An acquisition, or an aqui-hire, is always a failure. Either the founders failed to achieve their goal, or – far likelier – they failed to dream big enough. The proper ambition for a tech entrepreneur should be to join the ranks of the great tech companies, or, at least, to create a profitable, independent company beloved by employees, customers, and shareholders.
Ben proposes an alternative to archive.org: changing the fundamental nature of DNS.
Regarding the boo-hooing of how hard companies have it maintaining unprofitable URLs, I think Ben hasn’t considered the possibility of a handover to a cooperative of users—something that might yet happen with MySpace (at least there’s a campaign to that effect; it will probably come to naught). As Ben rightly points on, domain names are leased, not bought, so the idea of handing them over to better caretakers isn’t that crazy.
A fascinating look at the history of cookies …from the inventor of cookies.
The litany of open standards that Google has been abandoning: RSS, XMPP, WebDav…
A nice description of progressive enhancement by Norm, as applied at GDS.
A handy walkthrough of using icon fonts. The examples here use the excellent IcoMoon service
Joking aside, this is a useful resource for keeping track of the current spread of Android versions.
A fascinating analysis of a super-cheap phone from another world.
Welcome to the Galapagos of Chinese “open” source. I call it “gongkai” (公开). Gongkai is the transliteration of “open” as applied to “open source”. I feel it deserves a term of its own, as the phenomenon has grown beyond the so-called “shanzhai” (山寨) and is becoming a self-sustaining innovation ecosystem of its own.
Just as the Galapagos Islands is a unique biological ecosystem evolved in the absence of continental species, gongkai is a unique innovation ecosystem evolved with little western influence, thanks to political, language, and cultural isolation.
This time Brighton’s superb Maker Faire will span two days: the two days right after dConstruct.
This is going to be one helluva weekend.
This is a breath of fresh air: a blogging platform that promises to keep its URLs online in perpetuity.
Yes! Yes! YES!
Tom is spot-on here: you shouldn’t be afraid of writing about yourself …especially not for fear of damaging some kind of “personal brand” or pissing off some potential future employer.
If your personal brand demands that you live your life in fear of disclosing important parts of your life or your experience, the answer is to reject the whole sodding concept of personal brands.
Do things I write about my personal life threaten my personal brand? Perhaps. Are there people who wouldn’t hire me based on things I write? Probably. Do I give even a whiff of a fuck? Absolutely not. I wouldn’t want to work for them anyway.
Fascinating fodder for Huffduffer:
Beginning in 1996, Radio Diaries gave tape recorders to teenagers around the country to create audio diaries about their lives. NPR’s All Things Considered aired intimate portraits of five of these teens: Amanda, Juan, Frankie, Josh and Melissa. They’re now in their 30s. Over this past year, the same group has been recording new stories about where life has led them for our series, Teenage Diaries Revisited.
Perhaps we are fetishising physical things because our digital creations are social media junk food:
It’s easy to fetishize Brutalist buildings when you don’t have to live in them. On the other hand, when the same Brutalist style is translated into the digital spaces we daily inhabit, it becomes a source of endless whinging. Facebook, for example, is Brutalist social media. It reproduces much the same relationship with its users as the Riis Houses and their ilk do with their residents: focusing on control and integration into the high-level planning scheme rather than individual life and the “ballet of a good blog comment thread”, to paraphrase Jane Jacobs.
I’m in general agreement with this rousing defence of CSS. I think it does a pretty great job of balancing a whole ton of use cases.
Josh has been teaching HTML and CSS schoolkids. I love the pages that they’ve made. I really mean it. I genuinely think these are wonderful!
Zooniverse have done it again. Now you can help in the hunt for sources of gravitational lensing.
It’s informative. It’s fun. It has genuine scientific value.
Some good thinking from Jason here. In a roundabout way, he’s saying that when it comes to responsive images—as with just about every other aspect of web development—the answer is …it depends.
In a piece for Medium commissioned by Matter, Jon Norris describes a little-known aspect of the UK’s information technology history:
Gender equality is still a major issue in the technology industry, but 50 years ago one British company was blazing trails.
I’ll be speaking at this event in London on Thursday. It would be lovely if you could come along. It’s free!
Wow! The CSS Zen Garden is a decade old. Crazy! It’s a true piece of web history …and it’s back!
Scott points out a really big problem with the current state of the “internet of things”: everyone is inventing their own proprietary walled-garden infrastructure instead of getting together to collaborate on standards.
The single biggest fallacy I want to blow up is this utopian idea that there is this SINGLE thing called ‘The Cloud’. Each company today reinvents their own cloud. The Cloud as a concept is dead and has been for years: we are living within a stormy sky of cranky clouds, all trying to pretend the others don’t exist.
A really nice short film about the Willie Clancy Summer School. It makes me want to get back to Miltown Malbay this July.
This looks like it could be a handy app for synchronising a whole bunch of devices when testing. I’ll have to give it a whirl on the device lab.
Also, it has a perfectly fair one-off price, rather than the Mafia-style protection fee model that Adobe uses for Edge Inspect.
