195. Christmas Cheer

Paul Boag

On our 2009 christmas special: Your favourite tweets of the year, a review of 24 ways, gifts for geeks and web design trends for 2010.

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Christmas Appeal

So I wrote this worthy post that endeavoured to inspire people to be more than spontaneous givers, but to get really stuck into charitable causes.

This also doubled as the launch of the 2009 Boagworld Christmas Appeal. As with previous years this supports children in the most rural and poor parts of India.

Unfortunately, my tactic has not been as successful as previous years. I am therefore returning to the tried and tested approach of…


Every week I give you free advice in the form of a world class (if I do say so myself) podcast and blog.

Do I ask for anything in return? No.

Well other than…

But other than that *cough*, I ask for nothing.

So once a year, I ask the question “How much is Boagworld worth to you?” Would you pay to get the advice I give away for free? If so how much would you pay for a years subscription?

Whatever that figure is, go to our Christmas appeal and give that amount right now!

Give now! Yes, Now!

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My favorite tweets

As you know I am addicted to twitter. I have a problem. I need help.

However until I get the help I need, I console myself with the fact that among all the spam and endless prattle you can find some real gems.

There are great links, funny quotes and original uses for the micro blogging platform.

Dont lick the restaurant wall

So I thought that for this christmas special I would share some of my favourite tweets. My hope is that you will post your favourite tweets in the comments.

Anyway here are a few of mine…

On kids

orderedlist wrote: “Don’t lick the restaurant wall.” #thingsyousaywhenyouhavekids

RellyAB wrote: Not only nature but babies too abhor a vacuum. Even my handheld Dyson upsets him. In fact I’m cancelling all housework just in case.

garymarshall wrote: Neigbours’ kids now have trampoline. Considering purchase of shotgun to create a brand new sport.

robertnyman wrote: Is it evil of me to ask the heavy breathing neighbor kid (due to astma/pollen) to say: “I am your father, Luke”?

zeldman wrote: Half of parenting is being able to eat dinner immediately after cleaning vomit and poop.

On the web

cindyli wrote: @themattharris and I decided against changing our names due to SEO reasons. :P Yeah we’re that geeky. Feel free to call him Mr. Li :P

BenWard wrote: If I ever find the person responsible for this code, I’m going to escape an ampersand in his face.

plasticbagUK wrote: “Twitter was more fun when I could bitch about a company without them asking how they can provide me with excellent service today”

drewm wrote: If you took the brains of ten of the people who send email to WaSP, you may have enough collective intelligence to submit a YouTube comment.

On design

stevebuzzpearce wrote: Creativity without strategy is called art. Creativity with strategy is called advertising. Creativity with strategy & principles is design

simplebits wrote: There’s a fine line between tinkering for improvement and tinkering for utter madness.

On psychology

zeldman wrote: When life hands you lemons, get a lawyer.

tiffehr wrote: “Pretending you know what you’re doing is almost the same as knowing, so accept that you know what you’re doing even if you don’t & do it.”

mattycurry wrote: “I figure out what the customer believes in, then use it to manipulate them so they buy something” oh god it’s true.

On software

hotdogsladies wrote: Accidentally launched IE5/Mac. Seeing that splashscreen was like realizing I’d dialed an ex. Who hates me. And is dead. But still hates me.

anna_debenham wrote: can’t bring myself to open IE6 on a Sunday, I’m sure it’s sacrilegious or something.

SteveMarshall wrote: shall henceforth be thinking of iTunes 9 as Captain Crashy McCrashington.

Just strange

jasonsantamaria wrote: You hack through the inbox jungle with your machete. If you continue emailing, turn to pg 23. If you give up and go home, turn to pg 48.

meyerweb wrote: Error 4:04am (Sleep Not Found)

nicepaul wrote: So it turns out that buying ‘sport’ deodorant is NOT the first step on the road to fitness.

paperclippy wrote: @boagworld It looks like you’re forgotten how to eat. Would you like help?

drewm wrote: I’ve turned upside-down and vigourously scrubbed the nipple. Something fell out, and normal reaction to bidirectional stroking has resumed.

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Web Design Cheer

With Boagworld closing down for Christmas you will be looking for another source of inspiration over the festive period. I would therefore like to suggest an excellent site called 24 Ways.

24 ways website

In case you haven’t come across 24 Ways before, it is an advent calendar for web geeks. Each day throughout December they publish a daily dose of web design and development goodness to bring you a little Christmas cheer.

24 Ways is the brain child of Drew Mclellan and is so successful because of his incredible line up of authors. However, most importantly he gives them free rein to write about whatever they want.

The site has been going since 2005 and both myself and Marcus have written posts on a number of occasions.

Other great submissions include:

  • From 2005 – Auto Selecting Navigation (Drew Mclellan shares an easy CSS trick for selecting the current section in navigation)
  • From 2006 – Cheating Color (Jason Santa Maria brings some perspective to corporate colour palettes).
  • From 2007 – Christmas is in the AIR (Jonathan Snook introduces us to Adobe AIR)
  • From 2008 – Contract Killer (Andy Clarke reminds us of the importance of having a proper contract)
  • From 2009 – Working With RGBA Colour (Drew returns with a superb post on the ability to add opacity to your colour selections)

To be honest the list above is just the tip of the iceberg. Looking back through the archive is fascinating and surprising just how many of the technical posts have stood the test of time… even those written in 2005!

If you are looking for somewhere to start, can I suggest my own post for this year: “What makes a website successful? It might not be what you expect!” If this wasn’t a Christmas special, that post would be our feature of the week. In it I attempt to refocus the web community away from aesthetics and back to fundamental issues such as business objectives and user tasks.

What’s your favourite 24 Ways post? Add it to the comments below.

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Geek Gifts

Christmas is coming and the geek is getting fat. What then do you want to find under your second life tree?

Eee Keyboard

A week ago I asked Boagworld readers to share their top christmas gift ideas. Here are my favourites from the list…

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Let’s conclude this Christmas special by looking forward to 2010. What does next year hold in store for the web?

Instead of me making suggestions and then looking foolish when they do not happen, I thought I would put you guys on the spot.

Here are some of the responses I have received so far.

Several people mentioned third party authentication and a move away from individual login systems. Gareth Pool wrote:

Hopefully more Twitter oauth + Facebook connect integration with, well, everything in 2010!

I have to say I agree with this one. However, I think the transition will be slower than Gareth hopes.

I also agree with Wanyax who adds font embedding to his list. Personally I think this one will spread like wildfire, and 2010 will be the year of terrible font choices.

Yaili avoids making a predication but instead expresses a wish for the coming year:

That web designers and developers understand that a website does NOT have to look the same on all browsers and start using more advanced CSS on their projects. I feel a lot of people still don’t get this.

This resonates with me especially against the backdrop of people predicting the end of IE6 in 2010.

Drew McLellan outlines a more sensible approach to IE6:

I think the big trend we’ll see in 2010 is a significant move away from offering top-teir support for IE6. Market share is dropping all the time, which at the same time means that a higher proportion of visitors are using more technically capable browsers. The time and cost savings of using newer techniques to implement a design means it’s not worth giving IE6 full support for all visual and interactive elements.

So the trend we be towards delivering a simplified experience to users of IE6 and below, which then leads to:

The greater embracing of CSS3 properties, values and selectors. All the things that IE6 holds us back on will no longer be a concern. This will afford designers a greater freedom in what can be achieved in their designs without the extra effort of e.g. lots of spurious markup to work around the lack of intelligent selectors. And as ever on the web, the presence of new technology will lead to its own design trends based around what can be done with the technology.

A much more realistic approach than wishing IE6 will simply vanish.

Talking of wishing, I think maybe Jean is being a bit optimistic when she hopes for wifi as pervasive as mobile phone reception in 2010. I have no doubt it is coming, but I think next year is a too aggressive timescale.

Kevin Dees is more realistic when he predicts an increase in HTML5. However he also throws in a curve ball by suggesting websites will be increasingly influence by 1950s and 60s aesthetics.

On the subject of design aesthetics, Rachel predicts site design will move away from the Web 2.0. look to something more personal.

There was a lot of talk about Google Wave. However, personally I cannot see it. Although it is an impressive app I don’t think it will gain the memento it needs without a built in capability to handle email.

What I do think is more likely is Lauren’s suggestion of a Google Phone. She writes:

They probably wouldn’t own the tower network, but the unit would be branded as Google and bring even more interweb features to a mobile.

Rich Quick lists a load of great trends, many of which I have already mentioned. However, one that grabbed my attention was:

One major UK national newspaper or London to announce an intention (within 3-5 years) to be online only

There certainly has to be some radical action by newspapers over the coming year to stop their complete collapse. This could certainly lead to some profitable work for us web designers as more and more papers make the switch.

So what do you think? What will be the big trends in 2010? Add your ideas to the comments.

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