Contemplating the pervert who has been trying to corrupt this site took me to an interesting diversion at www.worldwidewords.org where I spent a while reminiscing about the sayings of my youth. However, having summarily despatched his nefarious efforts I have returned again to question myself about the wisdom of teaching my undergraduate students how such things work in the hope they would become responsible netizens and future network managers. The same question could be asked about teaching five-year-olds about sex.
It's been a while since my last blog. What I thought should be a fairly straight-forward project turned, as ever, into a somewhat monumental task that "like Topsy, just growed". And, like Topsy, it wasn't really born; it more or less happened out of a conversation with some holiday cottage owners at a seminar on Sustainable Tourism where I was speaking on Internet Strategies.
Once the initial idea was formed, the ideas and possibilities just flowed, closely followed by the ramifications and complexities. In many ways the very worst kind of project. It is exciting, but becomes obsessive, resolving into sixteen-hour days and sleepless nights. Thank heaven I don't "do" computer games.
I am my worst customer. It is too easy to persuade myself I can just add this or improve that, it won't take long to . . ., and I criticize myself unmercifully, often mindful of my favourite cartoon from the 1960's on "How the designer saw it". Is this the effulgence of Extreme Programming (or Agile Program Development)?
The result is WebCalPro 1.1, and I am fairly pleased with it. Version 2 is already under way, and will be even better! So many ideas, so little time . . .
"Each medium, independent of the content it mediates, has its own intrinsic effects which are its unique message. The message of any medium or technology is the change of scale or pace or pattern that it introduces into human affairs.
"What McLuhan wrote about the media of print, television and computers applies with equal validity to the Internet. 'The medium is the message' because it is the 'medium that shapes and controls the scale and form of human association and action.' " (Adapted from www.marshallmcluhan.com/faqs.html)
In the shortest of time imaginable (barely 10 years) the Internet has changed the way we communicate, shop, learn, do business and entertain ourselves. It may even affect where we live and how we socialise.
Love it or loathe it, the Internet has woven itself into the very fabric of our daily lives, as if humankind were itself snared in its virtual web. The shop sign spotted recently that said "Closed due to Ebay" says it all.
This website seeks to achieve two things: to confirm our own "sense of place" in the Internet community, and to help others to do likewise.
Nothing in the Earth's history has developed at the rate of the Internet, and nothing has so fundamentally changed the way we work, live, and enjoy ourselves. As in all technological developments commercial interests have run to impose their own stamp, to exploit new features and add functionality to the base philosophy in order to gain market advantage, if not predominance.
Notwithstanding the efforts of the World Wide Web Consortium to produce platform-compatible standards, web practitioners have long been obliged to "hack" and "workaround" to create pages that can be rendered reliably in a wide range of browsers by real people, by which I include those of us who are not A1 in every physical attribute.
A box without thines, key or lid, Yet a golden treasure inside is hid.
Such is "the Holy Grail" for serious website creators, who seek their salvation in the "XHTML for structure, CSS for design, XML for data" recommendations of the W3C. It is they who fly the banner for change, who forward the struggle to restore Tim Berners Lee's original concept of information for all. The constraints of XHTML validation are not for the faint-hearted; in fact at present they seem to make life harder. Our hope is that by drawing a line under the past there will be a brighter and saner future.