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  1. 2011 SXSW Packing and Check List

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    Important: see my updated 2012 SXSW Packing and Check List

    In one week, creative nerds world-wide will begin a mass migration to Austin Texas for the annual gathering known as SXSW. This will be my 10th. Originally blogged in 2008, I've incorporated many years of lessons learned into this freshly updated 2011 packing and check list so you too can be as prepared as any SXSW veteran.

    First, you must unpack what you have packed

    If you're an urban superhero that walks around packing useful gadgets like swiss army knives (or any kind of knives), allen wrenches (or anything capable of disassembling an airplane), soldering irons, or pocket torches, remove them from your utility belt, your jet pack, and any other part of your supercostume. Unless of course you're willing to pack a bag to check-in (which I highly recommend avoiding, due to risk of loss).

    The list itself is of course based on personal preferences, so if you're a girl, or wear something other than black, you'll need to make adjustments. I'm sharing this packing list with a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license: make and blog a solid version for yourself or urban super-heroines instead and I'll be more than happy to link to it, ladies.

    Wear the essentials

    The night before your flight, set out the clothes you want to wear.

    • socks, underwear, and tshirt (plain black)
    • pants (plain black). either simple work pants, like Dickies, or comfortable black jeans, but flexible enough for any number of emergency activities, like running and climbing obstacles to ditch crazy stalkers or emo drama queens. H&M (or Volcom) slacks and jeans have a good fit. Get a 2-4% spandex blend for extra flexibility.
    • belt (plain black). You never know when you'll need to cinch around something to hold onto, and also a useful yoga prop. Consider a solid heavy belt buckle that you can swing around on the end of your belt like a mace if need be.
    • shoes (plain black). They must be very walkable; I prefer PUMAs for their excellent arch and heel support, e.g.: black+silver PUMA Voltaic II (these worked great for me at SXSW 2010, and I've started running in them here in SF as well).
    • long sleeve shirt (plain black) - American Apparel has a good selection
    • hoodie - zip-up (plain black)
    • coat/jacket (plain black), preferably something waterproof or water resistant. It often rains in Austin for a day or two during SXSW. Spiewak has some good options. Related: 10 day Austin Weather Forecast.

    Fill your pockets with

    Over the shoulder equipment

    With the above outfit, you're set to survive a variety of temperatures, climates, and social situations. However, you really need a few more things to make it through an event as geeky and lengthy as SXSW. Pick out the items (or their equivalents) from below, and then find a small (yet robust) backpack (like the Boblbee Megalopolis Executive Hardshell Backpack, see also the smaller People's Delight) or messenger bag that will fit fully underneath the airplane seat in front you.

    • small flashlight (e.g. mini maglite)
    • ocular backup. In other words, if you wear glasses, pack contacts and sunglasses too, if you wear contacts, pack glasses.
    • book to read on the plane (e.g. Michael Pollan's Food Rules or Getting Things Done AKA GTD)
    • plain unruled paper pad (e.g. medium size unruled Moleskine notebook) for sketching ideas
    • small DVD case of videos (e.g. exercise like yoga or pilates - Kristin McGee's MTV Yoga series is excellent, and maybe a movie or two) - or preferably just rip them beforehand and load them onto a MacBook Air
    • energy bars (carry at least 2 with you, e.g. Clif builder bars) because sometimes you'll be too busy to sit down or stand in line for a meal, or late at night you'll want an alternative to pizza-slice-gut-bombs on 6th street.
    • peppermint gum - expect close proximity with lots of people, be considerate.
    • simple hat (e.g. a black cap, beret, or blue beanie if you prefer) for use in the cold, extreme sun, or if you happen to skip a shower (e.g. because the city turned off the water to your hotel, yes I've had this happen before)
    • noise cancelling earbud headphones - these really help on the flight. I have and like the Sony MDR-NC11 Fontopia with In-line Volume Control, and I'm interested in what noise cancelling earbud headphones others like.
    • mini-USB cable (and Micro USB To Mini USB Adapter) to charge your phone / other devices and download photos from camera to laptop.
    • even smaller laptop/shoulder bag - the smallest bag that will fit your laptop with minimal pockets for cables/powersupply. You won't always have time to stop by your hotel to drop things off - pack as minimal and portable as possible for sessions, meetings, dinners, and evening events.

    Gear-up a level

    Have you had any of the following happen to you?

    • smartphone run out of power before you do
    • wanted to set-up your own visuals at a party
    • let down by AT&T's network (e.g. (most) iPhone users. even with trucked in mobile cell towers in 2010, it was still so-so)
    • stuck in the middle of a natural (or man-made) disaster

    Here are a few respective items for the extra prepared techno-road-warrior:

