Tags: book

Building Web Apps for Everyone - O’Reilly Media

Here’s a fantastic and free little book by Adam Scott. It’s nice and short, covering progressive enhancement, universal JavaScript, accessibility, and inclusive forms.

Download it now and watch this space for more titles around building inclusive web apps, collaboration, and maintaining privacy and security.

Did I mention that it’s free?

The inside story of Facebook’s biggest setback | Rahul Bhatia | Technology | The Guardian

The history of Facebook’s attempt to steamroll over net neutrality in India …and how they failed in that attempt, thanks to a grassroots campaign.

Crucially, Facebook itself would decide which sites were included on the platform. The company had positioned Internet.org as a philanthropic endeavour — backed by Zuckerberg’s lofty pronouncements that “connectivity is a human right” — but retained total control of the platform.

Bots | A Working Library

Absolutely brilliant stuff from Mandy (again). A long hard at today’s tech industry’s narrow approach to bots and artificial intelligence compared to some far more interesting and imaginative approaches in fiction:

  • Ann Leckie’s superb Imperial Radch series,
  • Kim Stanley Robinson’s Aurora, and
  • Alex Garland’s Ex Machina.

So in addition to frightening ramifications for privacy and information discovery, they also reinforce gendered stereotypes about women as servants. The neutral politeness that infects them all furthers that convention: women should be utilitarian, performing their duties on command without fuss or flourish. This is a vile, harmful, and dreadfully boring fantasy; not the least because there is so much extraordinary art around AI that both deconstructs and subverts these stereotypes. It takes a massive failure of imagination to commit yourself to building an artificial intelligence and then name it “Amy.”

Node: Up and Running

One of these days I’m going to step outside of my PHP comfort zone and actually build something in Node. One of these days. When I do, this book looks like a good place to start (and the online version is free).

Building a Device Lab

The book by Destiny Montague and Lara Hogan is online for free with a Creative Commons licence:

Learn to build a device lab with advice on purchasing, power solutions, and much more in this handy pocket guide.

Future Simple Steps - where to find your favourite ex-Five Simple Steps authors and their books

Now that Five Simple Steps has closed down, the individual authors are in charge of distributing their own books. This site links to all of those books.

Don’t Forget The Web

Here’s the video of the talk I gave at Facebook’s Mobile @Scale event where I was the token web guy. The talk is pretty short but there’s some fun Q&A afterwards.

Angola’s Wikipedia Pirates Are Exposing the Problems With Digital Colonialism | Motherboard

The street finds its own uses for colonial internet practices:

Because the data is completely free, Angolans are hiding large files in Wikipedia articles on the Portuguese Wikipedia site (Angola is a former Portuguese colony)—sometimes concealing movies in JPEG or PDF files. They’re then using a Facebook group to direct people to those files, creating a robust, completely free file sharing network.

Julie Rubicon

The act of linking to this story is making it true.

“I don’t think there’s any law against this,” I said. How could there be a law against something that’s not possible?

ECSS

Enduring CSS (not int the sense of “put up with” but in the sense of “long-lasting”) is a new book by Ben Frain all about writing and maintaining modular reusable CSS.

You can read the whole thing for free online or buy an eBook.

English as she is spoke

This is truly a book apart.

@SCALE London

I’m speaking at this event at Facebook in London on St. Patrick’s Day. I’ll be there representing the web.

It’s free to attend, but you need to request an invitation.

How To Write Telegrams Properly by Nelson E. Ross

A delightful and informative booklet from 1928.

Follow the links | A Working Library

The ability to follow links down and around and through an idea, landing hours later on some random Wikipedia page about fungi you cannot recall how you discovered, is one of the great modes of the web. It is, I’ll go so far to propose, one of the great modes of human thinking.

The Facebook-Loving Farmers of Myanmar - The Atlantic

A fascinating slice of ethnographic research in Myanmar by Craig. There’s no mention of the web, which is certainly alarming, but then again, that’s not the focus of the research.

Interestingly, while Facebook is all omnipresent and dominant, nobody is using it the way that Facebook wants: all the accounts are basically “fake”.

What I found fascinating are the ways that people have found to bypass app stores. They’re basically being treated as damage and routed ‘round. So while native apps are universal, app stores would appear to be a first world problem.

Now if there were only some kind of universally accessible distribution channel that didn’t require any kind of installation step …hmmm.

getify/You-Dont-Know-JS

Graham—whose opinion I trust completely—has been raving about these books. And Kyle Simpson is a super-smart guy. So I reckon I should make these JavaScript tomes my holiday reading.

Translating Gender: Ancillary Justice in Five Languages Alex Dally MacFarlane | Interfictions Online

A fascinating look into the challenges encountered translating Anne Leckie’s excellent Radchaai novels into Bulgarian, German, Hebrew, Japanese, and Hungarian.

