Severe Tire Damage

Well, actually, the tires weren’t damaged at all. And the damage they inflicted on my foot and leg wasn’t all that severe...

Maybe I should back up. I was riding my bike home from work on Tuesday. About 6 miles from home a car was pulling out of a gas station, and the driver did not look both ways. I saw it coming and managed to stop my bike and pull it out of the way. But since the car was turning, it ran over my foot and sort of smashed my leg into the bike.

I was probably somewhat in shock, and my leg was shaking a little, but other than the bruises I knew were going to appear, my leg and foot felt fine (all things considered). I told the driver that I was OK, we traded contact info, and I rode the six miles home.

Looking back, that was probably a good thing to do, since it kept the blood circulating instead of pooling and swelling in the more affected areas. I’m actually not too sore, and my ankle, knee and hip joints seem to be holding up pretty well. I should be back to work tomorrow.

But I won’t be riding my bike for a couple months...

»plink« · May 29, 2003

Add speaking

If the Web Design World conference mentioned above is too costly for you, then I’ll recommend a smaller conference happening the week before in Portland. WebVisions3 happens on July 18, and features myself along with speakers like Kelly Goto and Jeff Veen. Also included in the $75 registration fee are a trade fair, student competition and a wrap party. Maybe I’ll see you there...

»plink« · May 22, 2003


Machine generated CSS layout [via Matt Haughey]

»plink« · May 21, 2003

Putting the “Why” in Wi-Fi

This month a crop of kids will be graduating from high school who have grown up wired. For most of them, at least their high school years, if not much of their middle and elementary school years, were punctuated by quick access to information via the internet. And certainly the computer and local area networks have become part of the norm. And with the continued proliferation of Broad Band access in homes, this trend will certainly continue. Eight years ago I was investigating the effect on teachers of having computers in the classroom. Today the focus of my research might well be the effect of the network on parents, students, and teachers alike.

But “growing up wired” will soon be replaced by “growing up wireless.” It’s a subtle difference but important difference. When the network is bound by cat5 cable, it is restricted, both physically and psychologically. Its use is limited to the immediate area of the ethernet drop, and so there must be intentionality behind going to the computer to do something with it. You have to think about using it, and oftentimes, make an effort to do so.

The Wi-Fi revolution is so named because it is the first step in freeing the networked flow of information from a static place. Accessing the internet has the potential of being much more spontaneous. The tool becomes transparent, much like a pen and paper is for taking notes. The computer can be where you need it to be, when you need it. You no longer need to think about it, you simply use it.

But it goes beyond the flow of information. The primary use of the internet is still communication. Whether it’s via email, posting to bulletin boards, or instant messaging, connecting with other people is the killer app of the ‘net. Breaking free of the wires is making it that much easier and ubiquitous. Whether surfing the web and checking email from the porch or at the kitchen table, or sending an SMS messages from one cell phone to another, wireless technologies are having a greater impact than their inventors envisioned.

And so there are people who look at this and see dollar signs. There will always be opportunists looking to make a fast buck, but they simply don’t get it. There is no money in providing wireless access—at least not much money, and not according to traditional models involving VCs and ROI. This is too much of a grass roots movement. If the internet is about connecting people, about creating communities, then Wi-Fi is about enabling those communities and people to connect in a broader and more immediate way. Even as big companies like T-Mobile and Boingo are struggling to make a profit, individual businesses, like the Schlotzsky’s Delis in Austin, are using Wi-Fi to enhance their bottom line. And without charging patrons to use it. As Nick Negroponte explains it in his Flower Box Theory of Wi-Fi:

“I put in a WiFi system in my home for my own use, but it radiates out into the street. There’s no incremental cost for me to let other people use it. There really isn’t. ... If everybody does that, then the entire street has broadband. Every park bench has broadband, every convenience store has broadband, and so on.

“So if you take that approach, it’s very much like the Internet. You make these resources available by connecting them. The sum of the parts is just much, much greater. And I think that’s what’s going to happen for a major piece of wireless.”

Why Wi-Fi? It’s all about connecting people...

»plink« · May 19, 2003

Teaching an old dog new tricks

Actually, four old dogs. And their entourage...

Seems the Stones are using a wireless network that can be set up in under an hour to coordinate things on their latest tour. From sharing detailed floor plans and detailed stage sets amongst employees, to enabling Mick, Keith, Charlie, and Ronnie to keep in touch with their families via email, and allowing fans to have faster access to all things Rolling Stones Forty Licks tour, this is a pretty cool use of Wi-Fi. Not to mention money saving. Think how long it would take to connect 140 machines with wire. An hour to set up and tear down what is no doubt a closed network is an amazing time saver that will pay dividends far and above the cost of the equipment.

This reminds me of another innovative use of Wi-Fi by a sports photographer to get that elusive shot before anyone else...

»plink« · May 15, 2003

Catching up

July looks to be Pacific Northwest Tour month for me. In addition to speaking at Web Design World in Seattle on July 28, I’ll be talking about CSS, Markup and Web standards, with an emphasis on the future at WebVisions3 in Portland on July 18.

And, talking about CSS, there has been quite a buzz about the CSS Zen Garden project started by Dave Shea over at Mezzoblue. See also Chris Casciano’s Daily CSS Fun...

»plink« · May 9, 2003

Apple Stock

Between announcing over 1 million song downloads in their first week, and updating the eMac with aggressive pricing, APPL has jumped nearly 4 points in the last few days...

»plink« · May 7, 2003

Random links

»plink« · May 5, 2003

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