Back to Using the System Font Stack in CSS

June 5, 2017 · 10:20

After looking at a variety of options from Google Fonts — Open Sans, Source Sans Pro, and a few others — I decided to go back to the system font stack for a number of reasons. Performance is definitely my main metric, but the lack of interesting options on Google Fonts is another. I could use TypeKit or Cloud.typography, but Adobe decided not to include the former in their Creative Cloud Photography Plan and the latter is just too much for my needs (in terms of price too).

I believe I’m targeting every relevant platform. As far as I know, these are the current popular system font stacks in use:

I went with Ghost. Let me know if you find any bugs or anything else out of the ordinary.


JSON Feed Added

June 4, 2017 · 22:55

With all the changes I made today, I went ahead and added support for Brent Simmons’ and Manton Reece’s JSON Feed. You can find it in the footer of any page on Infinite Diaries or at https://infinitediaries.net/feed/json/. It’s simple enough for WordPress installations — all you need to do is to download the plugin from here and follow the instructions:

Adds a /feed/json URL to your WordPress site. Drop the plugin folder in /wp-content/plugins and activate under WP Admin → Plugins.

P.S. After seeing how Titillium Web renders a double slash (//), I’m going to need to look for a new font. Not a fan of its italics either.


June 4, 2017 · 22:41

I finally got around to getting rid of the Permalink ★ links from below each post and hiding them under the date, just below the titles. This small change made the layout just a bit cleaner, but it has made me a lot happier.


House of Cards Season 5 Thoughts [No Spoilers]

June 4, 2017 · 21:51

We just finished watching the fifth season of House of Cards and quite frankly I’m astounded at how stupid Claire is. I apologise for being blunt, but she’s blind and petty over the last two seasons or so. Treasonous and greedy too. The show is great — I give it a big thumbs up — make no mistake, but I don’t understand how she’s so far off Frank’s game.


June 4, 2017 · 12:29

I spent the morning tweaking the design of the site. Instead of targeting the system fonts for various operating systems, I decided to add one font instead — Titillium Web from Google. I’m not a fan of loading external fonts since they increase load times, but this does give me greater control over the look of the site.

I need to finally fix the mobile menu — not happy with the current design. One day…


June 4, 2017 · 11:12

Currently working on de-centering the titles, dates, various other items, and perhaps changing the font too. I simply got bored with the old design. Please let me know if you find any bugs.


Manton Reece and Brent Simmons Talk About JSON Feed, Micro.blog, and More →

June 3, 2017 · 14:18

Manton Reece:

Brent Simmons and I were guests on The Talk Show this week. We talk about JSON Feed, Userland Frontier, Micro.blog, and much more.

Brent also announced Evergreen for the first time on the show. Evergreen is a new open source feed reader for the Mac. I’m really looking forward to where this app could go.

Finished listening to it last night — lots of great details and tidbits I wasn’t aware of. Well worth a listen.


Apple Music Executive Bozoma Saint John Plans to Leave the Company →

June 3, 2017 · 14:11

Ina Fried:

Bozoma Saint John, the Apple executive who garnered significant attention for her demo at last year’s worldwide developer conference, plans to leave the company, Axios has learned. Saint John was head of Global Consumer Marketing for Apple Music (and predecessor Beats Music).

“Plans to leave” but “was head of”? She either left or she didn’t.


GTX 1080Ti Needs One Hour to Crack 8 Character Digit Password →

June 3, 2017 · 14:08

Jeff Atwood:

But that was 4 years ago. Exactly how secure are our password hashes in the database today? Or 4 years from now, or 10 years from now? We’re building open source software for the long haul, and we need to be sure we are making reasonable decisions that protect everyone. So in the spirit of designing for evil, it’s time to put on our Darth Helmet and play the bad guy – let’s crack our own hashes!

We’re gonna use the biggest, baddest single GPU out there at the moment, the GTX 1080 Ti. As a point of reference, for PBKDF2-HMAC-SHA256 the 1080 achieves 1180 kH/s, whereas the 1080 Ti achieves 1640 kH/s. In a single video card generation the attack hash rate has increased nearly 40 percent. Ponder that.

