Archive: March, 2014

Page speed: how soon will visitors see your content?

Smart tutorial by Louis Lazaris over at Sitepoint on WebPageTest. Like so many other developers, I find myself on WebPageTest all the time for web page performance optimization. But I only understood the page basics; Lazaris mostly focuses on the Filmstrip View, an aspect of WebPageTest I’ve rarely looked at but clearly should have a long time ago.

Mad Men: “The Wheel”

The penultimate season of Mad Men starts in a few weeks, so it’s a great time to look back at some of the show’s definitive episodes. “The Wheel” is undoubtedly one of them. As A.V. Club writer Todd VanDerWerff writes, that pitch to Kodak is still incredible:

Somewhere in the middle of that pitch, though, he [Don] realizes the place he longs to go is the place he’s already talking about, even if he won’t allow himself to feel that for more than a millisecond. He’s trapped by time, as we all are, forced to live our lives in sequence, as the same, flawed people who never really realize the truth of who they really are at heart, which is wounded and beaten and fleeting. But also, possibly, kind and good and capable of something outside of themselves.


Jeremy Keith:

If your client or boss expects that a website will look and behave the same in every browser on every device, then where did they get those expectations from? And rather than spending your time trying to meet those impossible expectations, I think your time would be better spent explaining why those expectations don’t match the reality of the web.

It’s like Mike Monteiro says about clients: if they just don’t get something about your design, that’s not their fault; it’s yours. Explaining your design work is part of your design work. It’s the same with web development.

Exactly. And I love how Keith concludes his post at the end: the web isn’t just another platform where if you have the right device, you get all of the content, otherwise you get zero. It’s instead a continuum; different browsers can have different experiences.

One day journey with Sketch

Nice walk through a series of bite sized tutorials, by designer Kevin Hon Chi Hang. I still find myself mostly wedded to Photoshop comps for my development workflow, but I’d like to learn more about Sketch for side projects; this looks like a good place to start.

8 guidelines and 1 rule for responsive images

It’s a year old, but Jason Grigsby’s post on recommended guidelines still (remarkably) holds up very well with regard to best practices and responsive imagery. The most important takeaway:

The one thing we can be certain about is that we’re going to need to replace what we implement now when standards catch up with responsive images.

So whatever you build, make sure it is flexible and can be changed easily when the ultimate solution for responsive images becomes apparent.

iCloudTabs Alfred workflow

When I’m working at my Mac it’s easy to reference my iCloud tabs from my iOS devices when I’m in Safari. But elsewhere it’s a no go. This little extension by Kevin Marchand for the Alfred keyboard launcher makes the tabs much more accessible: I type ‘tabs’ into Alfred and immediately can open a tab with an extra key press. Very useful.

Why Leonardo DiCaprio didn’t win the Oscar

Film awards season is well behind us, but this Vanity Fair convincingly argues why the Oscars, and to a lesser extent most acting awards, tend to favor the relatable over the cool and unreadable.

A look behind the curtain: how Netflix redesigned and rebuilt its television experience

A lot of design and development insights in this Gigaom post by Janko Roettgers. Fascinating to see the Netflix team debate image weight so heavily:

However, the team ran into a significant issue when it began to build out the final UI for consumers in the third quarter of 2013, just months before it was scheduled to launch. It discovered that lower-end Blu-ray players and streaming boxes couldn’t handle WebP decoding on the fly, or at least not as smoothly as Netflix would like them to. That’s why the team decided to still serve JPEGs to cheap consumer electronics devices by default, but send WebP images to game consoles and other more powerful machines…

…The goal was to find that sweet spot where images look great but still load quickly, and transitions are smooth — something Netflix internally calls a “recipe” for image encoding. It was a time of constant fine-tuning, a time when even something as minuscule as a 150ms delay during an image transition warranted further tweaks. “You will feel that,” insisted McCarthy.

Chasing down page weight and experimenting with multiple platforms? There’s a lot in common here with web development workflows.

The internet is fucked

The Verge’s Nilay Patel writes a compelling editorial on why the internet needs stronger government oversight in the lack of virtually zero meaningful competition among internet providers. Essential tech reading.

Grounded: the making of The Last of Us

The Last of Us was an amazing game that really pushed the adventure genre forward. So it bummed me out after finishing it that I didn’t buy the collector’s edition that contained this 85 minute making of documentary. Fortunately for all of us it’s available now for free streaming on Amazon.

There’s a few moments that feel a bit too effusive (it’s clearly an “authorized” doc) but largely it’s excellent, an excellent watch for almost anyone who likes narrative-driven gaming. There’s a lot of interviews with the cast, developers, sound engineers, raw footage from the mo-cap studio and much more.