Sweden Launches a Virtual Embassy In Second Life

I know I’m a few days late on talking about this. For those of you who haven’t heard,  Sweden has launched a virtual embassy in the virtual worlds metaverse Second Life.    I walked around their island the other day.  It’s very well done.

While it at the time was largely uninhabited, it sounds like they plan on holding a host of events there.  This is smart.  Second Life is a very event and community-driven culture

If you wanna follow the development of Sweden’s Second Life presence, check out the blog “(building the) Second House of Sweden.”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s F8 Keynote Video is Now Available Online

Screenshot of Mark Zuckerberg from F8 Keynote Video

If you haven’t seen yet, Facebook has just posted the Mark Zuckerberg’s Keynote video from their F8 Facebook Platform launch event.

I’m impressed. He’s a pretty good speaker.

Some of the Web metrics that Mark announced are pretty unbelievable. It’s great they’ve been getting so much success.

I’m excited about the idea of using Facebook as a platform. I think a lot of existing applications will benefit from knowing who my friends are.

It does make me nervous to think that so much of my information will be stored in one place.

Facebook’s “How I know you” Feature Should Support the XFN Microformat

The Facebook

Michael Arrington and Dave Winer are requesting that Facebook add more options to their “How I know you” feature, where you indicate the type of relationship you have with another person and how you met. I want the feature to incorporate the XFN Microformat.

XFN is a way in HTML, using the rel attribute, to denote the type of relationship that you have with someone. Some examples of possible attributes are friend, co-worker, neighbor, crush, muse, parent, child, and many others.

In Facebook, if someone chooses they know eachother because they work together, whenever the two user’s friendship is represented in HTML it should use the rel=”co-worker” attribute.

Somehow then I’d be able to programatically take the relationships I have from Facebook and mash them up with my non-Facebook XFN marked-up relationships or bring my non-Facebook XFN marked-up relationships into Facebook.

Starting to Plan BarCampWashingtonDC

Jason, Jackson, and I have decided to kick off planning for BarCampWashingtonDC. I had so much fun organizing and attending BarCampRochester. I’m excited to help bring the unconference to the Washington DC metro area.

For those of you unfamiliar with BarCamp, it is a gathering of Web developers, programmers, marketers, managers, designers, social media, and new media professionals to exchange their ideas and thoughts about the projects that they are working on.

Its not like the normal conference. It is the unconference. Everyone who attends participates. It’s not structured.

Are you interested in participating, organizing, sponsoring, or hosting the event?

Sign up on the BarCampWashingtonDC wiki.

Did Kevin Rose and Digg forget about OpenID

The blogosphere is a little bit of a buzz with Kevin Rose’s announcement that Digg.com will expand into areas such as images and restaurants. This is great news but has the blogosphere forgotten the last announcement that Digg made but hasn’t followed through on?Back in February, Kevin Rose announced at Future of Web Apps in London that Digg was going to be supporting the decentralized single sign on technology OpenID. I understand that Kevin said OpenID support wasn’t going to be launched next day but it has been four months. FOUR MONTHS!

Having Digg FINALLY launch its OpenID support could help to keep the OpenID momentum going.

We need to start holding companies accountable when they make claims on features that will be forth coming.

Update: With my track record, Digg will launch OpenID support on Monday.

WCAG 2.0: Do you have enough color contrast on your Web site?

Ever go to a Web site where you feel you have to squint to read the text because the color contrast is so bad. Having appropriate color contrast on your Web site is very important. You may lose a chunk of your audience if they can’t adequately read the text because of not enough contrast between background and foreground colors.

In the W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 1.0, the only thing they say about having enough color contrast is in checkpoint 2.2:

2.2 Ensure that foreground and background color combinations provide sufficient contrast when viewed by someone having color deficits or when viewed on a black and white screen. [Priority 2 for images, Priority 3 for text].

The natural question would be, what does “sufficient contrast” mean? How can I measure that? It’s a checkpoint that I could easily shrug off an say, “Sure my sight as sufficient color contrast.”

In the latest drafts of WCAG 2.0, color contrast is a little bit more spelled out. Level AA Success Criteria 1.4.3 says:

1.4.3 Contrast (Minimum): Text (and images of text) have a contrast ratio of at least 5:1, except if the text is pure decoration. Larger-scale text or images of text can have a contrast ratio of 3:1. (Level AA)

If you’re more ambitious, Level AAA Success Criteria 1.4.5 says:

1.4.5 Contrast (Enhanced): Text (and images of text) have a contrast ratio of at least 7:1, except if the text is pure decoration. Larger-scale text or images of text can have a contrast ratio of 5:1. (Level AAA)

But what does it mean to have a contrast ratio of 5 to 1, 3 to 1, or 7 to 1? Well thats what development and evaluation tools are for. The tools can be built around the appropriate algorithms to tell us whether or not we have good color contrast on our Web site.

The Web Accessibility Tools Consortium has put out the Luminosity Contrast Ratio Analyser 1.1. This is a great tool to use at the beginning of the design process. You can enter color choices and see if there is enough color contrast to be in conformance with WCAG 2.0. Unfortunately the tool only currently works with Windows (sorry Mac designers.)

No after you have posted your site online, you should check again to make sure that all of your background and foreground colors have the appropriate contrast. Gez Lemon of Juicy Studio and participant in the WCAG Working Group has published his tool, the Colour Contrast Firefox Extension.

With the tool, you can go to any Web site and analyze all of the different background and foreground color contrast levels. A table with all of the different colors that are used will come up. It will point out exactly what needs to be fixed.

This is where I work…

When you’re at work, it’s easy for the walls to feel like they’re pressing in on you.  You forget why you do what you do and the difference that it’s making in people’s lives.

This video helped me remember how cool my job is and the great difference that we’re making.

You’ll want to work at the Library of Congress after watching this video.

(Kudos to Michael Lawerence Films for a cool trailer.  I’d love to see the full DVD)