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The chicken-egg problem of movie microformats | Sara Jakša

Sara proposes some broader microformats support for media consumption, beyond the existing u-watch-of. The existing option does little to differentiate the type of content (YouTube versus cinema, for instance), which makes it almost too broad. But there's also the evergreen issue of: why add microformats if no consuming case exists, countered with, how can you create a consuming case without broad prior implementation. As they say, it's a classic "chicken versus egg" conundrum.

The thing is, I quite like the concept of a service that pulls in recent reviews of movies, books, TV shows etc. from people I already follow on feed readers and social media. That kind of one-step-away network effect is appealing, and the first "social" feature that something like a social reader could implement that would actually be a net draw for me.

Perhaps I need to consider marking up my own reviews, in that case.

On a future service that could utilise microformats for media consumption:

Basically, to see what the people around are watching and how much they are liking the thing, they are watching.

On the broad abstraction of the existing u-watch-of microformat:

It also does not really indicate, that this is a movie, right? I guess this could also be use to indicate watching a Youtube videos

Choosing a green web host | Michelle Barker

A useful rundown of some of the considerations worth keeping in mind when evaluating the "green" credentials of a web host or service.

Michelle also links out to the Green Web Hosting Directory, which I've seen pop up a bit recently. It seems my own host, Krystal, isn't well represented there, which is a shame given all they're doing to reduce their environmental impact. I've reached out to the company to see if they can maybe increase their verification level.

Reflecting on 18 years at Google | Hixie

An interesting insight into the business arc of Google from a long-time (but now former) employee. There's lots that could be gleaned about a company that infamously removed a motto of "don't be evil", though I don't fully buy the narrative presented about early Google genuinely putting users over profit (and, given the level of candour later in the article, if you're going to make those kinds of claims, you need to bring receipts). But the more interesting point here is that redundancies and layoffs are hard to walk back from. Once a company shows that version of itself to the employees, trust is shattered and company culture is destroyed. If we can learn anything from Google's attempts at "disrupting" the concept of running a company, that should be the key takeaway.

The deterioration of Google's culture will eventually become irreversible, because the kinds of people whom you need to act as moral compass are the same kinds of people who don't join an organisation without a moral compass.

Resurrecting web marginalia | John V Willshire

A few careful thoughts about the utility of "web marginalia", in this case for discovery; things like blogrolls, feed lists, and webrings. John wonders if their demise is in part due to the loss of sidebars as responsive design/smaller viewports became the norm. I'm not sure I fully agree; I feel like most of the loss is due to the "brandification" of the web and the removal of personal space (and personality) alongside it. But regardless, I absolutely love this way of phrasing that thought:

Websites have been wind tunnelled, the edges stripped. The interesting sidebars and columns where once you would wander into new ideas from other minds have fallen far from view.

📆 21 Nov 2023  | 🔗

  • Web Design
  • indie web
  • discovery
  • blog roll
  • webring
  • marginalia 

Craft vs industry | Thomas Michael Semmler

A thoughtful diatribe on the current state of web design and the web industry as a whole, with a specific focus on how the rise of that industrial complex has (possibly inevitably) reduced the craft and related skills that were once the core of these professions. Specifically, Thomas takes aim at at KPI culture, used to seek eternal growth; a culture that has homogenised web design, over-engineered development platforms, and now seems poised to be cannibalised by the AI models it has built. It's a fairly bleak take – albeit a sympathetic one – but there is a glimmer of hope. A hope that, as the industry matures, a counter-balancing craft revival may also flourish, as we have seen with so many industries before.

On the crux of the issue; on craft versus industry:
I consider this a conflict between two identities: the craftsperson and the factory worker. The craftsperson wants to do what honors the values of the craft, but the factory worker needs to do what will keep them employed or employable.

On where we are heading – a reduced industry, largely automated, with a smaller niche for "bespoke" and "hand-crafted", as with all things:

Because the craft will remain even after most of it is automated. You can order mugs online, yet there are still potters out there.
So the next time you are approaching a website, ask yourself, "What would the craftsperson do?" And also ask yourself, "What would the factory worker do?" See what answers you come up with!