What is clear in all of these responses is that by examining the notions of ‘neutral’ and ‘feminine’ in grammar and gender through the lens of translation, we reveal their complexity – and some of their possible futures in languages, in both literature and speech.

Present!

This looks like being a very handy book on public speaking. I’m going to order a copy for the Clearleft office. I’ll let you know what it’s like.

Cosmos: The infographic book of space

This looks a great book of space-related infographics and data visualisation.

Best of all, there are truly interactive versions online.

Building a device lab | Five Simple Steps

Lara and her colleague Destiny Montague have published a ridiculously useful handbook on setting up a device lab. For such a small book, it’s surprisingly packed with information.

Rise of the meta-platforms and the new ‘web browser’ - Tales of a Developer Advocate

Paul compares publishing on the web to publish on proprietary platforms, and concludes that things aren’t looking great right now.

Performance is the number one selling point for each of these new content platforms.

How To Organise Your Library

John expands on just one part of his superbly dense and entertaining dConstruct talk.

Designing for Performance by Lara Callender Hogan

Lara’s fantastic book is now available online in HTML for free. Have a read and then order a copy of the print book for your library.

INTERNET IMAGES ^ 10

This is just wonderful: Powers Of Ten recreated using images from the internet. Also available as a flip book!

Read more about it or watch the video.

The Internet That Was (and Still Could Be) - The Atlantic

A fantastic piece by David Weinberger on the changing uses of the internet—apparently in contradiction of the internet’s original architecture.

Some folks invented the Internet for some set of purposes. They gave it a name, pointed to some prototypical examples—sharing scientific papers and engaging in email about them—shaping the way the early adopters domesticated it.

But over time, the Internet escaped from its creators’ intentions. It became a way to communicate person-to-person via email and many-to-many via Usenet. The web came along and the prototypical example became home pages. Social networking came along and the prototype became Facebook.

tota11y – an a11y visualization toolkit

A handy little bookmarklet for doing some quick accessibility checks.

Web Typography – a handbook by Richard Rutter — Kickstarter

You’ll want to back this—you’ll want to back the hell out of this!

Progressive Apps: Escaping Tabs Without Losing Our Soul – Infrequently Noted

I really like Alex’s framing of best-of-breed progressively enhanced websites as “progressive apps” (although Bruce has some other ideas about the naming).

It’s a shame that the add-to-homescreen part isn’t standardised yet though.

Russell Davies: Unbooked: How to live mindfully in a literate world

The many benefits of an analogue detox. There’s neuroscience and everything.

It’s so important that we take the time to connect and switch on.

Seveneves

The next Neal Stephenson book sounds like it’s going to be great.

Future Library – Framtidsbiblioteket

Here’s a lovely project with an eye on the Long Now. Trees that were planted last year will be used to make paper to print an anthology in 2114.

Margaret Atwood is one of the contributors.

Talking design

Mariana Mota is writing a book on the collaborative design process. She’s sharing her research videos as she goes.

The first video features Gerry Leonidas.

Want to help prevent online bullying? Comment on Facebook

Proving something that Derek Powazek told us 15 years ago:

When we clearly show what is and is not acceptable, the tone does change. People who want to share thoughtful comments start to feel that theirs are welcome, and people who want to spew hatred start to realize theirs are not.

D’hear that, Reddit?

Penguin Classics - Take the Little Black Classics for a spin

A cute way of exploring a collection of classic works.

A Long Journey Reaches a Happy Conclusion: The Uncertain Web is Out In All Formats

Rob Larsen was published a book with O’Reilly called “The Uncertain Web: Web Development in a Changing Landscape”. I like it:

A refreshingly honest look at the chaotic, wonderful world of web development, with handy, practical advice for making future-friendly, backward-compatible websites.

Atomic Design by Brad Frost

Brad’s writing a book.

Insert take-my-money.gif here.

Adaptive Web Design: Crafting Rich Experiences with Progressive Enhancement

You can now read Aaron’s excellent book online. I highly recommend reading the first chapter for one of the best descriptions of progressive enhancement that I’ve ever read.

Perf.Rocks

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

Mailbox and Facebook App Links by Jon Smajda

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

Is Facebook building a colonial web? by Alice Newton

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

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.

Why I Joined the IndieWeb Movement - Wingin’ It

I hope that many of you will watch me on this journey, and follow in my wagon tracks as I leave the walled cities and strike out for the wilderness ahead.

The U.S. Digital Services Playbook

Design principles for the newly-formed USDS. I’ve added these to my collection.

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.

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.

Singularity&Co. — Save the Scifi!

The campaign to restore out-of-print pulp sci-fi books in electronic formats.

Responsive design testing tool – Viewport Resizer

A handy little bookmarklet for quickly checking how a site might look at different screen sizes, and you can customise it to use whichever screen sizes you like.

