Posts Tagged ‘dave shea’

Comic: A Nacho Moment

Monday, February 14th, 2011
CSSquirrel #80: A Nacho Moment

Featuring Jeffrey Zeldman, Jeremy Keith and Dave Shea, today’s comic highlights what makes good people on the Internet into great people.

Humanity, it seems, is destined to fight with itself over every little detail. That’s probably not new information to you.

Thanks to the Internet, we don’t even need stamps or to be in someone’s physical presence to have these arguments. As anyone with a net connection knows, this means we will get into heated, acrimonious fights over topics as unimportant as who the hell was Papa Smurf’s partner in creating his dozens of smurf offspring. And we’ll stew over it. And we’ll 386 someone because of it. And we’ll lose sleep and remove friends from Facebook over it.

As as developer/designer who follows the same category of people on Twitter, many of the Internet fights I witness involve web standards, the tools we use as developers, the erotic-sounding but thoroughly disappointing topic of hashbangs and anything in between. Heck, I participate in these brawls, throwing acorns at the whole mess.

There’s a lot of reasons for these fights, but most often we argue because we care. The products we make as professionals mean a lot to us. We want the best for our medium and our industry, and so we get trenchant about Flash, HTML5, naming conventions, design techniques or the proper shade of blue. Because to us it matters. It matters a lot. And there is nothing wrong with that level of passion about your work. Quite the opposite. If you can’t imagine yourself fiercely defending what you do as an occupation, maybe you need a different career.

However, in the process we frequently seem to forget that we’re dealing with other people. Passionate people, some of which are just as informed as we are. Or even more so. And believe it or not, they’re entitled to have arrived at different conclusions than us. Yet, so often something about the Internet seems to boil away the concept of the right to respectfully disagree.

Last week, Zeldman and Keith got into a debate over a blog post by Andy Rutledge on the subject of Kickstarter. At times it seemed heated, and due to the nature of the medium they were debating in it was both very public and very abrupt. Then the next day Zeldman posted a series of tweets carefully reiterating his view, made it clear that Keith was his friend and simply saying “sorry” for the whole confusion. In front of an audience of 144,000 followers. Jeremy replied in the same vein.

It shouldn’t seem amazing that two people apologize over a fight in public. But somehow, on today’s Internet, it’s all but unheard of.

There’s a strange comfort in knowing that our Internet heroes are just as capable of the same fallacies we are.

It’s inspiring to see them follow it up by providing good examples by rising to a level of good behavior we rarely get to witness in social media today.

I’ve termed this sudden cessation of hostilities (without ceding the value of each party’s opinions) as a “nacho moment“, so named thanks to a moment of intentional, deliberate hilarity by Dave Shea best summarized by this pair of tweets. It’s a testament to his actions that I don’t even recall what large debate was going on before his tweets, but do know that afterward the Internet got a little less contentious and the Seattle area’s nacho sales rose just a bit.

Don’t stop caring about the things you care about, whether it’s the Smurfs or funding crowdsourcing. But when you’re in a debate, have a nacho moment and remember you’re talking to other people. People who also care.

Comic Update: Escaping SXSW

Monday, March 8th, 2010

Although it does not start for several more days, the madhouse that is SXSW has already begun to dominate my Twitter feed. Allegedly five days of compelling presentations about the industry, it often seems more like the event is something like a fraternity kegger with some talks about HTML5 thrown into the mix.

Regardless of the truth of the matter, I won’t be attending. Well, in the flesh. But considering there will be so many iPhones clustered in Austin that some form of AT&T implosion will occur, I’m expecting Twitter, Flickr and the blogosphere to be bursting with updates about the event. So much so that I could likely masquerade as an attendee with related tweets to the effect of “Jeffrey Zeldman is so dreamy in person!” and “Wow, Croft really rocked that song at Cog’aoke!”

However, the truth is, I’ll be likely trying to preserve my sanity and filter the madness out. Today’s comic is an exploration of an extreme strategy to do this, featuring Dave Shea as a fellow escapee. I can only wish I had such an awesome device, but instead I’ll have to consider methods like Dave’s suggestion of temporarily modifying my Twitter follow list.

If you are attending SXSW, then in the words of Abraham Lincoln: Party On, Dudes. But don’t mind me as I hide in a bunker until it’s safe to come out and head to An Event Apart: Seattle.

Comic Update: Nice Hat (Gradients & Dave’s Brain)

Monday, February 1st, 2010

Today’s comic features a hat. It’s not your ordinary chapeau, but rather the sort of stately headpiece that could keep an entirely family warm at night or help you sneak into Soviet-era Russia. Even if I didn’t have a web design-related topic to discuss (and I assure you, I do), the gravity of this hat would be enough to ensure that your visit to my site today was not a waste.

