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

Jihad and More!

From a Private School in Cairo to ISIS Killing Fields in Syria — What a fascinating story (with video!) of a young man who decides to join Isis.

There is no single path that leads to jihad, but in exploring Mr. Yaken’s life, signposts emerge. There are influences familiar and easy to discuss, like a lack of economic opportunity and a renewed sense of political alienation, especially among youths.

On a lighter note, Alto’s Adventure looks like a beautiful iOS game.

Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time – This movie should get made!

A Few

Apparently people have been using pinch-to-zoom on their desktop browsers? Which actually may not be that crazy, since those Apple laptops sell pretty well. Not surprisingly, Chrome’s pinch-to-zoom wasn’t as smooth as Safari’s. The latest Chrome Canary aims to fix that.

Also news to me, the Internet Archive has an entire Archived Software Library, which is pretty rad, if you’re into that sort of thing. It looks like now, those archived pieces of software (read: games) are now embeddable. Pretty rad, again, if you’re into that sort of thing. Note: The embedded games seem to have mixed results. But what a concept! Next on their list: Export a game as HTML5. Just kidding.

If you didn’t buy the in-app purchase of the full toolset in Paper, way back when, all the Paper tools are now available for free.

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

Is the iPad Not Mobile?

The popular iOS app, Flipboard, aims to elevate content layout and interaction on the web.

Flipboard for mobile web is a case study in pushing the browser to its limits. While this approach may not be suitable for all applications, for us it’s enabled a level of interaction and performance that rivals native apps.

Flipboard.com’s approach largely involves eschewing traditional HTML, CSS, & Javascript, in favor of HTML5’s canvas element.

While interesting (and a bit over my head), why is it that when visiting Flipboard.com on the iPad, we’re presented with a roadblock page, instructing us to use the iPad app for “the best Flipboard experience”?

Where’s the mobile canvas experience that rivals native apps?

flipboard-ipad-screenshot

Input type=email, Most Commonly Used Advanced Input Type

Poll results: popular input types

The results are surprising, while I expected date and number to end in first and second place, the most popular type was actually email.

Personally, I would have guessed that type="tel" would be leading the charge. Not for telephone entries specifically, but any input that is expecting a number of any kind, the type="tel" attribute invokes the number keyboard on iOS devices; Minus the finicky limitations that are associated with type="number".