As the proud owner of a teenage girl who’s turning into a fine young woman, I’ve reflected on the various stages of parenthood:
spending 49% of salary on baby food, and 49% on nappies
grazed knees and reassurance
helping with homework
realising you’re unable to help with homework
pretending not being sad when they say they hate you
making them work for relatively trivial amounts of money so they understand that money is valuable
being polite to spotty herberts with ludicrous hair and unstable voices (Teenage Boys)
“this is a house not a hotel”
The daughter is pretty well-equipped for adulthood. She already excels in many aspects of the curriculum at Bruce’s Finishing School for Modern Young Ladies® – she can fart outrageously, think deeply, belch loudly, accept differences, kickbox and knock down arse-gropers, play guitar, say “no”, say “fuck off”, spin out a really good joke to entertain both friends and eavesdroppers on a bus, get a paedophile deported, support her friends, swear inventively and hold her vodka down.
So I’m beginning a programme of watching classic movies with her. Not worthy art films, just those that have a different view of life, are surprising, or beautiful, or don’t portray women as idiots or trophies to be won, or simply those you’ll feel embarrassed saying “I haven’t seen that” at a student party.
Here’s a list so far:
Some Like It Hot
The usual suspects
Evil Dead 2013
The Big Lebowski
Un chien Andalou
Triumph of the Will
Kind Hearts and Coronets
Your recommendations (with a line about why) would be highly useful.
My university friend Richard was doing some paperwork at his house and found a magazine published in the late 80s with three of my poems in it, each of which I’d written to capture one single moment or emotion. For no other reasons than it’s fun for me to rediscover my younger self, and because right now it actually is a hot evening in July, and also because I want to pretend to be all sensitive’n’shit, here’s one of those poems:
It is a hot evening in July. You and I
lie, naked, on the bed. My cigarette smoke
dances in the sun’s fading rays, and hangs in the air
like angels, waiting. Are you awake?
Yes, it seems that you are.
You run your fingers through your raven-black hair,
slowly. Your eyes are half-closed. Your eyelashes are long.
Your skin is pale, glazed with sweat. Your lips are wet.
Stubble in your armpits. Nipples dark, erect.
One of your legs gently massages the other, so slowly.
I lie back, exhaling slowly, and kiss you.
But you do not kiss me.
I have often noticed this: you will reciprocate,
but not initiate. A clock ticks somewhere.
You retain fragments of a fractured innocence:
You remind me of a fallen angel. There are no words.
A smile comes to your lips and I say, What’s funny?
You do not reply.
It is a hot evening in July.
It is a hot evening in July:
humid; quiet. You sigh.
We breathe heavily, in unison.
The sound of next door’s radio
floats languidly through our window to the world.
You hum along, inaudibly. I light another cigarette as
you shift to your side to face me. I stare at the ceiling
and send a smoke ring drifting
which hangs over your head and dissipates.
Your hand rests on my stomach, your head on my chest.
My free arm around your shoulders.
I can hear your heart beat.
I can feel your heart beat.
Somewhere a clock is ticking.
You look up and smile to me; our eyes are solemn.
And then you kiss me and I could cry.
It is a hot evening in July.
Being a compendium of links that I’ve read, or tweeted, gathered together for those who don’t hang around on twitter all day. Inclusion here doesn’t imply endorsement, just that I found it useful or interesting.
Standards ‘n’ Stuff
Here’s the <picture> element, all grown up and looking so slinky in a mint-green WHATWG spec and matching tiara
html5-h custom element by Steve Faulkner is a web component to replace <h1>-<h6> and implement the proper HTML5 document outline. Interesting stuff; web components as a way to smooth around broken implementations.
Fuzzy anchoring – another proposal for a method to link to arbitrary places in a document you don’t control. See also Using CSS Selectors as Fragment Identifiers by Simon St Laurent and Eric Meyer (disclosure: I reviewed an early draft of this proposal). I want something like this, but there’s little interest in the standards groups, I think.
Dear Marc Andreessen – “If our industry stops painting anyone who questions our business models as Luddites and finds creative ways to build products and services that sustainably address real needs, maybe we can hold on to the receding myth of triumphal disruption.”
It looks like Manifest for web application is gonna be, like, literally, a thing. It’s already in Firefox OS, Opera likes it, and Alex Russell – sounding like an enthusiastic estate agent with his breathless talk of “window decorating” & “exit extents” – gave it a yay from the Chrome team.
a loose, unofficial, and open collaboration of Web browser manufacturers and interested parties. The group aims to develop specifications based on HTML and related technologies to ease the deployment of interoperable Web Applications
Ten years is a long time, especially so in software, but nevertheless, the achievements of WHATWG have been remarkable. Hixie wrote
The working group intends to ensure that all its specifications address backwards compatibility concerns, clearly provide reasonable transition strategies for authors, and specify error handling behavior to ensure interoperability even in the face of documents that do not comply to the letter of the specifications.
Core aspects of the web platform were never adequately specified. XMLHttpRequest, for example, was shipped in IE5 in March 1999, and reverse-engineered and shipped in Firefox, Opera, Safari and iCab, but never actually documented until Anne van Kesteren co-specified it in WHATWG in a Working Draft of 5 April 2006. Anne’s currently working on the Fetch Standard, which defines something as basic as “requests, responses, and the process that binds them” and the Encoding Standard:
While encodings have been defined to some extent, implementations have not always implemented them in the same way, have not always used the same labels, and often differ in dealing with undefined and former proprietary areas of encodings. This specification attempts to fill those gaps so that new implementations do not have to reverse engineer encoding implementations of the market leaders and existing implementations can converge.
