Article Archive

Going with the PDF Reflow

PDF documents on the web can be made to reflow so they stay within the viewport - but is that what users will see?

Tuna Penne

Tuna Penne

Meatballs on Mash with Gravy

Meatballs on Mash with Gravy

Linguine with Prawns, Chilli and Rocket

Linguine with Prawns, Chilli and Rocket

Accessible PDF Forms Online - There's a Catch

With a bit of work and the right tools, it's entirely possible to make online PDF forms accessible, but there is a catch.

Birthday Cake for Hazel

Birthday Cake for Hazel

Accessibility Book Club

In December last year, I was invited join a new LinkedIn group, Accessibility Book Club.

Knowledge Center Monthly Email Newsletter Now Available to All

Keep up to date with what we've been working on at the TPGi Knowledge Center and what's coming up, as well as digital accessibility industry news.

Fried Chorizo, Chicken, and Potato, with Salad

Fried Chorizo, Chicken, and Potato, with Salad

GAAD 2024: On-Demand Webinars and Videos

I rounded up links to 30 or so on-demand webinars and videos made for Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2024.

Creamy Penne Florentine with Mushrooms

Creamy Penne Florentine with Mushrooms

Chicken Stew

Chicken Stew

Individual Pear Tarts

Individual Pear Tarts

Websites Are Not Books

Why do we keep acting as if a website is a book?

The Call for Speakers for WordPress Accessibility Day 2024 is Open!

I've joined the organising committee for WordPress Accessibility Day as an Asia-Pacific liaison.

Creamy Gnocchi and Chicken

Creamy Gnocchi and Chicken

The Silver River, by Jim Moginie

This is not a tell-all bio of Midnight Oil. It's the memoir of a man whose life has been a journey of self-discovery.

Chicken & Mushroom Linguini Florentine

Chicken & Mushroom Linguini Florentine

What AI Can Do For (and To) Existing Web Accessibility Tools

This article explores the role of Artifical Intelligence in enhancing web accessibility tools, especially what AI can do now.

Chifferi Liscio in Gorgonzola Sauce

Chifferi Liscio in Gorgonzola Sauce

CSUN 2024 - The Movies

What I watched

CSUN 2024 - The Sessions

What I did

CSUN 2024: The People

Who I met

Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin Soup

Cucumber Salad

Cucumber Salad

Chicken Chow Mein

Chicken Chow Mein

Making Maths Accessible

This article analyzes some of the options available for making math in web content programmatically available, supplemented with some explanatory notes.

Dungeons & Dragons 50th Anniversary

I can't let the 50th anniversary of Dungeons & Dragons pass without writing something about the role it played (sic) in my life.

Mini Creamy Mushroom Pies

Mini Creamy Mushroom Pies

Chicken, Prawn and Vegetable Risoni

Chicken, Prawn and Vegetable Risoni

Chicken Potato Bake

Chicken Potato Bake

Chicken Caesar Salad

Chicken Caesar Salad

The Chocolate Factory, by Mary-Lou Stephens

Stephens has developed into a very fine fiction writer. She has the critical knack of getting inside her characters' heads, and taking readers with her.



Fried Rice

Fried Rice

Crispy Oven Baked Chicken Tenders

Crispy Oven Baked Chicken Tenders

Tech Events Calendar

A calendar of almost 200 conferences and other events around the world of interest to people working in the digital accessibility industry.

Money Talks! Formatting Currency in Web Content

How do screen readers announce money amounts in web content? Do they recognize and announce correctly the symbols we use?

The Quiet Ones, by Wendy Smith

I really enjoyed this memoir about a group of Melbourne girls who became friends - not groupies - with Skyhooks and AC/DC in the mid '70s, before those bands became really big.

How Infrastructure Works, by Deb Chachra

Subtitled Inside the Systems That Shape Our World this is a superb book, potentially life-changing at every level, from the most individual to the largest big scene imaginable.

Dishes 2023

My Top Ten dishes for 2023

Books 2023

My Top Ten books for 2023

The Game Players of Titan, by Philip K. Dick

Many of Philip K. Dick's books seem to be generated by a single central idea, off which he then spins speculative stories that often explore human psychology and social behaviours. In this case, this idea might be described as "How could you bluff someone who can read your mind?"

Making data visualizations accessible

While their aim is to make information easier to understand, data visualizations can have specific accessibility implications for people with disabilities.

Prawn, Avocado and Zucchini Salad

Prawn, Avocado and Zucchini Salad

Ringside, by Rod Willis

Another fascinating memoir of life backstage in the Australian rock biz, this one by the long time manager of Cold Chisel. I devoured it in a single Sunday sitting.

JFK, by Fredrik Logevall

This is a biography of the 35th US President that sets out to place him in the context of the start of "the American Century".

Salade Niçoise

Salade Niçoise

Digital Accessibility Podcasts

You've subscribed to the newsletters and RSS feeds, you've expanded your library, but what about digital accessibility podcasts?

REMORANDOM, by Remo Giuffré

Sure, you know what the Limbo dance is, but do you know of its origins on slave ships? How the Slinky came to be? Who invented Scrabble? Jigsaw puzzles? Safety pins? Who the Huldufólk are, or what a Balikbayan box is?

Digital Accessibility Books

Digital accessibility books: does anyone still write them? Or read them? You bet they do!

Web Directions Summit 2023

This is the conference that almost 20 years ago inspired me to throw myself wholeheartedly into the web tech industry as a freelance web designer / front end developer.

Scattershot, by Bernie Taupin

Bernie Taupin's "not a proper memoir" has left me divided, nonplussed and exasperated.

Spaghetti with Prawns, Rocket and Tomato

Spaghetti with Prawns, Rocket and Tomato

Chicken, Potato, Leek & Spinach Bake

Chicken, Potato, Leek & Spinach Bake

Don't Dream It's Over, by Jeff Apter

Die-hard fans who adore the nice, super-talented Neil Finn might get a bit of a surprise.

Digital Accessibility Blogs and Newsletters

There are a lot of people out there writing blog posts and email newsletters about digital accessibility.

Swedish Meatballs with Gravy

Swedish Meatballs with Gravy

Baked Chicken Breasts

Baked Chicken Breasts

Writing Accessible Form Messages

Forms are everywhere on the web. The words we use to tell users how to fill in online forms are very important, and become critical for people with some kinds of disabilities.

Spicy Gnocchi & Chicken

Spicy Gnocchi & Chicken

Overlays: Just Another Disability Dongle

Accessibility overlays are nothing more than Disability Dongles, "contemporary fairy tales that appeal to the abled imagination".

Prawn Omelette

Prawn Omelette

Dark Desert Highway, by Mick Wall

If you're interested in the whole California country rock phenomenon, focused on the Eagles but with lots of cameos, this is a quick and highly entertaining read.

The Outsiders / Rumble Fish

I read and loved the books before these movies were made, and they stand up for me as rare examples where the filmic versions add another dimension.

Web Directions and Me

Web Directions and I go way back. Back even to before Web Directions was Web Directions.

Such is Life, by Tom Collins

I'm currently re-reading (for what must be the fifth or sixth time) Such is Life, by Tom Collins, which in itself tells you that this is one of my favourite books.

Riviera Prawn, Chicken and Potato Stew

Prawn, Chicken and Potato Stew

Greek Style Lamb Shoulder Roast

Greek Style Lamb Shoulder Roast

Green Mashed Potatoes

Green Mashed Potatoes

You Deserve a Tech Union, by Ethan Marcotte

For someone brought up in a family with an abiding belief in the power of collective bargaining and the need for unionisation, it may seem odd that I’ve only ever been a union member for the relatively short period when I was an actor and a member of Actors Equity of Australia, before it merged […]

Creamy Garlic Prawns in Foil

Creamy Garlic Prawns in Foil

Managing Multiple WCAG Failures

Identifying different kinds of multiple failures and understanding their nature helps web developers, designers, and content authors create accessible websites, and auditors to provide better guidance when they don’t.

