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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

"Reality Check: Beyond the hype of Web standards"

Presenting my piece
Download my presentation.

Well, it was definitely a good experience at the second Web Standards Group meetup. I was the first to present and think the audience responded well to what I had to say.

My chosen topic was "Reality Check: Beyond the hype of Web standards". It came to mind right after the first meetup. After some casual conversation with other attendees, I realised that many seemed to have the wrong idea about standards or were so caught up in the fervour that they may not be ready for the actual work.

So I thought that it would be good to remind everyone at the start about what we're in for when we say that we comply with standards. Sure, my presentation would have pissed people off, but I think it's the bitter medicine that they needed to take in order to become better.

I was getting quite anxious about it as the day drew nearer. Right up till last night, I was still revising my slides, sometimes because of something I had read, mostly because what I had prepared didn't sit well with me. I spent almost two hours each night deleting slides and creating new ones.

All of my jokes and one-liners fell flat, yet an unintended one got the most laughs. It was in response to someone asking about standards-compliance among content management systems. I said, "I wanted to include content management systems in my presentation, but I thought that it would be too much content."

*loud laughter*

I think I handled the Q&A pretty well too. And I'd like to take a moment to correct myself: Ivan Chew had asked why developers who comply with Web standards charge more for their work. My answer was partially right in that standards-compliant developers require extra time to test their work.

The complete answer is: complying with Web standards includes adhering to accessibility guidelines. These require even more time to test for compliance. Because of the extra hours, they have to charge more.

The rest of the meeting consisted of a demonstration of some useful Firefox tips, including extensions, and a five-minute introduction microformats.

Personal acknowledgement:
I'd like to give a shout-out to two colleagues (one of whom was my department head) for attending. I had invited the tech team to attend, thinking that it (the whole meeting, not just my presentation) would be beneficial to their work. I also cc-ed my boss, who then forwarded it to the rest of the company.

Incidentally, this blog saw a small spike in traffic from the same IP address range. I had forgotten that the email contained a link to it, so now all of my colleagues know about my little area on the Web.

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Web Standards Group presentation

Web Standards Group
Update: download my presentation

At the second Web Standards Group, Singapore meetup, I'll be giving a presentation entitled "Reality Check: Beyond the hype of Web standards". It came about because, at the previous meeting, I had got the impression that a lot of attendees were very "ra-ra" about Web standards, but didn't fully understand what they were getting themselves into. I mulled over this and came up with the topic, which I proposed to Lucian, the WebSG organiser.

Now, I hope I don't come across as a total jack@$$.

What: Web Standards Group, Singapore Meetup #2
When: February 28th, 2007, 7:00pm till 8:30pm
Where: Multi-purpose Room, Central Lending Library (Basement of National Library, Victoria Street)

Programme
  • "Reality check: Beyond the hype of web standards" by Yuhui
  • Firefox Tips & Tricks by Chu Yeow
  • 5 minute introduction to Microformats by Lucian
  • Round table discussion: Web Standards for "Brochure" sites
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Friday, February 23, 2007

UW is Top 10 again!

UW-Madison
Hehe, my alma mater, University of Wisconsin - Madison, has made it to the top 10... of the Recording Industry Association of America's top piracy schools in the US! Apparently, UW snuck in at No. 10 on the list of universities receiving the most number of copyright infringement notices. So here's to another dubious distinction, in addition to it being the No. 1 party school.

On Wisconsin!

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Friendster at work

Friendster
Okay, this isn't about how Friendster works behind-the-scenes. Rather, it's about how I realised that so many of my colleagues are on it!

It all started when a colleague saw me looking at a Friendster page (linked from somewhere, no, I wasn't looking at mine, I'm not that egotistical), and she told me to add her. She just approved me over the long break, and from her profile, I found about 10 colleagues, and from those colleagues, I found, well, almost every colleague in his/her twenties or early thirties!

What the heck is going on??? I thought Friendster was dead! I wasn't surprised when I connected with colleagues on LinkedIn, but Friendster, the granddaddy of them all social networks that has become mostly irrelevant with the rise of MySpace? Ok, sure, my company is all about the Internet, but I feel that this is bordering on ridiculousness (is there such a word?).

I should probably start looking for colleagues on MySpace. I know one has his band's page there.

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Bowling and roti prata

Best bowlng game ever!
I've just returned from a late night of bowling and roti prata for supper. It was a gathering with some church friends. We bowled at SAFRA Yishun from 9-11:30pm, and I had my best... game... ever. Out of three games, I did best in my second.

