And the ultimate triumph of being anti-web is to make links scarce. The smallest possible number of links a platform could allow is zero, so Instagram gets as close to that theoretical limit as possible, and gives you… one. You can have one link. Aren’t you grateful? One!
i wish all internet comments were like the comments on nyt recipe pages
Turns out a big part of why they’re so nice has to do with nomenclature:
This might be because Cooking’s comments aren’t comments at all—they’re notes, a distinction Times food editor Sam Sifton emphasizes several times over the course of our conversation. “We made the conscious decision not to call them comments,” Sifton tells me. “The call to action was to leave a note on the recipe that helps make it better. That’s very different from ‘Leave a comment on a recipe.’ And the comment might be ‘I hate you.’ ‘You’re an asshole.’ ‘This is bad.’ And that’s helpful to no one. I see that on other recipes, and I’m glad that we don’t have those comments, because we don’t have comments. We have notes.”
While it’s delightful to think that that could be enough, human moderation is also involved:
On the internet, moderation is something of a dying art, often outsourced, automated, or even discontinued altogether by resource-strained news outlets. At Cooking, however, every single note is approved or rejected by an actual human being.
It might sound crazy, but companies are not equipped to assess whether their ad spending actually makes money. It is in the best interest of a firm like eBay to know whether its campaigns are profitable, but not so for eBay’s marketing department.
Its own interest is in securing the largest possible budget, which is much easier if you can demonstrate that what you do actually works. Within the marketing department, TV, print and digital compete with each other to show who’s more important, a dynamic that hardly promotes honest reporting.
The fact that management often has no idea how to interpret the numbers is not helpful either. The highest numbers win.
Finally watched Ethan Marcotte’s talk from this year’s New Adventures conference. It’s as good as everyone said.
The sewing machine was introduced to the public in the middle of the 19th century. When it was made commercially available, it was advertised as an appliance that would free women from the routine drudgery of hand-sewing.
A few short decades later, this pamphlet said that a female operator could use a Singer sewing machine to produce 3,300 stitches per minute.
That shift in tone is really intriguing to me: as the technology improved, the messaging around sewing machines shifted from personal liberty to technical efficiency.
People are promised that technology will free them; ultimately, as the technology matures, it captures them.
I’d like to propose that what happened with the sewing machine is currently happening with the Web: that the Web is becoming industrialized in the same way that the sewing machine was.
We tested fifteen thousand common words and phrases against YouTube’s bots, one by one, and determined which of those words will cause a video to be demonetized when used in the title.
If we took a demonetized video and changed the words “gay” or “lesbian” to “happy” or “friend”, every single time, the status of the video changed to advertiser-friendly.
YouTube’s apparently unassailable dominance over web video is a real shame. I dream of a world where web video is like podcasts: a decentralized system where anyone can participate without ceding control to a giant corporation with black box policies.
Monetization is already going the way of podcasts: crowd-funding and ad reads. Big video creators just can’t afford to trust that YouTube’s ever-changing policies will be on their side. The next step is decentralizing distribution, which seems like a harder problem to solve. But we’ve done it before: let’s bring back video podcasts. Let me get my video subscriptions in my RSS reader. Let’s take video away from YouTube and give it back to the web.
Worse, multinational mega corporations like Apple and Disney are put in a bind — they must choose between speaking up for values such as the right to privacy and freedom of speech, or making money in the Chinese market.
The features of software with massive reach always have unintended consequences. For instance, social media, by making positivity easy and quantifiable, has ensured that negativity looms large. It’s become a place where we count the good things and experience the bad things.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.