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WebAuthn; A better alternative for securing our sensitive information online

I’ve mixed feelings about this — but tbh, I am not in the lease qualified to opine one way or the other. That being said, I’m really digging the .guide TLD.

Video of a Japanese Space Probe Touching Down on an Asteroid

While I was struggling get some react and an API to cooperate other people were landing a probe on an asteroid.

Grainy image of the probe’s landing zone

The Geography of America’s Mobile and Stuck,’ Mapped

The United States is facing a new class distinction: those who are mobile across state lines, and those who are stuck.

I catch myself (panicked) thinking about this a lot in the context of climate change, wondering where we should live if we are going to be stuck there.

Technical communication is particularly hard for newcomers

One of the key components to good technical communication is the right amount of context.

Cache-Control for Civilians

One of the most common and effective ways to manage the caching of your assets is via the Cache-Control HTTP header. This header applies to individual assets, meaning everything on our pages can have a very bespoke and granular cache policy. The amount of control we’re granted makes for very intricate and powerful caching strategies.

Handy dandy skip to point link

The Growing Complexity Of Developing Websites and the Growing Ease Of Using Site Builders

Developers like to develop. They like code and development tools and they’re bringing more of those things to the design and development of websites. Instead of writing HTML and CSS directly, now we’re told to write both inside Javascript.

Continuing,

The downside of this change is that it’s becoming more difficult for someone new (particular on the design side) to enter the field. The barrier for entry is increasing as the requirements are growing more complex.

I think this is spot on — something that I believe is missing from this conversation, however, is that raising the barrier for entry also runs the risk of making the community even more homogenous.

The Great Divide

Very much in-line with the previous entry:

The divide is between people who self-identify as a (or have the job title of) front-end developer, yet have divergent skill sets.

This article is nice in that it spells out a solution, and offers some guidance for how best to talk about the work of front-end development…and points out that front-end development can mean a lot of different things to a different people.

An exercise in progressive enhancement

A recent project I’ve been tinkering with was a good use case for me to familiarise myself with the actual implementation of a site that works without Javascript, but is enhanced by Javascript when it is available.

Making Things Better: Redefining the Technical Possibilities of CSS by Rachel Andrew

A CSS tech-talk liveblog,

CSS tries to avoid data loss.

Writing in Emacs

A nice little assortment of packages for writing words inside of emacs. I’ll also take this as an opportunity to plug my homespun config that I’m still really digging: tilde.el

Code hidden in Stone Age art may be the root of human writing

🤯

Climate crisis and a betrayed generation

Leading to ⤵️

The Servant Economy

West Marches: Running Your Own

Zelda Breath of the Wild meets table top gaming! An open world, sandbox style RP is something I’ve always wanted to try…maybe set on the high seas! 🏴‍☠️

Check out all these historical Jolly Roger flags from wikipedia

Shout out to the best from the collection, Jacquotte Delahaye’s Back From the Dead Red” flag

Shout out to this, the greatest flag — a lady pirate dancing with a very jolly looking skeleton holding a spear.

Link logging

Explaining Code using ASCII Art

People tend to be visual: we use pictures to understand problems. Mainstream programming languages, on the other hand, operate in an almost completely different kind of abstract space, leaving a big gap between programs and pictures.

Cyberfeminism ~1990s - present, Cyberfeminist Index by Mindy Seu

I’m currently working on a printed publication, a la the Whole Earth Catalog and the New Woman’s Survival Catalog, that will provide an overview of cyberfeminism and its evolution into networked feminism (like social media activism), xenofeminism (gender-abolition), and posthumanism/bio-hacktivism. It will be a resource guide: a sampling of books, essays, collectives, online communities, hackerspaces, etc.”

This article does a bonkers good job laying out how quickly and how much China’s urban and suburban areas are growing.

Networking - 🚂 Choo Documentation

I’ve been exploring alternatives to React lately, and keep coming back to Choo. I very much like this bit from its documentation:

A fun way to think about browsers, is as a standardized Virtual Machine (VM) that includes high-level APIs to do networking, sandboxed code execution and disk access. It runs on almost every platform, behaves similarly everywhere, and is always kept backwards compatible.

What if JavaScript Wins?

Technology has always existed in a social context, and evaluations of the risk or reliability of a tech platform have always relied on social indicators. But the acceleration of these patterns, and the extending of the social networks around code to include the majority of working coders, means that institutional indicators (like which company funds its development?”) now come second to community-based signals.

