Please Register to Vote

If you haven’t registered vote, you have until midnight to do so if
you wish to vote in the EU referendum.The process is very quick, all you need is your national insurance number. Regardless of whether you think we should remain or leave, I urge you to vote as this is a hugely important decision for the future of this country.

This lyric, from This Blue World by Elbow, sums up perfectly for me the bond that remains, even after my marriage is dead and buried.

While three chambers of my heart

Beat strong and true with love for another

The fourth, the fourth, is yours forever

I wish I had a thousandth of Guy Garvey’s talent as a songwriter.

Time to move on?

It’s now just a matter of time before a decree absolute is issued and my marriage is officially terminated. Is it naive of me, I wonder, to hope that the conclusion of my divorce will help me move on? Right now, I feel I’m in emotional limbo, but how much of that is down to my being in recovery from a prolonged period of depression and self-imposed isolation? When introspection threatens to get out of control it’s time for a bike ride to help me switch off for a while, so on y va!

Evolution of the Web: Technological vs. Social Determinism

internet

It is technology or society that has driven the evolution of the web? Perhaps a binary view of driving forces is too simple for such a complex phenomenon, and instead technology and the way it is used and shaped by society, should be seen as working in concert in a way that has accelerated the evolution of the web.

Take, for example, the Mosaic web browser, the first graphical browser, the granddaddy of the plethora of browsers we can choose from today. When Mosaic was launched, the user experience wasn’t great – text in the default text of the users’ computer, with just the blue colouring of links to leaven the text. However, this browser made people wake up to the idea of the web being a visual medium, and had designers clamoring for the tools to allow a construction of web pages that was more inline to the print medium they were used to.

This triggered a race to produce a browser that allowed design values to be added to web pages, and as HTML underlaid all the design options, a rapid evolution of HTML way beyond the very simple application of SGML that was the original HTML specification. Anybody remember the browser wars of the late nineties? Eventually the styling of web pages was separated out by use of stand-alonestyle  sheet files, as embedding ever more style information into HTML became unsupportable as sites became ever larger and complex. In fact, as a somebody who was been building web sites for 14 years, I’d say that style sheets evolved faster than the HTML spec – after all,  for many reasons web site owners care much more about the look of their site than how good the hidden markup is.

Human beings are very visual creatures, and good visual design doesn’t just make things look pretty, but also helps us absorb information. This trait has lead to the web being a very different looking place than the ugly duckling it was in it’s early days, and perhaps even skewed the evolution of the standards used by the web. However, steps changes in technology such as Mosaic have been key to people perception of what the web could become. So, for want of a better term, we see a synergy between technological and social factors egging each other on ad accelerating the evolution of the web.