Blog Life

Ripping good times

Thursday, January 26, 2006

So Buendia got me a turntable for Christmas, and I’m having much fun converting my vinyl to MP3 format. The records seem to have survived 18 months in the garage without too much trouble.

I’m struck by the way technology has influenced the creative process. Albums used to have sides, and artists would use the limitations of the medium to their advantage. So you’d have an up side and a more reflective side, or you’d have to make sure you started side 2 with a killer track.

Often, when I’d first buy an album I’d spend a couple of weeks just listening to the first side, to allow myself to really get it before turning it over.

And now all this analogue mechanical stuff is being filtered through my trusty PowerBook at home, and ending up on my iPod and the Mac Mini in the office. When we tell Finn that music used to come as an object, not just a data file to be accessed whenever and however we like, she’ll just laugh. But then I’ll show her the vinyl.

Posted by David in • Life

Moore Consulting

Moore Consulting’s Review of 2005

While it’s still early 2006, I thought it was time for a review of Moore Consulting’s first full year in business.

It’s been a great success, and a lot of fun — here are the basic facts:

We built (or contributed to the construction of) ten sites, with most of our clients being public sector bodies (including the NM State Economic Development Department, the NM Office of Science and Technology, NM Tourism and Santa Fe Economic development). Among these site was the main NM Economic Development Department site, and the very well-received travel and tourism project, Off The Road.

I (that’s me, David Moore) did the lion’s share of planning, construction and project management on all these jobs — I think it’s important that the person working on the overall strategy and information architecture of a site (the higher level decision-making) is also well-versed in the minutiae of construction issues. However, I was ably assisted by a talented group of designers and programmers who were responsible for making many of the sites look and work the way they were supposed to.

On the consulting side I did accessibility reviews for other website developers, helped a multinational e-learning firm build a new developers’ section on their site, and co-wrote an influential review of British and Irish e-government sites for Irish web consultancy, iQ Content.

I also saw a dozen issues of iQ Content’s popular newsletter safely off the virtual presses as the editor and main writer.

Trends and Conclusions

A few things stick out from the year.

Standards-compliant tableless construction has gone mainstream — while not all the sites I built this year used CSS entirely for layout, many of them did (including the graphically-rich Off the Road site), and I endeavoured to make all of them as standards-compliant as possible. While many clients might not understand or even care when you start banging on about XHTML and divs, they are interested in the results of modern site development techniques — faster development time, easier changes, better search-engine performance, and more consistent display across browsers. We’ll see what IE7 has to offer in terms of better standards-compliance, but I’d be very suspicious of developers who tell you that the old-style mix of javascript, tables and browser-specific hacks is the way to go

Cost-effective CMSs please everyone — almost all the sites I’ve built this year have had a web-based back-end (or ‘content management system’ (CMS)) to allow easy updating. Sometimes this has been the free and great WordPress (, sometimes the cheap and powerful Expression Engine (, depending on requirements. A web developer I know once told me that they always lost money on the original construction, but aimed to get it back on updates to the site. That’s outrageously unprofessional, in my opinion, not to mention a recipe for dissatisfaction all round. Clients should be able to change existing pages and add new pages (especially to a news or events section) without having to come back to the developer with more money, and it doesn’t cost a fortune to build that into the original construction.

Basecamp makes me look good, and keeps us all organized — the online project management system Basecamp is a great way to track projects and communicate with clients. Setting milestones, uploading samples, discussing issues — Basecamp keeps all the information in the one place, and makes it easy to find and use. My project with the e-learning company saw stakeholders in five or six locations (none of them Santa Fe, except me) in two countries, with more people being brought in over time. The Moore Consulting extranet (powered by Basecamp) kept everyone informed and on the same page.

New Mexico public sector website aren’t very good
 — from my review of 42 British and Irish e-government sites (and lots of earlier consulting and training on a number of central government projects in Ireland), it’s clear that New Mexico public sector sites need a lot of work. Of course, the ones I’ve been working on are better than most (though I would say that), but there’s a desperate need for standards and guidelines, and some emergency work on the usability and structure of most of them. I won’t say more now, but this will be one of my goals for 2006.

Arts reviews Blog

Blubbering fool

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Since Finn’s been born (and also before, truth to tell), I’ve been very easily moved to tears.

Sometimes a news item will see me crying, especially if kids are involved somehow. But most of my tears are shed over movies.

This week, the great documentary Mad Hot Ballroom did it for me. 

It traces the progress of three sets of 11-year-olds from different New York public schools as they learn ballroom dancing and then compete in a city-wide dance off.

It’s thought-provoking, funny and ridiculously cute, and there are enough ‘aaahhhh’ moments to see me crying.

Worth a look (and you probably won’t cry).

Posted by David in • Arts reviews

Blog Life Santa Fe and New Mexico

Ho hum

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Is it wrong that I loudly shout ‘Wanker!’ at every Hummer I see?

Whether I’m walking or driving, it’s most unlikely the driver will ever hear me (although I’m careful to enunciate carefully, to help them lip-read).

Buendia points out they might not know what a wanker is, and even if they did, might not associate the criticism directly with their choice of vehicle. But I think anyone driving one (there are a distressing number around Santa Fe), is always thinking ‘Don’t I look great in this vehicle?’.

So I’m answering the question that’s in their head.

I”m just not as committed as these guys.