Amos Newcombe’s Weblog

2009 April 24 Friday

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — anewc2 @ 13:33

In reviewing my Web Mastery bookmarks I came across this piece from Clay Shirky about how heirarchical categorization schemes are old and busted, and links and tags are the new hotness. Far be it from me to contradict such a net.legend as he on a point that in retrospect seems clear. Heirarchical categorization does have its weaknesses, and the new ways have spread rapidly and widely across the Internet.

On the other hand I’ve just come up with a heirarchical classification scheme for resources and concepts of Web Mastery, so I want to push back toward the heirarchy end of things a little bit, and away from the formless tags created by armies of amateurs.

Shirky acknowledges that heirarchies have their places, but he misses one of those places. I want my Web Mastery resources to be more than a passive collection of resources, waiting for their searcher to come and follow them. I want them to be more of a set of instructions: this is how you become a master of the web. For that, a mass of links is not good enough: it needs a story attached to it, and in the telling of that story, a heirarchical organization may have a valuable place.

So a heirarchy tells us more about the organizer than the data? Not a problem — I am trying to put my stamp on this. I am assuming the role not of God but of Teacher. I am not imposing this heirarchy but suggesting it. Here is my way of organizing this stuff. Do you like it? Or not? Talk to me. or ignore me. Your choice.


2008 July 25 Friday

Quote of the Day

Filed under: Uncategorized — anewc2 @ 12:44

“When a man fights for the truth he should never wear his best pants.”
[hat tip to Cripple Creek Theatre Co.]

2008 July 23 Wednesday

Quote of the Day

Filed under: Uncategorized — anewc2 @ 13:43

“If this continues, I may have to start a “Poisonous” category – something I never would have imagined needing on a cake blog.

2008 July 21 Monday

Waging a Bailout

Filed under: Uncategorized — anewc2 @ 7:29

2008 July 20 Sunday

Web 0.9: Clueless in Seattle

Filed under: Web design — Tags: — anewc2 @ 15:57

[Transcript of an exchange I had with KIRO TV in Seattle. Note the reverse chronological order.]

Thanks for your quick response. The link is on the word “company”. Frankly, when you refer to a company, and part of that text is a link, I expect the link to go to more information about that company. When it goes to an advertisement instead, I start to think that the advertiser is so worthless that they have to fool people into clicking on their link.

I know you’re in the media business, where the advertisers are the customers and the viewers are the product, but it’s really counterproductive to treat the marks too obviously like marks. You’re lucky in my case, because I live across the country, I don’t watch TV anyway, and nobody reads my blog. But eventually chickens are going to come home to roost. Your product has feelings, and doesn’t like to be disrespected.

“We didn’t post any links in the story”

Example #2 of how you’re doing it wrong.

Amos Newcombe

On Sun, Jul 20, 2008 at 12:28 PM, Unger, Megan (CTV-Seattle) <> wrote:

Hello Amos,

Thanks for writing.  Was the link to which you were referring to in the
word fuel?  We didn’t post any links in the story, but we do have an
advertising service that does occasionally post outside links in our

Thanks again,

Megan Unger

Web Content Editor / KIRO-TV

—–Original Message—–
From: []
Sent: Sunday, July 20, 2008 4:59 AM
To: !CTV SEA – Webstaff
Subject: Web Form Submission





 Amos Newcombe


 The link in this story: is broken. It
takes me to some unrelated site instead.
 ^^^^^^^^^^^ {ts ‘2008-07-20 06:58:53’} ^^^^^^^^^^^

2008 July 18 Friday

Can You Improve this Mediocre Statistical Graphic?

Filed under: Uncategorized — anewc2 @ 10:01

Why yes, I believe I can. Here is the original mediocre statistical graphic, and my re-do.

2008 June 26 Thursday

Flexible Layouts: Challenge For The Future

Filed under: Web design — anewc2 @ 15:20

This article is a guest post written by Dirk Jesse, the developer of YAML (Yet Another Multicolumn Layout), an (X)HTML&CSS framework which explains his motivation for YAML in the last paragraph of the article. This article is supposed to initiate the discussion about the need for more flexible layouts in modern web design and explain why flexible designs are still important — even despite the Full Page Zoom-functionality implemented in most modern browsers.

View Original Article


2008 June 21 Saturday

Faux Absolute Positioning

Filed under: Web design — anewc2 @ 7:46

CSS layout is awesome, except when your layout calls for a header, a footer, and columns in between. Use float, and content changes can cause columns to wrap. Use absolute positioning, and your footer can crash into your columns. Add the complexity of drag-and-drop layouts, and a new technique is needed. Enter “faux absolute positioning.” Align every item to a predefined position on the grid (as with absolute positioning), but objects will still affect the normal flow (as with float).


Hide Your Shame: The A List Apart Store and T-Shirt Emporium is back. Hot new designs! Old favorites remixed! S, M, L, XL. Come shop with us!

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2008 June 10 Tuesday

Links 6/10/08 from Naked Capitalism, but this is really for the picture

Filed under: Uncategorized — anewc2 @ 8:24

Dolphins die after mass stranding BBC

Is Google making us stupid? Nick Carr, CNet

Blogging–It’s Good for You Scientific American. The conclusions seem based on a flawed, indeed romanticized notion of what blogging (at least the most widely read forms, with political as #1, is about).

Is Steve Jobs … Gimli? Paul Kedrosky (hat tip reader Dwight)

Energy Hedge Funds Missing Oil Boom Wall Street Journal (hat tip Felix Salmon). So they don’t get it either.

The Conference Board Has a New Employment Index and It Sees More of the Same Common Sense Forecaster

Japan’s De-deindustrialization? Econospeak

Antidote du jour:

View Original Article

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2008 June 5 Thursday

Style Switchers Are Back: Ideas, Examples and a Contest

Filed under: Web design — anewc2 @ 12:42

Style Switchers, from Smashing magazine.

Hmmm. The fact that a lot of users, especially windows users, see the Unison site with much larger fonts than I typically do when I am designing it. But not all. The browser can change font sizes, for those that know about it. But a style switcher would make it more explicit. This article shows you how.

Style switchers are used to provide users with a choice of layouts, fonts, colors and views they can use to adapt the design to their personal needs. Designs with style switchers are more flexbile, more adaptive and more user-friendly as different visitors can quickly modify the design for their personal convenience.

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