Thursday, December 13, 2007

Video of my CSS presentation...

Here it is.  Video of my "short" presentation for CWSA at Tri-C.  I was one of a few presenters and it was great time BS-ing with other developers.

David Mead presents CSS Tips & Tricks from Cleveland Web Standards on Vimeo.

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Cloverfield trailer 2...

So J.J.Abrams has the film he's producing (Cloverfield) putting the internet in a tizzy again with the release of a second trailer.  If you saw Beowulf over the weekend you got to see it in the cinema - If not you can see a good, clean copy at Empire Online.

Good places to follow the online buzz are 1-18-08 Project Cloverfield and

This is the first "must-see" for me in '08.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Coffee Drinks Illustrated...

If you head over to Lokesh Dhakar's blog he has done some great illustrations for various coffee drinks that you can get.

Found via Simplebits.

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

New music...

I dropped $9.95 on eMusic and have grabbed three great electronic/ambient albums so far:
I highly recommend these.  The above links are for Amazon.

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

My first voice-over...

Working for an interactive marketing agency has it's perks.  One of which was my chance to lend my vocal talents as the announcer for a series of videos we're producing for May The Best Win.

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Monday, November 05, 2007

Learn a new word and give free rice...

Julie sent me a link to Free Rice.  It's a great little site that donates 10 grains of rice for every word you match the meaning to.

Give it a go.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Summer of Superman...

I was passed this article by a co-worker a couple of weeks ago.  I've only now gotten around to reading it.

It outlines a plan for Cleveland celebrating the fact that Superman's creators came from here.  I personally don't see that as ever happening but I definitely think it's a great idea.  We had a little fervor around Harvey Pekar but nothing so far about Siegel and Shuster.

I mean, some of Spiderman 3 was filmed here and Howard The Duck was set here, so why not Superman?  Are the Cleveland bigwigs more Marvel than DC now?

C'mon Cleveland - Don't keep harping on about The Christmans Story. Let's make The Man of Steel welcome in this old steel town.

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Friday, June 15, 2007

New Coen Brothers movie...

First trailer for "No Country for Old Men", the latest Coen Brothers film, is now out.

Think more "Blood Simple" than "O' Brother".

Can't wait.

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

Grilling the "catch of the day"!

My friend and colleague, Ben went on a fishing trip recently and was nice enough to share the spoils with us co-workers. Having three days of vacation booked this week and the weather taking a turn for the better I decided to, for the first time, cook fish on our grill.

Not a major milestone for many but, seeing as I've never attempted it and the Walleye turned out rather great, I thought share the recipe. First off I've never eaten Walleye (or heard of it) until I'd arrived in the USA. So a little Internet searching by Julie turned up quite a few cooking tips for this fish but all were along the same lines of frying, beer and batter. Not that I'm adverse to any of those, but it was sunny and I had a hankering to grill. A little more digging found this Blackened Walleye recipe from "rivereye" (scroll down the page).

Walleye fillet on the grill

I substituted Chili Powder for the Cayenne Pepper and the result was a white fish fillet with a nice kick. Even my son tried some, though he made his lips tingle.

Clean up was a bit labor intensive but I'm definitely going to try some more fish on the grill this Summer.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I'm moderating a Web Association panel!

To build on the points I spoke about in January's Web Association panel about the "state of the web" (mainly microformats) I have been asked to moderate (another first) an after-hours panel discussion about Emerging Web Technologies. Though the event has now sold out (gulp) I have yet to finalize all my questions.

I'm really looking forward to this as the panel has some interesting people on it and, glancing over the attendee list, I am hoping for some good q&a from the audience.

Hopefully I'll have some photos to put up after the panel.

Friday, April 06, 2007


Yesterday, April 5th, was CSS Naked Day. A bit of web developer fun where we strip the CSS (styling) from our sites. This was the first year I actually took part and DMWebsites was laid bare. I was pretty happy as the pages still worked and read fine. Today I noticed that I had 19 referrals from the CSS Naked Day site. That's pretty good going as I was number 237 of 1686 people that stripped down.

