The Boston T Party
I attended my first TypeCon last summer. This year, as luck would have it, the conference is happening August 9-13th at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Boston. They’ve got an interim website up (by Boston’s Stolze Design) with more in the works for later this month.read more:
HTML Scraper 0.1 now available
Just wanted to point people to the first public release of my HTML Scraper package. This is a Java/XML-based utility which allows one to 'scrape' an HTML page and generate an XML document with data from that page. The program uses an XML-based rules file to control what data elements to scrape from the page.http://sourceforge.net/projects/htmlscraper/
is the SourceForge project page for the site. There is no specific homepage for the tool yet.Please download and let me know if you find it useful.read more:
Welcome to Erik Talvola's new home on the web
In the midst of changing jobs, I decided it was time to change my web presence, which has remained fairly static since about 1994... Soon there will be some actual content on this site. Specific projects I've been working on include the Wine Finder, a price/review comparison engine for wine; the HtmlScraper, a Java application which lets you intelligently 'scrape' data from HTML pages into an XML format; and the Sin Stocks page, which will be a place for information on stocks involved in casinos, alcoholic beverages, tobacco, and other industries which aren't considered 'politically correct.'In the meantime, you can take a look at my old page
, or the very first rough start at the Wine Finder
International Herald Tribune: Quirky serifs aside, Georgia fonts win on Web. The thesis of the article is that, because of its use in some fairly high profile redesigns (the New York Times website among others), the font Georgia is undergoing a comeback. A slim thread on which to hang an article, particularly when you consider that Georgia has been the font of this blog since at least its redesign in January 2004 (the original custom CSS design used Verdana or Helvetica, depending on availability, as my old stylesheet reveals).
It is sad, as Dave Shea at Mezzoblue notes, that there is practically speaking only a pool of eight or nine fonts through which we can rotate for web typography. In this vein, I have to go back and give Hakon Lie partial credit for at least trying to move the ball forward on web typography, as wrongheaded as he was about the business model implications of what he proposed.read more:
Fighting for justice in our lifetimes
I took a course on the History of the Civil Rights Movement when I was at the University of Virginia. Taught by Julian Bond, a leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the course’s readings alone were enough to make any thoughtful American think long and hard about social justice, as was the opportunity to research local reactions to the movement (see my paper on Virginia’s Massive Resistance movement). One of the thoughts I had at the time was about what I would have done if I were alive in the movement years.
Now, of course, I know: I would have been performing somewhere rather than protesting. Because that’s how the quest for justice played out today: my colleagues and pastors from Old South were at the State House rallying for equal marriage while I was rehearsing the Gurrelieder at Tanglewood.
—Someone with less of an axe to grind than mine, by the way, should look at the signs on both sides of the street from today’s protest and learn what can be learned from them about the protesters. The thing that struck me—and again, I’m biased—is the preponderance of identical “Let the People Vote” signs, professionally made (by VoteOnMarriage.org, who don’t merit a link but who also apparently trucked in cases of water), on the anti-equal-marriage side, and how the few off-message signs that appear on that side of the street are incoherent and threatening, while just about every sign on the pro-equal-marriage side is handmade and many of them are funny or thoughtful. I especially like this rebuttal to the specious “let the people vote” argument.
Fortunately there are others out there who are more proactive than me, including the Tin Man, who has decided to take advantage of his current between-positions status to try to make a new career in gay-rights law.
For more context on the constitutional convention today—and the protesters—check out Bay Windows’ liveblog. To take a look at what the other side is saying, see VoteOnMarriage.org’s “Arguments for Marriage” page, which is a fine collection of strawmen.read more:
Yeah, I know - it's been a while since an update. I should point out, however, that there is a weblog on Tiny Showcase
which is updated on a daily basis. And there's 75 or Less
for all of your musical needs.
In big, big music news, Mason Dixon
is opening for Superdrag's John Davis at The Mercury Lounge on April 5th. That's gonna be awesome. Keep checking their tour
page for upcoming Boston and, hopefully, Providence dates (Providence peoples, drop them a line if you can them out).
Get your daily dose - four Mason Dixon tracks on MySpace
Oh yeah, and Tim O's Malkmus/Clarence Skiboots
post got me fired up too. Forgot to mention that.
