Days: it’s a blog thing

Since August, 2001. Surely it can’t last…

Tuesday, October 09, 2001 ↓


Anyone in the business of building web sites has to be interested in information architecture (IA). If you're a specialist in a multi-disciplinary team, like a graphic designer, HTML coder, database programmer, or whatever, then you need to know at least something about the subject to understand the information architect's role, and how it affects you. On the other hand, if you're a "jack of all trades" then you need to have a much better understanding of information architecture in order to build effective, well-structured sites for your clients.

Christina Wodtke is an information architect who maintains a useful IA-focused blog at, which I've been dropping in on from time to time. Recently she's been trying to redesign her blog using Cascading Style Sheets and no tables, but as mentioned here and here she was having trouble getting positioning rules correct so that the layout worked in all the version 5+ browsers and over a range of screen sizes.

I looked at what she was trying to achieve, and proposed a solution to her. She hasn't implemented it yet at, but I see she is now using it at her food blog, Nothing-new to eat?

Posted at 5:17 PM


After a couple of weeks' break, I'm back off to Sweden tomorrow to undertake a tedious task that might take a couple of days, or many days. Might be reindeer for lunch on Thursday. Ho hum.

Where will I be? That's a secret. I'd tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.

Posted at 5:15 PM

Monday, October 08, 2001 ↓


A number of bloggers have latched on to this reveal your Hobbit name thing, so in the best tradition of internet memes, I reveal mine as Merimac Gamgee-Took of Bywater.

Apparently Natalie is Dimple Gamgee-Took of Bywater, so she must be, like, my long lost Canadian cousin or something...

Posted at 11:37 AM


Yes, it really is Thanksgiving Day — in Canada.

Here in Scotland, it's just another bloody Monday.

Posted at 11:31 AM


Amidst the early news coverage of the strikes against the Taliban and their "guest" came a video clip of the man himself, supplied by the al Jazeera television company, claiming to be recent but with no evidence as to when it was actually shot. The translation that ran alongside bin Laden's words was a little shaky, so here's a better one. If ever you doubted that the man is a dangerous, murderous and thoroughly worthless nutter who deserves all that we can throw at him, this ought to convince you. Unless you are one of the dangerous, murderous and thoroughly worthless nutters who do his despicable work for him.

Posted at 11:26 AM

Sunday, October 07, 2001 ↓


After all that's been going on over the last week or so in the Web community regarding patents, standards and the W3C, it's refreshing to note that the European Union is not going the way of the USA with software patents, asserting that to do so would help large software manufacturers to maintain their dominant positions (now, who could we be talking about here?). Even more refreshing is the news that patent law will not be extended to include business methods, a concept I always thought was a good contender for THE STUPIDEST IDEA ON THE PLANET. So no, Amazon will not be able to patent its "One Click" ordering method in Europe. My understanding of the whole concept of patents was that you protected an actual product or technology, and not merely an idea — rather as copyright protects an "art" expressed in words or images, but not a concept. This seems to be the view that the EU, sensibly, is taking. Read all about it in the IHT.

Posted at 3:51 PM


We've heard how contrary to the teachings of Islam, many of those involved in the September 11 terrorist attacks led something of the life of Reilly, with sex, alcohol and gambling featuring highly. The International Herald Tribune reports that Marwan Al-Shehhi and Mohamed Atta spent some time in Mabalacat in the Philippines, to make use of a nearby flying club that gave lessons. But while they were there, they seem to have taken advantage of the other, erm, facilities that the Philippines has to offer. They were remembered by several people, including former hotel waitress Gina Marcello, who told of "one big mistake they made. They never tipped. If they did, I would not remember them so well."

Posted at 3:29 PM


Err... no. We wuz jus' kidding. Except Jodee Berry was not amused.

First you think: didn't she wonder that she'd have to sell a hell of a lot of beer to make it worth giving her a new car as a prize? Then you think: but hey, she's a waitress at Hooters. (I apologise in advance to any Hooters waitress who feels compelled to write to me to tell me she has an IQ of 195 and she's just working there to earn some dough while she prepares her doctoral thesis on non-linear diatomic molecules. Hey, a chemist joke!)

Posted at 2:58 PM


Actually, it was in 1849, on this day, that one of my favourite writers died: Edgar Allan Poe. I don't think Poe has been surpassed as a writer of things horrific and bizarre; love in his stories and poems was always tainted with sickness, death and decay — probably a reflection of his own experiences. The Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore has a wealth of information about Poe, albeit in an almost entirely plain-text presentation. Poe's stories enthralled me as a child, and provided a rich seam of material for filmmaker Roger Corman and his star, Vincent Price. Of course, I grew up at just the right time to revel in all those great (and cheap!) adaptations.

I suppose it's fitting for a teller of tales of mystery and imagination that some mystery should surround the circumstances of his own death, and in that regard, Poe did not fail us. There was no need to issue death certificates in those days, and none has ever been found for Poe. But I wonder how much that would have cleared up anyway, given the still fairly primitive nature of medicine and all the vague talk of "congestion of the brain" and "brain fever".

Anyway, here's a little of the product of that fevered brain:

It was many and many a year ago,
      In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
      By the name of Annabel Lee; —
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
      Than to love and be loved by me.

From Annabel Lee, the last poem known to have been written by Poe, a few months before his death.

More recently, on October 7 in 1914, a certain Joseph Patrick Kennedy married Rose Fitzgerald, daughter of one-time Boston Mayor John Francis "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald. Exactly 49 years later, their son John Fitzgerald Kennedy, having achieved his father's ambition for him by becoming President of the USA, signed a nuclear test ban treaty with the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union on October 7, 1963.

Posted at 1:12 PM

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