Of course, the poster children of WHATWG are the slew of new APIs that “HTML5″ brings us – Web Workers, Web Sockets, native video and audio etc etc. There have been mistakes along the way (of course there have, in a decade!). Last year, Hixie told me
My biggest mistake…there are so many to choose from! pushState() is my favourite mistake, for the sheer silliness of ending up with an API that has a useless argument and being forced to keep it because the feature was so desired that people used it on major sites before we were ready to call it done, preventing us from changing lest we break it. postMessage()‘s security model is so poorly designed that it’s had academic papers written about how dumb I was, so that’s a pretty big mistake. (It’s possible to use postMessage() safely. It’s just that the easiest thing to do is not the safe way, so people get it wrong all the time.) The appcache API is another big mistake. It’s the best example of not understanding the problem before designing a solution, and I’m still trying to fix that mess.
But to me, the biggest triumph of WHATWG has been error-handling and interoperability (actually, two sides of the same coin). We’ve moved from a vision of the future where everything was supposed to be XML and browsers were to stop parsing if they met malformed markup, to a present where every browser knows how to construct an identical DOM from the most mangled/tangled HTML. We’re moving to a world where interoperability is paramount, and where specifications are made in the open, in constant consultation with developers (for example, Service Workers, Web Components) based on real use-cases.
I think the existence and the work of WHATWG has secured the viability of the web platform. Happy 10th birthday. And thanks.
Update and call for review. HTML manifest spec for offline apps v1 is published. Implementing in Gecko, Blink. “Devs and implementers, please let us know which V2 features should be prioritized.”
Getting to know CSS Blend Modes – “CSS Blend Modes provide a way to specify how one layer will interact or “blend” with the one underneath. Until now, this was the domain of photo editing applications, but now they are available on the web using CSS itself!”
Is Service Worker ready? – no. But Jank Architect has a useful page showing the implementation status of all the pieces needed to get to offline app utopia.
Web Wishes (Unofficial Draft) – “This specification defines a mechanism for Web applications to register themselves as being able to handle certain specific types of services (“grant wishes”) with a user agent.”
It’s true that in modern Finnish it doesn’t. That’s because it’s wrapped up in a dark era of Finland’s past, a past which modern Finns prefer to forget.
“Åpp større” means “fellate a demon” in the Middle Late High Hämeenlinna dialect. Hämeenlinna is a small city of 68,000 people, but in the fifteenth century it was a hotbed of Catholic religious fervour, centered around the monastery of Häme Castle. In 1498, the Finnish Inquisition began (which no-one had expected), and most of the Inquisitors were recruited from Hämeenlinna.
Suspects were tortured until they confessed to carnal relations with minions of Satan – åpp større – and then punished by being weighed down with stones and thrown into a fjord to sink the accused to Hell, known as “Hell-sink”.
Although much of this is forgotten or suppressed in modern-day Finland and most Finns will strenuously deny it, some linguistic clues remain. The modern-day Scandinavian surname “Helsing” indicates a descendant of the Hämeenlinna inquisitors – indicating someone who sent people “sinking to Hell”. The city that was nearest to the fjord where executions took place became known as “rapids where they sink to Hell” – or, nowadays, “Helsingfors”: Helsinki.
It almost doesn’t matter how good the news is; if it comes after “actually,” I feel like I was somehow wrong about something.
Consider these two sentences:
Actually, you can do this under “Settings.”
Sure thing, you can do this under “Settings!”
…It’s amazing how much brighter my writing (and speaking) gets when I go through and lose the “actuallies.”
While I’m at it, I try to get rid of the “buts” too.
Sentence 1: I really appreciate you writing in, but unfortunately we don’t have this feature available.
Sentence 2: I really appreciate you writing in! Unfortunately, we don’t have this feature available.
Feel different? When I substitute my “buts” for exclamation points, I feel so much happier with my message.
In short: Don’t forget the happiness exclamation marks! And the smiley face! Every sentence should have one! Every thing must be happy! All the time
Kopprasch tells us that removing the word “actually” from her vocabulary is “One of my favorite “happiness hacks””. I’ve got nothing against the words “but” or “actually”. But I’d drown the phrase “happiness hack” in a bucket.
Oops: I mean “I’d drown the phrase “happiness hack” in a bucket!! OMG LOL!! :)”
Meanwhile, Techcruch has discovered The App Store Is Proof We’re In Idiocracy. Apparently this is because these days, the best-sellers in the iTunes App Store are games like Weed Firm, Toilet Time, Flappy Bird clones and the like.
Now, I’m no defender of walled-gardens of programs for closed platforms; I take childish delight that, in Finnish, “åpp større” means “fellate a demon”. But a swift glance over some YouTube comments, Facebook will show that the open Web is has its own teensy niches of popular culture. As do TV schedules, book shops, the music business. Because – shockingly – people like popular culture, and popular culture isn’t always intellectual and esoteric.
Sarah Perez, the author, laments that the dirty proles have access to technology:
…phones are now in the hands of a broader, more diverse group of people, both young and old, who won’t necessarily share the same tastes as the tech elite whose punditry and personal recommendations about the “next great mobile app” used to matter.
Boo-fucking-hoo to you, Pope Perez, and to your tech elite priesthood. Getting the web and tech to all the people is the point.
How fast is PDF.js? – MozHacks article about Opera and Mozilla collaborating to make PDF.js faster. It’s good fun collaborating with Google et al on Blink, Moz on PDF.js and contributing to WebKit too.
HTML as Custom Elements “Custom Elements is a bedrock API. We should be able to build all HTML elements with it.” (Should we? Why?)