One more - one more. Thanksgiving played BSR's Phoning it In
last night. I missed it, but luckily it's archived - right next to the likes of The Microphones and The Mountain Goats.read more:
CMC Sound Adventures receives Applied Arts design award
The CMC website Sound Adventures has received Applied Arts magazine's best information and educational site award in its Advertising & Design Annual. Canadian Music Centre is recognized for its work on Sound Adventure, an educational web site designed in collaboration with ecentricarts.This year, the Applied Arts Advertising & Design Annual celebrates its 14th year and status as Canada's most prestigious design competition. The annual competition receives thousands of entries from Canada, the U.S. and beyond, in six main categories: advertising, design, tv/video, editorial designand digitalmedia. An international expert panel of 30 judges decided winners. The Annual is available now on selected newsstands in Canada and the U.S.and online at www.appliedartsmag.com.read more:
Redllar updatesI've been trying to clean out my closet, so to speak, and get some of my old tech up-to-date and documented in order to get them released here. I've sorta done that with a hotkey-based app/doc launcher that I wrote a while back. It's called fungusHotkey and can be found here, which is the new home page for all of the "fungus" desktop apps. There's no settings ui, but if you like 'em small, maybe it's enough.
I've also added 2 more simple little apps that may be found on the fungus Desktop Apps home page as well. One's a little display-only calendar control window and the other one pops-up the Explorer start menu. Source
Slate goes widescreen
10th anniversary redesign. Jake says
For one thing, we're no longer owned by Microsoft, which for some reason seems to make it easier for us to build a site that works as well in Firefox and Safari as it does in Internet Explorer. And now that larger computer screens and broadband have become commonplace, we felt Slate could do more to take advantage of both. The new home page, for example, is wider than the old one and has graphics so numerous that a dial-up modem would have choked on them. We've used the additional real estate to give permanent homes to Explainer, the Has-Been, Doonesbury, Today's Pictures, and our editorial cartoons[~]regular features that have sometimes been hard to find.I love that remark that suddenly Slate can work in non-MS browsers now.
evolution of dance
You may have already seen this as it’s quite popular, but I continue to be amused (and impressed) by Judson Laipply’s Evolution of Dance video. All of the songs are listed on his wikipedia page.Judson is not just a guy who likes to dance. According to his about page he is an inspirational [...]read more:
Book Update: 2Q2006
So many great books, so little time! This posting is to recommend two books that were extremely interesting and enjoyable. First is Genome by Matt Ridley. After the Computational Biology panel at Demo in February, I asked the panelists what book I could read to learn more about the mapping of the twenty-three pairs of chromosomes that make up the human genome. All three experts recommended Matt Ridley's book. Genome is organized into twenty-two chapters as a convenient way to tell the incredible unfolding story of what we are all about. Each chapter is like a story unto itself describing the characteristics of some of the more important genes that are part of that chromosome. The twenty-third chromosome pair is what we learned in high school -- two large X chromosomes in women and , one X and one small Y in men.
Ridley explains in almost excruciating detail how some of the genes work and the implications of having a particular gene that doesn't work. For example, there is a family of genes called the apolipoprotein genes, or APO genes, that comes in four basic varieties -- A, B, C, and E. If you happen to carry of the E variety genes, your probability of getting Alzheimer's disease is dramatically higher than the population at large. Whether you would actually want to know that you have propensity to get a disease that for which there is no cure or prevention steps is another question. One thing for sure is that by reading Genome you get an appreciation for how much is actually known about genes and how incredibly fast the knowledge base is growing. There is no doubt in my mind that the improvements in medicine over the next ten years will surpass what we have seen in the past 100 years.
Equally intriguing but much more entertaining is Digital Fortress by Dan Brown. To call it a techno-thriller is an understatement. It is riveting and chilling from the first page to the last. I could not put it down. Like The Da Vince Code, you will question how plausible some of the happenings are and you may question the validity of the details of the inner workings of the NSA. The core theme of the book has to do with one of my favorite topics, cryptography. After designing a computer that could break any encryption, the NSA found itself hostage to the technology. Highly recommended read.