Joining the hat in today’s strip is Dave Shea and Jeff Croft. These fine gentlemen appear with the squirrel to help present to you a visual gag that points to one simple, inescapable truth: CSS gradients will break your brain.

I’m trying to get up to speed on CSS3, a goal which falls in the same category of absurdity as tasting every variety of curry in India; there’s simply too many modules piling up in that spec. At this point I suspect that CSS3 will not reach a finished state prior to the web being replaced by the psionic slave networks that our future robot overlords will use to broadcast their diabolical commands to the human race.

Nonetheless, I am digging out the fruits of the cutting edge of our darling cascading style sheets, especially the previously Webkit-only features that have been newly adopted by the recently released Firefox 3.6. One area I focused on this past Thursday was CSS Gradients. After all, how hard an a gradient be?

How hard indeed.

I present Exhibit A: my tweet less than five minutes after opening Mozilla’s tutorial on the topic. It starts out easy enough, then they start talking about things like color-stops, linear vs. radial gradients, starting points and angles, etc. It gets worse when you learn that Webkit and Mozilla each approach gradients differently, continuing the spaghetti western tradition of dueling methodologies.

In short order, my tweet was answered by Dave, then Jeff, each adding to my diagnosis: CSS gradients are a pain.

I’m currently working on a tutorial on the topic, something that hopefully explains it in a more digestible format than what I’ve seen thus far. Until then, the only way I can provide you comfort is to inform you that the hat in today’s strip is based in reality. Here is a picture of Dave in the hat.

If you did not spit your tea/milk/soda/liquor/pepto onto your computer screen just now, you have no sense of humor. I almost died of laughter when I saw that picture. Its existence was like a special jewel reminding me that dreams come true.

For the sake of equal treatment, I’ll share with you what I found a few minutes later while getting a reference picture of Jeff to touch up his character’s appearance. I stumbled upon this. Yeah… it speaks for itself. I’m not sure when I can fit that into a comic, but I’m certainly going to try.

If neither photo cracked your head, than I recommend checking out CSS gradients. If you’re feeling woozy, no worries. I’ll get back to you in a few days with some digestible tidbits on how to tackle them.

Comic Update: Ampersand Lust

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Edit (12/05/2009): I’ve created a vector version of this comic. If you’d like to see the old, hand-drawn version, it can be seen here.

Today’s comic is hand-drawn, and hastily at that, so please forgive the roughness. I’m breaking in a new Windows 7 machine at work, and have had zero free time at home thus far this week. However, I had to provide a comedic take on designers, ampersands, and their unending lust for one another.

If time permits, this will be re-cast in the forge of vector.

I took my inspiration for today’s frivolty from Dave Shea’s recent tweet on the topic, hence his presence in the comic. Dan Cederholm fits well as what we’ll call Exhibit A. His site’s very banner features an elaborate, carefully cared-for member of this strange, storied symbol. His actions in the comic tend towards the vulgar, but I’m pretty sure that if ampersands walked about, at least one designer would try to jump them in this fashion.

As for me, I find our little “&” friend to be a fun part of our typographic heritage. But I know so little about typography that I haven’t been infected by this particular syndrome (ampersandphilia?). I try my best to fit in amongst those who crave it, like a teetotaler carrying a cup of ginger ale when socializing with drunks, but sooner or later someone’s going to notice that my heart’s just not in it, at which point I’ll need to flee like Frankenstein’s monster ahead of the pitchfork crowd.

Now, bacon on the other hand…

IE9 Early Look: It’s Not Perfect, But I’m Glad It’s Coming

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

Dean “Good Luck Pronouncing It” Hachamovitch (who stars in the old, old CSSquirrel comic Passion of the Dean) made a post on the IEBlog today giving us an early look at IE9 and the improvements it’ll contain. These improvements contain (but are not limited to) improved CSS3 support, better-looking fonts, hardware acceleration, better standards support and faster performance. Woo!

But some, like Dave “Maximus” Shea, aren’t impressed, as he makes clear here.

I get it. We’ve been hit in the face by Internet Explorer so many times that it’s impossible to think well of it. But the increasing speed at which they’ve started to bring out new versions, and the clear improvements of 8 over 7, have me convinced that what they’re doing is a good thing. Yes, there’s no mention of canvas support. Yes, some of these features were supported years ago elsewhere. But they’re trying hard to improve, and more importantly, they are improving.

IE Bots

So, I for one am glad to see this announcement. It makes me happy. Also, I secretly hope that if the version numbers keep going up on IE, certain stodgy corps will be shamed into updating past IE6.

Hey, a guy can hope. Right?