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WebWeaver's World



A blog about my passions. May include some or all of the following: geek stuff (web design & development, CSS, accessibility, usability), environmental activism, my adopted home of New Zealand ('cos it's so totally wonderful), international &a



Updated: 2017-12-20T01:42:18.300+13:00

 



The day it snowed in Wellington

2011-08-15T22:43:34.134+12:00

What a great day it's been! Actually, what a great couple of days - snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow! In Wellington! How crazy is that? By the time we finished band practice last night it was snowing in downtown Wellington - big fat wobbly flakes of snow that reduced most of us to 6-year-olds as we pranced around outside enjoying every cold moment of it. Hazel and I went to Alice's house for tea (we threw snowballs at Hamish on the way which was very funny) and when it was time for me to drive home it was a veritable blizzard. It was completely surreal driving carefully through the quiet streets as the snow whirled around my car like a swarm of angry white bees - something I don't think I've experienced since I was a student in the UK about a million years ago. Here are a couple of pictures taken from my house last night: Street lights illuminating the whirling snow A wider view of the snow-clad valley Yesterday's MetService 3-day snow warning for Wellington - saved for posterity This morning I was very excited to see that some of last night's snow was still there - not much - but it was definitely snow! Too cool.... I thought that was snow on the hills last night - but it was too dark to tell - daylight brings clarity, and I never imagined I'd ever see our little hills with a dusting of the white stuff! A teeny bit of snow in my back garden this morning Snow on the Rimutakas I was in town today - and I'm so glad I was because - not content with giving us a bit of a blizzard last night - it decided to do it all over again today! Obligatory picture of me in the snow Snow on Taranaki Street @stephenfry tweeted about all of us going nuts in the Wellington snow: And then he tweeted that the whole country was losing the plot: Bless! And someone called Ro Tierney made the most beautiful video of snow on Cuba Mall (and how happy it makes people feel). LOVE IT: src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/27709878?title=0&byline=0&portrait=0" width="400" height="225" frameborder="0">Snow on Cuba Mall in central Wellington (HD) from Ro Tierney on Vimeo. I love the way that weird and wonderful natural events bring out the best in people - our inner child was on full display today. The girl waiting at the bus stop this morning gave me a huge smile as I approached and told me how much she loved my coat (crazy purple felted hippy coat from Sweden). When it began to snow this morning everyone raced to the windows to look, and then raced outside to take photos and dance around catching snowflakes on their sleeves. The bus driver this evening was giving us all a running commentary and making sure he told everyone the route had changed 'cos the hill up to Karori was too steep and snowy for the buses to get up. By the time I got home it was nearly dark, but I got a few shots of my street in the dusky snow-light. Lovely! Snowy street, snowy cars Snowy street looking down the valley Winter wonderland Snow-clad cabbage tree My back garden - with somewhat more snow than there was this morning Yup - for a once-in-50-years experience - this one has been pretty special. Maybe it'll do it all again tomorrow! Fingers crossed! Technorati tags: Wellington, snow, New Zealand, snowing, Ro Tierney, video, Vimeo, YouTube, Stephen Fry, @stephenfry, twitter, tweet, weather, snow at sea-level, photos, pictures, winter, WebWeaver's World, webweaver.[...]



Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2 - Snape's true character

2011-07-17T02:11:28.146+12:00

I went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2 on Thursday (opening night). Woweee! Completely awesome - there were tears pouring down my face for a full half-hour during the movie. Talk about epic! I HAVE to see it again on the big screen real soon.Snape's "revelations in the pensive" scene reminded me that I wrote a post on a message board on 25 July 2005, the day after I finished reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. You'll recall that Dumbledore dies at the hand of Severus Snape at the end of that book. This is what I wrote. I reckon I was pretty close, don't you?Oooh ohh! I just finished reading it last night too! I cried at the end too. I just didn't see that coming at all. Oh boy.OK. Here are my thoughts. Apologies in advance at the length of them. Once I got started I just couldn't stop.... It's mostly about Snape ‘cos I find him fascinating.... *g*I don't think Snape is a Death Eater. I think he's DEEP under cover and he has to stay that way. Voldemort is the most powerful dark wizard evah. He's equal in power to Dumbledore - pure evil vs pure good. Dumbledore wouldn't have been able to defeat Voldemort - of course, that's Harry's job - but I also think that he decided long ago that a double agent - a hidden enemy - would be much more likely to be able to weaken Voldemort in some unexpected way than he (Dumbledore) ever could. Thereby allowing Harry to finish off Voldemort at the end of book 7.Did you notice when Snape was talking to Bellatrix and Narcissa about Malfoy's task that he never actually said anything specific until they had already mentioned it? He talks in very general terms - or says nothing at all - and lets Narcissa spill (some of) the beans herself. This makes me think that he doesn't know what the plan is at that stage, but wants to find out - and needs to keep under cover, whatever the price. That's why he agrees to the Unbreakable Vow - and why he twitches his hand when Narcissa puts in the final bit about doing the job should Malfoy fail. Because obviously he doesn't want to agree to that, but has to, or his cover will be blown.So throughout the book we have Snape trying to find out from Malfoy what his task is - and Malfoy refusing to tell, thinking that Snape wants all the glory for himself. Snape has figured out that Malfoy has to kill Dumbledore - Malfoy says that Snape guessed it was him with the necklace and was angry about the fact that it could have "blown everything". Dumbledore also tells Malfoy that he had figured out he was trying to kill him. But Snape doesn't know details, and I think it's these that he's been trying to get out of Malfoy. I think that Snape and Dumbledore would have discussed it, thought through all the consequences of the Unbreakable Vow - and would have come up with a plan. The problem was, Malfoy never told Snape about the Vanishing Cabinets, and so Snape would have had no way of knowing that there would be other Death Eaters at the school that night - which kind of complicated things for him.And once again Trelawney sees it coming in the cards. Cool.OK. So they both know Malfoy has to kill Dumbledore. They both know that he may not be able to do it. In which case, Snape will have to do it for him. If he doesn't, his cover will be blown - oh, and he would die anyway, for breaking the Unbreakable Vow. Dumbledore believes that, in the end, Snape will be of more use to Harry than he (Dumbledore) could be. He's always looking at the bigger picture, and I reckon he knows he must sacrifice himself in order for ultimate good to triumph over ultimate evil. Dumbledore makes sure that he gets the whole story from Malfoy before he dies - and that Harry is forced to stay where he is so he hears it all too. There's obviously stuff in there which Harry will need to know in book 7. I think Dumbledore is telling the truth when he tells Malfoy that he couldn't have spoken to him about his task, in case Voldemort used Legilimancy on Malfoy. But I think that's as much to do with maintaining Snape's cover as protecting Malfoy.[...]



