New Tee: Ampersandwich

Delicious typography. A super-soft, “Tri-Blend” t-shirt in espresso brown from American Apparel, printed with everyone’s favorite logogram (set in Knockout‘s Ultra Sumo weight). Peanut butter? Mustard? Fluff? Jelly? Either way, we think the ampersand is a ligature for eat and not et.

The Ampersandwich Tee is available now over at the shop. For fine typography aficionados such as yourself.

Things I Saw Today

A nice tutorial on creating your own textured backgrounds from two stock images by Ali Felski (who’s site is beautifully textured in its own right).

Ligature, Loop & Stem, “creators and curators of fine typography-related products”, has launched. Ingenious site layout and presentation, and some wonderful ampersand-related products are already for sale.

Microsoft announced an early look at IE9 for developers. Notable stuff includes support for the border-radius property. No vendor-specific extension. Good reason to include actual CSS3 properties along with vendor-specific ones today. Also mentioned is support for more CSS3 selectors. I’ll be more excited if there’s word on text-shadow, box-shadow, RGBA and transforms.

The FontFont library is now availble on Typekit. This is quite huge news. It also looks like the available fonts have been optimized for web use. Bar: raised.

Things I Saw Today

Typekit, “… a subscription-based service for linking to high-quality Open Type fonts”, is now live and available to all.

A superb desktop wallpaper by Alex Cornell. Loving the subtle text and texture of this one. Looks nice on the iPhone as well. (via ISO50)

Birdhouse for Your Soul is a touching post by Greg Knauss on why he loves the internet. Absolutely worth a read. (via)

Craig Robinson of Flip Flop Flyin’ has a new iPhone app out that boasts, “… 1,000 Minipops on your iPhone/iPod touch which you can look at whenever and wherever you want.” Minipops are blocky, pixel art renderings of famous people.

Authentic Jobs is having a No Retweet Necessary Contest with some pretty excellent prizes, some of which were hand-selected by partner sites (we chose a Nintendo DS Lite).

I also saw donut seeds for the first time. (via)

Future Talk

Ten years ago, two of my biggest fears were: flying and public speaking. I’ve done enough of both (usually combined) over the last several years to where I’m now OK with either. At times even comfortable with it. I’ll probably always get nervous right before a talk — but the anxiety has shifted from, “crap, how am I going to get through this” to, “I want this to be good. I don’t want to let anyone down”.

With that confession out of the way, the next year is filling up with some great events, and I thought I’d list them here:

Ethan and I are also looking for other unique cities to bring the Handcrafted CSS event to. Have an idea, or know of an event that needs a full-day course that covers CSS3, fluid grids, bulletproof design and more? We’d love to hear about it (in the comments on this post).

Things I Saw Today

Mule Design’s newest t-shirt, the El Vetica, which boasts “… celebrating the career of Mexico’s only typographer/luchador”. Purchased.

Mr. Eaves, a new sans-serif companion to Mrs. Eaves from type designer Zuzana Licko. The “Q” is especially excellent.

Chromeography, a photoblog entirely devoted to “… praise of the chrome logos and lettering affixed to vintage automobiles and electric appliances”. From Typographica.

I also saw this photo of Jenne Farm in Vermont, which pretty much sums up how beautiful Fall is in New England.

WoodPress

Well, after 6+ years on an ancient and highly customized install of Movable Type 3.15, and 4+ years on various homegrown CMS solutions, I’ve finally upgraded the guts of this site. I chose WordPress. Sure, there are several other excellent options out there to power the blogs of 2010 and beyond, but the familarity of WP, its plugins, pricetag and other factors all fed into the decision. Plus, I told Matt in the halls of SWSW in 2003 that I’d try his little weblog project. I’m finally following through on that.

Exporting thousands of entries isn’t fun. But luckily plenty of folks have done this before. Overall, I’m feeling spolied by the little things that have been commonplace for you folks that are smart about upgrading your blogging engine more often than I. With the Notebook sections ported over, I wanted to launch things and tweak as I have time. That said, there are still parts of the site that still need migrating help (namely, the Work section). Eventually all will be under one roof.

