An interesting article from the developers at BBC news about their current approach to handling responsive images.Read More
I just got back from three days at "An Event Apart", which is billed as "The design conference for people who make websites". The conference was created by Jeffrey Zeldman and Eric Meyer, both of whom were instrumental in my formative years as a professional developer in the late nineties. Jeffrey wrote the classic "Designing with Web Standards", and Eric gave us "Eric Meyer on CSS". I've followed them both ever since.
Once at the event, it felt really surreal to just see these guys walking around like the rest of us mere mortals. I'd turn around and there would be Jeffrey Zeldman in the lunch line or I'd pass him in the hall. It felt super weird to be, at least for those three days, considered a peer to someone who has helped you so much. These are people who literally helped make it possible for me to feed my family for the last 16 years.
In these situations, I'm very careful to respect people's time. You want so badly just to run up to someone and be all fanboy on them. But you have to play it cool, and understand that these are just people, too. I remember back to a previous job, our office was in a complex that was regularly rented out to movie productions. For about 3-4 months, a production company making a movie directed by and starring Billy Bob Thornton was our neighbor. So almost daily, we'd see Billy Bob and other crew members just walking by, chatting or having a smoke break. It was all I could do not to introduce myself and gush about loving his work. But at the end of the day, he's just a guy trying to do a job. He's got the same crap to deal with as the rest of us. I never did talk to him, but a couple times in passing, I got the "dude nod".
Before the conference, I'd thought about giving Jeffrey and Eric caricatures I'd done of them. After the first day, I was just exhausted and didn't have time. The next day, Eric randomly tweeted that he was hoping to meet up with "AtlantaJones" to chat. Naturally, I was surprised and excited. I stopped to chat with him between sessions, and I think he just wanted to say "hey". And he actually did remember that we'd met one time before when I spoke at Ohio University, where he was keynoting a conference.
After that encounter I decided I simply must do the cartoons, and did them both that very night. I mean, when might I see either one of them again, much less together at the same event?
The next day, the last day of the event, I was lucky enough to find them both together before the first session. I gave them both their cartoons, each of which was signed by me, with a short note saying something along the lines of "Thank you for my career". I realize that was a bit of hyperbole, but come on.
To my delight, they both absolutely loved them, and Jeffrey immediately wanted to take photos of us. Of the inscription, Eric said (and I'm paraphrasing), "I do have to take issue with that, though. Your success is all you. If we could be of some help with that along the way, we're humbled. But the rest is all you." I kinda dig that sentiment.
And to top it all off, Jon Tan, another speaker at the event, was so impressed with their cartoons, he ordered one for himself on the spot!
All in all, a great three days, and I'm so glad I took a chance that two of my web development mentors wouldn't think it was super creepy to get a cartoon from a fan.
I'd decided to create a Github account recently and was stumped as to what to fill it with. I decided to re-write a jQuery script I'd done a tutorial on back in 2007. It was just a simple little plugin to help with image rollovers, but is still my most viewed article to this day.
This new version is more streamlined and is object-oriented to keep it from colliding with any of your existing scripts. As plugins go, it's really kinda dumb and simple, but it's handy and it gets me started on Github.
Take a peek and feel free to rip it to shreds :)
Dear Dunkin Donuts,
Please just stick to doughnuts. It's been some time now, and I've yet to have a single beverage from your establishment that didn't taste like a hobo's butt crack. I've tried everything. Lattes, cappuccinos, sweet tea, iced coffees and plain coffee. And the other day I tried a "Coffee Coollatta", which I assumed to be something of an iced coffee. In reality, it was more like a Slushi and tasted like a mixture of root beer, coffee, and something I couldn't quite put my finger on. Lemon Pledge, perhaps?
It's not like i haven't tried. Goodness knows I've tried. I kept thinking, surely they make some kind of beverage I don't want to immediately throw into traffic. Surely someday the sugar will be dissolved or I won't have to pull over to put in my own packets of Splenda. Surely the sweet tea I get today won't taste like it's been filtered through Snooki's pantyhose and left out for five days. And every single time, I'm disappointed.
I honestly don't know why I keep trying. It's likely just because you're so conveniently located to where I work and the easiest drive-thru on the way home. I can only assume most people continue to order your "drinks" simply because it's quick, convenient and cheaper than Starbucks. It's probably for those reasons that I keep stopping and will drink what you give me, no matter how utterly revolting it is. Caffeine is caffeine after all.
At least for now, I'm going to pass you by, opting instead for either Burger King or McDonalds' offerings, which are surprisingly much tastier and also relatively cheap.
America may run on Dunkin, but it's probably not for the reasons you think.
Just keep makin' the doughnuts and leave the drinks to the professionals.
Last week, it was announced that the Walt Disney Company was buying Lucasfilm, Ltd. for a little over four billion dollars. Naturally, the geekosphere lost its shit, interpreting this news as both good and bad. I don't really have a ton to say on the subject, but thought I'd weigh in (and it gives me an excuse to do a nifty illustration).
First, what could this mean for Star Wars? I personally believe the latest three movies in the series were complete failures that I can't bear to subject my eyeballs to again. They were a prime example of what happens when a creative filmmaker has way too much money and resources at his disposal and not enough motivation to innovate. As Robert Rodriguez used to say (and now is probably a victim to himself these days), once you get the "money hose" flowing, there's just no stopping it. And you stop finding creative solutions to your problems. You just keep pitching more money at it. Or in George Lucas' case, more pixels.
Disney has already announced that Episode VII will be released in 2015, and naturally this has me excited, but very, very cautious in my enthusiasm. We've been burned before by late-in-the-franchise entries (Crystal Skull, anyone?). I'm sure there is already much speculation about what the next installment will be about, who will be cast, etc. I would love to see it feature the further adventures of Han, Luke and Leia, but I also feel like recasting it could be in order. Even if Hamill and Fisher signed on, I think it's unlikely Harrison Ford would do another one, especially without George at the helm. So let's reset the cast and find out what happens after the second Death Star is destroyed.
As for new directors, I think there are plenty of guys in their prime right now. I'd love to see what Jon Favreau could do with Star Wars, especially if he went back to doing mostly practical effects. And I'm not a huge Joss Whedon fan, but I think he could pull it off. Hell, I'd even be up for James Cameron taking a shot. Aliens is still one of my all-time fave sci-fi movies.
So overall I'm not too concerned about Star Wars, at least for now. If they announce that Tom Cruise will be playing a Sith lord, I'm out.
No, what I'm more worried about is...Indiana Jones. Don't forget, that franchise comes with the Lucasfilm deal. Let's face it, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was an abomination that we really should not speak of anymore. I've learned to deal with it in my own way. That said, I wonder what Disney will do with it, if anything. Again, I'd love to see it straight-up rebooted. I don't think Harrison would come back anyway, and I think we're ready for some new adventures of a more spry archaeologist. I just hope they don't try to make it modern day and "hip", or make it into a big-budget male version of a Tomb Raider flick. So far there have been no announcements, but I feel it lurking in the shadows.
In short, I think there's more to be optimistic, if not excited, about than some fanboys may think. Let us not forget the success of The Avengers. And at least so far, they've managed to not ruin The Muppets franchise (I've not seen the new Muppet movie, but I think it's safe to assume it was good).
So until we know more, I'll just tip my cap to George Lucas and keep my fingers crossed.
Update: Shortly after writing this, someone on a podcast I listened to suggested Brad Bird as a potential director for Star Wars. This had never occurred to me, but it has my whole-hearted endorsement! I think Bird is one of the best directors we've got right now, animated or otherwise.