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 2002.10.31

in a landmark decision released today, the supreme court of canada has ruled that the section of the election act that prevents prison inmates from voting violates the charter of rights. the 5-4 decision comes after many years of litigation. stories here and here. more later.

as expected, icann approved changes to its charter that put an end to the policy that allowed the public to elect members to its board of directors. this article at salon has some of the details. and here's a fascinating thread from the other day, with karl 'cavebear' auerbach posting comments from the shanghai conference to the slashdot story about the removal of his seat on the board.

more on icann: the centre for democracy and technology has released a paper entitled clarifying the mission and powers of icann: analysis and proposed solutions which examines the current state of icann's authorities, particularly in light of soon-to-be-passed reforms, and recommends new approaches to continue clarifying the scope of icann's appropriate powers. this was presented yesterday at the conference in shanghai. there are many other alternative visions out there and we would be remiss not to go back and read brad templeton's essays again. the eventual demise of icann as a going concern is getting a lot more play, with many people predicting the end will come by the time of next june's icann meeting in montreal.

aside from the growing grassroots disatisfaction with icann, a bigger threat to icann's existence may come from disgruntled country-code top level domain(ccTLD) operators and regional Internet registries (RIRs). a number of these are not pleased with icann's past actions and the direction it has set for itself. the ccTLD committee passed a resolution at shanghai that stated in part:

“in view of the continuing failures by ICANN in conducting its stewardship of the IANA function, particularly in relation to ccTLD database updates, managers agreed to set up a working group to develop a plan to set up a system of independent management of the DNS root entries and database entries. it is expected this plan will be developed in parallel with attempts to create an acceptable ccSO (country code supporting organization), and to be available in the event that is unsuccessful.”

phil agre's networking on the network; this belongs in the required reading section.

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 2002.10.30

on the 14th of august of 1980, the workers at the gdansk shipyards in poland put down their tools, beginning a strike that would change the course of eastern european history. the polish authorities moved quickly to isolate the strikers by cutting off all the phone lines to the shipyard, among other things. however the phone in the shipyard's medical clinic was not affected, and from there alina pienkowska, a diminuitive nurse, phoned fellow dissident jacek kuron in warsaw, who spread the news across poland and alerted his contacts in the west. workers at thousands of factories across poland soon launched their own strikes, beginning the heroic period known around the world as solidarnosc (solidarity).

pienkowska was also instrumental when, after two days of striking, lech walesa was putting his signature to a sell out deal and urging the gdansk workers to end their stike and leave the shipyards. as the workers began to leave, pienkowski, standing on a barrel at the gates of the shipyard, spoke passionately to her fellow workers of the need to stand firm. pienkowska knew that if the gdansk workers gave in at that point the thousands of other workers who had joined their cause across the nation would be left in the lurch. “you betrayed them,” she said of the strikers beyond the shipyard walls. “now the authorities will crush us like bedbugs.”

she and a handful of others, including anna walentynowicz, a crane operator whose dismissal was the impetus for the strike, managed to keep the strike alive. by evening the yards were filling with workers again, many of the men having been sent back by their angry wives.

alina pienkowska died on oct 17 in gdansk, poland.

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 2002.10.21

a warning

independent internet radio - saved by jesse helms? or maybe that should read: jesse helms killed internet radio?

there's another bit that goes here, however due to difficulties beyond my control i'm leaving it out for the moment.

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 2002.10.19

it is a paperish sound;
the sound of a newspaper late in the afternoon,
opening itself on the park bench, skittering across the pavement;
the office waste basket being emptied by the cleaning staff;
spent giftwrap being gathered up.
unlike the spring, when the new born leaves,
moved by the breeze, sound like soft fabrics;
like new sheets being thrown on the bed;
the day's laundry drying on the line.
soon the branches will be bare,
whistling in the winter's wind.
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 2002.10.12

this weblog is now one year strong! in order to mark this event of little importance, i thought i would take a look through the archives and pull some of my favourite items out for review.

after only two weeks of being online, the defining moment came along. the folks at microsoft caused a stir with their nasty redesign of msn.com. they claimed it was all about the worthy cause of supporting web standards, a claim that was easily shown to be patently false. in order to demonstrate how easily the site could be made standards compliant i put together the msntidy! demo. the demo got picked up by zeldman and joe clark, and i received interesting comments from around the world. wowza! we're connected; caught up in the web.

in november i redesigned the workshop pages, which led to the never seen in public before blue robot dj magic box remix. i talked to rob about getting this added to the layout resevoir but alas he was busy and it never happened. maybe it's time to give him another ring.

for the december link and think project the site was recast in shades of black and grey, a task easily accomplished with the use of cascading style sheets. during the month there was also one of the longer story pieces and the whole wasp affair (yes, if you raise your voice you can make a difference).

