Making Light of Things

November 2006 Archives

Programming languages are like women

Great analogy. Accurate to a T - at least the women I know.

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Web Standards Group Singapore Meetup

If you’re a regular reader of this blog you’d already know that I’m an advocate of Web Standards. If you’re a web standards nut, or if you’re interested in finding more about web standards, we’re having a meet up.

Web 2.0 Design Is Disposable Design

So true. And so possibly true of all the work I’ve done. Are all designers normally extra hard on their own designs?

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Aston Martin Evangelism

Aston Martin loans guy a car for a day because he blogged about it being one of his life’s goals. This is publicity no mainstream media can provide.

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The Freedom of Fast Iterations: How Netflix Designs a Winning Web Site

Failing and getting up at warp speed beats sitting on your behind all day hoping you won’t fail.

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Photoshop Tutorials - Crystal Clear Iris

Create your own eyeball.

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The wired child: South Florida Sun-Sentinel

I haven’t been away from WoW that long, but you can’t be the two-headed dragon can you?

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CSS Shorthand Guide

Pack yer code in.

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The visual design of Web 2.0

Yes, they all do look quite the same.

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25 Funniest Analogies (Collected by High School English Teachers)

Funny as hell.

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Ear to the Ground

I’m sure you’ve heard the well-meaning phrase “if you want to know what the people think, you need only talk to the taxi driver”. I had a cab ride two nights ago that illustrated perfectly how wrong the adage could be.

Like most cab drivers, he drove a little more aggressively than the usual Joe. Needing to cut past 4 lanes he slowed down and allowed a motorcyclist his right of way. The motorcyclist honked twice before zipping by.

“These motorbikes…if you give way to them, they’ll act all proud as if they don’t need your kindness”, said the cabby.

At the next junction we stopped at a red light, beside a medium-sized car. There was a Malay family in the car, and both women wore the tudung, the traditional Muslim head covering for women.

“These Malays always try to copy what other people do. The women never had any of these head covering in the past.” I thought about it for a while and realised that I really didn’t remember such a prevalence of tudung-clad women in my childhood. I told the cabby that perhaps Singaporean Muslims were returning to more conservative roots.

“No lah. Last time the only ones who wore head dresses were the Catholic nuns. The Malays just copy them.” He went at length on Southeast-Asian history and the Dutch colonisation of Indonesia, and that the indigenous Muslim women started wearing head covering so that they could trade with the Catholic Dutch. He stopped a hair’s breadth short of a racist tirade.

Probably interpreting my stunned silence as agreement, he warned me that many Malays could now speak many Chinese dialects, and that I had to be careful not to be within earshot of them when talking bad about them.

I got out of the cab convinced that the world, like the blogosphere, has many conversations, but that we need not waste our time listening to all of them. And that a little skepticism is good when there is so much being said out there.

Low Blow

Given that I read all my news online and our beloved Straits Times believes in charging for online content, I gleaned this from Jeff’s Blog:

Opposition MPs ‘naive’ to expect upgrading funds

Offers of upgrading in opposition wards were part of a slew of policies proposed by People’s Action Party candidates during the General Election, National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan said yesterday.

But as voters rejected the PAP’s candidates, it was ‘naive’ of Mr Chiam See Tong (Potong Pasir) and Mr Low Thia Khiang (Hougang) to now expect the Government to give them the funds for upgrading, he added…

Yesterday, Minister of State (National Development) Grace Fu… made the point - reiterated by Mr Mah - that the PAP’s upgrading offer was part of a larger package of policies which the ruling party offered to voters.

‘The electorate in Potong Pasir has obviously not supported that and therefore they should not stand to benefit from any surpluses that are generated from that suite of policies,’ she said.

During the elections I thought it was highly questionable for the PAP to offer voters packages from the nation’s coffers even though they were and were likely to continue being the ruling party.

To deny Singapore citizens who live in constituencies not under PAP governance the funds to upgrade their estate shows the petty character of those in charge.

Did these people opt out of paying taxes? Don’t they pay their dues like everyone else and be entitled to the same level of welfare? Must everyone bend over and kiss the toes of the PAP before they can be given what they already paid for?

The government exists to look after the welfare of its people. PAP clearly does not.