Stories from the "favorites" category of patrickWeb
Healthcare and IBM
The Intellectual Property briefing by IBM on May 2 in Greenwich was extremely interesting and I hated to leave a bit early but there was an overlap with another briefing down the road in Stamford, Connecticut -- this one about healthcare. IBM's healthcare and life sciences business is huge with 4,000 employees and revenues in the U.S. alone that would put it well into the Fortune 500. The company counts as customers 8 of the top 12 hospitals and all of the top 30 pharmaceutical companies. What has really put IBM on the healthcare map is last year's acquisition of Healthlink, which brought with it 400 top healthcare consultants. The insight of the consultants plus the smorgasbord of IBM technology has put the company on a mission -- to be a major factor in creating "Transformed Healthcare".
IBM's vision is significant -- to build patient-centric information systems, shared health and wellness management systems, and integrated networks to pull it all together among the payers, the providers, and the patients. Many of the benefits are obvious but some are more subtle. Payer insurance companies may be transformed from claims processors to wellness concierges. Smoother workflow and process optimization due to better integration and access to information can lead to improved quality, fewer errors and lower healthcare costs.
IBM has a vested interest in becoming the leader at these things because it has a half-million employees and retirees. Their Global Health and Wellness program is a partner in developing solutions for clients and may itself become a model. The company not only has a wealth of information at the intranet web portal but also enables an electronic health record into which employees enter their personal information which is then supplemented by automatic updating from claim and pharmacy data. The company also provides incentives to exercise and stay healthy. As a result, IBM's labor cost is significantly lower than industry averages.
The conference was attended by several dozen healthcare software vendors and various industry experts, including more than a half-dozen physicians. Most of the discussions revolved around the notion of "Patient centric" -- connecting healthcare information about patients with insurers and healthcare providers for the benefit of the patient. The key to make all this work is standards and they will evolve through Regional Health Information Organizations (RHIO) and a National Health Information Network (NHIN). The RHIO includes consumers, hospitals, labs, pharmacies, payers, public health offices, and physicians. Progress is being made. A presentation was made by John Blair, MD, who is CEO of Taconic Healthcare Information Network, a RHIO just west of the Hudson River. They have connected practices, hospitals, labs and payers and have developed standardized electronic health records, e-mail access to physicians, and e-prescriptions. The NHIN has asked four IT companies to work on interconnection of the RHIO's. Part of IBM's NHIN architecture will be based on royalty-free health care information systems patents (discussed in the IP meeting earlier that day) which give priority access to requests for patient information coming from emergency rooms vs. routine office requests.
From a purely heath point of view, the biggest transformation will come from information based medicine that bridges healthcare and life sciences. Molecular level understanding of disease is being made possible, in part by supercomputers such as BlueGene, and the result will be the development of targeted drugs. In other words, based on a DNA sample and genomic analysis, a diagnosis and treatment can be based on our individual medical history and genetic predispositions. Whole new fields are opening up including pre-emptive medicine, pharmacogenomics and clinical decision intelligence. A small device the size of a cell phone can take a sample of your blood and determine your rate of metabolism which in turn affects how much of a drug you need to provide optimal results. It will soon be possible to predict the likelihood of a person getting something deadly but yet preventable.
Advanced analytics are beginning to provide the ability to run complex algorithms to answer complex questions. For example, there is a 100 page document that provides guidelines on how to perform a particular surgical procedure. It is based on the "average" person. Nobody is average so would it be nice to be able to have a system which can provide specific recommendations based on many variables that are particular to an individual -- providing the surgeon with a "how to" guide unique to each patient.
Molecular Profiling Institute is creating tools for genomic and proteomic profiling and treatment of cancers. Seventy of our 40,000 genes can predict breast cancer accurately. Dr. Robert Penny showed incredible examples. A particular gene that is missing or not working can tell the cause of a particular disease and a drug that can attack that specific gene can fix it and the patient can be cured. This is called "jumping diseases" -- using a cure for disease xyz to treat disease abc. Dr. Penny showed before and after images of a dying cancer patient. After the application of a drug that attacked the targeted gene, the cancer disappeared. It gave the audience a lump in their throats.
