Archive for ‘books’ category

Web Standards Solutions, Special Edition

It’s been a long five years since it was orginally published, but last month month a new Web Standards Solutions, Special Edition was released by Friends of ED.
book coverLate last year, I gave the manuscript a little freshening up, mostly reviewing things in the crop of browsers that have been released since the initial version. I’ll stress that this was not a large overhaul of the book (hence Special Edition rather than Second Edition), so if you’ve already read the original, or own it, you’re better off spending your dime on another book.
But while it wasn’t a giant update, it was nice to give it some extra attention, and pass it through through tech editing, copy editing, compositing and proofreading cycles once again. In the end, I’m really happy it just made the book that much more solid for folks that haven’t read it—and hopefully still a good introduction for those getting started with semantic markup and CSS.
In other book news, I’ve been toiling away on something brand new, and look forward to sharing much more about that very soon.


The Bitcave was temporarily transformed into a video studio this week, while shooting a DVD for New Riders. I’ll have much more info on the video and other fun stuff related to it, soon.

video shoot

After seeing all the work that goes into setting up a simple shoot like this (lighting, sound, rigging, data transfers) I have newfound respect to those that produce motion stuff for a living. There were parts of the taping where I felt comfortable (when presenting against familiar material) and other times where it was downright grueling (talking directly to the camera for 30 takes in a row).

Major props to those that can do this kind of thing on a regular basis, and make it look effortless.


We’ve created a special place where we can recommend various books, music and products that help us design and kick ass. That place is called SimpleGoods, a custom little Amazon Store (or “AStore” as those in the know call them).


Design and customization by Meagan, who is now an expert in overriding horrendous legacy code via a tiny textarea (read more about the process). One is limited in terms of what’s customizable in an AStore, but Meagan found a way to make it unique and awesome (just don’t look under the hood, and send your code grievances directly to, thanks ;-).

Some of the categories are merely stubs for adding products in the future as we come across them. And you might be interested to know that the latest item added is our new Hoover “Slider” Rechargeable Broom, a vacuum alternative for the space-conscious. Apparently when a vacuum is small enough, they’re called “electric brooms”. Just FYI.

Discount Days

Sure, the price of oil may be at a record high, but the fine, friendly folks of the internet are here to brighten your day. Here are two ways the faithful readers of SimpleBits can save some dough:

Save $50 on the ticket price to An Event Apart San Francisco in August! Just enter the coupon code AEACEDE when you register (that’s in addition to the early bird discount).

If you’ve never been to an An Event Apart, make this your first. I’ll be giving a talk along with 11 other web luminaries. It will be the best of times.

I mentioned Luke Wroblewski’s Web Form Design book previously. Now you can save 10% on the cover price by using the coupon code CEDERHOLM when ordering from Rosenfeld Media. This code should work for their other excellent books as well.

80 Percenter

Last week, I gave my More “Wow”, Please talk at Web Design World Boston. During the talk I mentioned a fantastic book: Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard. Yvon founded the expensive-but-awesome clothing company, Patagonia. I’ve long been a fan of Patagonia’s stuff, and their dedication as a company to environmental causes (they co-founded One Percent For The Planet, of which SimpleBits is a member) , and so when Josh Porter recommended the book a while back, I ordered immediately.

book coverThe book covers the history of the company, Yvon’s philosophy on design, and being a reluctant business owner. It’s a great read, with a lot of insightful head-nodding.

One part stood out in particular, when Chouinard talks about how he sees himself as an “80 percenter”:

I’ve always thought of myself as an 80 percenter. I like to throw myself passionately into a sport or activity until I reach 80 percent proficiency level. To go beyond that requires an obsession and degree of specialization that doesn’t appeal to me.

I didn’t know it before reading that quote, but I think I’m an 80 percenter as well. For people that love to create things, whether it be a website or a t-shirt or even a beer coaster (ahem) — the web seems to tie all these things together quite nicely. And it’s reaching 80% proficiency (but not 100%) that I think makes it possible to handle all of that at one time.

Ever try talking to (or working with) someone who is 100% obsessed with a single task? The danger is that they’ll get bogged down in details. Every detail. Whereas an 80 percenter might eventually learn to know which details to focus on. And determining which details are important can be just as useful as knowing them all.

At least that’s my interpretation. Regardless, I recommend the book highly.

Bulletproof Web Design, Second Edition

On bookstore shelves today (I hope) is something I’ve been toiling over for the past few months. Bulletproof Web Design, Second Edition is a refresh of the book I wrote for New Riders in 2005. I’ve been humbled by the response of the first edition, and have enjoyed talking about the principles described in the book at conferences and workshops over the last few years. So it was only fitting to give this little blue book a tune-up under the hood.

Book coverThis isn’t a giant update nor a new book entirely. Rather, it brings the examples in line with Internet Explorer 7 (which wasn’t released when the first ed. was published) and adds several more examples based on ems (which were sorely lacking from the original book). There are of course errata fixes and nips and tucks throughout as well, and about 30 additional pages were added in total. All in all, I’m happy to have the book be all the more solid and relevant.

On the surface, writing a second edition of a book seems like an easy little project. One that won’t be too much work, won’t take long, and can easily fit in between other activities. But it’s not like that. It’s like writing another book all over again (even though it’s not another book and a large portion of the text is the same).

I find the actual writing of a book the easiest of all stages. It’s the editing, the back-and-forth, the endless checking and double-checking of Word docs (Word!) and then PDF files. Reading comments, checking comments, adding your own comments. “Should this be bold or code font?”. All of this is necessary of course. But my goodness it’s just as time consuming as the first go-around.

But like anything that takes time and effort in life, you quickly forget the pain and maybe even someday agree to do it all over again.

While today is the official publication date, Amazon is still taking pre-orders only. I’ve yet to see an actual copy myself, so there could very well be a slight delay.

Some Speaking Events

The speaking drought is ending this summer and I’ll be taking Bulletproof Web Design on the road to two conferences. Don’t worry though, I won’t be regurgitating the book, but rather using the concepts as a platform to talk about some recent (and future) projects along with the methods and thinking that’s gone into them.

@media 2006 · London · June 15-16

Kerry and I visited (Old) England back in 1998. Loved it of course (especially Oxford). Looking forward to going back, although we originally thought this might be a first big family trip, it’ll be hard to be travelling solo. If you’re attending the conference and see a misty-eyed, intentionally (for now) bald guy glued to his iPhoto-enabled iPod — now you’ll know why.

@media looks like it’ll be a fantastic conference though, with quite an amazing line-up of speakers. Really looking forward to it.

Webvisions 2006 · Portland, Oregon · July 20-21

I’ve never been to Oregon, but have always assumed I’d really dig it. Webvisions has quite a line-up as well, spread out over two days of workshops, panels and keynotes. Should be fun times.

Contest Winners

First things first, a big thanks to everyone who entered the contest. A whopping 713 entries far exceeded my expectations — and it’s excellent that so many weighed in with genuinely thoughtful comments regarding Huey Lewis’ modern day equivalent.