Dispatches From the Internets

Dynamic Shortcuts Questions

You may or may not be aware, but the Shortcuts feature for PWAs has begun rolling out in Chromium-based browsers and implementation is underway in other browsers as well. The first version of Shortcuts provides you with the ability to define a small set of links in your Manifest. Rayan Kanso and I are currently working on a proposal for Shortcuts v2 which will introduce a JavaScript API for managing these links and we’d love your input too.

Progressive Enhancement Just Works

In a recent blog post, Manuel Matuzović offered a great case study covering how he built Front-end Bookmarks. In the course of developing it, Manuel found that following the progressive enhancement philosophy in his development made it easy to support older/less feature rich browsers and devices:

To my surprise, I only had to reduce some paddings and font sizes to make it look nice. I didn’t have to change much because I follow the Progressive Enhancement principle when I build websites.

Charles v. Bush Agitated for Equity in the Officer Corps

Charles Vernon Bush is perhaps best known for holding not one, but two “first” titles. In 1954, Charles became the first black page of the Supreme Court of the United States. Nine years later, he became the first black cadet to graduate from the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA). Charles didn’t stop there, however.

Two Black Women Received Patents… in 1884 and 1885!

I have to admit that I was a little surprised when I learned that the first black woman to receive a patent was granted it in 1884. To be clear, I wasn’t surprised because I didn’t think black women were capable of inventing things—not at all. I was surprised because the process of obtaining a patent is pretty arduous on its own, even without factoring in the very overt racism I’m sure these inventors were dealing with at every step of the way.

Jerry Varnado and James Garrett Started the First Black Student Union

In the aftermath of the Watts Riots of 1965, Jerry Varnado and James Garrett looked around and decided they needed to shake things up on the predominantly white campus of San Francisco State University. Together, they created the first Black Student Union and kicked off a campus movement that demanded schools of higher learning take the needs of their black students seriously.

Captain Francisco Menéndez Helped Found the First Free Black Settlement in the U.S.

In 1724, the man who came to be known as Francisco Menéndez escaped his enslavement in South Carolina and sought refuge in Spanish-controlled Florida. His quest for freedom, made alongside a number of other black slaves, was part of a series of events that led to the legal establishment of the first free black community in the United States.

Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler Prioritized the Most Vulnerable

Given the often slow way in which systems of oppression—in this case, both white supremacy and the patriarchy—are broken down, it’s relatively surprising to discover that one woman, Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler, managed to to so much in her 64 years on this earth. She was the first black woman to enter medical school in the United States and, upon graduation became the first black woman physician. She was also the first black woman to write a medical textbook—at a time when few blacks were even admitted into medical school—and the only woman to publish a medical book in the entirety of the 19th century! But even with all of those accolades, the thing that stands out most to me about Rebecca was her commitment to the most vulnerable.