There are many new issues arising along with the breakthroughs. For example, being able to know you have high odds of getting xyz disease for which there is no prevention and no cure after getting it, is questionable. The trend from physician centric to payer centric to patient centric is accelerating. It is likely that what will be accomplished in the next ten years will be vastly more than what has been accomplished in the last one hundred.
Other patrickWeb healthcare related stories
Hell freezes over: Consumer Report likes the Mac
Consumer Report (as reported in MacWorld
) gives Apple high marks for tech support satisfaction and hardware reliability: "In this atmosphere of low expectations, Apple Computer has actually raised its support satisfaction for the desktop computers over the past three years to levels well above all competitors, while offering the most reliable desktop hardware." While I'm not the biggest fanof Consumer Report because I don't shop in "best value" mode and I find their ratings always seem a bit utilitarian, not understanding the emotional aspects of product design
, it is nevertheless good to see Apple get some well deserved credit. CR was also wise to noticethe pervasiveness of viruses and spyware on PCs versus the Mac.
At this point, most of the people I interact with are on Macs (a huge change in the last 3 years), even my parents are going back and dumping their PC. If you're considering a new PC purchase, take some time to look into the Mac, once you make the commitment you'll never look back.read more:
Head First Design Patterns #1 O'Reilly bookHead First Design Patterns
has finished the week as the top selling book at O'Reilly. Of the top 20 O'Reilly books, the Head First series has captured four of the top spots (not too shabby considering there are ONLY four Head First books). read more:
Violin Concerto CD selected CD of the year by critic
The music critic Ivan March has selected the new Alan Bush Claudio CD as his Critic's choice of the year in Gramophone Magazine, December 2002.In the November 2002 issue he reviews both the Claudio CD, which features the Violin Concerto
, and Chamber Music Volume 1 by the Summerhayes Trio.He says of both discs "I cannot recommend them too highly".
MusicWeb also has two other reviews of the Claudio CD, both very favourable.
Rob Barnett's review can be seen at:
Peter Grahame Woolf's review can be seen at:
There is also a review in the orchestral section of International Record Review, December 2002.
Listen to tracks from the Claudio CD
The Violin Concerto CD can be purchased from Claudio Records
Also on MusicWeb, Chamber Music Vol. 1 was featured as recording of the month for November 2002.
See the review by Rob Barnett at:www.musicweb.uk.net/classrev/2002/Dec02
There are other reviews of the CD in International Record Review (December 2002) by Piers Burton-Page and BBC Music Magazine (December 2002) by Michael Oliver.
Piers Burton-Page writes "...a superb CD...these new recordings of his chamber music, convincingly played, excellently engineered and attractively presented...should be on everyone's shopping list".
Michael Oliver says "There is very little British Chamber Music of the Thirties that approaches the intensity, passionate eloquence and intellectual rigour of his Concert Piece, very little from the Forties that can be compared with his Three Concert Studies for exciting economical power and an expressiveness all the more profound for its restraint".
Listen to tracks from Chamber Music Volume 1 read more:
Chamber Music Volume 1 can be purchased from Crotchet Records
HTML Special Characters
I have been fumbling with HTML special characters recently and couldn't find many of them in one place. On this page I put together almost all that I found useful of them.read more:
Just me, HTML and Windows
Have you ever been in a situation when you just need to correct an error or a mistake on a web page but you are nowhere near to your usual trusted workstation?
If you ever hand-coded your web pages, or even web application scripts such as ASP or PHP, you don't really need any extra software installed. On Windows box, for a quick job of updating a web page you can just make do with what already installed on Windows out of the box.read more:
Web Design & Development>
Web development incorporates all areas of creating a Web site for the World Wide Web. This includes Web design (graphic design, XHTML, CSS, usability and semantics), programming, content management, marketing, testing and deployment. The term can also specifically be used to refer to the "back end", that is, programming and server administration.