On the British class system and travelling First Class

2010-12-26T11:36:50.921+13:00

It's an odd thing travelling First Class on Britain's trains. For a start, hardly anyone else does it, so you'd be virtually guaranteed a seat even if you didn't reserve one. The rest of the train can be completely packed - and has been on all the train journeys I've taken so far - and First Class remains more than half-empty, its passengers sitting in splendid isolation at the front of the train.What I find most interesting is the attitude of those travelling Second Class (or whatever it's called these days). It's as if there's a barrier between First and Second which almost no-one is willing to breach when holding a Second Class ticket. They can be standing in the aisles in Second - and frequently are - but it's as if First doesn't exist, or has been rendered invisible for the duration of the journey. When I lived in England I would never have dreamed of going First Class on the train. First class was for other people - not that we knew any, or expected to. Those other people were posh people, rich people, probably upper class people. Being middle middle class myself, I don't think I ever met anyone who went First Class. We all crammed into Second like sardines, and if we didn't win the mad dash to get on the train first and grab a seat we'd be standing up for the duration of the journey or sitting on our suitcases next to the doors and trying not to get bowled over as people got on or off. No question of transferring to First though. Crikey! The very thought!I think the fact that I've lived in New Zealand for nearly 20 years - where the class system is virtually non-existent - means that I have finally overcome my inbuilt (inbred?) inability to consider travelling First. But old habits die hard, and even now it does feel a bit odd. Bringing mum down from Birmingham to Cambridge on the train yesterday was an illuminating experience. "We're in First Class" I loudly proclaimed to any and all railway officials who came within earshot - as if this would somehow bestow special powers or privilege on us - which perhaps it did. Or maybe all British Rail employees are as kind as the ones we encountered - or possibly it was mum's influence that inspired them all to be incredibly helpful and thoughtful.Mum was a bit horrified that I'd bought us First Class tickets. I could almost hear the unspoken commentary. "We don't travel First Class! It's not for the likes of us!" But Oh My God how much better it is to travel First with a reserved seat. No need to panic about having to fight for somewhere to park ourselves for the duration, we just make our way down to the front of the train. Once there the kindly station attendant helps me to leap mum across the yawning gap between platform and train (it's HUGE in Birmingham) and there we are - seats with our names on, and nothing to worry about. I found it fascinating to watch the other passengers stuck just outside our door in the entrance to Second Class. Out of the hundred or so people jammed into Second, only two decided to upgrade to First. With much apologetic mumbling two people ventured into First and sat down. "Gosh the train's so full.... I hope it's not too expensive to upgrade.... I'll pay...." It was as if one is only allowed into First if there's absolutely no possibility of a seat in Second - and then only on sufferance - because of course they are most definitely not supposed to be there - not being the Right Kind Of People. You'd think that more people would do it. It's so infinitely better in First - simply because of the space and guarantee of a seat. But they just don't. One other enterprising person was brave enough to stow their suitcase on the luggage shelves in our carriage - and would pop in now and again to get stuff out or put stuff away - but everyone else just stuck it out in Second - beyond those magical automatic doors.For some reason no-one came to check our tickets - maybe it was the bad weather, or maybe they don't always have a ticket checker on this particular train - which meant that the two brave [...]



Pike River

2010-11-24T18:22:08.494+13:00

Philip Larkin - The Explosion

On the day of the explosion
Shadows pointed towards the pithead.
In the sun the slagheap slept.

Down the lane came men in pitboots
Coughing oath-edged talk and pipe-smoke,
Shouldering off the freshened silence.

One chased after rabbits; lost them;
Came back with a nest of lark's eggs;
Showed them; lodged them in the grasses.

So they passed in beards and moleskins,
Fathers, brothers, nicknames, laughter,
Through the tall gates standing open.

At noon, there came a tremor; cows
Stopped chewing for a second; sun,
scarfed as in a heat-haze, dimmed.

The dead go on before us, they
Are sitting in God's house in comfort,
We shall see them face to face -


Plain as lettering in the chapels
It was said, and for a second
Wives saw men of the explosion

Larger than in life they managed -
Gold as on a coin, or walking
Somehow from the sun towards them,

One showing the eggs unbroken.

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Why I will be attending the Rally of Hope to support filming of "The Hobbit" in New Zealand

2010-10-25T03:55:35.243+13:00

I'm a strong believer in Unions and workers rights in general. Many of the rights we have as working people today are thanks to the sterling efforts of Unionists around the globe who fought for better conditions and better pay. We have a great deal to thank them for.However, I also believe in having a decent strategy when you're fighting for change, and I think it's vital to pick your battles carefully. Choosing to use the nuclear option at a very early stage by attempting to hold a multi-million dollar corporation to ransom when you have no aces in your hand is a risky strategy at best - and at worst (as we have seem with the whole Hobbit debacle) it can come back and bite you in the ass - hard. It can also put the jobs of many of your fellow workers in jeopardy - and if you're on the side of the working stiff, as the Equity actors claim to be - surely that should also include the film crew, the pre- and post-production teams, the extras, the support staff and everyone else involved in or affected by the trickle-down effect of shooting (or not shooting) a $500 million movie in New Zealand?Tomorrow the Warner Brothers executives will be here to hold emergency talks about the future of The Hobbit in New Zealand. They will be deciding on whether to spend their money here, whether to employ our incredibly talented and experienced film crews here, and ultimately they will be deciding whether or not we will be able to keep our unique title of "Middle-earth".Do I wish that they didn't have that level of power over so many Kiwis' livelihoods? Yes of course - but the fact is, they do - and I'm hoping that a strong turnouts at the nationwide Rally of Hope to support filming of "The Hobbit" in New Zealand will serve to show Warner Brothers how much the people of New Zealand support Peter Jackson's wish to film The Hobbit here, and how hard we'll work to make sure that it happens. I hope you'll join me.Facebook Group here - Rally to support filming of "The Hobbit" in New Zealand:RALLIES FOR ALL NEW ZEALANDERS, Industry & public on Labour Day Monday, 12.30 for 1pm-2pm!These POSITIVE rallies of support are timed to coincide with the visit of Warner Bros. movie executives to discuss moving The Hobbit away from NZ. We're going to show them that we like them, we want The Hobbit filmed here and we SUPPORT Sir Peter.These rallies will also emphasize the points other groups like film techs intend to make in the national media to influence Warners.They are NOT protests against certain groups.Invite ALL of your friends!!!"Is the movie going to come or go? We don't know. Warners are coming here next Monday and we've got to fight like hell,"Sir Peter Jackson.Here are my placards:LOTR Oscars: 17Premiere of ROTK: 120,000 peopleAwesome NZ locations: 268,021 km2Skilled & experienced crew: thousandsKeeping The Hobbit in NZ: priceless New ZealandisMiddle-earth...these are cool too - people from all over the world are sending in video messages of support - if you can't make it to one of the rallies, you can do the same. More info on how to contribute a video here - Calling for Video Support! and view all the videos here - videosforclip's Channel.Excellent series of questions and answers from actor Yvette Reid here - A NZ actor emailed me asking some questions about the Hobbit situation, here are my answersThe most recent Hobbit thread on Public Address - Hard News: Anatomy of a ShamblesHope to see you at the Rally of Hope!Technorati tags: The Hobbit, Warner Brothers, Rally of Hope, New Zealand, movie, YouTube, Facebook, Public Address, Yvette Reid, Tolkein, WebWeaver's World, webweaver.[...]



