W3C drops the mobile

Wandsworth moon

Today I came across a stupid .mobi website that led me inspect W3C practices regarding the mobile domain.

I’ve been travelling for years since writing my thesis, so I had some catching up to do.

Back then it was just the W3 device independent mailing list, now it’s mushroomed into the Mobile Web Initiative.

Years ago I subscribed to all the new mailing lists, then I thought the mailing lists were dead, however recently after inspecting the archives, I have discovered they have become more active. Perhaps I was unsubscribed. :)

I’ve since re-subscribed and oh, there is of course another new list bpwg-comments. Showing W3C’s “commitment” for people’s comments. W3C’s secret practices are way up shit creek. I don’t know why I bother navigating around a Website where several links are restricted. That really does absolutely nothing to motivate me help spend my time helping the W3C.

Does the W3C really get the Web at all? The spirit of the thing? I don’t think so.

Yet I still decided to send in a comment about the laughable W3C mobileOK Basic Tests 1.0 document.

Anyway it never ceases to surprise me how the W3C has dug its own grave by becoming irrelevant and disconnected. All those sponsors are really pissing their money away. :/

Update: Sorry if this comes across a bit negative. It’s just that I was put in a bad mood on the prospect that this work is encouraging a device dependent Web, which would create senseless redundancy as I again commented.

mobile context

Yesterday I mentioned I traded some emails with the CTO of the .mobi email. Here is the last email of the discussion. My reply is in full, though it might lack a little context. ;) James is arguing that the .mobi TLD provides context. I disagree, read on:

On 2007-03-06T10:25-0500 James G Pearce wrote:
> 1) I expect softdrink.com to provide me with information about the
> softdrink company (chairman's statements, history of the company,
> financial reports, press packs, how-to-be-a-reseller etc).
> 2) I expect softdrink.mobi to tell me where the nearest vending machine
> is. Nothing more.

When I go to any page with any device I want to presented with what I am
looking for straight away, right? Unfortunately nothing works that way!

This why we have navigation mechanisms such as search and more recently
things like online bookmarks, maps and tagging.

> 2) I expect luxurycar.mobi to tell me what that red flashing light
> means, and where the nearest service centre is. Nothing more.

That’s more than a mobile context. You need a special context for that
red flashing light. Perhaps a .breakdown TLD is required? ;)

> What sort of user-agent is smart enough to turn 1) into 2) for those two
> simple examples?

Many UAs have integrated search nowadays. That’s a start.

> If Opera could convert web pages on the fly from German to English,
> would I buy all my goods from http://amazon.de? No, of course not. I
> could choose to, but not by default. I want to “tell” Amazon that I’m in
> the UK, right? Since the pricing, products and deliveries suit my
> geographical context.

Well strictly speaking there is no need for amazon.de. They could filter
by lang markup (which is usually wrong mind) or more commonly IP.
Actually geo-IP sucks if you live in the UK and use satellite internet
from Italy, but I digress. Many Website have a sensible URL structure
like apple.com/uk or uk.someservice.com. Buying a TLD for each country
you do business in, is quite well established to be silly with the

> (I know you know this – after all, you have a .fi TLD web site.
> Something, presumably, you have chosen in order to show allegience to
> the Finnish context.)

iki.fi provide a good email redirection service. I have no allegiance to
the Finnish context I am afraid.

> But thousands of people do. By catalysing the mobile web, we can make
> the whole industry/ecosystem thrive. Since you have a passion for the
> medium, I assume you yourself will be pleased if we succeed.

That’s like arguing that I would like to have seen WAP succeed. I want
to see the right technology succeed.

> If we don’t, it a) won’t be because we didn’t try, and b) because market
> forces have dictated that we were wrong. Fair enough. No-one’s going to
> die.

No one might die, though a lot of energy can and will be mis-spent in
the .mobi domain. Precious man years. :)

I hope that’s clear why I don’t think “context” should be provided by TLDs. It’s a poor argument though it would actually be a good situation if .mobi was just about “context”. The big problem is that it encourages device dependent Web pages. The discussion actually started when I commented directly to ready.mobi that ready.mobi doesn’t work in ready.mobi. They recommended I try a special mobile version http://ready.mobi/m which will be served in future once it detects a mobile device.

NO. Device dependent content and delivery is not on. It is extremely difficult to detect capabilities of a device and is it redundant for Web content creators to maintain different device dependent Web pages of essentially the same resource.

I’m for a device independent Web, a united Web, free of device discrimination.

Crocs price fixing


I buy my shoes from J shoes in Wadebridge, Cornwall. Excellent store. Last December I picked up a pair of blue crocs for 20GBP, which I’ve raved about. A couple of days ago my sister went to get a pair too.

They now cost 30GBP at J shoes and I asked why are they more expensive. They said mine were on sale and besides they have received complaints from another store that J shoes were selling Crocs too cheap. Then they casually commented that Crocs HQ has now forced J shoes to sell at 30 GBP.

Ummm, isn’t that illegal to fix prices?

Staff immediately fell silent. I am really disappointed people let this happen. Show some backbone people.

8/6/2008 update: More than a year later I need my Cayman Crocs to be replaced. Still the shoe sales seem fixed on 30GBP. Even on sites like Amazon UK!

I have heard J shoes have been “getting around” the Crocs price fixing demand by offering a 5GBP gift voucher with purchases of Crocs at RRP. Very sad!

