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All Posts, page 2

  1. The imitation game
    adactio.com

    Jeremy Keith:

    Jason shared some thoughts on designing progressive web apps. One of the things he’s pondering is how much you should try make your web-based offering look and feel like a native app.

    This was prompted by an article by Owen Campbell-Moore over on Ev’s blog called Designing Great UIs for Progressive Web Apps. He begins with this advice:

    Start by forgetting everything you know about conventional web design, and instead imagine you’re actually designing a native app.

    This makes me squirm. I mean, I’m all for borrowing good ideas from other media—native apps, TV, print—but I don’t think that inspiration should mean imitation. For me, that always results in an interface that sits in a kind of uncanny valley of being almost—but not quite—like the thing it’s imitating.

    People have been gleefully passing around the statistic that the average number of native apps installed per month is zero. So how exactly will we measure the success of progressive web apps against native apps …when the average number of progressive web apps installed per month is zero?

  2. The Nerdwriter: The Real Fake Cameras of Toy Story 4
    youtube.com

    Toy Story 4 looks incredible, almost hyper-realistic. And it’s not a simple matter of technology getting better; there is artistic intent in the imperfections that give it that edge. Among other techniques, Pixar is simulating real-world camera lenses (along with their limitations). Evan Puschak explains:

    Animation has always drawn from the lessons of live action film, from the visual language of cinematic storytelling. Everyone who worked on Toy Story 4 understands that the imperfections — the way a lens distorts, or a camera operator shakes, or a light bounces — contain their own expressive potential. And when you combine these with the limitless world of animation, the results can be stunningly tactile.

    I hadn’t noticed that split diopter shot — it’s brilliant.

  3. The hard truths of climate change — by the numbers
    nature.com

    Nature has put together a comprehensive series of charts that do a really great job at showing just how fucked we are.

    Whatever they decide, nations will have to reckon with some difficult numbers that will ultimately determine whether the world can avoid the rapidly approaching climate meltdown. Nature documents the scale of the challenge in an infographic that explores energy use, carbon dioxide pollution and issues of climate justice. At a time when countries have pledged to curb greenhouse gases sharply, the data show that annual emissions spiked by 2.1% in 2018 — owing in part to increased demand for coal in places such as China and India.

  4. Simplicity (II)
    bastianallgeier.com

    Bastian Allgeier:

    I have a simple rule of thumb when it comes to programming:

    less code === less potential issues

    This rule of thumb controls my own feelings towards a solution. It shouldn’t take 120 MB of code to uglify some JS. But maybe I’m wrong.

    In practice, this dependency hell has bitten me so often already that my life expectancy probably sank by 2-3 years. You want to build a JS file? Please update Webpack first. Oh, that new version of Webpack is no longer compatible with your Node version. Oh, your new Node version is no longer compatible with that other dependency. Oh, now you have 233 detected security issues in all your node_modules but you can’t fix them because that would break something completely unrelated.

  5. 5G Will Definitely Make the Web Slower, Maybe
    filamentgroup.com

    Scott Jehl:

    Faster networks should fix our performance problems, but so far, they have had an interesting if unintentional impact on the web. This is because historically, faster network speed has enabled developers to deliver more code to users—in particular, more JavaScript code.

    Ugh. Jeremy Keith comments:

    The longer I spend in this field, the more convinced I am that web performance is not a technical problem; it’s a people problem.

  6. The Myth of the Pixel Perfect Grid
    shkspr.mobi

    Terence Eden explains how different screen technologies, human biology, and fingerprint grease make “pixel perfection” a pointless goal:

    There is no grid. There never has been. You can align to theoretical pixels - but as soon as the image hits a physical screen, it will be adjusted to best fit reality.

    An obsession with pixel perfect rendering is futile.

    Every Layout expands on this idea, specifically as it pertains to CSS:

    Suffice it to say that, while screens are indeed made up of pixels, pixels are not regular, immutable, or constant. A 400px box viewed by a user browsing zoomed in is simply not 400px in CSS pixels. It may not have been 400px in device pixels even before they activated zoom.