The demise of Paul Henry and the rise of racism in New Zealand

2010-10-11T23:13:01.707+13:00

When I first arrived in New Zealand 18 years ago I felt I had found the most beautiful place on the planet. And not just beautiful on the outside, but beautiful on the inside as well. The people were warm, friendly, and helpful. It was like walking into Paradise. Kiwis would pick you up on the site of the road when you were hitching and sometimes drive miles out of their way to take you where you needed to go, or they'd invite you back to their place to stay the night and take you to your destination in the morning. At the dairy when you asked for an ice cream cone you'd get at least three scoops of ice cream instead of the mean little half-scoop one would expect back in the UK, and they always served you with a smile and a bit of friendly conversation.I always used to say that New Zealand felt like it was set back in time by about 50 years. Back to a time when people had enough time to be nice to each other, where the pace of life was slower and where attitudes were positive, enthusiastic and generous.I spent the first few years of my new life as a Kiwi bathed in that same kind of positivity. I joined an African drumming group in Wellington, and when we decided to branch out and start our own percussion-based world music ensemble, Many Hands, I was amazed at the number of people who thought it was a fabulous idea and were only too happy to get involved and help us make things happen. "That'd never happen in England" I used to think to myself. "In England they're all 'ooohhhh no, can't do that, more-than-my-job's-worth, never been done before', whereas in NZ it's all 'wow cool idea, can I get involved, can I help, let me be a part of this'. It's wonderful!"Same thing happened when I started organising dance parties and then got involved with The Gathering. All these amazing creative people jumping on board to help, people doing stuff for free because they loved the concept, all of us working together on TheG to make magic out of nothing, and all the Gatherers becoming the best that they could possibly be the moment they entered the sacred space of Canaan Downs. But over the years I've seen I've my rose-tinted specs becoming more and more battered and damaged. The horrific levels of child abuse in this country, the anti-smacking bill backlash from Kiwis who appeared to feel it was their God-given right to hit their children, the awful statistics related to domestic violence of all kinds, our casual and brutal propensity to torture animals for fun - all these things have puzzled and deeply saddened me in this beautiful country I now call home.The last couple of weeks have only served to damage my rose-tinted view of New Zealand still further.I come from a country where racism was tolerated, where for many people it was the normal way to be. My dad was racist, and my sister and I spent many years fighting with him, arguing with him, and swearing at him across the dinner table (it was the one thing guaranteed to get a reaction from my parents). The level of intolerance shown by many people in the UK towards those different (in any way) from themselves was one aspect (out of many) that I despised in my fellow countrymen, and was one of the reasons that I eventually decided I no longer wanted to be English.Somehow I thought it would be different here. That the intolerance and casual racism I saw in the UK was not a part of the Kiwi psyche at all, and that (for the most part) it didn't exist in New Zealand. I thought we were better than that. How wrong I was. How naïve.It's bad enough that TVNZ has appeared to encourage Paul Henry's spectacularly offensive behaviour over the last however-long he's been on Breakfast for the sake of ratings. It's bad enough that the man has been able to get away with offensive remarks about women, the elderly, homosexuality, Hispanics, Indians, Susan Boyle, families in the developing world, the treatment of prisoners in Afghanistan - always people "differen[...]



Wellington Batucada at the All Blacks game

2010-07-24T19:31:12.809+12:00

It's very industrial underneath Westpac Stadium - all concrete pillars and not much lighting to speak of. Somehow, when I was imagining us playing at the All Blacks vs Springboks tri-nations match last week I was picturing it being quite dimly-lit on the field as well, so it was a bit of a shock as we walked around the corner and could see the far end of the player's tunnel in front of us, with the field and thousands of yellow seats beyond. I'd forgotten there'd be floodlights! It was brighter than a very bright thing out there! Crikey!We gathered in formation on the edge of the field just in front of the tunnel, Tim gave the signal to begin, and we began our parade.The next 30 minutes went by in a flash. I remember concentrating my entire focus on Tim and on my caixa. I was dimly aware of players warming up on the field next to us, but I barely looked at them - I was so engrossed in the music and making sure I was playing my patterns properly. I remember the slightly muddy grass beneath my feet (it had been raining all day), and trying not to trip over the myriad of TV cables spread across our path. I remember the crowd (not massive an hour before kick-off, but not too shabby) and how much they enjoyed our playing, and I remember the beat of our drums echoing around the stadium.As we finished each piece with a flourish, the crowd near where we were playing cheered and clapped (and we cheered and clapped back at them), and then we'd be onto the next piece, marching in time to the music as we played. At one point a commentator placed himself and his camera crew directly ahead of us, the big camera light was switched on, and he began to talk to camera. At the time I couldn't believe that his mike would be able to pick up his voice at all - we were only about 10 feet behind him, and boy, were we loud - but sure enough through the wonders of modern technology they were able to hear him loud and clear - and see us as we marched behind him, big grins on all our faces as we passed by.OK so he called us Batucada Sound Machine (our director Darren's samba band) instead of Wellington Batucada, but never mind - at least he referred to us!Here we are:We continued on our merry way as a fine misty rain began to fall, and made it around half the field in half an hour, leaving by the tunnel opposite the one we'd come in on. A final flourish, played exclusively for the guys hanging out having a fag on the upper walkway, and we were done. It seemed like only 5 minutes since we'd begun playing.As we were driven back out of the stadium in our bus we passed by the thousands of fans still arriving at the gates - and we were so energised that it was pretty hard to stop ourselves leaping out and playing an impromptu gig for them all.What a great night!When I got back home and watched the match build-up on MySky I was amazed how loud we were. The poor old commentators in their glass box up in the Gods seemed to be having a bit of difficuly concentrating on what they were saying half the time - I think we must have been marching directly beneath their commentary box - and I really hope we didn't put them off. Maybe next time (crossing fingers that there's a next time!) they'll get us to march around the opposite side of the field so our drumbeats aren't carried quite so effectively into that little glass box. We shall see...Oh - and of course the All Blacks played an absolute stormer of a game and hammered the Springboks by a pretty wide margin for the second time in a row - Phew! Glad we didn't hex 'em with our playing! Go the All Blacks! Technorati tags: Wellington Batucada, Batucada, All Blacks, Springboks, tri-nations, rugby, Wellington, Westpac Stadium, samba, caixa, WebWeaver's World, webweaver.[...]



Government backs down on mining our National Parks

2010-07-21T15:40:54.113+12:00

WE DID IT!I'm doing a Snoopy Happy Dance here at home, after the government today announced they were backing down on their plans to mine our National Parks.Looks like I'm not going to have to chain myself to the bulldozers after all. Well, not right this minute, anyway.Thank God there's someone in the National Party who's able to see that they got it really, really wrong - and that it would be political suicide to continue with their plans in the face of such enormous opposition. Mind you, that person is most definitely not Gerry Brownlee - spinning the announcement madly this evening by saying that this is nothing less than a mandate from the people to go ahead and mine the shit out of the rest of the country instead. Just go ahead and try it, Gerry - and I think in many places you'll find the opposition is just as strong as it was for the Schedule 4 areas.I emailed Gerry Brownlee, John Key and Kate Wilkinson when this whole thing blew up. This is what I said:I am outraged. How dare you???Our National Parks and conservation areas are our taonga. They are what makes us special, and unique, and what many of the tourists who spend $9billion a year here come to see. Not for nothing do our many visitors call New Zealand "the most beautiful place in the world".And you want to dig them up and destroy parts of our precious heritage for ever - in the name of profit - most of which will go to the mining companies? Based on a back-of-the-envelope calculation from a mining industry consultant - and without seeking any advice on the impact of mining on our tourism industry? Unbelievable. You selfish, small-minded, greedy bastards. Yes I'm angry - I'm downright furious. I'm currently listening to Ms Wilkinson ranting on in parliament. My God. If she's the Minister for Conservation, then God help the environment. "Surgical mining"? Is that like 'scientific whaling' by any chance? Don't lie to us - some people may be fooled, but the majority are not - and for many of us, me included - this is our line in the sand. I'm sending you this message from the Forest & Bird website. I joined the organisation yesterday - I've never been a member before - specifically because you are trying to prevent DoC staff from discussing mining with F&B. How pathetic. What are you afraid of? They've revealed nothing that isn't true.In the space of just a few months you have turned me back into a political activist - after 20 years of relative political inactivity. Good for you. I suspect I am not the only one. I also suspect that the passion you have unleashed in those of us who care about our environmental heritage will be far stronger than the vague feelings of greed you have stirred up in those poor deluded fools who actually believe your lies and spin. National and ACT - the parties that know the price of everything and the value of nothing.Prepare for a fight, because that's what you're gonna get. We're not going to let you do this.Back when I wrote that email I didn't know just how much opposition there would actually be. I was hopeful - I knew yer average Kiwi was proud of our beautiful National Parks, and I knew there would be many people who were, like me, outraged at the prospect of parts of them being destroyed for 30 pieces of silver - but I wasn't 100% sure that there'd be enough of an outcry to make them stop. I knew we had to hit them hard and hit them fast - it's much easier to stop plans like these at an early stage than it is to try and stop them when you've reached the chaining-yourself-to-the-bulldozers stage. I will be forever grateful to the Green Party, Forest & Bird, Greenpeace and all the other groups who joined forces under the banner of 2precious2mine - and who all utilised the power of the internet, social networking, online organising and online submission-making to get 47,000 signatures on the Greens' anti-mining petition, 40,000 peop[...]