Scrambled Eggs

Scrambled eggs

The Mighty 'Bras, by Paul Connolly

Credit to Paul Connolly, he’s a smart cookie. He has released an updated version of his 2010 book The Mighty ‘Bras at just the right time. The Mighty ‘Bras recounts Connolly’s 11 seasons as the Coach of the Brunswick Zebras, a woman’s football team based in suburban Melbourne, with players ranging in age from teenagers […]

WCAG 3.0: Further On Up the Road

Back in December 2022, we published a blog post covering what was in the latest Working Draft of the W3C Accessibility Guidelines Version 3, published on 7 December 2021. We’ll call that WCAG3, for short. WCAG3 is designed to be the replacement for the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Version 2. Note the difference in name, […]


For no real reason, I decide to list all the gigs I can remember attending, all confirmed in one way or another. I haven’t listed repeat gigs, unless noted. I’ve also excluded any gigs I played at, with one exception. The gigs took place while I lived in Claremont (1966-77), Hobart (1978-81), Sydney (1982-84), Newcastle […]

Ragu Bianco (White Bolognese)

Ragu Bianco (White Bolognese)

Shake Some Action, by Stuart Coupe

For some reason, I’ve read a lot of books about the Australian rock music industry. I’m not sure exactly why – you’d think I’d read more books about theatre, or disability, or digital stuff. I thought it had something to do with my fan-boi mentality, maybe a hidden desire to be a groupie. But I’ve […]

Spaghetti & Meatballs (or Mushrooms) in a Creamy Spinach Sauce

Spaghetti & Meatballs (or Mushrooms) in a Creamy Spinach Sauce

Makai Murgh Curry (Corn and Chicken)

Makai Murgh Curry (Corn and Chicken)

School Daze

The more I think about it, the more I understand how who I am now has been shaped in significant ways by my school days. I’ve remarked elsewhere about how Abbotsfield Primary School shaped me. When my family arrived in Australia in 1965 they were advised that, as I was not yet five years old, […]

Lobrow, by Roger Grierson

Roger Grierson has a perspective on the Australian music industry that can rightfully be described as unique. Surely there can’t be many other people who start out as part of independent alternative band in the late 70s to eventually become the Chairman of Festival Records and then Senior Vice President of Newscorp Music, before retiring […]

The Great Imperial Hangover, by Samir Puri

This is a remarkable book, the clearest history of the world I have ever encountered. By exploring how empires rose and fell throughout history, Puri provides both an overview of world history and some basis for understanding international relations today. He does this be dividing this book into seven sections covering America, Britain, Europe, Russia, […]

Hobart, June 2023

It has been 29 years since I was last in Hobart, and 44 years since I moved to the mainland. People on the mainland are often bemused that Tasmanians call it that, like it’s some weird chip that islanders have on their collective shoulder. But it’s really just a practical term, like the difference between […]

Making Numbers in Web Content Accessible

Numbers are a key part of how we express ourselves and communicate with each other. They are often used to express concepts that are critical to our way of life: cultural, financial, medical, legal … numbers play an enormously important role in our lives. It makes sense, then, that when we use numbers in web […]

Chicken Tikka Roti, with Curry Chips

Chicken Tikka Roti, with Curry Chips

The End of the F***ing World

The End of the F***ing World (Netflix) consists of two series of eight episodes each. The first series introduces us to James, a 17 year old English boy who is a misfit and thinks he might be a psychopath. He has killed many animals and feels he should graduate to killing a person. When he […]

Le Coup, 23 June, Wollongong Spiegeltent

Le Coup is a fantastic vaudeville circus cabaret show we saw on the tiny stage in the Wollongong Spiegeltent. In just over an hour, the five physical performers packed in aerial acrobatics on trapeze and ropes, juggling, fire eating, sword swallowing, tap dancing, bullwhip (with audience participation, on ya “Dingo”), ground acrobatics, rope skipping, hand […]

Blood Meridian, by Cormac McCarthy

To mark the passing of Cormac McCarthy, I read Blood Meridian again this weekend. I first read it in the early 90s, after I was entranced by All the Pretty Horses. That book focused on a 16 year old cowboy in 1949 and could be summarised as a romanticised account of the final passing of […]

Everything and Nothing, by Heather Mitchell

I’ve never met Heather Mitchell, although we have quite a few friends, acquaintances and colleagues in common. I have, though, been aware of her more than 40 years, through her acting work in theatre, film and television. She’s always seemed to me to stand out, a luminous and beautiful presence in a truly impressive body […]

Chicken and Vegetable Curry

Chicken and Vegetable Curry

Greek Lamb Wraps

Greek Lamb Wraps

Roast Chicken, Potatoes au Gratin and Warm Vegetable Salad

Roast Chicken, Potatoes au Gratin and Warm Vegetable Salad

Prawn and Tuna Salad

Prawn and Tuna Salad

Creamy Pesto Chicken, Gnocchi and Vegetables

Creamy Pesto Chicken, Gnocchi and Vegetables

Prawn and Asparagus Risotto

Prawn and Asparagus Risotto

Chorizo, Beans and Potato Stew

Chorizo, Beans and Potato Stew

Limberlost, by Robbie Arnott

I haven’t read Robbie Arnott’s previous two books, Flames and The Rain Heron, magical fables that have won multiple awards. This novel, Limberlost, is very grounded and realist but no less magical for that. Ned is a teenager living in a northern Tasmanian orchard during World War II. His older brothers are away at war […]


If you’re looking for something a bit different to watch, I can recommend Tetris, a 1 hr 57 min movie streaming on Apple TV. The main character is Henk Rogers, who in the 80s recognised the potential of the video game Tetris and set about trying to get a piece of the rights to distribute […]

The Knowledge and How to Get it: Part Two

This blog post is Part Two of an edited transcription of the presentation “The Knowledge and How to Get it”, delivered by Hans Hillen (in person) and Ricky Onsman (via video) on 15 March at CSUN 2023. Wait – let me read Part One first. The Knowledge Life Cycle In Part One, we talked about […]

The Knowledge and How to Get it: Part One

This blog post is Part One of an edited transcription of the presentation “The Knowledge and How to Get it”, delivered by Hans Hillen (in person) and Ricky Onsman (via video) on 15 March at CSUN 2023. We’re going to share some of our experiences with setting up the TPGi Knowledge Center, and provide some […]


I miss my dog. Two days ago, Monday 3 April 2023, we took our border collie Scout to the vet. She was unable to put any weight on her left hind leg and couldn’t walk or even stand. I feared the worst, and that’s what transpired. After scans and x-rays, the vet’s assessment was that […]

On the Passing of Judy Heumann

It is with great sadness and deepest respect that we at TPGi offer our condolences to the family of Judith (Judy) Heumann, often referred to as “the mother of the disability rights movement”, who died on the 4th of March, 2023. Judy was a trailblazer all her life through the simple device of refusing to […]

All Of Us

Following another review in The Saturday Paper, I looked up online a play that is part of the UK’s National Theatre At Home subscription streaming service. The play I was interested in is All Of Us, which tells the story of Jess, a woman who is a therapist, has a doctorate in psychology and has […]

Copenhagen Cowboy

It’s not very often that a newspaper review inspires me to watch a particular film or TV series, but I have to admit if it wasn’t for Peter Marlborough’s article in The Saturday Paper, I probably wouldn’t have watched Copenhagen Cowboy. I’m really glad I did because it’s an extraordinary piece of work, a TV […]

American Gangster

I was flicking around the streaming services last night and came across a movie called American Gangster. Released in 2007, it stars Denzel Washington as a 1970s drug boss and Russell Crowe as the cop who nails him. That sounded interesting enough. I started watching and found it engaging enough to stay up much too […]

What I'm Watching

Gee, there’s some great things to watch on telly at the moment. Here’s four that I’ve found irresistible. Mr Inbetween (Foxtel, Binge): Australian drama about a hitman. Scott Ryan wrote and produced this and plays the lead character of Ray Shoesmith, an army veteran who starts the series as a bouncer at a nightclub with […]

Gnocchi, Chicken & Spinach Bake

Gnocchi, Chicken & Spinach Bake

Major Labels, by Kelefa Sanneh

It’s not often I give up on a book, but Major Labels has defeated me. The subtitle “A history of popular music in seven genres – Rock R&B Country Punk Hip-Hop Dance Pop” should give you a clear idea of what the book is about. The author covered rock and roll, hip-hop, and pop music […]

The Quiz Masters, by Brydon Coverdale

I don’t know about you but I grew up with quiz shows. I came to them after the heyday of radio but I’m old enough to have followed the first Australian TV shows. I can remember seeing Barry Jones make Bob Dyer roll his eyes on BP Pick A Box as he questioned yet another […]

Bulldozed, by Niki Savva

I very much looked forward to reading this over Christmas, but I have to say I was a bit disappointed. Perhaps I should start by saying I wasn’t aware this is the third book in a trilogy about the Liberal National Government of Australia from 2013-2022 (although probably not planned as a trilogy). The Road […]

Stella Maris, by Cormac McCarthy

This is the companion novel to The Passenger. Where the earlier (by a matter of months) book was the story of Bobby Western: salvage diver, former race car driver, son of an atomic bomb scientist and person of interest to government agents – Stella Maris comprises 170 pages of dialogue between Bobby’s sister Alicia and […]

Fried Rice De Luxe

This has become a favourite for me. It’s basically a Spanish fried rice but the chipotle seasoning gives it a Mexican tang, while the addition of the other seasonings and the egg remind me of Indonesian nasi goreng, and the mixture of protein ingredients is like your favourite House Special Chow Mein. For me, it’s […]

WCAG 3.0: are we there yet?

