Archive: October, 2011

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Monday, October 31st, 2011

Carpenter

One of the things that makes Remy’s Full Frontal conference so good—apart from the great content—is the venue: Brighton’s excellent Duke of York’s cinema.

The cinema occasionally plays host to all-night movie marathons like all three Lord Of The Rings films (the extended editions, of course). This weekend in preparation for Halloween their was a John Carpenter all-nighter. By pure coincidence, the AV Club just published this primer on John Carpenter.

The four-film marathon started at 11pm and finished at mumble-mumble o’clock. It was a blast. The chosen selection was:

  1. Halloween (1978)
  2. The Fog (1980)
  3. Escape From New York (1981)
  4. They Live (1988)

It’s a shame that The Thing wasn’t included but it was a great line-up.

However, it still can’t compete with the sheer brilliance of seeing John Carpenter’s directorial debut Dark Star recreated with puppets before my very eyes.

Saturday, October 29th, 2011

What’s slated for CSS4 Selectors? - destroy/dstorey

David gives a quick rundown of some of the selectors we can expect to see in CSS4.

#816: Revert mobile-first media queries and remove respond.js - Issues - h5bp/html5-boilerplate - GitHub

This thread on whether HTML5 Boilerplate should include Respond.js by default (and whether the CSS should take a small-screen first approach) nicely summarises the current landscape for web devs: chaotic, confusing …and very, very exciting.

Friday, October 28th, 2011

Welcome to Small Demons

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

Foundation: Rapid Prototyping and Building Framework from ZURB

A framework for banging out ready-made responsive designs.

This Is Why I’m Broke

To quote Jessica: “Seems stupid but it’s kind of a good idea.”

Sly Mongoose: A Responsive Digital Comic Proof-of-Concept

A responsively designed comic. Yeah, you heard me right. Responsive. Comic!

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Stallmania

I’m sure that by now you’ve already seen the infamous email from Richard Stallman—free software’s own worst enemy—detailing his somewhat eccentric approach to speaking at conferences.

I particularly like the memetic variation of The Stallman Dialogues. There’s a real genius in the way that it quotes passages from the email verbatim.

Y’know, I’m supposed to have a Skype call with Andy sometime next week about my upcoming talk and workshop at Build (tickets are still available for the workshop, by the way). I’m very tempted to channel my inner Stallman for the duration of our conversation.

Meeting that sad animal is not an agreeable surprise.

Productivity Future Vision (2011) - YouTube

This vision thing commissioned by Microsoft shows a future-friendly networked world where content flows like water from screen to screen.

PROTECT IP Act Breaks The Internet on Vimeo

If you live in the States, please, please, for the love of the internet, write to your representative at fightforthefuture.org/pipa

the understatement: Android Orphans: Visualizing a Sad History of Support

A damning indictment on the lack of any upgrade path for most Android phones. It’s disgusting that most customers have contracts that are longer than the life cycle of their phone’s operating system (and crucially for me; their browser).

Newsstand Is Promising, Yay! But Enough with Issue-Based Publishing (Global Moxie)

Josh nails it: publishers need to stop thinking in terms of issues:

Publishers and designers have to start thinking about content at a more atomic level, not in aggregated issues. That’s how we already understand news as consumers, and we have to start thinking that way as publishers, too. This is why Flipboard, Instapaper, and other aggregators are so interesting: they give you one container for the whole universe of content, unbound to any one publisher.

Bangkok Underwater - Alan Taylor - In Focus - The Atlantic

Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl seems even more prescient now.

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

What We Don’t Know | CSS-Tricks

This is a great encapsulation of what I’ve been banging on about at conferences for a while now: let’s stop pretending we know the capabilities, network speed or viewport size of a site visitor’s browser.

Aryeh Gregor on being an editor and the W3C process — Anne’s Blog

This encapsulates the difference between the WHATWG and the W3C: a concern for interoperability matched against a concern for procedure.