17/16/2008: I have taken up a complaint with the Office of fair trading. However the office have put the onus on me to provide evidence that Crocs are violating the Competition Act, i.e. proof that Crocs are:
* Anti-competitive
* Abusive

After talking with an employee of the Enquiries and Preliminary Investigations Centre at the Office of Fair Trading, she recommended I “shop around” for another type of shoe.

I have a loss of confidence in the services the UK government supply. Israel for example is taking action. Ultimately J shoes should be feeding the OFT information they need to prosecute Crocs.

Interactive video recipes

Fantastic find for foodies!

BBC have videos in a playable Youtube-y format. So I can actually watch them, unlike their usual real player crap (is this the end of Realplayer? please let it be so…).

Check out their BBC food Flash application. I wish it wasn’t completely Flash, nonetheless…

This certainly beats my usual recipe resource. :)

Greetings Mobile planet

Thanks to Dominique, I have been recently added to the W3 mobile planet. Hello Planet!

Let me introduce myself:

Invasion of the invited experts

Windy sea at Boscastle

It seems like I am not the only one on the HTML WG bandwagon. ;)

I thought this mail about the workgroup’s use of ‘dated’ IRC and ‘old school’ mailing list by Gavin Pearce was hilarious. A little early for April the 1st though.

Though seriously, I am little worried about the clash of cultures on the WG. I think there are four types:

  1. The dreamy semantic/XML W3C staff
  2. The confused corporate guys featuring Microsoft stalling, yet leading the WG of the API that rivals its core business!
  3. The frustrated ‘old school’ WHATWG people
  4. The unwashed Web2.0 “Web designer”

Update: I couldn’t resist joining the fray.

Climate Changed

"Switch your computers off"

I am not impressed about this advertisement in the Private Eye by the charity Christian Aid. Age old tactic of making you and I feel guilty, so you’ll donate to their now environmental cause.

How about getting the facts Christian Aid? Computers take about the same power as a light bulb yet provide essential services for this information age. I feel sorry for poor kids out there with parents who will probably berate their child’s computer usage.

I’m also amused about the similarities whilst browsing the Christian Aid website and the Guardian. I guess they copied the Guardian’s site design.

How opportunistic of Christian Aid.

Flickr fecked tags

Best breakfast

I really don’t like the way Flickr is going.

I’ve really only wanted some sort of md5sum for my images. I’ve asked them to implement this and gave a good suggestion how to do this years ago. With tags, for example md5:db0afcce66c98e6bcbf1168e8eae629e.

Instead we have stupid things like collections. Collections are sets of sets. “Sets” in themselves are daft, because they can be implemented as tags. Yes, collections, sets, md5sum and any other image properties could have all done been implemented as tags. sigh

What a mess.


Millpool path

Impressions of a Macbook

Macbook kills my Internet connection

  • The latch is badly designed
  • MacOSX 10.4.9
  • heavy (compared to an X40)
  • 2 USB ports? That’s it? I accidentally jab the Firewire port with my USB devices
  • That camera looks tiny
  • Amazed how it detected the open wireless network. nice.
  • Slow
  • Track pads are terrible. Even my Dad concedes he hates it. Give us a nipple anyday.
  • Plugging in my external USB fat32 hard drive didn’t work! With nfs to access my media, I was surprised how to listen an mp3, you have to copy the file into Itunes. Omg. And watching a movie. Quicktime with no fullscreen playback. OUCH.
  • I’ve had to get used to looking at the top bar carefully
  • ctrl+trackpad button is right click. OMG. Pain.
  • samba doesn’t seem to work right
  • I can’t figure out how to scroll through photos. I think there is some crap Canon image software (why do camera manufacturers seem compelled to ship terrible software with their hardware?) getting in my way here.
  • Quite noisy when doing something
  • Software update doesn’t seem able to resume unlike Debian. :(
  • It absolutely HOGS the Internet connection! WTF! Do I have to implement QoS now? How can my Debian machines share the Internet and Wireless nicely, but not this Macbook?
  • Can’t shut it down after an update
  • Zoom is pretty cool for my dad
  • I am slowly starting to discover the shortcuts and how to manage Windows. Alt+Tab fealt wrong though. Can’t launch dictionary. Maybe it’s not installed?
  • The interface isn’t that great. Intuitive my ass. They often move the close button about.
  • Updating Itunes, “Please quit iTune before conti…” Pity it can’t update a running application like Debian.
  • Installing .dmg files isn’t nearly as easy as apt-get
  • When I close the lid, it stops doing what it supposed to do. I HATE THAT. If you have power, do not suspend whatever.
  • The shell and some sensible default applications like vim is quite nice
  • I’m not a fan of the widescreen dimensions.

Btw this is my Dad’s Macbook. I’m still married to Debian SID and a Thinkpad.

Say sorry

In Pathani dress inc. shoes

After reading about the 15 detainees in the past few days and now watching Paxman’s interview on Newsnight I feel like I must say “sorry”.

Because no one else seems to be doing it.

When I was in Pakistan I heard from a tribal leader why the British were popular. He said it was because if you stood on an Englishman’s foot he would say “sorry” first. This boat border incident was probably not Britain’s fault, though I still think we should be the first to say sorry.

It was a really brash move for Britain to go to the UN security council today and I think British diplomacy has lost its way sadly.

Wireless power standards wanted

Canon batteries

For mains power, I imagine many electric devices will be powered or charged with a standard USB interface.

Now for batteries, I am not so sure. My whole family now has Canon cameras, though that does not make our lives any easier.