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Events « Brighton Digital Festival

There are 90 events happening in September during the Brighton Digital Festival (including dConstruct, of course). From Maker Faire to an evening of slash fiction, there’s something for everyone.

How we make RWD sites load fast as heck

Scott shares the code that Filament Group are using to determine which style declarations are critical (and can be inlined) and which are non-critical (and can be loaded asynchronously). It makes quite a difference in perceived performance.

By the way, I really, really like the terminology of “critical” and “non-critical” CSS, rather than “above the fold” and “below the fold” CSS.

RWD Bloat - daverupert.com

Dave wanted to figure out if having a responsive site necessarily meant taking a performance hit, so he ran the numbers on his own site. It turns out all of performance-related issues are not related to responsive design.

Full-width pinned layouts with flexbox

Zoe uses one little case study to contrast two different CSS techniques: display-table and flexbox. Flexbox definitely comes out on top when it comes to true source-order independence.

The Virtual Haircut That Could Change the World | Design | WIRED

A nice profile of BERG’s Little Printer. That Matt Webb is a smart cookie. He is also a very thoughtful cookie.

Jeremy Keith - Pencil vs Pixel

I met Cesar at An Event Apart in San Diego earlier this year. We had a nice lunchtime chat and he suggested that I come on his show, Pencil vs Pixel. I was, of course, honoured and I accepted his invitation immediately.

MORNING, COMPUTER | Warren Ellis on Pacific Daylight Time

If you were in any doubt that Warren Ellis is going to blow the roof off the Brighton Dome at dConstruct, this is what happens when he decides to write a little something every day.

How to build a device lab | Tutorial by Destiny Montague and Lara Swanson

A set of slides from Destiny Montague and Lara Swanson at Etsy with their advice on setting up a device lab. Lara also wrote about the device lab on the Etsy code blog.

Simplicity

I can relate to every single word that Bastian has written here.

The longer I look at boilerplates, build tools, frameworks and ways to make my life as a developer easier, the more I long for the basics.

Radio-Controlled Web Design · An A List Apart Article

Turns out that the :checked pseudo-class selector allows you to do some clever interaction without JavaScript.

Let’s Talk About RTL

Some very handy techniques for working with right-to-left text.

ZX Spectrum Screenshotter Example - an album on Flickr

Over 700 screenshots of ZX Spectrum games, captured by Jason Scott. Some of these bring back memories.

A Maintainable Style Guide - Ian Feather

The challenges of maintaining a living breathing front-end style guide for an always-evolving product (the Lonely Planet website in this case).

GitHub’s CSS · @mdo

Mark Otto talks through the state of Github’s CSS and the processes behind updating it. There’s a nice mix of pragmatism and best practices, together with a recognition that there’s always room for improvement.

Twelve Tomorrows | MIT Technology Review

This year’s collection of twelve sci-fi stories from Technology Review features three dConstruct speakers: Lauren Beukes, Cory Doctorow, and Warren Ellis.

A Brief History of Bloggering - The Morning News

An alternative history from a parallel timeline.

He started coding his own just weeks after Tim Berners-Lee, a tunnel engineer helping to build the STERN protein collider, discovered ancient scrolls buried in the Swiss soil that revealed the secrets of HTML.

Panorama Fail

The image-stitching algorithm is trying its best.

The Camera in the Mirror

Kubrickian pictures taken by the Google robot wherein it captures its own reflection.

Software, It’s a Thing — Medium

The first Lunar Orbiter, Andy Warhol’s Amiga, and George R.R. Martin’s WordStar …the opening address to the Digital Preservation 2014 conference July 22 in Washington, DC.

Just as early filmmakers couldn’t have predicted the level of ongoing interest in their work over a hundred years later, who can say what future generations will find important to know and preserve about the early history of software?

(Mind you, I can’t help but feel that the chances of this particular text have a long life at a Medium URL are pretty slim.)

Unfinished Business special: Rumpus On The Planet Of The Apes with Brendan Dawes and Jeremy Keith on Huffduffer

This was a lot of fun for us. It might even be fun to listen to.

If you haven’t seen Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, then listen ye not—this is a spoilerific podcast episode.

Unfinished Business special: Rumpus On The Planet Of The Apes with Brendan Dawes and Jeremy Keith

The Pattern Library

Literally a library of patterns: y’know, for tiling background images. Old school!