11 Web Claims

What they say, and what they really mean.

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Free HTML Form Builder - Create Forms, Surveys and Invitations. There’s no need to build for every need, just subscribe.

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Dell Hell

Dell sucks eggs. They were great back in 2000 when they weren’t such a big outfit, providing me with replacement speakers before having me send back the defective unit so I wouldn’t miss a second of music. The goodwill’s all lost now.

I ordered a Dell monitor, which I hear are kickass products. I’m working on a 13” screen right now, so you can appreciate how psyched I am to give my eyes a break and move to a 24”. Dell sends me the confirmation email on the same day I ordered the monitor. When I go to their website to check on the status of my order, they listed my order date as the 9th. Ok, so they just sneakily added 3 days to my wait. The delivery date is the 15th. I don’t like the additional wait, but I can handle it.

So today I pop into the office, cleared up my desk to make space for the behemoth that would be hooked up to my Macbook. I check on the order status again to see if the monitor is making its way up the elevator.

Holy crap. They changed the delivery date to the 20th of November. No apology. No reasons given. No notification. Friggin’ dell.

Needing someone to air my complaints to, I look for a number to call. The contact number that came with the confirmation email does not exist. Their website has an “email customer service” but no phone number, except for an automated track your order phoneline. No customer service reps there, and the delivery date is still the 20th.

I knew I should have followed my gut and bought the Apple Cinema Display. Dell, I once believed in you, but you’ve really let me down.


Screen recording app, good potential use for usability testing.

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CSS-Based Forms: Modern Solutions

More snazzy forms.

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Flickr circa 1976

Dunstan Orchard, certified web genius, to work in Flickr. Please empower the dude, he’ll take Flickr over the top.

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Recommended OS X tools

Particularly interesting is MAMP.

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The Form Assembly

Create and Process State-of-the-Art Web Forms

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Prettier Accessible Forms

The web standards solution on A List Apart.

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Shaolin Monk versus Tae Kwon Do Master

Video quality sucks, but the slow mo of the monk blocking kicks and then delivering flying roundhouse kicks is amazing.

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Indebted to Arizona

Aaron’s article “Small wonder why NUS alumni not donating back to alma mater” on the reasons why alumni giving is almost non-existent at NUS seems to have triggered quite the online discussion.

I do not pretend to know the answers as I was never an NUS student. But I do know why I feel so strongly for my alma mater, The University of Arizona.

I could tell you of the amazing school spirit at basketball games or the colourful homecoming parades, but get this - they made me feel I belonged, and wanted to belong, even before I stepped foot on the campus or learned about their many traditions.

When I applied for the U of A, they offered to pay a large part of my tuition expenses. I had not applied for any scholarship and was actually all ready to have my parents foot the full bill. I had done relatively well during my polytechnic days, but an unsolicited offer was totally unexpected.

Being the skeptical Singaporean I was, I asked if there was a bond of any kind attached. I asked if I had to stay in the United States or work in Arizona for a period of time to repay their investment. Their answer? We want to give you this money because we believe you can go on to make a difference in the world.

I will never forget the kindness shown to me nor the mandate to make a difference. Their generosity has had a profound impact on my life and I find myself inexplicably tied to my fellow Wildcats, to the city of Tucson, to the state of Arizona and to America herself.

I may not agree with everything that has since transpired, but I can never deny the fact that a large part of who I am and who I want to be is tied to that single email which led to three and a half years of being nurtured under a stranger’s wing.

Top 10 CSS image gallery tutorials

Various levels of sophistication.

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Nine Things Developers Want More Than Money

Dear God, please let IDA read this.

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Customizing Movable Type's Interface with Application Templates

Rolling your own MT-powered CMS.

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I spanked Anne tonight. All she wanted was her mother. All her mother needed was some sleep. I was able to give neither.

She stopped crying and thrashing around, and went dead silent. Then she touched her bottom with her hand, looked at me and said, “Pain”. She did not cry.

I did.

Anne, I’m so sorry.

Update: Dearest Anne, later on in the night Mommy accidentally poked my eye. You got out of Mommy’s comfortable arms, stood up and kissed my eye then plonked back as you were.

Sweetest girl, in that one moment you have shown so much more character than most people, including myself, have in a lifetime.

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