The View From 32


More below: PROPAGANDA

Car thermometer showing 33 degreesWhat a difference a day makes!

If you look at the temperature when I was driving home yesterday and compare it to today's reading shown at left, you'll see the problem.

Yesterday was sunny and almost hot, hitting 80 degrees. Today it was cloudy, windy and cold. In 24 hours the temperature dropped about 45 degrees, and by late evening there was snow on the ground.

Of course this is sort of a Cleveland tradition. The Indians' home opener is Friday, and snow seems to be the way we celebrate the start of the baseball season.

This is why the most popular T-shirts around here for a long while were ones that said Cleveland: You've got to be tough!

Show your <body> naked on the Web

CSS Naked Day graphic The idea behind CSS Naked Day is "to promote Web Standards. Plain and simple. This includes proper use of (x)html, semantic markup, a good hierarchy structure, and of course, a good 'ol play on words."

When you remove the CSS from a website that properly uses it for the visual presentation of its content you'll see a very plain site, but the information will still be visible in a logical order. The heading tags (h1, h2, etc). create a visual hierarchy that should be understandable even though virtually all color, style and layout niceties will be gone.

CSS Naked Day  is a fun way of showing exactly how this works. Sounds like a good idea, but I'm afraid I can't go all the way. To be officially part of the event and to be listed on the website you have to pledge to strip the CSS from your entire site. For both technical and editorial reasons I don't want to do that. But tomorrow's page (April 5) itself will have its CSS style sheet disabled: Take a look.


Make your own propaganda film

Can't wait to try it myself! The website The American Image: The Photographs of John Collier, Jr. has a great interactive feature where visitors can combine film clips, photos, graphics and music from the 1940s to create a propaganda film of their own.

This is both a neat showcase of technical wizardry and a bit of cultural provocation. It's been my experience that students often think of propaganda as something the other side does, the bad guys. Here they see for themselves how American artists, filmmakers, etc. did the same sort of thing in support of the our war effort. By making their own movie they hopefully will get some insight into how this type of political persuasion is part of the landscape in most countries.

The website, created by the University of New Mexico Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, has other learning activities that promote seeing more in photographs than the obvious. In very Web 2.0 fashion you can compare John Collier's photographs from the 40s with current ones from the Flickr website.

These and other smartly-designed projects that combine museum and web-based experiences were produced by Ideum, a company whose goal is to create experiences that are "a balance of compelling design, intuitive navigation and usability, and dynamic content."  In addition to showing work of their own, the site's blog is a good source of information about innovations in the field. Just a quick look tipped me off to the iTunes small but interesting selection of museum tour podcasts. Can't wait to download the one about the Victoria and Albert Museum, one of my favorites in London.