Glee flash mobs

2010-07-21T15:43:40.596+12:00

I've had a bunch of episodes of Glee piling up on the MySky for ages, and this weekend I've finally gotten around to watching them. I'm almost caught up again. Yay!I don't know how they do it, but I reckon Glee is pretty much the only show where I can be guaranteed to laugh out loud and shed a tear or two in every single episode. It is, simply, delightful.And then I found Glee flash mobs on YouTube. Such fun!Official Seattle Glee Flash Mob Video - Seattle, Westlake:Glee Flash Mob - Grafton Street - Dublin, Ireland:Flash Mob at the Ohio Union 5/3/2010 - The Ohio State University:GLEE - Il FlashMob in Rome:glee flash mob Tel Aviv: All School Assembly Flash Mob (not all Glee, strictly speaking, but I love this cos it's the teachers flashmobbing the students):Technorati tags: Glee, flash mobs, Seattle, Dublin, Ohio State University, Rome, Tel Aviv, All School Assembly, music, musicals, TV shows, YouTube, video, WebWeaver's World, webweaver.[...]



Matt Smith & Orbital - Dr Who theme, Glastonbury 2010

2010-07-09T18:42:09.799+12:00

I'm such a slacker.

I haven't written in my blog for a month - being self-employed really does reduce my life down to a single purpose if I let it. Must.do.better.

Anyway, having been to a total of nine Glastonburys in my time (those were the days!) I have a soft spot for anything related to the Worthy Farm Annual Shindig - so here's my vote for awesomest Glastonbury video evah - Matt Smith & Orbital doing the Dr Who theme, Glastonbury 2010.

Enjoy! It's friggin fantastic!

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And if you want a bit more Glasto Goodness - check out these stunning photos from The Big Picture.

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Cuba Street Carnival

2010-06-05T00:20:18.746+12:00

I remember discussing the Cuba Street Carnival with Chris Morley-Hall, back when it was but a twinkle in his eye.Having been involved with The Gathering for a few years by that point I knew how much effort, blood, sweat and tears it took to create a "happening" out of nothing - how much it took out of you and how long it could take to turn that twinkle of an idea into something real and tangible and successful.I just want to say how much I admire Chris for having taken up the challenge and making the Cuba Street Carnival into the 150,000-people success it had become by 2009.I'm not going to speculate on exactly why the Carnival has hit this bump in the road - the stories and reports don't make sense at the moment - there are obviously some big pieces of info missing, and I hope we get the opportunity to find out more soon.Wellington Batucada, for example, probably wouldn't exist if it weren't for Chris and the Cuba Street Carnival. We originally formed in November 2001 to perform in the Carnival, and we've been a part of it ever since - and in the process have become a part of Wellington's culture in the same way as the Carnival has.Events like the Rugby Sevens, the Cuba Street Carnival, the Wellington Festival of the Arts and the Fringe Festival are some of what makes Wellington such a special place to live. All those wonderful events bring colour and a little bit of magic to our city, and make it a place to be proud of.Each of these events also creates its own little set of ripples in the Wellington pond which further enrich our city. Just as The Gathering inspired a whole generation of DJs and makers of electronica to come out of their bedrooms and into the light of live performance, so events like the Cuba Street Carnival provide a huge number of creative people with a wonderful, joyous, fantabulous excuse to push their creativity and their showmanship to new levels every two years.The Batucada crew, for example, worked every day for two months on our float and our costumes for the 2009 event, and we start rehearsing our performance pieces months before the big day. It's always been a huge part of who we are and what we do.Being a part of the Carnival (and winning the Supreme Award) has positive spin-offs for us too - our beginners' course that followed soon after the Carnival last year had more than three times as many participants as normal, and we've continued to get big numbers to our courses since then as well. We continue to grow and improve, and love what we do - and a lot of that is due to our ongoing participation in the Cuba Street Carnival.Chris can be proud that he has made such a huge contribution to our performing arts culture over the past 10 years, just as we can be proud that our membership of Batucada brings colour to many events in and around the city throughout the year.I'm completely gutted that there won't be another Carnival next year. I'm crossing my fingers and praying that this will be a temporary hiatus and that we'll all be back again with bells on in 2013 (if not sooner!)Technorati tags: Cuba Street Carnival, Chris Morley-Hall, Wellington Batucada, Batucada, samba, carnival, Wellington, carnival cancelled, funding, street party, WebWeaver's World, webweaver.[...]



The sweetest little kitten

2010-04-11T19:37:34.037+12:00

Angela and Alice dropped me home after bookclub on Wednesday night, and as I got out of the car I heard a cat miaowing and miaowing. I looked around under the bushes and saw a little tabby kitten in considerable distress. I hadn't seen him around before. I coaxed him out from his hiding-place and picked him up. Poor little thing. He seemed very happy to see me, so I carried him up the path and before I knew it I was taking him into the house. He was far too young to be left out all alone at night.We went into the laundry and I gave him some of Winnie and Bailey's food, which he devoured with great enthusiasm. It looked as though he hadn't eaten for a while, although he was in very good condition (perhaps a little thin, but his coat was lovely and his paws weren't at all damaged). After he'd finished his dinner I took him into the living room to show him to Winnie and Bailey, who were both sitting on the sofa looking extremely unimpressed by our new visitor. I decided to put him down after a while, but Bailey immediately jumped down and began stalking him, so I picked him up again. This wasn't going to be easy.Eventually I decided to put him in the cat basket, and took him with me into my office while I checked Pets on the Net to see if anyone had lost him. No joy. Winnie and Bailey were hovering around, and every time they came near him he hissed and growled - as did they. He was safe in the basket, but he really didn't like them being near him.After a while it occurred to me that I could let him explore one room, and lock the other cats out so he'd be safe, so I set up food, water and a litter tray in the drawing room and took him in there. He was so sweet. He had a great time exploring, checking out the furniture and looking out of the window, all the while purring like a crazy thing. His purr was bigger than he was! Every so often he'd come back to me and nuzzle against my velvet coat, and then he'd go back into the basket and curl up and purr and purr and purr. I fell in love instantly. I decided he should definitely stay the night, and in the morning I'd canvass the neighbours and see if I could find out who he belonged to.On Thursday I took a bunch of photos of him and then doorknocked in the neighbourhood, looking for his owners. There were lots of kids home for the school holidays - and if anyone knows the location of a wee kitten it's kids - but no-one knew whose he was. So strange. I rang the local vet to see if anyone was looking for him, but no-one was. They suggested I bring him in to see if he was microchipped, so after a fruitless search for his family amongst my neigbours we went for a drive to the vet.No microchip, but they offered to take care of him until his family came to claim him. After Winnie and Bailey's complete lack of enthusiasm I reluctantly decided this was probably the best option, so I left him in their capable hands. That evening I put his photo and description on Pets on the Net, and called the vet to see if anyone had called about him, but no-one had.Since then I've called them every day to see how he's doing, and I popped in for a visit yesterday. Yesterday I also went round the neighbourhoood pasting up FOUND - TABBY KITTEN notices. I figure if anyone's lost him they'll be out looking and a poster is a good way to get their attention.It's so weird. He's the sweetest, friendliest little kitten in the world (the vet reckons he's between 3 and 4 months old). He's in good condition so I don't think he's wandered far from home. He loves people and has obviously been well taken care of so far - so where is his family and why aren't they looking for him?If he was mine I'd be completely frantic by now. It's Sunday night and he's been away from home since Wednesday at least. Maybe his family's on h[...]