A look at how Huffduffer-style forms might improve “conversion”.
Whatever. Let’s face it: it’s just quite nice when a form isn’t just your typical form (which this article makes a good point of mentioning):
Where the traditional sign up form is a regular, everyday brown cow, the mad lib form is a purple cow - a shiny object. We’re naturally easily distracted by, and drawn to, what’s new or out of the ordinary! Take advantage of that.
Aw, my l’il ol’ book is three years old!
To celebrate, you can get 15% off any title from A Book Apart with this discount code for the next few days: HAPPY3RD.
A history lesson from Vint Cerf. I can’t help but picture him as The Architect in The Matrix Reloaded.
When Tim Berners-Lee invented and released the World Wide Web (WWW) design in late 1991, he found an open and receptive internet in operation onto which the WWW could be placed. The WWW design, like the design of the internet, was very open and encouraged a growing cadre of self-taught webmasters to develop content and applications.
Mark writes about his work with CERN to help restore the first website to its original URL.
I have two young children and I want them to experience the early web and understand how it came to be. To understand that the early web wasn’t that rudimentary but incredibly advanced in many ways.
A long-zoom data visualisation.
Some thoughts (and code) on responsive images.
Just as every instance of “the cloud” can be replaced with “the moon” or “my butt”, so too can every instance of the word “markets” in business reporting be replaced with the word “dragons”.
James has got you covered with this bookmarklet to do just that.
The dragons reacted strongly to the news.
A design fiction video depicting technology that helps and hinders in equal measure.
The accidental beauty in Google’s autosuggest algorithm.
A beautiful short film on the amazing work being done at the Internet Archive, produced on the occasion of their 10 petabyte celebration.
These are mostly just mean …but kinda funny.
Job postings that only use male pronouns.
See, this is why using “they”, while technically incorrect, can often be the least worst option.
A profile in The Guardian of the Internet Archive and my hero, Brewster Kahle (who also pops up in the comments).
A cute little read-only Twitter client from James that only displays fully-formed tweets: no hashtags, no @-replies.
If, like me, you’ve been using the “export to SVG” plugin for Fireworks and then opening up the resultant file to trim it down, Josh has got you covered: here’s a version of “export to SVG” that will result in much slimmer files.
A beautiful piece by James on the history of light as a material for communication …and its political overtones in today’s world.
What is light when it is information rather than illumination? What is it when it is not perceived by the human eye? Deep beneath the streets and oceans, what is illuminated by the machines, and how are we changed by this illumination?
A terrific piece by Remy—based on a talk he gave—on when he uses jQuery and, more importantly, when he doesn’t. His experiences and conclusions pretty much mirror my own, but of course Remy is far more thoughtful and smart than I.
Really good stuff.
Heartbreaking and angry-making.
I concur with Ryan’s findings:
The best way to get better at what you do is to teach others how to do it, too.
These seem just about as reasonable as any other CAPTCHA.
The news is finally public: Bobbie’s Matter has been bought my Ev’s Medium. Fingers crossed that they don’t fuck it up.
Want to style those new HTML5 input types? I hope you like vendor prefixes.
A lovely description by Paul Ford of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol.
That simple handshake is the firmament upon which we have built trillion-dollar cathedrals and bazaars, the base upon which we construct other protocols and networks.
A lovely piece of writing from Richard on the nature of the web.
Jon gives some insight into how and why we use pattern portfolios as deliverables at Clearleft.
Trent hammers home the point that the kind of compartmentalisation that’s traditionally been part and parcel of the web dev workflow just won’t cut it anymore.
Keep it under your hat, but Paul has soft-launch his Project Portillo. And very nice it is too.
A good history lesson in rendering engines: KHTML, WebKit, and now, Blink.
Yes, yes, yes!
This is wonderful stuff! I’m a big fan of the
datalist element but I hadn’t realised how it could be combined with
input types like
These are like chindogu, but they’re all available from Amazon with accompanying reviews.
Dave talks about the kind of deliverables that get handed over in a responsive project. Sounds a lot like what we do at Clearleft.
Responsive deliverables should look a lot like fully-functioning Twitter Bootstrap-style systems custom tailored for your clients’ needs.
The story of one site’s disgraceful handling of acquisition and shutdown (Punchfork, acquired by Pinterest) and how its owner actively tried to block efforts to preserve user’s data.
Armchair travelling to Ballardian locations.
Documenting history through photography.
Celebrating 125 years of National Geographic, this Tumblr blog is a curated collection of photography from the archives. Many of the pictures are being published for the first time.
A really great interview with Nick Bostrom about humanity’s long-term future and the odds of extinction.
Who knew? The reissue of the classic thirteen-part Star Wars radio series was the first appearance of a proto-Proxima Nova.
Sorta sci-fi from Adam.
Consider this a shooting script for one of those concept videos so beloved of the big technology vendors.
It’s a big ask, but if you can action these ten tips from Anil, your startup will crush it.
