Archive for May, 2012

Sayeeda Warsi has to go

Although she’s a Tory homophobe, I’ve always quite liked Sayeeda Warsi. The fact that she’s an Asian woman, with a Northern accent makes her stand out from the artistocrats who inevitably form the majority of any Tory cabinet. I’d also admired the way she was a plain-speaker, too.

My appreciation of her plain-speaking disintegrated when I saw that she was on a ministerial delegation to the Pope and argued against secularism, presumably using my tax money to fund her superstitious pilgrimage to a priest.

Now she’s been claiming £165 a day for staying at a friend’s house, but not passing the money on. This may or may not be fraud, so may be illegal, but it’s certainly immoral, particularly when the party she’s Chair of wants to cap housing benefits for those who aren’t aristocrats or lawyers to £90 a week – about 8% of what Warsi was claiming.

The people whose money she has been “claiming” cannot vote her out, because she was never elected. The only time she stood for election, she was defeated by 4,615 votes, achieving a lower share of the vote than in 2001, despite a national swing towards the Conservative party.

If she has any decency, she’ll resign. Or if David Cameron has any decency he’ll sack her. And then, when she’s out of work, just like all the other public servants put out of a job by the Government’s policies, and her housing benefit is capped at £90, for a second or two I’ll believe the lie she’s been telling that “we’re all in this together”.

If you agree with me, why not tweet her and tell her to go?

Reading List


  • Once again, discussion of installable/ packaged web app thingies. Major points:
    • Mozilla doesn’t want to reuse the W3C Widget spec because they want hosted, not installable apps. And the name “widget” is rubbish.
    • Hosted web apps are .. er .. web sites. But wrapped up, with a manifest, they can be monetized in a synergy of micropayment leverage.
    • “Installing” packaged apps can give them greater permissions than web sites. Hixie responded

      The “installation” security model of asking the user up-front to grant trust just doesn’t work because users don’t understand the question, and the “installation” security model of curating apps and trying to determine by empirical examination whether an application is trustworthy or not just doesn’t scale.

  • Two New Proposals to Solve the CSS3 Vendor Prefix Crisis
  • Last week I linked to an article that claimed adherence to WCAG didn’t magically solve all blind users’ problems. Here’s a rebuttal Methodological flaws put question mark on study of the impact of WCAG on user problems. It seems to me obvious that, while WCAG is very useful, it doesn’t replace brain, or testing.

Mobile and devices

Web Biz


Web Standards Song

“Like A Rounded Corner”, by Bruce and The Standardettes

Reading List

Apps: Web vs Native – swinging towards Web?

Last week I linked to a piece about Financial Times turning its iOS app off, to concentrate on the Web instead.

Technology Review wrote of their experience “The future of media on mobile devices isn’t with applications but with the Web.” in Why Publishers Don’t Like Apps.”Like almost all publishers, I was badly disappointed. What went wrong? Everything … We sold 353 subscriptions through the iPad. We wasted $124,000 on outsourced software development. We fought amongst ourselves, and people left the company. There was untold expense of spirit. I hated every moment of our experiment with apps, because it tried to impose something closed, old, and printlike on something open, new, and digital.”

Also How NSFW Corp Dodged The Newsstand Bullet And Lucked Into HTML5″ “when Not Safe For Work Corporation finally launched a few hours ago, there was no Newsstand edition, and no Kindle store edition. Instead, it’s HTML5 all the way.”

Mobilism mobile browser panel with Jeremy Keith and reps of RIM, Google, Nokia and Opera on

Standardsy stuff

  • Lea Verou on Text masking The standards way. I have a lot of sympathy with the view expressed by Matt Wilcox – SVG is much harder to write than a line of CSS (and I feel a bit ewww at mixing presentational SVG with my HTML). But at least this works everywhere, which is Lea’s point.
  • Jake Archibald’s funny and finely-researched article Application Cache is a Douchebag is vital for those thinking of offlinerifying a site, the and Fixing Application Cache Community Group want to, er, fix the AppCache spec.
  • Opera’s representative on the CSS Working Group, Florian Rivoal, has a proposal to fix the vendor prefixing system:

    When a browser vendor implements a new css feature, it should support it, from day 1, both prefixed and unprefixed, the two being aliased. If a style sheet contains both prefixed and unprefixed, the last one wins, according to the cascade.

    Authors should write their style sheets using the unprefixed property, and only add a prefixed version of the property (below the unprefixed one) if they discover a bug or inconsistency that they need to work around in a particular browser.