Along with the backend switch, I made a few minor visual tweaks to the site as well (hence the title of this post, “WoodPress”). Nothing terribly exciting. If anything, it’s a slight step backward, to the layouts of SimpleBits’ past. Like anyone who used to blog with frequency pre-2005, I’d like to post here more often — not just to fill up bits and bytes, but to write again. Remember when blogs were more casual and conversational? Before a post’s purpose was to grab search engine clicks or to promise “99 Answers to Your Problem That We’re Telling You You’re Having”. Yeah. I’d like to get back to that here.

Then again, history teaches us that it probably won’t happen. But at least now I can’t blame the software.

Oh, and there’s a new feed now (although the old feed URLs should redirect if my .htaccess is up to snuff).

Carson Workshops: Handcrafted CSS in London

I’m pleased to announce the super excellent folks at Carsonified are bringing the Handcrafted CSS workshop to London! Carson Workshops will be presenting Ethan Marcotte and myself in a reprise of the one-day course we organized last month here in Salem, MA. And it’s surely going to be a blast.

Just like last time, each attendee will get a copy of the book (Video Edition including the DVD) and we’ll spend the day walking through much of its content and more. This event was a great success here in New England, and we’re thrilled to bring it to the UK. Thanks to Carson Workshops for making this happen!

So join us on November 23rd at Wallspace St Pancras in London. For more info on the event and to book a place (there’s a max of 70 spots), visit the Carson Workshops site.

Regarding HTML5

It was a hot Summer Sunday afternoon. I’d just stepped off the Acela Express from Boston to New York City, and I was confused as ever about HTML5. I thought I was alone. Impossible in mid-town Manhatt– no, alone in being confused about the next chapter of markup specifications. I figured something was wrong with me. Was I not reading up enough about HTML5? Well no, wait, I’d been doing a fair amount of reading up about HTML5, yet there was still this partial confusion about a number of aspects of the proposed spec.

Thankfully, a few friends old and new got together at Happy Cog headquarters to walk through the spec, noting along the way the areas that seemed problematic, confusing or otherwise unsettling.

Personally, I came away from that day less confused, but more importantly feeling more positive about HTML5 in general. Along with this newfound positiveness, came some clarity in specific portions of the spec that seemed troublesome. The rest of the group (I can take zero credit for its publication) crafted a “guide to HTML5 hiccups” in the hopes that the powers that be would listen and healthy debate might begin on these specifics.
A few of those items that stood out for me were:

  • Offering an HTML5 syntax option when validating. This has nothing to do with HTML5 itself, but it’s important for the validator to simply and easily add an option for checking syntax that would help to foster good coding habits, avoid head-scratching rendering issues, etc. That’s why I choose to code XHTML today — it’s a personal preference that helps me maintain, optimize and troubleshoot code, and I’ll continue with that convention no matter the doctype.
  • HTML5 introduces a lot of new elements. All at once. Some of which seem unnecessary (e.g. article, hgroup).
  • While at first I was cringing at the idea of redefining the semantics of certain elements, it does start to make sense. Instead of introducing even more elements, HTML5 reuses and redefines. For example, the small element would now “represent side comments such as small print”, rather than a presentation instruction for font size.
  • The concept of “sectioning content” I didn’t quite get at first from the high level overviews I’d been reading, but seen in practice, it’s quite excellent (e.g. where the section dictates scope of the heading elements it contains).
  • That said, folks will use header and footer for exactly the areas that they’re now assigning IDs with those terms, while in HTML5 they can mean different things (header and footer of a section, for which there could be many on a page).
    I still have an enormous amount to learn about HTML5, am still concerned about certain aspects of it, but overall optimistic about the future of markup.

Handcrafted Haiku Winners Announced

Well, we loved them all, and agonized over choosing two winners to receive a ticket to next month’s Handcrafted CSS workshop. But decide we did!

Winner #1 is @wilto, waxing poetic about a place we’ve all been, surely:

IE6 lives on.
Box model—and heart—broken.
position: fetal;

And Winner #2 is @squaregirl , who in three perfectly penned lines reminds us of the importance of validation during development:

Curly braces sound cute.
Until you leave one out. Oops!
I fracked my stylesheet.

Congrats to the winners! And thanks again to the fine folks at Campaign Monitor for sending them to the workshop. Which, by the way, is only a little over two weeks away. Spaces are being filled up, so grab a ticket and join us in Salem, won’t you?

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