In short: no. Overview On 7 December 2021, the W3C Accessible Guidelines Working Group published a Working Draft of the W3C Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 3.0. So, that’s it, right? Pack WCAG 2 off to the junkyard? The standard is dead, long live the standard? Well, no. A Working Draft is published to invite feedback and […]

Nothing Bad Ever Happens Here, by Heather Rose

Ever since I was very young, reading has been a way for me to explore the world. As a child in suburban Claremont, Tasmania, books took me to parts of the world it never occurred to me that I could, or would, ever visit. For the Term of His Natural Life was probably the first […]

A Word About Language

I’ve spent a good portion of this week writing about WCAG 3.0, the third version of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. As the name states, WCAG is a set of guidelines – not rules – about how to implement digital accessibility: making websites, apps and other digital products accessible to people with disabilities. Nevertheless, it […]

24 November

24 November is always a sombre day for me, being the birthday of my mother, who died in August 1981 at 61 years old, when I was 20. Probably more than my own birthday or Christmas or New Year’s Day, it’s on this day I think about where my life has gone and is going, […]

A Pakistani House Husband, by David Vee Rodden

Well, this was different! Subtitled the beauty & the chaos, it’s an account of the time David Vee Rodden spent in Pakistan when his wife Drew “scored the job as Personal Secretary to the Ambassador of Belgium to Pakistan and Afghanistan” in 2003. This meant moving to Islamabad and becoming, for the first year at […]

Understanding Disability: Ableism

Ableism Explained A common definition of ableism is that it is discrimination and social prejudice against people with disabilities. That’s undoubtedly true, but ableism can also be described as discrimination in favor of non-disabled people. The distinction lies in how ableism — sometimes subtly, sometimes blatantly — puts forward the myth of the superiority of non-disabled […]

Time that is moved by little fidget wheels

I suspect this post will be of little interest to anyone, but I need to write it to clear my mind, at the very least. I’m back at work today after three weeks’ leave, the first break I’ve had since June 2021. I hadn’t realised it had been that long since I’d had any time […]

Waiting for Robert Capa, by Susana Fortes

I found this to be a bit of a mixed bag. I certainly couldn’t have picked a more different book to follow my recent reading. On the plus side, Waiting for Robert Capa is based on a set of real events that I found truly amazing. It had never occurred to me that the famous […]

The Passenger, by Cormac McCarthy

Cormac McCarthy doesn’t have anything to prove. With 10 novels under his belt since 1965, one winning the Pulitzer Prize, another turned into a Best Picture Oscar winner, and a raft of other literary awards as well as enormous sales around the world, he already stands as one of America’s greatest living writers. Yet here […]

Treacle Walker, by Alan Garner

It’s so good to be back in the world of Alan Garner. It’s not like other worlds. Geographically, it’s in Cheshire, north west England, often around Alderley Edge, where Garner grew up: it’s English but it’s also Welsh and Scottish. Chronologically, it’s the aggregated history of ancient Celts, forgotten Druids, assimilated Romans, seafaring Irishmen, conquering […]

Lovers Dreamers Fighters, by Lo Carmen

You might know Lo Carmen as Loene Carmen, the name she used until 2012. If you’re like me, you’ll know her primarily as an actress. Plucked from Kings Cross pizza bar obscurity to star as Freya in The Year My Voice Broke (1987). Her astounding, compelling performance as Sallie-Anne Huckstepp in Blue Murder (1995). And […]

Shakespeare Unbound

It’s one thing to have a clever idea, such as telling the story of William Shakespeare’s life and work through the eyes and voice of one of his fellow actors, a colleague who outlived the Bard and was among those responsible for ensuring that his plays survived in written form. And it’s another thing to […]


In early 2015, I joined a Facebook group called “I drank at the Sydney Trade Union Club” because, well, back in the 80s, I did. When other venues were mentioned in that group, I brought up French’s Tavern, which I frequented even more than the TUC. Liza, a former staff member at French’s suggested we […]

Corrimal Churches

St Columbkille’s Catholic Church   Walking a Border Collie twice a day means we follow lots of interesting paths around where we live in Corrimal. Scout being 11 years old now, she likes to find new routes with excuses to stop and smell the roses, get a few pats from kids and growl at other […]

Public Art in Corrimal II

It turns out we have more public art in Corimal than I’d previously noted. This is a follow-up to a previous article.

Single Page Applications

A Single Page Application (SPA) loads a website as a single web page. There is no page refresh, and content is added dynamically with the aid of JavaScript. This creates an online experience that is faster and more like a native app than a traditional multi-page website. In contexts such as the web interfaces of […]

My First Bolognese

Had my first go at a proper bolognese. Came out pretty well. Ingredients 125 ml olive oil 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped 1 medium carrot, finely chopped 1 stalk celery, finely chopped 1 small brown onion, finely chopped pinch of chilli flakes 400 gm ground veal & pork salt & pepper 2 tbsp tomato paste […]

A Greek Theme

Tonight’s effort: souvlaki lamb, skordalia and a Greek salad. Retsina and ouzo not pictured. Was interesting to make. I really thought I’d done something wrong and then, after more mashing, it just transformed into this lovely, fluffy, dip-like mash.    

Ensure third party content is accessible

Website authors may sometimes publish content with accessibility issues that was supplied to them by a third party. Who should make it accessible?

Skinful, by Robyn Flemming

One of the tricky things about real life tales of deep personal change is that they tend to be written after change has been achieved, and that can’t help but inform the story of the author’s life that led to the change. Robyn Flemming handles this better than just about anyone I can recall in […]

Ploughman's Lunch

Ploughman’s lunch today. Excellent pork pie. Steve Ripley: Hope the pork pie was good! As a Yorkshire man I grew up on them … had to be plenty of fat surrounding the meat too!🤣 Ricky Onsman: There was! Excellent pie. Ann Hinchliffe: Me too! (Accept the man bit) Ricky Onsman: I didn’t know that either […]

Harry Onsman

In the early hours of 20 February 2022, my brother Harry, born Harmen Jelle, passed away. It’s thought the effects of his cancer chemotherapy plus kidney failure left his immune system unable to fight off the effects of Covid, despite his being fully vaccinated. Harry’s partner Maree was with him in his last hours, and […]

Thanks a Lot Mr Kibblewhite, My Story, by Roger Daltrey

First off, I have to say it was a genuine pleasure to pick up a hardback again, and this one is really well made: has excellent paper quality, well bound, nicely laid out, crisp print – none of this makes a book great but it definitely enhances the reading experience. The title, predictably, refers to […]

Book Report - January 2022

Blessed, by John Doyle Billed as “one year in the life of the boy who would become Rampaging Roy Slaven”, I expected something witty, sly and funny but I vastly underestimated John Doyle. For those unaware, Roy Slaven is a fictional Australian sports commentator, part of a long running duo with H.G. Nelson, who manage […]

Books 2021

Top Ten The Last of the Apple Blossom, Mary-Lou Stephens “The Last of the Apple Blossom is a wonderful book and, I think, an important one. It operates on several levels at once without ever losing its focus or any clarity.”Read my review of The Last of the Apple Blossom Blessed, John Doyle In the […]

Introduction to Cognitive Disability and Accessibility Testing

Making websites accessible to people with cognitive disabilities is as important as it is for any other type of disability, and there are techniques you can use to ensure your web content and functionality is accessible to people with cognitive impairments. For the purposes of assessing web accessibility, umbrella terms like “cognitive disability”, “cognitive impairments” […]

Reading List Update: December 2021

Funny Stories, Prophets of the Absurd, by Hugh Wayland. Outstanding! Superbly put together, this account of Sydney’s Funny Stories performance troupe from the 80s is a brilliant read. For those of us who were there at the time, it brings it all back to life. For those who weren’t, it’s an insight into inner Sydney […]

Introduction to AI and Accessibility Testing

This was my first blog post for TPGi. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a term used to describe the principle that features of human intelligence can be simulated by machines to produce outcomes that resemble those of human insight. This is achieved by aggregating, analyzing and comparing massive amounts of data and then interpreting and applying […]

Public Art in Corrimal

Corrimal is quite a suburban kind of suburb. We have a Woolworth’s, a Coles and an Aldi but on the other hand we don’t have a stand alone greengrocer. There’s pretty much one or two of most shops you need (if you count hardware superstore Bunnings in the next suburb over), although there’s also 14 […]

Smash, Bread & Circus, 1984

I came across this clipping of a review from 1984, and it brought back a few memories. After stints with the (then) NSW Theatre of the Deaf in 1982 and the Marionette Theatre of Australia in 1983, I was Sydney-based and an experienced theatre-in-education performer when TIE was at its height as a crucible of […]

Funny Stories, by Hugh Wayland

Current reading is a birthday treat to myself: Funny Stories, Prophets of the Absurd by Hugh Wayland. It’s a memoir by one of the members of this highly influential Sydney comedy troupe of the 1980s. It is glorious. It’s self published by the author, you can find out how to get it from the Funny […]