Brian Aldiss: ‘These days I don’t read any science fiction. I only read Tolstoy’ | Books | The Guardian

A profile of Brian Aldiss in The Guardian.

I still can’t quite believe I managed to get him for last year’s Brighton SF.

A Book Apart, New store discounts and bundle options

This is a great idea from A Book Apart—the more different books you buy at the same time, the more of a discount you get.

Got to get ‘em all!

Ooh, Yay!

This is a great idea—the Brighton Cookbook Club:

You know when you get a new cookbook, but you only ever end up using two or three recipes from it? Coming along to Cookbook Club means that you’ll get to try a whole range of recipes from one book to see what you fancy, maybe broaden your palate, and have a jolly fun evening meeting others while you’re at it!

Anton Peck Illustration - Gather eBook

You can download the PDF of Anton’s graphic novel Gather for free.

Federated uncertainty

Stuart nails it: the real problem with delegating identity is not what some new app will do with your identity details, it’s what the identity provider—Twitter, Google, Facebook—will do with the knowledge that you’re now using some new app.

This is why I want to use my own website as my identity provider.

Lockdown – Marco.org

A superb piece by Marco Arment prompted by the closing of Google Reader. He nails the power of RSS:

RSS represents the antithesis of this new world: it’s completely open, decentralized, and owned by nobody, just like the web itself. It allows anyone, large or small, to build something new and disrupt anyone else they’d like because nobody has to fly six salespeople out first to work out a partnership with anyone else’s salespeople.

And he’s absolutely on the money when he describes what changed:

RSS, semantic markup, microformats, and open APIs all enable interoperability, but the big players don’t want that — they want to lock you in, shut out competitors, and make a service so proprietary that even if you could get your data out, it would be either useless (no alternatives to import into) or cripplingly lonely (empty social networks).

I share his anger.

Well, fuck them, and fuck that.

Iain M Banks’ Universe

Francis Spufford—author of the excellent Backroom Boffins—writes a cover story for the New Humanist magazine remembering Iain Banks with the middle initial M firmly to the fore: it was Iain M Banks—and his creation, The Culture—that took the seemingly passé genre of space opera to new heights.

Advancements in the accessibility of Facebook on Marco’s accessibility blog

It’s great to see the changes that Facebook’s four-person accessibility team have managed to push through.

A Book Apart celebrates its third anniversary

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.

Dragons

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.

Support Scrunchup

If you’re coming along to the Responsive Day Out and you’ve got some tech books you no longer need, bring them along. We’ll collect them and distribute them to schools.

The Vanilla Web Diet by Christian Heilman

I like the sound of the book that Chris is writing for Smashing Magazine. It sounds like a very future-friendly approach to front-end development.

Actual Facebook Graph Searches

Another Tom Scott project:

I had to take one more quick, cheap shot — and I think a Tumblr blog is the quickest, cheapest shot it’s possible to take.

Soul Compare: Get the most for your soul.

The latest project from Tom Scott is like many Facebook-authenticated apps that ask you to sell your soul, but this one is literal. I think I might offer my soul (worth 56gigaMorgans) to Cthulhu.

Jan V. White

Eight of Jan White’s excellent books on graphic design are now available for free online, licensed under CC0 …they’re in the public domain now.

All he asks in return is that you might buy one of his books still in print, and maybe make a donation to the Internet Archive.

Jan V. White is a mensch.

Collect + share + discover type combinations.

A lovely new service from Mike Stenhouse: install the bookmarklet and then when you come across a website with a nice combination of fonts, you can save a snapshot of the page (and its fonts) for later perusal. You can then browse those fonts on Typekit, Fontdeck, MyFonts or Google Fonts.

YOU CHOSE WRONG

Documenting all the ways you could die in a choose-your-own-adventure book.

Why Instagram Works — Rainypixels

It’s all about the signalling.

The Brand New Printed Smashing Book: “The Mobile Book” | Smashing Magazine

Smashing Magazine are publishing a book on mobile and the web. I’m writing the foreword. I should really get on that.

The Humble eBook Bundle (pay what you want and help charity)

This looks like an excellent deal: buy eight sci-fi books for as much money as you think is fair. Lauren Beukes, Paolo Bacigalupi, Cory Doctorow …all good stuff.

Social Login Buttons Aren’t Worth It | MailChimp Email Marketing Blog

A great in-depth explanation by Aarron on why Mailchimp dropped their Facebook and Twitter log-in options. Partly it was the NASCAR problem, but the data (provided by user testing with Silverback) also brought up some interesting issues.

The Past 100 Years of the Future

This (free!) PDF looks like it could be a nice companion piece to Chris and Nathan’s recent book:

Human-computer interaction in science-fiction movies and television.

