Gone Phishin’

Last summer, Gmail added support for Latin characters. It turns out, they’re pretty useful for spammers getting their phish on.

Be careful with this message. Someone might be trying to trick you by using similar-looking characters (such as Σ and E) in the email addresses contained in this message.

So let me get this straight. I’m not only supposed to read an email’s from address, but I’m supposed to pay special attention to each character?

My father once left himself logged in to Paypal on a library computer, losing all of $30. God knows what he’s been clicking on these days.

99% Invisible

There’s been some great podcasting going on at 99% Invisible. The recent Of Mice and Men episode covers the “keyset”, an alternative to the keyboard as an input device. If the keyset wasn’t so difficult to use we could have even greater control of our computer overlords.

Why shouldn’t we take the time learn, if the results are superior? Are we missing out by putting so much emphasis on ease-of-use?

Even Doug Engelbart realized that learning the keyset was difficult. But for Engelbart, ease of use wasn’t the top priority. He wanted the computer inputs to be as powerful possible, and that required some complexity. He imagined that consumers would learn how to use the mouse and keyset slowly over time, like how one learns to operate a car.

You may have caught Doug Engelbert on You Tube in the past. He’s the presenter of the Mother of All Demos. In this pioneering demonstration Engelbert has developed the 2015 computing status-quo, in the year 1968.

Some other recent 99% Invisible standouts include:
Octothorpe (the history of the # sign)
The Sizzle
Lights Out

US Army’s First Open Source Project

The changelog reports that the US Army open sourced a network traffic analysis framework.

This code was paid for by tax-payer dollars. It is the first repo to be made available under the US Army Research Laboratory organization.

The US Army Research Laboratory has been around since 1992. William Glodek has the initial commit and has been a GitHub member since Nov 3, 2014.

Here’s the modern day ‘Your Tax Dollars at Work’ road sign, for the information superhighway.
army-github-pulse

Invented Elements

Type Butter – Optical Kerning

Good idea, but is inventing an element the right approach?

My reason to bring this up is that I’m very interested by how TypeButter accomplishes its kerning: it inserts kern elements with inline style attributes that bear letter-spacing values. Not span elements, kern elements. No, you didn’t miss an HTML5 news bite; there is no kern element, nor am I aware of a plan for one. TypeButter basically invents a specific-purpose element.

The iPad 3 and Moore’s Law

The iPad 3 and Moore’s Law

Interesting read from Quirks Mode, on how the iPad 3’s display will actually hurt the mobile web in particular, by creating a demand for larger downloads to accommodate for the hi-resolution screen.

In order to display properly on the iPad 3, all graphics of both web apps and native apps must be doubled in pixel density, which means their size roughly quadruples. Clever compression will solve part of that problem, but not nearly enough.

The problem is even worse with the mobile web. Jason Grigsby delved into the way Apple itself serves Retina-optimised images to its new iPad site. Essentially, they download the normal images first, and if a check for the iPad 3 is positive it then downloads the optimised images.