Archive: September, 2012

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Saturday, September 29th, 2012

Airlift

This looks handy: a video-sharing service designed specifically to work with Silverback

Friday, September 28th, 2012

Photo Album - Imgur

At least one of these will probably drive you crazy.

Responsive Sausage Dog

The Boston Globe’s got nothing on this!

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

Relations

When I was writing about browser-developer relations yesterday, I took this little dig at Safari:

Apple, of course, dodges the issue entirely by having absolutely zero developer relations when it comes to their browser.

A friend of mine who works at Apple took me to task about this on Twitter (not in the public timeline, of course, but by direct message). I was told I was being unfair. After all, wasn’t I aware of Vicki Murley, Safari Technologies Evangelist? I had to admit that I wasn’t.

“What’s her URL?” I asked.

“URL?”

“Of her blog.”

“She doesn’t have one.”

That might explain why I hadn’t heard of her. Nor have I seen her at any conferences; not at the Browser Wars panels at South by Southwest, nor at the browser panels at Mobilsm.

The Safari Technologies Evangelist actually does speak at one conference: WWDC. And the videos from that conference are available online …if you sign on the dotted line.

Now, I’m not saying that being in developer relations for a browser vendor means that you must blog or must go to conferences. But some kind of public visibility is surely desirable, right? Not at Apple.

I remember a couple of years back, meeting the Safari evangelist for the UK. He came down to Brighton to have lunch with me and some of the other Clearlefties. I remember telling him that I could put him touch with the organisers of some mobile-focused conferences because he’d be the perfect speaker.

“Yeah,” he said, “I’m not actually allowed to speak at conferences.”

An evangelist who isn’t allowed to evangelise. That seems kind of crazy to me …and I can only assume that it’s immensely frustrating for them. But in the case of Apple, we tend to just shrug our shoulders and say, “Oh, well. That’s Apple. That’s just the way it is.”

Back when I was soliciting questions for this year’s browser panel at Mobilism, Remy left a little rant that began:

When are we, as a web development community, going to stop giving Apple a free fucking pass? They’re consistently lacking in the open discussion in to improving the gateway to the web: the browser.

And he ended:

Even the mighty PPK who tells entire browser vendors “fuck you”, doesn’t call Apple out, allowing them to slither on. Why is it we continue to allow Apple to get away with it? And can this ever change?

When I next saw Remy, I chuckled and said something along the usual lines of “Hey, isn’t that just the way it is at Apple?” And then Remy told me something that made me rethink my defeatist accepting attitude.

He reminded me about the post on Daring Fireball where John describes the sneak peak he was given of Mountain Lion:

But this, I say, waving around at the room, this feels a little odd. I’m getting the presentation from an Apple announcement event without the event. I’ve already been told that I’ll be going home with an early developer preview release of Mountain Lion. I’ve never been at a meeting like this, and I’ve never heard of Apple seeding writers with an as-yet-unannounced major update to an operating system. Apple is not exactly known for sharing details of as-yet-unannounced products, even if only just one week in advance. Why not hold an event to announce Mountain Lion — or make the announcement on apple.com before talking to us?

That’s when Schiller tells me they’re doing some things differently now.

And that, said Remy, is exactly why now is the time to start pushing back against Apple’s opaque developer relations strategy when it comes to Safari: they’re doing some things differently now.

He’s right.

Apple’s culture of secrecy has served them very, very well for some things—like hardware—but it’s completely at odds with the spirit of the web. That culture clash is most evident with Safari; not just a web browser, but a web browser built on the open-source Webkit platform.

I’m sure that Vicki Murley is great at her job. But her job will remain limited as long as she is hampered by the legacy of Apple’s culture.

That culture of secrecy is not written in stone. It can change. It should change. And the time for that change is now.

Your brain on pseudoscience: the rise of popular neurobollocks

I like this skewering of the cult of so-called-neuroscience; the self-help book equivalent of eye-tracking.

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.

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

Beauty and Ugliness in Type design | I love typography, the typography and fonts blog

A fascinating look at what happens when you mash up beauty and ugliness in one typeface.

Learnable Programming

It’s a long one, and it’s kind of meta, but if you have any interest in the idea of programming, this in-depth knowledge bomb from Bret Victor is well worth your time.

NoPassword

I like this passwordless log in pattern but only for specific use cases: when you know that the user has access to email, and when you don’t expect repeat “snacking” visits throughout the day.