First Responder | Rob Weychert

Rob documents how he approached his first responsive design.

Follow the lives of four Londoners during World War 2 via Twitter – Network’43

A nicely-designed project to highlight everyday life in a three-week period in England in 1943 by imagining how four people would have used Twitter.

The trouble with font classifications | Clagnut § Design thinking · Typography

Richard would like your help. Take a few minutes to run through a card-sorting exercise to help classify fonts in a more meaningful way.

Jeremy Keith (adactio)

I’ve been using Tumblr to store interesting quotations (and cat videos). Findings looks like it could be a good alternative for the quotations (though less good for cat videos). The Kindle integration looks interesting.

Monday, October 24th, 2011

HTML5 For Web Designers

I’ve just finished speaking at An Event Apart in Washington DC (well, technically it’s in Alexandria, Virginia but let’s not quibble over details).

I was talking about design principles, referencing a lot of the stuff that I’ve gathered together at principles.adactio.com. I lingered over the HTML design principles and illustrated them with examples from HTML5.

It’s been a year and a half now since HTML5 For Web Designers was released and I figured it was about time that it should be published in its natural format: HTML.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: HTML5forWebDesigners.com.

Needless to say, it’s all written in HTML5 making good use of some of the new semantic elements like section, nav and figure. It’s also using some offline storage in the shape of appcache. So if you visit the site with a browser that supports appcache, you’ll be able to browse it any time after that even if you don’t have an internet connection (and if you’re trying it on an iOS device, feel free to add it to your home screen so it’s always within easy reach).

You can read it on a desktop browser. You can read it in a mobile browser. You can read it in Lynx if you want. You can print it out. You can read it on the Kindle browser. You can read it on a tablet.

And if you like what you read and you decide you want to have a physical souvenir, you can buy the book and read it on paper.

HTML5 For Web Designers

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

Brookland

I’m on a bit of a sojourn in the United States right now, and I’m having a rather lovely time.

It all started with Brooklyn Beta which was a jolly gathering in New York. It reminded me a bit of the Reboot events of old: grassroots gatherings that may be rough around the edges but are put together with much love and affection. There were plenty of inspiring talks and repeated entreaties to go out there and change the world. As with Reboot, I think Brooklyn Beta is an excellent part of a balanced conference diet: other conferences will give you more detail on how exactly you can go out there and change the world.

In fact, my trip is perfectly balanced by two complementary events at either end. I’m in Alexandria right now for An Event Apart DC—the perfect hands-on, practical counterweight to Brooklyn Beta’s dose of inspiration.

In between those two events I’ve been spending time with Jessica getting to know Brooklyn. We rented an AirBnB place in Park Slope which turned out to be the perfect base of operations.

Every time I’ve been to New York before now I’ve only ever been in Manhattan. I always said “I love New York but I could never imagine living there.” Now that I’ve spent time in the leafy streets of Brooklyn, I have revised that assessment—I could certainly imagine living there.

Jessica in Brooklyn In Brooklyn

Friday, October 21st, 2011

Just keep going — Owltastic — writing about web design by Meagan Fisher

A very honest post from Meagan that I can relate to (and Jessica too, I suspect).

Candygram

Every year in the run up to Halloween Jason asks some people to write short stories about candy. He then takes those words and turns them into beautifully-designed web pages: . I encourage you to revisit the wonderful tales from Jeffrey, Frank, Jim, Rob, Mandy, Erin and others.

This year I was very honoured to be asked by Jason to contribute some words of my own. For the life of me, I couldn’t think of anything specifically candy-related (or “sweets” as we would say). So instead I wrote down my memories of spending Halloween at my cousins in Kerry:

Monkey Nuts, Barmbrack and Apples

Understand The Web · Ben Ward

Given some recent hand-wringing about the web as a “platform,” it seems appropriate to revisit this superb article from Ben. The specifics of the companies and technologies may have changed in the past year but the fundamental point remains the same:

Everything about web architecture; HTTP, HTML, CSS, is designed to serve and render content, but most importantly the web is formed where all of that content is linked together. That is what makes it amazing, and that is what defines it. This purpose and killer application of the web is not even comparable to the application frameworks of any particular operating system.

