Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Web Directions: Dan Saffer’s Workshop

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

I’m at Dan Saffer’s workshop “Designing for touchscreens and tablets“, at Web Directions Unplugged, and am in the process of learning tons of awesome things. I’m not a talented live-blogger, so I’ll try to produce summaries at a later date. But I am, as Official Cartoonist, already producing comics to chronicle the event’s lore in humorous little morsels. You can view them here at my Unplugged 2011 section.

Web Directions Unplugged

Heading Off To Web Directions Unplugged!

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

Web Directions Unplugged

I’m heading off to Web Directions Unplugged!

Well, not right this second. I’m writing this post right now. But in just a short bit I’ll be out the door, off to the bus station, and then I’ll be heading to Web Directions Unplugged. I’ve had the amazing fortune to be invited by John Allsopp and the talented people behind Web Directions to attend as the event’s Official Cartoonist. As such, I’ll be chronicling the going-ons in my typically irreverent but always adorably fuzzy fashion. I am humbled, grateful, and totally psyched.

What do you mean I can't draw directly on the monitor?I’ve attended Web Directions events in the past, and owe a bit of thanks to them in that regard. It was in the blustery opening days of 2008, while attending Web Directions North in Vancouver, that the first fuzzy sketches of CSSquirrel came to be. (This may or may not be while I was having a total man crush on Andy Clarke during his workshop.) As such, I am totally pumped to be attending yet another of their events, and to participate in this way.

If you’re going to Web Directions Unplugged, and you want to say hello, I’ve love to meet you. I’ll even make it a point not to make chittering noises and flee to the nearest tree. Also stay tuned for an announcement on how you’ll be able to help me exploit your labor chronicle the event as Squeee Correspondents.

Seattle, here I come!

HTML5 Super Friends Assemble!

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

Today the W3C unveiled its new logo for HTML5. As you might notice, it’s quite fancy.

The site’s pretty slick, as well.

Today’s comic relates to this new logo, in a roundabout way, featuring Jeremy Keith, Bruce Lawson (or perhaps it’s Super Bruce) and Remy Sharp (Or is it SuperHTML5Rem?) in their guises as HTML5 Super Friends, attempting to save the web from itself. It also refers to a slippery terminology slope.

The FAQ page for the new logo (yes, it gets its own FAQ) includes a little mention about what the logo represents. Which is obvious: HTML5, right? Well, apparently HTML5 doesn’t stand for Hyper Text Markup Language anymore. But apparently its all for “a broad set of open web technologies, including HTML5, CSS, SVG, WOFF, and others.

Say what? I’m with Jeremy and Bruce on this one. The logo is pretty, but the intentional use of HTML5 as a blanket term for other modern web technologies is a crock. Newspapers making merry with the term is one thing, but a web standards organization? We rely on these groups to keep our handy developer toys in nice, cleanly demarcated buckets so that we can easily educate ourselves and the next generation of developers on what toy is used for what job and how.

I could rant on this for hours. But I recommend reading at minimum Jeremy’s bit on the topic. He manages to be far more eloquent with his words and has earned his place as a bit of an authority on the topic. So maybe you’ll value his two cents more highly. All I know is that when I used to say “HTML5″ people knew what I meant. At least in my own community of website creators. But now it’s as meaningless as “doohicky.” As in, “Are you talking about the doohicky that I style pages with or the doohicky that I make the structure with?”

TL;DR Version: Love the logo, hate the term-squishing.

As a parting shot, I object to Karl Dubost’s characterization of term-blurring opponents’ commentary as “vapid“. I’m sure Jeremy Keith is capable of a lot of things when writing, but even if you disagree with his viewpoint on the topic, his well reasoned rhetoric doesn’t merit such a label. Shame on you, Karl.

Rediscovering An Old Friend: My first Webcomic, Nervillsaga

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

On March 16, 2002 I had my first foray onto the web with Nervillsaga, a fantasy/comedy webcomic that followed the misadventures of Nervill, a bumbling medieval hero and his band of cohorts: Elionas the effeminate elf, Turgin the grouchy dwarf, Sir Brettlefort the aging narcoleptic knight and Reejik the goblin manservant. Nervill was a fellow unfortunate enough to be the victim of many rolling boulders and swinging traps in the margins of my high school notebook, and during my unfortunate days as a call center employee I decided it was time to be rich and famous, created him some companions, and put him on the world wide web with what wasn’t my first website, but the first of note and effort.

Granted, with tables. Lots of tables. And font tags. And inline styles.

I was, I’d like to note, figuring this out from scratch.

Somewhere along the way, the burden of working in retail (I’d been sacked from the call center) made the comic feel like too much effort, and it quietly went to sleep with an unfinished storyline on July 04, 2006. Less than a year later I’d forgotten to keep the domain paid for and the site simply vanished, and as far as I knew, with most of the comic strips with it. Despite my retiring of the material, I’d always felt regret at letting it disappear into the void. From time to time I’ve gotten emails from old fans wondering where they could find it, and sadly would poke around old backup CDs to no avail.

Today, by coincidence, I’d noticed a folder on my host labeled “archive” that I’d not noticed before. Inside it was every strip I’d done for Nervillsaga, all 677 of them in their clunky, old glory! I’d been sitting on them this whole time! I don’t think I can describe the sensation of finding them. There’s the sheer euphoria of uncovering what I thought was a lost part of my life, blowing the metaphorical dust off as I pulled each image up after downloading them all to the safety of my hard drive. There’s the embarrassment at the clunky art style and off-tune humor. There’s the pride in the size of the comic, with 677 strips. There’s the shame of having ever stopped.

The comic was drawn with ballpoint pens on white printer paper. Each character and background object was separately drawn. I’d scan them all to my computer, fire up Photoshop 6 and then proceed to try to clean-up the lines of the pen (to varying levels of success) before adding in color. It was my first bumbling experience with Photoshop in any capacity, and the associated website was a coding tragedy that showed my complete lack of awareness of these whole “web standards” things that I obsess over these days.

The domain’s long since gone away, and been claimed (apparently) by a Chinese spam blog. But I’ve created a new domain and placed all the comics up there for the world again. You can check it out here, from the first strip, if you’re so inclined. No offense taken if you’re not. I’ve put it back online for myself.

Read it from the first comic right here.

I never felt good about leaving Nervill behind. I’m going to fit the comic back into my schedule, and pick up his adventures where they left off. I don’t have the time to do it daily anymore, but even at a leisurely pace he’ll live on.

P.S. Thanks to Stephen Kennneally, an old fan who emailed me six months back asking about Nervillsaga and sharing his fondness for it. I’m glad I could find the comic for you to read again, Stephen. Enjoy.

2010 iPhone Wallpaper Advent Calendar

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

There’s plenty of good advent calendars out there right now. The pair I think this audience would best appreciate are (which I love every year) and Fontdeck’s gorgeous Adfont.

Strangely, though, there seemed to be a real dearth of “squirrels and webdesigners being funny” calendars. Being the champion for such causes, I decided this couldn’t be allowed to continue, and have stepped to the plate to fix this very situation.

I present the CSSquirrel 2010 iPhone Wallpaper Advent Calendar. Please enjoy!

(If any of you non-iPhone peeps are craving wallpapers, I’d be happy to consider posting them with alternative dimensions. Just leave a comment.)