    • 5000mAh Rechargeable USB Battery Pack. Keep your iPhone/iPod/Droid/BlackBerry going all night long. I had a 1000mAh USB battery last year and it was incredible - suddenly all my devices were a lot more useful and reliable. I can't count the number of people that needed a few minutes of recharging for their iPhones. Yes, it makes an excellent ice breaker. Avoid any device-specific extra batteries or chargers. I've been happily using the Trent Super-pack IMP500 5000mAh External Battery for a few weeks now. When your device gives a battery warning, recharge it. When your laptop is plugged in, recharge the battery pack.
    • Optoma PK201 Pico Pocket Projector. I saw the previous model of this on the flight out to SXSW 2010 - someone was using it to watch a movie from their iPhone projected onto the back of the seat in front of them - and instantly had the feeling that I was seeing something from the future. The PK201 is more than twice as bright/featured in about the same size. You can basically project a 70" HD display from a laptop, iPhone/iPodTouch, or a preloaded micro-SD card. Very bright and easily viewable in any dark venue. As with any "future" device, especially one that will so brightly visually affect your environment and people around you, it may take some awkward experimentation to work out the social conventions of using a personal projector in public.
    • Virgin Mobile Wireless Network Router MiFi 2200. Because everyone should have their own personal wifi-cloud. Last year I was reasonably happy with the Sprint Overdrive 3G/4G Mobile Hotspot (though I returned it after the 1-month trial because I didn't want to commit to a $60/month 2-year contract for no 4G in SF last year). This year I'm trying out the Virgin Mobile Mifi for $50/month with no contract. They both use Sprint's network. The Overdrive also does 4G in Austin (and other cities). Since it looks like they have 4G in San Francisco now, if I have any difficulty with the Virgin Mifi I may return it and take the plunge with the Overdrive.
    • Motorola TALKABOUT T900 2-way pager. Yes, seriously, if you've ever been in an earthquake or other disaster, you know that your cell phone is useless. Emergency crews still use pagers, and there's a reason for that - they're still a lot more robust and reliable. I've had a T900 for many years now and the few occasions I've had to use it, it's been invaluable. It can receive phone # pages, voicemail, and can even do email. Oh and it lasts for days on a single AA battery. Now all we need is for services like Twitter, Foursquare etc. to support tweet/check-in by email and we'll be all set. Makes for a very entertaining party conversation piece, but can arouse suspicions of being an anachronistic time-traveler.

    Rollaway the remainder

    In a small handbag, dufflebag, or rollaway (like the awesome ZÜCA sport rollaway with aircraft aluminum frame), pack the following:

    • small empty water bottle (e.g. 16oz Nalgene and a simple carabiner keychain to hook it to your shoulder bag)
    • 6 sets of underwear + tshirts + socks.
    • more energy bars (like a dozen, e.g. Clif builder bars)
    • Tide to Go Instant Stain Remover stick - useful for those unexpected spill/stains from coffee, wine, etc.
    • small bottle of Woolite Dark liquid detergent. If you're staying for music, on Wednesday morning after showering and changing, wash your dirty laundry in your hotel laundry room (Residence Inn has coin-op laundry) or hotel room sink and hang dry on the shower curtain rod and towel rods.
    • sunscreen/sunblock and a swimsuit - most hotels have pools, even hot tubs. put them to good use. The Hilton has a pool on the roof.
    • climbing shoes (I love my FiveTen "5.10" Dragon climbing shoes), tape. see http://geeksloveclimbing.pbwiki.com/
    • compact umbrella - check weather, rain expected in Austin some days
    • Apple Airport Express to create your own secure reliable wifi cloud from the Ethernet hardline in the hotel room
    • thin black fleece sweatpants (American Apparel) - for sleeping in if it gets cold, doing yoga, pilates, or just lounging around your hotel room. Also good for a quick morning jog/run.
    • bath kit: toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, contact lens fluids/case, shaver, fingernail clippers, perhaps some hair product (essential for music) and whatever else you would include in a larger bath kit. extra packets of vitamin C, Advil, and Tylenol are highly recommended. Maybe some zinc as a cold remedy; I've found Sudafed (the real stuff, not PE) and Claritin (or Zyrtec) handy too.
    • extension cord and powerplug splitter (so you can share an outlet with someone else).
    • power adapters/rechargers for your phone and camera battery.
    • laptop audio/video cables to connect your laptop to a stereo/tv/flatscreen/projector. Some hotels have the ability to connect to the in-room TV and use it as a second monitor. And if you have DVI/mini-DVI out rather than VGA (e.g. a Mac laptop), bring an adapter that will let you connect your laptop to VGA.
    • thin compactable dufflebag. yes, pack a folded up bag inside your rollaway, as there's a good chance you'll acquire stuff (tshirts, guides, souvenir cowboy boots etc.) that you'll want to take home.

    Print your boarding pass

    24 hours before your flight, be sure to:

    • Log on to your airline's website
    • check-in online
    • print your boarding pass
    • put it in your backpack

    Get plenty of sleep

    The night before. I seem to have trouble with this one, perhaps from procrastination, perhaps from all the anxious excitement of seeing friends I see only once a year at SXSW. But still, try to:

    • get plenty of sleep. You'll need it!
    • week before extra credit: pretrain your circadian rhythms to Central Time

    The morning of

    • shower and put on the clothes you put out last night
    • pack your laptop(s) (e.g. MacBook Air) in your backpack, including
      • power cable(s) and supply(s),
      • video adapter(s) connected to your external monitors
    • get to the airport 90 minutes in advance
    • get to your gate and look around for other folks also going to SXSW,
    • your adventure has begun.

    Ship directly to your hotel

    If you lack any of the above, call your hotel and ask them for their "shipping address" (typically it will be "Attention: Your Name" followed by name of hotel and their normal address). Then order whatever you need from Amazon.com and have it shipped overnight or second day air directly to you at your hotel.

    Try out Neighborgoods

    If you're missing any of the above items, instead of purchasing them new, you may be able to save money (and the planet) by checking for stuff on Neighborgoods.net first.

    Share and improve

    If you liked this packing list, please share it with links intact. All the links to Amazon (ASIN) products use my affiliate code and thus if you click and buy something from the list, Amazon sends a tiny portion of what would otherwise be completely their profit, to me, at no cost to you. I think that's a reasonable small nod in return for a free and useful resource.

    I'm publishing this packing list with a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license to explicitly encourage people to share it, improve upon it, and the only thing I ask is that you attribute "Tantek's SXSW Packing List" and link to this blog post: preferably keeping any hyperlinks intact as-is (feel free to send me reports of corrections or dead links to: aim:tantekc).

