Links, page 6

  1. How Much of the Internet Is Fake?
    nymag.com

    Max Read:

    Studies generally suggest that, year after year, less than 60 percent of web traffic is human; some years, according to some researchers, a healthy majority of it is bot. For a period of time in 2013, the Times reported this year, a full half of YouTube traffic was “bots masquerading as people,” a portion so high that employees feared an inflection point after which YouTube’s systems for detecting fraudulent traffic would begin to regard bot traffic as real and human traffic as fake. They called this hypothetical event “the Inversion.”

  2. Openness and Longevity
    garrettdimon.com

    Garrett Dimon:

    If you’ve spent any significant time on the web, you can likely feel how a website is built from the moment you open a page. Does it load quickly? Is anything broken? Does it work well with your password manager? Is it readable? You likely make a dozen judgments in a split second. […]

    On the other hand, you know the moment you open a site that was built well. Everything just works. The people who built it took care with their markup and CSS to take full advantage of the power and built-in features of those languages. […]

    These differences aren’t arbitrary. They’re the difference between a team that embraces and understands the web with all of its quirks and a team that scoffs at it and its constraints. But when constraints disappear, so does consideration. Forward progress is important, but we should take more time to consider the digital detritus that’s left behind. Bloated web pages. Sites that barely load.

  3. HTML, CSS and our vanishing industry entry points
    rachelandrew.co.uk

    Fighting words from Rachel Andrew, defending the ease of learning HTML and CSS from scratch:

    Whether front or backend, many of us without a computer science background are here because of the ease of starting to write HTML and CSS. The magic of seeing our code do stuff on a real live webpage!

    Yes! The instantaneous feedback when editing HTML or CSS on a live webpage is, to me, one of the most important characteristics of the web as a medium. Having no layers of abstraction between creative input and final output is one of the web’s miracles.

    I might be the “old guard” but if you think I’m incapable of learning React, or another framework, and am defending my way of working because of this, please get over yourself. However, 22 year old me would have looked at those things and run away. If we make it so that you have to understand programming to even start, then we take something open and enabling, and place it back in the hands of those who are already privileged. I have plenty of fight left in me to stand up against that.

    I couldn’t agree more. It really was the ease of getting started that got me into web development, and kept me away from native app development. Easy to learn, hard to master is a wonderful trait that the web should fight to keep.

  4. The 500-Year-Long Science Experiment
    theatlantic.com

    The human factor of keeping a science project going for 500 years seems a lot more complicated than the actual science:

    Opening vials, adding water, and counting colonies that grow from rehydrated bacteria is easy. The hard part is ensuring someone will continue doing this on schedule well into the future. The team left a USB stick with instructions, which Möller realizes is far from adequate, given how quickly digital technology becomes obsolete. They also left a hard copy, on paper. “But think about 500-year-old paper,” he says, how it would yellow and crumble. “Should we carve it in stone? Do we have to carve it in a metal plate?” But what if someone who cannot read the writing comes along and decides to take the metal plate as a cool, shiny relic, as tomb raiders once did when looting ancient tombs?

  5. I’m a Web Designer
    andy-bell.design

    Still on the topic of web development job titles, Andy Bell hits the nail on the head. This paragraph describes my exact problem assigning a title to myself:

    I struggled with how to place myself when I went back to freelancing last year because I’m both a designer and a developer. I toyed with “Independent Designer & Developer” which worked out alright but did make me sound like a bit of a “Jack of all trades”. I’m also technically “Full Stack”, but I won’t use that as a title because in my head, a Full Stack Developer is a back-end developer who knows a bit of client-side JavaScript and CSS.

    I tried to avoid the issue altogether and go with a short description instead of a title — “design and code for the web” is what I ended up with. But when pressed for a title, I do fall back to “front-end web developer,” which feels lamer every time I say it.

    Andy suggests “web designer.” Despite the baggage, it does seem to fit the bill. I like it. I promptly added myself to Andy’s personalsit.es directory with that as my top tag.

  6. The Great Divide
    css-tricks.com

    Chris Coyier tries to make sense of what “front-end web developer” means now, and gets to core of why I avoid calling myself one:

    When companies post job openings for “Front-End Developer,” what are they really asking for? Assuming they actually know (lolz), the title front-end developer alone isn’t doing enough. It’s likely more helpful to know which side of the divide they need the most.

    Two “front-end web developers” can be standing right next to each other and have little, if any, skill sets in common. That’s downright bizarre to me for a job title so specific and ubiquitous. I’m sure that’s already the case with a job title like designer, but front-end web developer is a niche within a niche already.

  7. How to Fix Social Media by Injecting A Chunk of the Blogosphere
    kottke.org

    Tim Carmody:

    Most of the proper publications I’ve written for, even the net-native ones, have been dense enough to hold an atmosphere.

    And guess what? So have Twitter and Facebook. Just by enduring, those places have become places for lasting connections and friendships and career opportunities, in a way the blogosphere never was, at least for me. (Maybe this is partly a function of timing, but look: I was there.) And this means that, despite their toxicity, despite their shortcomings, despite all the promises that have gone unfulfilled, Twitter and Facebook have continued to matter in a way that blogs don’t.

  8. Research Questions Are Not Interview Questions
    medium.com

    Erika Hall:

    (You can’t just ask people what you want to know. Sorry.)

    The most significant source of confusion in design research is the difference between research questions and interview questions. This confusion costs time and money and leads to a lot of managers saying that they tried doing research that one time and nothing useful emerged.

  9. Every little bit helps
    m.signalvnoise.com

    David Heinemeier Hansson:

    We don’t all need to quit Facebook outright, foreswear Uber entirely, and never shop at Amazon again to have an impact. All of these companies are already walking a precarious tightrope of towering expectations. They don’t need to miss a quarter by more than a few percent before it’s a calamity that’ll get everyone’s attention.

    So here’s what you can do: A little bit. It helps. Really.

  10. Signal v Noise exits Medium
    m.signalvnoise.com

    David Heinemeier Hansson:

    Traditional blogs might have swung out of favor, as we all discovered the benefits of social media and aggregating platforms, but we think they’re about to swing back in style, as we all discover the real costs and problems brought by such centralization.

    Dave Rupert comments:

    Blogging is back, baby! Awooo!

    I’m definitely feeling the momentum. I’ve been acutely aware of it as I’ve worked on getting this blog up and running over the past year, and it’s only getting stronger.

  11. Line breaking - Florian Rivoal at dotCSS 2018
    dotconferences.com

    Florian goes over a set of confusingly named properties and values from the css-text-3 specification that control what happens to white spaces when laying out text, and how line breaking works. He explains the logic of the system, different ways the properties can be used to achieve various results, and looks into some of the complication caused by incomplete implementations.

    I care about this topic a lot, but it really tests my patience. If only browser support for these properties were consistent, I could start to build a mental model that takes them all into consideration. As it stands, it’s such a mess that I routinely have to spend time reading about it, and still not be super confident with the results.