Archive for August, 2003


W3C Design Principles

Bert Bos: What is a good standard? An essay on W3C’s design principles.

Why doesn’t HTML include tags for style? Why can’t you put text inside SMIL? Why doesn’t CSS include commands to transform a document? Why, in short, does W3C modularize its specification and why in this particular way? This essay tries to make explicit what the developers in the various W3C working groups mean when they invoke words like efficiency, maintainability, accessibility, extensibility, learnability, simplicity, longevity, and other long words ending in -y.

The single-page printable version is one place where you might want to use Mozilla’s DOM Inspector to adjust CSS on the fly: you can edit any h2‘s CSS style rules to bring the section headers down to something reasonable, and maybe add a border or something else to visually mark the headers.

You could, of course, just save as “Web Page, complete” and edit the CSS files manually. I think the DOM inspector is more fun and saves me the trouble of sifting through several files.

Anyway, this all misses the point: it’s an interesting essay.


Weekend Plans

I went this morning with Kiara and a couple friends to Darien’s Dash, a 5 & 10K walk/run in South Saint Paul. Kiara and her friend Kim decided earler this year to walk or run this charity race as a motivating goal to get them to exercise together over the summer. I believe, however, that today is the first day all year that they’ve managed to walk together. Heh. Oh well.

We’ve all had our share of walking this year. I’ve lost 25 pounds since Christmas doing nothing different than walking a whole lot. I don’t really pay close attention to my weight, I was just nebulously aware that I was around 30 pounds overweight and out of shape. Hence the resolution to exercise. I might still be less in-shape than I’d like, but I’m a whole lot better off. Especially since I get to combine my walks with spending lots of time with my son.

I did not walk in Darien’s Dash, though. Instead I spent time in the bad coffee shop across the street, reading Details magazine out of desperation because I’d forgotten to bring my book. Time well spent: I learned about the International High IQ Society, an organization I understand even less than Mensa.

(Funny story: our friend S was at a party being subjected to someone’s swooning over how so-and-so had been accepted into Mensa. “Isn’t it wonderful,” the swooner gushed, “he is so brilliant.” S said that she didn’t really see the big deal. “Well! Have you ever tested genius?” the swooner shot back. S said yes. “Oh.”)

On the way back we stopped at Homesteader restaurant in Golden Valley, a great little family-owned place that serves very reasonably priced basic fare. Not much for vegetarians, but worth a visit if you’re the meat-and-potatoes type.

Now Kiara and Owen are off at the Uptown Art Fair (something I learned to hate when I lived in Uptown), and I’m settling down to watch an episode of All Creatures Great and Small, happily ignoring all the things that perhaps I should be doing instead. Ah, this is living.


Coleman does the Right Thing.

I don’t have a lot of respect for our Senator Norm Coleman. He’s pretty much pissed me off since he first became mayor of Saint Paul, and little that I’ve heard him doing in Congress has improved my impression of him. I am glad, therefore, to see him exercise a bit of common sense by questioning the RIAA’s “extreme approach” to quashing illegal filesharing, expectiing that the punishment fit the crime. Good for you, Norm. (Listen to an interview with Coleman on Future Tense, a RealAudio stream.)

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