searching @ tastypopsicle.com
I've decided to open up the weblog archive. At one point is was closed off except to registered members due to an incident, However, that company has since closed its doors so they can just eat it. Use the search to find something that youmight be looking for. Maybe you'll find it.
weblog archive : july 2007
Tech Cocktail and NASCAR made me do it
This past Thursday I attended the one year anniversary of Tech Cocktail with about 500 other people. It was a sponsored event which meant it was free admission and free drinks. That gives you very few excuses if you weren't one of the attendees. Most feel it was a success although I'm not sure what the criteria is for a successful event like this. I guess time will tell.
I got to meet a lot of great people - people that I've been keeping my eye on over the last few years of working the Chicago tech scene. Specifically Adrian Holovaty who if you know much about my CTA Google Map then you must know that Adrian started it off with his CTA Firefox Greasemonkey way before Google opened up the Maps API - almost 2 years ago. He's also the brilliant mind behind the hugely successful ChicagoCrime.org Oh, and he recently picked up a $1.1MM grant to produce some more amazing ideas. Needless to say it was a real pleasure to meet him.
You know who else is a great guy - Tom Sherman of Windybits and his Jotsheet over on Underscorebleach.net I got to hang out with him for a lot of the night and then had dinner with him and some of his friends. It was great to be invited and I'm looking forward to getting to know more about Tom and what his master plan is in Chicago.
You know who else is cool? A young woman named Laura Roeder. Having 7 years more on her it's no stretch to consider her a young woman - although most others would probably just consider me old. Anyway, she's an independent graphic designer and online marketing up-and-comer. She's already making a name for herself but I promise you that in less than 1 month you will be hearing A LOT more about her.
Finally, that part about NASCAR - I was down at the Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet Friday, Saturday and Sunday to watch the Bush and Nextel Cup races. Well, the 2 races are about 7 hours total which leaves you with another 48 hours to entertain yourself and 60,000 other people. Man, that's A LOT of coolers. I learned my lesson from last year and avoided the tequila. Wise choice this time around.
My CTA Google Map gets a Suntimes Bump
So, there's a section of the Chicago Suntimes' website that's geared towards useful, Chicago focused sites on the internet called Jump2Web. Every few days a new topic is explored such as Chicago's Yummiest Pies or Caribbean Eats. Whatever. Anything is game.
Today's topic is The Skinny on the CTA which is filled with lots of useful Chicago Transit Authority related links. The Suntimes mentioned a few obvious sites like the official CTA website as well as the RTA's own trip planner. The Suntimes even threw in Wikipedia and Flickr.
What was really great to see is that they mentioned the some great local sites such as the indispensable CTA Tattler and the amazingly resourceful Chicago-L.org as well as a few others. All of the people involved do a great job of keeping the CTA riders informed and up to date, so my hat's off to them.
Oh, and they mentioned my CTA Google Map as well. In summation:
This site uses Google maps technology to help you find venues around a particular L stop. If you click on a dot along your L line, a window pops up that gives you the station’s address along with a drop-down menu to search for certain info. If you click on “free WiFi” in the drop down, for instance, a map with pushpins appears on the right of your screen, while a list of all the businesses with free WiFi in Google’s database shows up on the left. Since it shows you what venues are available and a map of where they’re located, this site is uber helpful if you’re unfamiliar with a neighborhood.
"Uber helpful" - that's what I'm talkin' about. Don't forget that you can also get schedule information by clicking on a station and then on the line/color that is listed. That could be helpful too.
Thanks for the bump, Suntimes.
The Chicago Tribune redesigns their website
And it's TERRIBLE. Why oh why oh why, Mother Tribune? This new website of yours is ghastly. It's appalling. Meh - it's mediocre at best. At a time when major news sites are revamping and redesigning it's no surprise to see a media empire the size of the Tribune Company updating the look of their online appearance. But chicagotribune.com lacks the polish and style that makes visiting sites like Newsvine, CNN, and ABC News such a pleasure. When I was presented with the new home page of the Chicago Tribune I literally made a scrunchy face. Their boxes and "widgets" look forced into the site rather than thoughtfully crafted. And don't get me started with their treatment of type - these headlines are so blah. I clicked into an article to see what the rest of the 99% of the website looked like.
The first thing I noticed, after the terrible headline, was the right column. I was so curious as to why they treated each of the boxes in the right column so differently. "Images in the news" is a white box surrounded by a light grey border. Beneath that are a couple ads, inconsistently sized. Are there no advertising standards? "Popular stories" is below the ads, which mean that they must not be as important as the images; otherwise they would be at the top. But the Tribune thinks that the stories are important because they made each headline bold. And gray. And they use padding between each of the headlines to separate them, instead of bullets like they did for Images in the news. Below Popular stories are a couple more awkward ads and below those ads there is "Tell us what you think" set in a baby blue box with teeny tiny type and left and right padding which causes such a tension. And finally there are more ads - Google text ads which have a look all their own. This is just the right column.
The left column, the site navigation, is a measly 125px wide. The type is extremely small and gets completely overshadowed by the 845px for the stories and the right column. I just don't get it. I enjoy reading the news online but I must be getting spoiled reading most of it from Newsvine. Newsvine has depth and complexity. They treat their headlines with dignity and respect and they ensure that there is a consistent look across the entire site. "But Newsvine just links to news from other sites like the Tribune - they hardly offer anything. So why the comparison?" Because that's where A LOT of people like myself are choosing to first FIND their news. I'll go to the source if I find the story interesting but it's hard to browse the Tribune's website. And then there's ABC News' website. Chicago Tribune, did you even look at this site? When you were sitting around talking about ideas and expectations did no one anyone mention ABC News? It's obvious that the Chicago Tribune is trying.
I looked at the HTML to see how the meat was sticking to the bones. Fortunately, it's not as bad as I was expecting. They've finally abandoned tables in favor of an all CSS design. Unfortunately, that's about as far as it gets. I looked first to see what they are serving up in their head tag. global.css, layout.css, fonts.css(?), fixed.css(?!), ie.css(?!?), ie-lte6.css(?!wtf!?) and it's mentioned twice?) This can't be good. As I read through the rest of the document the same thing kept popping up in just about every element: class="clearfix" Why do you need to add clearfix to the first element on the page? There's nothing floating above it? I also saw an excessive amount of empty classes:
<li class="">and empty targets: target="" which made my Firebug throw up warnings and errors. You know about Firebug, right? Overall, I'm a bit disappointed. I don't feel like the web site is accurate representation of a newspaper which is one of the largest newspapers in terms of circulation (#8 with a weekly paid circulation of 566,827). It looks cheap and tawdry and even the code isn't going stand the test of time (hint: get rid of class="clearfix" and just use clear:both for the element ids that need to be cleared) Folks at the Tribune: this is not meant to be a put down. I'm sure you're up against a lot of bureaucracy insistent on having meetings about meetings. With some minor changes and some necessary enhancements I think that the website could be a destination point for many people. If you'd like to hear more about my ideas please contact me and I'd be happy to offer my professional assistance.
300 times Delicious
Thanks to everyone who have left such encouraging comments. It's been great to have something that so many people enjoy using
welcome.to.chicago :: 21 may 2013 @ 9.20am CT