Well – any illusions I may have had about being “safe” up here in sleepy little East Finchley were shattered today. Yes it’s true. Terrorists are ditching cars right here, in the middle of middle-class British suburbia.
In other news, I ventured back into the Tube system today for the first time since Thursday. After the bombings on the 7th, things seemed like they returned to normal fairly quickly, but now everyone really is warily eyeing everyone else. It’s quite un-nerving.
So we got bombed again. When will these people quit it already? I had a pretty surreal walk across London this time trying to get to a Tube stop that works. As I write this, I’m finally in a Tube train travelling north from Mornington Crescent station back to East Finchley. I tried the bus for a while then gave up. Here are a couple shots of the area around Warren Street station where one of the bombs went off. The top one is of someone hopping the barrier at Euston Road (normally an extremely busy street but they weren’t allowing any vehicle traffic within a certain area), just before I hopped it as well. The bottom one is someone approaching the police at one of the many police lines around Warren Street and Euston. I regularly commute through Warren Street so I can only immagine how fun the next few weeks are going to be. I sense some serious home-working coming up.
Hey you know what’s even cooler? I just sent away my passport this morning by courier to get it renewed! So I have no ability to leave the country if I need to. Great!
…that in October of last year I said that George Bush was putting my family at greater risk with this ill-conceived Iraq war. Last week’s bombing in London bears out those concerns. Instead of “making the world safer,” Bush has made the world even more dangerous by stoking the fires of extremism, through the Iraq war, prisoner abuse, etc… etc… But still he goes on with his “war on terror” message (he’s consistent, I’ll give him that). Unbelievable.
I think it’s only just sunk in, after having read the detailed analysis of Thursday’s bombings: I’ve often found myself commuting to work via the Picadilly line — it’s one of my alternate routes. If I hadn’t been out of the country on Thursday, it’s quite possible that I could have been on a train between King’s Cross and Russell Square stations at around 8:50.
So here I am stuck in Germany while the terrible events in London unfolded today. The family is fine. Thanks to everyone who has contacted me today to check up on us. Now I only hope I can get home tomorrow morning.
I’ve been transiting through Heathrow regularly for about six years now, and for six years the most consistently high-quality food to be found is at the Seafood Bar café annex to the Caviar House food shop. You wouldn’t expect to find high quality smoked and raw seafood in the middle of an airport departure lounge, but there it is. They’re actually in all the Heathrow terminals and I believe in Stansted and Gatwick as well (all BAA airports?). I particularly recommend the Russian Balik smoked salmon, accompanied by a Balik beer (strong). Fabulous.
So I actually think Microsoft might be doing the right thing by pushing people to deploy SPF records. (See this news.com article.) SPF records aren’t going to eliminate Spam, but they could be an important tool in verifying email origin. I deployed SPF on my torgo.com domain earlier this year — it was pretty easy and I think it’s been effective judging from the drastic reduction in the number of bounced-back messages caught in my spam filter presumably from spam senders spoofing a torgo.com address. Microsoft shouldn’t claim that SPF is going to end spam — it isn’t — but it’s a good step forward. Interesting to note that W3C is also endorsing SPF, albeit with some caveats.
One of the key issues that I think is going to come up in the context of the Mobile Web Best Practices working group that I’m going to chair is that of Accessibility. To put it simply, what is the intersection of Web “accessibility” and Web “mobility?” To be sure, a lot of what makes a Web content accessible can also aid it in being Mobile browser friendly. Some times I hear people say that a user of a browser on mobile is “disabled” in a way because of the limitations of the mobile device. I disagree with this notion. I think — and forgive me for this — that users of mobile browsers are actually “differently-abled” in the truest sense. There are both advantages and disadvantages to mobile browsing. For example, you have the disadvantage of the smaller screen but the (at least potential) advantage of mobility and location awareness. But there is definitely an intersection. The Mobile Web Best Practices group will have to develop a set of guidelines and a checklist, akin to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines checklist, and in reviewing the WCAG checklist, it seems like much of it could be imported or referenced (subject, of course, to the consensus of the working group). The trick will be determining the intersection of mobility and accessibility. Surely, some of the WCAG guidelines will directly map on to Mobility requirements whereas some won’t. For example, careful use of color, or providing alternate visual cues when color is used as an interface element is important because of the huge number of red-green or otherwise color-blind people out there (a common rant subject for my friend Eric Snider — and by the way I’m glad to see there’s someone than I am about updating their blog). But is this strictly speaking a mobility requirement as well? I’m tempted to say “no,” whereas use of CSS as opposed to tables to support content layout is certainly applicable to Mobility as well as Accessibility. Tricky stuff.
I give up. I just don’t understand the kids these days.
So here at the W3C Advisory Committee meeting, there has been a lot of discussion on spam, and phishing and malware and viruses and lions and tigers, etc… and whether W3C ought to be doing anything in these areas. I think this is worthy discussion, but my personal Web Pet Peeve is actually much (I think) more straight forward to address. It’s sites that have a complicated start page which takes a little time to load, with a log-in form on the page. Either because of a script in the page or because of the browser’s own “smart” features, when you click in this form (usually a username and password box) to log in to go to the next page, you get half-way done and then poof! either what you’ve been typing disappears or is replaced with something else or is mangled in some way. FOR GOD SAKE, can’t the browser understand it’s not supposed to muck around in a text input field that I’m in the middle of typing into? Sheesh!