Accessible LCh colour palette generator | Accessible Palette

A tool for generating colour palettes which are perceptually consistent in terms of lightness, contrast, and saturation. Usefully, it automatically calculates WCAG 2 contrast ratios; it also attempts to guess at WCAG 3 scores, though this remains an unknown in terms of how it will ultimately be applied (it is useful to sanity check perceived contrast versus calculated contrast, though). You can also modify the underlying colour space per colour, and set hue shifts, to stop colours morphing across the calculated gradient (e.g. prevents blues from becoming too purple, or yellows turning too green). In other words, a very powerful colour calibration tool.

Stop using HSL for colour systems | Eugene Fedorenko

A fascinating (albeit quite technical) dive into how colours spaces work, and why the typical HSL colour spaces of the web and software result in problematic inconsistencies within colours. The key is that most classic colour spaces do not account for perceptual contrast and lightness within our own biological colour space (how we perceive colours), which makes standardisation between colours very difficult. But more modern colour spaces – including LCh – are designed to account for that perceptual difference and should therefore be considered a marked improvement/preferable solution.

There's a web component for that | Component Kitchen

The Component Kitchen is a sort of app store for web components; a digital directory of useful packages, recipes, and one-shots that can be imported into your projects.

📆 10 Nov 2023  | 🔗

  • Frontend
  • web component
  • search engine
  • discovery
  • app store 

Internet artifacts | Neal.fun

The early Internet's greatest hits. From the hamster dance to Homestar Runner; the first webcam to the first online video. It's a real trip down memory lane for those of us who grew up on this version of the internet, and for everyone else, it's a weird treasure trove of the weird and whimsical.

Indieweb icons and logos | Paul Robert Lloyd

I'm a big fan of these proposed IndieWeb icons/logos, particularly the Protocols set. The repeated node motif is just a really solid piece of logo design – and the Salmention salmon is just adorable 😄

Icons for the various IndieWeb protocols. Each is a black, block-capital letter or letters with a circular node punched out somewhere. For example, IndieAuth is a capital A with a line ending in a node splitting the two legs of the letter, whilst Webmention is a W where the two downstrokes are lines terminating in nodes, and the final upstroke continues into an arrow, indicating an outgoing dataflow.
Just look at that adorable Salmention "salmon" with a node for an eye 😍

Debug iOS Safari with Xcode | CSS Weekly

Need to debug an iOS or iPadOS device but don't have one? Got a Mac of some kind? Turns out, Xcode is a pretty comparable environment to the real deal and almost any mobile Safari bug can be tested – in real-time, with all the normal quick reload of your regular dev environment – and fixed using it. Sure, you still have to shell out for an expensive Mac, but if you've gone that far why not get the most out of it?

Re-evaluating px vs em in media queries | Keith J. Grant

An overview of the state of media queries and accessible overrides (page zoom, text zoom, min/max font size settings etc.), seeking to determine which of em, rem, or px is the best option. Turns out that Safari is still doing things differently and still preventing their being a "winner", but pixels are your most consistent option, whilst em is likely the most broadly accessible (so really, no change).

Comparison chart of how media queries using the different units behave in Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. Regular zoom is identical across all combinations; font size changes are different in Safari to the other two, where no change occurs for any unit option; and in minimum font size, Safari throws another curveball and does scale media queries using em but nothing else, whilst the other browsers don't change at all.
Safari isn't even internally consistent. Why scale em for minimum font size, but not regular font size overrides?

On Safari still being the core issue:

I was disappointed to see Safari is still an outlier, where ems and rems don’t scale in media queries based on the user’s default font size.

On the reality of an inconsistent system (not sure I agree with this as a takeaway, but it does track with the data):

There is no clear-cut winner I can point to after looking at this. It probably depends on what you want to prioritize.

If you want consistency across all browsers, you should now use px in your media queries.

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