Christian Heilmann

[Open tabs] things of note I read and saw lately

Friday, December 30th, 2011 at 7:01 pm

I am right now offline at an airport and closed Aurora for the first time in a few weeks so I had time to read all the tabs I opened but haven’t covered anywhere yet (except for a small tweet here and there).

I thought it might be a cool idea to publish those when I find they pile up as a reading list. Do you agree? Well, here goes, this was open:

  • It is silly but the Tea Rex makes me want to drink more tea. I am also a big fan of the Tea Sub.
  • Jeffrey way has a genius command to start a server for the current directory with one line of code on the terminal.
  • Skepchick has an incredibly annoying article by Rebecca Watson on atheists on reddit being nothing but misogynist ass-hats. Seriously, banter is all fine and good, but making jokes to abduct and rape a 15 year old girl is not really the behaviour open forums should tolerate. Or, if we keep not caring about that we shouldn’t be surprised if the powers who want to censor the internet will get there.
  • URI.js is a script for working with URLs. It offers a “jQuery-style” API to read and write all regular components and a number of convenience methods like .directory() and .authority(). We talked about this at the smashing meetup , and now it is out.
  • Everything for free, always: how Facebook ads show us the sad state of the Internet is a stark reminder that the “we want everything for free” attitude towards the internet as a media is not helpful in the long run. Paying $2 a year(!) could ensure that Facebook is not selling you as a product to advertisers. There was also a great article “don’t be a free user” on that topic on the pinboard blog. My favourite quote was this:
    Most people aren’t willing to pay for services or content on the Internet. There is an expectation that everything should be free, and that at the same time, companies should respect our privacy and keep The Brands™ away from our personal information. It’s not a realistic expectation – something’s gotta give if no one is willing to pay for anything. But most people don’t think about it long enough to realize that.
  • Cedric Dugas published a rant about the Occupy Flash site (I can’t call it a movement) in It’s never been about the open web. Cedric has some great points, especially the washing out of the term HTML5 as anything that was added to the web stack for the last two years. He praises Adobe for turning around faster than the W3C and that Flash’s APIs are much richer. Cedric has some good points but it is a rant. The argumentation is very one-sided and not mentioning Mozilla at all when it comes to the open web is just sloppy. In essence the rant is the same arguments native app developers bring up when they talk about web apps. Things can coexist and – as Cedric rightfully says – using the right technology for the job is part of our task as developers. The main thing he fails to mention is that open web tech is for us to change and be part of. If it doesn’t move as quickly as it should then rants like these and fanboisim like Occupy Flash are to blame.
  • I don’t write “JavaScript” is already a bit older. It is an explanation of a Twitter developer about the lack of semicolons in Bootstrap. In it we learn that JavaScript is forgiving when it comes to syntax and that it is fine to omit curly braces and semicolons as the JS parser does all that for us. And if you don’t agree then you are probably one of those guys who love Crockford and are too strict to be taken serious as web developers anyway. Yesitistotallyfinenottosticktoasensiblesyntax. YoUcANProbaBLYreadTHIS. IFitI5EA5Y4UisTheQuestionWeNd2ask. Personally, relying on semicolon insertion in your code is lazy and the same arrogance we had with table layouts in HTML - hey they worked, why bother doing things in a more maintainable way?
  • Which brings me to a great post that repeats things I have said for quite a while and lived by throughout my career: “My Career Advice: Make Yourself Redundant“. The idea of being the one person who knows something as a means to stay in charge and in a job is outdated and – if you think about it – in a market where the average retention rate of talent is three years borderline ludicrous
  • In “Let’s start recognising the hidden gems within our community” my colleague Robin Hawkes ponders about changes in the awards sites and events of web development and that they should focus on new, unknown people rather than being a popularity contest with the same people year after year. Some good ideas there, but I for one would be happy not to have any awards at all. We are not Hollywood and we don’t need Oscars. Our work should talk for us and not a fake celebrity cult. I remember in the beginning we had “cool internet sightings” web sites and “site of the day” as the topic of on IRCNET. More of those accompanied by a making of would be interesting. Unknown people could show how they got successful by taking a different approach.
  • In “Constructive feedback, not destruction and damnation” my good friend and even better egg Chris Mills talks about the hoo-hah of the “bad speakers list” on Twitter a few weeks ago. He explains why new speakers are needed, why bad presentations happen and how it is our job to encourage and nurture rather than damn new talent who takes the plunge to go on stage and talk about what they did.

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