Guy Walks Into a Bar - The New Yorker

If you’re going to check out the New Yorker’s nice new responsive site, might I suggest you start here?

Google’s ‘Nearby’ Lets Your Smartphone Talk to the Internet of Things | Motherboard

An early look at the just-in-time interactions that Scott has been working on:

Nearby works like this. An enabled object broadcasts a short description of itself and a URL to devices nearby listening. Those URLs are grabbed and listed by the app, and tapping on one brings you to the object’s webpage, where you can interact with it—say, tell it to perform a task.

Meet the Online Tracking Device That is Virtually Impossible to Block - ProPublica

Well, thanks to the ass-hattery of AddThis, the use case of your site’s visitors switching off JavaScript for (legitimate) security reasons just became a lot more plausible.

But you’re using JavaScript as an enhancement, right? You’re not relying on it for core tasks, right?

“The Internet Never Forgets” — sixtwothree.org

The Internet forgets every single day.

I’m with Jason.

I encourage you all to take a moment and consider the importance of preserving your online creations for yourself, your family, and for future generations.

James Bridle’s Critical View From Above | Crane.tv Contemporary Culture Video Magazine

James talks about his latest project, The Right To Flight.

Improving Reality 2014 — Visibility Is A Trap

Lighthouse are putting on their Improving Reality conference again this year. It’s the day before dConstruct. Come to both!

Cotton Bureau – Future Friendly by Brad Frost

For your consideration.

If enough people want a print run of this lovely Future Friendly T-shirt, then they’ll make a new batch.

The profits go to the Internet Archive.

What’s the design process at GDS? | Government Digital Service

A look behind the scenes of gov.uk. I like their attitude to Photoshop comps:

We don’t want a culture of designs being “thrown over a wall” to a dev team. We don’t make “high fidelity mock ups” or “high fidelity wireframes”. We’re making a Thing, not pictures of a Thing.

And UX:

We don’t have a UX Team. If the problem with your service is that the servers are slow and the UX Team can’t change that, then they aren’t in control of the user experience and they shouldn’t be called the user experience team.

Breach - A browser for the HTML5 era

A new browser on the block (though not a new rendering engine), this one is written is written entirely in JavaScript. It’s worth taking it for a spin to see some of the interesting interface ideas around tabs and loading indicators.

Personally, I’m all for more browsers. The more, the merrier.

Jeremy Keith on progressive enhancement - YouTube

Almost six minutes of me squinting in the sun and sharing my reckons while seagulls squawk in the background.

The Making of Aprilzero

The first in a series of posts looking at the process behind builfing this “quantified self” site:

As with most decisions in my life, I asked myself: What would Tony Stark do?

Apollo 11 Saturn V Launch (HD) Camera E-8 on Vimeo

45 years ago today.

Smart Fixed Navigation

Here’s an intriguing approach to offering a navigation control that adapts as the user scrolls.

I’m not too keen on the way it duplicates the navigation in the markup though. I might have a play to see if I can find a way to progressively enhance up from a link-to-footer pattern to achieve this.

The right to flight: why I’m flying a balloon over London this summer

Watch the skies: James Bridle’s balloon will be hovering above London distributing wifi.

Urban Giants on Vimeo

A look at the architectural history of the network hubs of New York: 32 Avenue of the Americas and 60 Hudson Street. Directed by Davina Pardo and written by her husband Andrew Blum, author of Tubes: A Journey to the Centre of the Internet.

These buildings were always used as network hubs. It’s just that the old networks were used to house the infrastructure of telephone networks (these were the long line buildings).

In a way, the big server hotel of New York—111 Eight Avenue—was also always used to route packets …it’s just that the packets used to be physical.

The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz by Brian Knappenberger

The Aaron Swartz film is available on the Internet Archive under a Creative Commons attribution non-commercial share-alike license.

Navigating the Guardian | Help | The Guardian

A peek behind the scenes of an interesting new navigation pattern on the Guardian’s still-in-beta responsive site.

You can try it out here

Web 2024 | Robin Berjon

Here’s a dystopian vision of the web in ten years time, where professional developers are the only people able to publish on the web.