Farewell Malcolm McLaren - and thank you

2010-04-10T18:40:18.201+12:00

For me, a teenager living in England in 1976, punk was an entirely British phenomenon at the beginning. We weren't really aware of any American punk bands back then - it seemed to us as though it started in London with the Sex Pistols - and that Malcolm and Vivienne's Sex shop provided (in a massively important way) the "look" that went with the sound.All the bands we loved and pogo'd to and spat at at innumerable gigs in those first two or three years of punk were either English, Irish or Scottish (our discovery of American punks such as The Ramones and Blondie came a couple of years later) - and for us, the clothes were almost as important as the music - and the attitude was equally important.It was the classic teenage rebellion "fuck you if you're over 25" thing - but in addition (and this was something we'd certainly never come across in popular music before) - it was the DIY ethic. The idea that any one of us could pick up a guitar and form a punk band and that it would be good, and joyous, and wonderful, and angry, and rebellious, and political if we wanted it to be - this was an entirely new concept, and one which we all embraced with great enthusiasm.I think Malcolm had a lot to do with fostering and developing this ethic, whether he did it deliberately or not.He lit a fire in those of us at the perfect age to appreciate and adopt all the aspects of punk culture - and what a blaze it was! I'm so incredibly grateful to have had punk as my seminal musical influence. It was a wonderful time to be growing up, and a wonderful soundtrack to my teenage and University years.I can see shadows of that same DIY ethic coming through at many other times of my life - like travelling to the far side of the world straight after University when no-one we had ever met had even considered doing such a thing; eventually coming to live in NZ even though I didn't know a soul when I arrived; forming a world music band in Welli in the 90s; organising dance parties and eventually getting involved in The Gathering; making our own documentary about TheG; even the freelance and contract web design/dev work I do these days - it's all about making things happen yourself and not relying on anyone else to do it for you.I learned when I first went travelling that "you can make anything happen if you want it badly enough" - and although I thought I'd figured that one out for myself, in retrospect I think it was a concept that was already sitting in my brain, planted there by all the punk bands I ever saw, and ever loved.Malcolm McLaren introduced me to the very first of those punk bands, and for that I am extremely grateful.Technorati tags: Malcolm McLaren, punk, Vivienne Westwood, DIY ethic, rebellion, Sex Pistols, tribute, WebWeaver's World, webweaver.[...]



No Mining protest - printable placards

2010-03-30T19:24:59.474+13:00

I've been having a play around making a few placards for tomorrow's No Mining in NZ's National Parks protest. The protest will be outside Parliament from 12.30 to 1.30pm - Tuesday 29 March. Please come if you care about our National Parks.Hope you like the placards. I've put links to the downloadable PDF versions at the end of this post.National: Selling our heritage for 30 pieces of silver:John Key: Why didn't you mention mining during the election campaign? [edited 30/03/10 to add the "John Key" bit at the beginning]No mining in our National Parks:Brownlee's postcard on Eden Park (with a side-by-side comparison of Waihi goldmine and Eden Park):Surgical mining is a big lie - like scientific whaling: [edited 30/03/10 to make BIG LIE bigger]We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children:Downloadable, printable placardsEach PDF consists of five A4 pages - the first is the full slogan so you can see what you're getting. The other four contain a quarter of the slogan each - with an overlap. If you print out all four you can trim them and put them together to make an A2-sized placard. Enjoy!National: Selling our heritage for 30 pieces of silver (PDF, 288KB)John Key: Why didn't you mention mining during the election campaign? (PDF, 388KB)No mining in our National Parks (PDF, 388KB)Brownlee's postcard on Eden Park (PDF, 4.5MB)Surgical mining is a big lie - like scientific whaling (PDF, 260KB)We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children (PDF, 372KB)Technorati tags: No mining, National Parks, protest, demonstration, placards, printable, No Mining in NZ's National Parks, environment, WebWeaver's World, webweaver.[...]



Save Radio NZ! No mining in NZ's National Parks!

2010-03-23T21:28:07.266+13:00

Or... How National And ACT Turned Me Back Into A Political Activist After Many Years Away...In my dim and distant yoof, when I was still English, I was very politically active. I lived in the UK for most of Thatcher's 17-year reign, and my God it was a tough time to be a leftie. I protested on behalf of CND (the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament); marched for Save the Whales; opposed the government's anti-gay legislation Clause 28; cheered Bishop Desmond Tutu when he spoke out in Hyde Park against the South African apartheid regime; welcomed Nelson Mandela to freedom at the huge concert in his honour at Wembley Stadium; demonstrated against the Falklands War and the first Gulf War; and was a local organiser in the Anti-Poll Tax campaign (I was at that riot in London - scary times indeed!).One of the reasons why I finally left the UK was that I was just sick to death of banging my head against what seemed like a brick wall at the time. The day the British people voted the Conservatives in for yet another term (after John Major's coup that dethroned Thatcher as party leader) I was sitting on a little yacht in the Bay of Islands reading the paper and thinking "That's it. I resign. I no longer consider myself to be English. The British people are obviously too bloody stupid to be trusted with any kind of a vote on anything that means anything - and I quit." I've considered myself to be "formerly English" ever since.Fast forward through the last 17-odd years as a New Zealander - I stopped travelling, settled in NZ, made friends, found a job, found a place to live, found another job, became a web designer/developer, moved house a few more times, eventually bought a house with a garden, got a couple of cats, worked my ass off - and somewhere along the way I lost my political activist streak.I think it's partly because I was so involved in settling in a new country, which took up a lot of my energy, and partly because Kiwis on the whole are much more laid back and a lot less politically active than yer average pom. Or at least that's been my experience. Don't get me wrong - I still follow politics, I still have great political discussions when I get together with my mates, I'm a member of the Green Party - but in terms of actual activism I seemed to have pretty much given it up. Until now.I have National and ACT to thank for that. Yeah - thanks guys! You rock! Not.I've watched with growing concern as they attack and dismantle one important part of my adopted homeland after another. National Education standards and closing down night classes, Paula "I used to be a beneficiary but now I'm not and you losers can all just GET FUCKED" Bennett's attacks on those least able to fight back, increasing GST when they specifically said they wouldn't, tax cuts for their rich mates and to hell with the rest of you, the Auckland Super City undemocratic debacle... the list goes on and on and on - not to mention pushing through a whole raft of new and potentially unpopular legislation under the cloak of "urgency" so they don't even have to discuss it in Parliament and no-one gets the chance to oppose it.The final two straws that broke this particular camel's back have been their attack on Radio New Zealand's funding, and now - most egregious of all in my opinion - their plans to mine in our National Parks.I'm so outraged by their mining plans I can't even begin to express how outraged I am. Talk about short-sighted! Do they not have children and grandchildren to whom they'd like to leave the few pieces of pristine wilderness we have left? Apparently not - or at least, if they do, they apparently don't care about them too much. There are not many things that would get me [...]



"Would you like to take part in a 60-second survey?"

