March 22, 2003 - Saturday
Webstering: As if I know what I'm talking about
>I was wondering, with the rise in
>net-awareness and easy availability
>of tools for designing/developing,
>a LOT of people have started
>coming out of the woodwork as
>internet specialists... in India, the
>term webdesigner is often applied
>to a 16yr old with frontpage or
>dreamweaver armed with the
>Comic Sans MS font.
Same as here in the USA. It seems like everybody these days has a little niece or nephew pounding out page after page of WYSIWYG spew. Some of it actually looks remarkably good, though, and functions very well, even if the underlying code is an alarming fright and the content not only vacuous, but misspelled. Many of these kiddies have visual talent, but without a commensurate depth of understanding of what's going on underneath: Artists aren't always craftspeople. Ah, well. Quality has never really been a driving feature of the internet anyway. Same as anything: books, magazines, TV, movies.
Not that I know anything, or am not vacuous myself.
>I work with a webhosting company as
>a php/html programmer yet find
>myself constantly researching other
>online fields... 2 years of this has left
>me a jack of all trades, master of
I think that's a good thing to be. Generalists are often better able to synthesize disparate bits into cohesive and inventive solutions than specialists. There's an awful lot of people with very broad knowledge of internet-related skills around, but I think those numbers will shrink as the internet moves more toward being just another multinational corporate moneymaking tool of increasing complexity churned on by pigeonholed pigeons with two-year degrees using WYSIWYG software, unable to debug their own work, spurred on by middle-managers with their jobs riding on the bottom line. (How's that for cynical?)
>the term webster comes pretty close
>to describing what a lot of developers
>are becoming... or have to become to
>keep themselves abreast of online
>As such, I'm compiling a list of things
>a 'webster' needs to be familiar with,
>i.e. navigation, accessibility, designing,
>content building, etc...
I'd say that list is adequate, along with a deep comprehension of the standard markup languages of the day, and decent skills on whatever graphics programs (both vector and bitmap) are the most comfortable and effective for the particular webster.
Everything else helps, certainly... but without a strong and wide foundation, a person is either a charlatan or a narrow expert. Somebody says, and I think I hear Garrison Keillor's voice saying it, "Do good work." That's the key, I think. Do good work. Some of the most startlingly effective and beautiful and inspiring websites are the simplest, written with the most basic HTML.
Admittedly, however, that seems to be getting harder to do anymore. I'm not sure why I think that.
>I'm sure in a few months, 'webster'
>might become as popular a job
>description as 'webmaster' or
>'programmer'... could you email
>me a list of things that you, as the
>official word-coiner of 'Webster'
>can think of ?
I wish I could take credit for having coined that word. When I started using it, I thought I had—for about a day. I think it's one of those things that any large number of people arrive to about the same time, independently.
I think of "webster" along the same lines as "doctor" or "shopkeeper." There's doctors of all sorts of different things, from general practitioners to neurosurgeons to sports-injury specialists. They're all doctors. And there are as many different shops as there are things to sell, kept by the widest range of humanity. Similarly, "webster," to me, is a very general, non-specialized term; from there, each person has their own credentials.
And, as a special added bonus, it's gender-neutral.
March 19, 2003 - Wednesday
Sometimes one death makes a stronger point than thousands and thousands and thousands of them
Paul Ford, "prospective Graduate Student, Copywriter," wrote the following. I added the links.
I'm going to the Saturday protest and, for the first time in my life, I feel it is all hopeless. Not only do I have no desire to write, I have no desire to have the desire to write. Does the Semantic Web matter? They ran the girl over with a bulldozer. Did she ever write a letter that read, "Dear Mom, I engaged in nonviolent protest today, and they ran me over with a bulldozer and I died of severe cerebral hemorrhaging, just like countless Palestinians, plus lots of Israelis have been blown up by suicide bombs in a vicious never-ending cycle of idiotic violence that no one can win. Soon flaming death will rain on Iraq and the U.S. will be practically begging for terrorist attacks to occur. P.S. Don't give up on the Semantic Web, it's real important. Love, Rachel."
