Stefan Hayden

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Archive for the 'resources' Category

For those who want to follow the World Cup there are a couple of options.

The FIFA site has a live play by play widget that shows descriptions of what is happening:

“The striker recives the ball from CENTENO Walkter (CRC) and slips Germany’s two central defender to fire past LEHMANN Jens (GER) for the second time in this match”

This format might be interesting in baseball (can’t be worse then watching it) it doesn’t really work with soccer. Reading the game like it’s a book is just not exciting.

Google has a great widget for their personalised page that is simple but has all you need. Just a search on World Cup will get you the score of the current games and there is a link for the widget.

It auto update it self with the time in the match, the score, who scored and who’s on the field. It also has tabs for standings and a match schedule.

soccer, worldcup, fifa, google

Drupal 4.7 was just released. I’ve attempted to use it before and found it extremely complicated. There is no doubt that it’s powerful though and lots of great community sites use it.

It’s seems this release they have a done a lot to make it easier to use though I’ll bet it still has a high learning curve. While they seem most proud of their new ajax goodness I’m interested in checking out their new php templating system.

I’ve gotten very used to the php templating on WordPress and I’ll be overjoyed if I can figure out how to design with drupal.

Interested? Check out this great screencast of what’s new and how to install.

drupal, wordpress, templating, screencast

I just called the Boston Transit Authoritie’s customer service. The number was easy to find on the web site. A human picked up after only 2 rings. This has to be the best experience I’ve ever had with customer service in years.

mbta, customerservice, boston

If you change the HTML and the CSS of a page there is a decent chance that a user will get the new HTML but not the new CSS. This is especially true for sites with high usage and users that come back to the site several times a day.

If they only get the new HTML but not the new CSS then the site will break, the user will get confused, and you will look unprofessional. On the development site of this the problem is already solved. Having a Dev server as a place to test code is standard practice but how does this translate to CSS?

The problem is that the CSS is cashing on the client side and there isn’t an obvious way of telling the browser to un-cache it. Luckily the key word is obvious. Though it’s not in wide use there is a quick hack that will keep your CSS as fresh as your HTML.

The trick is to pass a variable on the end of the CSS file like so:

<link rel="stylesheet" xhref="" type="text/css" />

What does ?version=1 mean? This is what a URL looks like if it’s passing a GET variable from one page to the next. To the browser it means the page is dynamic and it needs to get a new version because code may have changed. The browser has no way of knowing if the CSS file is actually dynamic or not.The trick is to change the number each time you update the CSS file to make sure the browser always downloads the new code.

When a browser looks to see if it has anything cashed it compares file names. If you have “style.css” in your cashe then it’s not going to download it again. But if the browser compares “style.css?version=1” to what the new HTML is “style.css?version=2” then the browser thinks they are different files and needs to download the new CSS file.

The other reason this works is because you can add anything you want after the ? and the web page just ignores it unless it’s an actually variable on the page.

This seems to be a really good solution to version css and yet so few seem to use it. The only 2 sites I know of who do is Odeo and Sconex. Yet clearly we are in the middle of a big web boom with CSS being used every where. How are other people versioning their CSS so it doesn’t break the user experience?

In general I can’t see to many other solutions. You could make the CSS file parsed by the web server and pass headers with different cacheing info. I have not tried this but I’ll bet the browser would still cache the file as it does not know it is dynamic even if it is. You could rename the CSS file with .php but clearly no one is doing that and I’ll bet there is a browser out there that would not apply the styles because of that.

No every one gets to work on a large production site but with so many jumping in the area and quickly updating the service I’m surprised this subject has not been covered.

odeo, sconex, css, versioning, hack

I’ve written this email to enough people now that I really should just post it for every one else:
I say if you want an mp3 player to go head to head with the ipod the Creative Zen Micro is great.

One of the decisions that should go in to buying any mp3 player is how much music you’re actually going to want to put on it. With most mp3 coming in around 3mb and a cd coming in between 40 – 70 mbs you should be able to figure how much music you want to have with you at all times. the more music you are willing to swap on and off the device the smaller hard drive you can get.

The Creative Zen Micro has 5gb of space which is roughly 1666 songs or about 83 hours of music.

Cnet has a great list of best of the best mp3 players and also navigation to change what type of mp3 players you are looking at. The most important categories are:
Flash memory MP3 players | Hard drive MP3 players | Micro hard drive MP3 players

Flash memory is the hardest to break since it has no moving parts but has the smallest space. typical about 1gb.

hard drive and micro hard drive are easier to break (both the ipod and Creative Zen Micro micro hard drives) but have much larger storage. micro hard drives are smaller and have less storage then regular hard drives but stay about the same price as regular hard drives. regular hard drives have more space but can become annoying to carry around since they are so big.

mp3, mp3player, creative, ipod, cnet, review, guide


Designing the Next Generation of Web Apps (more)

How to Convince Your Company to Embrace Standards (more)

WaSP Annual General Meeting

Microformats: Evolving The Web (more and more)