Yesterday it also snowed and was bloody freezing here in Ohio. Day before was in the high 70's and then dropped the next day to the low 20's and Lake Effect Snow! WTF! Good luck to those going to the opening day Indians game in this weather. Roll on Summer.

It's my sons third birthday on the 7th. I can't believe how fast he's grown. The years truly do fly by. Though he's already opened most of his presents last weekend, sharing his party with my Father-in-law's on the 1st, he still has a couple more to open. He just gets so excited and that makes Julie & I's heart skip to see his face.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Broken technology...

So here's a gripe. I waited until the "new" Blogger had been out for a while and even moved passed the trendy beta phase before I migrated this blog. Smooth sailing until I tried to post, as per usual, from Flock.

Flock, if you don't know, is a browser based on Mozilla's Firefox but aimed primarily at the "social" online crowd who like to blog, have online bookmarks and photo collections. It's good, though hasn't supplanted my Firefox just yet. The new Blogger uses a different API and Flock doesn't - so the small stride in my unsuccessful blogging this year hits another stumbling block.

Flock is coming out with a new version, code-name Cormarant, soon. This should fix the API problem and tie in my Ma.gnolia bookmarks as well. Until then, I'm back to logging in to Blogger the old-fashioned way.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Screenburn @ SXSWi 2007...

A few cool games in the Screenburn Hall but not many. You can see the photos here but I took a video clip of a cool interactive display. Moving you shadow lets you collect and move the digital "stuff" falling from the top of the screen.

The graphics on the video games were great but not much variety to the actual games.

Monday, March 12, 2007

SXSW'07 Day 3...

First panel today was "Design Workflows at Work: How Top Designers Work Their Magic" which was pretty packed. The panel had a pretty good discussion going and the companion website does have a lot of information in it. Again, this was more of a general discussion, than a "how to" panel.

A spot of lunch and then right back to it with Paul and I splitting up again. I went to see the panel for Will & David's book "SEND" which I wrote a separate post on. I then had to search for my next hit which was on the other side of the centre (did I mention this place is huge!) - Accessified! Practical Accessibility Fixes Any Web Developer Can Use. This panel was with Patrick Lauke and Ian Lloyd had, though it was short, gave some great tips on accessibility. Now back across the center to meet Paul and wait for the last panel of the day, Uniting the Holy Trinity of Web Design. The panel did a good job on this, but again there were not too many examples you could take way from this.

I think the main thing from the last panel, and others like it, was that it got Paul & I talking about those topics and how they fit within Optiem.

I also checked out the screenburn part which was going on in one of the ballrooms. Lots of video games and competitions including some cool experimental stuff.

Rushed back to the hotel and out again to catch the Web Awards, hosted by Ze Frank. He was very funny and the whole thing went off pretty smoothly. Where people couldn't attend they had volunteers from the audience come up and accept. Lost of shameless plugs follwed :-)

The battery died in my flash so a kind sound kind from a a video crew gave me one of his spares. Very nice and, yes, I did pay it forward as promised. Bumped into Jeremy Keith and Richard Rutter who were kind enough to let us tag along for the rest of the evening. Met some of Kent Brewster fellow Yahoo! stuff who assured me it was not Yahoo's stance that "copyright is dead"! The band, The Lemurs, was also very good at the Mohawk.

The rain hammered down all night and we got soaked. Paul almost lost his SXSW badge (that'll be another $350 please) and, when we got back to the hotel, did lose his wallet. After speaking to the doorman and our taxi driver it was returned safe & sound.

Tired and ready for tomorrow.

Food of the day - The stuffed potato skins at The Mohawk. Just the thing to warm you up after being drenched.

Plug for an interesting book...

So one (of very many) cool things that has happened since being here at SXSW was meeting a guy called Will Schwalbe. After chatting with him at "Break Bread with Brad" he told me he was speaking about email on one of the panels of Sunday.

Turns out Will is the Senior Vice President and Editor in Chief at Hyperion books and he had written a book called "SEND" with David Shipley. The panel, called "I can't believe you sent that" was a really interesting mix of video interviews, examples read by a volunteer and a free advance copy of the book.

This was not a technical panel, which was refreshing, and the book deals with more the horror stories, etiquette and rules for writing and handling emails.

