Happy New Year

2014-12-13 13.16.52
Happy New Year! 2014 was filled with ups and downs (as to be expected). Hopefully, 2015 will see projects successfully completed and new directions explored. Coming into the new year with a bit of flu has been kind of a drag, but things should start picking up again in a few days.

Happy New Year

It seems like only yesterday it was 2013.

2013 ended in a bittersweet way for my family. Here is hoping for more positive events in the coming year.

And maybe an element of #reboot.

Reliable Bias

You can count on the Guardian Tech Weekly podcast to reliably slag off anything Google and shower sycophantic praise on anything Apple. This week’s podcast is no exception:

Numbers show that Android is the most popular tablet format in the world. Guardian Tech’s take ‘well most of those sales are in Asia so they don’t really matter’. Yeah, right, a market that represents roughly 2/3rds of the worlds population doesn’t mean anything. Got it.

Next up, the Google Chromecast gets written off (sight unseen) because, well, it isn’t Apple TV. Heaven forbid that someone actually innovate rather than follow (which seems to be the Apple mode of late). Apple will likely come out with something in this form factor and it will be proclaimed by GTW as the most innovative thing ever.

And recently, Apple’s attempted injunction against Samsung selling the Galaxy line of smartphones is a righteous protection of their (sic) innovations. However, Samsung’s injunction against Apple for patent violation is a gross overstep/abuse of patten laws.

Do you guys get better swag from Apple than Google? Certainly objectivity is lacking.

Springpad App – Deleted

The Springpad mobile app is the latest to get deleted due to application security overreach. You are (or were) a list making application – you do not, for any legitimate reason, need to be able to read (and remotely store, no doubt) my contact information. Deleted.

I hope you are working to make your web site accessible to mobile devices because that is what I will use from now on (if at all). Learn from your mistakes.

Happy New Year

Best wishes for a healthy, happy and prosperous 2012.

Oh, and hopefully we can silence the world ending this year nonsense once and for all. I am sure there are some who won’t be convinced until January 2013.

Uncluttering The Web

I have been waiting for this trend to catch on for a long, long time. After more than a decade we are only now beginning to shed the vulgarities and visual clutter of the BLINK tag, Flash, animated GIFs, ActiveX, embedded (and auto playing) sound files and Java Applets to start focusing on actually conveying information in a clean and readable way.

The Readable Future

The ability to read uncluttered web pages is going mainstream.

I made the point recently that technical people can avoid, or at least cut down on, ads, sharing buttons, and clutter when reading web pages — they have RSS readers, Instapaper, Readability, Safari’s Reader button, AdBlock, Flipboard, Zite, and so on.

Not all of these technologies were made with the goal of uncluttering web pages, but they have that effect. No app built for reading starts with the premise that the publisher has done an acceptable job.

That premise is, unfortunately, generally correct, and those apps and technologies are becoming more and more popular, particularly with the rise of iPad as a great reading device. (But this isn’t only about iPads, or even mobile.)

Publications shouldn’t ignore this trend.

This trend means that their medley-of-madness designs will increasingly be routed-around, starting with presumably their most-favored readers, the more affluent and technical, but extending to the less-affluent and less-technical until it includes just about everybody.

The future is, one way or another, readable.

Responsive Design and HTML5

Lots of fine work popping up lately regarding responsive design and the growing use of HTML5 to present not only content, but a rich, interactive user experience.

Take for example the new Boston Globe site. To get the full impact of the site, view it on as many different devices and orientations as you can and not how it fluidly adjusts to each of them. A another key aspect of this site is that they took a mobile first stance with the design so things are as lean as possible – a refreshing change from the ‘flash just because we can’ presentation that is all to common today. ReadWriteWeb has a behind the scenes look at the site design.

SlideShare is another site that has moved to HTML5 to provide a richer, cross-platform experience for sharing slide decks, videos and other business documents. Another advantage of moving to HTML5 is that the site renders 30 percent faster than the previous Flash-based version. TechCrunch has more on the changes at SlideShare:

Boutelle says SlideShare continues to see growing engagement, and expects the HTML5 platform to increase usage as well. He explains that HTML5 made sense because the company wanted a lightweight experience for users and wanted documents, fonts, and more to look the same on various browser types. As we mentioned above, this is SlideShare’s first mobile presence and currently the startup doesn’t have any plans to expand to native apps. “We’re doubling down on HTML5 and making this better and bette so it works for everybody,” says Boutelle.

And, yes, even Facebook has been talking recently about how they are looking to HTML5 to avoid having to develop and maintain four different code bases across their desktop and various mobile platforms.

HTML5 is probably the way that we should have done it. This is the way we get to do it now because HTML5 has changed so much under our feet. The initial attempt at building a hybrid application, there were certain things in HTML5 that weren’t ready yet and we said forget it, we are going to keep moving forward. The initial attempt to defer certain things to native rendering and native handling that really could be better handled by something like HTML5 and with in-browser technology – device access, good native frameworks and application and display code.

With all of this movement in the industry, why are corporate developers largely ignoring HTML5? The same changes that exist in the consumer markets are already starting to appear inside the corporate firewall – tablet and mobile interactions with corporate systems. Additionally, customers are going to start expecting, if not demanding, that corporate web sites look and behave in a responsive way regardless of what device they are using to access them. These pressures are going to force a change in development toolkits and approaches for businesses to stay competitive and relevant.

Cosmos TV Series Being Remade

According to this post there is going to be a 13 part update to the original Cosmos TV show that featured Carl Sagan. And, in my opinion, they picked the perfect host: Neil deGrasse Tyson. Mr Tyson is extremely intelligent, articulate and engaging when speaking about science (or most anything, come to think of it). I am sure they will do a much better job with the CGI than what was possible with the tech available in the early days of blue screens and video.

I thoroughly enjoyed the original when I was growing up and snagged the series when it because available on DVD. My daughter is even a bit of a fan.

The only downside to this is having to wait until 2013 to see the new show.