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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
My sister-in-law is causing quite a stir. Go Helen!
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.
John expands on just one part of his superbly dense and entertaining dConstruct talk.
An old-school styleguide.
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.
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.
A handy little bookmarklet for doing some quick accessibility checks.
You’ll want to back this—you’ll want to back the hell out of this!
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.
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.
The next Neal Stephenson book sounds like it’s going to be great.
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.
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?
A cute way of exploring a collection of classic works.
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.
Brad’s writing a book.
Insert take-my-money.gif here.
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.
A collection of performance resources: articles, tools, talks, and books.
internet.org might more accurately be called very-small-piece-of-internet.org
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.
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.
Alan Kay’s written remarks to a Joint Hearing of the Science Committee and the Economic and Educational and Opportunites Committee in October 1995.
The campaign to restore out-of-print pulp sci-fi books in electronic formats.
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.
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!
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!
You can download the PDF of Anton’s graphic novel Gather for free.
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.
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.
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.
It’s great to see the changes that Facebook’s four-person accessibility team have managed to push through.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Documenting all the ways you could die in a choose-your-own-adventure book.
It’s all about the signalling.
Smashing Magazine are publishing a book on mobile and the web. I’m writing the foreword. I should really get on that.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Chris and Nathan’s book is finally out. I’m going to enjoy reading through this.
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.
James muses on the physicality of ebooks in this week’s Observer.
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.
Frank has published his book online in HTML. Very lovely it is too.
Tim’s book is ready for pre-order. Looks like it’s going to be good one.
This in-depth map tale really works as a way of exploring Kerouac’s most famous work.
A grab-bag of public updates on Facebook.
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.
Like the Web Standards Project but for ePub. I approve of this message.
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.
Anton is a fantastic artist. Therefore, this graphic novel will be fantastic. Therefore, you should back the hell out of it.
Well, that’s my reading list sorted then.
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.
Notes in manuscripts and colophons made by medieval scribes and copyists …in 140 characters or fewer.
An interview with George Dyson, whose next book—Turing’s Cathedral—sounds like it’ll be right up my alley.
It’s a blog. It’s a bookmark. It’s a magazine.
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.
Well, this looks clever: a self-updating bookmark (that’s an actual bookmark for books, not browsers).
A bookmarklet version of that handy multiple-iframe page I linked to the other day. Even more useful for testing responsive designs!
This is really handy: a bookmarklet that will disable any CSS3 on a page so you can check that your fallbacks look okay.
What would Google+, YouTube and Facebook have looked like in 1997?
Everyone has their bullshit. You can simply decide whose you’re willing to tolerate.
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.
The perfect Christmas gift for the web geek in your life: get a discount of 30% when you buy all six books apart.
Turning text into hypertext. Pivot on people, places and things mentioned in books. I really, really like this.
A rallying cry from James: since when did we decide that text couldn’t stand by itself without extra layers of “interactive” shininess?
A truly excellent article outlining the difference between share-cropping and self-hosting. It may seem that the convenience of using a third-party service outweighs the hassle of owning your own URLs but this puts everything into perspective.
Craig has written down his dConstruct talk, the one that completely polarised opinion. Personally, I loved it.
The first book by this publisher is “HTML For Babies.”
What a great way to sell a book with “explorations” in the title—play around with the font size, leading, alignment (and browser window size).
A bookmarklet to help you figure out what files you might want to put in your cache manifest for offline storage.
This comic is the result of a collaboration between Warren Ellis and BERG. It must, therefore, be splendid. I’ve ordered mine.
Take some time out to read this. Read all of this. Craig’s thoughts on the nature of publishing today:
Digital’s effect on how we produce, distribute and consume content.
An online book about website performance by Stoyan Steganov, released into the public domain. Excellent!
Mark, Richard and Jon are writing a book together (on web typography, of course). It will undoubtedly be excellent.
Rioting in the age of Facebook.
Rejoice! For Kevin Cornell’s new book is available to you through the power of print on demand. I’ve ordered mine. And should you.
A peek behind the scenes of the printing of the Korean version of HTML5 For Web Designers.
The dominance of the desktop browser is over – the web has become wider. After so long painting in a tiny corner of the canvas, it’s time to broaden our approach.
It’s understandable that the community is somewhat nervous about the changes ahead. So far, we’ve mostly responded by scratching around for device-specific tips, but this isn’t sustainable or scalable. We should transcend “platformism” and instead learn to design for diverse contexts, displays, connectivity, and inputs by breaking devices down into first principles. Instead of the defective dichotomy of the “desktop” and “mobile” web, designers should aim to create great user experiences using the truly fluid nature of the web.