Diary Archive 2010

Last Day at W3C

W3C logo

Two years on the Team, preceded by 6 years in working groups. All being well, I'll still be in the W3C family, but for now it's time to say goodbye so I can focus fully on work at Talis.

Mobile Web Best Practices, POWDER, the Augmented Reality Workshop and the Training Courses. It's been a lot of fun.

Resigning my Lib Dem Memberhip

Liberal Democrats Logo

Following the government vote today to raise university tuition fees to £9,000/year, I have had to resign my membership of the Lib Dems. I joined the party after Bernie Ecclestone proved that Labour were as grubby as the Tories who I have always opposed. Blair's failure of judgement over Iraq and his religiosity confirmed my opposition to Labour. I wanted to join a party well to the left of that, and I thought I had. I understand why we went into coalition with the Tories but, well, the result was inevitable. FWIW, the text of my resignation from the Lib Dems is below.

I am sorry, but I cannot be a member of a party that willfully puts higher education beyond the reach of so many people. Believing that tripling tuition fees and saddling youngsters with debts in the tens of thousands of pounds when they begin their working lives is the right policy is unforgivable, even without the broken pledge. Educating the nation is one of government's fundamental duties. I expect the Tories to only be concerned with the well-off. "I'm alright Jack" is the defining characteristic of every Tory. But I expect better of the Lib Dems. After 10 years I must, regrettably, resign my membership therefore. I have resisted this since May, hoping our party would reign back the worst excesses of the loathsome Tories, but today we failed. Utterly.

ICRA Labels? Can we move on please?

A recent discussion in the HTML 5 working group has again raised the idea of ICRA labels as a means of enabling filtering. Having spent 8 years trying and failing to make it work, I've moved on.

Erratum on wdrs:describedby published


I had hoped that my work on the POWDER specifications was well and truly put to bed but, well, life is full of surprises as they say. During a recent lively debate on what for some of us is the old topic of the difference between an information resource and a non-information resource and how to represent the latter electronically, it became obvious that there was an error in the way POWDER defines the wdrs:describedby property. I wrote a fairly generic piece about this on the W3C Team blog that links to chapter and verse for archiving purposes.

Bottom line - we will need to publish an edited Recommendation inthe new year but, for now, the definition of wdrs:describedby is, I hope clear (and correct!).

My input on 303

Talis CTO Ian Davis has posted a blog entry [broken link removed] in which he makes an argument on a point of Web architecture. I agree with his motivation but strongly disagree with his solution.

N.B. This is an esoteric techie argument. If you know what an HTTP response Code is, OK,. If not, I suggest you go no further!

MobileMonday London (er, in Brighton)

MoMo London

Not content with a single speaking engagement today I need to make haste from Bristol to Brighton for the evening where I'm among the panellists for a Mobile Monday event looking at Open data and Mobile Government. I'm here on behalf of Talis, rather than W3C, although the distinction does get awfully blurred at times.

My Mobile Bristol

Bristol image taken from http://mymobilebristol.ilrt.bris.ac.uk/wp-content/themes/mymobbris/img/signpost.jpeg

Pleased to be asked to speak at this event - it looks interesting! I'll be talking on "Mobile Web Best Practices - what we've learned since 2008".

From the Web site blurb: A one day workshop exploring how developers can reuse and create web content so that it works on variety of mobile devices using Cascading Style Sheets, HTML 5, Javascript and related tools.

Bradfield Woods Appeal


Sandwiched between my time in radio and freelance writing/teaching I spent a few years working for the Suffolk Wildlife Trust at Bradfield Woods. The site is a locus classicus for ancient woodland - i.e. it's an absolute top site that is one of the places that woodland ecologists and countryside historians visit as part of their studies. It was an enormous privilege to work there.

Why mention it now? Because a chunk of it was dug up in the 60s, most of what remained became a nature reserve in the 70s but the last little bit has just been put up for sale. Naturally the Suffolk Wildlife Trust have launched an appeal to raise the money they need to buy it. When I was there (early 90s), the area in question was private so we couldn't go in but the bit of woodland immediately adjacent to it that we did own was a non-intervention area meaning we didn't allow anyone in or go in ourselves. This is a little odd really since Bradfield is far from natural. It's been actively managed since the twelfth century - yes, tweflth century!

I've made my donation — I just wish I could have added more.

Embedding SVG in HTML

As part of my prepartions for the forthcoming W3C course on SVG I've been playing aorund with adding SVG content to HTML pages. It's not as easy as it should be but, well, it's going to get a lot better once IE9 is established.

Day 1 at Talis

A short entry in the diary to mark the occasion of my first day in my new job at Talis.

