Linguistics and Gender

Thanks to Liz Henry, one of my co-panelists at the upcoming SXSW Interactive Conference for telling me about ozarque’s Journal. a linguistics blog by former San Diego State linguistics professor Suzette Haden Elgin. Liz brought ozarque’s Journal to my attention when I mentioned that I wanted to talk about Deborah Tannen’s ideas on framing as part of our panel discussion Increasing Women’s Visibility on the Web: Whose Butt Should We Be Kicking? It looks like ozarque’s Journal is set to become one of my favorite reads!

Tales from the Trenches

The young man carries an 18 hour class load this semester, but he found time to come to my presentation on CSS layouts to the New Mexico Adobe Users Group last night. Every class he’s taking relates to web design: HTML, Dreamweaver, Flash, Director, Photoshop, etc., and leads toward a certification as a web specialist. He complained that over a month into the semester his HTML instructor has yet to explain how HTML and CSS interact. Apparently the instructor does not take kindly to questions about CSS, either.

A second attendee commented that he’d taken a Dreamweaver class at a community college in the northern part of the state where he learned a whole lot about Photoshop and nothing about how to use Dreamweaver to create CSS layouts.

I taught in systems that organized classes in exactly those patterns when I rebelled and began working out a way of teaching HTML and CSS at the same time. That system ultimately ended up in my book, Integrated HTML and CSS: A Smarter, Faster Way to Learn. Readers learn to use HTML and CSS simultaneously to create standards-based and accessible web pages in the book.

The tales I want to hear from the trenches are about classes where the instructors understand what standards are, understand how CSS works, and give students skills that reflect current best practices. Surely there are classes like that out there! I want to hear some success stories.

Much of the problem comes from above the classroom level. State agencies set requirements for what has to be taught in certain classes and hand teachers a laundry list of ‘required skills’ that a student must have on exiting the class. To satisfy accreditation agencies and other educational overseers who control funding, teachers are expected to teach the skills on the laundry list, whether or not they reflect current standards. Maybe teachers are the wrong audience for my message. Maybe I need to take it to the state and national education agencies who determine what classes are offered in our schools. I’m going to be thinking and talking about this to see if that may be a better way to effect change. Ideas are welcome.

Knowbility accessibility training conference

Access U Home Knowbility training is absolute gold in accessiblity. I’ve promoted the idea of bringing Knowbility training to my fellow professionals where I live. So far my efforts to bring a traveling Knowbility show here have failed, but now there’s hope. Now Knowbility offers a two day training conference called Access U for all web professionals. It’s in Austin, Texas in May. Go. Learn. You’ll be glad you did.

Yahoo! Graded Browser Support

Yahoo! Developer Network: Graded Browser Support This article describes Yahoo’s concept of graded browser support. Author Nate Koechley said,

Support does not mean that everybody gets the same thing. Expecting two users using different browser software to have an identical experience fails to embrace or acknowledge the heterogeneous essence of the Web. In fact, requiring the same experience for all users creates a barrier to participation. Availability and accessibility of content should be our key priority.

Be sure to read all the way to the end for the link to the table showing various browsers according to their grade of support.

National summit for community wireless networks in St. Charles, MO

Imagine & Implement: The 2006 National Summit for Community Wireless Networks: “The Summit is the largest gathering of community wireless networking developers, implementers and allies focused on building the alliance of technologists, policy experts, and implementers, and encouraging participants to discuss the great variety of challenges and opportunities facing the movement, including:

  • How can community wireless networks better serve their target populations?
  • What is the future of unlicensed spectrum and what policies and regulations will support/hamper innovations in community wireless technologies?
  • How can the hundreds of independently-operating community wireless initiatives join together to create a positive future for the movement?
  • What technological and software innovations do we already have, and what projects are currently being worked on?
  • What are the pros and cons of different wireless systems currently available?”

Review: Google Advertising Tools

Google Advertising Tools
Google Advertising Tools : Cashing in with AdSense, AdWords, and the Google APIs by Harold Davis is from O’Reilly (2006). The book covers a wide range of information meant to satisfy everyone from the neophyte advertiser to the web development professional. The book is divided into four major sections. Part I is Making Money with Your Web Site—a basic introduction to advertising terminology, advertising programs, and site planning.

Part II is Getting the Most of AdSense. Instructions for setting up a Google AdSense program are step-by-step and include helpful information about how Google searches work. This section explains tracking search performance. In Part III, Working with AdWords, the instructions again take you step-by-step through account setup and account types. This section contains advice on how to optimize ads, target sites, and use AdWords reports to improve your earnings.

Part IV is Using the AdWords API. This part of the book is aimed at programmers and tells about using the AdWords API with web services and PHP, as well as how to use the AdWords hierarchy and keyword estimation.

Casual bloggers, web entrepreneurs, and web developers who want to make money from a web site can all gain from this book.

As for teaching, if you are teaching a class about economics on the web, this is a valuable resource.