january saw us obsessing (2)(3) over the oft misunderstood and poorly implemented background-attachment property.

one of my favourite stories was about snow in february. in march came the font parade, the death of my coffee maker and a piece about getting noticed by search engines. this was followed up on in april with our text not bombs entry.

by may i had built the tuner, the third of my little popup tools. i get asked about these from time to time; what can i say - i find them useful, and they look cool on my desktop.

the wasp returned in june, a month that didn't see much activity around here. mainly because i was giddy with the arrival of my new ibook and the release of mozilla 1.0. in july there was stinky poisonous yogurt. august was toast.

things started to pick up again in september, with a story about ian, computers and me.

and now it's october again. to close the circle (and we do like to close the circles around here), another microsoft redesign blunder and another clean up job - microtidy! noted by zeldman, nublog and our friends at the wasp.

i'm looking forward to another year of this

~ dylan, prince of tidy, aka some guy futzing around at his computer.

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 2002.10.07

amidst all the other interesting things you have to do today, please don't forget to wear red panties for reproductive choice.

dylan is:

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 2002.10.05

thanks to the good people of china, i now receive a minimum of twelve e-mails a day. for some reason they are mostly related to bulk shipping services.

what about my website name being evilly registered by others ahead of me?

what's the future of music? well for one thing people like scott have a whole new kit of tools at their disposal to create, produce and distribute their music.

The visual system is not very good at being a physical light meter, but that is not its purpose. The important task is to break the image information down into meaningful components, and thereby perceive the nature of the objects in view.

a fascinating optical illusion, via david chess.

recent articles of note:

from somewhere way out in left field - aboard the whiskey sour

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 2002.10.04

here are the steps i took as a program of recovery:

  1. i admitted that i was powerless over the internet and my life had become unmanageable.
  2. came to believe that something other than a new browser could restore me to sanity.
  3. made a decision to download and install NetNewsWire.
  4. made a searching and fearless inventory of my bookmarks.
  5. admitted to the Bookmarks Manager the exact nature of those bookmarks i wanted to remove.
  6. was entirely ready to have the Bookmarks Manager remove all these unnecessary bookmarks.
  7. humbly pressed the delete button.
  8. made a list of all those websites that had RSS feeds.
  9. made an entry in NetNewsReader for those sites, looking further afield when necessary.
  10. continued to take inventory of feeds as they became available, and when they were hot, promptly added them to my list.
  11. eagerly awaited for the next version of NetNewsReader to become available.
  12. having had a hypertext epiphany as a result of these steps, i told all my friends about it.

with apologies to bill w. and that great fellowship of pisstanks.

on a more serious note, this cool little app for mac by brent simmons provides a fast and efficient way of scanning the web. it provides a different entrance to the info glut of the world wide web, and i find i can do in about five/ten minutes what used to take up to an hour: simply find out what's going on in the www today, load those stories that are of interest to me into my browser and ditch the rest.

RSS is a sparse but dense medium. by homogenizing the display of content, it allows you to speedily sort through all that information. your brain doesn't get addled trying to adjust to all the font / colour combinations that you encounter while surfing the web with anything other than a good text-based browser.

by the same token it strips away a lot of the personality that comes to us through people's design choices.

it is another tool for accessing information(and a darned fine one at that). it's not a replacement for your favourite browser.

as noted by zeldman, microsoft continues to show total disregard to web standards when it comes to creating their own website. here's a demo page i cooked up, showing how easily some of this could be rectified. in the time it took to drink a cup of coffee, i was able to turn their mishmash of wonky html into an xhtml/css compliant page.

running the page source through HTML Tidy a few times and performing some basic regex search and replace routines did the trick. my favourite line from the HTML Tidy output has to be:

“Lobby your company to join W3C, see http://www.w3.org/Consortium”

shame on them. what sort of example are they setting for the larger community? a lousy one, if any at all.

further notes: the microtidy demo is not meant to be a thorough redesign of microsoft.com in xhtml/css. there are indeed some minor flaws in the layout; i made no attempt to tweak every pixel back into place. some of the backend functionality has been removed. in no way does it address all the problems in the area of accessibility. it is simply meant to show that someone with a moderate skill level and few basic tools can take microsoft's code as a starting point and bring it into standards compliance in a matter of minutes. it leads to the question: if i can do this, why can't redmond's legion of developer's do a better job of things?

this same issue came up almost a year ago, and apparently they still don't get it. why can't this prominent W3C member and leader in software development address these things? it boggles the mind.

were forging ahead with the repairs and renovations to the site. still to be done: fix the three donkeys(go, tuner and search), get rid of the lingering brown touches, revamp the bookmarks and overhaul the workshop. i'm hopeful i can get it all completed for the one year mark.

———

dylanfoleyª†sympatico.ca
all original content is free for the taking.
help yourself.