This is why it worries me when I come across very smart people who don’t seem to see a problem with the creation of web pages being taken out of the reach of any human being with an internet connection and a smattering of declarative languages—HTML, CSS—and into the hands of an elite minority of JavaScript programmers.

simpl.info

A handy reference for HTML, CSS, and JavaScript features. Each feature has a bare-bones demo at a nice guessable URL e.g. http://simpl.info/datalist/

Things we learnt designing ‘Register to vote’ | GDS design notes

A concise case study from gov.uk:

Designing for the constraints of mobile is useful – if we get the fundamentals of the service working on small screens and slow network speeds, it can work on more capable devices.

The Developer’s Dystopian Future – The Pastry Box Project

My interest in rich client-side apps has almost entirely reversed, and now I’m more interested in doing good ol’ server rendering with the occasional side of progressive enhancement, just like we did it in 2004.

This post resonates with me 100%.

Where will I be in 10 years? I don’t know. I hope I still will have some in-demand skills to pay the bills. But it feels like all I see are DevOps and JavaScript, and I know less and less every day about those things.

Practical ARIA Examples

Heydon Pickering put together a great collection of accessible self-contained interface patterns that demonstrate smart use of ARIA.

Science Hack Day Shanghai 2014 - an album on Flickr

Photos from the first Science Hack Day in China which just wrapped up.

The Eccentric Genius Whose Time May Have Finally Come (Again) - Doug Hill - The Atlantic

A profile of Norbert Wiener, and how his star was eclipsed by Claude Shannon.

Pinboard Turns Five (Pinboard Blog)

On the fifth anniversary of Pinboard, Maciej reflects on working on long-term projects:

Avoiding burnout is difficult to write about, because the basic premise is obnoxious. Burnout is a rich man’s game. Rice farmers don’t get burned out and spend long afternoons thinking about whether to switch to sorghum.

The good news is, as you get older, you gain perspective. Perspective helps alleviate burnout.

The bad news is, you gain perspective by having incredibly shitty things happen to you and the people you love. Nature has made it so that perspective is only delivered in bulk quantities. A railcar of perspective arrives and dumps itself on your lawn when all you needed was a microgram.

Valley of the Meatpuppets | superflux

The transcript of Anab Jain’s talk from the FutureEverything Festival.

Monday, 7 July 2014 – The Pastry Box Project

Words of wisdom from Scott on the clash of brand guidelines and the flexible nature of the web:

One thing I am pretty sure of though, is that having a fast, accessible, user-friendly site can reflect incredibly well on a company, and I’d love to see more guidelines and expectations that prioritize these aspects of a service as branding requirements in addition to the usual visual details.

The elements of HTML

This (literally) charts the evolution of HTML, tracking which elements have been added and which have been removed.

Sana’a (Idle Words)

A new essay from Maciej on Idle Words is always a treat, and this latest dispatch from Yemen is as brilliantly-written as you’d expect.

Marginalia | Parallel Transport

A brilliant idea (and implementation) from Kartik. By combing webmentions and fragmentions, it’s possible to allow a kind of distributed marginalia: you post a comment on your site about a specific passage in a post on my site and a smattering of CSS and JavaScript can display it in the right context.

How are apps made? by Craig Mod

With the usual caveat that I wish this were published on Craig’s own site, I particularly like this passage:

Apps, too, are ephemeral. Some of the most ephemeral software we’ve ever produced. Ephemeral if for no other reason than because of their gated homes. Our apps cower below the fickle whim of App Store Gods, struck down for no reasonable reasons or for very reasonable reasons. It doesn’t matter which, the end result is always the same: gone, forever.

Good, Form & Spectacle - design & cultural heritage

The brilliant George Oates has started a new design company with an emphasis on cultural heritage: “explicit notes to the future, local archives of global content.” Watch this space

A no-javascript toggle content feature

A clever way of doing progressive disclosure with CSS.

Learn JavaScript & jQuery - a book about interactive front-end web development

This looks like it could be a great book for anyone looking to get starting with JavaScript.

SKYLON Users’ Manual (PDF)

Tech specs for a spacecraft that doesn’t exist (yet).

Responsive Day Out 2 by adactio on SoundCloud

Here’s the Creative Commons licensed music that was playing during the breaks at Responsive Day Out 2.

adactio : responsiveconf2 on Huffduffer

Thanks to the tireless efforts of the magnificent Drew McLellan, the podcast of all the talks from Friday’s Responsive Day Out 2 are now available for your listening pleasure.

