- CSS Grid Layout Module Level 1 at Candidate Recommendation – Rachel Andrew explains what it means
- DRM and Web security WHATWG blogpost by Hixie. Anne van Kesteren and Simon Pieters. (Spoiler: they don’t like EME/ DRM.)
- The Web Browser API Incubation Anti-Pattern – Manu Sporny (of the W3C Web Payments Working Group) on the the tortuous process of standardisation
- Would you like fries with that? – Booking.com, discussing the Hamburger Icon.
- Why we use progressive enhancement to build GOV.UK – “User needs rarely dictate complexity.”
- Mobile phone market peaks at 2B units a year – study – “The mobile phone market has peaked at 2 billion units per year and will fall 1.3 per cent in 2016 compared to 2015”
- We are entering the age of peak smartphone. What happens next? (UK perspective)
- Consumer usage patterns in the era of peak smartphone Deloitte’s Global Mobile Consumer Survey 2016: UK Cut. Contains nuggets like “”an online search for a product is over three times more likely to start in a browser (50%) than in an app (15%)” and Millennials prefer laptops (80% ownership) to tablets (59% ownership). 19% of 18-34 year olds intend to buy laptop in next year
- The iOS Safari menu bar is hostile to web apps: discuss
- The need for mobile speed: How mobile latency impacts publisher revenue – “average load time for mobile sites is 19 seconds over 3G … 53% of mobile site visits are abandoned if pages take longer than 3 seconds to load.”
- Web development as a hack of hacks by PPK
- HSTS Priming “proposes modifications to Strict Transport Security’s behavior in order to mitigate the risk that mixed content blocking will prevent migrations from HTTP to HTTPS”
- [Proposal] AnimationWorklet – a primitive for scroll-linked and high performance procedural animated effects (renames & supersedes Houdini’s
- Facebook Ordered to Stop Collecting Data on WhatsApp Users in Germany – “It has to be [users’] decision, whether they want to connect their account with Facebook”
- Attitudes to potentially offensive language and gestures on TV and radio report by UK Communications regulator. Discover which is ruder: the ‘blowjob’ or ‘wanker’ gesture.
- The Building Blocks Of Progressive Web Apps – very nice overview by Ada Rose Edwards
- What, Exactly, Makes Something A Progressive Web App? by the other PWA (Progressive Web Alex), @slightlylate
- PWA Performance by Steve Souders – “a web developer’s (and user’s) dream come true: a fast experience even while offline.”
- How are progressive web apps making the African web better? – Andreas Bovens went to find out.
- Plugin Evaluation – date pickers, carousels, modals, tabs, accordions etc evaluated for size, accessibility, dependancies etc.
- MinMaxing: Understanding vMin and vMax in CSS
- The relationship between payment apps and service workers – Opera’s Tommy Thorsen has some suggestions.
- SVG 2 Candidate Recommendation 15 Sept. What’s new.
- Accessibility Object Model – early draft, unofficial spec (editors from Mozila, Micossoft, Google, Apple)
- Intent to Implement: Shape Detection API – “Photos and images constitute the largest chunk of the Web, and many include recognisable features, such as human faces or QR codes. Hardware manufacturers have long been providing support for such operations given their (high) computational complexity. The Shape Detection API allows accessing these hardware-accelerated detectors where available.”
- Generic Sensor API (Working Draft) aims to “promote consistency across sensor APIs, enable advanced use cases thanks to performant low-level APIs, and increase the pace at which new sensors can be exposed to the Web”
- Hospitals Try Giving Patients a Dose of VR – we’ll see more non-gaming use of Virtual Reality when WebVR hits browsers
- Introducing the WebVR API – presentation by Ada Rose Edwards
- Oh shit, git! – a plain English guide to getting out of common Git messes
- The big news: From Chrome Apps to the Web – Proprietary Chrome Apps will be deprecated (on non-Chrome OS devices) in favour of Progressive Web Apps
- How monetizing became malvertising – “half the ads with malware payloads were on either news or entertainment websites, with news at the top of the pack (32 percent)”
- The Future Web Wants You by Brian “Extensible” Kardell
- Browsing your website does not mean I want your spam – third-party tracking gets eviller
- Five Rules Of App Localization In China: Money, Dating And App Store
- Save as ebook – Save a web page/selection as an eBook (.epub format) – a Chrome/Firefox/Opera Web Extension
- Free VPN for Android without data limits: Opera VPN – free, no-login, unlimited date, choose from 5 virtual locations, cute logo
- Ericsson report: Experience shapes mobile customer loyalty – “While cellular networks have improved… smartphone users are still facing issues as frequently as they did in 2013.”
