May Member of the Month 2010

May - Member of the Month award.

The Member of the Month award is presented to members who, over a period of time, have caught the attention of the SitePoint team by the quality of their posts.

The award is handed out on the first of every month and for the whole of that month the member will be recognised as Member of the Month.

This month (May 2010) we’d like to acknowledge [B]xhtmlcoder[/B] (Robert Wellock) for his previous good contributions to the forums and give him the recognition he deserves. Therefore throughout May please join with me and congratulate and thank Robert for the high quality of his posts.

Hi Robert,

Congratulations on being voted Member of the Month for your great contributions to the forums! Now it’s time to dig a little deeper and find out what makes you tick, what annoys you, and what makes you happy.

Therefore we start with the great tradition that is “The Member of the Month Interview”.

Judging from your username (xhtmlcoder), and the fact that you post a lot in the html forums, I would assume that (x)html is your area of interest and wondered if that is where your speciality lies, or do you have a broader range of interests?

Regarding my username “xhtmlcoder”, more of an accident really… Somehow (and I cannot remember why) I managed to fill in the “Register at SitePoint Forums” account setup details wrongly. So instead of “Robert Wellock” I ended up with my domain name in place of my real name.

Since I am usually happy to live with my “online mistakes” and the consequences they entail, I never bothered asking to get it changed. It is a permanent reminder.

Yes, I’d say my main speciality is primarily focused around x(ht)ml, structure, semantics and web accessibility. Being word-blind made me more interested in getting proactively involved with web accessibility.

I also have interests in other topics such as CSS, although—mainly due to not having an internet connection—my “online time” is very limited. As you know, Paul, answering CSS questions consumes resources in both software (multiple user-agents) and time, mainly due to all the weird hacks, browser quirks, bugs, etc. Again, I do follow other topics but due to “time constraints” I mainly prioritise in efficiently solving markup issues.

I also have formal qualifications: Cisco Networking, Windows and Linux servers, PHP, MySQL and several other PC-related subjects, but I have an affinity with XHTML.

I see from your posts that you are a stickler for accuracy and are quite au fait with the W3C specifications and standards etc. Do you think it is important to be familiar with these and to adhere to them as much as possible?

I’ll take that as a complement! And yes, it helps if you are familiar with the recommendations. By being “accurate” it’s easier to dismiss the common “markup-myths”, which I constantly see posted in various forums, etc. Distributed half-truths don’t really do anybody any favour in the long-run.

Adhering closely to the normative (x)HTML and CSS Recommendations should “theoretically” take most of the pain out of trying to second-guess why something renders the way it does and so forth. Obviously there are bugs, which will complicate things, plus the recommendations aren’t really “bedtime reading”—though if studied carefully it pays off.

I notice you have been a member here at SitePoint since April 2002, which even pre-dates me, so you have obviously seen a lot of changes in web design during that period. Have there been changes in web design (xhtml, css, js etc) that you are happy with or is there still a long way to go?

I’m still stuck in late 1999, so cannot really comment with regards to happiness. Although several “interesting technologies” have arrived during that time, there’s nothing I would get ecstatic over. Probably the best thing is that user agents are now starting to better support more formal recommendations, like XHTML, CSS, PNG and SVG.

Not being a script worshipper, I tend to focus on the bread-and-butter that binds a pure page.

Who are your heroes in web design? Is there anyone that you specifically look out for and take notice of?

To be completely honest, I can say I don’t have any “heroes” in the field. I am just as likely to take notice of some low-profile guy that is considered a “complete nobody” as get dazzled by some flashy new fad or idea. I am more concerned about the quality and content of some online literature over a household branded-name. It’s their “actions” that count most, not their marketing or popularity.

Is your interest in web design work-related or is it a hobby? What kind of work do you do if you don’t mind me asking?

Well, at University I studied Applied Biology but in the tradition of most biology students I diversified. At the moment, I am working from home as an Agricultural Scientist—in other words, feeding beasts, animal husbandry. My family can boast well over 400 years of doing that! So it is quite divorced from the internet and is a 365-day a year job.

Currently I’d consider any web design work I do a “hobby”, although occasionally I will do semi-commercial projects. I do, however, charge a staggering £500.00 per hour, but people seem to think it is well worth every penny.

Recently at SitePoint we’ve been trying hard to obliterate spam and fluff posts to make this a better place to visit. Is there anything you’d like to see changed, or is there anything we could do better or differently perhaps?

I do seem to speed-dial REPORT regularly regarding fluff, as it’s a minor time-wasting nuisance. Though on the plus-side, things being reported do usually get removed fairly quickly. I am not really sure what measures are in place for actually stopping automated signups, etc.

Perhaps you should consider upgrading some of those Orange Mentors into “fluff-vacuums” so they can perhaps do minor editing-out of spam-hyperlinks or locking. I am sure some of them are capable of doing more than looking “orange” and general role-model duties.

Do you have other interests or hobbies outside of web design that you can tell us about that we might find interesting and learn something about you along the way?

Well, since I’ve just reclassified “web design” as the former, I don’t really have any time to peruse other hobbies at the moment…

However, I proofread, OCR and edit books and material for Project Aon, converting material from Joe Dever’s (Original) Multinational Award Winning Lone Wolf Series into online books, etc. Lone Wolf was a series published in the 1980s that I enjoyed reading as a small kid. Mongoose Publishing has released new hardback (updated) versions of the books and there is rumour of a film and new computer game based on the books being released in a few years time.

Paul: Obligatory small talk below:

Favourite Film:
I don’t have one as such, though I remember Star Wars was the first VHS film I watched in the very early 80s at my friend’s house. His father was the co-author of Worzel Gummidge—hence why he had a VHS player.