    Lastly, I want to note that this is a very practical road-tested packing list. I travel frequently and I've been to SXSW nine times. I have personally purchased, used, and street/travel tested nearly all of the above products which is why they made the cut. I stand by them as solid personal recommendations.

    Thanks and hope to see you fully prepared at SXSW!

  2. going bouldering at Mission Cliffs to work off annoyances from bad ux, bad tech, too many talkers vs builders.

  3. Hey @blaine, if identi.ca+diaspora are exemplars, why aren't they on SXSW "Decentralized Web Identity" panel? Sessions like that can't be taken seriously when they're more about "talkers" than "builders". In contrast, *Everyone* on the Future of Microformats panel is a *builder*. If you want to help the decentralized web, instead of having talkers that talk, promote builders that show.

  4. we need something better. more Twitter-like. asymmetric. no email/phone. just a card with URLs including Twitter.

  5. not having business cards makes it easier to tell askers you have none when you do not want to hear from them.

  6. parsing and drawing diagrams from states, causes, actions, questions. hoping transformations bring understanding.

  7. "You need the simplest version of the idea in order for it to grow naturally in your subject's mind. It's a subtle art."

  8. and there it is, after two days of reflection, on the threshold of a dream, peaceful insights and appreciation.

  9. Caltrain 134 free wifi experiment "use wifi on caltrain!" http://flic.kr/p/9kgr4J too flakey for uploads. photo: (photo was uploaded via tethering which however failed when uploading this post, had to re-upload at destination).

  10. jogged/ran over 6 miles (6.6) without stopping (30-60 sec walk breaks per mile, 4 drink fountains) achievement unlocked.

  11. Re IndieWebCamp.com Log in with your OpenID, Seriously? asks @danielstoddart. A: Yes. It's the best* web id. *currently implemented, e.g. with MediaWiki plug-in support, widely deployed, and reasonably easily delegatable from your personal web identity. Improved alternatives are in development, such as RelMeAuth (try prototype at tantek.com/relmeauth/) and OpenID Connect. And IndieWebCamp.com requires a *personal* OpenID (delegation ok) to emphasize the IndieWeb aspect - deliberately making participation a bit *exclusive* (learned that from watching "The Social Network" tantek.com/asin/B0034G4P7G ;)

  12. Facebook Auto-Posts Application "installed" Activities But Not "deletes" Or: A 420 Limit Makes Me Blog

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    Apparently Facebook is more than happy to auto-post an update of sorts to your profile when you install a client Facebook application, e.g.

    Tantek installed the BlackBerry application on his phone.

    However no such notification occurs when you delete the application.

    I'm sure there's a technical reason for no auto-update saying I deleted the Facebook app from my BlackBerry - likely there's nothing in the BlackBerry API for an application to gather/send feedback upon deletion (e.g. some sort of "Sorry to see you go, please use this box to give us feedback on why you are deleting this application.")

    Imagine if every "platform" that has an interface for the user to explicitly "install" "apps" and "delete" them had a mechanism for gathering user feedback/rants on such apps and passed it along.

    My impression is that Apple's iTunes App Store has some sort of provision for this where you can review an app when you remove or delete it. Anyone have details on this or know of other platforms that collect feedback upon user deletion of applications?

    Ironically, I was attempting to post this mini-critique as a "Status" update to Facebook, and was met with:

    Facebook Alert: Status Update Too Long

    Perhaps it was the cognitive load of having to choose whether to shorten it to less than 420 characters, or use a Facebook "Note" (not really understanding how/why that is different from a "Status") or perhaps it was the presence of a self-centered artificial dichotomy (Facebook Status or Note) that I instead said screw it, "Cancel", and decided to just post in my blog (where I understand the difference between a "note" and an "article" per ActivityStreams) instead of their (somewhat walled) garden silo. Or perhaps that was exactly the intended effect on an indieweb person like myself, who read that alert as such:

    "Status updates must be less than 420 characters. You have entered 1,035 characters here. Blog posts can be much longer. Would you like to edit and post your update to your blog instead?"

  13. share an idea far away, colleague tells nascent web celebrity, takes interest, no choice but to finish coding it.

  14. Which #W3C community, remember seeing you asks @rigow. Many. Lone voice = no choice but: blog, quit, DIY. Links: 2003 I blogged XHTML working group problems and need to reprioritize: http://tantek.com/log/2003/01.html#L20030114t1345 2004 I made it clear again at W3C Workshop (Great Web Schism) meeting: "priorities of the XHTML WG are different from our priorities. We would like to see the HTML 4 and XHTML 1.x versions resolved. Most of the folks in the WG are XHTML2" and "If nobody else wants to do it then I don't need to go to the groups." http://www.w3.org/2004/04/webapps-cdf-ws/minutes-20040601.html Less than a month later I quit the XHTML working group when I quit Microsoft: http://tantek.com/log/2004/06.html#d29t1850 and went on to create microformats.org. The creation of WHATWG/HTML5 tells a similar story by similar individuals (most also at that workshop). Attention @rigow and any other unconditional #W3C apologists, there are plenty of talented, hard-working individuals who are working on practical, real-world, public-web web-standards. Don't waste their time with corporate or academic obstacles. Frustrating such individuals will only cause them to abandon you and do it themselves on the web with a wiki, blog, irc channel, mailing list, Creative Commons licenses (e.g. PD/CC0), Open Web Foundation agreement, etc. We have the building blocks for our independence.