- North Korea ‘Netflix’ device unveiled – a video-on-demand set-top box. Not sure what kind of videos; it’s called “Manbang”. Netflix responded “We are bummed we didn’t think of that name first.”
- M-commerce: has the mobile web finally won? – “Not only are more smartphone users purchasing with their mobile devices, but more people are choosing to make those purchases via mobile web rather than via mobile apps.”
- Writing Less Damn Code – because it’s good to be lazy. By Heydon Puckering
- Offline Storage for Progressive Web Apps – useful guide to APIs, cross-browser support & polyfills by Addy Osmani
- Chrome alternative for Windows XP and Vista – Opera is the only major browser to provide security updates for all Win XP/ Vista users (because more than 10% of computer users are on XP)
- The <source> element – video from CSS Day in which my glamorous fellow-Operative, Simon Pieters, looks at the <source> element, how it works and how it came to be. Major anorak goodness.
- FLIF – Free Lossless Image Format – smaller than WebP, one single file for both low & high res images, no patents
- Copresence in WebVR – “multi-user chat prototype that uses peer-to-peer audio and data connections to establish a virtual audio experience. Voices are spatialized based on the position and orientation of each participant (using Web Audio). Also, you can shrink and grow, which, in addition to changing your avatar’s size, pitch shifts your voice.” by Boris Smus.
- What is React? asks Remington Sharp
- building a components system – a talk by Alice Bartlett (Financial Times). (Slides)
- This Is What’s Missing From Journalism Right Now – MotherJones spent $350K on investigation to get an important story, took $5K in ad revenue, and experiments with a new monetisation model for journalism
- Chinese Tech Firms Forced to Choose Market: Home or Everywhere Else
- Welcome to the Age of Digital Imperialism – “As Thailand is discovering, the smartphone — for all its indispensability as a tool of business and practicality — is also a bearer of values; it is not a culturally neutral device”
- Binary Safety Warning – “Bitcoin.org has reason to suspect that the binaries for the upcoming Bitcoin Core release will likely be targeted by state sponsored attackers.”
- Headline of the week: Police seek hardened criminal after penis pump is stolen from Mildura sex shop
- In memory of Opera pioneer Per Hedbor – the main developer behind the Opera Mini servers.
- Lowering memory usage in Opera and Blink with Heap compaction – how we made Opera’s Blink-based products use a lot less memory
- Web Page Test now allows you to check how fast your site loads (and what it looks like) in Opera Mini’s Extreme Mode (e.g., the maximum compression). Choose “Dulles, VA USA (IE 8-11,Chrome,Firefox,Android,iOS 9)” as the test location, and select a device with Opera Mini in the browser drop down list. A big thank you to Patrick Meenan for adding this.
- The death of the natives? A progressive shift for apps, web & marketers – a report on biz benefits of PWAs (suitable for non-techy boss types)
- Opera and Progressive Web Apps – video interview with l’il ol’ me. In a suit!
- Lack of internet connectivity is biggest fear of Indians while travelling – “13.8% people are willing to go without food for an entire day for a lag-free internet connection.”
- Photographer Files $1 Billion Suit Against Getty for Licensing Her Public Domain Images
- Is there such a thing as ‘bore out’? – A French man is suing his employers for 300K Euros for for being “killed professionally through boredom”.
- The buzz: how the vibrator came to be – “In 19th-century Britain, women suffering from chronic anxiety prescribed pelvic finger massage. Doctors found this tedious and time-consuming, so they invented something to do the job for them” (Safe for work)
- Research with blind users on mobile devices by gov.uk
- Responsive images: Smaller page sizes with the picture element and WebP – stats on how Mike Babb reduced page weight by 70% for smaller devices, using responsive images
- Apple Pay on the Web – Apple to W3C: “I anticipate that we as a Working Group can and will make the Payment Request API into a solid, cross-browser framework for payments”
- Serverless Data Sync in Web Apps with Bit Torrent – cool article by Paul Kinlan
- Progressive Web Apps in Nigeria and Kenya: a Double Interview – lots of stats about how much data costs, and how much is saved by PWAs
- Making progressive web apps even better: ambient badging and “pop into browser” – Opera Labs build shows you when a site is a PWA, and a mechanism to expose the current URL
- The Web App “Discovery Problem” by Remy Sharp
- The Progress of Web Apps – PWAs on Windows, by Jacob Rossi
- PWAify – “Experimental project to convert your PWA (Progressive Web App) into a cross-platform Electron app. Brings PWAs to your desktop.”
- The Right Way To Ask Users For iOS Permissions (or any permissions, really)
- Using the HTML lang attribute by Léonie Watson. Here’s a 7 second demo by Patrick Lauke of a screenreader reading French text without, then with, the correct lang attribute.
