Journal

Highly Optimized Images for the Web in 3 Steps

Pascal Altena:

In this article, I’ll cover the techniques I use to make images load fast on a webpage.

A beautifully succinct yet informative article that begs to printed out and stuck on the wall next to every web developer.

All the Oxygen Trapped in a Bubble

David Heinemeier Hansson:

Sure, people are being employed, money is changing hands, but come Monday morning, the hangover is that we spent a bundle to build a lot of shit that’s not going anywhere. As a result, we missed out on doing other worthwhile things. All those smart and talented heads, and all those benjamins, didn’t progress the economic base in a way we’re going to care about tomorrow. And that’s a damn shame.

Put another way, “the best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads” – that’s the view of Jeff Hammerbacher, an early employee of Facebook.

Kiwibank: Standing Up for Something New

Banks aren’t the most likeable organisations, but I’m developing a soft spot for Kiwibank, a New Zealand-based bank competing against larger Australian-based rivals. Their latest advertising campaign suggests they’re willing to stand up for something new “and even a bit crazy”, and in the world of banking, a responsive website is just that.

Barebones

Barebones is an initial directory setup, style guide and pattern primer intended as a starting point for my own web development projects. I’ve made it available on GitHub so that others can use it in their own projects too. Anna has written more about the release here.

Not Excited by the Olympics? Then Thank God for the Sponsors

Charlie Brooker:

The Olympic rings have been whored around so much they’ve become valueless: a status symbol for a few corporations to tote like a badge for several weeks, impressing almost no one except themselves.

Increasing commercialism of the games threatens to undermine the Olympic movement.

Inspiring Nobody

Rather than showcase British interactive design talent, the biggest cultural event of our generation has been represented online by an uninspired mess that flies the flag for the status quo.

Marathon Man

Although I spent much of April writing a tutorial for .net Magazine, I did enjoy a brief respite while I ran the Brighton Marathon. Yep, it’s been quite the month.

The Problem With Marc Andreessen

Felix Salmon:

Andreessen’s entire fortune has been built on the greater-fool theory: if you build something trendy enough, there’s probably going to be a huge lumbering company out there somewhere willing to overpay for it.

I know many who would agree with this assessment.

Build a Responsive Website in a Week

Since returning from San Francisco, much of my spare time has been spent writing a tutorial for .net magazine. Published as part of their ‘Responsive Week’, this is for developers who want to learn about responsive web design but don’t know where to start.

Inventing on Principle

Bret Victor talks about why he is motivated to create creative tools, during his presentation at CUSEC 2012:

Ideas are very precious to me, and when I see ideas dying, it hurts. I see a tragedy. To me it feels like a moral wrong, it feels like an injustice. And if I think there is anything I can do about it, I feel it’s my responsibility to do so. Not opportunity, but responsibility.

He also asks a good question; what’s the guiding principle behind everything you create?

(Via Tim Van Damme)

Lobbyists, Guns and Money

Paul Krugman:

We seem to be turning into a country where crony capitalism doesn’t just waste taxpayer money but warps criminal justice, in which growing incarceration reflects not the need to protect law-abiding citizens but the profits corporations can reap from a larger prison population.

Scary yet unsurprising story about how organisations like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) are not only supporting, but writing wholesale legislation to benefit their corporate benefactors.

Of course, if it’s happening in the US, it’s happening here in Britain too. Indeed, I was reminded of this fascinating article by Adam Curtis, which charts the rise of the political ‘think tank’:

If you go back and look at how they rose up – at who invented them and why – you discover they are not quite what they seem. That in reality they may have nothing to do with genuinely developing new ideas, but have become a branch of the PR industry whose aim is to do the very opposite – to endlessly prop up and reinforce today’s accepted political wisdom.

Our political leaders are no longer interested in the concerns of the electorate and increasingly led by lobbyists – regardless of what destruction (societal, economic, environmental…) may result from their policy suggestions.

It surely can’t carry on like this, can it?

The Journey

A new pair of jeans, the reignited love for a city and an inevitable answer to a surprisingly surprising question. Just some of the artefacts collected during two weeks in America.

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