A collection of those appalling doublespeek announcements that sites and services give when they get acquired. You know the ones: they begin with “We’re excited to announce…” and end with people’s data being flushed down the toilet.
Charles Arthur analyses the data from Google’s woeful history of shutting down its services.
So if you want to know when Google Keep, opened for business on 21 March 2013, will probably shut - again, assuming Google decides it’s just not working - then, the mean suggests the answer is: 18 March 2017. That’s about long enough for you to cram lots of information that you might rely on into it; and also long enough for Google to discover that, well, people aren’t using it to the extent that it hoped.
Don’t let James Bridle get a hold of this.
Kyle’s new site is looking lovely and responsive (thanks to Josh). But mostly it just gets out of the way so you can take in his truly amazing work.
Prepare to lose yourself for hours as you keep hitting “take me somewhere else” through these most bizarre and wonderful Google street view locations.
A lovely way of demonstrating the differences between map projections. Drag for extra fun.
I think it’s a bit of a shame that Brett is canning his mobile-first device-detection library, but I totally understand (and agree with) his reasons.
There is a consensual hallucination in the market, that we can silo devices into set categories like mobile, tablet, and desktop, yet the reality is drawing these lines in the sand is not an easy task.
This powerful timeline illustrates how drone attacks have increased dramatically under Obama’s administration.
I can empathise with Scott’s worries about fragmentation on the front-end with Saas, Styles, LESS, Compass, yada, yada, yada.
I want to share my code with everyone who writes CSS, not a subset of that group.
Want a Science Hack Day where you live? Make it so!
I find it hard to agree with any part of this. To me, it shows a deep misunderstanding of the web—treating the web as just another platform, without understanding what makes it so special.
I think I may have found my polar opposite.
The hilarious obsession with file size is the start of my frustrations with the web community.
Good writing. Good design. Good food.
I’m going to miss having Harry around at Clearleft. Sounds like he might miss Clearleft too:
What I’ve loved about Clearleft is that it’s just so different to any other agency I’ve worked at. There’s no company process – everyone’s encouraged to experiment and try different techniques to suit the client’s needs. There’s hardly any internal meetings. I’ve never once had a conversation about my billing efficiency. The focus is on quality, and profitability is almost seen as a by-product. You’re encouraged to share your learnings externally rather than keep them in-house. Everyone’s trusted and given a lot of independence.
A truly fascinating and well-written article on how changes are afoot in the worlds of psychology, economics, and just about any other field that has performed tests on American participants and extrapolated the results into universal traits.
Given the data, they concluded that social scientists could not possibly have picked a worse population from which to draw broad generalizations. Researchers had been doing the equivalent of studying penguins while believing that they were learning insights applicable to all birds.
Oh, Jesus Christ!
Timoni tackles the tricky topic of teaching taps.
Discoverability can be hard, but that shouldn’t stop us trying out new interactions.
A sweet, beautiful love letter to design, from Oliver.
I like these design principles for server-side and client-side frameworks. I would say that they’re common sense but looking at many popular frameworks, this sense isn’t as common as it should be.
I agree with David: most pre-rolled grid “solutions” are way too complicated. And in any case, applying a pre-existing grid framework for a new project seems kind of like applying a pre-existing colour palette.
As David points out, it really needn’t be so complicated.
A wonderful rallying cry from Drew.
Ever since the halcyon days of Web 2.0, we’ve been netting our butterflies and pinning them to someone else’s board.
Hope that what you’ve created never has to die. Make sure that if something has to die, it’s you that makes that decision. Own your own data, friends, and keep it safe.
In case you missed it earlier…
Jeff Noon and Markov chains—a heavenly match by Dan.
Brent Simmons pens a love-letter to RSS, a technology that you use every day, whether you realise it or not.
David gets physidigital.
Tantek steps back and offers some practical approaches to reclaiming a more open web from the increasingly tight clutches of the big dominant roach motels.
Notice that he wrote this on his own domain, not on Branch, Medium, Google+, Facebook, or any other black hole.
A really lovely piece on the repositories of information that aren’t catalogued—a fourth quadrant in the Rumsfeldian taxonomy, these dark archives are the unknown knowns.
A handy one-stop-shop for tips on improving front-end performance.
Science Fiction Film as Design Scenario Exercise for Psychological Habitability: Production Designs 1955-2009
A white paper that looks to sci-fi films as potential prototypes for habitats for humans in space, with an emphasis on dealing with the psychological issues involved.
A well-reasoned and excellently hyperlinked piece from Timo pushing back against the calls for “invisible” design.
To be fair, I’ve only ever heard the “no UI” argument in the context of “sometimes the best UI is no UI at all.”
Still, this is a great explanation of why “seamlessness” in design is by no means a desirable attribute.
A handy step-by-step guide to all the ways you can use CSS for layout.
This issue of A List Apart is a great double-whammy. Lara Swanson has a ton of practical tips for front-end performance enhancements, and Brian dives deep into making your own icon fonts.
An excellent explanation from Tom Loosemore on why the Government Digital Service is putting its energy into open standards and the web, rather than proprietary native apps.