Why are you fighting me? - Blog | Andy Hume

Andy responds to Joe Hewitt’s recent despondent posts about the web. I tend to agree with Andy: I think comparing the web to other “platforms” is missing the point of what the web is.

See also: http://benward.me/blog/understand-the-web

zomigi.com » Essential considerations for crafting quality media queries

A wonderfully in-depth article from Zoe on all the practical aspects of using media queries for layout.

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

The Next 6 Billion | Web Directions

John reinforces the importance of universal access above the desire to build only for the newest shiniest devices:

Universality is a founding principle of the web. It is the manifesto the web has been built on, and I believe one of the key drivers of the almost unimaginable success of the web over these last two decades. We ignore that at the web’s peril.

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Monday, October 17th, 2011

Dive into HTML5… on HTML5 Doctor | HTML5 Doctor

The HTML5 doctors are hosting a copy Mark Pilgrim’s Dive Into HTML5 at http://diveinto.html5doctor.com/ and they plan to keep it updated via Github.

Everything I Make With My Makerbot

Brendan is posting pictures of everything he fabs. Fab!

pushing up daisies, So The Sims 3 might have the greatest patch notes ever

Sims who are on fire will no longer be forced to attend graduation before they can put themselves out.

Cream of tag soup - Ramblings about frontend stuff

Jake Archibald has a blog now. Subscribed.

Sunday, October 16th, 2011

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

One Hundred Percent : Jonathan Stark

An excellent point from Jonathan: both native apps and web apps require an internet connection …and both native apps and web apps can be made to work without an internet connection.

This might sound obvious, but the myth that “only native apps can work without an internet connection” is surprisingly widespread.

One Web, transcribed

I spoke at the DIBI conference back in June. It was a really good event, despite its annoying two-track format.

My talk was entitled One Web:

The range of devices accessing the web is increasing. We are faced with a choice in how we deal with this diversity. We can either fracture the web by designing a multitude of device-specific silos, or we can embrace the flexibility of the web and create experiences that can adapt to any device or browser.

The video has been online for a while now and I finally got ‘round to getting it transcribed. You can pop on over to the articles section and read One Web. I should really re-name that section of my site: “articles” isn’t the most accurate label for a lot of the stuff there.

If you prefer listening to reading, the audio is available for your huffduffing pleasure.

Adactio: Articles—One Web on Huffduffer

I also put the slides on Speakerdeck so you play along with the presentation.

I reprised this talk in Italy recently at the From The Front gathering. The audio from that is also online if you want to compare and contrast.

Jeremy Keith at From The Front 2011: One Web on Huffduffer

DIBI 2011

Aral Balkan · Google Dart, or ‘how we lost the ECMAScript 4 battle so we decided to create our own language instead’.

Aral takes the words right out of my mouth. This is pretty much exactly how I feel about Dart.

One Web

A presentation from the DIBI conference held in Gateshead in June 2011.

Ethan Marcotte’s 20 favourite responsive sites | Feature | .net magazine

Ethan compiles a list for .net magazine of twenty of his favourite responsive designs.

Analogue

I like my Kindle. I mean, I hate the DRM and the ludicrous overpriced badly-typeset books but I really like having a browser with a free internet connection just about anywhere in the world.

The Kindle is a particularly handy device when travelling. I can load it up with science fiction and popular science books without weighing down my carry-on luggage.

But when travelling by plane, there are two points in the journey when the Kindle must be stowed. Even though it’s using e-ink, it is technically an electronic device so it must be switched off for take-off and landing. So I still find myself packing some good old-fashioned paper in my bag.

I noticed that almost all of the printed items I’ve been travelling with aren’t available from bricks’n’mortar shops. These books are generated by the internet.

