Still alive

I'm still around in case anybody is wondering. Sorry for the lack of updates, but things have just been so crazy busy since I got back from the UK in September.

I can't believe it's less than a week till Christmas, and how quickly it's crept up. Didn't seem so long ago I was scoffing and how ridiculous the department stores started putting up Christmas decorations in October!

  • Some of the things I've been up to in the last couple of months:
    Got a new phone - Nokia N70
  • Been to the UK (all over) , Netherlands (Amsterdam) and Germany (Berlin)
  • Been to Dubai
  • Took lots of pics but haven't sorted through them yet.. have put up a few on Flickr but there's LOADS more
  • Got a 5-week contract job with HugeObject, which was interesting and a fun office to work at.
  • Attended my first Web Standards Group meetingParticipated in my first protest rally - Walk Against Warming
  • Paid off my credit card bill racked up from my holiday
  • Bought a Macbook - white, 2.0 Ghz Core 2 Duo, 2GB RAM
  • Done my taxes (got a bill, not a refund this year) * Learnt how to use Subversion for version control
  • Trying to learn Ruby on Rails
  • Wanting to learn AJAX
  • Moved this site and a few others to Media Temple's (gs) Grid Server
  • Launched a few new web sites - Gemstone Brokers, DJRW, Friday Club Central
  • Been to several Christmas parties (already) So there you go. I'll be around Melbourne for the next few days, then going to the Grampians on Christmas Day for 3 days, then Warnambool overnight then back in Melbourne for New Years. Really looking forward to a break and chill out a bit. Merry Christmas everybody and to a great year ahead!

Internet Explorer 7 beta 2

Chatter amongst the web design community is getting louder now with the recent release of Internet Explorer 7 beta 2. With much improved CSS support, there's been concerns that CSS hacks used to 'fix' IE 5/6 are no longer necessary, but might still be picked up by IE 7 and thus rendering the page incorrectly. The IE 7 developers have even made it a point to warn web developers about this and NOT to use IE-specific hacks relying on flawed CSS selector parsing. Instead, they are recommending using another IE proprietary feature, Conditional Comments, to import style sheets specific for earlier versions of IE should they be necessary.With dread in my heart, I downloaded Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2 and followed the instructions on how to install a standalone version so not to wipe out IE 6 which I'd still need to use for testing. I'd feared that the sites I've built would be completely broken, as some of them require IE hacks to fix glaring problems with its implementation of CSS. Thankfully, this is not the case, so far. I opened up Fritz Gelato (which has CSS-based drop-down menus), Massage Works and my own site here, and all seems well. (phew!) This is one reason why people should be embracing web standards - it ensures forwards and backwards compatibility, as browsers are progressively improved and follow the specifications closely (as they should). I will still need to continue checking the other sites and 'unfix' them for IE 7 as necessary. On one hand I'm glad that IE is finally cleaning up its act, but still, I worry that not everybody will upgrade when it is released. Just like how we still need to test for IE 5/5.5 for people still running Windows 98, I suspect IE 6 with all its flaws and bugs will be around for a while yet.

Minimalist Websites

A while ago I posted a link to a page with a list of websites with minimalist design. However, many pf the sites on that page are now defunct or have redesigned and are not quite as minimal as they used to be. In any case, here my own list of current favourite sites: * 37signals * Jason Kottke * skinnyCorp * Getty Images * Daring Fireball * BlueRobot * Happy Cog Studios * Fifteen Foundation * Maniacal Rage * Huddle Together * Subtraction * camworld * Airbag * Andy Budd Blogography * Mark Boulton * Shaun Inman * Justin Blanton * Modulo26 * Witold Riedel * Karmakars * Jeremy Boles * Improv, Pastence * Mark Bixby * Jake Nickell * Extra Tasty! * Chris DiClerico * Zilch This post will be continually updated so check back for updates. Feel free to make any suggestions in the comments.

Getting Real

I've been reading reviews and kudos about 37signals' book, Getting Real, and so I bought and downloaded the PDF book yesterday.After spending a good half hour wrestling with my laser printer trying to figure out how to feed the paper properly to print in duplex as it doesn't have an automatic duplexing unit, I got the whole 171-page book printed out. Much as I am used to reading on-screen, a book of that size would be a bit much to handle. From what I've heard, although the book refers to 37signals' own processes in developing web-based applications, a lot of the principles and techniques are applicable to other design jobs, and even in a non-design, corporate environment. I've been a fan of their work ever since I found their site and read their manifesto. I'll let you know my take on the book when I'm done with it.