In the meantime, despite it being 2017, some websites and services still limit users to short passwords. Microsoft’s Outlook is limited to 16 characters as far as I remember and I know of even lower limits.

Edit

Fixed the title. Jeff pastes some examples later, using alphanumeric examples, hence my mistake.


Fuck Facebook →

June 2, 2017 · 11:28

John Gruber:

The Internet Archive is our only good defense against broken links. Blocking them from indexing Facebook content is a huge “fuck you” to anyone who cares about the longevity of the stuff they link to.

Treat Facebook as the private walled garden that it is. If you want something to be publicly accessible, post it to a real blog on any platform that embraces the real web, the open one.

Even though I have a Facebook account1, I hate what the company is doing and what it stands for. They are however so successful, that many people don’t even realise that they’re “on the internet” when “they’re on Facebook”, as noted by Leo Mirani for QZ:

[…] a closer look at the data […] shows that 11% of Indonesians who said they used Facebook also said they did not use the internet. In Nigeria, 9% of Facebook users said they do not use the internet […]

Considering the substantial percentages—about 10% of Facebook users in our surveys—the data suggest at the very least that a few million of Facebook’s 1.4 billion users suffer from the same misconceptions.

The web would actually be a better place without Facebook, even if it meant Instagram had to die in the process.

  1. Because “I have to.”

Google Sucks →

June 2, 2017 · 11:14

Google update on the Nik Collection:

The Nik Collection is free and compatible with Mac OS X 10.7 through 10.10; Windows Vista, 7, 8; and Adobe Photoshop through CC 2015. We have no plans to update the Collection or add new features over time.

I knew this would happen. This is fucking unacceptable. There’s also a petition going, if you want to try to save it.


John Siracusa on Apple’s Butterfly Mechanism Keyboards →

May 26, 2017 · 14:11

John Siracusa on ATP.fm (episode 223):

I do not like thinking about these keyboards. Almost makes me long for a non-moving iPhone 7 home button style keyboard where nothing actually moves.

Looking at the iPhone, Apple steadily worked over the years to eliminate the physical Home button, waiting until all the pieces were in place (Taptic Engine) to finally do it. I’m a fan. But a whole physical keyboard?

I have been using the MacBook Pro Escape since it premiered and while the keyboard is mostly fine, I do share Marco Arment’s thoughts in regard to its reliability — heat (using it in the sun) is definitely an issue. While the keyboards in the previous models were perhaps more flimsy and mushy, they didn’t have any reliability issues (that I know of). Nothing widespread at least…

This is what Apple has to say about the butterfly mechanism on their MacBook page:

Traditional keyboards use a scissor mechanism, which tends to wobble around the edges. This creates a lack of precision when you strike anywhere except the center of the key. We needed to reduce key wobbling for a keyboard this thin; otherwise, striking a key off-center could result in the keycap hitting bottom before a keystroke registers. So we designed a unique butterfly mechanism, which is wider than the scissor mechanism and has a single assembly made from a stiffer material — allowing for a more stable, responsive key that takes up less vertical space. This innovative design improves stability, uniformity, and control — no matter where you press on the key.

They say less on the late 2016 MacBook Pro page:

The keyboard has been redesigned to include our new, second-generation butterfly mechanism — meticulously refined for greater comfort and responsiveness.

While I do like the feel of the new keyboard, it does have a design flaw — heat causes the keys to stick or clack even louder than normal when pressed. The following steps are what I imagine Apple’s thought process for eliminating the problem could be.

  1. Eliminate reliable but mushy keyboard — replace with butterfly mechanism series “because thinness.”
  2. Find no solution to sticky keys over next few years. Lose a lot of money on replacements and warranty repairs.
  3. “Hey guys! We solved this problem already, in the iPhone!”
  4. Add improved Taptic Engine. Replace current keyboard with a new one, with unmoveable keys.
  5. Profit?

