Molly interviewed for bbc backstage

I shot this video with Molly earlier in the week, which I shared with Backstage but I received a great comment which I thought was good enough to quote here.

Interesting interview, thanks.

It's interesting to hear Molly's views on how it can be technologists versus the business with regards to standards. I think this has been true of everywhere I have worked, and it's understandable. I think the points about businesses understanding the ROI from standards is also valid, they are waking up to this, however the biggest set back seems to be legacy issues and timescales. Often there are old systems that are difficult to replace, but also a great many of the contemporary tools that offer faster creation
do so at a cost to the code quality. Can we please get some good standards compliant .Net components?

Also the mention of uneducated educators. This is so true for a great many areas of IT still it is shocking, even university level courses are behind the times, especially where IT is not the primary focus. I remember how quickly as a class at uni we knew more than the lecturer about Photoshop. The problem is made worse when the teacher is too proud or arrogant to acknowledge their lack of ignorance. Which gets me onto a whole seperate rant about the quality of teaching staff and the under appreciated nature
of the job. It should be a desired occupation (like being a doctor) where the rewards are high, but you are held to account harshly for not being up to the task.

I haven't really seen the use of divs as table cell replacements, but it has been along time since I made the transistion from table based layout to CSS driven layout. I can easily believe it though, they are such different ways of working and require you to think so differently about you build a website. I've been made aware of this transistion again recently when learning Flex and WPF, where although some principles carry across, there are different rules and what you thought was the best way of doing it isn't
necessarily the case.

Thanks for the interview though, I hope Molly can engage the business guys at Microsoft

Elsa from Elsa

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Last night’s Geekdinner with Molly was great

Geek Rampage

So once again, another highly successful geekdinner, this time with Molly. Believe it or not, but I was late for the party and as host, this is very bad form. I thought to myself, as I ran from waterloo up and down stairs till I reached City Thameslink. If I get there before Molly at least that would be a good thing. When I arrived, I was met with about 40 people drinking and enjoying themselves and Molly's great smile. Oh well I failed. But by the time I had got a drink and cooled off a little, everything was in full swing.

Its great that geekdinner's has got to such a point that people can just gather and enjoy the evening. I just wondered around looking for people who I've never met. Give them a nice introduction to others and geekdinners. In total I counted 60 people which was a great achivement. I do worry about geekdinners getting too big, but to date its still not happened quite yet. I feel the day I can't have a word with everyone, then geekdinners will have lost something. Not to say I won't do large events in the future, they just won't be geekdinners.

At the speaking part of the Geekdinner, Chris Helimann gave Molly some Lush goodies (chris i owe you one), Molly announced that she's going to live in London for a month trial in January and I announced the BBC Backstage London Christmas bash. So there is quite alot to talk about, but I may seperate my news out into another blog post.

The only down side to the night was the venue. See I had a deal with the old management that we could stay till 11pm, which is normal pub drink up time. But the bottlescrew have this thing about closing at 10pm, So last orders got called about 9:50pm and they started kicking us out by about 10:20pm. People gathered outside saying what the hell was that about and that we should find somewhere to drink. So in the hour between 10:30pm and 11:30pm we (about 20+ people) kind of slowly walked up the road towards Holborn station. It was wicked fun and there was great fun had outside some building as we tried to get everyone in for a group photo. By the time we actually got Holborn, most of the pubs were shut and people didn't want to walk all the way to Soho for one more drink. I think, me, sheila and a guy from Norway were the last to leave from the geekdinner. And that must have been just before midnight.

So seriously that was a great geekdinner, I really enjoyed it and totally forgot I was shattered and had not slept well the whole week.

Molly, when your over here for the month, we either need to do a geekdinner or have a welcome to London party for you. And for all those interested, I'm going to look into using another venue for the next geekdinner. The venue has lots of advantages when it was summer

You can find pictures here and here. Oh my god there's a crazy picture of me.

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Breaking the grid in the city and online

Grids and boxes

Molly has wrote a really good comparsion between the grid systems of most American cities and the grids of websites in an entry for Alist apart titled Thinking outside the grid. Thanks to Sheila for the heads up.

On the other hand, Tucson’s designers planned for only a certain amount of growth, and this has caused innumerable problems in maintaining the city’s ease of navigation and usability as the city grew beyond its planned limits. Furthermore, the constraints of Tucson’s grid do not encourage the emergence of alternative neighborhoods and communities. Many residents of Tucson will agree that the city lacks a vibrant center—or many unique communities—as a result, and that when those isolated spots do exist, they’re easy to get to, but people aren’t motivated to get out and find them.

London, unlike Tucson, is a maze. I know Londoners who carry around a London A-Z guidebook to help them navigate! The city’s transportation system is so challenging that would-be cab drivers must pass a test demonstrating that they possess The Knowledge in order to drive traditional black cabs. The city’s organic growth hasn’t exactly made it the easiest place to navigate.

Fantastic stuff, specially when you start thinking about the differences between the two cities communities and how blogs look compared to news sites.

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Last nights Geek Dinner with Molly, was fantastic…

Geek Dinner with Molly, Me and Jeremy

Thanks to everyone who turned up and made the Geek Dinner with Molly the best yet

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Everything went so well I'm actually still up with a big smile on my face, but am speechless in what to write at this moment. I'll fill in the details tomorrow. Till then you can catch all my photos here on Flickr. And all public ones here and here. Interestly, I'd not seen the Tim O'reilly geek dinner photos till now.