Books generated by the internet

Adaptive Web Design

Aaron’s book is a great read: nice and short but with plenty of meaty hands-on practical stuff. If you haven’t bought it yet, go ahead and read the first chapter to get a taste for the quality of the writing.

Everything published by A Book Apart

I’ll admit that I’m biased because I wrote the first book and penned the foreword for the most recent one, but c’mon: these little beauties are perfect for travelling with.

Back in March when I was bouncing around within the States, Mandy gave me a copy of Erin’s brand new Elements Of Content Strategy at the start of my trip in Austin. By the time I got to the Pacific Northwest later that month, I had finished the book …just from reading it during aircraft ascents and descents.

Six-Penny Anthems II

Kevin’s somewhat-twisted sense of humour appeals to me. A lot. Six-Penny Anthems II is a great hodge-podge of his cartoons.

I distinctly remember reading this during the landing at the end of a transatlantic flight and giggling uncontrollably to myself. I may have worried my fellow passengers.

SVK

Actually, I’m not sure if this excellent collaboration between Warren Ellis, Matt Brooker and the BERG gang is suitable for take-off and landing. That’s because the accompanying ultra-violet light is technically an electronic device. But you should definitely get your hands on it.

The Manual

If you fancy some thoughtful reading material delivered in a beautiful vessel, be sure to get your hands on the first issue of Andy’s creation. Each essay is written by a web professional but you’ll find no talk of software or hardware.

I’m flying across the Atlantic to New York tomorrow for Brooklyn Beta, which I’m looking forward to immensely. I’ll have my Kindle with me for the flight. I’ll also be bringing one of those artefacts of the network with me.

Monday, October 10th, 2011

Pacific Star 3 on Vimeo

Superb science-hacking.

Building

I never made it to the Build conference in Belfast last year or the year before. I think it clashed with previous commitments every time.

This was going to be the third year in a row that I was going to miss Build. I had already slapped my money down for the excellent Full Frontal conference which is on the very same day as Build but takes place right here in Brighton in the excellent Duke Of York’s cinema.

But fate had other plans for me.

Ethan was going to be speaking at Build but he’s had to pull out for personal reasons …so Andy asked me if I’d like to speak. I may be a poor substitute for Ethan and it’s a shame that I’m going to miss Full Frontal but I jumped at the chance to join the stellar line-up.

As well as speaking at the conference itself on November 10th, I’ll be leading a workshop on responsive design and progressive enhancement on the preceding Tuesday. The conference is sold out but there are places available for the workshop so grab yourself a slot if you fancy spending a day working on a content-first approach to planning and building websites.

If you can’t make it to Belfast, I’ll be giving the same workshop at Beyond Tellerrand in Düsseldorf on Sunday, November 20th and there are still some tickets available.

If you can make it to Belfast, I look forward to seeing you there. I’ll be flying my future friendly flag high, just like I’m doing on the front page of the Build website.

That attire would also be suitable for my post-Build plans. The day after the conference I’ll be travelling to San Francisco for Science Hack Day on the weekend of November 12th. If the last one is anything to go by, it’s going to be an unmissable excellent weekend—I highly recommend that you put your name down if you’re going to be in the neighbourhood.

Looking forward to seeing you in Belfast or Düsseldorf or San Francisco …or wherever.

The Mountain on Vimeo

Beautiful timelapse.

Flickr: Nightmares Fear Factory’s Photostream

The Flickr stream for this Niagara Falls haunted house attraction is like some kind of user-generated art piece on the universality of human nature. It’s also very funny in its aggregate view.

Saturday, October 8th, 2011

Blackboards in Porn

Celebrating pornographers who go the extra mile when set dressing classroom porn and actually write something on the blackboard. What do they write, and is it correct?

Future of Science

As part of her with the Institute For The Future, Ariel is maintaining this great blog dedicated to open science and all-round nerdy goodness.