Web Standards and Search Engines: Searching for Common Ground

Holistic Web Design: Finding the Creative Balance in Multi-Disciplined Teams (more)

Web 2.1: Making Web 2.0 Accessible (more)

Demystifying the Mobile Web (more and more)

How to Make the Most of Maps

Sink or Swim. The Five Most Important Start-up Decisions

Tantek Çelik Presentation: Creating Building Blocks for Independents

How to Bluff Your Way in DOM Scripting (more)

How to Be A Web Design Superhero (more)

Traditional Design and New Technology (more and more)

OSX and Longhorn Development

Video Blogg Business Models

Ambient Findability

Learning From Comics

Craig Newmark Interview (more and more)

Standard Deviation

Cluetrain Seven Years Later

Creating Passionate Users

The Wisdom of Crowds

Opening Remarks: Jim Coudal and Jason Fried

How to do Precisely the Right Thing at all possible times

Bruce Sterling (more)

Dogma Free Design

Design Eye for the List Guy

Wasp Task Force (WTF)

CSS problem solving

Smaller, Faster, Lighter

Design and Social Responsibility

Starting Small: Web Business for the Rest of Us

Does Your Blog Have a Business? (more)

“Zero-Advertising” Brands

Serious Games for Learning

Digital Convergence

Cyberplace: Online in Offline Spaces — and Vice Versa

Book Digitization and the Revenge of the Librarians (still looking but here are some pannelist notes: here, here and here)


How to be a Web Design Superhero

Float like a butterfly (Ethan Marcotte)

Microformat slides

Design Eye for the List Guy

How to bluff your way in DOM Scripting

Traditional Design and New Technology (full post)


Joi Ito interviews people at SXSW (original post)


SXSW Podcasts

Avalonsta Podcast feed

Further Reading at Squidoo: SXSW 2006

sxsw, sxsw2006, notes, slides, reference

Just to stir up some trouble I thought I’d point out some of the more amusing points of SXSW.

Jason Santa Maria really has a love hate relationship with Stan. Holistic Web Design used some illustrations of stan as users point of view and you could almost see Jason cringe.

Sean Inman is a tiny tiny man. He’s extremely slight and most likely wears his facial hair proudly as to not be mistaken for a high schooler or perhaps a small child.

Jason Kottke
is always hard to spot at conferences but that’s only because no one’s looking in the right places. If you are in a panel look to the far back corner to find the man who hides so well.

This year Jason offers other advice like “Never Get Married”. Something he should say as much as he can if he really wants his wedding to go well in the next 2 weeks. All I can say is if I donated to do I get a wedding invitation? I think so.

Eris Stassi must be web designs little secrete. Her occasional posts on her blog were very reflective and deep though very far between. Clearly she has a lot of clout as she really directed the Holistic Web Design panel in there decisions and really seemed to be a diving force in how amazing the redesign of Plazes seemed to be. Not to mention that she is truly beautiful.

Jason Santa MariaI’m surprised that with so few big named women in web design Eris does not get more attention. Perhaps it’s good that the web design bolgosphere only cares about content and could care less if your pretty or not. Though it seems most big named designers are not ugly at all. I mean look how pretty Jason Santa Maria is. Talk about one sexy beast.

(thanks to Laughing Squid for the pic of JSM)

sxsw, sxsw2006, jasonsantamaria, erisstassi, seaninman, kottke

Sunday was very low key. Only a couple of sessions really stood out. Meet Judy Jetson was interesting but not overly so. We still seemed to be so frighted of teens using technology that we can’t get past it. Of the 3 one did mention sconex which was pretty cool even though it was just in passing.

The Keynote with Jason Kottke and Heather Armstrong was good. I never got in to Dooce but I do like Kottke. I think it’s funny that so many designers can agree on something like web standards but still can’t accept pro blogging as something respectable. I meet Jason briefly at AIGA and he’s a really nice guy.

In fact he’s the opposite of what anyone might think. If you ever want to find Jason at a conference you just need to look for some one with a power book in the corner who is trying to disappear. I’ve never seen anyone who wanted to blend in to the background as much as Jason does. I could tell he was best on stage when he was talking to Heather and forgot about the audience.

Running Your New Media Business and Sink or Swim: The Five Most Important Start up Decisions was good but nothing revolutionary. If anything I like hearing over and over again the same thing at similar panels. I hope that when I start my own mew media company I might even do the right thing the first time around.

