The Best of the Internets

Want to Become an Expert? Study (Web) History

I could not agree more:

This is about getting other web professionals to better understand our field. To be correct in what they say about the past, when trying to educate others. To not make false statements, based on lack of knowledge or direct experience, which lead to wrong assumptions and misinformed decisions about code and architectures.

World White Web

This project—from a Swedish student—seeks to address the issue of the dominance of “whiteness” online by asking you to share pictures of non-white hands in order to make them more visible in Google Image Search. Admittedly, it’s a drop in the bucket when it comes to increasing the visibility of colored people online, but as Ovid famously said: “Dripping water hollows out stone, not through force but through persistence” (Gutta cavat lapidem, non vi, sed saepe cadendo).

Tracking Protection in Firefox for Privacy and Performance (PDF)

New research from Columbia University and Mozilla reveals that Firefox’s “Tracking Protection” privacy tech has an added benefit of speeding up the web:

Since Firefox does not download and render content from tracking domains, Tracking Protection also enjoys performance benefits of a 44% median reduction in page load time and 39% reduction in data usage in the Alexa top 200 news sites.

Testing for and With Windows Phone

Testing on Windows phones can be tough. Tools like Adobe’s Edge Inspect don’t support it (yet… I hope that changes at some point) and if you aren’t a Visual Studio user, emulating a Windows phone can also be a challenge. Thankfully, Daniel Herken has put together this no-nonsense guide for testing Windows devices.

Manifold JS

Write a web app once, deploy it as a hosted app to Android, iOS, Chrome OS, Firefox OS, and Windows. And it follows the W3C standard for web apps. It’s almost too easy.

15 Years Ago in ALA: Much Ado About 5

In this brief post, Jeffrey Zeldman reminds us of the importance of simplicity by deftly showing us where we’ve gotten ourselves:

[D]riven by fear that apps would make the web irrelevant, we began relying on frameworks that made even the simplest website act and feel like a mind-blowing application. Serving reams of code we didn’t need because, hell, it came with the frameworks, and abandoning principles like progressive enhancement because, hell, everybody uses JavaScript, we soon fell in love with high-resolution, full-screen background images, then fell even harder when those images quadrupled in weight thanks to Retina. And still the little article memorializing the little 5K contest sat online, its lessons forgotten in an arms race wherein the average home page now weighs over 2MB. Put that in your Edge network and smoke it.

Microsoft Wants to Keep Your Online Data Secure While You’re Using It

When I joined Microsoft, I had to go through “privacy training”. I was all meh about it, but then I took the course and realized just how much Microsoft cares about privacy. The training was thorough and insightful; it’s not an overstatement to say it truly blew my mind a little. I wish more companies cared as much. In fact, I wish every startup had to go through similar training before they could collect any user data.

Anyway, this new initiative seems pretty cool and I am proud to see Microsoft leading the charge in securing your files online, all the time.

Facebook and the Media: United, They Attack the Web

This post from Baldur Bjarnason hits the nail on the head when it comes to the web vs. native. If you work on the web (as I suspect you do since you’re reading this blog), convert “you” and “your” to “we” and “our”:

The web doesn’t suck. Your websites suck.

All of your websites suck.

You destroy basic usability by hijacking the scrollbar. You take native functionality (scrolling, selection, links, loading) that is fast and efficient and you rewrite it with ‘cutting edge’ javascript toolkits and frameworks so that it is slow and buggy and broken. You balloon your websites with megabytes of cruft. You ignore best practices. You take something that works and is complementary to your business and turn it into a liability.

The lousy performance of your websites becomes a defensive moat around Facebook.

Of course, Facebook might still win even if you all had awesome websites, but you can’t even begin to compete with it until you fix the foundation of your business.

This article is long and full of choice quotes and embodied wisdom. You should read it. Twice.

The Desktop Conundrum

In this brief post, Dave Rupert muses about the future of “desktop”.

I think there’s still value in knowing the upper limit of a website, but am filled with growing concern that the time and effort spent on that upper limit might prove to be all in vain.