Well, I am now an uncle. My younger sister had her first baby just after noon today. It was a long labor (24+ hours) as that little guy just did not want to come out.
My kids are older now, so it’s been a while since I’ve been around a baby. Babies are amazing to watch how they learn about the world around them. And it will be fun to watch my sister and my brother-in-law learn how to be parents.
Every year the town I live in has the 4th of July celebratory fireworks on the 3rd. I’ve heard part of the reason explained is so that as other towns have theirs on the 4th there is not a massive number of people crossing paths. Another reason is so that more people can attend multiple fireworks shows. This all makes sense, but it just seems odd to me to celebrate a holiday that is specifically about a date on a day other than that date.
It’s understandable that people celebrate holidays like Christmas or Thanksgiving on different days. Especially for large families where you need to visit multiple locations. However, doing the 4th on the 3rd is similar to having a New Years eve party on December 30th or Jan 2nd. Sure you can get together with family, but it kind of seems lame to have the countdown any other time than when the year actually changes.
The fireworks displays have also been getting boring over the years and expectations for this year looked to be the same. There was some excitement this year with a drone flying overhead and around the firework display as they were going off. I really need to get a drone.
Apparently, my personal site here was down a week ago or so, and I had no idea. I don’t check it every day and it seems my host does not have a notification of when a site is not working. Regardless, when I did get things restored it looks like I lost some articles. Checking my back-ups I realized I had not refreshed that in over a year. So it looks like I lost anything I posted in the last year. Actually, I’m not sure I posted anything as it has been a crazy busy year.
At any rate, things have been restored and I need to think about getting a system notification check service as well as a better back-up strategy other than manually copying posts into text files or doing irregular sql dumps.
Spending some of my time off exploring microdata and html5 more in depth. If the semantic web is going to finally gain wide adoption microdata is going to be the catalyst. Unfortunately as easy as it is, it still involves a some effort to add microdata to your code. Still it is a million times easier than XML or other semantic formats.
Unfortunately, I think performance will still be an issue in actual implementations. Microdata is still fairly verbose and also referencing the scope/schema from a third party server may be a problem for some high traffic servers. Adding microdata to your mark-up can easily double or triple the size and there is always the latency issue of referencing a third party server.
These were the sources I was reviewing;
Well I finally got around to cleaning up the site here and upgrading the blog software. I had let things go for a while and pretty much had to start over with the site design. The fun thing is I got to try out some cool stuff that I have been using for some professional work, but did not have time to do for my personal site. I added a jquery image slider to the header. JQuery is really hot right now amongst designers because it makes adding powerful interaction and UI effects as easy as it can get. I also added a google font api for the site title text. This is really cool as it expands the fonts one can use in site design without having to resort to images. Google is offering these fonts hosted from their servers for free. If google ever turns that off, the CSS will degrade nicely using the other font family I have set for that particular design. Another good thing about this… It will not interfere with SEO rankings as your text is indexed with the emphasis of the surrounding tags. I hope to work on a couple of other designs shortly as I think it is really fun to make the site look completely different visually while still keeping the same structure and content.
I signed up for the beta version of the Chrome OS notebook from google. I am not expecting that they will send it to me as I would be surprised if they have not already sent out all 60,000 beta models. Nonetheless, I would be very excited to get one as I think this is the future of computing and user experience. Between the google cr-48 and the Macbook Air the future of desktop/laptop experience is in these streamlined mobile/cloud based UIs. I think the one thing that google needs to port to the Chrome OS is the Android store. Just as Apple is releasing the App Store to the laptop/desktop, so should google allow users to run android apps in the Chrome OS. It is the perfect blend of an internet based experience and an app/platform focused experience.
I really love my iPad despite the numerous short comings and currently have a Macbook pro 15″ for work. However, I am really sold on the more portable computing functionality. Having transitioned from a desktop to a laptop to an ipad for most of my daily computing needs, it seems clear that the future will be more powerful yet more portable devices. The UI of these experiences will have to accommodate a variety of screen formats and sizes. If I don’t get a Cr-48 I will save my $ for a Macbook Air.
While you can use automated validators to measure whether you meet section 508 and WCAG accessibility guidelines, often making the interface usable for screen readers requires more. The validators simply tell you if you have violated one of the standard rules. It does not tell you if the user can make sense of whatever it is that has been written.
Also it should be noted that while section 508 seems mostly focused on users who use screen readers, there are a number of other disabilities that are covered as well including cognitive and other various forms of visual impairments. To truly satisfy users who need section 508 assistance you need to test with users who represent those types of users. Truthfully with many eCommerce sites failing at this, sadly the bar is set pretty low to meet their needs.
If your site has a global presence then you really need to meet the WCAG Level A or priority 1 requirements at the least. As WCAG is the standard set forth by the W3C it is best to follow what is set as a standard by this group. A great article on the differences between the two can be found here;
Other Accessibility resources are here;