- Over the edge? – Opera’s power saver mode extends battery life 43 mins longer than Microsoft Edge and 1 hr 1 min longer than Chrome
- Ad blocking, web push notifications, site settings come to Opera for Android (the Chromium-based full browser)
- Velocity Conference talk about Opera and ad blocking – my talk with video and slides
- Some Advice for Companies Fighting Ad Blockers
- Free Wi-Fi has Soweto surfing in the streets – “Our aim is to make the internet available to everyone, regardless of their background”
- Meanwhile… China’s Great Firewall is Harming Innovation, [Chinese] Scholars Say ““Our nation’s mind is caged,” say Hu Xingdou, an economics professor”
- The Best and Worst Internet Experience in the World – MIT Tech Review report on the Web in China. “Among the country’s roughly 690 million Internet users, 620 million now go online using a mobile device. “
- The Philippines is Now the Fastest Growing Smartphone Market in ASEAN – 20% YoY growth; local vendors dominant
- ways ASEAN can accelerate its digital revolution
- Myanmar’s digital revolution BBC radio’s vignette on smartphone use in Myanmar, where SIM costs went from $2000 to $1.50
- Why mobile money is a game-changer for African entrepreneurs – “mobile money is slowly moving beyond the person-to-person arena into the business-to-business and business-to-consumer spaces”
- Pornhub launches explicit audio for the visually impaired
- The Web is for everyone – new documentary on its invention
- Heavy Metal and Natural Language Processing – What are the “most metal” words to use in songs?
I’ve been wondering why I feel so personally affronted by the recent UK referendum result that means we’ll leave the EU. Of course, it’ll make my job harder; by the end of this year, I will have had easy, visa-free access to France, Germany, Denmark, Poland, Romania, Netherlands, Spain, Greece and Norway. That could end. (Or not — who knows? There is no plan, just uncertainty).
I’m unhappy that the pressing matters of government will take a backseat to rewriting laws, treaties and standards that we’ll abandon. I’m angry that friends of mine who live and work here now find their status uncertain: the front-runner for Tory PM, Theresa May, refused to guarantee the right to remain for EU people who came before the vote. I’m furious that my daughter’s plans to go to an overseas university are now thwarted.
But mostly, I want to take my country back. I believed that I lived in a country that was a bit weird, detached geographically from continental Europe and therefore a little aloof, but by-and-large liberal and tolerant; a nation of sea-farers who, almost by definition, tended to think internationally; a nation of pragmatists who wouldn’t shoot their own economy down in flames for a dogma of immigrantphobia (the babysteps of the dogma that our grandparents fought against).
It seems I don’t live in that country.
If the vote had been more overwhelmingly in favour of exit, I’d conclude that the country I thought I lived in was a fiction, mutually constructed by the liberal, border-hopping people I call colleagues and friends. But the vote was so close (48% to 52%) that I realise the country I believed in was shared by almost half the population of the UK. It really feels that we live in a divided nation.
Soon, it will really divide. Scotland will leave; why would they stay? The Scots overwhelmingly rejected Westminster Tories and Brexit. To “save the UK”, the Brexiters are breaking it up, and leaving a rump state with a faltering economy and a great schism in the population. I want to take my country back, and I see no way to do it.
There’s been lots of weird nationalist stuff circulating around the media about “Proud to be British. Vote Leave”, as if wanting to remain in Europe is somehow unpatriotic.
So I’ll clearly say: I’m proud to be British, and thus sent in my postal vote to Remain. I don’t want the economic turmoil that an exit would cause, especially as we’re teetering on the edge of another recession. I’d probably be OK, but I fear for the livelihoods of friends of mine.
Sure, the stockbrokers and millionaires and directors who are leading the exit campaign tell you that it’s all about sovereignty and “controlling our borders” (whatever either of those mean). But really, they want to abolish the workers protection that we get from EU. They’d like us to leave European Court of Human Rights (which was the only way the ordinary families in Liverpool got any justice for Hillsborough).
Sure, the Brexit leaders tell you that “not paying the EU levy would free up resources to put into the NHS”, but many of them have had years in Parliament, quietly demolishing the NHS instead of protecting it.
They want to leave the EU so they can be more aggressively right-wing, make workers’ lives harder instead of better, and use the economic problems that would inevitably ensue as an excuse to implement even more ideologically-driven “austerity”.
I don’t want that; I love my country. So I voted ‘Remain’.
Lots of tasty web/ apps links here, Reading List Fans!
- New data shows losing 80% of mobile users is normal, and why the best apps do better by Andrew Chen (Uber). TL;DR: the average Android app gets uninstalled by 77% of users in 24 hrs. By day 90, install retention is down to 3.97%.
