Just like everyone else in the world is probably now saying, ESPN have redesigned to use an almost all CSS layout.

This is good news.

Firstly because it’s another big site turning to use CSS-only layout (see: Wired, W3C, Netscape devedge), but secondly, and perhaps more importantly, because it’s a Microsoft site, and that means they must be confident that the majority of the visitors to the site are going to have proper CSS-compliant browsers. Come in Netscape 4, your time is up.

With luck this could mean that tools like Frontpage might start producing ValidHTML and making people use CSS instead of tables, font tags, and all other such horrors.

As Zeldman points out, the ESPN site still has it’s faults, but it’s a massive boost.

James Snell writes about WhoAmI Self Hosted Identities, and proposes a protocol to query a person’s FOAF information through Jabber, and explains how it can be used for by web applications and sites to discover your preferences and interests, without you having to enter them again and again, or have the sites working them out over time (much as sites like Amazon currently do).

The problem appears early on (as they so often do), that this emergent data would need to be stored in some kind of standard fashion so that it’s easily accessible (the information could be stored on your local machine for instance, or a webserver you have access to; you have control over who can see what information and how much, etc.). FOAF is easy, there are fixed fields you can specify, but who can determine what kinds of data systems that use emergent properties will need, or even generate? Some ‘catch-all’ isn’t good enough, and it would take companies working together to surmount this. Something I’m sure that hasn’t escaped the attention of the MS Passport and the Liberty Alliance.

UPDATE: Obviously the answer lies in the semantic web. RDF is the answer to world hunger.

This might be neat.

Joggle auto-annotation:

  • maintain a list of a) words and b) links that are automatically replaced when they feature in a blog entry (e.g. ‘Google’ gets replaced with ‘<a href=”http://www.google.com” title=”Google” alt=”Link to Google”>Google</a>’ )
  • provide an “annotate” link which allows you to review the words of the entry you’re making and define new annotation definitions.
  • a public and private annotation list would be nice, with the public list being a subset of the group of all users’ annotation lists. This should be done automatically, so that when a word reaches a critical level, it gets transferred into the public list

Bookmarks are useless – what’s the point of having a series of bookmarks that only gets stored on one machine? At work this is no problem for me, a fast connection and Google and I can find anything anyway, but at home I’m on dial-up, this means bookmarks. Of course, all of my bookmarks are made when at work.

So what I want to see is a central resource for storing your bookmarks on the web (not a new idea), integrated and accessible from within the browser. For the sake of argument call them “Netmarks”. For the sake of argument (and ease), make your browser Gecko-based. And now add some items to the “bookmarks” menu which makes XML-RPC calls to a server storing your current URL, as well as storing it as a bookmark (Netmark this page, Manage Netmarks, etc.).

These should all be retrievable from any Gecko-based Mozilla-based application (where’s the XRE when you need it?) based on a user-id and probably a password.

This is all possible with what we’ve got right now. Instant global bookmarks with no extra effort from the end user.

Now someone just has to write it.

Well, RSS is all good. FOAF is stalled whilst I work on Xurble Question of the Week and some amateur weblog system for Xurble (which will be called Journals).

I’ve just signed up to blogroll to ease sticking links onto this page.

In other news, xurble now generates all discussion files in RSS, although the functionality isn’t yet complete, and I’m planning on integrating something FOAF-based

There’s lots of cool stuff on the web now and xml/rss is really taking off in a good way (hello memed internet).

There’s also been a lot of fuss in the last few days about Mitch Kapor’s “outlook killer” and the Open Source Application Foundation. But in all honestly, there doesn’t seem to be anything really new, either in terms of philosophy or software (vaporware?). The net community just _loves_ latching onto all and sundry projects which promise something new, sometimes taking weeks before we can see if it’s any good, important, or in fact possible at all. In fact the best web revolutions tend to be the quiet ones.

In other news, David Blunkett, the UK Home Secretary is seeming rather miffed that ISPs are refusing to store user logs longer than normal as part of his “anti-terrorism” laws (which, just like those in the US and Australia were rushed through post September 11th when people weren’t paying much attention or were so paranoid they’d accept anything.

So, now I’ve refound the source I started months ago, I’ve started XurbleZilla, which is a Mozilla-based client for xurble, an open source java-based bulletin board/instant messenger thing.

It’s intended to finally be a sidebar application using Mozilla’s native widgets (XUL), installable from the web, so you can use xurble whilst browsing, etc.

It’s not up yet, but there _will_ be a xurblezilla webpage.

hooray me.