Ok so some observerations from yesterday
No matter how early I get to the venue someone will beat you. Even a full 45mins before the start of the Geek dinner with Molly, there were about a group of 8 guys drinking and chatting. The group included Don from Amazon.
Name badges are a good idea. Some people liked the idea of the sticky badges, others didnt. But it was great for me as I can now look through the photos and remember everyone name (for example Elly). But it doesnt stop there, it helps me go and speak to everyone at least once.
I need to rotate round more. There were some people who I spent a bit of time with and then there was Sheila, who I swear I spent about half the night talking to. We had some quite amazing and open conversations about being geek, relationships and a ton of other stuff. Fantastic but not ideal when your the host. Next time Sheila, I'm going to have to pass on my contact details so we can chat over email or something.
Find a venue where you can control the noise level. It was hard work for Molly and Andy shouting over the hogs heads background noise. But next time, we will be in a different venue. Imp also offered me a mini PA system if I need it next time.

Talking of Improbulus, I had a couple of interesting conversations with her about privicy and security online. I used my audioscrobbler experience as a example. When audioscrobbler first came online, I thought its cool but do I really want everyone knowing what I listen to? At the time it was a no. But I've come to realise that if you dont realese the information yourself with a little bit of control, someone other company will do it for you, and you will have even less control. Imp disagreed, which is fine and I like think shes right, but in my experience the opposite is true. Its just more amount of how much your willing to pay for your privacy and if its more than the next company. I remember quickly reading some advice to newbies online guff guide, and they were recommending that you do not let online sites store your card number because usually its store in a database with little or no security. Once again in my experience this has been true.

Imp's post also reminded me of a conversation which me, her and Shelia had about taxonomies and folksonmies. I couldnt go into details at the time because I really needed to circlate around and give out sticky labels for names badges. But trust me, Imp and Shelia were not done yet and I'm looking forward to talking about it more next time. Hey if you guys are up for it, we could do it at the scoble geek dinner?

Anyhow back to the geekdinner…

Ah you got to love geek dinner

Fatbusinessman has created a group photo pool for Molly's Geekdinner. Should have thought about doing the same myself, good call Fatbusinessman.

More observations.
I should pick less technical people to do the dinners for. I got a feeling Molly being a designer really opened up the geekdinner to a range of people who may not have gone if it was Tim O'Reilly. Nothing against Tim or Scoble, but I'm thinking its best if I leave Hugh to do that category of people and I should focus on people like Molly. I mean we had many developers as usual, but also quite a few designers and even a librarian and architect. Everyone was fully at ease to express there geeky nature. And there's nothing better than hearing another person express there passion for something which the mainstream of people would see as kind of weird. I wont go into my post about being a self described geek but its quite interesting and quite relavent.
I'm sure I've seen you before? I must have said that too many times yesterday, I'm going to have to think of someother way to say the same thing. But I did finally meet Rachel Clarke and I was actually right, I had meet her before but at a different Geekdinner. I also met Pixel Diva (love the site design by the way) again, its been such a long time that I forgot what she looked like, but I knew I had seen her before. I seem to never forget faces, just names. Once I heard her voice and that strong accent, it all came back.

Pixel Diva, long time no see

This was the last Geekdinner for this year by myself, but dont worry I'll be back in the new year with a new venue and more interesting guests. Don't forget Hugh's arranging the big christmas geek dinner with Robert Scoble which I'll be attending in the usual London tech lovey fashion. If your woman with a partner the girl geek dinner is well worth checking out.

If you are male and wish to attend this event you must bring a female with you or be brought by a female. NO FEMALE NO ENTRY!

Which I personally feel is fine because these events are usually over run with men and this is a good way to achive some balance. I have not quite convinced Sarah that we should go, but I'm working on it. If anyone of the beautiful woman I met yesterday have no partner to bring with them, please drop me a email.

I Only Have Eyes for You

I've just learned that there is also a Molly podcast which I guess the interview was about. Its titled the worst podcast ever because of some podcast disaster with a Sony Minidisc recorder. Interesting Hugh's comments about the BBC…

If this was the BBC, I would just cover my tracks, cut out a few seconds, and tell my boss that I grabbed a great clip of Molly. But in the spirit of podcasting, I let the tape run out in mid sentence.

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Next Geek Dinner this time with Molly

Molly


Geek Dinner with Molly: November 24 at the Hogs Head, 11 Dering Street, Westminster, London

Thats right, this time our out of town guest is Molly from Molly.com. She's in London doing CSS workshops with Andy Clarke for Carson workshops. She's written some of the best web development books you've ever read. Molly has been coined “one of the greatest digerati” and deemed one of the most influential women on the Web, and is up there with Eric Meyer, Zeldman and Dave Shea when it comes to design and the web and trust me shes one of the most vibrant people around.

A little more information for those who dont know Molly, ripped from her about page.

An author, instructor, and Web designer, Molly E. Holzschlag has authored over 30 books related to Web design and development. She's been coined “one of the greatest digerati” and deemed one of the Top 25 Most Influential Women on the Web. There is little doubt that in the world of Web design and development, Molly is one of the most fun and vibrant Web characters around.

As a steering committee member for the Web Standards Project (WaSP), Molly works along with a group of other dedicated Web developers and designers to promote W3C recommendations. She also teaches Webmaster courses

Eventful calendar is here and a update on geekdinner.co.uk. Thanks Imp for highlighting the push to bring more women into geek dinners. This wont be an official girly geek dinner, but women from girly geek dinner are welcomed.

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