Days: it’s a blog thing

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

Saturday, January 26, 2002 ↓


Eric Meyer and the people at Western Civilisation combined to launch a new discussion list on the topic of Cascading Style Sheets just a few days ago. With that kind of provenance, I thought it would be a really useful list and signed up right away.

Today I unsubscribed again.

Between yesterday and this morning, I received 192 e-mails from the list. Popularity is all very well, but this is just too much — I don’t have time to skim through a couple of hundred e-mails a day, especially when most of them might be described as noise: basic questions by relative CSS newbies. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not mocking or running down newbies. It’s just that I always feel you should look up one of the many online resources first (and there are plenty these days on CSS) before taking a basic question to a list. And I say that as someone who has been subscribed to a few discussion lists in the past, and who has done his bit in responding to questions posted. I miss the old A List Apart list, because it sifted out all the chaff. Of course, a moderated list needs a huge investment of time to maintain, and no doubt that’s got a lot to do with why Jeffrey Zeldman and his colleagues have never revived it.

But I haven’t given up hope on css-discuss. It’s new, and maybe things will settle down. I’ll give it another shot in a few weeks.

Time to go and pack, as I’m leaving for Sweden in the morning.

Posted at 10:12 PM


I was too busy yesterday to mark the birthday of Scotland’s best known poet, Robert Burns. Fortunately, not everyone was so remiss. Even we Scots probably don’t have a great deal of time for Burns as children; it’s when we get a little older we begin to appreciate the Bard’s wit and humanity. Last night the good old BBC screened a programme featuring a few Scottish musicians performing some of Rabbie’s songs, including the golden-voiced Eddi Reader (formerly of the Perfect but short-lived Fairground Attraction) performing a very individual version of one of Burns’ simplest, most charming and most enduring works: John Anderson, my Jo.

Posted at 9:44 PM

Thursday, January 24, 2002 ↓


Uuuuuuuhhh what a week… my feet don’t seem to have touched the ground, and this poor little blog thingy has been sadly neglected. Jeffrey Zeldman says you shouldn’t warn readers that you’re going, just apologise when you come back. I would, if I thought anyone had missed me…

I’m still trying to catch up on a number of the “end of business year” tasks that I should have put to bed within the first couple of weeks of 2002, but jobs for clients keep pushing these down the list of priorities. I have a meeting this afternoon with a potential new web site client, and I’m shooting back out to Sweden again on Sunday.

Anyway, there are a few anniversaries today. First up is the good old Roman Emperor Hadrian, who was born this day in AD 76. His great claim to fame in British terms was ordering the construction of Hadrian’s Wall, a stone-built defensive structure erected from coast to coast across what today is the north of England. Although following the invasion of 43 AD the Romans had made inroads into the southern part of what is now Scotland, they had difficulty holding their ground against the tribes who lived there, particularly against the fearsome Picts who occupied most of the land to the north and east. So the Wall was built, and the Romans retreated south of it, safeguarding themselves from attack by the Caledonian tribes and establishing a base to maintain control over the local, troublesome Brigantes.

On the arts front, and because I’m particularly fond of Rossini’s Barber of Seville and Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro, I mark the birthday of the man who wrote the stories on which those fine and funny operas were based. Pierre Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais was born on this day in 1732. A witty satirist strongly opposed to censorship, he was often the victim of it. If you can cope with French, the University of Chicago offers a brief timeline of his varied and fascinating life (or try Google’s tortured translation). That same life was celebrated in a French film of 1996, Beaumarchais l’insolent.

Finally, a bit more up-to-date and on the techno front, it was on this day in 1984 that Apple announced the arrival of the Macintosh to the world. That same year, I went into the computer industry, joining Wang Laboratories, Inc. Our desktop machines (the Wang Professional Computer) were IBM PC compatible; or more specifically, PC software compatible. Wang chose not to make its motherboards and option cards according to the PC footprint, thinking it would lock users into buying options and upgrades from Wang. This turned out instead to be one reason for people not buying Wang PCs, and when we moved from machines based on the 8086 to the 80286 processor, the company gave in and made them IBM hardware compatible too. More recently, Wang went through hard times and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the USA, and re-emerged as Wang Global, concentrating more on network integration than on hardware manufacture and sales. Finally the company was acquired by the Dutch Getronics NV.

Posted at 12:17 PM

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