2010-03-10T17:09:13.443+13:00

"Would you like to take part in a 60-second survey?" is the opening line from many of the unsolicited phone calls I receive these days. Being less than enthusiastic about strangers trying to sell me shit or ask me intrusive questions over the phone, my response is usually something along the lines of "why, what are you selling?""Oh I promise you we're not selling you anything at all - we're just doing a quick survey about the economy" says the girl on the phone this afternoon. "Oh," I reply, "do you want to know what I think about the economy? Are you doing an opinion poll?" - because I don't mind opinion polls (I think quietly to myself). She edges round my question without giving me a straight answer, and when I ask her what her company does, she tells me they provide financial advice for businesses - or something along those, lines, anyway.So I say OK, because I figure, well, what's 60 seconds out of my life? I can handle that. I'm waiting for the next two questions because I know exactly what they will be. The first is my age bracket. I fall within it so I answer in the affirmative. The second question is the kicker. It is always - and I mean always "do you own your own home?"Hmmm. Why would they want to know that? Gosh, really - I wonder why? I lie and say "no" because I have realised it's the single most effective way to get these people off the phone. I have never ever had to continue with one of these "surveys" when I tell them I'm a renter. Goodness me! Don't they want to gather the opinions of people who rent along with those who owe hundreds of thousands to whatever bank was kind enough to give them a mortgage? Apparently not. How very strange.Could it be because they're actually planning to sell me something further on down the line - if I give them the right answers of course - of which the most important, apparently, is "do you have enough income to get a mortgage and therefore potentially have sufficient income to be tempted by whatever shit we're really planning on trying to sell you?"Of course they are. They'll either store all my details away for a cold-call later on when they finally reveal whatever it is they're really selling - or perhaps they'll put my details together with the contact details of hundreds of other people and sell them in bulk to some company that wants to sell me whatever it is that they sell.Which means - goodness me - the girl on the phone wasn't exactly telling the whole truth, now was she? OK so she wasn't trying to sell me anything right that minute, but her response to my "no I don't own my own hone - I rent" answer couldn't have been clearer."Oh well, that lets you off the hook, then! Thanks very much - goodbye!" and with that cheery farewell she's off to hassle the next poor sucker dumb enough to have their name and number in the phone book.Yeah thanks a lot cheery girl on the phone. I've changed my mind - that's 60 seconds of my life I'll never get back. I'm so over people lying to me on the the phone to try and get useful info from me that they'll use against me later on. Thanks very much - goodbye!Technorati tags: consumer surveys, cold-calling, intrusive phone calls, do you own your own home, things that annoy me, WebWeaver's World, webweaver.[...]



Happy centenary, house!

2010-02-23T01:36:17.960+13:00

100 years ago today, my house was conceived by A Stubbs, Architect. It's there in black and white on the architect's plan I got from the City Council. 22 February 1910. I'm not sure when exactly it was "born" (built), so we'll have to go for conception instead.It's amazing when you think about it. Imagine what my house has seen over the past century!My house was the first one built on the hill. Back then it was surrounded by ugly bare earth up and down the hillside, and a rough road (track) below. These days it's surrounded by trees and bush and other people's houses. Except for in front. We have a great view across the valley in front. I rather like that.I wonder if there were as many tuis and keas in the valley when my house was first built, as there are today? I bet there weren't. Living near the Karori Sanctuary definitely has its advantages.My house was built for one JS Rutter, Esq., and it has the nicest vibe of any house I've ever lived in. People always remark on how welcoming and friendly it feels. Winnie and Bailey often focus quite intently on the ghosts in the room, and I get a strong vibe that we have good ghosts living here.It needs a bit of TLC at the moment - the garden's a bit of a mess, the window frames urgently need painting and the weatherboards'll need doing in a couple of years, but it's doing pretty well for a place that's been standing for a hundred years.I love my house. I have been known to stop and hug the doorframes in passing, on more than one occasion. It's pretty much my favourite place in the whole world.Happy birthday, house! May you have many, many more.Technorati tags: house, home, centenary, Wellington, New Zealand, wooden villa, JS Rutter, A Stubbs, architect, 22 February 1910, WebWeaver's World, webweaver.[...]



Well, we didn't win an ONYA this year...

2010-02-22T03:07:31.994+13:00

...but that doesn't mean we can't continue our great work and win one next year!During his introductory comments at the ONYAs Che quoted someone-or-other who had said that you should never enter your work for an award because you'll get discouraged if you don't win, and you'll stop doing the good work you're already doing because you'll think it's not good enough. Che disagreed with this sentiment, and so do we.At WebWeaver Productions we love doing what we do - we love designing and building beautiful accessible websites - and we know we're doing it pretty well - both because our clients love our work, and also because we were nominated four times in three categories for three different ONYAs. Our Environmental Protection Authority website was nominated for Best Accessibility and Best Use of HTML/CSS, our Optimation website was also nominated for Best Use of HTML/CSS, and my website The Gathering archives was nominated for Best Content (Personal).We were disappointed not to win - but completely honoured to be there in the first place, in such illustrious company.Radio New Zealand won both the Best Accessibility category and the Best Use of HTML/CSS category - and it couldn't have gone to a nicer group of people. They've been under siege from National this week, and a huge cheer went up when they won their awards. It's great to see such a large organisation striving to keep their website as accessible as possible, creating the best quality code they can create, and working hard to maintain their high standards over time. Well done guys!If you want to express your support for keeping Radio NZ commercial-free and out from under the thumb of political or commercial influence, you might like to join the Save Radio New Zealand Facebook group. As I write this I see it's almost at the 10,000 fans mark - not bad for a group that's only been in existence for four days. I think National might have a fight on their hands if they pursue this...My dear friend Zef Fugaz ended up winning the Best Content (Personal) category for his fantastic blog, zef[a]media - which he's been writing for years and years. It's completely brilliant - and shows very clearly just why he's one of New Zealand's most experienced and most well-respected user experience web professionals. Great job, Zef!Being nominated for an ONYA (or four!) is especially thrilling because the judges are pretty much like superstars in our universe. It's rather awesome knowing that Alex Wright (New York Times), Amy Hoy (Slash7), Bek Hodgson (Etsy), Brian Fling (pinch/zoom), Donna Spencer (Maadmob), Jason Ryan (State Services Commission), Rachel McAlpine (Contented Enterprises), Russ Weakley (Max Design), and Thomas Fuchs (script.aculo.us) might have taken a look at our work... It inspires all of us to keep working, keep learning, keep on striving for perfection, and keep on doing the best job we can possibly do. Our websites are made with love, just as Webstock and the ONYAs are made with love. projection mapping + visuals: thedarkroom.tv audio + sound design: jeramiah ross aka module wellington town hall new zealand / 19.02.10 (larger version here) Thank you everyone involved in both Webstock and the ONYAs for an absolutely wonderful week. You really do rock! WE LOVE YOU!Technorati tags: ONYA, ONYAs, web awards, Webstock, WebWeaver Productions, Che Tamahori, Environmental Protection Authority, Optimation, The Gathering archives, nominees, finalists, winner, Best Accessibility, Best Use of HTML/CSS, Best Content (Personal), Radio New Zealand, Save Radio New Zealand, Facebook, Zef Fugaz, zef[a]media, thedarkroom, module, [...]



Reason #567 why I love Webstock - attention to detail

2010-02-13T21:53:51.731+13:00

So there I was, thinking about what to wear for the ONYAs - and wondering where the heck I was going to stash my ONYAs clothes during the conference on Friday.

Should I wear my ONYAs outfit all day? Not such a great idea - it'll get all creased and diminish the fun of dressing up for dinner.