I scored a strike! And a couple of spares too! That's quite an achievement for me, a person who averages six to seven points per frame. For that game, I scored 102, my highest ever! This would be my third or fourth game ever, and I've always dreamed of knocking down all 10 pins. Tonight, I did it! Whee!

The first game was what I call my "warm up" game, which is a lame excuse to say that I performed at about normal for me. In my third game, fatigue coupled with a tired arm and strained thigh led to my lowest score -- 54, haha!

After the game (and a mock prize presentation ceremony), we proceeded to this roti prata shop along Thomson Road. I suppose we shouldn't have been surprised to realise that it was packed with people, with a queue of patrons waiting to be seated, and some seated customers who were still waiting for their orders.

Three factors caused this situation:
  1. It was Chinese New Year, so all of the 24-hour Chinese eateries were closed.
  2. Singaporeans continue to eat into the wee hours of the festive period.
  3. The "famous" roti prata shop at Upper Thomson Road closes at 11pm.
Fortunately, we managed to get an empty table after waiting for about 10 minutes. The prata was crispy, which is different from the usual ones that I've had before. But it was still yummylicious. Over supper, we chatted about the latest movies in Singapore, holidaying in Bali, and something called PPStream (no, I won't link to it because I don't want this site to be registered as a referral).

And then it was home sweet home.

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

Chinese New Year parody song part 3

It's Chinese New Year again, which means it's time for another verse to that good ol' Chinese New Year song:
GST went up again,
Gahmen welcome foreign t'lent.
Locals squeezed upside-and-down,
Turn my smile into a frown.

Gong xi, gong xi, gong xi ni.
Explanations for non-Singaporeans:
GST

Goods and Services Tax, the local consumption tax, which will go up from five to seven percent in 2007. The rationale was to increase the government's coffers so that it can spend more on social welfare programs.

Gahmen

Local pronunciation of "government".

"squeezed upside-and-down"

Local expression which means to be pressured from all sides by external, uncontrollable forces. (The actual phrasing is "squeeze upside-down", but I needed an extra word, so I added "and".)

I had nearly forgotten to continue with this "tradition", so I had only come up with the lines two days ago! This time, I decided to reflect on the current mood in Singapore and composed something that is more political-social.

For the sake of completeness, here's the entire song so far:
I was sleeping on my bed,
Everyone thought I was dead.
Doctor brought a coffin in,
I jumped out and he jumped in.

Gong xi, gong xi, gong xi ni.

It was such a peaceful night,
Vampire gave me a bite.
Sunrise made me feel so blue,
Now I want to bite you too.

Gong xi, gong xi, gong xi ni.

Gave a diamond to my girl.
She said she would rock my world.
Speeding towards a night of fun.
Didn't see the tree in front.

Gong xi, gong xi, gong xi ni.

GST went up again,
Gahmen welcome foreign t'lent.
Locals squeezed upside-and-down,
Turn my smile into a frown.

Gong xi, gong xi, gong xi ni.
Previous entries: verse 2 in 2005, verse 3 in 2006.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Dear Valentine

It's Valentine's Day. In 30 years, I've never had a valentine. But that hasn't stopped me from wishing for one. "One day, my dream will come true," so the song goes.

If I did have a Valentine's Day date this year, it would only be with one person. I'm sure she knows who she is, because if she doesn't, then I've been too subtle and low-key for my own good. Of course, I've considered other girls, but in the back of my mind, I'll always compare them against her. And then my thoughts will just drift back to her. It's probably still wishful thinking at this point.

The last time I felt like this for a girl was in university. Even if nothing came out of it, I thought that we would remain good friends. Then she suddenly broke off contact. Last I heard, she was married and living in the United Kingdom. I still think about her sometimes, but nowadays, the thoughts are less sweet.

I've never written anything like this in here before because of my audience. Nor have I shared it with others because I think it's highly embarrassing. Now that it's out, word will get around before coming back to me, and then it'll be a hide-in-a-cave moment.

So, this Valentine's Day, I'll be rooting for the cheerleader. "Save the cheerleader, save the world!" Yup, the plan is to watch the third episode of "Heroes" tonight.

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Monday, February 05, 2007

When you pray... part 2

In my previous entry, I had written of two "key words" that people use in prayer. Here's one more:
  1. Sucking sound

    This is like the prayer equivalent of "um" and "ah". When the person can't think of what to say next, he tends to suck his tongue against the roof of the mouth, near the front teeth, making a "chek" sound. I can't think of an example, but it can appear anywhere, just like "um", so it's easy to recognise.
One time, during a prayer, I actually noted down a few key words. But I won't write about them here because they're not as overused as these three. Whew!

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