    If a large amount of content accumulates using the a particular vendor prefix to work around an issue with the early implementation in that browser, the vendor could decide to freeze the behavior of the prefixed property while continuing to improve the unprefixed one.

  • A proposal from Edward O’Connor of Apple for <img srcset> for responsive bitmapped content images
  • How browser engines work – a video presentation by Anthony Ricaud
  • Research shows adhering to WCAG doesn’t solve blind users’ problems

Legal stuff


New My Bloody Valentine songs

My Bloody Valentine ruined the 90s for me by making the best and defining album of that decade in 1991. I was given the CD on my 25th birthday and played it all day. I saw them twice, once on the Loveless tour and 18 yeas later at a reunion gig at the Roundhouse.

For years there have been promises of remasters and reissues, none of which have come to fruition. Until today! Amazon tells me that the double CD of remastered EPs is released, including three “new” songs:

Good for You

Angel (“Bilinda’s Song” on bootlegs)

How Do You Do It

Can’t wait to listen to it in CD quality. This interview with Kevin Shields, he suggests a new album of Loveless-era material, too. Hurrah!

Reading List

Vendor bloody prefixes

As you may have noticed, Opera announced an experimental Labs build supporting a handful of -webkit- vendor prefixes, based on an idea originally suggested by Daniel Glazman, CSS Working Group co-chair:

The rule should be this one: if the CSS parser encounters a prefixed property for another browser, honour that property as if it were prefixed for us UNLESS an unprefixed or prefixed for us valid declaration for that property was already set. That would drastically reduce the problems on the Web.

Here are some of the most useful commentaries (both for and against). Mostly I haven’t commented, except for Andy Clark’s piece which contained factual inaccuracies which could mislead readers.

My favourite commentary has been Daniel Davis‘ interview with Dr Stanley Dards, wise old man of the web:



Spot the difference!

An exciting competition for readers. Can you spot the difference between these two articles?

Two years ago, Dean Hachamovitch, General Manager of Internet Explorer wrote:

Today, intellectual property rights for H.264 are broadly available through a well-defined program managed by MPEG LA. The rights to other codecs are often less clear, as has been described in the press. Of course, developers can rely on the H.264 codec and hardware acceleration support of the underlying operating system, like Windows 7, without paying any additional royalty.

This week, the BBC reports Motorola wins Xbox and Windows 7 ban in Germany – also Windows 7 system software, Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player:

It follows a ruling that Microsoft had infringed two patents necessary to offer H.264 video coding and playback.


For the sake of open-ness, here’s a link to Opera’s 2011 annual report (Giant PDF!).

There is no truth in alleged “leaked emails” that our business plan reads 1) Publish photos of loads of multi-ethnic hipsters in glossy report 2) alias -webkit- prefixes 3) profit!

Blogging Against Disablism Day

It’s Blogging Against Disablism Day. It’s also Multiple Sclerosis Week and the MS Society have published a report called Fighting Back – ordinary people battling the everyday effects of MS on attitudes to MS and disability in general.

Some of the statistics:

  • One in five (21%) British adults surveyed think disabled people need to accept they can’t have the same opportunities in life
  • one in four (26%) Britons think bars and nightclubs are not places for people with wheelchairs
  • 42% of people with MS admit to being concerned about telling their employer about their condition in the current economic climate
  • Over half (56%) of people with MS find it harder to socialise since their diagnosis, with around two-thirds (67%) saying their MS has hampered their ability to enjoy everyday social activities like drinking, eating out or shopping

The report concludes

MS is unpredictable and, perhaps largely because of this, widely misunderstood. It is different for everyone, and everyone responds to it differently.

But what most with MS have in common is a desire to live as full and active a life as possible before the condition strips more and more choices away from them.

I’m lucky; I travel a lot, do karate, and live a normal life. There’s a lot of ignorance about what MS is. The problem is that it’s different for every person. I was diagnosed in 1999 after I lost my vision in my left eye and the use of my left leg and arm. This is why my dancing is so crap.

Nowadays symptoms are

  • Tiredness. That’s why, if you invite me to speak and ask me to take a long haul Economy flight, I’ll need 2 nights e.g. a full day before the gig to recover
  • Clumsiness when tired, and slipping over on Oslo pavements in winter
  • Dry mouth and swallowing difficulties, which is why I drink gallons of water at conferences and then have to rush to the loo. (Apologies if I rush past you if you’re waiting to ask a question – I’m not being a diva, just seeking a pissoir)
  • Trigeminal neuralgia, random sensations like electric shocks, when touched unexpectedly, particularly on the face

My mankini allure is, thankfully, unaffected.