The next step will surely be just a glass surface with keys displayed on it, right?

P.S. I truly hope none of the above comes about in my lifetime — I’m worried that it will, sooner than we expect it too though. Keep your eyes peeled when watching The Fate of the Furious / Fast & Furious 8 and you’ll know what I mean.


How to Make the Perfect Martini — Roger Moore →

May 26, 2017 · 13:48

Roger Moore:

The sad fact is that I know exactly how to make a dry martini but I can’t drink them because, two years ago, I discovered I was diabetic. I prefer one with gin, but James Bond liked a vodka martini, “shaken not stirred” – which I never said, by the way. That was Sean Connery, remember him?

The worst martini I’ve ever had was in a club in New Zealand, where the barman poured juice from a bottle of olives into the vodka. That’s called a dirty martini and it is a dirty, filthy, rotten martini, and should not be drunk by anybody except condemned prisoners.

My dry martinis taste amazing and the day they tell me I’ve got 24 hours to live I am going to have six. Here’s how I make them […]

🍸


Design Before You “Minify” →

May 22, 2017 · 08:29

Don Melton:

Then again, what the hell do I know? I’m just an old Web browser guy. So I’ll leave you with this quote, sometimes attributed to Albert Einstein, that I kept in my .plan file back when that was a normal thing to have around:

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.

I’m just trying to get people to think a little bit more before they deploy. I certainly wish I had here.

I’m in the same boat as Don — I really should overhaul this site to make it simpler, so it would hopefully load faster.


Google’s Proprietary Fork of HTML Is Taking Over the Open Web →

May 22, 2017 · 08:14

Nick Heer:

Consider this: Google owns the most popular search engine and the biggest video hosting platform in most countries, operates one of the most-used email services on Earth,1 has the greatest market share of any mobile operating system, makes the most popular web browser in many countries, serves the majority of the targeted advertising on the web, provides the most popular analytics software for websites, and is attempting to become a major internet service provider. And, to cap it all off, they’re subtly replacing HTML with their own version, and it requires a Google-hosted JavaScript file to correctly display.


Things 3 for iPhone, iPad, and Mac — Quick First Thoughts

May 21, 2017 · 21:39

Cultured Code has finally released Things 3 for iOS and macOS — the next edition, rewritten from the ground up, of one of the most popular GTD systems for iPhone, iPad and Mac. I have been using it for the past day or so, hence I cannot make any solid statements at this point in time, but I was a long-time Things 1.0 user, right up until my tasks overwhelmed me and it was easier to delete the app than to actually complete everything that I had jotted down in it. I’m hoping that this time I’ll make it work — Cultured Code really seems to have the UI down pat and while not perfect, it fits my needs. I do have a few niggles that I will address in the future, but nothing truly major. Having said that, Things 3 is not cheap, but they do have a launch sale going currently — each app is 20% cheaper and there are a few days left to pull the trigger. I can’t say that I’m a fan of their pricing methods (I would prefer a single, universal iOS app, even if it cost more), but if you need a well thought out GTD system for a single user, give Things a try (there’s a trial of the Mac version of the app).

Things 3 – iPhone – $7.99 (20% launch sale) →
Things 3 – iPad – $15.99 (20% launch sale) →
Things 3 – Mac – $39.99 (20% launch sale) →


Theresa May to Create New Internet That Would Be Controlled and Regulated by Government →

May 21, 2017 · 21:18

Andrew Griffin, reporting for The Independant:

Theresa May is planning to introduce huge regulations on the way the internet works, allowing the government to decide what is said online.

Particular focus has been drawn to the end of the manifesto, which makes clear that the Tories want to introduce huge changes to the way the internet works.

“Some people say that it is not for government to regulate when it comes to technology and the internet,” it states. “We disagree.”

The direction taken by the UK in recent years is nothing short of horrifying and perhaps the worst thing that will happen to the internet in its history. At the same time I cannot fathom why the people don’t protest this more. This quote, from V for Vendetta springs to mind immediately:

People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.


