Web design, technology, music and sarcasm by Jack Gutteridge
21 May 2013
8 April 2013
On a busy day for the company, Marissa Mayer’s Yahoo announces a stunning redesign of the Flickr photo-sharing service.
Meyer has been in the job for awhile now and there hasn’t been any other innovation as visible as this from the company. I am not a full-time Flickr user, but this may now persuade me to think otherwise.
I’m still put off by the stupid “web 2-point-0″ contraction in the name.
5 April 2013
The BBC have a write-up of quotes for the former PM who died today:
“Any woman who understands the problems of running a home will be nearer to understanding the problems of running a country.” 1979, the year she became prime minister
That’s exactly what asm.js does. It fixes the language by saying: fancy features are hard, let us stick to arithmetic. In practice right now asm.js essentially limits you to:
- arithmetic operations;
- loads and stores into ArrayBufferView, all views sharing a single ArrayBuffer;
- calls to functions that take numbers as arguments and return number as the result, possible function targets are limited so you can’t, for example, create a closure and pass it somewhere.
Basically we’ve got a web browser here. It can run the Unreal engine (although I’d be suspicious as to how well given that crap 360p video). But why?
Websites are for text and images and basic multimedia. Anything else I’d argue is irrelevant, including applications like Facebook and webmail. This isn’t the job for HTML and CSS. We need a better standard before we loose the entire internet to stupid tangents like this.
4 April 2013
Big news: Google are stating that “Chromium uses a different multi-process architecture than other WebKit-based browsers” as an excuse to fork it for more control. Opera is also following suite.
Big problem: will Blink still support WebKit prefixed CSS? This is the standard and would break many websites if Blink was to add it’s own prefix.
Facebook will announce an Android experience and a new phone later today.
It’s probable the new phone will be a mid-to-high range phone, cheap and accesible, just the Facebook experience itself.
Might be useful for people who synonymies Facebook with the internet.
Twitter brings its Android app more inline with the design guidelines. It’s a start but as Phil Nickinson points out, there’s still a lot to do.
As pointed out on Google plus, there’s to much overdraw, where graphic elements are overlapped multiplying the rendering time, making the app jittery.
The settings navigation is still located in a stupid place with no overflow action and there’s still pull-to-refresh instead of a standard refresh action button. Not to mention a poor tablet experience.
So it still sucks.
9 January 2013
Stuart Dredge on The Guardian:
The obvious question: if Rdio is a subscription service, why isn’t Vdio? The answer lies in the latter’s promise that TV shows including Mad Men, Homeland and Downton Abbey will be available the day after they air.
The subscription model is the future. I don’t have to pay to watch any show on the planet, and there’s nothing these good-for-nothing publishers can do about that. I need to want to use a service and not have hundreds of dollars taken away from me each month for the ‘privilege’.
Until then it’s DOA which is a shame, because it looks really nice to use.
14 December 2012
Here’s to 2013!
Calm & Madness will be back next week with more technology insights and opinions.
I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays. Thank you all for reading.
The ITU wants to regulate the internet. It’s obvious to everyone that governments have no clue when it comes to technology. Sign up now to stop idiots wrecking your freedom.
Stewart Mitchell for PC Pro on the proposed Communications Data Bill:
The “snooper’s charter” has been criticised by rights campaigners, but the Lords committee report is a significant blow to the Home Office’s plans to expand surveillance powers on the internet.
Although the committee accepted the need for better access to online data records, the report said the plans had been poorly researched, posed a threat to privacy, and could end up costing far more than the £1.8bn budgeted for the scheme.
It’s very apparent that this proposed bill is an ill thought-out mess.
13 December 2012
Lucian Constantin writes for Computerworld Australia on the inevitability of using the anonymous Tor protocol for malice:
Security researchers have identified a botnet controlled by its creators over the Tor anonymity network. It’s likely that other botnet operators will adopt this approach, according to the team from vulnerability assessment and penetration testing firm Rapid7.
Tor is a revolutionary privacy-enabling service, but as with all applications designed to protect the innocent, they can easily be used to hide malicious acts. It’s a side effect of all ethical behaviour.
Oliur Rahman on UltraLinx writing about his experiences with the Nexus 7:
I’m still in love with the hardware on the Nexus 7 and prefer it over my iPad 2. Even though the iPad does feel more luxurious with the aluminium back, the Nexus 7 is just a lot more durable. I’ve dropped it a couple of times already and it comes away like nothing happened.
However the iPad 2 is still my primary tablet and will continue to be for the next few months.
He cites reasons that most reviewers match. The iPad ecosystem is better. There are more apps, better suited for the tablet experience. Even though most Android apps properly scale by default, and the Nexus 7 suits scaled phone-style apps well, when in landscape and in other instances apps do not scale elegantly. It’s a problem for all Nexus 7 users.
