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A place for thought, progress, and dissent.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Collective Idea

Collective Idea has a new site. It offers 6x more information, which means it is still very very minimalist.

In the coming months, we will have a lot more to say. Soon this blog will die and a new one will sprout up over there. We will begin releasing our own products, bring more people into the collective, and some cool open source tools will pop up.

I have purposely talked very little about Collective Idea here. Collective Idea is my development/consulting company that I started a little over a year ago. We have worked on a number of very exciting sites and applications in that time, some of which have been highlighted here.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Update from Austin

Update 10-March: In addition to my photos, check out Aaron's and Rich's too, as I might actually be in some of those.

For the next week, I'm in Austin, Texas for South by Southwest (SWSW).

I'm really exited to be here, getting to see a lot of web visionaries and my Rails side will be fed well with _why and meeting up with Austin on Rails.

While here, I'll be uploading photos as often as possible, and working on 7dots.

Since I've kinda dropped off the face of the earth, here's just a bit of what I've been involved with lately:

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Meta Challenge

A colleague sent me an email today about EasyEULA:
Dan, you should put meta tags on EasyEULA.

Like this:

<meta http-equiv="imagetoolbar" content="false" />
<meta name="MSSmartTagsPreventParsing" content="true" />
<meta name="title" content="EasyEULA | Home" />
<meta name="Copyright" content="Copyright (c) 2006 Collective Idea LLC" />
<meta name="description" content="Started in 2006, EasyEULA strives to simplify End User License Agreements for the benefit of end users, software developers, and for general good karma." />
<meta name="author" content="Daniel Morrison, Collective Idea" />
<meta name="Rating" content="General" />

I don't want to pick on anybody, but I don't like meta tags for two reasons
  • It conflicts with my love of minimalism.
  • I don't see why these are useful, let alone necessary.


My question of the day: Is there any benefit to including these elements?

<meta http-equiv="imagetoolbar" content="false" />
The first one drives me nuts. An http-equiv? This means that this should be interpreted as if it was an HTTP header. Doesn't sound like one that made the spec. In practice, this keeps Internet Explorer on Windows from displaying those annoying little boxes (print, save, etc.) over images when you mouse over.

<meta name="MSSmartTagsPreventParsing" content="true" />
The second one, I have no clue about. A quick search sheds some light, but is hardly seems worth of an element on every page.

<meta name="title" content="EasyEULA | Home" />
The third seems entirely worthless to me. Any robot should realize that there is already a <title> element. This isn't metadata, it's data. If this meta title is different from the real title, we have a problem.

<meta name="Copyright" content="Copyright (c) 2006 Collective Idea LLC" />
<meta name="description" content="Started in 2006, EasyEULA strives to simplify End User License Agreements for the benefit of end users, software developers, and for general good karma." />
<meta name="author" content="Daniel Morrison, Collective Idea" />

These next three I have the least problem with, as they could clear up ambiguities. However, I feel that they could be better represented by good semantic markup or RDF, which is the modern replacement for <meta>.

<meta name="Rating" content="General" />
This final piece of metadata seems reasonable, though I see no use for it unless your content is of a questionable or variable propriety.

So what is the solution? Are major robots actually looking at meta elements? Is anybody? What about RDF, is Google parsing it? Am I right to avoid meta? Should I replace it with RDF? Should I leave it all out?

Comments requested.

EasyEULA

Ages ago, I wrote about the need for better simpler End User License Agreements, or EULAs.

While the solution is still pending, I have launched EasyEULA.org to begin the discussion.

I have had some very positive discussions privately, and have been encouraged to take the idea public. Feedback (idea at easyeula dot org) is encouraged and welcome, and hopefully this will turn into a viable solution.