Full stack web developer, interested in all the things, but especially the web, code, design, Linux, OS X, PHP, WordPress, JavaScript & robots.

Tagged: the web

The web looks like shit image/svg+xml

Auto-play videos lurking in unopened tabs. Pop-ups that won’t go away. Photos that won’t load. Text that’s invaded by ads. It’s hard to complain about the internet without feeling like a mom struggling to post on Facebook, but going online has started to feel like an assault on the senses.

A sad, but accurate commentary on today’s web.

Why social media is like the railways – and must be saved image/svg+xml

Medium, Soundcloud and ultimately Twitter are – like the railways – worth saving even if they cannot be run at a profit.

I’m not sure about Medium and SoundCloud, but I often wonder what would happen if Twitter was to threaten that it was closing down. Ideally, a non-profit would step-in and run it as a public service. There’s no doubt that it would be expensive to run, but governments have been known to waste money on more frivolous projects.

Anyhow, it’s an enjoyable read, if only for this accurate remark of the big social media sites:

The sharing capacities of the internet are being overwhelmed by the profit models of large corporations. The tsunami of crap, fake news, celebrity gossip and plastic music that has taken over social media is killing it – or rather killing the spirit in which it flowered six or seven years ago.

Sad, but true.

The Shitlord in the Forum Problem image/svg+xml

For better or for worse, online communities are born out of like-mindedness. That’s different than our geographical-based communities. These communites grow and people on the fringe of this like-mindedness will no doubt arrive. The guiding principle begins to fall apart. This state is ideal for diversity of opinion, but it is only a matter of time until the Shitlord appears.

The Shitlord has a singular societal function: to provoke. Crass language and jokes, hostile opinions, contrarianism for controversy’s sake, even rape and death threats. They squelch the peacekeepers and embolden the extremists. Unmanaged, dissidence grows and grows. The traditional advice to “ignore the trolls” doesn’t work here. I say this from experience, it’s not easy to fix.

The CrunchBang forums had a few Shitlords and they were a proper PITA. I remember one in particular who was mentally unhinged on a level that I’ve not experienced before. I can confirm that “don’t feed the trolls” did not work for this Shitlord. Instead, I fed them courtesy and kindness, and over a period of months, the Shitlord lost interest and moved on. It was time consuming, frustrating, a little scary, but most annoyingly, it was a distraction.

Shitlords aside, the CrunchBang forums and community were totally awesome. I will always remember them with fond memories.

Results of the GIF Survey image/svg+xml

It’s an interesting inversion of what one might (perhaps naïvely?) expect: given that the creator of the format has explicitly said the pronunciation is with a soft G, one might expect that those who use the hard G know it’s incorrect but say it anyway. My personal opinion is that this is actually a reflection of human nature: faced with evidence that undermines our instinctive reactions, we tend to double down.

This debate has been raging for years, and it’s just bonkers. In the past, I’ve been laughed at for using the soft G and I’ve sometimes tried to defend my stance by a) pointing out the creator’s pronunciation, and b) asking how the word “gist” is pronounced. It’s usually at this point that the debate gets even more ridiculous. Again, it’s just bonkers.

All that said, I love that this survey has been conducted!

Reducing Adobe Flash Usage in Firefox image/svg+xml

Mozilla and the Web as a whole have been taking steps to reduce the need for Flash content in everyday browsing. Starting in August, Firefox will block certain Flash content that is not essential to the user experience, while continuing to support legacy Flash content. These and future changes will bring Firefox users enhanced security, improved battery life, faster page load, and better browser responsiveness.

Seems like a wise move. What’s interesting here is the graph they show that details how the crash rates decreased dramatically when YouTube and Facebook switched to HTML5 video. I wonder if other browser vendors will follow suit?

P.S. The BBC have covered this story, I hope they take notice and sort their shit out.

The web on my phone image/svg+xml

Chrome for iOS is not Chrome. Firefox for iOS is not Firefox. Opera for iOS is not Opera. They are all using WebKit. They’re effectively the same as Mobile Safari, just with different skins.

This I did not know. After years of using Android devices, I’ve seriously been considering switching to an iPhone, but after reading this, maybe I’ll reconsider.