The Bookmakers of Claremont High

I was listening to ABC radio this morning, where Simon Marnie was taking calls about people’s jobs when they were at school: newspaper deliveries, chemist’s assistant, golf caddie and butter stacker (!) among them. It reminded me of the side hustle – I can’t really call it a job – that I had during the […]

My Rock 'n' Roll Friend, by Tracey Thorn

I first heard the Go-Betweens when a live version of their stand alone single Hammer the Hammer was included on the first JJJ Live at the Wireless album in 1983, which still ranks among my favourites, with outstanding performances by Private Lives, Hoodoo Gurus, Do-Re-Mi, The Triffids and The Particles, among others. The Go-Betweens track […]

The Last of the Apple Blossom, by Mary-Lou Stephens

Reviewing creative works by friends can often be tricky. You don’t want to be overly gushing, even when the work is obviously great, because people will think you’re just being nice to a friend. And then it’s also easy to slip into being unreasonably critical, which may well endanger your friendship, especially if you make […]

Mary-Lou Stephens

Having recently finished reading The Last of the Apple Blossom, by Mary-Lou Stephens, I decided to write a review. This set me to thinking and writing about my friendship with Mary-Lou as a preamble to the review and, in my usual long winded way, things got a little out of hand. So as not to […]

Cheat's Paella for One

Ingredients 250 gm cooked brown rice 10 cooked cocktail prawns, tails removed 1 or 2 chicken tenderloins 4 slices chorizo, quartered 1 pork sausage, cooked and chopped 5 julienne slices red capsicum 5 julienne slices yellow capsicum 5 raw green beans, halved at angle slice Tbspn of frozen peas 2 slices white onion, roughly chopped […]

Last Chance Texaco, by Rickie Lee Jones

I really enjoyed reading Rickie Lee Jones‘ autobiography, Last Chance Texaco: Chronicles of a Troubadour. It’s as idiosyncratic, off-centre, expressive and polished as her best musical work. It swings wildly in style from ancedotal – almost casual – reporting of some pretty terrible events for a young teenager to verbatim conversations at some of her […]

Lebanese Dinner

I made a Lebanese dinner for four. Clockwise from top left and inwards (click photo to enlarge): Shawarma Chicken: tenderloins marinated in yoghurt, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, cumin then baked at 200C for 10 min, turn, then at 180C for about 30 min. Shawarma lamb: strips marinated in olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, coriander, cumin, […]

Loud, by Tana Douglas

Time for another book report, this time on Loud, by Tana Douglas. Acknowledged as the world’s first female roadie, Douglas scored a chapter to herself in Stuart Coupe’s excellent 2018 book Roadies, which told just enough of her story to leave me and I’m sure a lot of others wanting to know more. And here […]

Behind Dark Eyes, by Jeff Apter

Behind Dark Eyes, by Jeff ApterFinished Behind Dark Eyes by Jeff Apter last night – LATE last night coz I couldn’t stop reading. This is a cracking good read for a number of reasons. Jon English was a fascinating bloke. A Sydney westie who carved a career in rock & pop, theatre and TV out of a powerful voice and […]

Champagne, Corby and Kelly

I’m finding snippets of last week’s Daniel Champagne gig in Wollongong last week bubbling back up at me. Such an interesting musician, who’s crafted a fascinating relationship with his acoustic guitar. Not just using it as a percussive instrument (which he does brilliantly) but also as a stage prop, almost another character on stage with […]

Utopia Avenue, by David Mitchell

Current reading: Utopia Avenue by David Mitchell. I have a digital copy but following a strong recommendation from Mary-Lou Stephens and a Christmas bookshop voucher from Andrys Onsman, I’ve lashed out on a physical copy. Yay, another 500+ pages opus to keep me quiet for a while.

Books 2020

It was a good reading year for me (meaning I found time to read). Here’s the 36 books I did read (in the order I read them) and the reason I didn’t finish the 37th. Me: Elton John The Song Remains the Same: Andrew Ford & Anni Heino The Wichita Lineman: Dylan Jones The David […]

Tune In, by Mark Lewisohn

Current reading: Tune In by Mark Lewisohn, which is the first volume of his trilogy The Beatles: All These Years. Clocking in at a lazy 946 pages (to be fair, that includes 102 pages of notes, credits and index), this covers The Beatles from birth (actually quite a lot of family history) to December 1962. […]

All Our Shimmering Skies, by Trent Dalton

Hm. Unusual but perhaps not surprising. I’ve now had four goes at getting stuck into Trent Dalton’s latest book, All Our Shimmering Skies. I’ve been unable to continue each time. That’s not because of any literary failings – quite the opposite. Dalton writes gloriously, creating crystal clear portraits of the characters and their relationships with […]

Nick of Time, by Nick Hampton

From the birthday haul: Nick of Time is a memoir by Nick Hampton about his time at recording houses EMI and CBS, in Australia and overseas. I thought it might be a bit dry, but it really rocks along. Like Jeff Apter’s recent George Young bio Friday on My Mind and Stuart Coupe’s Paul Kelly […]

My Web Tech Library

From the time I started messing about on the web, books have formed a core part of my ongoing professional development in web technology. True, I am a book fanatic anyway (my total home library exceeds 4,000 physical volumes) but web design and development seemed particularly suited to propping open a book next to the […]

A Guide to Sighs

I’ve become aware that I am sighing a lot more than I used to. I’m not completely sure, because until now I’ve never really measured how much or how often I sigh. But I have the impression I’m sighing a lot and that can only be because I am, right? I mean, you’d only notice […]

Paul Kelly, by Stuart Coupe

Q: Is this worth buying? A: Yes! 100%. Worth every penny. I’m probably the ideal market for this book but that doesn’t mean I’m a pushover. On the contrary, because I am a Paul Kelly fan, because he is my contemporary, because I really liked Stuart Coupe‘s last book Roadies, because I’m an avid reader […]

Of a Boy, by Sonya Hartnett

I made a strategic reading mistake. Having finished the Led Zeppelin tome and followed it up with Stewart Copeland’s memoir – and thus feeling at least temporarily bloated with rock’n’roll excess – I thought a nice quiet piece of Australian fiction might be refreshing. I chose Of a Boy, by Sonya Hartnett. Mistake. Thankfully, it’s […]

The Animals in That Country, by Laura Jean McKay

Just finished The Animals in That Country by Laura Jean McKay. Another utterly extraordinary book (and many thanks to Ian Pidd for the recommendation). I still have a lot to think about. Apart from the current pandemic echoes, I found the family/not-family ties deeply affecting. And told, or revealed, in such a strong first person […]

Augie's cake for Hazel's birthday

Another view. Augie is an awesome cakerer.

Who I Am, by Pete Townshend

Reading update. The Eric Clapton book was great reading but honestly what a self-obsessed git! I could put up with the “and then I had to catch a plane to meet the fabulous yacht that would take us around the Greek islands” stuff but when you crash your Ferrari into a delivery van and you […]

The Jeff St John Story, by Jeffrey St John

For long weekend reading, I’m tackling the memoirs of Australian rock icon, Jeff St John. His wheelchair wheelies on GTK while belting out serious rock are among my most formative musical moments. I need a long weekend for The Jeff St John Story, because it’s not the kind of book you slip in your bag […]

Under a Mackerel Sky, by Rick Stein

Next on the reading list is Rick Stein’s memoir Under a Mackerel Sky. This was actually part of my 60th birthday treat back in October. We stayed for a few days in Mollymook (about 150km further down the south coast of NSW) where the English author and TV cook has a restaurant called Bannisters. The […]

The David Foster Wallace Reader

I seem to be tearing through my holiday reading pile at the moment, so for my next effort I’ll tackle The David Foster Wallace Reader – 957 hardback pages of it. I know what I’m getting into – Infinite Jest is one of my all-time favourite books. Well, that was quite a trip! And shut […]

One Small Step for WordPress, One Giant Leap for Accessibility

Today, I had reason to insert an image into a post on a WordPress site I manage. The last time I did that, the panel of options to insert the image looked like this: This image actually displays an excerpt from the example given in the WordPress codex for inserting an image into a page […]

My Life in Football - Life Member

Recently, I came across a video on YouTube I’d forgotten about. It’s an entry in the 2008 Tropfest short film competition called Enzo. It was directed by Sam Worthington (yes, star of Avatar, etc) and it featured Dorian Nkono as the title character, a football obsessive who has dreams of a pro and international representative […]

Up From Down Under, by Jeff Apter

Appropriately enough, I finished this book, subtitled How Australian Music Changed the World, on Australia Day. That’s appropriate on two fronts. First, the focus of Up from Down Under is the success of Australian bands in the US and other overseas markets, specifically Peter Allen, Helen Reddy, Olivia Newton John, the Little River Band, the […]

Up From Down Under, by Jeff Apter

Immediate next on my reading list is Up From Down Under, from 2013, by Jeff Apter – recommended to me by the author himself. Took me a while to track down a copy but a mint condition copy arrived this morning. Looking forward to it.  

