Archive: August, 2014

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Sunday, August 31st, 2014

Having a pint outside The Eagle on this fine Sunday evening.

Having a pint outside The Eagle on this fine Sunday evening.

The Personal Blog – AVC

There is something about the personal blog, yourname.com, where you control everything and get to do whatever the hell pleases you. There is something about linking to one of those blogs and then saying something. It’s like having a conversation in public with each other. This is how blogging was in the early days. And this is how blogging is today, if you want it to be.

Here I Go Again On My Own : Elizabeth Spiers

In the days before comments on blogs, you could generally have a thoughtful conversation online without everything degenerating into madness and chaos simply because responding to a post required that you wrote a post on your own blog and linked back. This created a certain level of default accountability because if someone wanted to flame you, they had to do it on their own real estate, and couldn’t just crap all over yours anonymously.

Somebody

We are on our way to a bright Maneki Neko future.

Saturday, August 30th, 2014

44 Medieval Beasts That Cannot Even Handle It Right Now

Look, I would never usually link to a “listicle” on Buzzfeed, but this is all kinds of cumulative mirth.

In Brighton, hearing and feeling the distant rumble of an Avro Vulcan miles away at the Shoreham airshow.

Watashi wa ramen ga suki desu.

Watashi wa ramen ga suki desu.

Friday, August 29th, 2014

Jeffrey Zeldman: 20 years of Web Design and Community on Vimeo

A really nice little documentary about my friend Jeffrey.

Friday.

Friday.

AurelioDeRosa/HTML5-API-demos

A collection of device APIs—which, despite the title, are all JavaScript, not HTML. Each API in the list has a link to its spec, an explanatory article, a demo, and the current level of support.

Sampling the sous-vide meat feast from @TheBeachBBQ at @StreetDiner.

Sampling the sous-vide meat feast from @TheBeachBBQ at @StreetDiner.

Living in the Network

An introductory article for the Brighton Digital Festival guide.

Reading back over the article I wrote for the Brighton Digital Festival guide. I’m quite happy with it.

Reading back over the article I wrote for the Brighton Digital Festival guide. I’m quite happy with it.

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

The Bocoup Open Device Lab

Mat unveils Boston’s open device lab, and provides a beautiful raison d’être while he’s at it:

Websites work everywhere by default, and they stay that way so long as we know how not to break them. That’s what the Open Web means to me: ensuring that entire populations just setting foot on the web for the first time will find it welcoming, regardless of the devices or connections used to get there.

Another Kindle bites the dust.

Another Kindle bites the dust.

An Event Apart News: AEA Resources: Articles, Links, and Tools From An Event Apart Chicago 2014

Hyperlinks relating to the talks delivered at An Event Apart in Chicago, including those connected to my rambling musings on progressive enhancement.

Getting ready to fly home from Chicago’s nascent spaceport.

Getting ready to fly home from Chicago’s nascent spaceport.

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

Down by the river.

Down by the river.

Wilco Bauhaus Trump.

Wilco Bauhaus Trump.

A nice day in Chicago.

A nice day in Chicago.

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

A Single Div

Wonderfully creative use of CSS gradients, borders, box-shadows, and generated content.

“Good morning, Chicago—welcome to Shirts In Web Design, with your hosts Jon & Jeremy!”

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zeldman/15043514842/

I’ve been completely out-shirted by @HicksDesign on stage at @AnEventApart in Chicago.

I’ve been completely out-shirted by @HicksDesign on stage at @AnEventApart in Chicago.

Monday, August 25th, 2014

Listening to Jeffrey “Godfather” @Zeldman kicking off @AnEventApart in Chicago.

Listening to Jeffrey “Godfather” @Zeldman kicking off @AnEventApart in Chicago.

Opera signs licensing agreement with Microsoft - Opera Software

Opera Mini is about to be installed as the default browser on a few more million phones.

You might want to think about how your Angular-powered JavaScript-required web thang works in one of the world’s most popular web browsers.

How to secure your site in an afternoon - Josh Emerson

Josh walks through the process he took to enabling SSL on his site (with particular attention to securing assets on CloudFront).

Sunday, August 24th, 2014

Megalomania.

Megalomania.

This sculpture always makes me think of @ManMadeMoon instead of Anish Kapoor.

This sculpture always makes me think of @ManMadeMoon instead of Anish Kapoor.

Skyscraping.

Skyscraping.

MOAR COFFEE!

MOAR COFFEE!

Waking up in Chicago to a much-needed Intelligensia coffee.

Waking up in Chicago to a much-needed Intelligensia coffee.

Chicago, I am finally in you (after an unexpected detour via Detroit … a Detroitour, if you will).

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

Preparing for cryosleep.

See you on the other side, Chicago.

I started posting and hosting my own photos seven weeks ago. There’s already more than 100 of them. http://adactio.com/notes/photos

I started posting and hosting my own photos seven weeks ago. There’s already more than 100 of them.

http://adactio.com/notes/photos

A device agnostic approach to inlining CSS | Blog | Decade City

I very much agree with Orde’s framing here: I don’t think it makes much sense to talk about “above the fold” CSS …but it makes a lot of sense to talk about critical CSS.

And, yeah, it’s another example of progressive enhancement.

Bumped up to business class. Squee!

At Heathrow airport, channeling my inner @CraigMod.

https://medium.com/message/lets-fly-d566ecd35678

I am the Dalai Lama.

Going to Chicago. brb

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

Packing a bag for my trip to Chicago tomorrow.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgALGJQ4E

Sad that @datatelling won’t be able to make it to @dConstruct after all …but so, so happy that @gsvoss will be speaking!

Georgina Voss at dConstruct

It’s exactly two weeks until dConstruct. I AM EXCITE!!!11ELEVEN!! If you’ve already got your ticket: excellent! If not, you can still get one. It’s not too late.

There is a change to the advertised line-up…

Alas, Jen can no longer make it to Brighton. Circumstances have conspired to make trans-atlantic travel an impossibility. It’s a real shame because I was really looking forward to her talk, but these things happen (and she’s gutted too: she was really looking forward to being in Brighton for this year’s dConstruct).

But never fear. We’ve swapped out one fantastic talk for another fantastic talk. Brighton’s own Georgina Voss has very kindly stepped into the breach. She’s going to knock your socks off with her talk, Tethering the Hovercraft:

A careen through grassroots innovation, speculative design, supply chains and sexual healthcare provision, lashing down over-caffeinated flailing into the grit of socio-technical systems.

Awwww yeah!

I had the chance to see Georgina speak a few months back at Lighthouse Arts and it was terrific. She is the perfect fit for this year’s dConstruct—she really is living with the network.

It’s a shame that Jen can’t join us for this year’s dConstruct but, my goodness, what a great day it’s going to be—now with added Vossomeness!

Stop. Trollkano time.

Stop.

Trollkano time.

Rolling with the punches.

Having a bacon sarnie for breakfast. #breakfastclub

Having a bacon sarnie for breakfast. #breakfastclub

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

Improving accessibility on GOV.UK search | Technology at GDS

Alice Bartlett shares her experience of getting aria-live regions to work in a meaningful way.

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Watching 2001: A Space Odyssey. Again.

My favourite film of all time. Every viewing reveals something new.

Pop Sonnets

Modern pop songs retold as Shakespearian sonnets.

Jeremy Keith on the importance of creating products that last | netmag | Creative Bloq

I was interviewed for a feature in issue 257 of net magazine.

In this interview, I pause. And continue.

Device testing at the @Clearleft open device lab. http://clearleft.com/testlab

Device testing at the @Clearleft open device lab.

http://clearleft.com/testlab

Security for all

Throughout the Brighton Digital Festival, Lighthouse Arts will be exhibiting a project from Julian Oliver and Danja Vasiliev called Newstweek. If you’re in town for dConstruct—and you should be—you ought to stop by and check it out.

It’s a mischievous little hardware hack intended for use in places with public WiFi. If you’ve got a Newstweek device, you can alter the content of web pages like, say, BBC News. Cheeky!

There’s one catch though. Newstweek works on http:// domains, not https://. This is exactly the scenario that Jake has been talking about:

SSL is also useful to ensure the data you’re receiving hasn’t been tampered with. It’s not just for user->server stuff

eg, when you visit http://www.theguardian.com/uk , you don’t really know it hasn’t been modified to tell a different story

There’s another good reason for switching to TLS. It would make life harder for GCHQ and the NSA—not impossible, but harder. It’s not a panacea, but it would help make our collectively-held network more secure, as per RFC 7258 from the Internet Engineering Task Force:

Pervasive monitoring is a technical attack that should be mitigated in the design of IETF protocols, where possible.

I’m all for using https:// instead of http:// but there’s a problem. It’s bloody difficult!

If you’re a sysadmin type that lives in the command line, then it’s probably not difficult at all. But for the rest of us mere mortals who just want to publish something on the web, it’s intimidatingly daunting.

Tim Bray says:

It’ll cost you <$100/yr plus a half-hour of server reconfiguration. I don’t see any excuse not to.

…but then, he also thought that anyone who can’t make a syndication feed that’s well-formed XML is an incompetent fool (whereas I ended up creating an entire service to save people from having to make RSS feeds by hand).

Google are now making SSL a ranking factor in their search results, which is their prerogative. If it results in worse search results, other search engines are available. But I don’t think it will have significant impact. Jake again:

if two pages have equal ranking except one is served securely, which do you think should appear first in results?

Ashe Dryden disagrees:

Google will be promoting SSL sites above those without, effectively doing the exact same thing we’re upset about the lack of net neutrality.

I don’t think that’s quite fair: if Google were an ISP slowing down http:// requests, that would be extremely worrying, but tweaking its already-opaque search algorithm isn’t quite the same.

Mind you, I do like this suggestion:

I think if Google is going to penalize you for not having SSL they should become a CA and issue free certs.

I’m more concerned by the discussions at Chrome and Mozilla about flagging up http:// connections as unsafe. While the approach is technically correct, I fear it could have the opposite of its intended effect. With so many sites still served over http://, users would be bombarded with constant messages of unsafe connections. Before long they would develop security blindness in much the same way that we’ve all developed banner-ad blindness.

My main issue—apart from the fact that I personally don’t have the necessary smarts to enable TLS—is related to what Ashe is concerned about:

Businesses and individuals who both know about and can afford to have SSL in place will be ranked above those who don’t/can’t.

I strongly believe that anyone should be able to publish on the web. That’s one of the reasons why I don’t share my fellow developers’ zeal for moving everything to JavaScript; I want anybody—not just programmers—to be able to share what they know. Hence my preference for simpler declarative languages like HTML and CSS (and my belief that they should remain simple and learnable).

It’s already too damn complex to register a domain and host a website. Adding one more roadblock isn’t going to help that situation. Just ask Drew and Rachel what it’s like trying to just make sure that their customers have a version of PHP from this decade.

I want a secure web. I’d really like the web to be https:// only. But until we get there, I really don’t like the thought of the web being divided into the haves and have-nots.

Still…

There is an enormous opportunity here, as John pointed out on a recent episode of The Web Ahead. Getting TLS set up is a pain point for a lot of people, not just me. Where there’s pain, there’s an opportunity to provide a service that removes the pain. Services like Squarespace are already taking the pain out of setting up a website. I’d like to see somebody provide a TLS valet service.

(And before you rush to tell me about the super-easy SSL-setup tutorial you know about, please stop and think about whether it’s actually more like this.)

I’m looking forward to switching my website over to https:// but I’m not going to do it until the potential pain level drops.

For all of you budding entrepreneurs looking for the next big thing to “disrupt”, please consider making your money not from the gold rush itself, but from providing the shovels.

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

Spice landscape.

Spice landscape.

CSS Guidelines – High-level advice and guidelines for writing sane, manageable, scalable CSS

Harry has written down his ideas and recommendations for writing CSS.

The shoebox - a manifesto for transmat.io

Glenn eloquently gives his reasons for building Transmat:

When I was a child, my brothers and I all had a shoebox each. In these we kept our mementoes. A seashell from a summer holiday where I played for hours in the rock pools, the marble from the schoolyard victory against a bully and a lot of other objects that told a story.

Working on an interesting project …with some fairly gross imagery.

Working on an interesting project …with some fairly gross imagery.

Listening to my brother being interviewed on Irish radio about his crazy running:

http://www.rte.ie/radio1/

Monday, August 18th, 2014

The adventures of @BillT in Brighton.

The adventures of @BillT in Brighton.

Lobster linguine for lunch.

Lobster linguine for lunch.

Murphy’s been for a swim.

Murphy’s been for a swim.

Brighton waves.

Brighton waves.

The other @BearSkinRug-illustrated ALA article of mine was “They Shoot Browsers, Don’t They?” http://alistapart.com/article/theyshootbrowsers

The other @BearSkinRug-illustrated ALA article of mine was “They Shoot Browsers, Don’t They?”

http://alistapart.com/article/theyshootbrowsers

The first A List Apart article of mine to get the @BearSkinRug treatment was “Behavioural Separation.” http://alistapart.com/article/beha

The first A List Apart article of mine to get the @BearSkinRug treatment was “Behavioural Separation.”

http://alistapart.com/article/beha

Chatting with @BillT who has very kindly popped down to Brighton for the afternoon. If any Brightonerds want to join us, let me know.

Sunday, August 17th, 2014

The Internet’s Original Sin - The Atlantic

Ethan Zuckerman riffs on Maciej’s talk at Beyond Tellerrand about the vortex of nastiness that we’ve spiralled down thanks to the default business model of the web: advertising.

A Ficly Farewell on The Writer’s Room - Official Ficly Blog

Now this is how to shut down a service: switch to a read-only archive, and make the codebase (without user credentials) available on Github.

He looked over all He had made, and saw that it was good.

And on the seventh day, He made backups.

Saturday, August 16th, 2014

Touristing in Brighton.

Touristing in Brighton.

Sushi.

Sushi.

Friday, August 15th, 2014

SunshineDNA - Behind The Scenes

I remember reading Gia Milinovich’s reports from the set of the in-production Danny Boyle sci-fi film called Sunshine back in 2005. Then the film came out, exceeded my expectations, and became one of my all-time favourites.

Now the website—which was deleted by Fox—has been lovingly recreated by Gia. (And it’s responsive now.)

Beef.

Beef.

Scallops.

Scallops.

Scotch egg.

Scotch egg.

Seriously; what a line-up! http://2014.dconstruct.org/

Seriously; what a line-up!

http://2014.dconstruct.org/

Writing to the @dConstruct speakers, and thinking “What a fantastic collection of people!”

Writing to the @dConstruct speakers, and thinking “What a fantastic collection of people!”

Heydon Pickering | Effortless Style | CSS Day on Vimeo

Remember when I was talking about refactoring the markup for Code for America? Well, it turns out that Heydon Pickering is way ahead of me.

He talks about the viewpoint of a writer (named Victoria) who wants to be able to write in Markdown, or HTML, or a textarea, without having to add classes to everything. That’s going to mean more complex CSS, but it turns out that you can do a lot of complex things in CSS without using class selectors.

There are slides.

RWD Podcast Episode #15 : Jeremy Keith — Responsive Web Design

I had a good ol’ chat with Justin Avery from Responsive Web Design Weekly. We talk about performance, Responsive Day Out, and yes, progressive enhancement.

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

Am I the only one that thinks @gigapup looks like Roger Moore here?

http://adactio.com/notes/7272/

More like Doger Moore, amirite?

Tantek Çelik - The once and future IndieWeb - YouTube

Tantek’s great talk on the Indie Web from Web Directions Code in Melbourne earlier this year.

Seeing Like a Network — The Message — Medium

How computers work:

One day, a man name Alan Turing found a magic lamp, and rubbed it. Out popped a genie, and Turing wished for infinite wishes. Then we killed him for being gay, but we still have the wishes.

Then we networked computers together:

The network is ultimately not doing a favor for those in power, even if they think they’ve mastered it for now. It increases their power a bit, it increases the power of individuals immeasurably. We just have to learn to live in the age of networks.

We are all nodes in many networks. This is a beautiful description of how one of those networks operates.

At the 16-minutes, 15-seconds mark in this video, I begin to grind my teeth and bite my tongue.

https://vimeo.com/102618971#t=16m15s

Ind.ie Summit - Video 8 - Jeremy Keith on Vimeo

Here’s the very brief talk I gave about Indie Web Camp at Aral’s Indie Tech Summit here in Brighton a little while back (I was in the slightly-demeaningly-titled “stop gaps” section).

If you like what you hear, come along to the next Indie Web Camp—also in Brighton—in just over three weeks.

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

Rocking out to hold music. If this conference call doesn’t end up happening, I’m okay with that.

Attack of the post-it notes.

Attack of the post-it notes.

Watching @boxman doodle on the walls.

Watching @boxman doodle on the walls.

The Internet of Things Will Ruin Birthdays — The Message — Medium

A peak at a near-future mundane dystopia from Joanne McNeil that reminds me of Brian’s spime story

Absolutely thrilled that @AnabJain is speaking at this year’s @dConstruct!

http://2014.dconstruct.org/conference/anabjain/

W00t!

Anab Jain at dConstruct

The countdown to dConstruct 2014 has well and truly begun. It’s just three and a half weeks away, and I am very excited.

I have some good news and bad news.

The bad news is that Leila Johnston can no longer make it—she has decided to cancel all her public speaking engagements to focus on the next Hack Circus event.

But the (very) good news is that Anab Jain will be speaking! Yay!

I had actually approached Anab earlier when I was still putting together the line-up for this year’s dConstruct, but it didn’t look like she could fit it into her schedule. Then as the line-up of speakers coalesced, it became clearer and clearer that she would be the perfect person to talk about Living With The Network and I was filled with regret.

Now that she has so graciously agreed to step in at such short notice, I couldn’t be happier. Seriously, I am so excited about the line-up that I’m like a kid counting down the days until Christmas.

There are still tickets available for dConstruct 2014. If you haven’t got yours yet, well, you should fix that. (Have I mentioned how excited I am about this year’s line-up? I’m quite, quite excited about this year’s line-up.)

If you’re the gambling kind, you can try your luck at winning a ticket to the conference, thanks to our lovely sponsors SiteGround. Fill in their short survey and you’re in with a chance.

Regardless of how you get hold of ticket, get hold of a ticket. And I’ll see you at the magnificent Brighton Dome on Friday, September 5th for a day of superb brain-bending entertainment from Warren Ellis, Mandy Brown, Cory Doctorow, Clare Reddington, Tom Scott, Aaron Straup Cope, Jen Lowe, Brian Suda …and Anab Jain!

Doing is knowing: “Sweet Jane” and the Web — Wordyard

When Rock’n’roll and Web 2.0 collide, the result is not pretty.

Web Archeology - daverupert.com

A bit of web history reacted by Paravel: the Microsoft homepage from 1994. View source to see some ooooold-school markup.

Ah, memories!

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

Catching glimpses of the International Space Station in between the clouds.

Hello Oleg, Alexander, Alexander, Steve, Maxsim, and Reid.

Sea bass and lentils with pancetta.

Sea bass and lentils with pancetta.

Code refactoring for America

Here at Clearleft, we’ve been doing some extra work with Code for America following on from our initial deliverables. This makes me happy for a number of reasons:

  1. They’re a great client—really easy-going and fun to work with.
  2. We’ve got Anna back in the office and it’s always nice to have her around.
  3. We get to revisit the styleguide we provided, and test our assumptions.

That last one is important. When we provide a pattern library to a client, we hope that they’ve got everything they need. If we’ve done our job right, then they’ll be able to combine patterns in ways we haven’t foreseen to create entirely new page types.

For the most part, that’s been the case with Code for America. They have a solid set of patterns that are serving them well. But what’s been fascinating is to hear about what it’s like for the people using those patterns…

There’s been a welcome trend in recent years towards extremely robust, maintainable CSS. SMACSS, BEM, OOCSS and other methodologies might differ in their details, but their fundamental approach is pretty similar. The idea is that you apply a very specific class to every element you want to style:

<div class="thingy">
    <ul class="thingy-bit">
        <li class="thingy-bit-item"></li>
        <li class="thingy-bit-item"></li>
    </ul>
    <img class="thingy-wotsit" src="" alt="" />
</div>

That allows you to keep your CSS selectors very short, but very specific:

.thingy {}
.thingy-bit {}
.thingy-bit-item {}
.thingy-wotsit {}

There’s little or no nesting, and you only ever use class selectors. That keeps your CSS nice and clear, and you avoid specificity hell. The catch is that your HTML is necessarily more verbose: you need to explicitly add a class to whatever you want to style.

For most projects—particularly product work (think Twitter, Facebook, etc.)—that’s a completely acceptable trade-off. It’s usually the same developers editing the CSS and the HTML so there’s no problem moving complexity out of CSS and into the markup templates. Even if other people will be entering the actual content into the system, they’ll probably be doing that mediated through a Content Management System, rather than editing HTML directly.

So nine times out of ten, making the HTML more verbose is absolutely the right choice in order to make the CSS more manageable and maintainable. That’s the way we initially built the pattern library for Code for America.

Well, it turns out that the people using the markup patterns aren’t necessarily the same people who would be dealing with the CSS. Also, there isn’t necessarily a CMS involved. Instead, people (volunteers, employees, anyone really) create new pages by copying and pasting the patterns we’ve provided and then editing them.

By optimising on the CSS side of things, we’ve offloaded a lot of complexity onto their shoulders. While it’s fair enough to expect them to understand basic HTML, it’s hardly fair to expect them to learn a whole new vocabulary of thingy and thingy-wotsit class names just to get things to look they way they expect.

Here’s a markup pattern that makes more sense for the people actually dealing with the HTML:

<div class="thingy">
    <ul>
        <li></li>
        <li></li>
    </ul>
    <img src="" alt="" />
</div>

Much clearer. But now the CSS looks like this:

.thingy {}
.thingy ul {}
.thingy li {}
.thingy img {}

Actually it’s probably going to look more complicated than that: more nesting, more element selectors, more “defensive” rules trying to anticipate the kind of markup that might be used in a particular pattern.

It feels really strange for Anna and myself to work with these kind of patterns. All of our experience screams “Don’t do that! Why would you that?” …but in this case, it’s the right thing to do for the people building the actual website.

So please don’t interpret this as me saying “Hey, everyone, this is how you should write your CSS.” I’m not saying this is better or worse than adding lots of classes to your HTML. If anything, this illustrates that there is no one right way to do this.

It’s worth remembering why we’re aiming for maintainability in what we write. It’s not for any technical reason. It’s for people. If those people find it better to deal with simplified CSS with more complex HTML, than the complexity should be in the HTML. But if the priority for those people is to have simple HTML, then more complex CSS may be an acceptable price to pay.

In other words, it depends.

Helping to clean up the seagull vomit.

(Not some kind of front-end code euphemism.)

A seagull just smacked into the window of the @Clearleft office, wandered around dazed for a little bit, and then vomited.

Bangers and mash.

Bangers and mash.

In the pub with @Gigapup.

In the pub with @Gigapup.

Oskar.

Oskar.

Welcoming @LauraKalbag and @Gigapup to @Clearleft Towers.

Welcoming @LauraKalbag and @Gigapup to @Clearleft Towers.

Eric’s Archived Thoughts: Depression

I’m sad about Robin Williams. I was also a little bit angry with him. In much the same way, I was sad about and angry with Chloe Weil when news of her suicide reached me.

Monday, August 11th, 2014

The U.S. Digital Services Playbook

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

Here’s @Gablaxian trying to remotely control some fried chicken with his phone.

Here’s @Gablaxian trying to remotely control some fried chicken with his phone.

Ramen from Goemon for lunch again today—easily the best in Brighton.

Ramen from Goemon for lunch again today—easily the best in Brighton.

Looking out at the choppy waters of the ocean on this windy day as the waves rise and fall, and thinking “Well, that’s just swell.”

Sunday, August 10th, 2014

Responding

Last week I had responsive-themed tour of London.

On Tuesday I went up to Chelsea to spend the day workshopping with some people at Education First. It all went rather splendidly, I’m happy to report.

It was an interesting place. First of all, there’s the office building itself. Once owned by News International, it has a nice balance between open-plan and grouped areas. Then there’s the people. Just 20% of them are native English speakers. It was really nice to be in such a diverse group.

The workshop attendees represented a good mix of skills too: UX, front-end development, and visual design were at the forefront, but project management and content writing were also represented. That made the exercises we did together very rewarding.

I was particularly happy that the workshop wasn’t just attended by developers or designers, seeing as one of the messages I was hammering home all day was that responsive web design affects everyone at every stage of a project:

Y’see, it’s my experience that the biggest challenges of responsive design (which, let’s face it, now means web design) are not technology problems. Sure, we’ve got some wicked problems when dealing with non-flexible media like bitmap images, which fight against the flexible nature of the web, but thanks to the work of some very smart and talented people, even those kinds of issues are manageable.

No, the biggest challenges, in my experience, are to do with people. Specifically, the way that people work together.

On Thursday evening, I reiterated that point at The Digital Pond event in Islington …leading at least one person in the audience to declare that they were having an existential crisis (not my intention, honest).

I also had the pleasure of hearing Sally give her take on responsive design. She was terrific at Responsive Day Out 2 and she was, of course, terrific here again. If you get the chance to see her speak, take it.

There should be videos from Digital Pond available at some point, so you’ll be able to catch up with our talks then.

Messing around with local storage, application cache, and progressive enhancement.

Looking forward to @JohnAllsopp’s book on this stuff.

Saturday, August 9th, 2014

Watching a Melvyn Bragg documentary on Thomas Paine—hello, Lewes!—while playing this hornpipe on my bouzouki: https://thesession.org/tunes/83

Crispy trout.

Crispy trout.

Tonkatsu ramen at Goemon.

Tonkatsu ramen at Goemon.

Kara-age.

Kara-age.

Went to Goemon Ramen Bar on Preston Street with @wordridden: highly recommend it.

Went to Goemon Ramen Bar on Preston Street with @wordridden: highly recommend it.

It’s kind of crazy to think that there’s a @ScienceHackDay going on in Madagascar right now. So cool!

http://instagram.com/p/reEhBHp2Bi/

UX How-To with Luke Wroblewski - YouTube

A fantastic collection of short videos from Luke on interaction design for devices of all shapes and sizes.

Make yourself a nice cup of tea, hit “Play all”, sit back, relax and learn from the master.

Eating toast (with avocado and dukkah).

Eating toast (with avocado and dukkah).

Friday, August 8th, 2014

A Spacecraft for All: The Journey of the ISEE-3

A nice bit of interactive citizen science storytelling from Google.

Note: if you have Adblock Plus installed, this won’t load at all. Funny that.

Rosemary in olive oil.

Rosemary in olive oil.

Off to the Basketmaker’s for a pint and a semantic smackdown.

Planning a punch-up in the pub with @rem. Just deciding on the pub.

Tablesaw - A Flexible Tool for Responsive Tables

Those lovely people at Filament Group share some of their techniques for making data tables work across a range of screen sizes.

Belong.io

A nice simple little service from Andy Baio that extracts links from Twitter and orders them by freshness and popularity.

Trollkano.

Trollkano.

Quite a few people using the @Clearleft open device lab today, which is great!

Quite a few people using the @Clearleft open device lab today, which is great!

Friday delivery for @Clearleft.

Friday delivery for @Clearleft.

Bumped into @rem on the walk into work. I think I blogged at him.

On Blogging - Plausible Thought

If you enjoy writing, or want to enjoy writing, just do it. You’ll probably worry that you have nothing to say, or that what you write is terrible, or that you couldn’t possibly write as well as Neil Gaiman. But silence those voices, get your head down and hit publish on something. Anything. And then do it again. And again.

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

Really enjoyed speaking at @DigitalPondUK with @sjenkinson this evening.

Now for the long journey back to Brighton.

Stopping in at The Reliance for a sneaky afternoon pint.

Londoners of Old Street: I have three hours to kill. Where should I go? What should I do?

Barbicania.

Barbicania.

Clearlefties in the sun.

Clearlefties in the sun.

The first web page rendered in the first web browser. Enquire within upon everything.

The first web page rendered in the first web browser.

Enquire within upon everything.

Wondering if @TomMorris is at the Wikimania event at the @BarbicanCentre today.

The Deleted City.

The Deleted City.

The Deleted City.

The Deleted City.

The Deleted City.

The Deleted City.

Interacting with The Deleted City at the @BarbicanCentre’s #DigitalRevolution and getting angry all over again.

Fuck you, Yahoo, fuck you.

The Shard has arms.

On the train to London.

On the train to London.

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

I have never killed a person. I have never punched a puppy or a kicked a kitten. I have never made an HTML email.

Nice to have @AlexAndTheWeb around at @Clearleft using the open device lab.

http://clearleft.com/testlab/

Our door is always open.

Pure CSS parallax scrolling websites | Keith Clark

This is clever: a way to achieve parallax scrolling without JavaScript—much more performant.

Of course, you might want to ask yourself why you want a parallax effect in the first place.

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

On my way back to Brighton after a very productive day workshopping with the lovely @EF people in London.

Workshopping.

Workshopping.

On my way to Chelsea, wondering if Elvis Costello knows something I don’t.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=RMvI5OX6nUw

Monday, August 4th, 2014

Drip, Drop, Groundswell

Cole Peters calls upon designers and developers to realise the power they have to shape the modern world and act accordingly.

It is in those of us who work in tech and on the web that digital privacy may find its greatest chance for survival. As labourers in one of the most pivotal industries of our times, we possess the knowledge and skills required to create tools and ecosystems that defend our privacy and liberties.

I don’t disagree, but I think it’s also important to recognise how much power is in the hands of non-designers and non-developers: journalists, politicians, voters …everyone has a choice to make.

Open standards for contact details and calendar events | Technology at GDS

I’ve been suggesting h-event and h-card as open standards for UK government sites.

We Work in a World of Assumptions – The Pastry Box Project

Dan Donald gets to the heart of progressive enhancement:

Assumptions in themselves don’t have to be inherently bad but let’s recognise them for what they are. We know very little but that can hopefully enable us to be far more flexible and understanding in what we create.

Mustards of the world, unite and take over.

Mustards of the world, unite and take over.

Grilling the rib.

Grilling the rib.

Firing up the grill for this rib of beef.

Firing up the grill for this rib of beef.

The Web Manifest specification | HTML5 Doctor

The Web Manifest spec is still very much in draft, but it’s worth reading through Bruce’s explanation of it now. Basically, it will provide a way for us to specify in one external file what we currently have to specify in umpteen meta tags and link elements.

dConstruct 2014 schedule

I’ve published the schedule for this year’s dConstruct. Curating an event like this doesn’t stop when the speakers have been finalised. Figuring out the flow of the day is another aspect that I really wanted to get right. It’s like making a mixtape.

Anyway, here’s what I’ve got planned …but maybe I’ll add the “subject to change” caveat just in case I change my mind:

Registration
Warren Ellis
Jen Lowe
Break
Clare Reddington
Aaron Straup Cope
Lunch
Brian Suda
Mandy Brown
Leila Johnston
Break
Tom Scott
Cory Doctorow
After-party

Regardless of what order the talks end up in, I’m really excited about seeing every single one of them.

Warren’s talk is simply called “A Cunning Plan”:

Inventing the next twenty years, strategic foresight, fictional futurism and English rural magic: Warren Ellis attempts to convince you that they are all pretty much the same thing, and why it was very important that some people used to stalk around village hedgerows at night wearing iron goggles.

Jen’s is “Enigmas, not Explanations: a Speculative Nonfiction”:

A wander through indescribable projects, magical realisms, and the fantastical present. A speculation on resonances within the network and the good that can come from making questions without answers.

Clare will talk about “Memes for Cities”:

A giant water slide. A talking lamppost. A zombie chase game. These recent city interventions were enabled by networks of people, technology and infrastructure, making the world more playful and creating change. In this Playable City talk, Clare will take on the functional image of a future city, sharing how to design playful experiences that change our relationships with the places we live and work.

Aaron’s talk is intriguely titled “Still Life with Emotional Contagion”.

I love where Brian is going with “Humans Are Only a Self-driving Car’s Way of Making Another Self-driving Car”:

Over 10,000 years ago we lived in balance with the network. Since then we’ve tried to control, rule and bend it to our whims. In all that time, we’ve never asked ourselves if we’re building something that controls us?

Mandy will be talking about “Hypertext as an Agent of Change”:

Mandy Brown contemplates how hypertext has changed us, and what change is yet to come.

Leila’s talk will be the autobiographical “Running Away with the Circus”:

Lessons of launching your own magazine and event series, how to make it work, what not to do, and how to keep the right attitude and get interesting stuff done against the odds.

Tom will take us on a journey to 2030:

Privacy’s dead. What happens next?

And finally, Cory will declare “Information Doesn’t Want to be Free”:

There are three iron laws of information age creativity, freedom and business, woven deep into the fabric of the Internet’s design, the functioning of markets, and the global system of regulation and trade agreements.

You can’t attain any kind of sustained commercial, creative success without understanding these laws — but more importantly, the future of freedom itself depends on getting them right.

They all sound bloody brilliant!

There are still plenty of tickets left so if you haven’t got your ticket to dConstruct yet (what’s wrong with you?), you can grab one now.

Freshly-shorn.

Freshly-shorn.

A lot can change in 6 years - Allen Pike

An astute comparison of the early years of the web with the early years of the app store. If there’s anything to this, then the most interesting native apps are yet to come. App Store 2.0?

The Mobile Web should just work for everyone - IEBlog

One more reason why you should never sniff user-agent strings: Internet Explorer is going to lie some more. Can’t really blame them though—if developers didn’t insist on making spurious conclusions based on information in the user-agent string, then browsers wouldn’t have to lie.

Oh, and Internet Explorer is going to parse -webkit prefixed styles. Again, if developers hadn’t abused vendor prefixes, we wouldn’t be in this mess.

Sunday, August 3rd, 2014

My second attempt at kayaking on the river Ouse went much better (and drier) than my first attempt. Much less pain, much more fun.

Saturday, August 2nd, 2014

Foreword to JavaScript Creativity by Shane Hudson

The foreword to the Apress book.

Vin.

Vin.

Friday, August 1st, 2014

Sound of Summer | Library Manifesto

The best archivist I ever knew was also a coder and my best friend. Her name was Chloe Weil.

Sometimes, @twitter’s image cropping produces beautiful juxtapositions.

Sometimes, @twitter’s image cropping produces beautiful juxtapositions.

Grilled mackerel, with some samphire making devil horns.

Grilled mackerel, with some samphire making devil horns.

Prepping the mackerel.

Prepping the mackerel.

A new tea mug, courtesy of @anna_debenham.

A new tea mug, courtesy of @anna_debenham.

Taking delivery of @BrightonDigital posters from @fruitingbodies.

Taking delivery of @BrightonDigital posters from @fruitingbodies.

Might as well face it, you’re addicted to mackerel.

Buffalo wings from @WingShack_LBC at @StreetDiner.

Buffalo wings from @WingShack_LBC at @StreetDiner.

Tidying my desk and coming across code sketches for the @dConstruct site.

Tidying my desk and coming across code sketches for the @dConstruct site.

Events « Brighton Digital Festival

There are 90 events happening in September during the Brighton Digital Festival (including dConstruct, of course). From Maker Faire to an evening of slash fiction, there’s something for everyone.

Taunting my co-workers by sending them direct messages with links in them. Because I can. And they can’t (which makes no sense whatsoever).