JSON Feed Version 1 — Like RSS, With JSON Instead of XML →

May 17, 2017 · 21:06

Brent Simmons & Manton Reece:

The JSON Feed format is a pragmatic syndication format, like RSS and Atom, but with one big difference: it’s JSON instead of XML.

For most developers, JSON is far easier to read and write than XML. Developers may groan at picking up an XML parser, but decoding JSON is often just a single line of code.

Our hope is that, because of the lightness of JSON and simplicity of the JSON Feed format, developers will be more attracted to developing for the open web.


Moom Removed from Sale Due to Patent Violation →

May 13, 2017 · 13:37

Rob Griffiths and Peter Maurer:

Tonight we received notice that Moom is in violation of US patent number 8434019, Apparatus and method for positioning windows on a display. Yes, someone has patented positioning windows on a screen via a grid. Given we’ve been notified of a patent violation, we have no choice but to remove Moom from sale, effective immediately.

Sometime patents make sense. Most of the time however, they don’t. This is as absurd as you can imagine anything can be.


Phil Schiller on App Store Upgrade Pricing →

May 6, 2017 · 19:20

Kunal Dua, interviewing Phil Schiller:

Phill Schiller: The reason we haven’t done it is that it’s much more complex than people know, and that’s okay, it’s our job to think about complex problems, but the App Store has reached so many successful milestones without it because the business model makes sense to customers. And the upgrade model, which I know very well from my days of running many large software programmes, is a model from the shrink-wrapped software days that for some developers is still very important, for most, it’s not really a part of the future we are going.

I think for many developers, subscription model is a better way to, go than try to come up with a list of features, and different pricing for upgrade, versus for new customers. I am not saying it doesn’t have value for some developers but for most it doesn’t, so that’s the challenge. And if you look at the App Store it would take a lot of engineering to do that and so would be at the expense of other features we can deliver.

Subscription models are fine for a very limited number of apps. If every app had subscription pricing, I’d probably be using five applications at most. I would however endorse in-app purchases to unlock new functions, added by developers. This isn’t always possible unfortunately, especially in scenarios where most of the apps code changes from version to version.


May 5, 2017 · 22:03

We’re binge watching Mad Men and things have been a bit slow recently, as my wife noted today (we’re on season 3), so naturally one of Sterling Cooper’s employees had a meeting with a lawnmower.

Love this show.


May 5, 2017 · 07:24

Surprising morning — Twitter appears to be down from my location, but fine when I VPNed myself to the UK. This hasn’t happened in a long time. I went to Micro.blog instead, but found that my timeline is a bit short. Discovered a cool iOS trick while editing this post though!


Apple to Blame for Lowering Software Value →

May 4, 2017 · 15:56

Matt Gemmell:

No company has done as much damage to the perceived value of software, and the sustainability of being an independent developer, as Apple.

Not that other companies wouldn’t have done the same thing — they would have. It’s just that Apple was the successful one.

It’s resolutely the fault of us as consumers, and it’s actively encouraged by the App Store.

Matt raises a few good points, however, I also tend to feel that developers themselves are partly to blame. For example, many years ago App A launched at $9.99. A few months or years later, competing App B comes along, but it starts out at $4.99. After a while, App A starts a 50% sale (and often doesn’t raise the price again). App C comes along at $0.99, followed by App D, which is free with in-app purchases. That’s the trend that I have seen for many of my favourite apps. Some developers stay strong, however — The Soulmen with their Ulysses [iOS/Mac] for example. The Mac version costs $44.99, while the iOS version is only $24.99, and both versions have nearly identical functionality. They can be used as standalone software too — there is no need to use them both. We’re not even getting into developer sustainability here — cost of living in some countries is much higher than in others. Some do this is as their full-time job, others as a hobby.

The one thing that I still expect Apple to do, is to add an upgrade pricing mechanism, which would greatly benefit developers. I’ll gladly pay for upgrades, but I am probably in the minority. Unfortunately.

At this rate, we might not have a lot of quality software to choose from in the future…