The Book of Daniel, by Jeff Apter

In The Book of Daniel, Jeff Apter has aggregated a lot of information about Daniel Johns, the prodigiously talented former lead singer of Silverchair and current eclectic and eccentric musical auteur (my description). Some of that information came from Apter’s own previous book on Silverchair and its revised and updated edition, some came from Apter’s […]

A Slice of Rock 'n' Roll Life

Review: Roadies, by Stuart Coupe Compelling account of the road crews that make live music possible, with a particular focus on capturing the roadie’s life in Australia in the 70s-80s, a time that has since evolved into something else. Each chapter reveals another character – and they’re great characters – building a multi-layered, cross-referencing tableau […]

The Rise and Rise of Web Accessibility and Inclusive Digital Design

Falling as it does in the last month of the year, today’s 26th International Day of Persons with Disabilities* is a good time to reflect on progress toward achieving Intopia’s aim of ‘creating an inclusive digital world’.  It also comes after a spate of major web tech conferences in Australia during the second half of the year, which […]

What Newsletters Should Designers and Developers Be Subscribing To?

Smashing MagazineWe put out the call on Twitter and Facebook: “What email newsletters are you following these days?” The task of compiling your (many, many) responses has fallen to me. I should disclose that I have a vested interest in that I currently edit a bi-weekly email newsletter for a conference organizer, UX Australia. In fact, over the years, […]

What's New in WCAG 2.1?

WCAG 2.1 was published in its final form in June 2018. WCAG 2.1 is an extension to WCAG 2.0 that provides guidance to better address some of the needs of people with disabilities accessing content on mobile devices, people with low vision, and people with cognitive or learning disabilities. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are an initiative of the World Wide […]

Which Podcasts Should Web Designers and Developers Be Listening To?

SyntaxWe asked the Smashing community what podcasts they listened to, aiming to compile a shortlist of current podcasts for web designers and developers. We had what can only be called a very strong response — both in number and in passion. First, we winnowed out the podcasts that were on a broader theme (e.g. creativity, […]

CSUN 2018 - The Aftermath

The CSUN Assistive Technology Conference is over for another year, and speakers, participants and attendees have scattered back to their various parts of the world. With an event like this, it’s always good to take a moment to reflect on what took place, how it went down and what people had to say about it. […]

A Summer of Rock Books

Well, here it is the third day of March, which means summer in Australia is technically over. As I sit here in 30 degree heat looking at a cloudless, sparkling blue sky with just a mild, cooling breeze – that’s hard to credit. Nevertheless, it’s as good a time as any to summarise my summer […]

What Is The Best Advice You Have Ever Received? Our Community Speaks.

Ricky Onsman, Smashing Magazine, 5 February 2018 The beginning of a new year seems like a perfect time to think about what we web professionals do, why we do it, how we could do it better and even how we could have more fun doing it. Like everyone, we learn lessons as we make our […]

Work-Life Balance: Tips From The Community

Ricky Onsman, Smashing Magazine, 23 January 2008  In order to encourage web professionals to consider some of the key points of their working lives in this still nascent industry, we asked folks on Twitter and Facebook to share their best work-life balance tips that worked really well for them. We received lots of responses: most very sensible, many very insightful, […]

Eat at Sandy's

I enjoyed building this site for a local restaurant (Woonona, what was Bon Aroma) that is quite remarkable (IMO). Fantastic food, really amazing dishes in a very family-friendly setting that encourages shared meals. Our last meal for four including two teenagers was about a hundred bucks. And lovely people – they run SandyGoodWich cafe in […]

Don Walker

When I started this binge of Oz Rock books, I was fully expecting that some individuals would recur from book to book, being significant figures in our music industry – people like Ted Albert, George Young, Philip Mortlock, Michael Gudinski and Molly Meldrum. And, indeed they all do pop up variously in The Angels by […]

Is Accessibility Changing?

Despite the evolution of a prodigiously detailed listing of possible web access needs and how they can be met – aka the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines – web professionals across all disciplines have continued to regard accessibility as being about edge cases, the addressing of which is hard to justify in terms of effort, cost or even good PR. But could this be changing?

Code 17 in 100 Tweets

This was an experiment in describing an entire two day conference through the device of exactly 100 selected tweets.

Code Leaders, Melbourne, 2 August 2017

That was quite a day!

I reckon very few of the 140 or so of us at this first Code Leaders conference in Melbourne had a clear idea of how the day would pan out.

It’s probably fair to say that no-one except John Allsopp, the event’s creator and the heart and soul of Web Directions, had a complete vision of how it would all work.

And even John would concede that he was uncertain how successful this approach would be.

Well, it was. And how.

Vagabond Freak, by Toby Zoates

Vagabond Freak is a fascinating piece of work. A broad description could be “A young homosexual man’s travels and travails from his 1950s childhood in conservative suburban Australia to life on the Hippie Trail in India in the early 1970s”. And that would be true, but it would not at all convey the visceral nature […]

Will WCAG 2.1 Make A11y More Accessible?

On the last day of February this year, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) released a First Public Working Draft of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1. Reaction from accessibility advocates was immediate and clear. “WCAG 2.1 — It’s here! After much deliberation and fine-tuning, the highly-anticipated first draft of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 […]

A Word About Workshops

I am genuinely – perhaps unreasonably – excited that I will be attending Vitaly Friedman’s Masterclass workshop at the Respond conference next month. In the last 20 years, I have attended a lot of workshops. Many of those focused on web technologies and skills and they’ve included sessions led by people like Vitaly (in 2015), Andrew […]

TuneUp Utilities - A New Year's Tale

The beginning of a new year is probably a good time to reflect on an experience that demanded I leave the past behind and take advantage of new developments. When I started working freelance in web design, development and content from a home office back in 2001, I quickly realised I would have to build […]

My Family's Keeper, by Brad Haddin

Hazel has yet another book coming out next week – her fourth this year. My Family’s Keeper is Australian cricketer Brad Haddin’s memoir of how his family dealt with his baby daughter’s cancer diagnosis. It’s not so much a cricket book as a human drama in which the narrator is a cricketer. I’m reading it now […]

Scroll: Respond

In 1999, the Australian rock band You Am I, a trio since their inception 10 years earlier, decided to hire a second guitarist. They could have had their pick of any number of white hot players who could learn their repertoire. Instead, they chose an 18-year-old fan who had come to their attention by accurately […]

W3C Working Groups & the Future Web

The invitation came to me by email from Web Directions. “Do you know where CSS and SVG come from, and how they end up as they are? A bunch of folks from all over the world participate in W3C working groups, to help move these (and many other Web) technologies forward. And it so happens […]

Speaker Training Workshop

Why Speaker Training? Web Directions is known for being committed to helping web professionals acquire and hone skills, ideas and attitudes that can help them in their working lives. This is most obvious in the major events we organise: conferences and workshops in Australia that bring acknowledged experts from around the world here to share […]

Australian Web Industry Association

2015 has been quite a year for the Australian Web Industry Association (AWIA), one in which the success of events like the Australian Web Awards has been tempered by the relative disappointment of a highly adventurous Edge of the Web national conference. With a strong and impassioned leadership, some revolutionary changes are afoot in AWIA […]

Merrigong Season 2016

I used to think Merrigong Theatre Co was forced to be what it is – an entrepreneurial regional theatre company that brings in touring shows and allocates some space for a local show – by circumstance alone, but I reckon now Simon Hinton is a bit of a genius in how he puts programs together. […]

Optical Illusions

Just went to have my eyes tested, with interesting results (skip this if you have no interest in this topic). I’ve worn contact lenses for over 30 years to correct my poor distance vision – currently daily disposables. They have always been at 3.0 correction, but apparently my eyes have improved! I now need only […]

Web Directions 2015

There are few professional decisions I’ve made in the last 12 years that have had as profound an effect on my career as hooking up with Web Directions. For the late arrivals, Web Directions is a conference based in Sydney, with a focus on standards-based web design and development, a commitment to fostering ideas-driven progress […]

French’s: A Facebook Love Story

Ah, Facebook. Love it or hate it, you’ve got to love it, haven’t you? Yes, I know that doesn’t make sense. Which is why it sums up how I feel about Facebook. The trouble is there’s just so much to love and hate about the pervasive, addictive, simple, complicated, easy-to-use, frustrating-as-hell social media giant. I […]

Dungeons & Dragons

Last year’s Dungeons & Dragons birthday party for Cormac went so well, he and his mates wanted to do it again. Can’t just repeat the exercise, so this year will be a Zombie Apocalypse, where the boys play themselves with D&D style skills and weapons trying to stop zombie attacks in modern day, real time […]

Global Accessibility Awareness Day

Thanks to the tireless efforts of the seemingly inexhaustible Sarah Pulis, one of Australia’s leading digital and web accessibility specialists, A11y Bytes is an event held to celebrate Global Accessibility Awareness Day on 21 May, itself an innovation of US accessibility warriors Jennison Asuncion and Joe Devon. Following last year’s successful Sydney event, this year […]

The Siege and Troy

I don’t know about you, but when it comes to IT security I feel besieged. I host and manage 72 websites for myself and my web clients. I depend on email, phone and texts to communicate directly with my clients, colleagues, friends and family. I use half a dozen or more social media outlets for […]

Make Web Designers Think!