- The app boom is over “Last month, the top 15 app publishers saw downloads drop an average of 20 percent in the U.S.”
- Meanwhile, in web land… The Crisis Facing the Web Platform in which Peter Gasston plays Boswell to Alex Russell’s Dr Johnson
- PWA Discovery: You Ain’t Seen Nothin Yet by Alex Russell
- Progressively less progressive Andrew Betts on mobile-only, JS-required PWAs. I particularly agree with him about AMP.
- Don’t use iOS meta tags irresponsibly in your Progressive Web Apps by Maximiliano Firtman
- Progressive Web Apps isn’t a Google-only thing – absolutely! The amount of time I’ve spent with Andreas Bovens and the Opera for Android team is huge!
- Android Instant Apps, Progressive Web Apps and the Future of the Web by Jason Grigsby
- Why UK’s Government Digital Service Decided To Ditch Apps
- The fucking open web – a discouraging essay by a software CEO, which is important to address as browser makers, standardisers & devs.
- Surveying the landscape by Peter Gasston; a less gloomy assessment of the web, by @stopsatgreen. Long, but deffo worth reading.
- Opera 38 goes final with new battery saver – 49% longer battery life than using Chrome. Because PCs don’t live on your desk, plugged in all the time.
- A list of everything that could go in the <head> of your document – it’s a LOT
- [Proposal] API to Control User Gesture Navigation – CSS
overscroll-actionproperty to control user gesture navigation
- Typosquatting programming language package managers – “17000 computers were forced to execute arbitrary code by typosquatting programming language packages/libraries” of which 50% had admin rights, including .mil and .gov domains. Fiendishly brilliant.
- chinese text displays in different sizes and fonts: troubleshooting chinese font problems
- Decoding Culture on the Chinternet – collecting and preserving memes on the Chinese internet
- Open Open Source – Charlotte Spencer on getting more diverse participants in projects
Oh, and if you’re in the London area and looking to hire someone to do Content Marketing and Content Strategy, contact my cousin Simon Migliano, even though as a kid he used to cry in fear at The Magic Roundabout.
Today would have been my dad’s birthday, so it’s as appropriate a time as any to publish this blog post about how and when he came out to my brother and me as a gay man. I wasn’t going to write a blog post about it, to be honest – it’s personal. But my mum recently showed me an article about a support group for kids whose parents came out (to my incredulity) so I figured that writing this might prove useful to somebody. (I’ve also talked to my mum and brother to make sure it’s OK to publish this, as it’s their story too.)
My parents separated when I was about 18 – between completing my A-levels and going up to university. Dad moved to London (where he’d been working Monday – Friday for a while) and it was amicable; they didn’t divorce until years later, when mum wanted to remarry.
My brother and I strongly suspected that Dad was gay; when we’d visit him, we’d always meet up with his bachelor friend who lived nearby. We weren’t fazed by it; we both had gay friends (the 80s was a time when UK society was changing for the better; my generation was much more tolerant than our antecedents).
One day, my brother and I were having a beer with our mum, and one of us asked her directly if Dad was gay. (This sounds weirder than it was; my parents had always encouraged us to speak openly with them.) She fobbed us off with “you’d better ask him” but phoned him up later and suggested that he tell us, so he soon invited himself up to Birmingham for one of his royal visits.
We could see he was nervous, and he said “I have something to tell you, and I hope it’ll be OK and you won’t decide you never want to speak to me again. I’m gay”. My brother and I said, “yeah, we know, and it makes no difference. Another pint?” and that was that.
I don’t know whether he really thought we might disown him; I used to wear eyeliner and black nail polish and was in an acting group with a very out, very camp friend. But his background probably meant that he expected disapproval; he grew up in a very traditional Northern coal-mining town (and was the first Lawson never to go down the Pit) and was an adult before the repeal of the law which made male homosexuality an imprisonable offence.
But nothing changed, and everything was fine. When I lived in London, I’d go out with my dad and his husband to the gay-friendly bars. The two of them were at the top table, with my mum and stepdad, at family weddings; my mum was at his funeral.
The hardest bit was when I drafted the eulogy to read at the funeral. I knew he hadn’t told many of his friends at the amateur theatre club he was in, or at the hospice where he was a volunteer grief counsellor (because he believed it was, fundamentally, a private matter) so I didn’t want to posthumously “out” him at his own funeral. But, equally, there were lots of gay friends attending, and I didn’t want to pretend that part of his life didn’t happen or make them think that I was in any way ashamed of it. My brother and I discussed it, and I simply said “After he and my mum amicably separated, he moved to London with his new partner, David …” and continued.
I think everybody guessed when his coffin slipped away to the sound of Abba’s “Dancing Queen”, though.
Happy birthday, Dad.