Favourite Music:
I have varied tastes, but if you have ever delved deeper into my website you’ll notice it is Beck, containing over 200+ lyrics. What inspired me was hearing his breakthrough single Loser.

Favourite Book:
I don’t have one of those either. The Chasm of Doom by Joe Dever was the book that got me hooked on Lone Wolf as a child.

Person you would most like to meet:
I’ve have met three people from SitePoint in person, but would like to meet Tommy “Jag har ett stort skägg” Olsson, since when he phones, he always comments upon how he “admires Yorkshire”.

Favourite food:
I’m kidding a little here, but… Genuine Yorkshire pudding.

Pet hate:
Apart from spammers and general scammers, nothing really I can put my finger on.

Anything else you’d like to add before you go?

If you ever get chance to meet me in person, ask to look closely at my hands. Although they are often referred to as the “Fireproof Hands of a Coder”, I can guarantee you won’t ever have seen hands like mine before.

Thanks Robert for taking the time to answer the questions and for the intriguing replies :).


Lawlz. Excellent.

Now Tommy has to come translate that bit for us… that is, if he’s not too embarrassed!

Monnik I-Hsiu is indeed being recognised as a Master, and not for his Robes : )

Congratulations Robert!

From an online search, I gather it means something like “I have a big beard”.

Hahaha that sounds right!

Congratulations :slight_smile:

Congrats Robert. :slight_smile:

What a fantastic interview!

Congrats, Robert. Way, WAY overdue and superbly done by Paul as well. :slight_smile:

Yea, great Robert and Paul. Definitely overdue :slight_smile: :Partydude:

I love the member of the month interviews, it makes for a nice connection to the people here on SP.

Great interview and congratulations!

I’m wondering about those hands now … but if you’re an Agricultural Scientist my bet is the skin isn’t paper thin :wink:

Congratulations! Fun interview to read… yikes at your hourly rate though :eek: :slight_smile:

Congratulations, Robert. It was about time your contributions were recognised! :tup:

I didn’t know you were deaf, too. :eek:
I said ‘that quagmire, Yorkshire’. You’d better learn to listen, young man. :nono:

Heh, I had to translate the Dutch greeting you sent via Robert, you can do the same, you’re a bright girl. :stuck_out_tongue:

Got it in one.

A little geek-joke to begin with…

What do you want to write with? [- or ?*]
You write in the dust with your fingers.--More--
What do you want to write in the dust here? [B]Elbereth[/B]

Now, that I am theoretically protected by the E-word and I’ve given you all about 24-hours to suffer the interview I’ll respond to the first group of well-wishers… :slight_smile:

Straight to the point; thankee.

Dining with a General; thanks my robe is still “an old casual ordinary robe” so let’s hope that is still the case… I believe originally there was some brief “confusion” though. :smiley:

That phrase apparently will bring with it “great rewards” and get you out of many precarious situations; just a shame it’s hard to pronounce if you don’t speaketh native Swedish - thanks.

Thanks again.

Yes, you can call me Robert and thanks.

Does any of it qualify for ‘The Golden Post Prize Program’ only kidding but thanks for the sixth time.

Hopefully, it was good connection and many thanks for the seventh time.

Thanks… correct my hands are nicely-toughened but (very uniquely) one aspect of my hands are basically paper-thin. You won’t have ever come across it before that I can guarantee and it is only noticeable if you look closely or actually touch them.

If chosen; I can easily command that amount; don’t let my shabby appearance deceive you but usually I wouldn’t charge on a per hour basis, and thanks for the; ninth time.

Hmm, “Quagmire” not quite; ‘peat bogs’ are what you’ll find on the bleak moors… I’ll have to send you another “Holy-land Phrase Book” - anyway I’ll take that as a “mighty-complement” from you. It was my greeting; just translated by poes. :wink:

Thanks again, young Tommy, and that makes ten… I’ve nearly run out of fingers and toes so for the final thumb; I’ll thank Paul for being the interviewer.

Thanks :cool:

Congratulations xhtmlcoder :slight_smile: It’s definitely overdue because I’m surprised you hadn’t already won one! Great interview, very interesting indeed. I’ve said before and I’ll agree with Datura that these interviews are a great way of having a better understanding of the members here at SitePoint, and that’s obviously a good thing!

Andrew Cooper

Congrats, Robert. I won’t join the speculation about your hands, though I’ll admit I’m curious.

Maybe the thumbs are on the other side?

Extra pinkies are a sign from the Gods. A good one: you can type better if they’re completely detached.

Having two thumbs though means you’re a koala (yeah yeah ok I know the second thumb is really just the index finger so sue me but I thought it was cool).

Thanks, it took them a long time; building enough courage. I think they had to draw lots and Paul picked the short-straw. I gave an “out of the ordinary” reply regarding ‘acceptance terms’ but there are plenty of people more deserving than myself.

My hands are well-crafted and thanks for the congratulations, I’ll give you a clue; you’ve seen a photo of them but not the interesting parts. Paul knows the ‘answer’ to the question and it isn’t “42”.:smiley:

No not that bizarre… I have the correct amount of fingers and thumbs and bones, muscle, length, shape (and haven’t had any cyborg implants), etc. Unfortunately, I cannot bend them into amazing shapes or anything spectacular. So cannot swing from trees like a Gibbon but something is paper-thin on them.

The mock “NetHack Command” reference on ‘post #13’ would point you in the correct area of my hands. :wink:

Yes I took a hit for the team :slight_smile:

Definately one of the more interesting interviews (in a good way ;)).

A well deserved congratulations is in order! I love reading your posts (what little I do see you in the CSS forum) :slight_smile: