Old CSS, new CSS: “I’m here to tell all of you to get off my lawn. Here’s a history of CSS and web design, as I remember it.” This is a wonderful rundown of how HTML and CSS web design has changed over the years. I still have a few mid-’90s pages on my site that use a lot of the earlier techniques.
Sometime between January 11th and January 23rd, I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too!
- A meteor hit the moon during the lunar eclipse. Here’s what we know.: “In what may be a first-of-its-kind event, a flash of light seen during totality has astronomers on the hunt for a new crater on the moon.”
- DuckDuckGo Taps Apple Maps to Power Private Search Results: "We're excited to announce that map and address-related searches on DuckDuckGo for mobile and desktop are now powered by Apple's MapKit JS framework, giving you a valuable combination of mapping and privacy."
- To save the sound of a Stradivarius, a whole city must keep quiet: “Cremona is home to the workshops of some of the world’s finest instrument makers, including Antonio Stradivari, who in the 17th and 18th centuries produced some of the finest violins and cellos ever made. The city is getting behind an ambitious project to digitally record the sounds of the Stradivarius instruments for posterity, as well as others by Amati and Guarneri del Gesù, two other famous Cremona craftsmen. And that means being quiet.”
- An Idea for Electoral College Reform That Both Parties Might Actually Like: “As long as we continue to have the Electoral College, we should make it work as intended. This means bringing it back into compliance with the majority-rule principle.”
- The oral history of the Hampsterdance: The twisted true story of one of the world’s first memes: “What started 20 years ago in Nanaimo, B.C. spawned hit songs, worldwide LOLs and a giant hairball of drama.”
Sometime between November 29th and January 2nd, I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too!
- 365 IETF RFCs: a 50th anniversary dive: "April 7th, 2019 is going to be the 50 year anniversary of the first ever Request for Comments, known as an RFC. These documents started out in 1969 as a way for ARPANET engineers to keep track of notes and discussions on their project. In honor of this anniversary, I figured I would read one RFC each day of 2019, starting with RFC 1 and ending with RFC 365."
- Is Grover swearing? No, it’s in your ears.: “As a phonetician, these types of misperceptions are sometimes fun because they force you to carefully listen to what people (in this case, Grover's voice) are doing as they produce speech very quickly. Phoneticians focus on the transcription and, more often, careful analysis of speech. Speech is fast, speech is messy, and when the conditions are right, one can misperceive one sound for another.”
- Against Peter Jackson’s “They Shall Not Grow Old”: "Peter Jackson’s They Shall Not Grow Old is…a stunning technical achievement made by a filmmaker and producer at the top of their form. […] But…I can’t help but refuse and reject this picture in the strongest possible terms. It is a brilliant film that is also, unfortunately, a total mistake."
- On radical kindness (another aspect of hopepunk): “i will say this again: we are all going to die. the universe is enormous and almost entirely empty. to be kind to each other is the most incredible act of defiance against the dark that i can imagine.”
- The opposite of grimdark is hopepunk:: “The world is the world. It’s really good sometimes and it’s really bad sometimes, and it’s sort of humdrum a lot of the time. People are petty and mean and, y’know, PEOPLE. There are things that need to be fixed, and battles to be fought, and people to be protected, and we’ve gotta do all those things ourselves because we can’t sit around waiting for some knight in shining armor to ride past and deal with it for us. We’re just ordinary people trying to do our best because we give a shit about the world. Why? Because we’re some of the assholes that live there.”
Sometime between November 12th and December 19th, I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too!
- Toxic Masculinity Is the True Villain of Star Wars: The Last Jedi: SPOILERS: “Poe's character, while not one of the main protagonists, has even more to do in The Last Jedi. However, while he may be filling the role of the dashing pilot that Han did in the Original Trilogy, director Rian Johnson is using the archetype to say something completely different about heroism, leadership, and—perhaps most importantly—masculinity.”
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi Offers the Harsh Condemnation of Mansplaining We Need in 2017: SPOILERS: “Any female boss in 2017 or American still nursing the hangover of the 2016 presidential election can tell you that even nice guys often have trouble taking orders from women.”
- Star Wars, the Generations: SPOILERS: “Great movies reflect an era through the eyes of artists who embody that era. George Lucas embodied the era of Baby Boom ‘destiny’ and self-conceit. Rian Johnson embodies our era of diminished heroism, cynicism and near despair– tempered by the hope, if we can but learn from our heroes’ mistakes, that somehow, some way, some day, we may yet restore balance to the Force.”
- Rian Johnson Confirms The Dorkiest Reference In ‘The Last Jedi’: SPOILERS: “There is a dorky reference in Star Wars: The Last Jedi that even director Rian Johnson admits that you may have to be of a certain age to get – thanks to a narrow window where you might have been watching premium cable in the very early ‘80s when this bizarre little short film would air in-between feature-length films.”
- Rian Johnson Says There Are No Twists, Only Honest Choices: SPOILERS: “It seemed completely honest to me. It seems like the most dramatic version of that. And that’s what you’re supposed to do. Find what the honest moment would be, and then find the most dramatic version of it. So, in terms of the big ‘twists’ in the movie, they sprung from a process of trying to follow where these characters would go as honestly as possible.”
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi humanizes the Force: SPOILERS: This was one of my favorite things about The Last Jedi. To my mind, a very smart direction to take things.
- Did You Catch the Brazil Reference in Star Wars: The Last Jedi?:
- ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Redeems the Prequels: SPOILERS: “One of the many reasons I love Star Wars: The Last Jedi is that it redeems the prequels. … It recontextualizes the prequels and reinforces what I loved about them.”
- Pro-Neutrality, Anti-Title II: Interesting argument that the likely change to ISP regulations — the 'net neutrality' debate — may not be quite the horrid thing it appears to be. Worth thinking over. "The question at hand, though, is what is the best way to achieve net neutrality? To believe that Chairman Pai is right is not to be against net neutrality; rather, it is to believe that the FCC’s 2015 approach was mistaken."
- Keyboard Maestro 8.0.4: Work Faster with Macros for macOS: Saving for me to remember and look into when I have more time.
- The Amazons’ New Clothes: “The Wonder Woman designs received acclaim from fans and costume fanatics alike. They were clearly inspired by the Amazon’s origins in the Mediterranean and were feminine but very functional. Why mess with perfection? Oh, right. The all-male team of directors and executive directors wanted women to fight in bikinis.”
So here’s a little contribution I made to the world today, after seeing yet another Facebook friend sharing yet another easily disproven bit of misinformation:
Please: Steal this image. Re-post it. Share it with your friends (you know the ones). Post it as a comment when they post whatever hoax comes around next. Get it out there.
Over and over, I see people–who in other situations seem to have at least two brain cells to rub together–sharing and reposting images on Facebook that are absolute junk. In most cases, disproving the information is as simple as googling “snopes” plus a couple keywords from the text. For instance, the image of a bunch of soda cans that talks about how someone died after drinking from a can that had been contaminated by rat urine? Yeah, that’s false, and not only is that link is the top result after searching for “snopes can rat urine“, but every other link on the Google results page is to a page debunking the information.
This stuff is not hard to find. The problem is, even the couple clicks and few words of typing are more work than simply clicking “share” on Facebook, and so when people see these things, their brains just seem to disengage. After all, it could be true…right? Well, no, not usually, but it gets shared anyway.
So, in a fit of pique, I created the image above (based off the “See Something Say Something campaign), and have now posted it publicly to Facebook, Google+, and this blog. It’s my (sure to be unrealized) hope that this image will get shared and, just perhaps, prompt a few people to actually put some small effort into thinking about what they’re posting.
Yeah, I know. Unlikely. But it’s worth a shot.
I had a perspective changing talk on the subject of pay walls with the chief executive of a big publishing company…. He asked me what I think about pay walls. I told him what I always say: The main currency of news sites is attention and not dollars and that I believe that it is his job, as a publisher, to turn that attention into money to keep the attention machine running. He nodded and made the following, astonishing statement:
I can’t see pay walls working out either. But we need to do something before we lose all of our current subscribers. Sure. It’s a tough business environment, but… But the flight industry is a tough environment too, and they found ways. So tell me: Why do people fly Business Class? In the end, an airplane brings me to the same place regardless of whether I fly Economy or Business Class and the massive price-increase I pay doesn’t compare the difference in value.
People pay for Business Class because they don’t want to be tortured in Economy. They get faster lanes at the terror check. They get an extra glass of champagne. The stewards are more attentive. They get off the plane more quickly. They get the feeling of a higher social status.
He asked whether I knew of a way to apply this logic to online news. What would a Business Class news site look like?
Good stuff here. Since moving to Ellensburg, I’ve been frustrated with my lack of online access to local news. The one local paper is the Ellensburg Daily Record, which only posts a (very) limited number of stories on its website. If you want access to the full paper without subscribing to the dead-tree edition, they offer $5/month access to the full edition. However, from what I can tell, it’s presented in a specialized, locked-down format similar to a fancy .pdf file, through the Active Paper Daily service.
Now, I’m not a die-hard “information wants to be free” crusader, and I really don’t have a problem with paying a reasonable fee for media that I’m interested in. However, I do want to be able to use the information that I pay for, and a specialized browser system like Active Paper, which presents an “exact replica of [the] print edition”, which forces me to “browse through the pages just as if [I] had the newspaper in [my] hands”, is not something I’m willing to pay for. Give me text on a webpage, RSS feeds for my newsreader…information I can use, not something that locks it away.
If the Daily Record (along with many other news sites) were to move to the “Business Class” idea as proposed in the linked article, I’d find a subscription fee for access to a better-presented, ad-free (or ad-light) version of the site entirely reasonable. Let them slap as many ads as they want on the free version of the site, break their stories into as many pages as they want to increase click counts and ad impressions for the free readers, but give me the ability to subscribe to a premium version without all the crap. That’s a model for news sites I’d love to see gain traction.
Those of us who came of age alongside AOL must contend with something even more incriminating than a lifelong Google profile: A trail of discarded online aliases, each a distillation of how we viewed ourselves and our place in the world at the time of sign-on. The dawn of the Internet was an open invitation to free ourselves from the names our parents gave us and forge self-made identities divorced from our reputations IRL.
I’m actually kind of lucky in this respect. I’ve only ever used one online handle, and while I’ve deprecated it a bit these days in favor of my real name, I still actively use it as a login name and occasional identifier. Most anyone who’s interacted with me online for any appreciable amount of time will recognize my online alias of djwudi.
For a time, this little nugget of trivia was known only to Royce’s family and my own. At some point during my later high school years, though, a few things (namely, frustration at their being so many other Michaels in my age group, and a teenage-angst fueled desire to be “someone else”) led to my deciding to adopt the nickname of “Woody” full-time. It started with the yearbook and theater crew (both of which I was very involved with), and began to spread from there.
In the post-graduation years, I used “Woody” almost exclusively, in the social world and at my jobs. It wasn’t long before there were more people who knew me by “Woody” than by Michael.
Round about 1992 or so, the Anchorage alternative scene was somewhat in hibernation, especially for those under 21. I talked my way into a DJ spot at one club, then moved on to another, and then another, eventually spending around eight years DJing alternative/goth/industrial/retro/anything-but-pop for the Anchorage scene. My “DJ name” was obvious: DJ Woody, or, depending on how I felt when writing it out on flyers, DJ Wüdi, playing off Royce’s pseudo-Germanic version of my nickname.
The DJing eventually moved on into past tense rather than present, but as the world of the Internet grew, I soon found that short, unique names were both desirable and valuable, and that smooshing everything together into “djwudi” produced a string that, to date and to my knowledge, has not been used by anyone other than myself.
As the years have gone by, I’ve returned to using my given name in the real world and online, but I still claim djwudi on any site I sign up for.
While killing time the other day, I ran into a weird little “feature” on Twitter that, I have to admit, I don’t entirely understand.
As part of their new interface, there’s a tab at the top titled “Who to Follow”, when then has a tab called “Find Friends” that allows you to hook into your Gmail (or Yahoo, MSN/Hotmail, AOL, or LinkedIn) address book to discover people that you might not know are already on Twitter. So far, so good.
