August 2018

  1. The Emperor’s New Tools?: pragmatism and the idolatry of the web
    cole007.net

    Cole Henley makes some very astute observations on the value and purpose of web development tools:

    At the risk of sounding like a Luddite, I do worry that the adoption of tools for producing websites often lacks focus and a clear reason for “why.” As a largely self-taught profession, we have often lent on our peers for guidance and direction. But how often is the context of this guidance comparable to our own? As I said earlier, can the efforts to produce code for enterprise website applications across large, distributed teams share some equivalence with the work many of us produce in creating small, brochure sites for small to medium-sized businesses and not-for-profits? Does one shoe fit all? And are we in danger of focusing too much on the “Pencils rather than the drawing”? The Process over the Product?

    I found this question particularly hard to grapple with:

    But one of the ways CSS Zen Garden was used to persuade people about the merits of a web standards approach was to suggest that we can retain the markup and replace the CSS. However in reality how many projects has this ever happened on? What is the realistic lifespan of a thing we produce? And do we tend to underestimate how disposable our code truly is?

  2. Scientists found brain’s internal clock that influences how we perceive time
    arstechnica.com

    Jennifer Ouellette, for Ars Technica:

    Manmade clocks may precisely measure time, but, from a human perspective, the passage of time is remarkably fluid. It drags when you’re doing your taxes but really does fly when you’re having fun. Isolate yourself from any markers of time (night and day, watches or clocks) and you will feel less time has passed than actually has, because under those circumstances, the brain condenses time.

  3. Game Maker’s Toolkit: Making Games Better for Gamers with Colourblindness & Low Vision
    youtube.com

    Mark Brown’s “Designing for Disability” series seems to be very comprehensive and well researched. I’m moderately colorblind and feel very well represented by this video.

    It reminded me of the game I most wanted to love but just couldn’t play: Puzzle Bobble. If a level had both blue and purple bubbles, I was toast. Even though each bubble color had a different shape inside, the differentiation wasn’t enough for split second decisions.

  4. Deadpool 2 2018

    Watched 15 August 2018

    As fun and cringe-worthy as the first one. Somehow more enjoyable because Infinity War was such a downer.

  5. Games need to take a Minit and think about their huge worlds
    eurogamer.net

    Sam Greer, for Eurogamer:

    Some games are so big, and yet we engage with such a small percentage of their space in a meaningful way. When time isn’t an obstacle, why not have miles and miles of samey fields? “More is better” is such a common characteristic of big budget titles and the result is big spaces, filled with repetitive content and scarcely anything memorable. Our interactions with so many gaming worlds is passive. Even when they’re pretty enough to make us stop and snap a screenshot we’re still not learning them or unravelling them. They just want to get us to the next item on a checklist.

  6. Securing Web Sites Made Them Less Accessible
    meyerweb.com

    Eric Meyer experiences internet access in rural Uganda:

    For geosynchronous-satellite internet access, the speed of light become a factor in ping times: just having the signals propagate through a mixture of vacuum and atmosphere chews up approximately half a second of travel time over roughly 89,000 miles (~152,000km).

    But that’s not the real connection killer in most cases: packet loss is. After all, these packets are going to orbit and back. Lots of things along those long and lonely signal paths can cause the packets to get dropped. 50% packet loss is not uncommon; 80% is not unexpected.

    A local caching server, meant to speed up commonly-requested sites and reduce bandwidth usage, is a “man in the middle”. HTTPS, which by design prevents man-in-the-middle attacks, utterly breaks local caching servers. So I kept waiting and waiting for remote resources, eating into that month’s data cap with every request.

  7. Exclusive excerpt from upcoming book by ex-Apple engineer explores first iPhone software keyboard design process
    9to5mac.com

    Ken Kocienda recounts the process of designing the iPhone keyboard:

    I started to think about improvements, and to help me keep my keyboard goal literally in sight as I sat in my office, I measured and cut out a small piece of paper, about 2 inches wide by 1.3 inches tall, a little smaller than half the size of a credit card turned on end. I pinned up this little slip of paper on the bulletin board next to my desk. I looked at it often. This was all the screen real estate I had available for my keyboard.

  8. Mission: Impossible - Fallout 2018

    Watched 4 August 2018

    There is a shot in this film that, for a split second, managed to trick my brain into believing Tom Cruise was about to die. I didn’t smile and think “that’s cool.” Folks, I audibly gasped in a movie theater.

    (I’m talking about the helicopter scene)

  9. Mission: Impossible 1996

    Rewatched 3 August 2018

    It’s clear why kid me thought this was the coolest thing ever. I was pleasantly surprised to find that all the iconic moments I remembered still hold up. What I wasn’t expecting was for the rest to be so… messy? The more expository scenes feel very half-assed, to the point of being a bit silly.