You can pre-order Will & David's book "SEND" at Amazon (I've already started my copy) and you can also read/post email horror stories at the companion website.

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

SXSW'07 - Day 2...

So today was the first big day for us here in Austin. Lots of panels to attend and I'm quickly running out of business cards.

First panel was "a decade of style" with Eric, Molly, Chris & Douglas. After a quick post-panel chat (did I mention everyone is extremely approachable?), including a quick hello with Tantek Çelik, it was off to "how to bluff your way in web2.0", an excellent and fun look at the whole (tired) web2.0 phenom by two fellow Brits including an online bingo game during the session where I didn't get a free book (hint) - I only needed DOJO.

A spot of lunch at the Iron Cactus and then back to "Unleashing CSS: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Internet Explorer 7", where I didn't get a free book (hint, hint) but it was still a good view of adoption rates and how to start using the new IE7 CSS. Then straight into a really interesting panel on "Web Hacks". This wasn't at all about CSS/HTML in the traditional sense but covered Yahoo pipes, content and touched briefly on copyright.

The last panel was, personally, a bit of a let down. The panel didn't seem that engaged and subject matter tended to drift.  The cool thing about that panel though was sitting with Jonathan Snook, and hooking up with Trey Philips and Mani Sheriar for a couple of the after hours parties, where Mani blagged a free microformats t-shirt from Tantek (hint, hint, hint).

Two very high (geek) points - Shaking hands and having a quick chat with Tantek and then, later, Ze Frank.

Food of the day - Heuvos Rancheros.

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Saturday, March 10, 2007

SXSW'07 Day 1 - Gone to Texas...

After a fairly uneventful flight, save for the near miss witnessed by Paul through my window, we arrived in Austin. We took a cab to the Hyatt Regency hotel and found our room missing something - namely the second bed.

Moving down from the 14th floor remedied that, so, after struggling to set up the WiFi and checking some work email, Paul & I set off to register. This took longer than expected, queuing up just to enter the queue upstairs.

We managed to take in the first panel, all about "Snakes on a Plane" and we were set for the second panel about "rawk"ing SXSW. Saw quite a few of the panelist later at the "Break Bread with Brad" party.

Best food so far - Cheese & Jalapeno hotdog with Curry Ketchup!

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Friday, March 09, 2007

February sucked!

Apart from our birthdays, February pretty much sucked.  Hence no posts recently.

List of offenders that made up this arse or a month were:

  • Julie slipping and hurting her leg & back
  • Me hurting my back
  • Julie falling ill
  • Me breaking a tooth
  • Me having a root canal on that tooth
  • Having to postpone (twice) our trip to Pittsburgh
  • Me getting a speeding ticket in Lindale
  • Me getting that speeding ticket in Lindale, on Julie's birthday!

That's pretty much it.  There were some high points though, such as seeing LeBron James play @ The Q with my brother-in-law and the Cav's winning.  My first time seeing any basketball since being here in the US and it was a lot of fun.  Also I was asked to speak at Tri-C to a class of students which was cool and I've had some emails from the students which was nice (I promise I will reply).

Now it's March and I'm off to SXSW'07 in Austin, Texas.  I'm already missing Julie and Josh and I'm only sitting at Cleveland Hopkins waiting to leave.  5 days is the longest I've been away from either of them.

BTW - The current threat advisory has been raised to ORANGE.  I know this as it's blasted by a speaker every 5 minutes :-)

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Friday, February 09, 2007

New "Hot Fuzz" trailer...

HOT FUZZ is a new British comedy and is one of the few films I really want to see in 2007.  Empire released a new teaser which really plays on the whole cop/buddy genre that the film is aimed at.

If you're in the UK check it out on Valetines Day.  We in the USA will have to wait another couple of months.

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Helsinki complaints choir...

All truly annoying things in any language. In fact Birmingham (UK) and Hamburg (DE) both had a go as well with their own Complaints Choirs.

Found on YouTube thanks to William Gibson

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Happy Birthday to me...

My 38th year on this planet and I got some really great gifts:

The downside is that I hurt my back over the weekend, Julie fell and hurt her leg badly and our son Josh has not run around outside for a few days (it's -15C during the day!) all added to the two of us, hopped up on Codine and Aleve, stumbling around after a pent-up 3 yr old.