So, I pop my email address in, authorize with Gmail, and let Twitter think for a moment. After a moment of thinking, I get a long list of Twitter accounts that are associated with the email addresses in my address book (most of which I was already following). Once again, so far so good — this is all what I would expect to have happen.
But as I scrolled down, things got a little more odd. I started getting hits for a bunch of people with the cryptic message, “This person is on Twitter, but isn’t yet findable by email. Let them know you’d like to follow them.” When I clicked the “Follow” button on a few of those entries, Twitter kindly let me know that it had sent a message to let them know I was interested in following them.
This morning, I got a note from one of the people behind those accounts letting me know that that account was unused. They were kind enough to forward the message that Twitter sends, however:
On Jan 28, 2011 11:13 PM, “Twitter” firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Michael Hanscom (@djwudi) would like to follow your tweets (@—–) on Twitter.
Michael Hanscom knows your email address: @—–@—–.com. But Twitter can’t suggest you to users like Michael Hanscom because your account (@—–) isn’t configured to let users find you if they know your email address.
So here’s what I don’t understand. These accounts are set to hide their email address, and to not be searchable by email address. This is even mentioned twice, once in the listing after Twitter read through my address book, and again in the email sent out after I hit the “Follow” button. However, that’s exactly how I found the accounts: by their email address.
Sure, Twitter isn’t showing me the account name, so I can’t follow directly. Instead, I have to send a request, and the account owner then has to approve (or disapprove) the request. It does, however, let me know that there is a Twitter account associated with that email address…which seems to run counter to the intent of the account owners who have set their accounts to not be findable by email address.
Is this a bug? A feature? A privacy concern? Or is there something that I’m just not grokking, and this actually makes perfect sense and is how things should work?
Anybody want to toss their two cents in the ring (yes, mixed metaphor, I know)?
Leave it to the kids to figure out how to make Facebook as safe, secure, and drama-free as possible.
Mikalah uses Facebook but when she goes to log out, she deactivates her Facebook account. She knows that this doesn’t delete the account – that’s the point. She knows that when she logs back in, she’ll be able to reactivate the account and have all of her friend connections back. But when she’s not logged in, no one can post messages on her wall or send her messages privately or browse her content. But when she’s logged in, they can do all of that. And she can delete anything that she doesn’t like. Michael Ducker calls this practice “super-logoff” when he noticed a group of gay male adults doing the exact same thing.
Shamika doesn’t deactivate her Facebook profile but she does delete every wall message, status update, and Like shortly after it’s posted. She’ll post a status update and leave it there until she’s ready to post the next one or until she’s done with it. Then she’ll delete it from her profile. When she’s done reading a friend’s comment on her page, she’ll delete it. She’ll leave a Like up for a few days for her friends to see and then delete it. When I asked her why she was deleting this content, she looked at me incredulously and told me “too much drama.” Pushing further, she talked about how people were nosy and it was too easy to get into trouble for the things you wrote a while back that you couldn’t even remember posting let alone remember what it was all about. It was better to keep everything clean and in the moment. If it’s relevant now, it belongs on Facebook, but the old stuff is no longer relevant so it doesn’t belong on Facebook.
Interesting approaches, and I don’t think I would have thought of either. Well, I might have thought of the second, but I babble enough that it would be far too much trouble to bother with (and besides, the majority of what goes on Facebook also goes to Twitter and my blog, so there wouldn’t be much point).
We’ve seen browsers custom-built for the social web before, most notably Flock, which launched as a MySpaced-up version of Firefox. Mozilla experimented with Ubiquity, an in-browser tool for posting to different social sites and interacting with web services. There are a number of add-ons that can embed social networking dashboards into the browser for you. These tools have grown in popularity as we’ve struggled to manage the ever-increasing flow of links, media and bits shared by our online friends.
So, the idea isn’t original. And RockMelt doesn’t sport a complete re-invention of the browser interface, either. But it is very streamlined, and there are some key elements that people who live and breathe the social web will find intriguing.
Interesting. I’ve signed up to get a look at it, since I’m pretty constantly on both Facebook and Twitter. I’m not entirely sure how often I’ll use it (do I really need a specialized social media browser?), but I’m at least interested in the idea.