    See also: Ian Mallett’s Subpixel Zoo: A Catalog of Subpixel Geometry.

  7. Styling Links with Real Underlines
    css-tricks.com

    Ollie Williams welcomes the new CSS properties for styling underlines:

    Finally we can demarcate links without sacrificing style thanks to two new CSS properties.

    • text-underline-offset controls the position of the underline.
    • text-decoration-thickness controls the thickness of underlines, as well as overlines, and line-throughs.

    I’ve been working on a blog post about this topic, and Ollie does a good job of covering some of the points I want to make. But I want to go further and explore implementation quirks, the details where the new properties don’t quite go far enough, and make a case for why underlines shouldn’t be pixel-aligned.

  8. Introducing caniemail.com
    caniemail.com

    Rémi Parmentier:

    Last march, I wrote a proposal for Can I email, a website similar to caniuse.com dedicated to support in email clients.

    Today, barely six months after, I am really happy and pleased to announce that with the help of my colleagues and members of the email geeks community, we’re officially launching caniemail.com.

    Wow, this was sorely needed.

  9. Hackers Hit Twitter C.E.O. Jack Dorsey in a ‘SIM Swap.’ You’re at Risk, Too
    nytimes.com

    Nathaniel Popper:

    Called SIM swapping, it allows hackers to take control of a victim’s phone number. In recent months, SIM swapping has been used to hijack the online personas of politicians, celebrities and notables like Mr. Dorsey, to steal money all over the world and to simply harass regular people.

    Victims, no matter how prominent or technically sophisticated, have been unable to protect themselves, even after they have been hit again and again.

    “I’ve been looking at the criminal underground for a long time, and SIM swapping bothers me more than anything I’ve seen,” said Allison Nixon, the director of research at the security firm Flashpoint. “It requires no skill, and there is literally nothing the average person can do to stop it.”

    We’ve been hearing about this exploit for years. Of course, things seem to only have gotten worse.

  10. Less Data Doesn’t Mean a Lesser Experience
    timkadlec.com

    Tim Kadlec explores strategies for dealing with the Save-Data header without degrading the experience, because not every user that enables it will be aware of the potential consequences:

    The possibilities are endless. If you treat data as a constraint in your design and development process, you’ll likely be able to brainstorm a large number of different ways to keep data usage to a minimum while still providing an excellent experience. Doing less doesn’t mean it has to feel broken.

  11. Lucas Pope on the challenge of creating Obra Dinn’s 1-bit aesthetic
    pcgamer.com

    PC Gamer’s Steven T. Wright interviews Lucas Pope on the process of creating Return of the Obra Dinn:

    “When you’re developing a game as one person, you have a lot of advantages and a lot of disadvantages,” he says. “One of the advantages is that you can afford to make a game for two years without even really knowing what it is, which is exactly what I did. One of the disadvantages is that you have to do something different visually to stand out. This means I have to solve all sorts of problems that nobody else has solved, at least recently. But I think that can be fun in its own right.”

    The game’s development seems to have been more of a process of discovery and improvisation than one of decisive creativity. That explains a lot.

  12. John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

    Watched 26 August 2019

    It might be a case of too much of a good thing, but I was not as entranced by this one as I was with the others. It might have benefited from a bit more breathing room around the mayhem, more of an emotional connection to its origins, maybe even (dare I say it?) a little less violence. It is spectacular, but numbingly so.

  13. Return of the Obra Dinn

    Played 16–18 August 2019 on Mac

    A man's skeleton lies on the deck of a large 19th century ship; it's seen from the first person view of someone holding a pocket watch bearing a skull design.

    A masterpiece of game design. An impossible combination of brilliant ideas and flawless execution that is so unlike any other game I’ve ever played, it’s hard to understand how it could even be conceived.