[html4all] notes from the f2f
Joshue O Connor
joshue.oconnor at cfit.ie
Mon Nov 12 06:38:16 PST 2007
As Steve mentioned the conference was an interesting opportunity to see
how the various players interact and was a total eye opener.
However, the "un-conference" style of the meeting left a lot to be
desired, especially after traveling half way around the planet to get
there. I would have liked more "conference" and less "un". I guess that
means I am a traditionalist or uptight or something, well so be it.
The guitars and singsongs were not necessary and the whole thing was
made even worse when juxtaposed with - to be frank - the rather bullish
manner that Dan C oversaw the whole thing. It seemed to me to be all
"I'd like to by the world a Coke" one minute but if you spoke out of
line the soundtrack quickly changed to something about guns and they
were pointed at you. This is obviously an analogy but just to be clear.
While they all obviously saw themselves as kind of kooky and fun loving
non-conformists, I just saw a Bob Roberts nightmare.  
To be frank it wasn't even the guitars, which on one level would have
been great, if I was drunk but it was 11am.
This bullishness, was a real surprise as Dan is a good moderator in the
list, reasonably asking people to provide evidence and research for
their positions/stance/suggestions. Also when during the ARIA meeting
Rich mentioned Freedom Scientific and Dans response was 'Freedom who?" I
got an insight into where accessibility seems to be in the food chain.
In fact if you "spoke" at all, it had to be via IRC which I had problems
getting to work. I don't know why they even had a F2F as the IRC was
where most of the real dialogue seemed to me to take place anyway. IMO
as soon as there is a biological IRC interface the W3C will happily move
to a more matrix style domain.
The whole experience - to be frank - left me feeling strangely nullified
and I have seriously considered leaving the group as my energies could
certainly be better directed elsewhere. There are also others in the
group who are very knowledgeable about accessibility and the needs of
people with disabilities, our Steve F and Chaals, Gregory. I knew
beforehand that I was a small cog but now I am even wondering about the
value of small cog status and I feel like just getting on with my own
thing and leaving all of this spec trashing to those who are taken
seriously, or who have power in the group. That's one level.
On a personal level, it was a great chance to meet some people and I had
a laugh with Steve and we had a really nice meal one eve with Shawn
Henry, Ben and Justin, in a great Afghani restaurant. I didn't think
Afghanis did vegetarian food and was expecting lamb with bullets, but
was very pleasantly surprised. Also getting to chat with Aaron about
ARIA in a small group during the breakout was great.
> Seems pretty much like ARIA will be usable with HTML 5, the issues
> being debated are peripheral.
Some of the issues.  
>> a small group (me. josh and justin thorp (a top guy from the EO WG))
>> attended ben millards and james grahams breakout group on data tables.
>> It was interesting stuff.
It was. What Ben and James are suggesting is a way of combining
algorithms to ensure a combination of data table layouts etc can be
presented to the user when mark up is missing or badly applied. Ben has
put a huge amount of research and energy into this area and James'
testing tool is really useful to measure the efficiency of various
algorithms so I also recommend people to keep an eye on this issue and
Also I have to say thanks to Ian Hickson who was very personable and
thanked me for my contribution to the group and also Michael Smith who
made the effort to introduce himself and also made me feel welcome. The
funny thing is that I felt more a part of the HTML5 WG *before* the
meeting but realise now that this was because this interaction was
taking place via an artificial medium. The F2F has made me question the
value of my involvement and shattered an illusion. This is actually
good. I talked this over with Steve and after some more thought, decided
to stay but I will be far more discerning of my input into the group.
More information about the List_HTML4all.org