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Archive for May, 2005

Tools and fonts and things

Tuesday, May 24th, 2005

Safari users who have looked longingly at Chris Pederick’s Web Developer extensions for Firefox need to zip over to WebDevAdditions.

Is it me or is there an increasing buzz around open source content managment software Plone?

Plone is standard. Plone carefully follows standards for usability and accessibility. Plone pages are compliant with US Section 508, and the W3C’s AA rating for accessibility, in addition to using best-practice web standards like XHTML and CSS.

dincTYPE’s delicious retro fonts for pc and mac (although the mac zips seem to be empty?) – can’t wait to use Big Flirt.

In case you haven’t seen it yet, the CSS cheat sheet.

If you can’t find it on google, try here.

And finally…

How to be annoying online.

Small steps

Tuesday, May 24th, 2005

Sod’s law dictates that as soon as I plan to do something blog related these days, real life intervenes. Bleh.

But I’ve been thinking a lot about how to go about the accessible blog templates idea and jotted down a few notes. Thoughts, ideas, criticisms all welcomed!

Hosting:
I’ve plenty spare.

Name ideas:
accessibleblogs.net
equalweb
blogaccess
accessblog
blogaccessibility
opensauce (taken dammit!)
I’m betting that you lot can come up with better than these!

Logo:
Ideas please! (when we’ve got the name sorted)
Include a button for linking back to spread the word.

Format:
How about a blog format where all participants have logins.

* The main section is devoted to the templates and would follow a set pattern
– a small screenshot of the template (link to larger shot)
– the code zipped (with any graphics)
– install notes, etc.
– name of the author, link to site
– terms of use [or link to terms of use page]

* Categories for 1, 2, 3 column template and for blogging software [so that visitors can sort by Blogger, MT, WordPress, etc.]

* Create a gallery of thumbnails sorted by 1, 2, 3 columns? Later, if necessary?

* Each post would have open comments to allow questions and discussion on the template

* In the FAQ or a seperate “How to” page we would need to explain exactly how to “install” the templates

* We could also have a sideblog for links to useful news items, articles, etc. all participants encouraged to post regularly.

* Rather than a blogroll have a categorised links page full of useful sites, articles (permalinks), forum discussions etc..

* Big commitment not necessary, invite people to design templates

About page:
What do people mean when they say a site needs to be accessible and why should you care? If you’re on this page, hopefully you have an interest in making your blog available to anyone who stops by.

Who’s involved? [So far…]
Pixeldiva
Eliza from Fembat
Clair
Anyone else?

FAQ
A good, basic introduction to accessibility, links to good tutorial(s) and a small steps section, e.g. if you don’t feel ready to add a new template to your blog you can start small by… blah, blah.

Are these templates free to use?
Yes they are! If you’d like to link back to this site so that others can learn about accessibility issues, that would be lovely, thank you!

Maintenance costs:
My hosting plan should cover it but we could think about adding a tip jar and/or google ads for donations to RNID, RNIB, etc. Are any charities working directly with web accessibility issues?

What else is out there?
Hmm. I’m sure that there are plenty of templates that meet accessibility standards but they aren’t being marketed as such. Or maybe I’ve not spent enough time googling. There’s the Bauhaus template and general (but very useful) articles such as
How to Make Your Blog Accessible to Blind Readers but no central resource as far as I can see.

And there is a need for it.

So: your thoughts, ideas, criticisms are all welcomed!

Two things

Thursday, May 19th, 2005

FontBrowser 2.0 is a nifty little online tool that tells you at a glance what fonts you have installed on your system (PC and Mac).

News just in that His Holiness the Pope has made his first decision since the election. Expect controversy to follow.

Accessibility for blogs

Thursday, May 19th, 2005

If you’re interested in accessibility you’ll love Skills for Access. I’ve not had a chance to delve deeply yet but methinks the case studies will be especially useful.

I’ve been thinking. Much of the popularisation of web standards and accessibility comes from bloggers or via the blogging medium, yes?

Do you know what would be a good idea? If someone were to build a site offering free basic templates that follow accessibility standards for the most popular blogging softwares (Blogger, WordPress, Moveable Type, etc.) along with easy to follow guides on implementation plus tips for not then borking them (as I do but am about to change) with missing alt tags and so on. And a forum with knowledgeable members and moderators.

If I knew more I’d do it. Now there’s motivation. Just need the time. But dammit it’s a good idea. Anyone interested in joining in?

Also, it would do A Big Corporation (IBM? Microsoft?) no end of good if they made available a low priced/free screen reading software for testing (maybe following the browsercam model?). Those of us who have never seen one in action would benefit greatly when starting out on the accessibility trail. I know that Apple have built VoiceOver into the new OS, I wonder if Microsoft will do something similar in Longhorn. But that’s too far away.

Update/correction: thanks to a reminder from Neil, Windows XP does have accessibility tools (Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> Accessibility -> Narrator). I don’t often get the chance to use XP (I work on a Windows 2000 setup, Martyn hogs XP one) but I’ve added it to the list of resources to check out. If you have any thoughts, let us know!

It’s late, I’m tired, I might rewrite this in English tomorrow.

Directions

Wednesday, May 18th, 2005

From the inbox:

  1. Start at London Heathrow Airport
  2. Catch flight from London Heathrow to Dallas Fort Worth Airport.
  3. Hire car at Dallas Fort Worth Airport.
  4. Start going toward the “Airport Exit” on “International Parkway South” – follow for 0.2 miles.
  5. Bear left onto the highway toward “Terminal East Parking” – follow for 0.3 miles
  6. Bear left onto “International Parkway North” toward “North Airport Exit” – follow for 2.9 miles
  7. Take the “Highway 114 west” exit toward “Fort Worth” – follow for 29.2 miles
  8. Then continue on “US 287 north” – follow for 91.1 miles
  9. “US 287 north” becomes “Interstate-44 east” – follow for 0.7 miles
  10. Take left fork onto “US-287 north” toward “Vernon” – follow for 104.0 miles
  11. “US 287 north” becomes “Avenue F (US1 -287)” – follow for 2.8 miles
  12. Continue to follow “US 287 north” – follow for 104.9 miles
  13. Take left ramp onto “Interstate 40 west” toward “Dumas” – follow for 7.8 miles
  14. Take “Exit 70” onto “US 60 east” toward “Dumas” – follow for 0.5 miles
  15. Take the “Buchanan Street” exit toward “Dumas/Pampa” – follow for 1.7 miles
  16. Turn right onto “Old Route 66 (Interstate 40)” – follow for 0.1 miles
  17. Arrive at the centre of town.

Now that’s the way to bleedin’ Amarillo!

If you’re here via a search engine:

You’ll find a list of the celebrities in the text and comments here, here and here.

Peter Kay/Tony Christie’s video is here

And you can still donate to Comic Relief by clicking here. Go on, you know you want to!

Blog charades #2

Monday, May 16th, 2005

Crayons

Blog charades is still going, see if you can guess Clair’s entry. I zink I know ze answer so chop, chop, I’m going to have a go if it’s not answered by tomorrow.

Finally on the mend

Monday, May 16th, 2005

I can’t believe how long this damn back has taken to fix but at last I was able to get out of bed without crawling to a hot bath this morning. Fingers crossed I’ll be able to join in with the dog walk today too.

While I remember

Last Saturday we got the granddaughters to bed, made supper, tidied up then collapsed in a heap on the sofa. I checked the Radio Times (listing magazine) and spotted Kill Bill about to start in 10 minutes.

21:50
Me: Ooh, Kill Bill starts at 10 o’clock, I’ve been wanting to see this since it was released.
Him: Right, I’ll make a pot of tea then.

22:40
[Awakening from a deep, deep sleep, trying to make sense of what was happening on screen, wondering what the tea would taste like reheated in the microwave]
Me: Why is Uma Thurman [mumble]?
Him: She’s been in a coma.
Me: Where’s Akoma?
Him: Idaho isn’t it?

Well it made me laugh.

p.s. Thank you for your lovely emails, am replying to everyone as the day goes along.

p.p.s. Spotted this link from Pam, Bob From Accounting’s amended children’s book covers. My favourite? Number 6.

p.p.p.s. Just in from non blogging Jane, a picture entitled “You are so on my side of the bed”.

Catchup

Wednesday, May 11th, 2005

I was going to post some photos from this weekend but
(a) my camera is on its last legs and the pictures aren’t that good;
(b) most of them included the granddaughters and I don’t want to post their pictures here and
(c) I’ve been out of action with a bad back since Sunday (starting to get better now)

…so finally here are three pictures from the local fair we went to on Sunday. It was held at an infant school near Shepperton Studios and not only did we have bouncy castles, tombolas and a fire engine for the children to climb all over (and hunky firemen to ogle), we had a mini dog show, agility tests and.. fancy dress!

So primarily for Mary and family (but I hope you’ll like him too), here’s my favourite pooch: Henry side view and Henry full frontal.

When the shit hits the fan

Sunday, May 8th, 2005

…and the floor and the walls and the sides of the bath. How can one 2.5 year old create so much mess in one nappy? We have the invasion of the little people (granddaughters aged 5 and 2.5) at the moment but they’re off home in a few hours (yes!), after which normal service and blog visiting will be resumed. Once I’ve had a lie down in a darkened room.

p.s. If you missed Em’s Straplines Competition you’re in luck, he’s running a new contest, What’s On My Ipod. I daren’t enter this one until I have at least 3 hours to study the rules carefully. Wouldn’t want to cock this one up as well…

Big Gay May Day

Monday, May 2nd, 2005

As I whizz around the house with a duster and a bottle of Pledge, I’m having a great singalong to VH1’s Big Gay May Day, the Top 100 Big Gay Anthems. I swear there’s an inner gay man struggling to get out. But it brings us neatly to today’s question:

You’re gay: if you were straight, who would sizzle your senses?
You’re straight: if you were gay, who would tickle your tastebuds?

After much serious consideration 30 seconds with the tv paper, I think I’d vote for C.laire S.weeney. Mmmm, gorgeous.

And you?

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