Alex Dobie on Android Central:
As updates become more common, and consumers become more tech-savvy, there’s an increasing awareness that devices can be updated, and an expectation that they should be updated. With that comes a sort of “update anxiety.” If you’ve dropped by any smartphone message board, such as our own forums or XDA’s, you’ll know what we mean by this. Threads abound asking when ICS, or Jelly Bean, will be available for certain devices. In the event of delayed or even canceled updates, Internet denizens swear they’ll never buy another phone from that manufacturer or carrier again. It’s an entirely negative ownership experience.
If you buy a phone, you buy it for the software it comes with. Smartphone technology is in its infancy, so having an update experience similar to that of a desktop machine isn’t feasible yet.
Then there are the forks of Android (HTC Sense, Samsung’s TouchWiz, etc.) that confuse consumers even more. These manufacturers maintain their own update process for their own software. You can’t expect Samsung to merge in newer code from Android after it’s already updated it itself.
I stick with Nexus because I want it all from Google. Google makes Android thus Google made hardware is always going to be running the latest possible version.
12 December 2012
An in-depth review on the death of Google Reader by Rob Fishman, Buzzfeed:
In the year since, Google+ has been derided as a “virtual ghost town” and a “complete failure” unpopular even with Google employees. All of which has heightened the resentment shared by Reader fanatics. Today, they are a population dispossessed. Many have disappeared off the grid, while others struggle to rebuild communities that were, with a few keystrokes, deleted. All of them — the dental student in San Antonio, the academic librarian in Boston, the game developer in San Francisco — yearn for the scroll-tracked Shangri-La that was.
I used Reader a lot but my subscriptions became overflowed. Now I just use a select few curators, and bookmarks to the biggest sites to do my reading.
It’s a shame that Google+ has killed its social side.
An article by Declan O’Dempsey in The Guardian in light of the recent failings by the Church of England to allow elected female bishops:
In 2005, the House of Lords found that clergy can be workers and that current EU law applies to “occupations”. Bishops are engaged in an occupation and so it follows that EU gender law requires the UK to apply equality law to bishops. The Equality Act 2010, accordingly will have to be read so as to include clergy of the Church of England within its scope, or aspiring female bishops may rely directly on the EU law against the church, as it is clearly an emanation of the state. Aspirant female bishops would be likely to succeed in a claim.
This was my first question when the vote was over, and it looks like the CoE could be acting illegally. It’s doubtful that this will be taken further though.
If I had more income I’d be on this like a hawk.
11 December 2012
Joshua Davis, Wired:
McAfee, 67, is wanted for questioning in connection with a murder discovered Sunday morning in Belize. Convinced that he’ll be killed if he’s taken into custody for questioning, the millionaire antivirus pioneer has gone into hiding somewhere in the Central American nation, where he moved in 2008 to retire. Starting at 10:30 this morning, Belize time, he has been calling to tell me his side of the story.
The guy is an action-film hero.
Colleen Taylor, TechCrunch:
Diaspora, the Kickstarter-backed initiative launched two years ago by a group of NYU students aiming to create a decentralized social networking alternative to Facebook, announced today that it will now be “a community project.”
I log in to Diaspora from time to time. The app is slow and ugly. It appears it isn’t written well, and I’d guess at this being a talent issue.
Now if someone could integrate it with Tent, I’d be certainly more interested. I’m certainly hopeful for its future.
This reminds me of the old quote, first uttered in 1422 at the coronation of French King Charles VII, after the death of his father, Charles VI, “The King is dead. Long live the King.” Just maybe we’re a bit premature, but we see it coming.
It certainly isn’t a positive for its freedom that MySQL is in the hands of Oracle. Luckily, you can fork a project and there are many forward versions branched from the MySQL source-code.
10 December 2012
Allan Odgaard in August:
I’ve always wanted to allow end-users to tinker with their environment, my ability to do this is what got me excited about programming in the first place, and it is why I created the bundles concept, but there are limits to how much a bundle can do, and with the still growing user base, I think the best move forward is to open source the program.
According to the apple elite, it’s the end for TextMate. I’m not disagreeing, but open-source is a wonderful thing and it should be embraced. You can still monetise your product. It’s pathetic that some see open-source as a graveyard.
The Verge have a great piece on the incredible Retro Game Crunch:
“Limitation encourages focus,” says Inman. “Anything you can’t do is one less thing you have to try to do. A thematic constraint forces us to think creatively and consider things we otherwise would not. The time constraint forces us to prioritize features that will have the greatest impact. Mega Man 2 was made in 3-4 months, Duke Nukem Forever in 15 years. Are constraints a good or a bad thing?”
There isn’t long to go now. They need your backing. If I could fund the rest on my own I would in a flash. Please donate today!
Simon Sage reviews Organ Trail: Director’s Cut for Android:
The gameplay itself is rich and detailed, if a bit slow for some people. The ultimate goal is to make it to the west coast with as many survivors of a 5-man party as possible. Players have a wide variety of supplies that they have to stock up on in order to be ready to meet random challenges. There’s a randomized barter and market system in place, but failing that, you can try your luck at scavenging. Inclement weather can slow down progress, various diseases can reduce the health of your party members, the car can break down, and roadside distractions can be either a boon or the death knell for your entire crew.