Similarly, top-down indications of technical maturity like documentation (often an artifact of outside investment in making a technology accessible to a new audience) are complemented, or even eclipsed, by bottoms-up indicators like how many people have bookmarked a framework, or how many people answer comments about a toolkit.

Tbh, I wasn’t all that interested in this pieces discussion of the pros and cons of JavaScript, but the author, Anil Dash of Glitch does an excellent job articulating the squishier side of why this and such system prevails over that and which thing-a-ma-bob that may be technically” better.

The piece reminds me of something I recently heard John Siracusa talk about on a podcast — he speculated that software may be the most complicated non-biological thing that humans have ever built. At first I thought it was hubris, but then, as he continued to make his point and draw a line from software to hardware to physics and the physicality of computing I was swayed.

What we often think of as being ethereal and digital” is, at the end of the day, still in meatspace…

See also Being Popular” by Paul Graham.

Why I Write CSS in JavaScript

I’m skeptical of CSS in JS for a few reasons, but this article softened my views. I still don’t love it, but my reasons for not loving it aren’t technical, really.

Pragmatic rules of web accessibility that will stick to your mind

Good high-level intro. I could see this being valuable for someone trying to convince management” of accessibilities value.”

Time to Panic. The planet is getting warmer in catastrophic ways. And fear may be the only thing that saves us.

Our little brown rat’: first climate change-caused mammal extinction

RIP. Expecting more news of this sort in the coming years is terrifying, but also, hopefully, key to catalyzing change.

A Journey Into the Animal Mind

Crows are among the most sophisticated avian technologists.

That is a solid sentence. I read it allowed to myself a few times when I came across it.

Cisco Trash Map, On railroads, oil rigs, uranium mines, 7-11 pizzas, Thelma and Louise, ruination, salvage, and the limits of the garbage gaze.

…I absorbed the common critique of ruin porn — that it tends to erase history and inspire myth. It’s true that as a high schooler I had a pretty vague sense of the politics that made Milwaukee’s ruins. But mythmaking has always shaped the U.S. landscape…

…Ruins are the idealized structures of a vaguely defined past; rubble is the aftermath of specific events that people live in, reuse, and form material relationships to…

Medieval trade networks v.4

A map of ancient trade networks

A detailed map of medieval trade routes. I always find this sort of thing fascinating and, in my experience lacking from contemporary historical education in the U.S. History is often presented as vignettes, as specific narratives, that are disjointed from a large context. I love how a map like this helps to contextualize the ecology, or maybe society? of history.

Five Lessons From Seven Years of Research Into Buttons

The first point is interesting, and click bait-y 1. Buttons Aren’t Actually Easy to Use”

I think it may be better presented as buttons require context.”

Or, perhaps The value of a good label.”

In reply to: @manton hey! We’re on the same page! As a web comic co-creator, this is something that I thought hard about. When we could finally publish our books in print, it made me feel better, however we haven’t done a book in 5 years. I may do a few print on demand ones for archival purposes though. I’d love to hear your updated thoughts on this topic.

There is a really great conversation unfolding on micro.blog at the moment about what happens to our digital identities after we die. It is a subject that I find fascination, and one that I’d like to do more work with.

So will happen to this when you die?

A few years ago Tova digitized a collection of poems that her great grandfather wrote. She then got the scans printed and bound as a gift for her mother. This evening, at my mother-in-law’s request, I made a little website of those poems. It was a fun project I was able to tackle in about an hour.

First I uploaded the PDF to archive.org and Google Drive, then I used pdf2htmlEX to convert the PDF into a webpage. I then threw together a little wrapper webpage to make pdf2htmlEX’s output a tiny bit prettier, and published the whole kit-and-caboodle using surge.sh.

In reply to: The Story of WordPress - The History of the Web

In the meantime, WordPress developers focused on making things easy for users. They set up documentation and forums for users to post questions. They plucked new features straight from user requests, or Valdrighi’s wish list. WordPress was easy to install (in 5 minutes or less, the project promised) and had a unique admin. The goal was to make it as easy as possible to log into your site and post to your blog without ever having to see any code.

In reply to: 15 Remarkable Women We Overlooked in Our Obituaries - The New York Times

Since 1851, The New York Times has published thousands of obituaries: of heads of state, opera singers, the inventor of Stove Top stuffing and the namer of the Slinky. The vast majority chronicled the lives of men, mostly white ones; even in the last two years, just over one in five of our subjects were female.

