Archive for March, 2008

Why Postel’s Law is awesome

Caveat: Web standards are good. Everyone knows this. Without standards we’d have anarchy, or anyway we’d be stuck in the late 90s, trying to implement as many versions of our webpages as there are browsers. In my opinion, this does not at all mean that Postel’s law is wrong.

Be conservative in what you send, liberal in what you accept.

Lets start by taking a step back. What made the internet into the thing it is today? What makes it so appealing for so many people, all over the world? I’m willing to venture some of these things had something to do with it: free content, diversity of content, breadth or scope of content, and ease of access to that content. The internet is SO amazing because it is so diverse, and so immense, and so incredibly huge.

Sure, technology is cool. I personally find all the latest trends in programming to be really cool. But the technology that runs the internet is just one very narrow slice of content. It’s no lie: Content is king.

Now why is the internet so huge? How come there is so much content? Well, the answer to that is Postel’s law. Or rather, the answer to that is that early browser developers adopted Postel’s law. Because they made it easy enough to put stuff on the internet that pretty much anybody can do it. And they did do it! And that’s why the internet is so fucking awesome!

Can you imagine how much more frustrating web content creation would be if you saw errors every time you fucked up some html? Yes, for those of us who are web development professionals, it can occasionally be frustrating when the browser doesn’t tell you what you’re doing wrong… but this is an argument for better debugging tools, not for stricter html. I mean, do you really think debugging should be turned on by default? Hell fucking no!!! I know I laugh whenever I see backend error messages on a webpage. Fucking amateurs!

So IMHO it’s only fitting that each new version of a browser, or each new version of a web standard brings with it new pains and frustrations for those of us in the web development profession. After all, it’s our job to make sure this stuff works… We get paid the big bucks for those pixel perfect designs!

But if the browser developers are doing their jobs right (and damn straight the standards people better be doing their jobs right), content creation should only ever get easier. After all, it’s what makes the interweb such an amazingly awesome thing.

New Dune

New Dune: HUH!?

Joel on software has lost all my respect.

I have really enjoyed, or at least learned from Joel Spolsky (from Joel on Software) in the past. But his latest article has me wondering if he isn’t a M$ weenie (and a dickhead).

I don’t link to stuff that I don’t like, so I’m intentionally leaving the inspiration for this post unlinked. The name of the article was “Martian Headsets”, I’m sure you can find it if you want. If someone hadn’t sent this out at work today, it wouldn’t even necessitate a response, but they did, and I now feel the need to comment on how much I do not appreciate his bullshit rant.

I guess the thing that most pisses me off is that he’s actually trying to incite the very flame war that he “predicts” in his article. His main strategy seems to be making us all out to be at one end of two extremes. There are two kinds of web developer (or perhaps browser developer): “Idealists” and “Pragmatists”. He’s implying that pro-standard means anti-backward compatibility. He’s also implying that pro-pragmatism means anti-standards. Neither of these are even remotely true.

Anyway, the article is written with a very subtle sympathy for microsoft. The bulk of the article consists of a long-winded and misleading analogy involving martian mp3 players. (M$ is supposed to be the developer of these mp3 players, which are supposed to represent IE8.) Initially they make the players, and also the headphones. (In the analogy, the headphones are webpages.) So you can see right away how stupid his analogy is… if we “buy” this analogy, then at some point, M$ was somehow the sole browser developer, and they also developed all the webpages. He just keeps piling more and more shit onto this analogy, trying to sell us on this idea that the more webpage developers and browser makers there are, the harder it is for M$ to write a decent product. Oh, poor microsoft!

Jason and I have had many “schemes” over the years. Many of them have involved comic books, and this is the third iteration of But this one may be the first one to actually succeed. Why do I think so? One reason: It’s easy. We’re basically just going to blog about comics. Can’t get much easier than that. We’re going to write reviews, both off the cuff mini blog-form reviews, and also (later) more thorough and thought-out “review” type reviews. For right now, we’re just trying to get some momentum going. We’d like to have everyone we know posting their thoughts and opinions about comics on Hey, that means you!

nature of self and stereotypes

Chris has written an incredibly well thought-out blog post about stereotypes, and I ended up writing quite a bit in the comments. You should follow the link above and read his post first. (Or just hit the link below to read just my comments.)

Continue reading ‘nature of self and stereotypes’

Go Team Clockwork!

Watch the F1 youtube video.