Last year, Google started giving websites that have an SSL cert a ranking boost. As part of that announcement they said it was done to push the web to be more secure. But they also wanted to go even further and push for “HTTPS everywhere”.
This week it was announced this measure is going to be taken a step further with a new feature in Chrome where it will show a big red “X” on unsecured sites. Firefox also has plans for this.
The EFF and security researchers are applauding the move. One example is it prevents governments from blocking specific pages. They instead have to block the whole domain which is much more noticeable. You can read about Russia’s WikiPedia ban for more context.
Dave Winer is one proponent against this and in a recent post he said:
I wonder if they’ve even tried to quantify the outages they’ll cause. So many sites are simply residing on a hard disk somewhere, served by an ancient version of some unknown and not maintained server software, chugging along as someone keeps paying the electric bill, and replaces a broken hardware component when needed. The people who created the site might not have understood HTTPS or how to deploy it, and many are long gone. Some of course are dead. We are certainly not all sitting around doing nothing waiting for a handful of programmers on a mail list to make us perform a ridiculous act of security theater for our blog posts written in 2002.
Most of these sites do not need HTTPS. It isn’t an issue for my ancient blog posts. Or yours.
I personally think the current proposal with a red “X” is not the right solution. Yes, users will notice it at first, but give it two weeks and that icon will be totally ignored. I like the proposal on the Firefox report where someone suggested the browser just alert when submitting a form on an unsecure site, but I think it’ll be ignored after a while as well.
Let’s Encrypt and AWS are two service now offering free SSL certs. As the market shifts toward free services I’m sure implementation will get easier and easier until all web hosts just have support by default.
Of course, this would be a lot of work and a lot of companies would need to make big architecture changes.
“With SourceForge, our plans all surround returning the site to being the ‘gold standard’ and most trusted destination for open source software discovery, development, collaboration and distribution on the web. We will improve and accelerate development of useful open source software developer tools in addition to rekindling the original spirit of open source that made SourceForge an industry leader.”
I can’t see this happening. How many things that have lost this much momentum ever climbed back up?1 Especially when the target market is developers.
I think of the code editor changes over the years. Textmate was hugely popular, it lost momentum on the v2 release and never recovered. Eclipse and Netbeans taken over by PhpStorm.
Even BitBucket which is almost on par with GitHub just can’t seem to pick up steam from the open source community. But I know of a lot of consultant shops using it.
I just can’t see how SourceForge will ever return from how bad the name is tarnished. It’ll be an uphill battle and will take coming up with something truly innovative.
Apple reported sales of iPads declined 25% during the last quarter and pundit’s everywhere are screaming the sky is falling.
No one can predict the future and all we have to go on is what is here and now. As an Apple fanboy here is my reason for the decline of iPad sales.
Toward the end of last year, Apple released the iPhone 6s and 6s plus and before the announcement I had been debating between getting a new phone or an iPad. I already had a phone and I didn’t need a new one so I leaned heavily toward the iPad, but the more I thought about it the more I came back to thinking the phone was the right choice.
I made up my mind and purchased a 6s plus. What pushed me toward it was the better camera. (My iPhone is my only camera) It’s always with me and it has cell service.
After using the new phone for a month, I knew I had made the right decision. The screen is smaller than the iPad mini but I can still do everything on it that I could with an iPad. I watch TV, read books, write blog posts, edit images, everything but software development, which you can’t really do on the iPad either.
The only thing I’ve found lacking is some professional apps are iPad only but I can’t fault Apple for that. I’m sure the developers had good reasons to only support the one device.
At the end of the day, iPad sales are declining because of the bigger screen on the iPhone plus model.
People have been complaining about silos since the first one was built. I think if we took a trip back in time with Marty McFly we would see hundreds of people standing by that first one and arguing about it.
Of course, we can all agree silos are mostly bad and especially whenever it’s such an integral piece of modern tooling.
Tonight, GitHub is down and that means it’s impossible to read project documentation, install packages, or browse gists. Everything just comes to a halt.
The irony in this is that Git is distributed and designed to work even if you don’t have an internet connection but because we, as developers, rallied around this one company now literally everything is in their hands.
It’s one of those things where you don’t think about it until it’s down. Then you realize just how fragile a developers toolkit is.
When you first start out as a developer you find a problem and build a solution. This is how you learn and progress.
As you become older your outlook changes and you’d rather pay money to save time. Of course, you could still build it, but eventually, you hit a tipping point.
Developers are some of the worst offenders of this problem. We have a problem and spend lots of hours building or own version when we could become typical consumers.
To give a real world example of this, I decided to create a weekly newsletter and instead of paying monthly for a service I did it all myself.
After a few months, I realized I was spending close to five hours a week just getting it ready to send. I then switched to a paid service and it cut my time down tremendously. I could then spend the hours saved on more important things.
In the past few years, free stock photography sites have been cropping all over the web. I was first exposed to these from one of the most popular sites Unsplash and have been using more and more of these services since then.
The problem now is many others have found Unsplash and I’ve scrolled through their list so many times I have them memorized. In order to be different, I’ve started keeping a list of bookmarks to other services that might not be as well known.
I’m not a music aficionado, I like music playing while I’m working just for the background noise. So switching music streaming services shouldn’t be a big deal.
A few years ago I became a Spotify subscriber and although I tried other services I always came back to it. The user-curated playlists and the ability to easily find music was always nice, but one lacking feature was the ability to listen on more than one computer on the same network.
Every day, it seemed like someone in my family would start playing music on another device kicking me off. I finally had enough and decided to add a family plan but with a family of four, I didn’t like the pricing. $5 for each additional member would push my bill to $30 a month and I am unwilling to pay that. Continue reading “Apple Music”
Dayle Rees launched a new PhpStorm theme that combines the Material UI theme with his Peacock color scheme.
