applications
  • 2+ years of management experience
  • Expertise in hand coding HTML 4.01
  • Expertise in Cascading Style Sheets 2.0 and JavaScript
  • Strong working knowledge of W3C Web Standards, Section 508 compliance, and XHTML

Please contact Eric Ellis at eric.ellis@mathworks.com

August 17, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 08, 2006

Free Web Directions events in Melbourne (this Thursday) and Sydney

For those of you in Melbourne - don't forget our free event this Thursday evening featuring Ben Barren or http://gnoos.com.au talking about technical and business issues in the web x.0 world in Autralia, and me, talking about microformats.

And just announced today is our second free Sydney Event. It's an eclectic lineup, but I reckon it's going to be fascinating - Web app design, and the use of ethnographic research in designing for the web.

On August 31 we've got a diverse evening, with Emily Boyd of Remember the Milk speaking about the development of this very successful Australian web app, along with Stephen Cox of Intuity, who'll be talking us through the use of ethnographic research in the process of innovation and design.

Emily Boyd: Lessons learned from designing the interface of Remember The Milk

Emily will talk about creating rich AJAX interfaces for web-based applications, and her experiences designing popular task management web app Remember The Milk. Learn about the challenges of designing web interfaces that are simple yet powerful, and see concrete examples of ways that AJAX can be used to enhance the user experience.

Emily is an interface designer and developer. As well as Remember the Milk, she is also the founder of MatMice, a website which has been used by more than one million children worldwide to create their own web pages.

Stephen Cox: Corporate ethnography, what the hell is it and why would you care?

Stephen Cox looks at some of the ways he approaches ethnography in the corporate environment (with corporate timeframes) and how it helps in design, decision making and customer experience. Learn all about this fascinating approach to design research, which will be further examined by Kelly Goto at Web Directions in September.
Stephen started his working life as a pre-historian and anthropologist, making the move into web design in 1996 and later working in user-centred design for The Hiser Group. Stephen has since established his own consultancy, Intuity, and has now worked his way through two years of research into modern culture and the needs of users, with a particular focus on how interpretations of culture can help aid in the process of innovation and design.

If you work with the web, you'll be enthused, inspired, and informed by these knowledgeable and entertaining speakers. It's also a great opportunity to meet other interesting and talented people who work in your industry.

Web Directions will be providing finger food for the night, and there'll be a cash bar if you feel like a drink.

Most importantly, you'll also have the chance to win a ticket to the Web Directions Conference later this year in Sydney, valued at $850, as well as places at our exclusive breakfast with web guru Molly Holzschlag.

Best of all, the event is free, but places are limited, so please RSVP to info@webdirections.org.


What: Web Directions presents Emily Boyd of RTM and Stephen Cox of Intuity

When: 6.00pm for 6.30pm Thursday August 31 2006

Where: Hotel CBD, Jam Bar, Level 4, 52 King Street, Sydney

Cost: Free, but please RSVP info@webdirections.org

tags wd06

August 8, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack