Tags: a

28 Months on Mars - NYTimes.com

Curiosity’s journey so far, nicely visualised.

State of Web Type

Like caniuse.com, but for typography features. Find out what’s supported in browsers today.

You Don’t Need jQuery! – Free yourself from the chains of jQuery by embracing and understanding the modern Web API and discovering various directed libraries to help you fill in the gaps.

The tone is a bit too heavy-handed for my taste, but the code examples here are very handy if you’re weaning yourself off jQuery.

TARS, CASE & KIPP from Interstellar

Print out the plans, fold and glue/sellotape the paper together, and you’ve got yourself the best sci-fi robots in recent cinema history.

ST4I - Stuff That Talks To The Internet - workshop on Vimeo

Seb will be running this workshop again at the start of February—details here. I can’t recommend it highly enough—it’s so, so good!

RFID podcast radio-in-a-box (needs sound to make any sense) | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

This is so nifty! A combination of the Radiodan, Huffduffer, and RFID, all wrapped up in a box.

Backstory here.

Revision 200: The Indie Web on Working Draft on Huffduffer

I had the great honour of being invited to speak on the 200th edition of the Working Draft podcast (there are a few sentences in German at the start, and then it switches into English).

I had a lot of fun talking about indie web building blocks (rel=me, indieauth, webmention, h-entry, etc.). Best of all, while I was describing these building blocks, one of the hosts started implementing them!

What colour is it?

This is quite beautiful in its simplicity: the hexadecimal colour value of the current time.

Why James Cameron’s Aliens is the best movie about technology

Tim Carmody on James Cameron’s meisterwerk (and technology in sci-fi films in general).

bramus/mixed-content-scan

A really handy command-line tool that scans your site for mixed content — very useful if you’re making the switch from http to https.

Cinema Space Tribute on Vimeo

Scenes of space from sci-fi films.

How GitHub is using Web Components in production — WebComponents.org

With all my talk about extending existing elements instead of making new ones, I was reminded of one of my favourite examples of custom elements in action: Github’s extensions of the time element.

The Nor » Living in the Electromagnetic Spectrum

James takes a tour through the English countryside, while venturing into areas of the electromagnetic spectrum that may as well be labelled “Private Property. No Trespassing. Keep Out.”

Responsive Enhancement ◆ 24 ways

My contribution to this year’s edition of the web’s best advent calendar.

Entire Screen of One Game

You can’t win the game. It exists only to destroy your mind.

There is no fold.

There.

Is.

No.

Fold.

Websites of Christmas Past, Present and Future ◆ 24 ways

A superb article by Josh on planning for progressive enhancement—clearly laid out and carefully explained.

An immigration lawyer reviews Paddington

Sounds like a cute idea, right?

In fact it’s the best thing you’re ever likely to read on Peruvian ursine immigration.

Asteroid Day

This is an awareness project I can get behind: a Clarke-like Project Spaceguard to protect the Earth from asteroid collisions. This campaign will focus awareness of this issue on one single day…

Now if only the front page of this website actually said when that day will be.

Update: And now it does.

The Secret Life of Passwords - NYTimes.com

A fascinating look at how the humble password gets imbued with incredible levels of meaning.

It reminds me of something I heard Ze Frank say last year: “People fill up the cracks with intimacy.”

The Spirit of Flickr and the Problem of Intent - mor10.com

This is a superbly-written, empathetic, nuanced look at the issues around Creative Commons licensing, particularly the danger of inferring a “spirit” in a legal agreement.

“Spirit” as it’s being used in this conversation is a relative term. You have the spirit of the user, the spirit of the license, the spirit of the community, the spirit of the service, and the spirit of the law. All these can align and all these can diverge and that’s OK. It is also the reason we have a legal system that sets clear parameters for how things can be interpreted: Spirit is relative, legal decisions and documents are not (at least in theory). The whole idea of a legal contract (under which we can find CC licenses) is that there is no room for interpretation. The meaning of the document is singular, unambiguous, and not up for debate. Of course this is purely theoretical, but that’s the idea anyway.

The problem arises when the spirit – or intent – of the user when applying a license differs from the actual legal interpretation of that same license.

Flickr Users Are Wrong by Tom Lee

The title is harsh, but this is a good summation of the issues involved in choosing a Creative Commons licence.

Open licensing is about giving up control so that other people can benefit. That’s all it will cost you: control. Having control feels nice. But you should ask yourself what it really gets you. And you should think about what others might gain if you were able to let go.

Think carefully and decide what you need. No one is going to make you tick that Creative Commons box. But when you do, it’s a promise.

The New Yandex.Browser. Alpha version

A concept browser from Yandex that takes an interesting approach to URLs: on the one hand, hiding them …but then putting them front and centre.

But the main focus of this concept browser is to blur the line between browser chrome and the website it’s displaying.

Alien | Typeset In The Future

Typeset In The Future is back with another cracking analysis. This time—following on from 2001 and Moon—we’ve got Alien.

In her final recorded message before hypersleep, Ripley notes that she is the sole survivor of the Nostromo. What she forgets to mention is that she has not once in the past two hours encountered any Eurostile Bold Extended.

Bruce Lawson’s personal site  : On the accessibility of web components. Again.

I completely share Bruce’s concern about the year-zero thinking that’s accompanying a lot of the web components marketing:

Snarking aside, why do so few people talk about extending existing HTML elements with web components? Why’s all the talk about brand new custom elements? I don’t know.

Hear, hear!

I’m a fan of web components. But I’m increasingly worried about the messaging surrounding them.

On File Formats, Very Briefly, by Paul Ford · The Manual

A history lesson and a love letter to the early web, taking in HTML, Photoshop, and the web standards movement.

Those were long years, the years of drop-shadows. Everything was jumping just slightly off the screen. For a stretch it seemed that drop-shadows and thin vertical columns of text would define the web. That was before we learned that the web is really a medium to display slideshows, as many slideshows as possible, with banner ads.

as days pass by — Enabling Webmentions

Stuart has implemented webmentions on his site, which is great. It’s also fitting, as he is the inventor of pingback (of which webmention is a simpler reformulation).

Beautiful web type — the best typefaces from the Google web fonts directory

Many of the free fonts available from Google are pretty bad, but this site showcases how some of them can be used to great effect.

WebP via picture

This strikes me as an eminently sensible idea by Emil: using the picture element to begin providing WebP alternatives to JPG.

Of course, picture-supporting browsers will have to adjust their decision-making algorithm to support this pattern.

Oh, Jeremy, you silly billy. It turns out that this works right out of the box. Nice!

Wanderers - a short film by Erik Wernquist on Vimeo

A vision of humanity’s exploration of our solar system.

RadioISS: Listening to Earth from Space

A lovely little science hack: listen to whatever radio station is broadcasting below the position of the International Space Station.

Lunar Missions Ltd

We’re going back to the moon. With a robot. So we can take sublunarean samples.

You can help fund it on Kickstarter.

Software as Language, as Object, as Art — Blog of the Long Now

Language death and digital preservation.

Forgotify — Discover a previously unheard Spotify track

4 million songs on Spotify have never been played. Not even once. Let’s change that.

Silicon Valley Job Title Generator

This could come in useful for updating the Clearleft website.

Accessibility of Web Components

A great presentation on web components by Marcy, with an emphasis on keeping them accessible.

On HTML5 and the Group That Rules the Web

Paul Ford’s potted history of web standards, delivered in his own inimitable style.

Reading through the standards, which are dry as can be, you might imagine that standardization is a polite, almost academic process, where wonks calmly debate topics like semicolon placement. This is not the case.

Did Google Shutdown ___________ Yet?

A deathwatch for Google products.

See also Charles Arthur’s historical data on Google shutdowns.

Enabling Webmentions in Jekyll, From the Notebook of Aaron Gustafson

Aaron documents the process of adding webmention support to a static site. He came with an ingenious three-tiered approach:

It’s been a pretty fun mini-project. In the end, I created a useful bit of kit that provides three distinct experiences:

  1. Static webmentions collected when the site was generated form the baseline experience;
  2. JavaScript-enabled browsers get any webmentions that were published since I last generated the site; and
  3. JavaScript-enabled browsers with WebSockets support get real-time updates with any webmentions that are published after the page loads.

Perf.Rocks

A collection of performance resources: articles, tools, talks, and books.

Steve Albini on the surprisingly sturdy state of the music industry

Steve Albini’s barnstorming keynote address at Melbourne’s Face the Music conference.

Performance Budget Metrics - TimKadlec.com

Some good practical advice from Tim on setting a performance budget.

Use rule-based metrics to make sure you haven’t overlooked simple optimizations.

Use quantity-based metrics as guides to help designers and developers make better decisions about what goes onto a page.

HTML5’s “Dirty Little Secret”: It’s Already Everywhere, Even In Mobile - ReadWrite

I’m an advocate for progressive enhancement. Tom Dale is not. But even though we may disagree on that, there’s a lot to like in his sensible, balanced answers to some sensationalist linkbaity questions.

It’s not that the pace of innovation on the Web is slower, it’s just solving a problem that is an order of magnitude more challenging than how to build and distribute trusted apps for a single platform. As we saw on the desktop, it may take a few years to catch up to all of the capabilities of a native, proprietary platform, but in terms of the impact it will have on humanity, forgive me for not losing sleep if we have to wait a few years for it to arrive.

What Do We Own?, From the Notebook of Aaron Gustafson

Aaron raises a point that I’ve discussed before in regards to the indie web (and indeed, the web in general): we don’t buy domain names; we rent them.

It strikes me that all the good things about the web are decentralised (one-way linking, no central authority required to add a node), but all the sticking points are centralised: ICANN, DNS.

Aaron also points out that we are beholden to our hosting companies, although—having moved hosts a number of times myself—that’s an issue that DNS (and URLs in general) helps alleviate. And there’s now some interesting work going on in literally owning your own website: a web server in the home.

Mobile Last?

This isn’t a scientific data sample, but Jonathan’s anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that most web designers and developers are still thinking with a desktop-first mentality. Which is crazy.

Style Guide Resources

A very handy collection from Anna: articles, books, talks, podcasts, and examples of front-end style guides. If something’s missing, feel free to add it.

HUB Interviews - Jeremy Keith on Huffduffer

Here’s a fun little interview I did recently, mostly about work stuff. It’s available for your huffduffing pleasure.

One thing that really bothers me is the way I repeatedly said “guys” to refer to my colleagues at Clearleft. I must stop doing that.

Thanks to Microsoft, Opera just got 100M potential new mobile browser users

I mentioned this a little while back, but it’s worth remembering just how many people are using Opera Mini …and how many more are about to join them.

Bring it on!

Space sector magazine: space:uk

The UK Space Agency has a magazine called “space:uk” and you can download PDFs of back issues.

RWD BLOAT // Speaker Deck

Dave’s great slides from a presentation on performance and responsive design.

You’re So Smart You Turned JavaScript into XHTML

Web developers overwhelmingly rejected the draconian error-handing of XML …and yet today, web developers are embracing that very same error-handling model by rendering everything with JavaScript.

I don’t think it’s the way of the web to have your site fail and show a blank screen because some third-party dependency doesn’t load, JavaScript is turned off or because your developer left a trailing comma in a JavaScript object and didn’t test in Internet Explorer.

Living on the Electromagnetic Border

Continuous partial City And The City, courtesy of James.

Those of us who reside on the “right” side of fixed, physical borders seem to cross the electromagnetic border every day, whether overtly, by entering the right passwords and credit card numbers, or covertly, as when using VPNs to watch TV programs viewable only in other territories. Those on the “wrong” side are subjected to a different but analogous battery of tests, intensifying at the physical border but often carried out far from it, in networked enclaves or foreign transit zones or aboard floating teleconference platforms in international waters.

Rosetta - an album on Flickr

We can expect even more stunning images like these from Rosetta soon.

Mailbox and Facebook App Links by Jon Smajda

When your email client pre-fetches capability URLs, you’re going to have a bad time.

As we may understand: A constructionist approach to ‘behaviour change’ and the Internet of Things by Dan Lockton

An epic braindump by Dan, covering connected devices, product design, co-creation, DIY, and knopening stuff up. That’s right: knopening.

Knopen, a fairly obvious portmanteau of know and open, can be a verb (to knopen something) or an adjective (e.g. a knopen tool).

The Web Is Read/Write

The transcript of Owen’s talk at The Web Is. It’s a wonderful, thoughtful meditation on writing, web design, and long-term thinking.

One of the promises of the web is to act as a record, a repository for everything we put there. Yet the web forgets constantly, despite that somewhat empty promise of digital preservation: articles and data are sacrificed to expediency, profit and apathy; online attention, acknowledgement and interest wax and wane in days, hours even.

The Nor: A Paranoid Cartography

James walks the site of London’s old wall, documenting the instruments of London’s new wall.

He wrote about his experience in “All Cameras Are Police Cameras.” It is a history lesson, a present lesson, and a future lesson, all in one.

Web Standards for the Future on Vimeo

A cute videolette on web standards.

Overwhelmed by Code · An A List Apart Blog Post

Focus on what you want to learn; not what you think you should learn.

There is a lot of pressure out there: to learn new things, to spend all your time coding, to be the super developer. I now believe that to be impossible and unhealthy. It means you aren’t living a balanced life and it also means that you’re living under constant stress and pressure.

Free My Data | Download and archive social media data

A nice little collection from Erin and Ben: how to export your data from various services.

I should fork this on Github and add instructions for exporting your Huffduffer data.

Responsive Images in Practice · An A List Apart Article

A great primer on using srcset and picture. I think I’ll be referring back to this a lot.

7 Principles of Rich Web Applications

High-level design principles for JavaScript on the web.

The Web Is Made of Links // Speaker Deck

Looks like Phil’s talk at The Web Is in Cardiff was terrific.

ARIA Quicktip: Labelledby vs. Describedby, From the Notebook of Aaron Gustafson

Yesterday, Aaron gave a great talk at BD Conf about forms. In one example, he was using aria-describedby. I was a bit confused by the differences between aria-describedby and aria-labelledby, so Aaron has very helpfully clarified the distinction.

The Internet’s First Family in Hazlitt Magazine

A heartwarming profile of Metafilter.

Reward my actions, please? by Christian Heilmann

A modest proposal: respect.

Icy rocks around Saturn on Flickr

Rhea and Titan, as seen by Cassini.

Icy rocks around Saturn

The Netflix Tech Blog: Message Security Layer: A Modern Take on Securing Communication

Netflix are going full 927 on TLS.

This is a terrible idea.

Spotlight – a pure JavaScript application for GOV.UK Performance

Progressive enhancement with isomorphic JavaScript, as practiced at Government Digital Services.

The Online Memory

This fracturing of context is, I suspect, peculiar to these early decades of online writing. It’s possible that, in the future, webmentions and the like may heal that up to some extent. But everything from the 90s to today is going to remain mostly broken in that respect. Most of what we said and did had ephemerality long before apps started selling us ephemeral nature as a positive advertising point. Possibly no other generation threw so many words at such velocity into a deep dark well of ghosts.

The Many Faces Of… Sigourney Weaver

Queen of science fiction.

Stop Breaking the Web

Angry, but true.

Don’t lock yourself into a comprehensive technology that may just die within the next few months and leave you stranded. With progressive enhancement you’ll never go wrong. Progressive enhancement means your code will always work, because you’ll always focus on providing a minimal experience first, and then adding features, functionality, and behavior on top of the content.

99 Cent: A Look at the Widespread Confusion Over a Photo Gursky DIDN’T Shoot

A fascinating tale of mistaken identity with one of Lyza’s photos.

Hitler reacts to the HTML5 URL normative reference controversy

This is hilarious …for about two dozen people.

For everyone else, it’s as opaque as the rest of the standardisation process.

How URL started as UDI — a brief conversation with @timberners_lee @W3C #TPAC - Tantek

Tantek shares a fascinating history lesson from Tim Berners-Lee on how the IETF had him change his original nomenclature of UDI—Universal Document Identifier—to what we now use today: URL—Uniform Resource Locator.

Google Embraces Progressive Enhancement, from the notebook of Aaron Gustafson

I don’t tend to be a “magic pill” kind of believer, but I can honestly say that embracing progressive enhancement can radically change your business for the better. And I’m glad to see Google agrees with me.

The ride to 5 | HTML5 Doctor

HTML5 is now a W3C recommendation. Here’s what a bunch of people—myself included—have to say about that.

Beautiful Maps

Cartography porn.

Cursors

A self-describing list of cursors available through CSS.

Official Google Webmaster Central Blog: Updating our technical Webmaster Guidelines

Google has updated its advice to people making websites, who might want to have those sites indexed by Google. There are two simple bits of advice: optimise for performance, and use progressive enhancement.

