Fragmentation and the Failure of the Web

What makes an on-line community?  In the past two weeks I have received announcements of three new “communities” all interested in using open-source software to retrieve, share, and analyze data from or about governments.  Most of these announcements say the same thing: “A lot people seem to be working on this, but they aren’t talking… Continue reading Fragmentation and the Failure of the Web

Moving the ‘C’ in MVC

I’m sure I’m not the first to suggest this, but here goes. Ever since somebody first thought of applying the Model-View-Controller paradigm to the web, we’ve had this: The View is a conflation of HTML and JavaScript.  JavaScript is an afterthought, a gimmick to make pages “dynamic.”  All the real action is in the Controller,… Continue reading Moving the ‘C’ in MVC

Strange Referrers

The web is a strange beast.  Server logs reveal just how strange.  Someone’s crawling, sending an HTTP Referrer of “” with a User-Agent identified as “MSIE 5.00; Windows 98”.  What the heck?

A cool new site, with the best possible slogan, “All the code that’s fit to printf().” Nice to see a giant media company getting into this.

The Price of Fame

After the New York Times’ premature announcement of — I don’t mind, publicity is good — I discovered the downside of getting linked, even indirectly, from a major site. I woke this morning to find 632 bounced spam messages in my inbox sent from spoofed “” addresses. Gotta update my catch-all email settings.

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Paragraph Numbering and the Semantics of BLOCKQUOTE

Continuing on the theme of HTML’s flaws, consider the humble BLOCKQUOTE. While long used simply to indent text, it has a recognizable semantic meaning: a long quotation from another work. A block quote may contain multiple paragraphs, so BLOCKQUOTE logically enough is a block-level element that contains other block-level elements like P. But suppose I… Continue reading Paragraph Numbering and the Semantics of BLOCKQUOTE

HTML Footnotes

Leonard’s comment on my post about XML and footnotes got me thinking about representing footnotes in HTML. Not the visual presentation — there are lots of options for that, using CSS, JavaScript, and internal links — but the semantic one. In other words, using nothing but semantically-meaningful HTML tags (DIV, SPAN, P, A), how should… Continue reading HTML Footnotes

Academia Discovers Hit Counting

Working alongside legal academics, I hear a lot about a web site called SSRN, the Social Science Research Network. It’s a free service that hosts thousands of academic papers on law, economics, and business. It also tracks the number of times each paper is downloaded and publishes regular reports on the most-downloaded papers and authors.… Continue reading Academia Discovers Hit Counting

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Good Ideas

Sometimes I feel like every time I come up with a good idea, I read about it somewhere else a week later. It least it’s nice to have some indication I’m not a raving lunatic. This time, A List Apart suggests Paper Prototyping, just what I was talking about a week ago.