These are all well worth a read, but I’d be amiss if I didn’t suggest you start with Charlotte Brontë…the best novelist. Full stop.

Digital baggage. Do you have any digital artifacts that haunt you?

The web is weird. The content alive on it is ephemeral, yet pervasive. At the same time content online is delicate (see Geocities or any similar now dead and gone service), it is ever present. Anyone who types my name into a search engine is almost certain to come across my frenetic TedX presentation of yore. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it is weird.

That talk isn’t me, nor really a good example of my work, but there it is. Very certainly linked to me. It isn’t merely something written. It is me. Saying things, jumping around a well lit stage. Terrified. Excited. But it is also only a little moment in the grand scheme of things. A little moment blown potentially out of proportion.

The web is good at magnifying, and falsely preserving. Maybe falsely” is wrong—“dispassionately,” perhaps?

I was 12 years old on September 11th, 2001. Growing up in the D.C. area I had plenty of friends with parents that worked in the Pentagon — my dad occasionally went to meetings there. I clearly remember the simultaneous panic and somberness of the day. That day was one that helped define my generation, it set a new tone, opened a new chapter.

We thought we knew what it was like to grow up in terror.” We knew nothing. Today, children of the same age have witnessed more violence in America than we did in that single day, by far. And do so on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis.

Terror has decentralized; shifted from that one big generation defining event, to a daily occurrence. My generation was haunted by the fear of what if,“ while today’s children are haunted by a fear of when.”

Haunted not only by the actual terrifying events, but also by their continued simulation in the form of safety drills.“

The American government took decisive (albeit misplaced, in my opinion) and near immediate action in the wake of September 11th. Meanwhile, the American government remains complicit in the face of decentralized terror…

When a bogeybeast, or far-flung monster can’t be pointed to, what then? When no crusade can be called, what then?

But we have a bogeyman. A bogeyman potentially more easily routed than insurgents or foreign agents.

Guns

Don’t get me wrong — shifting American gun culture is a monumental task, but I believe it to be well worth the effort.

What is the point of my writing this?

Mostly catharsis. Mostly fear.

I am terrified to send my son to school. For him to become another of the nearly innumerable casualties of this terror.

What can I do in the face of this terror?

Well, for one, vote.

And vote.

And vote.

I hope this most recent tragedy in Florida is different. I hope it catalyzes more than thoughts and prayers.

I’m hoping to do more than hope. What can I do?

Vote.

And vote.

And vote.

I’m hoping to do more than hope. But what can I do?

Fun fact: our household (2 adults, 1 toddler, and a dog) eats ~52 pounds of cheese, ~18 pounds of sunflower seed butter, and ~575 bananas a year. This data intriguing…and a bit gross. 🧀 🥜 🍌

iTunes Nostalgia

When I was an undergrad I loved iTunes. I loved to sit in the library on campus and browse all the shared music libraries available over the campus network. There were hundreds of libraries. Some were identifiable to individuals, others, not so much

…Banana Cucumber Omelet

I think those may have been the best days for iTunes.

Apple tried to turn iTunes into a social network, but they never realized that the social power of iTunes wasn’t in the network,” per se, but rather in the media. It was a media platform with in-built sharing features. Passive connection, with communal feelings.

When I was an undergrad I loved iTunes until Spotify came around. Spotify changed the game. Spotify delivered on the promise of Groove Shark — the ability to listen to more or less whatever you wanted to without needing to make the monetary commitment of owning a song or album. Without needing to maintain a personal library.

iTunes was for librarians while Spotify was for the hungry. An iTunes library took cultivation and care to maintain. Spotify just required an appetite. One isn’t necessarily better than the other. I still have my iTunes library, but it is neglected and oft ignored. I only catch a few notes of a song now and again when my phone starts to play music from the default library when I connect via bluetooth.

I loved to sit in the library on campus and browser other folks’ music libraries. Now Spotify serves me Discover Weekly and Daily Mix playlists. I discover new and fascinating music to listen to…but it is different. It is catered to my liking, even if unknowingly. Spotify knows me and my tastes better than I can probably articulate. It serves me what it has calculated I’ll like. I don’t necessarily get to sample from the bitter or divergent when Spotify serves me what it thinks I’ll like…well, I mean, I can if I try. But Spotify doesn’t make the recommendation. Does it?

I loved to sit in the library. Mine and others.