Guardian beta · The container model and blended content – a new approach to how we present content on the Guardian

This is what Oliver was talking about Responsive Day Out 2 — a new approach to information architecture.

Cast off your sidebars! You have nothing to lose but your grids!

Hamburger Fancy: Archive

This Tumblr blog has the grandiose ambition of being “a showcase of the hottest hamburger icons on the web”, but amazingly, they’ve actually succeeded in documenting every single example of a cool hamburger icon.

The Man Who Turned Paper Into Pixels on Vimeo

A short film about Claude Shannon and Information Theory — not exactly as in-depth as James Gleick’s The Information, but it does a nice job of encapsulating the fundamental idea.

shardcore » @bffbot1

Clingy.

She can only offer you unconditional algo-love.

Perhaps that’s the purest love of all.

Getting Back That Lovin’ Feeling on Sparkbox

A lovely little tale of empowerment through HTML and CSS.

Signs from the near future

We better get used to them…

Tantek Celik, “Why We Need the IndieWeb”, #PDF14 - YouTube

Tantek’s talk at the Personal Democracy Forum on the past, present, and future of independent publishing on the web.

Permanence - Matt Gemmell

Some good ideas from Matt on the importance of striving to maintain digital works. I find it very encouraging to see other people writing about this, especially when it’s this thoughtful.

How To Use Huffduffer (get audio from internet onto phone) - YouTube

Chase Reeves likes Huffduffer so much, he made a video about it.

DeviceLab | Swapping Device Stands for Lego…

Here’s a nifty way of building stands for your device lab: LEGO!

Instructions included.

Responsive Special - Web Talk Dog Walk

If you’re coming to the Responsive Day Out next week, bring your dog. Laura is organising a special Web Talk Dog Walk for the next day.

New section: Reading | susan jean robertson

There are many services out there for keeping track of what you’re reading. Susan has found the best one:

Slowly, ever so slowly, as I realize how things come and go on the web, I realize that this is my home. Because this is my home, I want all the things that matter to me to reside here.

300 Seconds Brighton: Sign up as a speaker

The next 300 Seconds event is in just a few days time.

If you’re a woman who’s not spoken in public before, 300 Seconds is the perfect platform for getting started. Simply tell us what you’d like to talk about for 5 minutes – and we’ll be in touch soon.

Unfinished Business 73: We’ve reached peak burrito on Huffduffer

I had a lot of fun chatting with Andrew on his podcast. Yes, it’s a rambling affair but it’s worth sticking with it—we get really stuck in to some thorny questions about design and advertising.

Unfinished Business 73: We’ve reached peak burrito

rel=search on Flickr

Here’s a nice little UI addition to Chrome. When you focus on the URL bar, if the current site has site-specific search discoverable via rel=”search”, then you get a greyed-out hint to press tab so you can start searching the site.

rel=search

Keren Elazari: Hackers: the Internet’s immune system | Talk Video | TED.com

Did you see Keren at dConstruct 2012? Well, here she is at this year’s TED conference delivering a barnstorming talk on hacker culture.

5by5 | The Web Ahead #73: DRM with Jeremy Keith and Doug Schepers on Huffduffer

Here’s the chat I had with Jen and Doug about the prospect of DRM in browsers.

5by5 | The Web Ahead #73: DRM with Jeremy Keith and Doug Schepers

IXS Enterprise (IXS-110) - an album on Flickr

Design fiction from a NASA scientist.

Sending Webmentions with Craft — sixtwothree.org

If you use the Craft CMS to power your blog, you can now send webmentions, thanks to this handy plug-in by Jason.

Have a look through the README file on Github.

Comparing two ways to load non-critical CSS

Scott’s trying to find out the best ways to load critical CSS first and non-critical CSS later. Good discussion ensues.

Thomson Reuters Throws Its Weight Behind Science Hack Day

This is quite exciting: the Endnote project is sponsoring Science Hack Day globally—not just an individual event.

What If Browsers And The Web Didn’t Exist? What If There Were Only Native Apps?

I, for one, don’t welcome our applinks overlords.