Should I plan to go home in between and get changed? Not enough time really.

Am I going to have to lug it around in my bag all day? Bad idea - it'll be a pain to have to carry it around and it'll get all mashed up in my bag.

Or should I ask the lovely dudes at Shift if I could stash it there and hope they haven't all gone home by the time I want to retrieve it? OK as long as they don't all go home early that day, leaving my clothes behind locked doors and me with nothing special to wear.

Turns out the Webstock crew really have thought of everything. In addition to blogging about what geek designer formal actually means, they've very kindly arranged a place where we can store our outfits during the day, and changing rooms for us to use between the time Webstock ends and the ONYAs start.

I love a team that pays attention to the details! Thanks, Webstock crew! You rock!

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IE8 bugs in Windows 7 but not in Windows XP?

2010-01-25T21:49:10.167+13:00

In the space of the last two days we've come across two completely different IE8 bugs (one in a Facebook app and the other on a new website) that occur in Windows 7 - but that are not happening in IE8 on a Windows XP machine.

Oh my lawd. Not only do we have to continue bug-fixing in IE6 and IE7 (when will that ever end?), but now we're seeing IE8 bugs that didn't exist in XP, but are showing up in the supposedly newer and better Windows 7. Microsoft really are deeply, deeply crap, aren't they?

I was able to fix the Facebook app bug (sight unseen because I don't have a Win7 machine) by applying the same bug fix to IE8 that I used on IE6 and IE7. In this instance it was a HasLayout issue, which is normally fixed with zoom:1 - and which I fixed with the old Holly Hack in Facebook cos Facebook returns errors for zoom.

Anyway, in this case a) the fix for IE6/7 worked for IE8 and b) it was the kind of fix that you can include for IE8 in Win7 that won't break IE8 where it's not needed in WinXP.

But what if I'd needed a fix for, say, the duplicate characters bug that requires a negative margin of -3px on the opposite margin to the direction of the float? If you include it in a compliant browser like FireFox it can break the layout in some situations, which is one reason why we put IE fixes in conditional stylesheets. But how do you include a conditional stylesheet for IE8 in Win7 without also including it for IE8 in WinXP? As far as I know that's not possible. I smell trouble!

The second instance of the Win7-bug occurred in a website we're building that has a bunch of jQuery in it for sliding images. At the moment I have absolutely no clue why it's happening, nor can I see it because it's not happening in WinXP. My first approach will be to see if I have any fixes already in place for IE6 or IE7, and add them to the conditional stylesheet for IE8. Maybe that'll work. I just hope it doesn't break IE8 in WinXP, assuming it works at all.

Has anyone else come across this IE8/Win7 issue?


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A CSS/jQuery solution for creating multi-column lists

2010-01-10T20:05:57.145+13:00

I seem to have found a solution for one of those front-end developer "Holy Grail" challenges - getting an unordered list to rearrange itself into two (or more) columns if the content of the first column gets too long.Before I explain how to do it, I should point out that the vast majority of this solution is already out there in the form of a neat jQuery plugin called Columnizer jQuery written by Adam Wulf. I had nothing to do with the creation of it - I just stumbled upon it when I was googling for a solution, and wondered if I could adapt it for my particular layout problem. I added a bit of additional jQuery so it would do exactly what I wanted, and to my complete astonishment - it worked. Amazing!There are a bunch of CSS-only solutions for multi-column lists which kinda sorta work - as long as you have a static list and can attach classes to various individual
  • tags. They generally work on the principle of moving some of the list items to a different position on the page using CSS - so that the list remains intact within the HTML, but appears to be broken up into multiple columns when viewed in your browser. The CSS Swag: Multi-Column Lists article at A List Apart is one of the best examples of this, and in fact shows a whole bunch of different ways of achieving this goal. However (and it's a big "however") - none of these solutions will work with a dynamically-generated list where you don't know from page to page how many items will be in that list, and where you can't add your own individual classes or IDs to each
  • in advance. A perfect example of this situation - and the one I was wrestling with - is when you're building a set of templates which will be integrated into a CMS, and the unordered list in question is the subnav - which has to fit into a fixed-height space. Here's what the subnav in my design normally looks like:But... I do not know how many pages the client will end up creating within each subsection of their new website. What I do know is that the number of list items in each subnav menu will vary from section to section, and will be generated automatically by the CMS (which means I can't add classes or IDs).So this is what I want it to do when the number of items in the list gets too long for the fixed-height space to contain them all:One thing to note: you need to be sure that your client isn't going to use massively long names for their pages, as these will generally translate into massively long links in the subnav, in which case you will soon run out of room - especially in the 2-column layout. You can pre-empt this by training them to use short page names and/or re-name them for the subnav. Most CMSs will let you do this - Silverstripe, for example, which is what we're using for this site - has an additional field in each page where you can define the text you want to be used as the subnav link. Very sensible. Adam Wulf's plugin is designed to automatically lay out your content in newspaper column format. You can specify either column width and/or height or a static number of columns. I noticed that one of the lines of code in his jQuery was $('li').addClass("dontsplit"); ...which made me think he might have included something to ensure that lists which get split into two different columns still work properly - and he has! Clever man. We're 90% of the way there already!I have nowhere near the technical expertise required to write my own jQuery plugins - or even to understand all the code within a plugin - but I do have enough of an unders[...]



  • The Gathering archives website - and the ONYAs

    2009-12-06T14:31:18.372+13:00

    WOOHOO!The Gathering archives website is a finalist in the Best content (personal) category of the ONYAs!Crikey!I'm completely thrilled. It took me a year of working on the site to get it to a state where I was ready to put it online, and it's grown quite a lot since then. The ONYA judge's comment about the site cracked me up. It's so funny, and also so true...A multi-media mashup of memoir, fractured histories and anecdotes from a series of events that erased the memories of many that were there. Alison's site is a public service...New Year 2006/07 marked the 10th anniversary of the first Gathering dance party on top of Takaka Hill near Nelson. The last Gathering was held over New Year 2001/02, and as I had been involved in the organisation of four out of the six Gatherings, and had created the original Gathering website, I felt sad that there was virtually nothing remaining online about these iconic events.In October 2006 I set about creating, designing, building and writing the Gathering archives website, with the aim of becoming the authoritative source of information on the history and background of The Gathering. The site is divided into different sections for each of the six Gatherings, and includes facts & figures, media coverage, Gathering artwork, photos, video and film footage, Gatherer stories and maps of the venue for each party.It will always be a work in progress, because each party was so vast and complex that it would be impossible for one person to have a complete overview of what went on at even a single event, let alone six. Although I had a whole lot of "official" archival material (including media coverage, Gathering artwork etc), I wanted the site to be much more than that. I wanted it to reflect the memories and stories of the many thousands of Gatherers who took part each year, as well as the hundreds of crew members and organisations who supported us in putting on New Zealand's best-loved dance parties.I haven't had much time this year to add new stuff to the site, but I've already spent time improving the usability of the homepage as a result of my ONYAs nomination (see what a bit of good news does to kick-start me into action once more!), and I plan to do quite a bit more on the site before February when the winners in each category are announced.The other two finalists in this category are Jared Gulian for Moon over Martinborough and my dear friend Zef Fugaz for zef[a]media. Those of you who know your Gathering history might remember Zef - he was our very awesome assistant producer/BetaSP-Cam/graphics guru for The Gathering documentary 97/98. The ONYAs celebrate those who design, develop and create New Zealand's best websites and applications. They’re awards by the industry, for the industry.It's a real honour to be nominated for the award, and to be a finalist in such esteemed company. Good luck guys, and may the best website win! Technorati tags: ONYAs, ONYA, web awards, finalist, best content, The Gathering archives, The Gathering, dance party, rave, New Zealand, Canaan Downs, web design, web development, website, Zef Fugaz, Jared Gulian, The Gathering documentary, WebWeaver's World, webweaver.[...]