Back when I used Sublime, Peacock was my favorite theme and I’m happy to see this being integrated with PhpStorm. You can get this theme from the Github repo and it includes all the instructions for getting set up.
They say reading at night is good for you. It’s relaxing and gets your body ready for sleep. Typically I would agree but not with Show Your Work by Austin Kleon.
It was 10 pm, I was tired, ready for bed, and I assumed reading the first chapter would put me right to sleep. I was wrong. I ended up reading almost the whole book and then couldn’t sleep for another few hours with ideas racing in my head. Finally, was able to fall asleep around 2 am and wasn’t excited about waking up the following morning.
I’ve always been the type of person that enjoys sharing things. That is the reason this site exists and all my other side projects are around this same notion. Even though I share a lot at times I hit that burnout point and Show Your Work happened to be the right book at the right time for me. It helped put clarity and perspective to the things I want to do.
The book is fairly short, around 200 pages, and is a quick read. Here is the list of chapters to give you an idea what it covers:
You don’t have to be a genius.
Think process, not product.
Share something small every day.
Open up your cabinet of curiosities.
Tell good stories.
Teach what you know.
Don’t turn into human spam.
Learn to take a punch.
If you decide to get this book I would recommend the paperback version. It’s small in size at 6×6 but it’s high quality and has lots of little drawing and quotes included like this one.
In the past, I’ve been hesitant to share what I’ve been working on for fear I’ll never finish it. Of course, all the other fears too, like being exposed as an amateur and mocked off the internet. Austin covers all of these excuses and more.
Which brings me to one of my favorite quotes from the book about dealing with people hating your work:
Sometimes when people hate something about your work, it’s fun to push that element even further. To make something they’d hate even more.
If you have the desire to get your work seen, improve your marketing, or just want a nice book to add to your collection pick up a copy. I enjoyed it.
The joys of a new year. A time to reflect on what all you accomplished and start planning out those new years resolutions. One of the hardest parts of this process is figuring out what all you did the past year. Sure big events are easy to remember and if you keep a journal then going back through it will help fill in the gaps, but there is a lot that slips through the cracks.
A new trend that has started becoming popular is apps and services sending you a personalized yearly review based on the data they have.
WordPress sent me one highlighting the number of posts, website traffic, most popular days, and most commenters.
Todoist, featured in the main post image, sent one showing how many tasks I completed each month, when I’m most productive, and how I rank compared to others using the app.
These are just two of the services I use that did this and I loved it because it made me want to share the results publicly and, in turn, give the vendor direct word of mouth advertising.
From a business standpoint if you have the data then generating user reports like this shouldn’t be too expensive to create, especially if you are comparing to other forms of marketing, but the benefits are a more personal recommendation.
Plus since it’s all in your database you’ll be able to reuse this same marketing tactic year after year with no further expenses.
I’ve been a digital reader most of my adult life but for the past year I’ve been trying to reduce my screen time and started buying real books. I started out with paperbacks but now I’ve moved into wanting hardcovers because they seem more sturdy and will stay in better condition longer.
The one drawback I experience is with the book jackets or sleeves. They always seem to shift and move and get wrinkled or creased. I decided enough was enough and I now remove them when I start reading, then put them back on to place on the shelve.
I thought I’m surely not only that finds these annoying and went out to research why these jackets are still included and the history behind it. According to Wikipedia:
After 1900, fashions in, and the economics of, publishing caused book bindings to become less decorative, and it was cheaper for publishers to make the jackets more attractive. By around 1920, most of the artwork and decoration had migrated from the binding to the dust jacket, and jackets were routinely printed with multiple colors, extensive advertising and blurbs; even the underside of the jacket was now sometimes used for advertising.
As dust jackets became more attractive than the bindings, more people began to keep the jackets on their books, at least until they became soiled, torn, or worn out. One bit of evidence that indicates when jackets became saved objects is the movement of the printed price from the spine of the jacket to a corner of one of the flaps. This also occurred in the 1910s and early 1920s. When jackets were routinely discarded at point of purchase, it didn’t matter where the price was printed (and many early jackets were not printed with any price), but now if book buyers of the 1910s and 1920s wanted to save the jacket and give a book as a gift, they could clip off the price without ruining the jacket.
Now that the jackets hold most of the design it’s as much a part of the book as the pages themselves and I feel like they shouldn’t be tossed away.
I looked into what others are doing with their jackets and came across a few different ideas:
Use them as bookmarks (front flap for the first half, back flap for the second half)
Throw them away
Remove while reading
Keep and frame them to hang in their study or library
I would rather the design be printed on the covers but also understand the economics of doing this would raise the price.
When reading books with a dust jacket what do you do with it? Do you find them annoying?
For the past two years, I’ve made the same new years goal, read more books.
Both years I’ve failed. I would start off reading every night and a few weeks into the year something would happen to cause me to veer off course. A new side project idea, a new writing project, just to worn out, you can insert any excuse here but I just lost track.
Each year I would put on my list of goals an actionable item like read 20 books, but that number overwhelms me. It’s like standing at the base of a mountain preparing to climb it, all you see is a rough and rugged path. Of course, with climbing once you start you can’t say today I don’t feel like walking. Your only choice is to trudge along and make small gains every day until you finish.
A goal of reading a total number leaves an opening for procrastination. Today I don’t feel like reading I’ll catch up later.
Instead of continuing that same pattern I’m going to set a daily goal of twenty pages. For the average person, reading an average book, twenty should take at most half an hour. So it’s not overwhelming and something easy to block off time for.
Another benefit is by doing it daily then it’s much easier for it to turn into a long term habit.
Twenty pages is inspired by Farnam Street and Jeff recommended 25, but he is an overachiever. 🙂