Wednesday, December 1, 2004

In Chile, instant Web feedback creates the next day's paper

In Chile, instant Web feedback creates the next day's paper | csmonitor.com
This revolution has occurred, says the paper's publisher Augustine Edwards, thanks to his decision to listen to "the people." Three years ago, under Mr. Edwards's guidance, LUN installed a system whereby all clicks onto its website (www.lun.com) were recorded for all in the newsroom to see. Those clicks - and the changing tastes and desires they represent - drive the entire print content of LUN. If a certain story gets a lot of clicks, for example, that is a signal to Edwards and his team that the story should be followed up, and similar ones should be sought for the next day. If a story gets only a few clicks, it is killed. The system offers a direct barometer of public opinion, much like the TV rating system - but unique to print media.

e.p.c. posted this at 14:05 GMT on 1-Dec-2004 .

How do I document sources from the Web in my works-cited list?

I could have used this in 1991 when I wrote this: How do I document sources from the Web in my works-cited list?

e.p.c. posted this at 17:54 GMT on 1-Dec-2004 .

An Introduction to Using Patterns in Web Design

37signals: An Introduction to Using Patterns in Web DesignThere is a better way to manage this vast complexity than by making big decisions up front and hoping for the best. To make better sites — sites that are functional, beautiful, and "usable" — we have to break our design problems up into small independent chunks based on the real issues within our requirements. Christopher Alexander, who came up with this stuff, calls these chunks patterns.

e.p.c. posted this at 18:45 GMT on 1-Dec-2004 .

Friday, December 3, 2004

In BBC NEWS | Business | Online gremlin scuppers M&S sale, the Beeb writes: Marks & Spencer suffered a blow to its "Christmas spectacular" on Thursday after a glitch on its website left customers unable to place orders.. Of the problem, M&S' response: M&S blamed "unprecedented traffic to the website because of the Christmas spectacular" for the problems with ordering on the website..

Also covered in the Guardian: Website crash ruins M&S flash sale: Marks & Spencer's flash one-day sale, offering 20% discounts, backfired yesterday when its website crashed, stopping thousands of shoppers from buying the cut-price goods.

Now, the thing is, this isn't 1996. It isn't even 1999 or 2000. Broadband is outpacing dialup in homes in the US, and I'm sure Internet take-up in the UK is not slouching off either. This isn't magic...I mean, there use to be magic involved, I used to have to walk around my office a certain way at ibm.com lest the site would crash, but generally there's no magic involved these days. You know what your customer set is, you know that a sale will bring in more customers, you know how your systems work (presumably you've tested these things all beforehand). I know the reality is that the web site team probably received a call Monday morning asking So, we plan to do a little promo, web site's running fine eh? with little or no time to prepare, nor any response to that memo from last August asking for more technology to be brought online before the Christmas sales begin.

Additional coverage: M&S site falls over: The struggling high street retailer had tried to drum up trade with a 20 per cent-off bonanza in its stores and on its website yesterday. But so many people responded online yesterday, the M&S site fell over for several hours during the middle of the day.

e.p.c. posted this at 14:09 GMT on 3-Dec-2004 .

Thursday, December 9, 2004

xmlhttprequest: add interactivity to your static web pages

I've been following the development of implementations & uses for XMLHTTPRequest, which is apparently a javascript function that has been around for awhile but is only now getting attention (partly because MSIE does not support it natively except as an ActiveX thing).

Basically, from what I've been able to see and read about, this gives web designers/developers a way of adding implicit interaction between web content and an application, without the user explicitly clicking a "submit" button or the resulting transfer to a new URL, reload of page. So, you could use it to do interactive filtering of search results, display of calendars or other dynamic navigation changes, interactive validation of form data. In one sense, these are all things you can do today if you load your page with javascript or do enough magic on the server side. However it opens up the possibility of a web page feeling more like an interactive application than the old model of fetch page, read page, input data to page, hit submit and wait for something to happen.

Here are some related links, found mostly by a semi-intelligent perusal of google results:

e.p.c. posted this at 11:49 GMT on 9-Dec-2004 .

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Quitting the Paint Factory

Quitting the Paint Factory:
Idleness is not just a psychological necessity, req­uisite to the construction of a complete human being; it constitutes as well a kind of political space, a space as necessary to the workings of an actual democracy as, say, a free press. How does it do this? By allowing us time to figure out who we are, and what we believe; by allowing us time to consider what is unjust, and what we might do about it. By giving the inner life (in whose precincts we are most ourselves) its due. Which is precisely what makes idle­ness dangerous. All manner of things can grow out of that fallow soil. Not for nothing did our mothers grow suspicious when we had "too much time on our hands." They knew we might be up to something. And not for nothing did we whisper to each other, when we were up to something, "Quick, look busy."

e.p.c. posted this at 16:41 GMT on 14-Dec-2004 .

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Review of Paris Chocolatiers

echoid Dr. Jonathan Hayes writes: The New York Times > Travel > Choice Tables: In Paris, Boutiques and Cafes Where Chocolatiers Raise the Bar: a guide to Paris for the chocolate aficionado...the piece includes a description of a chocolate dremel tool

e.p.c. posted this at 15:09 GMT on 15-Dec-2004 .

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Travelling

We're off to Sydney and Hongkong for the next two weeks. I've turned off comments on the sites here (including Frisket's) while we're away.

e.p.c. posted this at 01:42 GMT on 23-Dec-2004 .

Slightly acerbic and eccentric dog walker who masquerades as a web developer and occasional CTO.

Spent five years running the technology side of the circus known as www.ibm.com.

More about me here.

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