Call it synchronicity, if you like. I wrote a review of Steve Krug’s book Rocket Surgery Made Easy in 2010, after I bought it online. I stumbled across it again yesterday, when I logged in to Amazon to look at another book entirely (Make: JavaScript Robotics: Building NodeBots with Johnny-Five, Raspberry Pi, Arduino, and BeagleBone, […]

Facebook International Lottery Scam

On Thursday 7 May, I was contacted on Facebook by someone claiming to be Sheridan Maura who advised me I had won $950,000 in a Facẹbook Lottery). If you look carefully, you can see the “e” in Facẹbook has a cedilla – there’s a hint right away that this might not be totally legit. A […]

Full Stack Web Professional

Back in February 2011, I wrote a blog post called Freelancing and Loyalty, which tried to explain why I thought there was still room for jack-of-all-trades web freelancers. I’ve used that term consistently since. I’m still a freelancer, and I’m still a jack-of-all-trades. Now, however, Chris Messina has provided me with a much better phrase […]

Edge of the Web 2015

AWIA is the Australian Web Industry Association, the national peak body for our industry. One of the things AWIA does is hold an annual national conference, Edge of the Web. This year, EOTW is doing something a bit different: holding sessions in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth and connecting them all with some clever tech. The […]

Read All (curated) About (filtered) It

For someone who a) loves reading, b) is curious about everything and c) will tackle anything in the course of completing a web project, there is a plethora of email newsletters clamouring to bring interesting articles, news items and blog posts to my attention. Too much of a plethora (if that’s grammatically possible). With so […]

Web Directions 2014: Day 2

For various reasons, I was only able to take in three sessions from the second day of Web Directions 2014 (you can read my thoughts on Day One here). Those three sessions did reveal, though, that the focus on the human side of the web, on connectedness and on the social context of the web […]

Web Directions 2014: Day 1

Web DirectionsEleven years. John Allsopp tries to convince that this is the 10th anniversary of my favourite web conference, but there have already been ten (including Web Essentials 04 and 05), so this is the eleventh. In its second change of venue (originally UTS, then Darling Harbour), Web Directions has relocated to the Seymour Centre. A […]

corrimal surf life saving club

Half way through September, I received the call to build a site that I’d been hoping to build for several years. In 2008, when my kids joined the local surf life saving club as Juniors in order to participate in their Nippers program teaching watercraft and beach safety, I let myself be volunteered to take […]

millers point community

How better to start September than with a bit of community activism? The current NSW Government, a Liberal Party administration that has seen no less than 10 members resign or stand aside following corruption inquiries this year, is in the process of selling off swathes of public housing – previously occupied by low income earners […]

ros bradley

Those of you who have been reading along for a while will know that one of the joys I get from web design and development is the opportunity to work with people and organisations over a number of years, crafting new approaches to their web presence that reflect ongoing changes in my clients’ lives and […]

julie mccrossin

Back in August, I completed my second major redesign of a website for Julie McCrossin. Not only is Julie a client who has been with me for nearly a decade, and someone with a high public profile, she is a wonderful person for whom I want to do the best work possible. Maybe that’s not […]


July saw me work on a project in collaboration with Hazel, something we don’t do all that often but which has led to some great results. In this case, the job was to design, construct and populate with content a small site for a trio of dauntingly high powered business investors who work under the […]

the 4x4 factory

My web client work took a bit of a back seat during the rest of April and May, as I took up an opportunity to work in a content aggregation and curation role with a very interesting startup. It didn’t turn out to be a long term engagemen, but I’ll write about that some other time. […]

change your school

The last site I wrote about working on was TECO, in March of this year. That time marks the start of my working with Canvas, a WordPress theme designed to work on the WooThemes framework. In April, I used Canvas to build a site called Change Your School, the web manifestation of a project run […]


Kindred is a fascinating little movie, and definitely worth catching if you can (the festival circuit is probably your best bet). It was born out of a recognition that there has not so far been a great deal of science fiction cinema featuring indigenous Australians, even though there is rich ground to be mined around […]

ashton d29ceqtsb

My son Cormac has been talking about picking up the guitar again. Being 12 now and all grown up, the 3/4 size Valencia nylon string classical he used in early music classes is not going to cut it. He’s been displaying more interest in making music lately, and I was pretty impressed when he worked […]


I must admit I had some reservations about putting myself back into the cut and thrust of hands-on web design and development. After writing and editing articles about the cutting edge at SitePoint, it all felt quite daunting. It’s not like I haven’t been creating websites the last couple of years (there should be a […]


Well, that year flew past. I’ll give a more detailed account soon but, for now, suffice to say SitePoint kept me pretty busy in 2013. I left in December and a mere month later I’m ready to again pick up the digital pen. I’m going to start with a review of the seventh issue of […]

my top tools for 2012

I thought it might be worth sharing the tools that changed the way I worked in 2012. I use the word ‘tools’ because it allows me to include just about anything I use to get work done: software, hardware, products, services … whatever gets me through the day (and, too often, night). Last year, there […]

wall media

Some of you will know that I had a previous life as an actor. One of the most important lessons I learned is to “leave yourself alone”. This refers to the principle of not letting your skills preparation getting in the way of delivering a natural performance. Don’t overthink things, trust your training and let […]

reading list

Title: Insites: The Book Author: Keir Whitaker and Elliot Jay Stocks Publisher: Viepwort Industries Link: Why: Twenty interviews with 21 of “the most inspiring designers, developers, and businesspeople in the web and tech industries” in a very classy 256 full colour softcover boxed set.

the cottage, merricks north

I don’t mind having the occasional wrestling match with search engine optimisation and search marketing, but when a long term client said they had a vacation property on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula they wanted to promote with a website, I wasn’t initially enthusiastic. That’s a tough market, with some unfair advantages built in for certain players […]

what's wrong with my designs?

I occasionally get emails from people wanting advice on how to be successful in the web industry. I’m no expert, mind you, but I’ve been through a fair bit myself and I’ve seen other people go through a lot more, good and bad. I’m happy to pass on what I’ve learned. Mostly, I reply personally […]

miles burke

I was this week voted on to the Committee of the Australian Web Industry Association (AWIA), as part of a process that will see the Web Industry Professionals Association (WIPA) unite with AWIA to form a single national industry body. At the same AWIA AGM, outgoing Chair Miles Burke was made a life member, and […]

ron allum

You never know where your next client is going to come from. I’ve always known this, and it’s one of the reasons I enjoy chatting with people about what I do. Anyone can turn into a client. For me, Ron Allum is a case in point. Until 2006, I lived in Lilyfield, a lovely inner […]

thinksmart bewize

A client of mine called ThinkSmart (as covered here) underwent a significant business change, growing and changing the types of services offered, the way they’re offered and the target market. So, ThinkSmart BeWize. Recent discussions on the topic have made me consider whether what I did was a redesign, a realignment, a redeployment or a […]

reading list

PHP & MySQL: Novice to Ninja, 5th EditionTime for an update to my Reading List. If you’re a web designer or developer and you’re up for some self-directed professional development reading, these titles could be useful to you, too. Title: PHP & MySQL: Novice to Ninja, 5th Edition Author: Kevin Yank Publisher: SitePoint Link:

a world of prayer

Back in March 2008, I designed a site for a Sydney author to promote her book, Mosaic, a “collection of favourite prayers and reflections chosen by a broad range of Australians from different backgrounds and faiths“, which Ros Bradley was inspired to compile in the wake of the 2005 London bombings. It was a lovely […]

what makes an article great?