Organ Trail is an incredibly playable game. Featuring survival turn based role-playing elements, it requires you complete a series of enjoyable mini-games to keep your stats favourable.
It’s an incredible game. I’ve played it through many times.
30 November 2012
David Ruddock for Android Police explains why the new PhoneJoy Play isn’t going to be any good:
I am not saying that a smartphone gamepad is inherently a flawed concept. But not a single one I’ve seen has actually done anything to address the one innovation roadblock to wide adoption – compatibility. And that’s because solving this conundrum requires one of two things: a really awesome, innovative idea that makes the controller “just work,” or a ton of money to bribe developers into playing ball with free hardware development kits. Both of those things are hard / expensive. And it seems eminently unlikely either of them will be happening with the PhoneJoy Play.
It’s a shame. A real game pad for my devices made completable with my installed games would be awesome.
Jeff Atwood is one of my favourite people for pointing out things like this:
For the things in my life that actually mattered, I’ve never needed any to-do list to tell me to do them. If I did, then that’d be awfully strong evidence that I have some serious life problems to face before considering the rather trivial matter of which to-do lifehack fits my personality best. As for the things that didn’t matter in my life, well, those just tended to pile up endlessly in the old to-do list. And the collective psychic weight of all these minor undone tasks were caught up in my ever-growing to-do katamari ball, where they continually weighed on me, day after day.
I call it ‘faff’, something that is done or exists to be meaningless in the guise that something important or worthy is being done. In reality you suffocate yourself with stress, care about the wrong things and fail at punctuality all at the expense of nothing dressed up as good organisational skills.
It’s no coincidence that the “Tech Specs” link atop apple.com/iphone is dead last. Apple’s best marketing has always been about what a product does, not what it has. Forget MHz and GB and mAh — how much faster does it launch apps? Play games? Snap pictures? Load web pages? How many hours of video and talk time? These are things that anyone can not only understand, but appreciate.
Behold the NFC issue. What can people do with it today? All we hear is what they should be able to do with it someday. Search the web for “near field communication” — the 2010 articles read exactly like the 2012 articles. And boy are they wordy.
This is a pathetic argument as the idea of design is to create a utility for the technology and make our lives easier. NFC is a great candidate for this. Payments, macros, security. I want to open my front door and start my car using NFC on my phone. (I mean, I’d be stuck if the battery ever went, but I’ll leave that for the designers to solve.)
29 November 2012
Scott Hanselman writes a detailed piece about why software today is in a pathetic place, what needs fixing and what we need to do about it.
The main reason I started my studies in Software Engineering is because every piece of software I use is pathetic in far too many ways. There are tonnes of things that can be done, and this isn’t even the tip of the iceberg. I know that there will be plenty of work for me in my lifetime to get this fixed.
Katherine Rushton writes for the Telegraph:
Just like all internet companies, Google has grown up in a world where the majority of people used the web on large screens, ideal for displaying multiple advertisements alongside its sought-after content. However, as more and more people reach for their mobiles, the ads have to battle for attention on significantly smaller screens.
It’s not hard to see the problem. Smaller screens means less space for advertising. What can Google do about it? I don’t know the answer, but they need to start innovating and come up with a viable solution.
Chris Umiastowski at Android Central sticking up for Google’s freak stock accident and their worrying financial situation:
Google, as a standalone business and excluding Motorola, grew 19 percent year over year. That’s nothing to sneeze at. But without currency fluctuations, that would have been an even more impressive 24 percent, a point the execs tried to drive home during the conference call. Not too shabby.
As an advertising company, people are happy to see that paid clicks are up 33 percent year over year. But with the revenue per click dropping 15 percent versus last year, Wall Street freaks out. So it’s nice to know that on a constant currency basis, the drop would be 8 percent. Not so bad.
It’s hard to read but the bottom line for me is Google would be a better company if they stop trying to do everything and just invested a bit of focus into the company.
28 November 2012
In what it describes as another effort to make its portfolio companies better at design, Google Ventures is announcing a new Designer in Residence program.
The firm had already created a Design Studio where its startups can get help through design sprints, workshops, mentoring, and recruiting. With the new program, designers are matched with multiple companies, and they work together for several months.
Could we have some designer residences at Google please?
After today’s barrage of cynicism towards Apple, now I’ll link to a piece from Ryan Ghods about the reasons Apple are targeted with negativity:
So who’s to blame for the negative public perception surrounding Apple’s latest smartphone? Apple, if you ask me. But not because the iPhone 5 is a bad product. Rather, I chalk the criticism up to Apple’s poor marketing-communication strategy.
Apple is an innovative company, and you can’t innovate without experimenting and pushing the boundaries. This means that early adopters are forced to test products as the technology becomes mainstream.
Look at the original iPad. It’s a brick. The iPad mini with its terrible resolution. The Retina MacBooks, pathetic battery life and worse performance. They have to be shipped to get better.