Bring on #39!

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

My first public speaking gig...

I was happy, and a little nervous, to be on the panel for The Web Association presentation today - State of the Web:The Year Ahead. Julie was very patient with my worrying about this all week and going over and over the slides.  This was the first time I had spoken publicly and despite the bad weather it was a great turnout.

My section was about Web Standards and I touched upon the rise of microformats. For those interested the two Firefox extensions mentioned were Tails and Operator.

I hope people got something out of it and I'm looking forward to the follow-up sessions from my fellow panelists.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

My top Firefox add ons...

I use Firefox as my browser of choice (Flock comes a close second when blogging etc.) and with it I make use of quite a few of the extensions (now renamed add on's) written for it. As I am a web developer some of these skew to that but there are still enough below that I find useful in my day-to-day surfing.

Web Development

General Surfing


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Monday, January 08, 2007

I have a thing for electronic music...

So I have a thing for electronic music. Anything from the ambient works of Brian Eno through some, but not all, of Jean-Michel Jarre to the latest crop who release their work through the Internet. I find it nicer listening to this genre whilst spending time on the PC (which I do too much of) over songs and podcasts.

It's these Internet artists that I have been listening to most recently.

Saul Stokes has been around for a while now and creates his own instruments. I recently purchased his Outfolding album from his site, after it being on my Amazon wish list for some time to no avail, and received a nice signed photo in the email from him the next day.

Another place for good electronic music (and it's FREE) is The Kahvi Collective. The have a huge back catalog of people, including Saul Stokes, to download in both .ogg and .mp3 formats.

Latest one I grabbed from there is octopus city by url - it's very good but I recommend digging around to find other stuff. Some personal favorites are by MINT, Alexey V and 4t Thieves.

I use ma.gnolia as my online bookmarks and you find more on my electronic music list there.

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Take down the decorations and start decorating...

So now all the Chrimbo decorations are down and packed away in the basement, it's time to start thinking about painting the new abode.

With moving in so near to Xmas neither of us felt we've really looked at our new home without boxes, clutter or decorations in the way.  Now all the furniture is in place and "most" of the stuff has found a home (I still have a few boxes to unpack) it's time to start putting our mark on the place - that means paint.

That and a trip to IKEA for shelving and some organizational stuff.  There's a future blog post right there.

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Day 3. Post #2 - The Weather...

So it's now Jan 03, 2007 and I've yet to see serious snow. Don't get me wrong, I'm not wishing for it! It just seems slightly unnerving that I'm in NE Ohio, in January, and can walk around in shirt sleeves. I can play Football (Soccer) with Josh outside and we don't both resemble the Michelin Man.

Since moving here I've had to break out "The Winter Box" every November and don two or three (I'm fairly warm-blooded) layers of cotton and wool to fend off the ever dropping temperature. One of my favorite games was switching the in-car thermometer between °C & °F as we pulled out of my in-laws garage and watch it plummet to -10°! That kind of cold hurts when you breath.

This year nothing. 2006 we got two days at best.

I'm glad that global warming stuff Al Gore spoke about was just propaganda.

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

To start 2007...

So I have already let one of my resolutions slip:

* blog at least one post every day in 2007

this is the first post and it's the second day so bang goes that one.

Anyway. Our year started with two new things which can't be bad. First I experienced the joy of an American breakfast at IHOP. Now if your as unfamiliar as I was, IHOP is open 24hours-a-day, everyday, and is known for its pancakes (it is the International House Of Pancakes after all). Nice big portions of pancakes, hash browns, two crispy strips of the King of Meats and a couple of poached eggs - lovely!

The other new thing was actually what I poured over the aforementioned pancakes. Now on each table IHOP has four different flavored syrups and my flavor to welcome in 2007 - Boysenberry! Man that was good. All that tends to be on offer over here is traditional Maple which is okay if you like liquid sugar.

Now don't get me wrong, the breakfast was good, one of the best I've had but nothing beats a Full English. One of the few things I miss about Blighty.

Catch you tomorrow.

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