The W3C Published The First Public Working Draft of HTML 5

HTML 5 just released its first public working draft

There was a lot of big news today in the world of Web standards.  Today the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) published the first public working draft of HTML 5.  It’s the next generation of thinking around the future of HTML, which is the lingua franca or building blocks of every Web site.

Some of HTML 5 is great… some of its meh… but it’s a start, which is AWESOME.

Yes, just to be clear… HTML 5 is far from done.  If you follow the timeline set forth by the chairs of the working group who have taken up this endeavor, this may be wrapping up in 2010.

But… what this first public working draft is is hopefully a starting point of even more community discussion and participating in what will be the future of the Web.

Now, just to warn you.  The HTML 5 specification draft is pretty heavy… as in the language is tough and if you were to print it off and drop it on your toe, you’d probably break your toe.  The main audience of the spec is browser makers (Microsoft, Mozilla, Apple, Opera, etc.)

If you wanna work your way up to reading the spec, I’d recommend checking out the document “HTML 5 differences from HTML 4” which was also released today for first public working draft by the W3C.  You could also check out the A List Apart article written by Lachlan Hunt, “A Preview of HTML 5.

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How Bad Timing Hurt Pownce

I have been a fan of the Web application Pownce ever since it was launched in private beta mid-2007 by the trio of Kevin Rose, Daniel Burka, and Leah Culver.  I was especially pumped when last night Pownce moved out of private beta and opened to the world.

But… I worry that the app has been doomed  from the start because of bad timing.

When Pownce was launched in mid 2007, it was described as a “way to send stuff to your friends.”  I later heard it described as a light weight e-mail or messaging service.  It’s for when my friends want to send me a cool Web site, image, file, YouTube video, invite me for coffee later, or ask me for quick feedback about something.  Makes sense to me.  I’m always sending that kind of stuff around.

Unfortunate for Pownce, when it launched, Twitter was just starting to pick up and get a lot of buzz.  Instead of getting judged for what it is/was, Pownce has been judged as a replacement for Twitter… that it has to be one or the other… not both.

You hear a lot of people say… “only if you could send messages to Pownce via SMS, like Twitter”.  Maybe if the timing were different more folks with use Pownce and see it for what it is.

Pownce is for communicating messages.  Twitter is for communicating my status.

And… to add insult to injury Twitter is beating Pownce around the school yard.  I hope that enough people use it now that its open and it will begin to get an upswing of users.

So… what do you think of Pownce and Twitter?

One Laptop per Child (OLPC) XO Laptops in Mongolia and Nepal

Mongolian Children using XO Laptops

I really love watching the new photos come in from the new places where One Laptop per Child (OLPC) is sending XO laptops.  The latest is Mongolia and Nepal.

Mongolia was a recipient of laptops through the Give One Get One program and a child in Nepal received a XO laptop through the gift of a generous donor.

These kids now have the ability to explore the opportunities that the world has to offer.

Your donations to OLPC are changing the world.  Keep it up.

(Above is an OLPC photo from Mongolia)

My Favorite Web Sites Are The Ones I Visit The Least

Recently, I had the realization that my favorite Web sites were the ones I visited the least.  The first thing I do when I find a Web site that I want to visit again is look for an RSS feed.  If I find one, chances are I won’t come to the Web site again for a while.  If the Web site doesn’t have an RSS feed, I’ll forget about it and the site will miss out on some traffic.

My RSS reader has become one of my information or lifestyle hubs.  For me, there are others that I use daily.  My mobile phone and my television are all places where I expect to be able to receive all of my various feeds of information.  They are my viewports into the world.

We are moving away from this idea of having to view a Web site to view Web content.  The thing is… this is so radical.   Web content creators need to realize that they’re going to have to give up a lot of control if they want to be successful.

The content you put online is going to be viewed out of the context of which it was initially created.

This is all part of the reason why I’m so into the idea of widgets.  It’s an easier way for users to aggregate your Web content or Web application… much easier then trying to explain RSS to someone.

For example, the popular online chat application Meebo received 84% of it’s traffic through it’s widget.

Going back in time…

This week has been kind of crazy.  At the Library of Congress, we made 3000+ photos available on Flickr and the level of positive and warm responses has exceeded all of our wildest expectations.

It’s been thrilling to watch as people from around the world have gone back in time to the early and mid 1900s and gotten to know eras of decades ago.

Also… it’s been rewarding to see in some instances these photos are starting to spark creativity and discussion in the folks that have enjoyed them.

Well, I look forward to seeing what the future of this project will hold.

Here is a sample of some of my favorite photos from the Library of Congress sets that were made available on Flickr:
Fruit stand

School children

Baseball player holding a camera

John Coston Presenting on Web Accessibility at Refresh DC This Thursday

This Thursday my buddy John Coston is going to be giving a talk on Web Accessibility at Refresh DC.  The event is going to be held at the  Greater Washington Board of Trade (map) 1725 I Street NW, Suite 200 Washington, DC 20006.

Make sure you’re there.