Just like modern browsers, our rendering engine might not support all of the technologies a page uses. Make sure your web design adheres to the principles of progressive enhancement as this helps our systems (and a wider range of browsers) see usable content and basic functionality when certain web design features are not yet supported.

Code for America — Responsive Web Design on Huffduffer

This was a fun podcast—myself and Cyd from Code For America talk to Karen and Ethan about how we worked together. Good times.

The audio is available for your huffduffing pleasure.

Ignite Bristol 07 - Dan Williams - Walt Disney World - YouTube

I’m at Disney World for a special edition of An Event Apart, so this lightning talk from Dan Williams seems appropriate to revisit.

“Alan Bean Plus Four”

A warm-hearted short story about a moonshot. By Tom Hanks.

JS Bin: Vertical centering is impossible in CSS lol!

Four different techniques for vertical centring in CSS, courtesy of Jake.

Is Facebook building a colonial web? by Alice Newton

internet.org might more accurately be called very-small-piece-of-internet.org

Marcel The Shell With Shoes On, Three - YouTube

Do you want to know what the truth is about shrimps? They’re the idiots of the sea! One time I saw a shrimp just swim right into a rock.

Axiomatic CSS and Lobotomized Owls · An A List Apart Article

I’m quite intrigued by the thinking behind this CSS selector of Heydon’s.

* + * {
    margin-top: 1.5em;
}

I should try it out and see how it feels.

Carrot

It Just Works.®™

Baby Steps - Petra Gregorová

Petra has always been the strong one. She was the best friend that Chloe could have possibly had. Little wonder then that Chloe’s death continues to hit her so hard.

I still can’t fully comprehend it all nor do I have any idea how to learn to move on. All I know is that ever since the day I found out, I’ve been on an emotional rollercoaster. I go from being in shock, to being sad and angry, or completely numb.

Petra is getting help now. That’s good. She’s also writing about what she has been going through. That’s brave. Very brave.

She is one of the best human beings I know.

What is still on the web after 10 years of archiving? - UK Web Archive blog

The short answer: not much.

The UK Web Archive at The British Library outlines its process for determining just how bad the linkrot is after just one decade.

Replacing Radio Buttons Without Replacing Radio Buttons

A great technique from Heydon for styling radio buttons however you want.

Patty Toland — Design Consistency For The Responsive Web (Smashing Conference Freiburg 2014) on Vimeo

Patty’s excellent talk on responsive design and progressive enhancement. Stick around for question-and-answer session at the end, wherein I attempt to play hardball, but actually can’t conceal my admiration and the fact that I agree with every single word she said.

Petition · WHO: End the suffering of the Ebola crisis. Test and distribute homeopathy as quickly as possible to contain the outbreaks. · Change.org

Over 3,000 idiots and counting.

This is the intersection of Hanlon’s Razor with Clarke’s third law: any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice.

This would be funny if it weren’t, in a very literal sense, evil.

The Elon Musk interview on Mars colonisation – Ross Andersen – Aeon

Elon Musk talks engineering, the Fermi paradox, and getting your ass to Mars.

as days pass by — The next big thing is privacy

Stuart has written some wise words about making privacy the differentiator that can take on Facebook and Google.

He also talks about Aral’s ind.ie project; all the things they’re doing right, and all things they could do better:

The ind.ie project is to open source as Brewdog are to CAMRA.

Solved By Flexbox — Cleaner, hack-free CSS

Documenting common layout issues that can be solved with Flexbox. I like the fact that some of these can be used as enhancements e.g. sticky footer, input add-ons …the fallback in older browsers is perfectly acceptable.

ysltf on Huffduffer

Sam Greenspan from the brilliant 99% Invisible podcast has created a Huffduffer feed based on his “You Should Listen To Friday” Tumblr blog.

If you have a Huffduffer account, add this to your collective.

And definitely subscribe to this RSS feed in your podcast app of choice.

Ariel Waldman Talks About Science Hack Day: Triangulation 120 - YouTube

This is a great summation of the origins of Science Hack Day from Ariel.

Science Hack Day San Francisco 2014 Demos - YouTube

All the marvellous hacks from Science Hack Day San Francisco being demoed at the end of the event.

Mine is the first one up, five minutes in.

The boring front-end developer - Adam Silver, Front end developer, based in London

My name is Jeremy and I am a boring front-end developer.