WSOL :: Envisioning a Responsive Future :: Design Beyond Device

A great collection of the future-friendly techniques of today: progressive enhancement, mobile first and responsive design.

Friday, October 7th, 2011

Brighton Brains

This is great idea! A website for putting the digital makers of Brighton in contact with the city’s student population.

The typography-out approach in the world of browser-based web design » Blog » Elliot Jay Stocks

An insight into Elliot’s current design process which highlights the advantages of designing in the browser when you take a content-first approach.

CSS3 Secrets 10 things you might not know about CSS3

This presentation from Lea contains some CSS gems (and it’s all delivered in HTML).

What technology wants

Technology enabled Sarah Churman to hear for the first time.

enabled her to capture that moment.

Networked technology enabled her to share that moment with the world.

enabled me to share it with you.

Steve Jobs and the actually usable computer - W3C Blog

While others recall Steve Jobs’s legacy with Apple, Tim Berners-Lee recounts the importance of NeXT.

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

Responsive IMGs Part 2 — In-depth Look at Techniques « Cloud Four

Jason continues his look at responsive images techniques by diving into the nitty-gritty of the various options out there.

James Burke Classic : The Famous Rocket Takeoff Scene - YouTube

This remains one of the greatest pieces of documentary footage ever filmed.

Caleb Ogden

The process behind a responsive realignment …and the end result is very nice indeed.

That Squiggle of the Design Process | Central

A visual representation of the design process.

Everything Is A Remix: THE MATRIX on Vimeo

An addendum to the excellent Everything Is A Remix series, focusing on the influences on The Matrix.

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

The Ruins of Dead Social Networks - Alexis Madrigal - Technology - The Atlantic

Reminiscences of the BBSs of yesteryear that could in time be applied to the social networking sites of today.

Ending September

September was quite a month. There were plenty of events that I attended right here in Brighton:

In the middle of all that, I went to Tennessee for Breaking Development and Mobilewood.

I finished the month with a trip to Italy for the inaugural From The Front conference. It was a great little grassroots affair. It was basically a free event—there was an ostensible cover charge of ten euros just to ensure that people didn’t sign up without showing up. That’s why I waived my usual speaking fee (as an aside, if you’re a conference organiser and you’re thinking about asking me to speak for free at an event that charges hundreds of dollars/pounds/euros to attendees …don’t).

I have to admit that the location of the event did make a difference. I jumped at the chance to return to Bologna. Jessica and I even managed to squeeze in a trip down to Florence. Pictures were taken.

The evening before travelling to Italy, before I packed my bag I had a chat with Jen for her podcast, The Web Ahead.

5by5 | The Web Ahead #3: Jeremy Keith on Everything Web on Huffduffer

We talked about a lot of stuff from the nitty-gritty of responsive web design workflows and processes to being future friendly in the face of the mobile browser landscape. We also discussed long-term digital preservation and the web’s role as a storage medium for our collective culture. It sounds like a random grab-bag of topics, but in my mind all of this is connected.

I somehow managed to avoid even once mentioning a space elevator.

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?

Choosing the Right Words – Web Intents — Glenn Jones

Glenn has written up the discussion that followed his UXCampBrighton talk on web actions.

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

Innovation Starvation | World Policy Institute

A rallying cry from Neal Stephenson for Getting Big Stuff Done.

Inside the Russian Short Wave Radio Enigma | Magazine

There are echoes of “the footage” from Gibson’s Pattern Recognition in this strange tale of a cold war radio signal.

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

For a Future-Friendly Web | Brad Frost Web

A terrific presentation on progressive enhancement and mobile web development from Brad at Web Design Day. You can look at the slides, read the notes and watch the video.

Crap! It doesn’t look quite right, or, how I learned to stop worryi…

Looks like Lyza’s presentation at Over The Air at Bletchley Park was really excellent.

Interview with Lyza Danger Gardner - How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Set my Mobile Web Sites Free - Ubelly

A great little interview with Lyza, wherein she outlines her future-friendly attitude to web development.