So, you’re checking out your news feed on your Facebook app and you see a CNN post that you want to read. After reading the post on CNN, you decide you want to to read the source article on TMZ…

Using Encapsulation for Semantic Markup on CSS-Tricks

I really hope that this is the kind of usage we’ll see for web components: enhancements for the browsers that support them without a good ol’ fashioned fallback for older browsers.

Introducing drawpath - Josh Emerson

A lovely little from Josh that allows you to draw shapes in a canvas element and then copy the resulting code.

Pumzi - YouTube

A short sci-fi film from director Wanuri Kahiu set in the aftermath of a worldwide water war.

An Event Apart and The Picture Element (a Monkey Do blog post)

A look at how the website for An Event Apart is using the picture and Picturefill …featuring Jessica as the cover girl.

Powerful Ideas Need Love Too!

Alan Kay’s written remarks to a Joint Hearing of the Science Committee and the Economic and Educational and Opportunites Committee in October 1995.

How We Got To Now with Steven Johnson - YouTube

Steven Johnson’s new television series will be shown on BBC in a few months time. Looks like it’s going to be good Burkian fun.

Dystopia Tracker

Documenting depictions of dystopian futures and tracking which ideas are turning out to be predictions.

Known: taking a big bet on the #indieweb

When I’ve been banging on at conferences about digital preservation, personal publishing and the indie web, I’ve been at pains to point out that there are huge opportunities here for startups looking to build valet services to help people publish on their own domain.

Ben and Erin at Known are doing just that, with some backing from KQED, PRX and the Knight Foundation instead of the usual short-sighted Silicon Valley venture capitalism.

One of the jobs of a startup is to look at where the world is going, extrapolating from current trends and domain knowledge, and meet a future need with a product at exactly the right time. We think the time is right for an independent web that is owned by content creators and readers alike.

Indie Tech Summit - Brighton, UK - July 4th, 2014

I’ll be speaking at this event that Aral is putting on here in Brighon on the fourth of July (independence day — geddit?).

The Internet With A Human Face - Beyond Tellerrand 2014 Conference Talk

The transcript of Maciej’s talk from Beyond Tellerrand on how the web has become more and more centralised:

The degree of centralization is remarkable. Consider that Google now makes hardware, operating systems, and a browser.

It’s not just possible, but fairly common for someone to visit a Google website from a Google device, using Google DNS servers and a Google browser on the way.

This is a level of of end-to-end control that would have caused us to riot in the streets if Microsoft had attempted it in 1999. But times have changed.

Archeology, Anthropology, and Interstellar Communication edited by Douglas A. Vakoch

A free PDF download from NASA on all things SETI, specifically the challenges of interspecies interstellar communication.

Roll Your Own Podcast Feed with Huffduffer by Adam Stahr

A quick little introduction to Huffduffer.

Single Element CSS Spinners

A lovely little selection of loading indicators powered by CSS animations and transitions.

What a Misunderstanding!

A variation on “Christ, what an asshole!

Frank Chimero – Only Openings

I guess it goes without saying at this point, but this piece from Frank is beautiful and thought-provoking.

This part in particular touched on some things I’ve been thinking about lately:

Design’s golden calf is simplicity. Speaking as someone who sees, makes, and uses design each and every day, I am tired of simple things. Simple things are weak. They are limited. They are boring. What I truly want is clarity. Give me clear and evident things over simple things. Make me things that presume and honor my intelligence. Shun seamlessness. It is another false token. Make me things that are full of seams, because if you give me a seam and I pull the thread, I get to see how the whole world is stitched together. Give me some credit. Show me you trust me.

Inexhaustible - Instapaper Fragmentions by Brian Donohue

Instapaper is going to add support for fragmentions. Seems like a match made in heaven.

Index cards | A Working Library

A truly wonderful piece by Mandy detailing why and how she writes, edits, and publishes on her own website:

No one owns this domain but me, and no one but me can take it down. I will not wake up one morning to discover that my service has been “sunsetted” and I have some days or weeks to export my data (if I have that at all). These URLs will never break.

Open-Source Projects by Filament Group

Those smart people at Filament Group have gathered their open-source code into one handy place. Useful!

Tim Bray · Pervasive Monitoring Is an Attack

The IETF have decided that network surveillance is damage to be routed around.

N’existe Pas by Bruce Sterling on The Dissident Blog

A short story set in a science-fictional future that just happens to be our present.