  15. How impractical academic specifications came to be? asks @rigow. Political correctness. Enterprise. #donewiththat

  16. If #w3c lacks testsuites, how to fix asks @jsonp. Drop non-real-world specs. Focus on tech with public use-cases.

  17. Q: If #w3c lacks testsuites, who's fault asks @rigow. A: complex impractical academic specifications. #askedforit

  18. Twitter more than micro-blogging: micro-aggregator micro-favorites micro-texting micro-ux (good) #mwc11 cc @dickc

  19. made mistake of shopping Trader Joe's hungry; spent ~200. mostly Valentine eve potluck. room for more; IM/DM/txt.

  20. met a girl climbing. she asked my name, found me on FB. couldn't add me. changed settings. you win this round #Facebook.

  21. I keep chatting IRC bots in Basic English, expecting them to reply. Forgot that hasn't happened yet. #singularity

  22. jogged/ran over 5 miles (5.6) without stopping (30-60 second walking breaks every mile). achievement unlocked.

  23. #IE9 RC supports Geolocation! http://j.mp/ie9geo via @irhetoric. We demanded it @fronttrends+YUIConf. longlinks: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/giorgio/archive/2011/02/10/my-top-5-features-in-ie9-rc.aspx. "Dear @IE" requests for support in @HTML5Now talks: http://tantek.com/presentations/2010/10/html5-now/#slide31 and http://tantek.com/presentations/2010/11/html5-now/#slide31. Tweets: https://twitter.com/t/status/28408764879 and http://www.google.com/search?q=site:twitter.com+dear+ie+geolocation Let this be an encouragement to all web standards designers and developers: If you want browsers to support something, advocate it publicly, loudly, and on the web of course, and you might just get what you ask for.

  24. "Don't think I was desperately damaged by being spanked, but don't think I was improved either." -Stewart Brand #longnow

  25. "In society that is changing so fast, the young are not going to respect the old, unless the old are learning." #longnow

  26. "A lot of people are making decisions as if they are going to die in 5 years, and then they're around for 30." #longnow

  27. "Experience is the best teacher, but only if you do your homework. That homework is called reflection." #longnow

  28. successfully connected and tested 4 optical outputs to 2 optical inputs. #notaeuphemism #digitalaudio

  29. lovely weekend. late brunch nap coding park sunset ice cream catan. taught friend to climb, beach, sunday dinner+intros.

  30. making brunch, and then: perfect weather + people staying in to watch sports = baker beach + book time. who's in?

  31. Univ of Michigan: Mental function improves after certain kinds of socializing http://j.mp/cogbene ht @Silona. longlink: http://ns.umich.edu/htdocs/releases/story.php?id=8063. Key quote: "conversations in which participants were simply instructed to **get to know** another person resulted in boosts to their subsequent performance on an array of common cognitive tasks. But when participants engaged in conversations that had a **competitive** edge, their performance on cognitive tasks showed no improvement." (**emphasis** mine).

  32. jogged/ran 4.1 miles without stopping; over Bay to Breakers halfway-point. achievement unlocked. #gridtobreakers

  33. more Google Checkout #UX: edit/updating CC did not retry charge. Had to "Delete" all CCs, re-add to cause retry.

  34. #Egypt: air drop 1000s cheap autonomous solar-recharged spiderbots, wifi mesh net, connect to drones to sats. inspiration: "The Spiders" webcomic circa 2001-2003 (seems to be down/gone. might be able to Google or Archive.org it). This was the idea I mentioned to @leyink @skr @RitualCoffee last night (cc: @Heewa). more: the spiderbots could transmit only when needed (no wifi in the area), and hide (burrow in the sand, or inside building infrastructure) for long periods and surface or climb to the top of a building to recharge when necessary.

  35. buying a @UXLondon ticket http://2011.uxlondon.com/register fighting Google Checkout bad failure #UX. #irony. Hyperlinked text on the "Your VISA card ... was declined." error page: "Retry your credit card or add a new one" only takes you to a page to add a new card or edit a current card - there is no actual "Retry" button for a transaction, nor any other indication of when if ever they will retry for you. Editing your card (e.g. re-entering the CVC) just takes you back to the same error page saying card "was declined" without actually attempting to re-authorize (have called my credit card company and confirmed that Google Checkout only tried authorizing once). Google Checkout has dropped the ball on explaining what it is doing, what will happen next, and what if anything *I* should do next (editing your card just takes you back to the same error page with no actions taken on their behalf, no change in state, even after several tries = their bug).

  36. W3C Updates HTML5 Logo Messaging FAQ, Open To More Suggestions

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    HTML5 Logo Last week the W3C introduced a new HTML5 logo with accompanying messaging to a mixed reception at best.

    Jeremy Keith, Bruce Lawson (also on HTML5 Doctor), and I among others were quite critical, in particular of the FAQ, because originally it added to the confusion around HTML5 (e.g. conflating CSS3) wrought by the well-intentioned (but short-sighted) open web marketing efforts from Google, Apple, and Microsoft.

    Jeremy, Bruce, myself and others have been fighting hard over the past few years to provide a clear definition, vision, and explanation of HTML5, in blog posts, workshops and even books: (all three of which I highly recommend)

    Yet with W3C's first draft HTML5 FAQ, we almost gave up. Almost. But apparently sometimes angry rants can effect change. Sometimes passion works.

    Within 24 hours of the last of our posts, W3C updated the FAQ, removed the errant entry, added more clarification, and wrote a follow-up post of their own.

    I've been subsequently privately messaged that W3C is listening, which should not be taken to be extraordinary but rather perhaps somehow obscured. This may actually be a sign of changes and increased responsiveness that have been occurring ever since W3C made the historic decision to collaborate with the WHATWG on HTML5 (in contrast to stubbornly pursuing an ill-fated XML-based web). I tend to be an optimist so I'm willing to accept this and continue with constructive feedback with the assumption that it will continue to have an impact, until proven otherwise.

