Who is perfect?

Disabled mannequins will be eliciting astonished looks from passers-by on Zurich’s Bahnhofstrasse today. Between the perfect mannequins, there will be figures with scoliosis or brittle bone disease modelling the latest fashions. One will have shortened limbs; the other a malformed spine. The campaign has been devised for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities by Pro Infirmis, an organisation for the disabled. Entitled “Because who is perfect? Get closer.”, it is designed to provoke reflection on the acceptance of people with disabilities. Director Alain Gsponer has captured the campaign as a short film.

The figures are life-sized, three-dimensional representations of Miss Handicap 2010, Jasmin Rechsteiner, radio presenter and film critic Alex Oberholzer, track and field athlete Urs Kolly, blogger Nadja Schmid and actor Erwin Aljukic.

“We often go chasing after ideals instead of accepting life in all its diversity. Pro Infirmis strives especially for the acceptance of disability and the inclusion of people with disabilities,” says Mark Zumbühl, a member of the Pro Infirmis Executive Board, in describing the campaign.

Blue Beanie Day Haikus

Haiku Graffiti

Near Blue Beanie Day; Happy orange, green, blue; HTML5.

Wondering about how to write a Haiku for Blue Beanie Day 2010?  According to Wikipedia, a Haiku is a short Japanese style poem, consisting of 3 phrases (17 moras).  So you’ll need 3 lines. First line with 5 sounds or syllables, a second  line with 7 sounds or syllables, and a final line with 5 sounds or syllables.

In my example above, the final phrase is only one word (HTML5) but five syllables – tricky huh?

This year’s Blue Beanie Day will be celebrated on Nov. 30th.  There will be prizes for the best Haiku. Put your thinking cap on (I mean Blue Beanie),  and get your Haiku ready.

Cleaning Up After the Party

The Blue Beanie Day 2009 party is over, and by many reports (google shows 492,000) it was a happy and festive day in support of Web Standards — and a big success.

Partying With Web Standards - in Los Angeles
Partying With Web Standards - in Los Angeles

We’re still sweeping up the confetti, and emptying the ashtrays after the last visitor left the party.  We still have some awards to give out, and a few books to give away.  Meanwhile, Andy Clark says  Taylor Swift is still recovering from the after party hangover, and Max Weir is trying to figure out if the CSS Squirrel is a nut case.

Third Annual Blue Beanie Day

The third annual Blue Beanie Day will be celebrated on Monday, November 30, 2009

Thousands of Standardistas (people who support web standards) will wear a Blue Beanie to show their support for accessible, semantic web content.

3rd Annual Blue Beanie Day
3rd Annual Blue Beanie Day

It’s easy to show your support for web design done right. Beg, borrow, or buy a Blue Beanie (or Blue Toque in Canada) and snap a photo of your mug wearing the blue. (Or get creative with Photoshop). Then on November 30, switch your profile picture in Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, (and any other social network) and post your photo to the Blue Beanie Day group at Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/groups/bluebeanieday2009/ .

It’s easy to participate:

  1. Make a personal commitment to fight Web Standards apathy. Show solidarity with the Standardistas on Monday, November 30th, 2009.
  2. Buy, beg, or borrow a Blue Beanie (blue hat or cap, even a black or grey one will do in a pinch.)
  3. Take a photo of yourself wearing the Blue Beanie. Or take a cool group photo of you and your friends wearing Blue Beanies.
  4. Post your photo, or photos to Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, and other social networks on Monday, November 30th, 2009. Remember to switch your Facebook profile photo that day, too!
  5. Start by inviting all your friends to the Facebook Event for Blue Beanie Day 2009.
  6. Promote Blue Beanie Day on your blog, wiki, facebook page, twitter tweets — telling all your friends to get ready for Blue Beanie Day. 

CSS Grid Frameworks

I’ve been studying CSS Grid Frameworks for the past couple weeks.  Here are some links to several CSS Frameworks that I found interesting, elegant, and useful:

  • 960 Grid System – A mature and stable CSS Framework, that uses a fixed width page layout of 960 pixels, along with the flexibility of  12 or 16 columns.  (Created by Nathan Smith of  SonSpring)
  • Blueprint – An elegant and complete CSS Framework that includes a CSS reset (similar to Eric Meyer’s Reset) that eliminates deals with the discrepancies across browsers, a solid grid that can support most complex layouts (without reverting to crazy HTML table-based design patterns), expert typographical principles, CSS form styles for great looking user interfaces, and CSS print styles for making any webpage ready for printing out on paper. (Created and maintained by Christian Montoya and the Blueprint community.)
  • The Golden Grid – A simple CSS Framework for HTML web page design, by Vladimir Carrer from Italy

Bitnami Ruby Stack Testing

I loaded the latest Bitnami Ruby Stack (RubyStack 1.5-2) on my personal Windows-XP development machine this morning. I say loaded, because there is very little configuration that needs to be done.  The bonus (for me) is that I get Ruby 1.8.7 and Ruby 1.9.1 plus a complete Ruby on Rails environment and upgrades for many other packages in the full stack. This is my first time running Ruby 1.9, so I look forward to trying that out.  It’s a hefty package to download and install (225MB), but the Bitnami/Bitrock installer makes configuring your Ruby on Rails development (or test) environment as easy as riding a bike, or falling off a log.  Just hop on and ride — or fall off and roll (depending on your favorite metaphor).

Here’s a listing of the major components that are included in this FOSS (Free Open Source Software) stack.

  • Ruby 1.8.7
  • Ruby 1.9.1
  • RubyGems 1.3.4
  • Rails 2.3.2
  • ImageMagick 6.5.2-9
  • Subversion 1.6.2
  • SQLite 3.5.1
  • MySQL 5.1.30
  • Apache 2.2.11
  • PHP 5.2.8
  • phpMyAdmin
  • Git
  • Nginx 0.7.59

Lot’s of great choices and options make this “a very powerfull stack.”  Bitnami’s latest RubyStack (RubyStack 1.5-2) goes above and beyond to give you a full Ruby environment (for the two latest stable releases of Ruby), a PHP environment, two SQL database servers, two web servers, and two version control services. Wow! All that, and it only takes a few minutes to configure and install.

I’ll be using the Bitnami stack (with Ruby 1.8.7 and Ruby 1.9.1) as a test environment while working on the Ruby and Rails book reviews I mentioned yesterday.

More Ruby Books in My Queue

After several months of quietness, I’m gearing up for a burst of new book reviews.

Here’s a brief summary of some tasty new treats in the Ruby lineup:

  1. Learning Rails (Rails from the Outside In) by Simon St. Laurent and Edd Dumbill, published by O’Reilly Media (See Learning Rails book cover and O’Reilly catalog description here.)
  2. Wicked Cool Ruby Scripts (Useful Scripts That Solve Difficult Problems) by Steve Pugh, published by No Starch Press (the Finest in Geek Entertainment). You can download a PDF of chapter 1, “General Purpose Utilities”.
  3. Enterprise Recipes with Ruby and Rails by Maik Schmidt, published by Pragmatic Programmers
  4. Programming Ruby 1.9 (The newly updated Pragmatic Programmers Guide, aka the Pick-Axe book), by Dave Thomas with Chad Fowler and Andy Hunt, published by The Pragmatic Programmers
  5. Agile Web Development With Rails (Third Edition) by Sam Ruby, Dave Thomas, David Heinemeier Hansson with Leon Breedt, Mike Clark, Justin Gehtland, James Duncan Davidson, and Andreas Schwarz

I hope you are enjoying your summer reading as much as I am.  What new books are you reading?