ref: Wikipedia: Web Developmentread more:
Web Site Maintenance
When web site is published on the Internet, the web site need to be monitored, evaluated, reviewed and updated. Maintenance of a web site starts with the owners intention to publish a web site, then it focus on its users needs, habits and preference, which is why the web site is published in the first place, to give its visitors useful information. A web site also promotes image and reputation of its owner whether it is a company, a brand name, a product or service, an individual or a community. Having to stumble into an out-dated information on a web site will, more often than not, frustrate a visitor. An out-of-date web site, be it for its content or design speaks for itself about its owner.read more:
The Concept Behind CSS
The concept behind CSS (a.k.a. cascading style sheets or style sheets) is really simple.CSS allows you to create a single document of code, similar to an HTML file,that lets you specify the colors, fonts, backgrounds, etc. of a web page.The CSS file is then linked to from the web page(s) thatyou want to have the same styles that you specify.read more:
Image and Online Success and The Importance of Good Design
Having a good looking site isn't everything but definitely crucial in the overall scheme when branding your company.read more:
Let's Design A Website That Sells
Designing a website to market you products on the Internetread more:
Latest Web Design Articles at ArticleGeek.com
Read the latest Web Design Articles from ArticleGeek.comread more:
Plasticpilots: News from all Over
Alex has a nice interface here, that aggregates news from a number of design related sites (many of which have resources listed here). He also has a program that features well-designed sites, one anyone can submit entries too. Lots of great stuff at PP.read more:
You are Nothing without High-Quality Content
Your webpages need high-quality content. Remember the dread of writing that 20 page research paper in high school? Although you don't need 20 single...read more:
Want a Simple Way to Save Time and Money?
Save money and time by adding a Frequently Asked Questions page to your website. I absolutely love how Rachel McApline describes how having a website...read more:
A Goal for Every Page
Get specific. And stick to it. I know we have spoken a lot about strategy and goals lately, but I can't stress how important it is to have a focus for...read more:
Client and Designer Roles in Web Design
Clients and web designers must understand their individual roles in making sure that a website will succeed. For a website to be effective, the business...read more:
SERPs dying? Get Real.
Are the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page) dying? I recently read the article "Is the SERP going extinct" on Bruce Clay's Blog and it really...read more:
Alternative content, mainstream web design practices.read more:
A great design with a great foundation.read more:
This just in: standards-oriented design continues to speed sites, increase intelligence. Bonzer!read more:
Nice design, decent markup. Somebday ought to put this one in a CSS vault.read more:
First the microsoft.com home page, and now MSN. What next?read more:
Standards-oriented design: not a hard choice at all.read more:
Web Standards Workshop
A straightforward, yet very effective overview of Web standards. Covers markup, HTML and XHTML, semantics, accessibility, and CSS (in great detail). An excellent place to start your journey towards modern Web design best practices, highly recommended.read more:
W3 Compliant Sites
If your design meets W3C standards by using semantic and valid markup, separates presentation from structure and content, and incorporates accessibility features, then submit it here to be listed with other developers who have gone the extra mile.read more:
The Weekly Standards
There are plenty of Web design and development sites out there, both personal and professional, with clean, structured markup and standards-based designs. But how often do you see corporate sites doing this? This site showcases a few each month.read more:
Digital Web: Standards
Contributed articles by many recognized design and development professionals.read more:
Web Standards Awards
The Web Standards Awards aims to promote Web site design using W3C standards by seeking out and highlighting the finest standards-compliant sites on the Internet.read more:
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
These guidelines explain how to make Web content accessible to people with disabilities. The guidelines are intended for all Web content developers (page authors and site designers) and for developers of authoring tools.read more:
This free screen reader extension for Firefox is a whole lot easier to install than Fire Vox. There are no options settings, and unlike unlike Fire Vox, chunks of text are not highlighted and page elements are not identified as text is being read.read more:
Skills for Access
If this site isn't a testament to beautiful design, and advocating, demonstrating and teaching accessibility, then I don't know of a better example. Also covers multimedia accessibility: Flash, Shockwave and external viewers. Great resource, thanks RJ.read more:
Digital Web: Accessibility
Contributed articles by various recognized design, usability and accessibility professionals.read more:
Building Accessible Websites
An online serialization of the classic book on accessible Web site design.read more:
Designing and Understanding Accessible WWW Pages
You Searched for
The 5 first steps for designing accessible Web sites. Those who design and construct web sites can do a great deal to ensure universal access to their sites.read more:
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