    In addition, Ian Jacobs made it clear on the public-html list (where official HTML Working Group communications occur) that W3C is By all means open to additional suggestions. I'd promised to write up additional suggested edits if they said as much, and so here are a few more.

    More Suggestions for W3C's HTML5 Logo Messaging

    Regarding the W3C HTML5 Logo FAQ:

    The license says I need to attribute my usage or derivative work. Who do I attribute this to?

    This work is attributed to the W3C.

    I think a more direct call to action, with specific markup would make it easier for eager HTML5 evangelists to do the right thing, e.g.:

    Please attribute to: W3C. Suggested markup: <abbr title="World Wide Web Consortium">W3C</abbr>. If you'd like to hyperlink it, please use http://www.w3.org/ e.g. <a href="http://www.w3.org/"><abbr title="World Wide Web Consortium">W3C</abbr></a>

    Update : The FAQ now provides suggested markup.

    Regarding the logo home page itself and all the related technology logos:

    HTML5 Powered with Connectivity / Realtime, CSS3 / Styling, Device Access, Graphics, 3D & Effects, Multimedia, Semantics, and Offline & Storage

    In particular:

    Offline & Storage

    currently says:

    "HTML5 apps can start faster, and work even if there is no internet connection, thanks to the App Cache, Local Storage, Indexed DB, and the File APIs."

    Overall the intention is good here, however I think this is an excellent spot to start using the already well accepted terminology "Web Apps", and then also refer to specifications (which I'd prefer to be hyperlinked, but I would understand not doing so for stylistic reasons), like this:

    "Web Apps can start faster and work even if there is no internet connection, thanks to the HTML5 App Cache, as well as the Local Storage, Indexed DB, and the File API specifications."

    Update : Fixed!

    Device Access

    currently says:

    "With geo-location just the beginning, HTML5 will help apps to access devices outside of your browser and connected to your computer."

    The Geolocation API is not part of HTML5, just like CSS3 is not part of HTML5. In fact, Geolocation is even a Candidate Recommendation, the only of the Web Apps API specifications to make it that far to date.

    Thus this description deserves a fairly serious edit:

    Beginning with the Geolocation API, Web Applications can present rich, device-aware features and experiences. Incredible device access innovations are being developed and implemented, from audio/video input access to microphones and cameras, to local data such as contacts & events, and even tilt orientation.

    Update : Fixed!

    Performance & Integration

    currently says:

    "Make your web app, and the web, faster with a variety of techniques and technologies such as Web Workers and XMLHttpRequest 2. No user shall ever wait on your watch."

    Just a minor nit here. This is another good opportunity to re-iterate the "web apps" terminology:

    "Make your web apps and dynamic web content faster with a variety of techniques and technologies such as Web Workers and XMLHttpRequest 2. No user should ever wait on your watch."

    Update : Fixed! And they've capitalized "Web Apps" as well - emphasizing the explicit use of the phrase.

    The Movement

    currently says:

    "... As adoption and inspiration spreads, the web community will find creative ways to apply HTML5 technologies, spark trends, and capture best practices. ..."

    Again, a minor nit. Explicitly including "and related" (first suggested by Jeffrey Zeldman I believe) provides conceptual consistency with the use of "HTML5" to more precisely refer to the specification:

    "... As adoption and inspiration spreads, the web community will find creative ways to apply HTML5 and related technologies, spark trends, and capture best practices. ..."

    Update : Fixed!

    And that's it.

    All in all, having reviewed the HTML5 logo messaging and FAQ top to bottom, other than the most egregious description of HTML5 as a bucket (since fixed), an ambiguous reference to a "set of technologies" (soon to be fixed Update 2011-01-26: Fixed!), and the above-mentioned nits/details, there's actually quite a coherent message emerging from W3C. The message is about HTML5, about related technologies like CSS3 & SVG, and about the suite of emerging Web API specifications, all working together to form an Open Web Applications Platform.

    Now that's something I can support.

    • What is the Open Web? - a good start
    • Oslo Addendum: Norwegian Web Interviews - on how well the Norwegian press picked up and understood the "Open Web Apps" terminology - if the Open Web Apps message can survive translation from English to Norwegian (and back), then surely we can make "Open Web Applications Platform" (or just "Web Apps" for short) work in the English tech press as well.
  37. when life hands you puzzle pieces, collect them and assemble not in order but as they fit your puzzles. #fatetris

  38. always amazed by: the healing powers of music, tasty home cooking (even your own), and time with family.

  39. Pro tip: DO NOT swipe cc @Caltrain automat BEFORE selecting ticket options. wrong ticket = angry conductor. I thought I got lucky with a Zone 1 to 3 ticket (SF to MV) but it was an "ELIGIBLE DISCOUNT" variant. Oops. Conductor made me disembark at next stop to get a new ticket (cheaper than ~$400 fine) so I spent an hour biking around exploring downtown San Mateo while waiting for the next train.

  40. inspired by SF's early spring, jogged/ran 3.0 miles without stopping. achievement unlocked. enough til Monday.

  41. jogged/ran over 2 miles (2.4) without stopping. achievement unlocked. seriously considering #gridtobreakers #TRON

  42. I stand corrected (per @yipe). "backup everything" is a good user-centered-design default. My Time Machine UI complaint is in preferences: it would be easier for me (as the minority user who actually goes into preferences to change something) to select and *include* which folders I'd like to back-up rather than having to carefully *exclude* everything else.

