The GPS system is a monumental network that provides a permanent “YouAreHere” sign hanging in the sky, its signal a constant, synchronised timecode.
April 18th, 2014
April 17th, 2014
Some interesting thoughts that follow on nicely from Scott Jenson’s ideas around just-in-time interactions:
What if the technology was actually already in the room when we got there? Maybe that’s the kind of Internet-of-things that will be more sustainable and will win long-term.
I really like the way that Cennydd emphasises the importance of being able to explain the reasoning behind your design decisions:
If you haven’t already, sometime in your career you’ll meet an awkward sonofabitch who wants to know why every pixel is where you put it. You should be able to articulate an answer for that person—yes, for every pixel.
That reminds me of something I read fourteen(!) years ago that’s always stayed with me. In an interview in Digital Web magazine, Joshua Davis was asked “What would you say is beauty in design?” His answer:
Being able to justify every pixel.
It’s called fragmentions and it builds on the work done by Eric and Simon. They proposed using CSS selectors as fragment identifiers. Kevin’s idea is to use the words within the text as anchor points (like an automatic Command+F):
To tell these apart from an id link, I suggest using a double hash - ## for the fragment, and then words that identify the text. For example:
That link will work in your browser because of this script, which Kevin has added to his site. I may well add that script to this site too.
Fragmentions are a nice idea and—to bring it back to Cennydd’s point—nicely explained.
A nice summation by Dan of when it makes sense to use a graphic design tool like Photoshop and when it makes sense to use a web browser.
April 16th, 2014
If you insist on having a fixed header on your site, please, please, please add this script to your site. I often use the spacebar to page down so this would be a life-saver.
April 12th, 2014
Many people are—quite rightly, in my opinion—upset about the prospect of DRM landing in the W3C HTML specification at the behest of media companies like Netflix and the MPAA.
This would mean that a web browser would have to include support for the plugin-like architecture of Encrypted Media Extensions if they want to claim standards compliance.
A common rebuttal to any concerns about this is that any such concerns are hypocritical. After all, we’re quite happy to use other technologies—Apple TV, Silverlight, etc.—that have DRM baked in.
I think that this rebuttal is a crock of shit.
It is precisely because other technologies are locked down that it’s important to keep the web open.
I own an Apple TV. I use it to watch Netflix. So I’m using DRM-encumbered technologies all the time. But I will fight tooth and nail to keep DRM out of web browsers. That’s not hypocrisy. That’s a quarantine measure.
From what I’ve seen, this is a discussion of pragmatism: given that DRM exists and movies use it and people want movies, is it a good idea to integrate DRM movie playback more tightly with the web?
His conclusion perfectly encapsulates why I watch Netflix on my Apple TV and I don’t want DRM on the web:
The argument has been made that if the web doesn’t embrace this stuff, people won’t stop watching videos: they’ll just go somewhere other than the web to get them, and that is a correct argument. But what is the point in bringing people to the web to watch their videos, if in order to do so the web becomes platform-specific and unopen and balkanised?
As an addendum, I heard a similar “you’re being a hypocrite” argument when I raised security concerns about EME at the last TAG meetup in London:
I tried to steer things away from the ethical questions and back to the technical side of things by voicing my concerns with the security model of EME. Reading the excellent description by Henri, sentences like this should give you the heebie-jeebies:
Alex told me that my phone already runs code that I cannot inspect and does things that I have no control over. So hey, what does it matter if my web browser does the same thing, right?
I’m reminded of something that Anne wrote four years ago when a vulnerability was discovered that affected Flash, Java, and web browsers:
We have higher standards for browsers.
I love the thinking behind this plugin that highlights the weasel words that politicians are so found of.
This is a wonderful piece of writing and thinking from Frank. A wonderful piece of design, then.
A personal view on generalists and trans-media design
April 10th, 2014
Some sleuthing uncovers an interesting twist in New York’s psychogeography:
All of the buildings have been demolished, and in some cases the entire street has since been erased. But a startling picture still emerged: New York once had a neighborhood for typography.
Here’s the font that Brian created at the line-mode browser hack day at CERN.
April 9th, 2014
I finally got around to reading Red Men by Matthew De Abaitua recently. It’s like Nick Harkaway crossed with Jeff Noon.
Here’s hoping that this short film will be developed into a full-length feature.
A great article by Susan on getting started with creating a styleguide for any project.
I’ve seen firsthand how style guides save development time, make communication regarding your front end smoother, and keep both code and design consistent throughout the site.
April 8th, 2014
We need a web design museum.
I am, unsurprisingly, in complete agreement. And let’s make lots of copies while we’re at it.
John echoes some of my recent thinking about what qualifies as a web browser and, by extension, what qualifies as the web:
We shouldn’t think of “the web” as only what renders in web browsers. We should think of the web as anything transmitted using HTTP and HTTPS. Apps and websites are peers, not competitors. They’re all just clients to the same services.
That said, I think he is perhaps underestimating the power of URLs. Addressability—particularly over an extended time period—remains the powerful feature of the web.
April 7th, 2014
Y’know, I’m worried about what will happen to my own photos when Flickr inevitably goes down the tubes (there are still some good people there fighting the good fight, but they’re in the minority and they’re battling against the douchiest of Silicon Valley managerial types who have been brought in to increase “engagement” by stripping away everything that makes Flickr special) …but what really worries me is what’s going to happen to Flickr Commons. It’s an unbelievably important and valuable resource.
As of today, we have left Flickr (including The Commons).
Unfortunately, they didn’t just leave their Flickr collection; they razed it to the ground. All those links, all those comments, and all those annotations have been wiped out.
They’ve moved their images over to Wikimedia Commons …for now. It turns out that they have a very cavalier attitude towards online storage (a worrying trait for a museum). They’re jumping out of the frying pan of Flickr and into the fire of Tumblr:
In the past few months, we’ve been testing Tumblr and it’s been a much better channel for this type of content.
Audio and video is being moved around to where the eyeballs and earholes currently are:
We have left iTunesU in favor of sharing content via YouTube and SoundCloud.
I find this quite disturbing. A museum should be exactly the kind of institution that should be taking a thoughtful, considered approach to how it stores content online. Digital preservation should be at the heart of its activities. Instead, it takes a back seat to chasing the fleeting thrill of “engagement.”
Leaving Flickr Commons could have been the perfect opportunity to invest in long-term self-hosting. Instead they’re abandoning the Titanic by hitching a ride on the Hindenberg.
There’s one obvious connection between the two speakers this time ‘round: their first names are homophones.
We’ve got Leigh Taylor of Medium and Gravita fame. He’ll be talking about this holacracy stuff that people have been banging on about lately, and what it takes to actually make a creative company work in a decentralised way.
Should be good brain-tickling fun. You can secure your place at the event now. It’s free. But the usual warning applies: if you can’t make it, be sure to cancel your ticket—if you book a place and then don’t show up, you will be persona non grata for any future Connections.
See you in two weeks time.
April 6th, 2014
A nice stroll around Marseilles at night without any of the traditional danger.
April 2nd, 2014
What a wonderful way to go online!
March 30th, 2014
A useful text editor that analyses your writing for excess verbiage and sloppy construction. It helps you process your words, as it were.
I don’t work in the tech industry. I work on the Web.