Holistic Web Design was by far the best presentation of the day. All of the members of the panel help completely redesign and the results were amazing. I loved to hear each one talk about the project, what they changed, why and how it effects the end user. Eris Stassi (who abandoned her blog several months ago) really did an amazing job of directing the redesign and I have even more respect for her then I had in past years.

sxsw, sxsw2006

Traditional Design and New Technology was slow panel. Liz Danzico (who might be angry at me) was a great moderator and continues to ask great questions every time I see her. The panel bright up many problems but didn’t really offer anything close to an answer. JSM seemed the closest to bring actual conversation to what seemed mostly like a doom and gloom panel about how design sucks on the internet. They kept saying the technology wasn’t at a point where we can just forget about it. I don’t know if they are waiting for technology to stop but I think a large part of web design will be new technologies and functionality that can be added to websites. If they are waiting for technology to get to a point where it gets out of the way of making a website I think they have a long wait. Technology will continue to change and challenge how websites are made. Design needs to learn how to exist in that or die trying.How to be a superhero

How to be a web design superhero was mostly fluff and I’m not really sure who that was supposed to help. Perhaps people who want to design but have no idea how to start. Not the people who really seem to come to SXSW. They did have the prettiest presentation I’ve ever seen with a really engaging panning and sliding around. I not sure if it was Keynote or not but it sure looked cool. I wonder if they had the rights to use those super hero images. They looked like Alex Ross painting but it’s been so long sine I’ve followed comics that I can’t really be sure.

Fried and Coudal did a great job of summarising the entire conference and were great over all. Couldal is greatly suited to be a moderator and I wish he had even more involvement in the conference. AIGA’s presenter in Boston, John Hockenberry, was not amazing and I think Coudal could have easily stepped in and taken over. He’s just so personable. Fried pointed out to a yahoo employee that yahoo wastes a lot of money. Basically saying they suck and it got a big reaction from the crowd. ‘m sure that will come up again and again around the web with funny headline everywhere.

Making money with your blog design skills was mostly rehashing old information. I was hoping to hear some information about blog design that was different then regular websites beyond that you had to know how to use the blog technology. Though the panel was lacking in new information they were all great. The moderator was interesting, knowable and great at controlling the time flow. The panelist were extremely personable and I want to go to subscribe to all of there blogs right now.

Kathy Sierra‘s Creating Passionate Users has to be up for best presentation in the conference. I think she blew about 200 minds in the most informative presentation I’ve ever seen. I’ll definitely be looking for the notes in the near future to bring back to Sconex.

Photos: Andy Budd and kitseeborg


in case you haven’t found it here is a list of all the events going on after hours at SXSW.


Check out YALit which is a site for young adult book release dates that I’ve been working on with Keri for a few weeks now. This obviously serves what I like to call a “super niche market” which is sad because I will not become world famous for building it and yet wonderful because this is a resource that is greatly needed by the young adult literature community.

How needed? After being listed in google for about a week we are already seeing tons of people organically finding the site. Not to mention that we’ve already been pick up as a resource on the YALibrarian blog.

While having a simple one stop shop to find out what is coming out when is great I hope to also build a small community to help support the site. Book release dates are not distributed in any logical fashion and it will take a wider then we currently have to catch every single book release date.

I’d love to hear any questions or suggestions you might have.

Feedloung is open to the public for $5 a month. Two months ago when bloglines was dragging it’s feet I would have jumped all over it. Now that blogline is up and running at it’s new host everything is nice and smooth and I don’t feel the need for a monthly fee (or a one time yearly subscription). As much as I want bells and whistles with my feed reader all I really want is it to be fast.

While it seemed extremely buggy, Blox0r, will probably be the direction I want to go in. I’d be perfectly happy to install my own open source feed reader on my own hosting and use that. I’d love to have that much control over my data.

Now if would just fix their server problems.

bloglines, feedlounge,, Blox0r, feedreader, opensource

Two years ago was the first time I had heard of South by South West and last year was the first time I read every single blog that covered it. During SXSW it’s easy to get lost in it all and feel like the entire blogosphere is there. This year is the first I’ll be attending and while plans are being made and panels forming up I thought it would be a good idea to just double check and make sure I actually read every single website last year.

Jumping over to trusty wikipedia to find out the best sxsw resources I was greeted by the saddest wikipedia article I have ever seen. Why is the biggest and best web design conference accompanied by such a horrible entry? I have my theories. The SXSW web site is nothing to scoff at and it a great resource unto itself and there are any number of blogs that covered it minute by minute.

Many companies use the wikipedia entry as a marketing tool and that is something I’m sure SXSW can afford to over look. Either way this stub of an article is just depressing and the web designers of the world need to step up and finish this article.

sxsw, wikipedia, design, artical, interactive

I wanted to watch The Battle Over Books at the New York Public Library. I was sad when I forgot about it and missed it but have been eagerly awaiting the video which has been slow to show up.

The audio is up now though certain parts of it are a little jumpy. From my point of veiw the The Authors Guild seems to just be saying the same thing over an over again. Being the geek I am I will most likely watch the video once that come out as well.

I recently had a very interesting TiVo problem. Nothing in the FAQ was helpful and I was eve given the run around in the help forums. I was trying to record survivor and was getting audio only and no video. All the connections were correct and everything had power and it was not a local outage.

What happened? As it turned out TiVo was recording the High Definition channel. I do not have HiDef but it seems that Comcast was nice enough to give me the listings and let me listen to the audio. The show was on the same time but just a different channel.

If you are getting great audio and no video be sure you’re not recording the High Definition channel by accident.

comcast, tivo, audio, video, highdefinition, highdef