  43. disappointed in Apple "Time Machine" preferences. Only a UI for "exclusions"? I just want documents and users folders. I don't need to waste time and space backing up System and Applications that I'd rather reinstall than undo with Time Machine. This is one of the dumbest defaults I've seen in a while, unless you're in the business of selling hard disks. I guess they sort of are: http://www.apple.com/timecapsule/ (so then it's just profit-centered design rather than user-centered design). Update 13:43: the default of back-up/restore everything is not dumb (as pointed out to me by @yipe (Michael Margolis) in a FB-walled-garden comment) and does make sense for typical users (common-user-centered design) for whom the problem is backing up at all. I'll refine my complaint to merely the preferences - as I'd prefer to explicitly *include* a few specific folders rather than exclude everything else.

  44. New W3C HTML5 Logo: Looks Ok But Inconsistent, Fire W3C Communications Person Who Led Messaging

    on

    I've given it a few days, figuring the disappointment would fade. It hasn't, it's only gotten worse.

    Update : W3C has fixed the FAQ. More to come.

    Looks Ok But Inconsistent

    The W3C's New HTML5 logo looks fine by itself: New HTML5 logo

    However it is visually inconsistent with all previous W3C HTML logos or badges:

    W3C HTML icon W3C HTML 2.0 valid badge W3C HTML 3.2 valid badge W3C HTML 4.01 valid badge New HTML5 logo

    This is perhaps par for the course, as W3C has not been particularly good at any kind of historical brand consistency, with a couple of exceptions: the W3C mark itself, and the validation badges. So at least that's something, except the new HTML5 logo doesn't really fit with either.

    I will end this section on a positive note however, and that is that if W3C were looking to deliberately break from previous branding with a new look, this isn't a bad one, and I expect the "look" will grow on people (myself included) over time and that we'll all come to accept it and use it. That's the good news. The looks aren't really that much of a problem (if at all). Now for the bad news.

    W3C Abdicates To Sloppy Corporate Marketing

    As the title says, fire the W3C Communications person that led this new messaging around HTML5 because it is one of the worst messages (if not the worst) about a technology to ever come out of W3C.

    A few months ago I thought I'd heard the worst, with a member of W3C's own staff fudding HTML5:

    "... it's a little too early to deploy it [HTML5] because we're running into interoperability issues ..."
    "I don't think it's ready for production yet,"
    "The real problem is can we make [HTML5] work across browsers and at the moment, that is not the case."

    All from the InfoWorld interview: W3C: Hold off on deploying HTML5 in websites. To be fair HTML5 isn't finished by any stretch, it's still a working draft (not even in last call), which means plenty can and will change.

    However, there's plenty of HTML5 that is interoperable, that is ready for production, and that does work consistently across browsers. In fact so much so I was inspired to write my first book/video about it: HTML5 Now.

    Update : W3C has fixed the FAQ including asking/answering: Are HTML5 technologies ready to use? Yes.

    There's plenty of "good parts" of HTML5 that you can go forth and use, and that was last year. With official IE9 and Firefox 4 releases just around the corner, you'll be able to depend on even more. (Disclosure, I freelance for Mozilla, but of course these opinions are my own).

    That was last October. Now, as succinctly quoted by Jeremy Keith in his blog post Badge of Shame, W3C tells us that:

    What does this logo mean?

    The [HTML5] logo is a general-purpose visual identity for a broad set of open web technologies, including HTML5, CSS, SVG, WOFF, and others.

    Update : W3C has fixed the FAQ replacing that FAQ with:

    What does the logo represent?

    This logo represents HTML5, the cornerstone for modern Web applications.

    This is nothing short of horribly embarrassing to see from W3C, especially in such an official manner. At least the previous flub was one W3C staff person, in an interview published elsewhere.

    Why? In short: in an apparent lack of self-confidence, W3C has caved to the past two years of mutually inconsistent/ambiguous/confusing "HTML5" marketing from Google (HTML5 is whatever we say it is this year at Google I/O), Apple (apple.com/html5 is User-Agent sniffed Webkit only including proprietary Webkit CSS extensions), and Microsoft (The "HTML5 Demos" at ie.microsoft.com/testdrive include things like border-radius which is CSS3, not HTML5).

    This was the perfect opportunity for W3C to stand up, show adherence to principles of precision, clarity, and provide leadership as their mission statement claims they (want to) do. All the things you would expect from a world-class standards organization.

    They've done the opposite on all counts. Instead of providing precision and clarity, they've muddied the definition of HTML5 further with yet another "here's our bucket of things we like which we're going to call 'HTML5'" message. Instead of leading they've followed the marketing messages from large corporations.

    W3C's Communications Team has failed us horribly and have only added to market confusion as to what "HTML5" is.

    Jeremy Keith has published a round-up of articles and posts with additional in depth critiques which I strongly encourage you to read: "Marklar Malkovich Smurf".

    Hold Yourself To A Higher Standard

    However, just because W3C has sacrificed principles and succumbed to corporate peer pressure in an attempt to seem "cool" like the marketing arms of a few big companies (since when have "big companies" or their "marketing" been measures of cool?) doesn't mean we have to.

    In my opinion the end result of this confusion is obvious. Over time as people get more confused and frustrated by all the ever-changing and inconsistent "HTML5 is all this stuff" variant buckets, those promoting such loose, contradictory, and changing definitions of HTML5 will be inevitably judged as untrustworthy and unreliable.

    If you're a developer, designer, author or someone else who writes, discusses, promotes HTML5, your only hope for not getting lumped in with the rest of the marketing morass is to stick with a consistent precise definition.

    Use "HTML" to mean any/all/current versions of Hypertext Markup Language, the evolving lingua franca of the Web. And use "HTML5" to mean the HTML5 specification at http://www.w3.org/TR/html5/, and all that is described within, nothing more, nothing less.

    Update : W3C has fixed the FAQ which now mentions the HTML5 specification several times but stops just short of declaring "HTML5" to mean precisely the "HTML5 specification". So close.

  45. SF: big bright moon directly overhead casting amazing shadows; take your loved one outside *now* and kiss them.

  46. aced Planet Granite belay test. acquired 2nd climbing gym network permanent belay card. achievement unlocked: http://www.planetgranite.com/climbing/classes.php "To earn a permanent belay card, each person will need to come back on a separate day and take our belay test ..." (took the Adult/Child Belay Lesson last night with nephew #1 in preparation for his upcoming climbing birthday party.)

  47. Ever been a renegade in-dark-of-night-before Bay to Breakers with glowing costumes? This would be the year. #TRON

  48. hello there sunny blue skies, nice to see you again. bicycle boulder brunch coffee create find separate sf. go.

  49. early to bed, appreciating the sweet but ephemeral, letting go of impossibilities, being open to possibilities.

  50. editing Wikipedia noting Journey+Eurythmics tracks absent from @TRONLegacy soundtrack releases. links+videos: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tron:_Legacy_%28soundtrack%29 and videos for your enjoyment: http://youtu.be/LatorN4P9aA Journey - Separate Ways (Worlds Apart, AKA "Love Will Find You", available on Journey's Greatest Hits: tantek.com/asin/B00138CREU) and also: http://youtu.be/qeMFqkcPYcg Eurythmics - Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This, available on the eponymous album: tantek.com/asin/B00138KEF4)

  51. Yesterday's decaf experiment: fail. Tasted bad and horrible aftertaste. No running today, retrying real coffee.

  52. Dear #NewTwitter, if you know "You have already favorited this status.", why undo the favorited visuals? #ux Emptying out the star "✩ Favorite" and hiding the orange triangle with half sliced star in the top left corner of the tweet (in a list of tweets view). If I already favorited it, then show it to me as favorited - don't undo the affordances! (I'm guessing this is a "known problem", and hoping it will be "fixed very soon" :)

  53. over a week (8 days inclusive) since I had coffee and finally craving it. Something in the Mountain View air? Perhaps I'll try a decaf iced soy latte and see what happens.

  54. On Owning Your Data: Follow-up to @Zeldman and the #indieweb

    on

    Jeffrey Zeldman recently posted a partial summary of a conversation we had yesterday:

    This blog post is a reply to Jeffrey's post, because, ironically, the solution he's using, WordPress, refused to accept it as a comment:

    Hmmm, your comment seems a bit spammy. We're not real big on spam around here.

    Please go back and try again.

    WordPress doesn't know the difference between spam and well hyperlinked discourse among old friends and colleagues.

    So go read his post / comments first if you came here first.

    Jeffrey's right that I'm doing it the (currently) harder way, because this technology (owning your data - across multiple data types) just hasn't been built yet (why I'm building it). And no blogs are not it - blogs are merely one data type (long form structured essays typically with titles, sometimes with other media included.) Nevermind that they're all dependent on fragile databases which are unreasonable for individuals/independents to have to maintain themselves.

    I totally agree that kludged mirrors of your own tweets aren't the solution.

    Simply copying from these shared social services still leaves you vulnerable to their flakiness, poor auto-shortening of links, unscalability, downtime, maintenance, database failures, and acquisitions.

    That's why I don't post to other services and copy to my site.

    That's not what I'm doing.

    Starting in 2010 I began using tantek.com to post my short notes (AKA tweets) and copying (AKA syndicating) them to Twitter.

    Since then I also added articles (AKA full blog posts) and have additional content types (comments, geolocation check-ins, status updates, photos) in the development pipe.

    I'm not copying from Twitter. I'm syndicating and copying to Twitter. As I said, Twitter is the copy.

    There's a big difference. When Twitter goes down, I can keep posting, and my updates still go to the other destinations that take/share updates, e.g. Google Buzz, Identi.ca, Friendfeed, and whatever other service(s) might come along to replace them all. I'm not beholden to Twitter's stability/downtime - the copies there will appear when Twitter returns from such outages.

    If your data is vulnerable to some social sharing services' whims or flakiness - you don't own your data - they do (their terms of service even says - they can do as they please with your content, with Flickr as perhaps the only exception).

    You may not think tweets are worth preserving, but the Library of Congress (LoC) certainly does.

    Historians / digital librarians are quick to point out the relevance of events/content is rarely grasped in their moment of occurrence/creation but rather, only really understood much later with a longer term perspective. You don't know the value of your own tweets.

    I think they are worth preserving, and worth finding, and I'm not willing to wait for either Twitter or the LoC to do it because I think I can do better, and I'm starting with my own.

    I'm building a solution, bit by bit. It's certainly incomplete, and with rough edges (Jeffrey has pointed out plenty of the areas that need work), but iteratively improving as I find time and inspiration to work on it.

    I'd rather host my data and live with such awkwardness in the open than be a sharecropper on so many beautiful social content farms.

    This is what I mean by "own your data". Your site should be the source and hub for everything you post online. This doesn't exist yet, it's a forward looking vision, and I and others are hard at work building it. It's the future of the indie web.

    Personal site as hub architecture diagram by Tantek Çelik

    Are you a builder (designer, ux, developer) and brave enough to publicly collaborate in creating this future including on your own site? Join us at IndieWebCamp this June in Portland.

  55. My ATT cell # ending in 9656 is going away. Please delete it from your address books / phones. New # only for emergency contacts, family, and those I interact with several times a week. I don't want to depend on a specific carrier/device for any general communications any more. Please IM/DM/email instead. aim:tantekc or gtalk.

