• Posts Tagged ‘uk’

    UK government browser guidance in dire need of upgrading

    Monday, September 8th, 2008

    One thing web developers who do not work in large corporations or with the public sector or education often forget is that there’s a lot of red-tape and checkbox ticking to be done before you even start a line of code. This get worse once there has been a decision made or a guideline in place, as replacing or upgrading those slips far down the list of need-to-do’s.

    The web is a large and confusing place and the fact that you just cannot control or demand the setup your visitors use to come to your site and consume what is there can be frustrating. To me, it is what the web is about and I love the challenge of the unknown. Official sites, however, do not revel in unknowns and challenges and try to help webmasters to release quickly by cutting down on things to support.

    Last friday, the UK government’s Central Office of Information (COI) published a public consultation on browser standards for public sector websites which misses the mark of good advice by quite a bit.

    Bruce Lawson checked the guidelines in detail and responded to them on the WaSP blog

    I agree with all that is said there, and humbly point the COI to the graded browser support my employer applies to steer the wild web into easier supportable channels.

    There’s a comment form on the bottom of the page on the guidance site that gives you a chance to react to this. It might not mean much, but let’s not forget that if we can have an impact on the public service, it’ll mean a lot more web sites out there that do the right thing. These are the areas we should concentrate on – if your blog doesn’t render properly that is much less of an issue than you not being able to pay a parking ticket or sign up your kids for school.

    So, are you are going to BarCamp?

    Sunday, September 7th, 2008

    One of the most asked questions at dconstruct last week was if I am coming to the Brighton Barcamp. I wasn’t coming, and there is a reason.

    When I helped organizing the first London BarCamp and the Hong Kong BarCamp, one of our main drivers was to organize events that get developers out of the woodwork that normally do not show up at events – as they cannot afford going due to lack of support from their companies.

    Another big difference of BarCamps to other events is that everyone going should be giving a presentation. Therefore they are a great opportunity for people who know a lot of things but normally don’t get offers to give presentations, or even for those who don’t feel comfortable giving talks to get their first experience.

    Both of these (in connection with my quite full schedule this year) make me take a low key approach to me going to BarCamps in areas that already had a BarCamp or I’ve already been. I am helping to organize and support BarCamps behind the scenes and raise funding, but I consider that with tickets being limited and going very fast it would be unfair to keep interested people outside as I am hogging a ticket.

    I will go to BarCamps I haven’t been at or just try to pop by from time to time but in general I am not going. This is not because I am not interested – on the contrary – I am just of the opinion that the “scene” is small enough as it is – time to learn about some “new blood” and follow the presentations online and through friends.

    UK Government initiative calls for hackers to mash-up public data

    Friday, July 4th, 2008

    It is pretty cool to see what is happening right now in the UK when it comes to mashups and data. Show us a better way is a web site and competition that asks ethical hackers to come up with ideas to use a wide range of public data for the good of the public. Straight from the horse’s mouth this sounds like this:

    The UK Government wants to hear your ideas for new products that could improve the way public information is communicated. The Power of Information Taskforce is running a competition on the Government’s behalf, and we have a 20,000 pound prize fund to develop the best ideas to the next level. You can see the type of thing we are are looking for here

    To show they are serious, the Government is making available gigabytes of new or previously invisible public information especially for people to use in this competition.  Rest assured, this competition does not include personal information about people.

    We’re confident that you’ll have more and better ideas than we ever will. You don’t have to have any technical knowledge, nor any money, just a good idea, and 5 minutes spare to enter the competition.

    There is a vast amount of APIs available to play with so what stops you from giving it a whirl? My own idea, cabsharing is something I was actually planning to do for quite a time, maybe even as a start-up, but why not here?

    GeekUp Leeds talk about the YUI right when the new version (2.5) is out!

    Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

    I am right now sitting on the National Express train back from Leeds, UK heading for home and just finished a talk at GeekUp about the YUI and JavaScript. The slides are available on slideshare:

    The GeekUp people also filmed the presentation and the long Q&A session, and I will try to get my hands on these recordings to see what I actually said as the 3 hour stint with 2.5 hour train rides was confusing.

    Nevertheless I had a great time, got rid of the Schwag I didn’t want to carry back home and had some really good questions in the Q&A session. If you live in the north of the UK, make sure to check out GeekUp

    Also make sure to check out the new 2.5 release of the YUI and the official blog post about it.

    [tags]geekup,javascript,yui,leeds,uk[/tags]

    Social Innovation Camp – turn your technical innovation skills into human benefits

    Friday, February 15th, 2008

    The last few years we’ve become increasingly better in building applications that make our life easier. May that be collaboration, day-to-day tasks like writing, converting or just managing our tasklists – a web app to make it smoother for us as end-users was always available with a minimum search effort.

    Meanwhile, in the real world, social problems became worse and worse. This becomes even more problematic as there is a distinct lack of forward thinkers providing easy to use and apply solutions to existing problems. This is where the Social Innovation Camp wants to bridge the gap.

    In London between 4th-6th April 2008, Social Innovation Camp will bring together some of the best of the UK and Europe’s web developers and designers with people at the sharp end of social problems.
    Our aim is find ways that easy-to-build web 2.0 tools can be used to develop solutions to social challenges.

    Until then, the organizers are calling out to you for ideas:

    For the next month, we’ll be accepting applications to come to the event via the website – www.sicamp.org. The plan is that people will fill in our ideas submission form with details of an idea they have for socially-beneficial web tools. This process will close on 7th March 2008 and we’ll choose the best to come and join us in April.

    I’ll be one of the technical advisors on the panel and I am very much looking forward to seeing what web geeks can do to change the world around us rather than just the virtual ones.