March 18, 2003 - Tuesday
Bloomer, Anthony, Stanton
"In May 1851, there was a chance encounter on the streets of Seneca Falls which forever altered the struggle for women's rights. Amelia Jenks Bloomer introduced Susan B. Anthony to Elizabeth Cady Stanton. The friendship that was forged between Stanton and Anthony gave direction and momentum to the seventy-two year struggle for women's suffrage which culminated on August 26, 1920 in the passage of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution. Neither woman lived to see this happen." —from a plaque at the base of the statue
March 17, 2003 - Monday
Cruelty to soulful buildings should be a punishable offense
We went to look at an old brick one-room Quaker school building that's for sale up past Waterloo, between the northern points of Cayuga and Seneca Lakes here in New York. It was built in the 1820s (I think the ad said), and sits on a couple acres which has an undeveloped spring to its credit.
Part of the roof has been gone, though, for some years... which has funneled water into the structure, which has led to rotted rafters, ceiling joists, ceiling boards, floorboards, and floor joists, not to mention saturated ground below the structure, which has led to catastrophic settling. Making matters more difficult, the roof is separating at the peak into two pieces—and one side, with the assistance of gravity, is beginning to push out one of the walls.
They're asking $30,000. What they deserve is jail for neglecting this historic, lovely building. Hopefully somebody will buy it soon and undertake the enormous task of stabilizing and restoring it.
Me, I'd build a new building around the sides and back of the old building—probably timber framed—making the brick walls nonstructural, and a whole lot easier (and less dangerous) to save.
March 16, 2003 - Sunday
Voted ''Best Place to Walk Your Dog'' in the Ithaca Times reader poll
It's supposed to be close to sixty Farenheit degrees out there later on today. Yow.
We went to Taughannock Falls a few days ago when it started getting nice out, and we saw not only the falls, but also tons of dogs. Lots and lot of dogs. Dogs all over the place.
There was a massive snow dome built up under the falls, about a hundred feet tall. I suppose the spray the freezes, and this is what happens.
These falls are higher than Niagara. Note the people in the lower right corner.
March 14, 2003 - Friday
To get the most out of this site, set your monitor's resolution to 832 x 624, and view the site in IE 4, it says
Update: Since posting this entry, it's been brought to my attention that most people probably don't understand that the title, lifted from the Axman's website, is very funny. If you don't get it, that's OK. It's not important.
Jeremy sent me an email—"Axman!"—pointing to a slashdot thread about the longtime (Minnesota) Twin-Cities-area surplus store. Some might consider Axman to be Archie McPhee's gritty and street-smart lost twin, and A. Schwab's nerdly citified cousin.
The Punk Rock Travel Guide to the Twin Cities says, "There is no surplus store anywhere quite like Axman. If you need combat boots, an iron lung, a Geiger counter, an assortment of 1000 flyswatters, a few stuffed dead mice or a really huge magnet you'll probably find it at Axman. For twenty bucks you can leave the store laden with really weird, potentially useful shit that you just know you need more than life itself."
March 13, 2003 - Thursday
March 12, 2003 - Wednesday
Peggy and Jeremy play the Age Gauge. And a timely fortune cookie: "As soon as you feel too old to do a thing, do it."
March 11, 2003 - Tuesday
They mean well, those Boys
"This song is not an anti-American or pro-Saddam Hussein statement. This is a statement against an unjustified war."
- Adam Horovitz
In A World Gone Mad, an anti-war song from the Beastie Boys. Download. It ain't Yusuf Islam, but it ain't supposed to be.
March 9, 2003 - Sunday
Yusuf Islam, f.k.a. Cat Stevens (who is less than ten years older than me, sigh) has recorded a lustrous new version of his song Peace Train. It's available as a free download.
Subsequent note: It somehow didn't register in my brain when Jeremy pointed this out a few days before I found out some other way. No disrespect intended...
March 8, 2003 - Saturday
Older than Bon Jovi, younger than Madonna
My aunt-in-law sent along a kind of depressing Age Gauge.
March 5, 2003 - Wednesday
I'll be wearing big red feathers, and one of those things on my head
"It's, like, if I close my eyes, I can see us in Vegas lying by a pool with water in it. It's always sunny and warm, and guys in white jackets bring us daiquiris and all the food we can eat for like four bucks. And all the towels smell like Downy fabric softener. There's no clocks, no bedtime. And when I get going there you can come see me perform at night. I'll be wearing big red feathers, and one of those things on my head—the crown things with diamonds in it."
- dialogue from the movie Feeling Minnesota.