    Thrilled to bits with the ONYAs

    2009-12-04T03:45:13.941+13:00

    A year ago things looked pretty bleak job-wise. Sue and I had just been made redundant from our dream web design company, together with Rosie and Rene from the Welli office and four others from the Auckland office. My first thought when I heard we were losing our jobs was that I would lose my house because I wouldn't be able to pay the mortgage. My second thought was that maybe I wasn't good enough and that that's why I had been one of the ones selected to go.It was a pretty rough end to the year, to say the least.However, you have to play with the cards you're dealt, so after a few days feeling sorry for myself I picked myself up and started looking for work. I've been doing contract and freelance work as WebWeaver Productions for about 13 years now, off and on, so that's what I went back to. Tom and I had done a few little WebWeaver projects for various clients since we met at Shift and I love working with him, so I had my programmer already in place, and we invited Sue to work with us on projects where we needed another designer. We've done a mixture of freelance work as WebWeaver and contract work for various web design companies over the past 12 months. Here's (some of) what we've achieved this year:WM Bamford & Co Ltd - a WebWeaver Productions project - design and build by me, CMS integration by Tom Tourism Exchange - an Origin Design project - design by Jason at Origin Design, build by me, CMS integration by Tom Cavalier Bremworth - a DNA project - design by DNA, build by me Round Peg Recruitment - a Shelley Masters/WebWeaver Productions project - design by Shelley, build by me Pike River Coal - an Origin Design project - design by Jason at Origin, build by me Expedia Flash banner ads - a Badger Communications project - design by the Badger crew, Flash animation by me Telecom Global Roaming - a Shift project - design by Shift, build by me Ministry for the Environment - a WebWeaver Productions project - design by Sue, build by me Master Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Inc - a WebWeaver Productions project - design and build by me, CMS integration by Tom Environmental Protection Authority - a WebWeaver Productions project - design by Sue, build by me Optimation - a WebWeaver Productions project - design by Sue, build by me, CMS integration by TomOh - and...Created a baby - a Sue&Jon project - design by Sue, development by Sue, integration by Jon - congratulations you guys!It's been a great year!I think one of the best things about being a freelancer is the immediacy - and the range - of the work you do. When we create a website as WebWeaver Productions, we know we've personally won the right to work on that project, because we've pitched for the job, written the quote, done the IA, liaised with the client, managed the project, designed the website, built the HTML and CSS, integrated the site, and tested (and sometimes even content-loaded) it. No-one else won that work and then employed us to do the design, build or integration - we won it, and we worked on it in its entirety from start to finish. It's a great feeling. When the client likes our work they tell us directly - and if they really like our work they tell other people and we get to do it all over again. It's awesome. So you might have noticed that in recognition of all that beavering away we've done this year we decided to enter a couple of WebWeaver Productions websites for the inaugural ONYAs web awards...Yesterday they announced the Best Accessibilit[...]



    Working with the Ministry

    2009-11-22T20:32:56.012+13:00

    Earlier on in the year we were given the opportunity to pitch for a re-design job on the Ministry for the Environment's website, which we won. Sue and I were completely thrilled - it's the first Government client that WebWeaver Productions has pitched for (although I've worked on over 50 government websites as a contractor and/or employee), so to win it was pretty darned cool.Our primary contact was Dee Guja, the Ministry's senior adviser, Stakeholder Engagement/Publications, and we worked on the project with the Ministry's webmaster, Jennifer Geard. Both Dee and Jennifer are very good at their jobs, and as a result the Ministry has become one of our favourite clients - they absolutely rock!The brief was tricky, to say the least. The Ministry's website is huge - somewhere around 13,000 pages - and the old site was based on a set of Dreamweaver templates which were pretty old and had a bunch of table-based layouts to contend with. Over the years many different MfE employees have added content to the Ministry site, and in some cases the code used to display the same 'look' has been achieved using a variety of techniques - some of which are now out of date and no longer validate. Our job was to design and build a new set of e-government compliant best-practice Dreamweaver templates which would seamlessly replace the old ones, together with a stylesheet that would not only control the new template HTML, but would restyle all of the old legacy code within the subnav, main content area and feature column so that it would display properly in the design without the Ministry web team having to rewrite the HTML. Oh - and it needed to be sufficiently robust and all-encompassing so that Jennifer and her team could be confident that all 13,000 pages would display as expected - without having to check every page before go-live.Sue worked her magic and produced a beautiful new design which was light years away from the old design. I built a set of 11 HTML/CSS templates which I then converted to Dreamweaver templates, matching the editable regions as closely as possible to their existing ones so that when Jennifer came to do the global 'find and replace' that would replace their old templates with our new ones, the site would hold together.Our test list consisted of 16 different browser/OS combinations (the number has been somewhat reduced since then), which meant I had to get on TradeMe and buy a bunch of old PCs so that I could get the full range of PC operating systems I needed for testing. The completely awesome standalone versions of IE6 and IE7 no longer work properly when you've got IE8 installed, so I needed separate versions of the same OS in order to test all three versions of IE. Oh joy. The project began back in April, and the site went live in June, which is not bad going for such a large website. Jennifer and her team are working through the site to remove the worst (legacy) examples of non-compliant code, and the new templates were tested for e-govt compliance by Bruce Aylward of W 3 A. He's an expert on website accessibility, and taught me a bunch of new tricks, which I really appreciated.All in all a great project to be involved with, and a very satisfactory result. We hope you like the Ministry's new website as much as we do.Technorati tags: Ministry for the Environment, MfE, website, web design, web development, HTML, CSS, WebWeaver Productions, Sue Quigley, Dee Guja, Jennifer Geard, Bruce Aylward, [...]



    Entering the ONYAs

    2009-11-09T23:41:35.317+13:00

    I've spent the weekend completing multiple entries for the inaugural ONYAs web awards, which are being organised by the very wonderful Mike and Tash who also bring you the equally wonderful Webstock.The closing date was today - originally 6pm this evening, but they've extended it until midnight. You have less than an hour, folks! Actually, having said that, you might have some trouble making a submission between now and midnight - the site's down. Wonder if we knocked it out with the sheer volume of last-minute entries? WebWeaver Productions have entered two of our most recent sites - the Environmental Protection Authority website that went live on October 1, and the Optimation website that went live just a few hours ago.We're very proud of both sites - we think they represent some of WebWeaver's best work this year - and we think we've got as good a chance as anyone of winning an (already coveted) award. We've entered the EPA site for Best use of HTML & CSS and Best accessibility (both in my name), and the Optimation site for Best use of HTML & CSS (me) and Best visual design (Sue). I think Amanda might also be entering the Opti site for Best content (corporate) because the writing she's done for the new site is really good. We were only sad that there wasn't a category for Best integration into a CMS, because poor old Tom's the only WebWeaver(er) who doesn't have a category to enter. No fair! I think we would definitely have entered the Opti site for that category too if there had been one.Oh - and I also entered The Gathering archives in the Best content (personal) category - just because I can. And also 'cos I think it's a pretty cool site.Now all we have to do is keep all our fingers and toes crossed until February 19. Crikey!Technorati tags: WebWeaver Productions, websites, ONYA, ONYAs, web awards, categories, entries, Optimation, EPA, Environmental Protection Authority, Tom St George, Susan Quigley, Amanda McVitty, web design, web development, accessibility, HTML, CSS, WebWeaver's World, webweaver[...]