I'm going to be helping clients to make their data available as linked data, notably as part of the work around data.gov.uk. Quite how that's going to translate into a work pattern remains open. How much time working from home? How much time at the office in Birmingham? How will the Talis work mesh with the W3C work? Only time will tell but it means that my relationship with i-sieve Technologies is now simply that of a good friend always on the lookout for opportunities for them, rather than acting on the company's behalf in projects etc. It also means I need to update a bunch of online locations.

Experiences at Les Terrasses de Bertheaume

A few words and several pictures in appreciation of the caravan site we stayed at for our summer holiday this year. Near the small port of Le Conquet and its excellent Plages des Blancs Sablons, les Terrasses de Bertheaume, is a site we expect to return to.

SVG Demo

I'm always really grateful to folk who publish their solutions to Web development problems so I really should do more of this myself. Here are some experiences I had when trying to create a very simple demo of one reason why SVG is such a terrific technology (one every Web developer really ought to get to know ASAP.

Tiki - Beyond the Creek, with a Sail

Thumbnail picture of the Yacht: Tiki

A more successful trip aboard the new yacht.

An Evening with Creationist Carl Kerby

Thumbnail of Carl Kerby

An account of an evening with a genuine young Earth creationist, Carl Kerby of Answers in Genesis. Is he mad? No. Is he wrong? Obviously. Was it an interesting evening? Certainly. I couldn't help liking Carl Kerby despite the chasm between us. Here's my account of what happened in a small Baptist church on the outskirts of Ipswich.

W3C Workshop: Augmented Reality on the Web

Open Media Web

I'm co-chairing a W3C Workshop for the first time. From a Consortium point of view this one is part of the Open Media Web project and is looking at Augmented Reality. Real-time images overlayed with icons and more information, one data set superimposed on another and so on. The workshop builds on the conversation begun last February at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and, indeed, includes many of the same people talking in the same city.

Tiki - Up the Creek Without a Paddle

Thumbnail picture of the Yacht: Tiki

We have a yacht! And the story of her "Maiden Voyage" is worth telling…

Updated 2010 version of Introduction to W3C Mobile Web Best
Practices Course Begins.

Mobile Web Initiative Logo

I've updated the material where necessary, moved a few modulesa round and, the most significant change, have added in a new module about server side methods (things like a mobile/desktop switch, adding HTTP Cache control headers etc.). Now it's about promotion and getting the sign ups.

Speaking on Mobile Web at Opening of W3C India Office, Delhi

Lakshmi Narayan hindu temple, New Delhi

Very pleased and rather honoured to be speaking on behalf of the Mobile Web Initiative team at this prestigious event. The launch of the W3C India office is part of a conference on "World Wide Web: Technology, Standards and Internationalization" that will include a lot of very senior folk from the Indian IT industry. W3C's new CEO Jeff Jaffe, our Internationalisation lead Richard Ishida and offices manager Klaus Birkenbihl will also be there/speaking so the consortium will be there in force.

Spectacular pictures of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano

I wouldn't normally just post a simple link here but these pictures of the volcano that shut down European air space are fantastic. Huge sympathy for everyone stuck where they don't want to be. I'm glad I'm not travelling at the moment but I know a lot of people who have been badly affected one way or another.

W3C Team Day

W3C logo

Off to Boston essentially for the day to attend my first W3C Team Day. Fly out Friday, fly home Sunday. I hear they're good fun!


A busy week. I'm in Brussels at the EU at the start of the week for a final project review before moving on to Düsseldorf at the end of the week for a meeting to discuss ratings for computer games, films and more. There's not a lot in the public domain yet but, supported by Landesanstalt für Medien NRW (Lfm), a small group has formed the 'Global Allicance Matrix Task Force' which aims to provide a common platform for individual rating systems around the world. My slides and contribution to the discussion are linked below.

Mashup* Location - It's Moving On …

The latest Mashup event that's taking me to London. I'm doing this wearing my W3C hat as location is clearly a key piece of the mobile Web.

Unusually for me I've not tried to grab any speaking time but I'll be sure to make my presence felt somehow.

The Mobile Augmented Reality Summit

Mobile World Congress Logo 2010

I need to write a paper and that paper needs to be accepted so I can't be more than 'reasonably confident' of attending this exciting workshop at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona (but I've booked my flights!). The plan is to talk about what features already exist, or are close to existing, that can enable Augmented Reality to be available using Web technologies.

The event is a good precursor to an AR workshop being held as part of WWW2010 in April.

Joint WIPO-ITU Accessibility Workshop


I've been invited to give a talk on the relationship between Accessibility and the mobile Web at a joint meeting of WIPO and the ITU in Geneva. My colleauge Shadi Abou-Zahra will talk about Accessibility and I'll pick up the mobile theme (they have a lot in common!).

Quite a presitgious occasion so I'm very pleased to be asked to do this one.