Notfound.org

This wouldn’t be appropriate for every site but I still think it could be a damned fine use of otherwise-neglected 404 pages: including information about missing children.

Brian Eno & Peter Chilvers at The Apple Store, Regent Street

Well, this is quite something. Matt will be interviewing the creators of Bloom in London this Friday. You might have heard of that Eno chap.

The Flat Design Era — LayerVault Blog

Pointing out a growing movement away from three-dimensionality towards a flatter aesthetic.

RoboHornet’s nest

Paul Irish recently announced that the RoboHornet browser benchmarking tool is being open-sourced. This is great news!

RoboHornet is designed to avoid the selective dick-measuring that characterises so many benchmarking results touted by browser vendors in their marketing spiel. Instead, the criteria that RoboHornet tests against are decided by developers like you and me. It’s like Stack Overflow for browser performance.

Sadly, Roger Capriotti from Microsoft used the announcement as an opportunity to engage in even more swaggering selective dick-measuring. Bizarrely, he seems to have completely misunderstood how RoboHornet works. Repeatedly mischaracterising it as “micro-framework”, he takes it to task as a tool that “only focuses on specific aspects of browser performance” …completely glossing over the fact that those “specific aspects” are chosen by us, the developers who build the websites that the browsers are supposed to render.

Instead, he chooses “a real-world scenario” …imitating the scrolling text effect seen in the 1999 movie The Matrix, concluding:

This is a great example of why we have consistently said real-world performance matters when evaluating a browser.

WAT?

But, y’know, the risible example and complete misrepresentation of RoboHornet isn’t what bothers me about the post. It’s the tone. I’ve had it with this sort of sniping, mean-spirited, playground politics. This does not move the web forward. This does not make a more beautiful web.

On the plus side, crap like this makes you appreciate the professionalism of the people working on Firefox, Chrome and Opera (Apple, of course, dodges the issue entirely by having absolutely zero developer relations when it comes to their browser).

Don’t get me wrong: there are very, very good people working on Internet Explorer at Microsoft. But they’re not the ones writing petulant blog posts. I feel bad for them. If Roger Capriotti—whose job title is “Director, Internet Explorer Marketing”—is supposed to be speaking for them, he is letting them down badly.

What is the medium? – David Bushell – Web Design

I’m really enjoying these thoughts prompted by Paul’s article in A List Apart. I particularly the idea of taking a long-zoom approach to progressive enhancement: evolving the aesthetic of web design over time.

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

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.

Apple’s .mobi insanity - QuirksBlog

Wow. This might be the stupidest behaviour from a browser that I’ve ever come across: mobile Safari behaves differently depending on the top level domain of the site! Madness!

Mind you… it’s kind of poetic justice for having a ridonkulous .mobi domain in the first place.

A List Apart: Articles: Mo’ Pixels Mo’ Problems

The kickass articles just keep on comin’. This one from Dave is a great overview of options for dealing with images in responsive designs.

A List Apart: Articles: The Web Aesthetic

A really great article from Paul that simultaneously takes a high-level view of the web while also focusing on the details. A lot of work went into this.

Monday, September 24th, 2012

You, A Rocket Scientist? | Fast Company

Nice! A feature on Ariel and her spacehacking ways.

Q&A with Jeremy Keith - Charlotte Front-End Developers (Charlotte, NC) - Meetup

Do you live in Charlotte, North Carolina? If so, you might be interested in this event that I’ll be Skyping into.

Shadow is now Adobe Edge Inspect | Adobe Edge Inspect Team Blog

Oh, dear. Adobe Shadow gets a new name and a hefty price tag. Yesterday it was free. Today it is $119.88 per year. It’s useful but it’s not that useful.

So, lazy web, who’s working on an open-source alternative?

Don’t confuse design testing with device testing — Stuff

Andy makes a good point here, point out the difference between device testing and design testing:

When I’m designing, it’s incredibly important for me to quickly gain an affinity with how my design feels when I hold it in my hands.

These are not device testing issues, they are design questions and there’s a huge difference between how an interface feels to use on a smartphone size display and whether the HTML, CSS and Javascript actually works on any particular make or model.

Open device labs

It seems like there’s been a lot of activity lately around the idea of open device labs and I’ve been doing my best to keep track of it all.

There are communal device labs springing up all over the place: Berlin, Cape Town, Helsinki, Amsterdam and soon Washington DC. Here’s a list of most of them.

If you’re running an open device lab, or hoping to set one up, be sure to register at Lab Up, a site that aims to pool resources and hopefully get some device manufacturers to distribute their wares. There’s also a mailing list for open device labs. Sign up if you have or want a communal device lab. Sharing is caring.

Finally, there’s an article on Smashing Magazine that goes into great detail on every aspect of setting up and running a communal collection of devices. If you’ve been thinking about starting an open device lab in your area, now is the time. Do it.

Establishing An Open Device Lab | Smashing Mobile

A great article that looks at everything you need to know to set up a communal device lab in your town.

Kev aka Lomokev- Brighton street photographer: YouTube

A nice little profile of local Brighton photographer extraordinaire, Lomokev.

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

Street Ghosts project - Google Street View made Street Art and Public Concern

In the hippest areas for Street Art, life-sized pictures of people found on Google’s Street View are printed and posted without authorization at the same spot where they were taken.

Rounding up dConstruct 2012

It’s been two weeks since the mind-blowing awesomeness of dConstruct 2012 and I’ve still got a brain full of the amazing knowledge bombs dropped by each and every speaker.

I’ve been keeping track of other people’s write-ups of the event too:

Hypernaked published a report.

Andrew Johns wrote down his thoughts, going through each talk in turn. He also wrote a follow-up post pointing out that one of the emergent themes of the conference was education.

Sjors Timmer wrote a review that cites Italo Calvino.

Happy Famous Artists pulled out three strands from the event:

  1. Digital is about beauty and about layers.
  2. The power of play.
  3. The interconnectedness of things through chance.

There’s a write-up over at info.nl called Playing with the future at the seams.

But I think my favourite write-up comes from Laura who did a report for Ubelly called Our Positions Of Power. It’s a thoughtful piece that pulls together multiple strands that emerged throughout the day. And you’ve gotta love the opening sentence:

After a weekend of reflection, I’ve decided that dConstruct 2012 had the best talks of any conference I’ve ever attended.

Some people took some great pictures at dConstruct. I like this set on Flickr.

Opening remarks Lethal glowsticks James Burke elicudates Still pondering what James said

Eva-Lotta drew some fantastic sketchnotes (as usual).

Seb Lee-Delisle: Pixels, Play, People & Lauren Beukes: Imagined Futures & Jason Scott: The Save Button Ruined Everything & Tom Armitage: Making Friends @ d.construct 2012 Tom Armitage: Making Friends & James Burke: Admiral Shovel and the Toilet Roll @ d.construct 2012

And Geri took a bunch of really nice pictures.

Seb Lee-Delisle Lauren Beukes Jeremy Keith

People said some very nice things on Twitter, Paul Swain wrote a very nice “thank you” post, and I even got a lovely postcard from an attendee.

Reading a lovely postcard from a @dConstruct attendee

If you want to re-live the magic, have a listen to the audio from dConstruct 2012.

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

Device Lab DC | A (coming soon!) community mobile device testing lab in Washington, DC

There’s an open device lab starting up in Washington DC. If you’re in the area, get in touch and share your devices.

Friday, September 21st, 2012

Scott Jenson | Exploring the world beyond mobile

Excellent! Scott has his own URL now. If you haven’t read everything he has written so far, start from the start and read every single post.

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.

14islands: Smashing Conference take-aways

A nice round-up of some of the themes that emerged at Smashing Conference. As with An Event Apart, there was a definite focus on process.

Lab Up!

This looks like a great idea: a centralised place for listing open device labs (and hopefully getting some sponsorship from device manufacturers).

Web History, a timeline

This is right up my alley: a timeline of the history of hypertext, starting with Borges.

Return to Freiburg

I was in southern Germany this week to speak at the inaugural Smashing Conference. It was a really good event, packed with in-depth talks and workshops for web developers. Its practical nature contrasted nicely with the more inspirational value of dConstruct. I always say it’s good to have a balanced conference diet: too much code and I start itching for big-picture thinking; too much big-picture thinking and I start jonesing for some code.

That said, I have to admit that I missed out on quite a few of the talks. That’s because I was outside exploring Freiburg. Or should I say, I was outside rediscovering Freiburg.

I used to live there. I lived there for about six years, all told, during the ’90s. That’s where I met Jessica.

To start with, I was playing music on the streets of Freiburg. Later, I got a job in a bakery, selling bread, pretzels and all manner of excellent baked goods. Meanwhile, I was playing in a band (two bands actually: for a while I was the bassist in Leopold Kraus, the finest surf band in the Black Forest). At some point, the band decided we needed a website. I said I’d give it a go. That’s when this whole web thing started for me. I started freelancing on the side. Before too long, I was able to give up the bread-selling day job.

But after six years, Jessica and I decided that we were done with Freiburg. We moved to Brighton, where we’ve lived for twelve years now.

So it was with some excitement and a certain amount of nervous anticipation that we returned to Freiburg for the Smashing Conference. What would Freiburg be like now? Would it feel weird to be back there?

Well, Jessica has written all about what it was like to go back. I highly recommend that you read what she’s written because she puts it far better than I ever could.

Jessica has been publishing online at wordridden.com since we lived in Germany. Reading back through her posts from way back then about life in Freiburg makes me wish that I had started writing on adactio.com sooner. I don’t have much evidence of my time there: a box of cassettes (cassettes!) that the band recorded; a handful of photographs.

On this trip, I took quite a few photographs. In three days, I recorded an order of magnitude more data than I had done in six years of living in Freiburg.

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

Max CSS

I like this suggestion. If you’re using minified CSS in production, it would be a nice gesture to have an easily-discoverable unminified version for people to view source on.

CSSquirrel : Game Break | opinions and news on web design by Kyle Weems

Hey look; Anna’s in a CSSquirrel comic! And for good reason: Kyle is as impressed as I am with Anna’s research into browsers on gaming devices.

There’s also a call for more community device labs. I approve.

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.

Responsive Measure: A jQuery plugin for responsive typography

Here’s something that Josh debuted at Smashing Conference: a script for responsive designs to adjust font-sizes based on a desired line-length.

Inevitably, it’s a jQuery plugin but I’m sure somebody could fork it to create a standalone version (hint, hint).

Playing with the future at the seams | Labs.info.nl

Yet another write-up of this year’s dConstruct.

dConstruct 2012 - a set on Flickr

A really great set of photos from this year’s dConstruct by Geri. Just look at the smile on my face!

Jeremy Keith

dConstruct 2012 | Happy Famous Artists

A nice write-up of dConstruct that focuses on three ideas that were threaded throughout the day:

  1. Digital is about beauty and about layers,
  2. The power of play, and
  3. The interconnectedness of things through chance.

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

Community Device Labs - Google Groups

Jason has set up a mailing list for open device labs. If you are running one, or thinking of setting one up, you should sign up to share ideas and knowledge.

034: With Jeremy Keith - ShopTalk

I had a lot of fun chatting with Chris and Dave on the Shop Talk Show. It is now available for your listening and huffduffing pleasure.

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Nomad Device Lab

There’s an open device lab in Cape Town now. Excellent!

The Spirit of the Web – Jeremy Keith at Smashing Conference | Brad Frost Web

Brad’s notes from my opening talk at the Smashing Conference in Freiburg.

Saturday, September 15th, 2012

Listen to Brighton SF

Brighton SF really was a wonderful event: Brian Aldiss, Jeff Noon, and Lauren Beukes all gathered together for an evening of chat and readings, hosted by yours truly.

Brian Aldiss, Jeff Noon, and Lauren Beukes on the Brighton SF panel, chaired by Jeremy Keith

But you don’t have to take my word for it. Thanks to Drew’s tireless efforts, the audio is now available for your listening pleasure on Huffduffer. I’ve also published a transcript.

Brighton SF with Brian Aldiss, Lauren Beukes, and Jeff Noon on Huffduffer

I highly recommend giving it a listen: readings from Jeff and Lauren, together with wonderful tales from the life of Brian Aldiss …superb stuff!

#BrightonSF It's Brian Aldiss, Jeff Noon, Jeremy Keith, and Lauren Beukes on stage for Brighton SF.

If that whets your appetite, there’s more audio goodness from each of the authors to be found on Huffduffer:

In the meantime, enjoy Brighton SF with Brian Aldiss, Lauren Beukes, and Jeff Noon.

Brighton SF with Brian Aldiss, Lauren Beukes, and Jeff Noon.

On the eve of dConstruct 2012, I hosted an evening of readings and chat with three of the brightest stars of the science-fiction world at the Pavilion Theatre in Brighton.

Friday, September 14th, 2012

dConstruct 2012 – a review : Sjors Timmer

Another thoughtful write-up of this year’s dConstruct, weaving a thread between the talks from Jason Scott, James Burke, and Tom Armitage with a detour via Italo Calvino.

klick-ass.com » Avoid the Tamagotchis – a list of Open Device Labs

A list of open device labs around the world (mostly Europe).

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

Why mobile Web accessibility matters - best practices to make your mobile site accessible | mobiForge

There’s some great practical advice for building accessible mobile web apps here.

Blame

There was an attempted break-in at the Clearleft office this week. Don’t worry—nothing was taken.

I mentioned the attempted break-in on Twitter (and Instagram). While most people offered sympathy and support, one person took me to task for talking about the incident at all. Not good for client confidence, apparently. And it gives us a bad reputation to boot.

This little dose of victim blaming reminded me of the incident in Douglas Rushkoff’s life that spurred him to write Life Inc.:

I had gotten mugged in front of my rental apartment—on Christmas Eve, no less—and had posted the time and location of my mugging to the Park Slope Parents list, a generally helpful, crunchy, and supportive message board for people raising kids in that section of Brooklyn and beyond. Within an hour, my email inbox was filling with messages from concerned neighbors. Scratch that: angry neighbors.

They wanted to know exactly why I had posted the exact location where the mugging had taken place. Didn’t I realize what this could do to their property values? No, these folks had no immediate plans to sell their homes—yet they were still more considered with the short-term asset value of their real estate than they were the long-term experiential value of their neighborhood!

Also: 137.

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Eric’s Archived Thoughts: The Web Behind

This ticks all my boxes: a podcast by Eric and Jen about the history of the web. I can’t wait for this to start!

dConstruct 2012 – Our positions of power

This is my favourite write-up of dConstruct so far. I love that way that, rather than simply giving a linear description, Laura weaves together the implicit strands that were running throughout the day — a very thoughtful, considered approach.

And how about this for an opening line:

After a weekend of reflection, I’ve decided that dConstruct 2012 had the best talks of any conference I’ve ever attended.

Responsive Web Design Patterns | This Is Responsive

A great collection of layout, navigation, and interaction patterns for responsive sites, delivered by Brad.

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

dConstruct 2012: the alternative theme was Education - andrewjohns.net

I like this! Andrew Johns found a thread in this year’s dConstruct that ran parallel to its official tagline of “Playing With The Future”: Education.

dConstruct 2012: A quick review - andrewjohns.net

Another really good description of this year’s dConstruct that describes each talk.

Playing With The Future – dConstruct 2012 | HYPERNAKED

A lovely write-up of this year’s dConstruct:

Curated well by the Clearleft team, its speakers are always intelligent, insightful, and on the whole, world-class. Pouring out insights through divergent thought, challenging norms and touting innovation.

beta.guardian.co.uk

Those clever chaps at The Guardian are experimenting with some mobile-first responsive design. Here’s how it’s going so far.

The code is on Github.

A List Apart: Articles: Testing Websites in Game Console Browsers

An excellent in-depth article from Anna on the many gaming devices out there that have both an internet connection and a web browser.

Improving Reality 2012 : Joanne Mcneil

Note’s from Joanne’s presentation at Improving Reality.

d.construct 2012 - a set on Flickr

Eva-Lotta’s sketchnotes from this year’s dConstruct.

The email notification anti-pattern: a response

Quite quickly after I wrote my email to Findings about their email notification anti-pattern, I got a response back from Lauren Leto:

Give it to us. I applaud you shouting at us from a rooftop. I also hate defaulting to all notifications and agree that it was a douchebag startup move but can assure it was one made accidentally - a horrible oversight that the entire team feels bad about and will work to amend for you and the rest of our users.

We try to be a site for the common user - nothing like Facebook taking cheap shots wherever they can. I hope we haven’t forever turned you off from our site. Relaunches are hard and mistakes were made but nothing like this will happen again.

Apart from the use of the passive voice (“mistakes were made” rather than “we made mistakes”), that’s a pretty damn good response. She didn’t try to defend or justify the behaviour. That’s good.

She also asked if there was anything they could do to make it up to me. I asked if I could publish their response here. “Yeah, feel free to post”, she said.

I think it’s important that situations like this get documented. It could be especially useful for new start-ups who might be thinking about indulging in a bit of “growth hacking” (spit!) under the impression that this kind of behaviour is acceptable just because other start-ups—like Findings—implemented the email notification anti-pattern.

As Lauren said:

I think every startup manages to mess up one of these at some point in their life, either willingly or unwillingly. A clear listing of all offenses could be useful to everyone.

That’s where Harry’s Dark Patterns wiki comes in:

The purpose of this pattern library is to “name and shame” Dark Patterns and the companies that use them.

  • For consumers, forewarned is fore-armed.
  • For brand-owners, the bad-press associated with being named as an offender should discourage usage.
  • For designers, this site provides ammunition to refuse unethical requests by our clients / bosses. (e.g. “I won’t implement opt-out defaults for the insurance upsells because that practice is considered unethical and it will get you unwanted bad press.”)

The email notification anti-pattern isn’t yet listed on the wiki. I’ll see if I can get Harry to add it.

dConstruct 2012 - a set on Flickr

A nice set of photos from this year’s dConstruct.

Pre-talk coffee

Bruce Lawson’s personal site  : Scooby Doo and the proposed HTML5 element

Bruce’s thoughts on the proposed inclusion of a “content” or “maincontent” element in HTML5.

Personally, I don’t think there’s much point in adding a new element when there’s an existing attribute (role=”main”) that does exactly the same thing.

Also, I don’t see much point in adding an element that can only be used once and only once in a document. However, if a “content” or “maincontent” element could be used inside any sectioning content (section, article, nav, aside), then I could see it being far more useful.

The email notification anti-pattern

Dear Findings,

I see you have introduced some new email notifications. I have also noticed (via my newly-overstuffed inbox) that by default, these new email notifications are checked.

WHAT THE FSCK WERE YOU THINKING‽

Sorry. Sorry. I lost my temper for a moment there. And the question is rhetorical because I think I know exactly what you were thinking …“traction”, “retention”, “engagement”, yadda yadda.

I realise that many other sites also do this. That does not make it right. In fact, given the sites that already do this include such pillars of empathy as Facebook, I would say that this kind of behaviour probably has a one-to-one correlation with the douchebaggery of the site in question.

You’re better than this.

Stop. Think. Spare a thought for those of us who don’t suddenly—from one day to the next—want our inboxes spammed by emails we never opted into.

Didn’t anybody stop to think about just how intrusive this would be?

Also, doesn’t this flood of new emails directly contradict this section of your privacy policy?:

As part of the Services, you may occasionally receive email and other communications from us, such as communications relating to your Account. Communications relating to your Account will only be sent for purposes important to the Services, such as password recovery.

Contrary to appearances, I don’t want to be completely negative, so I’ve got a constructive suggestion.

How about this:

If you’re about to introduce new email notifications, and all my existing notification settings are set to “off”, perhaps you could set the new notifications to “off” as well?

Sound good?

All the best,

Jeremy

Monday, September 10th, 2012

dConstruct 2012 intersession soundtrack - Tantek

If you liked the music that was playing in the breaks during dConstruct, here’s the playlist of CC-Attribution tracks as chosen by Tantek.

The mind-blowing awesomeness of dConstruct 2012

Where do I start?

I could start by saying that dConstruct 2012 was one of the best days of my life. But let me back up a bit…

Here’s what I did last week:

  • Sunday, September 2nd: The amazing PixelPyros at Jubilee Square with Seb, followed by The Geekest Link pub quiz at The Caroline of Brunswick.
  • Monday, September 3rd to Wednesday, September 5th: non-stop Reasons To Be Creative.
  • Thursday, September 6th: Improving Reality with the brilliant Warren Ellis followed by Brighton SF, which exceeded my wildest expectations.
  • Friday, September 7th: dConstruct. Indescribably brilliant.
  • Saturday, September 8th: Mini Maker Faire, a fantastic collection of hackers and hardware in one place.
  • Sunday, September 9th: IndieWebCamp UK round at The Skiff with some of the smartest people I know.

That was just one week in the Brighton Digital Festival! And the weather was perfect the whole time—glorious sunshine.

I was really nervous on the day of Brighton SF. Like I said, I had no idea what I was doing. But I began to calm down right before the event.

I was sitting outside with Christopher Priest (I told him how much I liked Inverted World) and Joanne McNeil when the Brighton SF authors showed up, met one another, and started chatting. That’s when I knew everything was going to be fine.

Jeff Noon. Lauren Beukes. Brian Aldiss. Three giants of science fiction. Three warm, friendly, and charming people.

The event was so good. Each of the authors were magnificently charismatic and captivating, the readings were absolutely enthralling, and I end up thoroughly enjoying myself.

Thank you for sending in questions for the authors. On the night, things were going so smoothly and time was flying by so fast, I actually didn’t get a chance to ask them …sorry.

It was a wonderful event and Drew very graciously agreed to record the audio so there’s going to be a podcast and a transcript available very soon. Watch this space.

When the day of dConstruct dawned, I was already in a good mood from Brighton SF. But nothing could have prepared me for what was to come.

I had the great honour and pleasure of introducing an amazing line-up of speakers. Seriously, every single speaker was absolutely superb. It was all killer, no filler.

Ben’s keynote set the scene perfectly. And boy, what a trooper! He really wasn’t a well chap, but with classic English stoicism and moustachioed stiff upper lip, he delivered the perfect opening for a day of playing with the future.

From there, it was just a non-stop delivery of brilliance from each speaker. After each talk, I kept using the words “awesome” and “mind-blowing”, but y’know what? They were awesome and mind-blowing!

Ben Hammersley Jenn Lukas Scott Jenson Ariel Waldman Seb Lee-Delisle Lauren Beukes Jason Scott Tom Armitage

And at the end …James Burke.

(this is the point at which I really needed to study the dreams/reality diagram because I was beginning to lose my grip on what was real)

James Burke

What can I say? I was really hoping it would be as good as an episode of Connections but what I got was like an entire season of Connections condensed into 45 minutes of brain-bending rapid-fire brilliance. It was mind-blowing. It was awesome. It broke my brain in the best possible way.

When James finished and the day was done, I was quite overcome. I was just so …happy! I had the privilege of hosting the smartest, most entertaining people I know. And I’m not just talking about the speakers.

At the after-party—and on Twitter—attendees told me just how much they enjoyed dConstruct 2012. I felt very happy, very proud, and kind of vindicated—it was something of a risky line-up and tickets were selling slower than in previous years, but boy, oh boy, that line-up really delivered the goods on the day.

Here’s one write-up of dConstruct. If you were there, I’d really appreciate it if you wrote down what you thought of the event. Drop me a line and point me to your blog post.

If you weren’t there …my commiserations. But here’s something that might serve as some consolation:

Thanks to Drew’s tireless work through the weekend, the audio from Friday’s conference is already online! Browse through the talks on the dConstruct archive or subscribe to a podcast of the talks on Huffduffer.

But you really had to be there.

Admiral Shovel and the Toilet Roll on Huffduffer

Warren Ellis » How To See The Future

The opening keynote from Warren Ellis for this year’s Improving Reality. I’d like to walk into space with this man.

Unsung Heroes of Web and Interaction Design: Derek Powazek – Jeffrey Zeldman Presents The Daily Report

Jeffrey quite rightly singles out Derek Powazek for praise.

It was his site Fray that made me realise I wanted to build things on the web.

dConstruct glowsticks on Flickr

A beautiful sight: the digital and the physical interacting through glowsticks.

dConstruct glowsticks

The Computer for the 21st Century

A classic piece of design fiction written by Mark Weiser 21 years ago.

The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it.

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.

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

Lessons from dConstruct 2012 | Michel’s Exhaust

A great write-up of this year’s magnificent dConstruct and its theme of playing with the future.

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

Questions, please

The Brighton Digital Festival is in full swing, Reasons To Be Creative is underway, and Brighton is chock-a-block with all manner of smart geeks enjoying the seaside sunshine. It’s pretty damn great.

Not long now ‘till Brighton SF on Thursday evening with Brian Aldiss, Lauren Beukes, and Jeff Noon. I’ll be the host for the evening so I should make sure that I’ve got lots of incisive questions for the three authors…

What the hell am I thinking‽ I have no idea what I’m doing. Damn it, Jim, I’m a sci-fi fan, not an interviewer!

I could do with your help. If you have anything—anything at all—that you’d like to ask one or all of these luminaries, please share it with me. We’ll be taking questions from the floor on the night too, but I’d feel a lot better if I had a nice stack of good questions to get the ball rolling.

So please, leave a comment and let me know what I should be asking these three masters of sci-fi.

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

Maptales of Brighton

If you’re coming to Brighton for dConstruct, there are two Map Tales I’d like to draw your attention to.

The first is a map of all the places where you can discounts with your dConstruct badge—very handy for lunch and dinner on the day of the conference.

The second is one I put together a while back of recommended Brighton coffee establishments.

And of course, while you’re in town, be sure to check out all the events that are going on as part of the Brighton Digital Festival; at the very least, make sure you check out the Maker Faire that’s on the day after dConstruct—it’s going to be fantastic!

Oh, and I almost forgot: the Big Sussex Market will also be going on the day after dConstruct, all along New Road and Jubilee Square.

With quality, local produce firmly at its heart, the Big Sussex Market features over 80 stalls of growers, producers and restaurants.

Lanyrd: the early days | The Lanyrd Blog

This is a rather lovely history of the first two years of Lanyrd, starting with that honeymoon-turned-startup.

I really like the way that Lanyrd’s communications reflect the personalities of Simon and Nat: utterly brilliant, but also a little bonkers, with far more animals than would be reasonably expected.

A Front End Engineer’s Manifesto

Y’know, I’m on board with pretty much every item in this manifesto.

From Chicago to Brighton

I was in the States last week for An Event Apart Chicago. I had a most excellent time. Partly, that’s because An Event Apart is always excellent, and partly because Chicago is such a great city.

I took pictures.

I did the Architecture Foundation’s river cruise (again), which I would highly recommend to anyone with the vaguest interest in either architecture or just cruising down rivers in boats.

Canyons of stone and glass Jessica

I also went to my the second bases-ball game of my life. The first one was at Fenway Park, so going to Wrigley Field feels like the logical next step—maybe I should work my way through all the bases-ball field diamond pitches in chronological order.

Chicago dog in Wrigley Field On the bleachers

To balance out such sportsness, I made sure to spend plenty of time in the Art Institute Of Chicago, taking full advantage of the Lichtenstein exhibition that’s currently running there.

Lichtenlips Lichtendog

I had the opportunity to meet some of the hard-working web geeks of Chicago. I had a look around the Obama campaign HQ, thanks to Daniel Ryan. I also got a tour of the whacky Tribune Tower, thanks to Chris Courtney, and I got to see first-hand how the web team at The Chicago Tribune are doing some very cool stuff with data.

On the Tribune roof Journalism is serious business

Now I’m back in Brighton, which is turning into geek central with the Brighton Digital Festival. It kicked off last night with Seb’s fantastic PixelPyros digital fireworks.

PixelPyros PixelPyros are go!

Reasons To Be Creative starts today. I’ll be popping in out to hear some of the talks, but things are getting pretty busy here at Clearleft Towers, what with this being dConstruct week.

Unsurprisingly, I’ve started having dConstruct dreams this week. I have to remind myself to actually enjoy myself and not spend the whole time stressing out. I think it should be fairly easy to enjoy myself, what with that kick-ass lineup.

That’ll be on Friday. Before that, there’s Brighton SF on Thursday. That’s going to be a lot of fun too, and a total geekfest with Jeff Noon, Lauren Beukes, and Brian Aldiss.

Grab a ticket if you haven’t already. See you there.

Saturday, September 1st, 2012

BBC News - Geek camp comes to Milton Keynes

Watch the video to see Jonty’s rather good tour of EMF.

Restoration mirror

Heather Champ just announced that the Mirror Project is being revived and it has brought back a flood of memories for me. Heather evocatively describes the origins of the Mirror Project from a time “when the web was younger, when home pages were what we made.”

The premise was simple: Take a picture of yourself in some reflective surface. That’s it. It seems so very straightforward in today’s age of ubiquitous photography and instant updates but there was a thoughtfulness that went into every picture posted. Keep hitting the “surprise me” link to see what I mean.

My first Mirror Project shot was taken eleven years ago. I have a few more in there. I used to blog about The Mirror Project every time one of my pictures was posted. I even used to have a little widget on this site to show a random Mirror Project shot.

My upstairs neighbours' flat, Brighton, England

Here’s a shot that Jeffrey took at the start of the millennium. That picture went on to have a life of its own as a book cover. It even spawned a meme.

Ugly Hallway

Back then, I never could’ve imagined in my wildest dreams that I would get to know Jeffrey Zeldman, much less call him my friend. Here I am, eleven years later, writing and speaking about web design with my hero from way back when. Crazy!

Within a year, the Mirror Project reached its 10000th picture (just look at those fresh-faced kids).

Sunday September 15, 4PM.

My last Mirror Project shot was taken at South by Southwest in 2005.

SxSW 2005

My first pictures on Flickr date from the same time—when the worst-kept secret at that South by Southwest was that Flickr was being bought by Yahoo. Online digital photography was changing.

The Mirror Project has been gone for six years. It warms my heart to see it return, its URLs restored, its images reflecting back.