You may be aware I work for SitePoint, arguably the leading publisher of resources for web designers and developers in the world. Until recently I was the day to day Managing Editor of, the flagship of a growing network of websites devoted to helping professionals and dedicated amateurs keep up with developments in web technology. […]

downunder and fashionably flexible

I invest my time and money pretty carefully. A couple of weeks ago, I attended a full day workshop in Sydney on responsive web design, presented by Web Directions and run by English designer Andy Clarke. So was it just an indulgence or did I really get something out out of it? I have basically […]

vince jones

It must feel pretty good to stand on a stage under a spotlight in front of an audience and open a show by saying, “I’m a jazz singer”. Vince Jones says it as a simple statement of fact, and goes on to explain just what that means. “A soul singer uses a diatonic scale and […]

financial education professionals

Time for another site launch, this one a redesign for one of my longest standing clients. I designed the first website for Financial Education Professionals in 2003, when it was a two-person operation run from a home office. Nowadays, FEP has an office just off Circular Quay in Sydney, with a permanent staff of seven […]

reading list

I need a break. I know this because my Reading List is getting unfeasibly long, which means I haven’t had ‘spare’ time to read. If you’re a web designer or developer and you’re up for some self-directed professional development reading, the following list should prove fruitful. Title: HTML5 & CSS3 for the Real WorldAuthor: Alexis […]

elisabeth holdsworth

I’ve been able to launch another new client site, this one for Australian writer Elisabeth Holdsworth. Elisabeth is an essayist and reviewer who has just published her first novel, Those Who Come After. The book is based on and extrapolated from Elisabeth’s own experiences, which she previously covered in an essay that won the inaugural […]

helen caldicott

I’ve long been an active proponent of both caring about what you do and doing what you care about. One way I have of showing this is to provide pro bono web services to deserving clients. I consider myself fortunate that this can range from websites for local community groups with which I’m involved, like […]

freelancing and loyalty

A couple of items today gave me pause for thought, both related to the business of running a business. The first was a passing comment made by a person I admire greatly, Miles Burke, who has graduated from being a web design freelancer to a full-on entrepreneur, businessman and model of success in the web […]

just my type

Just My Type is, as the cover points out, a book about fonts. More than that, it is a very well-researched and engagingly written account of the still evolving history of type, typography, typefaces and fonts. That it is classified as both Reference and Humour gives you some idea of its approach. It is always […]

iain mccalman

I consider myself exceedingly lucky in that quite a few of my web projects are for some very talented people, most of whom find their way to me by means of word of mouth recommendations. Most of the time, it’s a straightforward task to work out what the person wants from their website. Often, it […]


Some clarification is called for. In October last year, Steven Clark – who is not only wise in the ways of the web and in the ways of business but is Tasmanian and therefore infallible – alerted me to the fact that SitePoint had a vacancy for a Tech Editor. Now, I have been a […]

the satyr

I had a lovely trip to Sydney with my family this past weekend. The main reason for the trip was to allow Hazel and I to go and see The Giacomo Variations, thanks to Christmas present tickets from Hazel’s sister Aileen, an experience I wrote about here. I also had the opportunity to catch up […]


My summer festival of reading continues with Shots by Don Walker, keyboard player formerly with Cold Chisel and more lately with Tex, Don & Charlie. Like Paul Kelly’s How to Make Gravy, this is part memoir and part autobiography and there is a considerable overlap in the chronology between the two works. Both authors are […]

the giacomo variations

I went to see the Sydney Festival production of The Giacomo Variations at the Sydney Opera House on Saturday night. It was as challenging, engaging and inspired a piece of theatre as I have seen in many a day. To my mind, it is ideal festival fare, stretching the boundaries of how theatre and music […]

how to make gravy

How to Make Gravy is a memoir by Paul Kelly, sometimes called Australia’s greatest living songwriter, a people’s poet, or our master songsmith. But it’s not really. This is a book about Australia: the Australia I grew up in, and now live in. Really, this is a book about me. If you don’t like reading […]

summer reading

It’s been a summer where I’ve rediscovered the joys of reading – in print, I mean. For a while there, my reading seemed to be restricted to the online variety – which is fine – but having reacquainted myself with the tactile and visual pleasures of print on paper and being presented with a range […]

a-team presentations

Presentation files for the highly successful WIPA tour of ARIA and HTML 5 workshops by Bruce Lawson and Steve Faulkner in November/December 2010 are now available online. Yes, the image on the left does come from the prezzo files. Going under the title The A-Team, the dynamic duo sold out their venues in Sydney, Melbourne, […]


Despite finding my time limited by taking on editing and writing work with print and online publisher SitePoint (more on that shortly), I’m continuing to put together some new websites as well as taking care of my stable of longer term web clients. This includes putting together a site for a little commercial venture for […]

ruth park

It’s probably no real surprise that it takes something non-webby to get me back to the blog. In this case, yesterday’s death of writer Ruth Park has prompted me to write. Park’s story is one of lyrical romance and harsh reality, both in her books and her life. She famously won a 1946 newspaper prize […]

wipa aria-html5 workshops

WIPA ARIA-HTML5 WorkshopsBookings are now open for the ARIA and HTML 5 workshops in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Brisbane. Perth bookings will be available in the near future. You can make bookings on the WIPA site. Seeing as it’s only $60 for WIPA and AWIA members ($90 non-members) for three and a half hours with Steve Faulkner […]


While I’m at it, I’ve lately also enjoyed giving the Australian Council of State School Organisations website a makeover. ACSSO is a long term client and one that I value because the subject matter matters. Having not so long converted the site to WordPress (admittedly in a clumsy albeit functional manner), it was good to […]

sci-tek systems

Here’s another site that’s just gone live. Sci-Tek Systems sells, installs, tests and services medical refrigerators. These are the kind of fridges and freezers used by hospitals, pharmacies and pathology centres to store blood, vaccines and the like. They’re based in Wollongong and service pretty much all of NSW and ACT. As always, I spent […]

8 faces

I feel very fortunate to work in an industry where art and science, creativity and technology, form and function come together in the way they do. The web industry, in turn, is fortunate to have people like Andy Clarke, Mark Boulton and Elliot Jay Stocks to inspire us to seek and achieve beauty in our […]

wipa aria-html5 workshops

I should explain some of the references in that last post. WIPA is the Web Industry Professional Association, “an organisation that brings Australian Web professionals together to exchange ideas, participate in debate, advance education and promote ethical practice”. More information will be made available shortly (ie as soon as I write the next newsletter) about […]

introducing html5

This is a particularly timely book for me. It’s quite a different kettle of code to Jeremy Keith’s HTML5 for Web Designers. That book explained how I could confidently starting using HTML5 with my existing and planned web projects. This book, Introducing HTML5 by Bruce Lawson and Remy Sharp, goes into much greater detail about […]

brilliant orange

It must be a year ago that I stayed overnight with my brother in Melbourne, and he told me about this book. He made it sound fascinating, and I said I’d make sure to look it up. Naturally, I forgot all about it. Until a month ago, when @vanderwal mentioned it in a tweet. I […]

ab communicates

Andrew Buchanan is a remarkable person. Not only does he know more about personal communication skills than anyone else I know, he has a singluar ability to draw the best out of people. He brings to his consultancy AB Communicates a rare combination of a highly technical understanding of how people communicate and a gift […]

html5 for web designers

At last year’s Web Directions South conference, there was a session presented by Lachlan Hardy on The Open Web, a topic that until then had seemed to me impossibly esoteric and arcane. Could have been the name that threw me, I dunno. Anyway, Lachlan made perfect sense of it all by explaining it logically and […]

Conroy's Internet Filter

Sen Stephen ConroyThis is really getting ridiculous, now. I assume you know that the Australian Government plans legislation that will require Australian ISPs to block web pages that contain material that has been “refused classification” under our existing censorship system. Senator Stephen Conroy seems convinced that this is something the Australian population wants, even though no-one has […]

fifa world cup 2010

Just for the record, my World Cup predictions are: Australia will beat Ghana and Serbia to qualify 2nd in Group D behind Germany. Australia will then play England, who will beat them. Others to make it to the second round will be France, Mexico, Argentina, Nigeria, USA, The Netherlands, Cameroon, Italy, Paraguay, Brazil, Portugal, Spain […]

the mcfarlane prize 2009

I love books. I grew up surrounded by books and people who value books, in an ordinary middle class suburban home. Growing up a migrant kid, books helped me orient myself in an Anglo culture without forgetting I was born European. Books continue to enrich my life on a daily basis. These days, an important […]

julie mccrossin

I’ve been given another opportunity to redesign an existing client’s site. In some lines of work, this might be regarded as a failure of the original work, but the web is developing so fast and in so many different ways that it’s almost a requirement to review any web presence on a regular basis to […]

living is easy

John Petrozzi is an enterprising and dynamic chiropractor based in inner west Sydney. His Leichhardt practice gives him strong local roots, but his vision extends to improving the health of as many people as he can reach. Among his diverse range of projects is a weekly 30 minute radio show called Living is Easy on […]

russell vale scouts

Working on pro bono websites continues to be an excellent way for me to hone my skills. The website for Russell Vale Scouts is my latest effort, and a good example of a very local group working within a global organisational structure. Or perhaps a better way of putting it is that Scouts is a […]

a filter-tipped web?