It’s a work in progress. You’ll notice a lot of placeholders where the images should be. That’s because the studios are demanding extortionate rates for screenshots.

Five Simple Steps - Pocket Guides

These short pocketbooks from Five Simple Steps look like they’ll be very handy indeed. Shame they won’t be available in dead-tree format: I bet they’d be really cute.

Make it So | Interface Design Lessons from Sci-Fi

Chris and Nathan’s book is finally out. I’m going to enjoy reading through this.

DOM Enlightenment

This looks great! It’s a CC-licensed book by Cody Lindley (whose work I’ve admired for many years) aimed at teaching DOM Scripting for modern browsers. You can read the whole thing online or wait for the paper version from O’Reilly.

If all your JavaScript currently consists of writing jQuery plugins, I highly recommend you read this.

An e-reader is more like a book than you think | Books | The Observer

James muses on the physicality of ebooks in this week’s Observer.

Platforming Books — by Craig Mod

Craig describes the many different ways he’s publishing his book, including putting the whole thing on the web for free:

Why do this? I strongly believe digital books benefit from public endpoints. The current generation of readers (human, not electronic) have formed expectations about sharing text, and if you obstruct their ability to share — to touch — digital text, then your content is as good as non-existent. Or, in the least, it’s less likely to be engaged.

I also believe that we will sell more digital and physical copies of Art Space Tokyo by having all of the content available online.

Summer Reading… and Programming

This is rather marvellous: a book review from Robin Sloan that requires you to type commands into a JavaScript console.

The Shape of Design by Frank Chimero

Frank has published his book online in HTML. Very lovely it is too.

Implementing Responsive Design | Building sites for an anywhere, everywhere web

Tim’s book is ready for pre-order. Looks like it’s going to be good one.

On the Road by Jack Kerouac on Map Tales

This in-depth map tale really works as a way of exploring Kerouac’s most famous work.

Pictures and vision

Robin Sloan compares Facebook and Google in an interesting way:

Really, Facebook is the world’s largest photo sharing site—that also happens to be a social network and a login system.

Google is getting good, really good, at building things that see the world around them and actually understand what they’re seeing.

The Publication Standards Project

Like the Web Standards Project but for ePub. I approve of this message.

Readlists

This looks like a really handy service from Readability: gather together a number of related articles from ‘round the web and then you can export them to a reading device of your choice. It’s like Huffduffer for text.

GATHER. A Graphic Novel by Anton Peck — Kickstarter

Anton is a fantastic artist. Therefore, this graphic novel will be fantastic. Therefore, you should back the hell out of it.

2012 Shortlist | Arthur C. Clarke Award

Well, that’s my reading list sorted then.

Infovore » A Year of Links

I really like what Tom has done here, printing out his bookmarks.

They capture a changing style of writing. They capture changing interests – you can almost catalogue projects by what I was linking to when. They capture time – you can see the gaps when I went on holiday, or was busy delivering work. They remind me of the memories I have around those links – what was going on in my life at those points.

Marginalized

Notes in manuscripts and colophons made by medieval scribes and copyists …in 140 characters or fewer.

The true fathers of computing | Technology | The Observer

An interview with George Dyson, whose next book—Turing’s Cathedral—sounds like it’ll be right up my alley.

It’s a bookmark. But it’s also a magazine.

It’s a blog. It’s a bookmark. It’s a magazine.

A Patent Lie: How Yahoo Weaponized My Work | Epicenter | Wired.com

A superb scathing piece by Andy, who has a personal perspective on Yahoo’s massively dick move in deploying the patent nuclear option against Facebook.

Albatros - The bookmark following any journey

Well, this looks clever: a self-updating bookmark (that’s an actual bookmark for books, not browsers).

BenjaminKeen.com

A bookmarklet version of that handy multiple-iframe page I linked to the other day. Even more useful for testing responsive designs!

deCSS3 - a bookmarklet for graceful degradation.

This is really handy: a bookmarklet that will disable any CSS3 on a page so you can check that your fallbacks look okay.

«Once Upon» by Olia Lialina & Dragan Espenschied

What would Google+, YouTube and Facebook have looked like in 1997?

Bullshit – Marco.org

Everyone has their bullshit. You can simply decide whose you’re willing to tolerate.

The Icon Handbook | The Hickensian | Hicksdesign

Jon gives us a run-through on what to expect from his new book. I’ve had a sneak peek and it looks amazing—I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy.

A Book Apart, 2011 Holiday Bundle

The perfect Christmas gift for the web geek in your life: get a discount of 30% when you buy all six books apart.

Welcome to Small Demons

Turning text into hypertext. Pivot on people, places and things mentioned in books. I really, really like this.

The New Value of Text | booktwo.org

A rallying cry from James: since when did we decide that text couldn’t stand by itself without extra layers of “interactive” shininess?