  56. chuckling @SXSW Registration phone field: "Please do not include country codes" what do non-US folks put? #ux Perhaps 867-5309. I'm putting 415-555-1212 because no indication is given as to how the number will get used, it's a required field, and it's clearly not important enough to be required since they don't care about phone numbers for non-US folks. required-field + US-only-assumption + no-explanation = you get noise.

  57. @zeldman you are right that @Falcon (runs tantek.com) needs reply buttons. And fave, RT, etc. They're coming. Currently tantek.com permalinks *do* have some UX advantages over Twitter: navigation and embedding. You can click (or arrow-key) left/right through previous/next posts (Twitter permalink pages are navigational dead-ends, nevermind the fragility of #NewTwitter links themselves which are non-crawlable (non-functional without javascript) if you fail to remove the extra "#!/" from them), and if you want to reference a specific tweet, there's convenient short/long (depending on taste) URLs in textboxes for copy/pasting. If all you're looking for is "more content" or embedded pictures, video etc., then only click when there's an ellipsis (...) at the end of the tweet. It's a subtle bit of microsyntax that balances re-use of an existing convention (rather than new-punctuation-pollution), is subtle enough to not be disturbing, and yet is noticeable once you learn it. [in-reply-to: twitter.com/zeldman/status/24224682530050048 twitter.com/zeldman/status/24224559787941888] #ownyourdata

  58. @zeldman I find value searching/finding past "tweets" which I get with self-hosting but not Twitter. It also subverts spammers like sin3rss (who I've reported to Twitter BTW). When spammers mindlessly copy my content/feeds, they only make my site stronger - call it "internet aikido" if you prefer. Where you see "farts" among the signal, I like (re)finding the signal among the "farts". Especially being able to find that signal over months and years, not days. Also, I'm able to summarize in ~110 characters and then expound in a "long tweet" (like this one) on my own site, without having to "craft" a blog post, or a series of sequential tweets (which I find more noisy than any permashortlinks). Flexible tweeting from your own site is the future. [in-reply-to: twitter.com/zeldman/status/24214079233069056 twitter.com/zeldman/status/24213884298592256] #ownyourdata P.S. @phillydesign - Library of Congress *is* cataloging all tweets. And yes, assume the NSA is recording/indexing all your phone calls. Storage/processing power to do so today is trivial for them. [in-reply-to: twitter.com/phillydesign/status/24215588112961536]

  59. @zeldman @sgalineau: ttk.me links are permashortlinks to originals. Twitter is a copy. #ownyourdata. ellipses indicate more content. See also ttk.me/t45a4 ttk.me/t45u1 and ttk.me/w/Whistle for the full explanation of why everybody should have/use permashortlinks to link to original content at their own site. Just as you blog from your own site, you will tweet/check-in/photo-share/etc. as well. This is the future of the #indieweb. Join us for the upcoming @IndieWebCamp to help build it. [in-reply-to: twitter.com/zeldman/status/24154348602793984 twitter.com/sgalineau/status/24171771997462528]

  60. When Fox does not get satire^ expect followers to take analogies literally. Palin map is essentially a fatwa. Consistent messaging too: http://twitter.com/SarahPalinUSA/status/10935548053 aforementioned map with gunsight target markers on congressional districts and the list of the target representatives by name: ^satire (as well as irony) and Fox News not getting it: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/24/arts/television/24stewart.html and watch the Fox vs Stewart train wreck (7 minutes of genius) http://youtu.be/Ml_R9QisgRY Thus the question remains, when will Palin retract her *gunsight target map and list*, apologize (show personal responsibility), and admit that she was wrong for advocating as much, now that someone has acted on it?

  61. Dear LazyWeb: want Firefox plugin that watches you type year-1 (eg 2010) during January and suggests year (2011).

  62. @maureenhanratty thanks! today granola with soy and fresh blueberries. being pescatarian helps; I like to eat sashimi, sushi, and cook salmon usually a couple of times a week. tons of leafy greens (spinach is my favorite) though I'm sure you've heard that before. The past year I've indulged more than usual in rich cheeses like Brie. I may cut back on that a bit. I switch up the morning cereal with cheerios and 1%. love the blueberries regardless (while they're in season).

  63. 2011-004 blood glucose:99, LDL:106, HDL:81, TRG:75. That'll do. #metrics #bodyoptimization #quantifiedself

  64. my new years resolutions: 320x240, 640x960 960x640, 768x1024 1024x768, 2560x1440 #blackberrycurve #ipodtouch #ipad #imac

  65. got a flu shot. my doctor recommends it even if healthy/fit if you ride MUNI. unrelated: woman on bus had live chickens.

  66. Thanks for all your support of @HTML5Now. Just received first royalty check. No job replacement but enough to brighten the day and plant thoughts of doing another book (what should I write about next?). If you liked "HTML5 Now", please post a review on Amazon and/or mark the reviews you agree with as "helpful": http://tantek.com/html5now - if you didn't, please tell me! tantek at this domain, or AIM: tantekc.

  67. Hating #git CLI. *5* commands just to accept a Pull Request? WTF where is the big "ACCEPT" button? :( #github #ux

  68. blood pressure:121/70, heart-rate:65. will get other stats in a week. #metrics #bodyoptimization #quantifiedself.

  69. walking to my doctor's office for my annual physical check-up. another reason I appreciate living in a city. #sf

  70. Dear AT&T, it's over. You are unreliable, high maintenance, have let yourself go, have made no effort to improve. We just don't connect the way we used to. I'm dumping you for Virgin Mobile - reliable, available, and commitment-free.