Senator Stephen Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, wants to “address the range of issues and challenges faced by families when they are online”. He has proposed legislation to “require all ISPs to block material rated Refused Classification that is hosted on overseas servers”. What Senator Conroy has suggested goes well beyond […]


Like Lennon & McCartney, Hazel and I operate under the Flyman Partners banner but most of our projects belong at least 90% to one or the other, although we help each other out wherever we can. When we do get to work properly together on a project, the results are pretty good, if I do […]


I’ve had the pleasure of reorganising our home library over the last few days. By library I mean our total collection of books, rather than a purpose-specific room to house them. That comes later. The 2,600+ books we have are in fact spread across our house: living room, office, rumpus room, kitchen and bedrooms. They […]

financial education professionals

I now have a handful of web clients who have been with me for five years or more (note to self: should I mark this by issuing a badge?), which is both a very healthy affirmation of the worth of my skills to them and a wonderful opportunity to mould a web presence over time […]

rocket surgery made easy

Steve Krug is the author of the bestselling book Don’t Make Me Think!, which has racked up worldwide sales of 250,000 since its publication in 2000. That book based its approach to assessing and improving the usability of websites on the injunction in the title. If visitors to websites have to figure out what to […]

kate mcgarrigle

As I get older, it’s inevitable that I witness the passing of my personal heroes. Some have shocked me, some have perplexed me, all have saddened me. The death of Kate McGarrigle took me by surprise. She and her sister came to my attention in the early 1980s when I had moved from Hobart to […]

russell vale junior football club

You might know that I play soccer for Russell Vale in the Masters division of the Illawarra Football Association. That club shares a ground and a name – but little else – with Russell Vale Junior FC. It won’t surprise that I volunteered to set up a website for them. Junior club President Garry Luyten […]

brad serhan

Brad Serhan is a loudspeaker designer. What he does is marry cutting edge technology with an audio artist’s aesthetic understanding to create truly superior loudspeakers. In Brad’s case, that often involves creating the cutting edge technology required, or at least applying the known in a new way. He’s without doubt one of the best in […]

balmain rovers

Had a message today from my old mate Sergio, the last of the original Balmain Rovers with whom I formed the team in 1998, to say he has finally retired from All Age football and will be playing Over 35s for West Ryde next season. For those who like to know these things, Fiorenza S. […]

web directions south

Further to my previous post, the Web Directions people advise: We’ve now got pretty much all the conference sessions up at the resources section of our site, complete with their podcasts and slides. So, if you’re looking to catch up on a session you missed out on, take a look below. Further, do feel free […]

surprise and anticipation

Earlier this month, I turned 50. Thank you very much. As my brother said “You know the drill, a straight bat, eye on the ball and start again to turn it into a ton”. I had expressly and adamantly refused to have a big deal birthday dinner and most especially, definitely NOT a surprise. I […]

web directions south

Web Directions is one of the major stops on the global circuit of web design and development conferences, particularly for those who understand that web standards matter. It attracts overseas and Australian speakers who actually have something to say: an insight, a perspective, an opinion or a technique they want to share. With four tracks […]

ochre energy

Ochre Energy : melloBeing a gun-for-hire is quite liberating in some ways, but I think I would tire of it quickly if I had to do it on anything other than an occasional basis. I’ve just finished putting together an HTML implementation of graphic designer’s website comp for a company called Ochre Energy. Ben Phillips of mello came […]

queens pinch

Queens PinchThis site is technically not quite complete yet, but it has been live for a while now so it’s worth adding to the portfolio. Queens Pinch is the Andrew Buchanan family vineyard located in the renowned Mudgee wine district of New South Wales, Australia. Andrew is both an old friend and a long time client […]

anne summers

Anne Summers has been a client of ours for nearly six years. As befits someone who keeps her finger on the societal pulse, Anne has crafted and continues to hone a very particular presence on the web, one that reflects the different way people seek to engage with her. Discussion, interaction, input, sharing: what may […]

the wolf

We’ve completed another interesting book web project. This site is to promote a new book by Richard Guilliatt and Peter Hohnen called The Wolf. It’s an astonishing story, deserving of a wide audience. The gist is that during World War I, Germany commissioned a freighter tricked up with some heavy duty firepower to undertake what […]

advanced exhaust solutions

Advanced Exhaust SolutionsAnother reason why it can be good to stay with clients over time is being given the opportunity to develop new websites as the company grows and expands its business. ACSSO is a prime example of this, having grown from a single website to a stable of ten with more on the way, but our […]

juniper films

Juniper FilmsJOne of the truly great aspects of working with clients over a number of years is being given the opportunity to redesign a site. That could be just applying a new skin, or completely restructuring a site from the ground up. In the case of Juniper Films, it was brought on by a desire to […]

juergen schmeja

Juergen SchmejaAnother site has emerged from its Flyman Partners cocoon. This one is for a photographer, Juergen Schmeja, who specialises in panoramic shots of the Australian landscape. Any web designer who has tackled a project like this will probably be grimacing in sympathy or possibly smirking in relief it’s not them. It is seriously hard to […]

denise giardina

Denise GiardinaOur first project as Flyman Partners has been to create a new website for Denise Giardina, an American writer promoting her new book Emily’s Ghost. Denise has made a career out of writing politically informed, socially conscious and theologically probing historical fiction, taking events and people from real life and constructing novels around them, from […]

flyman partners

flymanHere and now begins a new era, that of Flyman Partners. Flyman Partners is a web consultancy that draws together my skills and experience as a web designer and developer and those of my partner: writer, editor and content manager Hazel Flynn. Between us we have a formidable track record in creating, managing and distributing […]

flyman partners

flymanHere and now begins a new era, that of Flyman Partners. Flyman Partners is a web consultancy that draws together my skills and experience as a web designer and developer and those of my partner in life, love, parenting and now business: writer, editor and content manager extraordinaire Hazel Flynn. Between us we have a […]

filt clothing

filtThis was fun. FILT Clothing is co-owned by one of the people who run my favourite coffee shop, Cafe Angeli. They’re next door to each other and when the opportunity came up to design “just a basic website” for FILT, I naturally suggested an arrangement that would limit the financial impact on both the clothing […]

russell vale soccer club

Russell Vale Soccer ClubI’ve pulled on the boots again. Oh, I’m not stupid. I’m not playing All Age. I’ve moved on to the Over 35s, or as they call it here: “Masters”. Much more palatable, playing Masters than Over 35s. Especially when you’re nudging 50. Sadly, Corrimal apparently doesn’t have enough men who choose to display their mid-life […]

corrimal rangers

Corrimal RangersJust because I’m not coaching any teams at Corrimal Rangers Junior Soccer Club this year doesn’t mean I’ve completely abandoned them. The obvious way to continue to support the club was to build them a website. So I did, once again modifying an available WordPress theme.

reading list

Stella Miles Franklin Jill Roe, Fourth Estate, 2008 I have an abiding interest in Australian literature. This Christmas present from Hazel is 570 pages of bliss. Kylie Tennant: A Life Jane Grant, NLA, 2006 Which reminds I’ve yet to read Hazel’s last birthday present, on another of my favourite writers. Bulletproof Web Design Dan Cederholm, […]


Hazel and I went to Sydney to see Lipsynch, the latest theatrical work by Robert Lepage‘s company Ex Machina to come to Australia. Canadian Lepage has acquired a reputation as a global theatre practitioner, one who succeeds in creating theatre that is meaningful, modern and international. His projects bring together actors, writers, designers and technicians […]

the combination

We’ve met some great people since moving to the Illawarra. Among the new friends we’ve made who live locally are Anousha Zarkesh and David Field. Anousha is a casting director while David is an actor I’ve admired for a long time – since I saw him working with Don Mamouney at Sidetrack Theatre in the […]

big monkey inc

Big Monkey IncI’ve been working with WordPress a fair bit lately, either inserting a WP blog component into an otherwise static site (such as the Colette Livermore and Anne Summers sites) or basing a whole site on a WP structure, whether the site has a blog component (such as the Corrimal Nippers website) or not (such as […]

edzer gerben onsman

My oldest brother. Born 31 July 1948. Died 22 December 2008.


I try not to indulge in too much schadenfreude when I see a typographical error: bad karma, glass houses, all of that. But sometimes, it’s impossible not to either laugh out loud or groan in despair, or both. David Campbell MP, the NSW Minister for Transport and the Illawarra, also happens to be my local […]

hope endures

Hope Endures by Colette LivermoreI launched a site today for a remarkable woman called Colette Livermore. Colette was 17 when she saw a video that inspired her to become a nun and join Mother Teresa’s order the Missionaries of Charity. She worked with some of the poorest people in the world – in India, the Phillipines and Papua New […]

w3c releases wcag 2.0

On 11 December W3C announced “a new standard that will help Web designers and developers create sites that better meet the needs of users with disabilities and older users. Drawing on extensive experience and community feedback, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 improve upon W3C’s groundbreaking initial standard for accessible Web content. This new […]