Friday links

Posted in Links at 11:38 pm by

Well, link (singular):

My friend Jill has said for years that I’m about 70 years old :P


The Old Web: Follow-up

Posted in History, Links, Software at 11:59 pm by

Today’s comments on Tim Bray’s post that I linked to yesterday have been very interesting, both as to the scale of link rot and efforts underway to ameliorate it (you should read those comments if you have not done so).

One commenter on ongoing also linked to two recent posts by Bret Victor; the second one is a incisive examination of the web’s permanence/impermanence problem that I briefly wrestled with before closing yesterday’s post with congratulations to Zeldman. (You should really read Victor’s post.)

Tuesday update: In Tuesday morning’s comments on Bray’s post, Andy Jackson of the British Library links to their study of URLs in their archive, where one of the conclusions is “50% of the content is lost after just one year, with more being lost each subsequent year” (emphasis mine).


The Old Web

Posted in History, Life, Links at 11:59 pm by

Two somewhat-related items:

  1. Zeldman’s website turned 20 today. (Next year it’ll legally be able to drink!)
  2. Tim Bray looks at hyperlink decay among the outgoing links on his own website, ongoing.

After reading link 1 and before opening link 2 this evening, by coincidence I took a quick pass through my own website (a mere eight and a half months younger than Zeldman’s—which came as quite a shock to me!—and which at one time was published using some of the same tools as Zeldman’s, namely PageSpinner and Fetch) and noticed, particularly on the What’s New and About this Site pages, a large number of broken links. Most links were either to “Classic” Mac OS applications or to long-shuttered websites and Internet services. (I also noted the “What’s New” and “About this Site” pages were rather out-of-date :P More repairs needed on this old house!)

As a historian in the digital age and yet a private person, I’m not sure how I feel about the apparently-increasing pace of link rot—on the one hand, loss of potential sources is nothing new, and on the other hand, the presence of impermanence in an era where many claim “once it’s on the Internet, it can never be deleted” is something of wonder. Instead of digging into the struggle between those two ideals, I think I’ll end with a universally happy thought:

Congratulations to Zeldman on 20 continuous years of online publishing!



Posted in Camino, Links at 11:00 pm by

Some years ago now, long after nearly all web standards people had adopted Firefox or Safari, the great CSS guru Eric Meyer was (still) a Camino user. In that capacity, I interacted with him a few times in my role as a member of the Camino team.

Today I join with the global community of those who knew or were influenced by the Meyers in presenting a #663399Becca border on افكار و احلام (and background on the main ardisson.org landing page) as a mark of remembrance for their young daughter who tragically passed away last Saturday.

I have no more words.

(Via Jon Hicks)


Public Service Announcement: Flag Etiquette

Posted in Life, Links at 5:40 pm by

A reminder to those of you who display the American flag on a flagpole at your home, place of business, or other location:

The flag, when flown at half-staff, should be first hoisted to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position. The flag should be again raised to the peak before it is lowered for the day. On Memorial Day the flag should be displayed at half-staff until noon only, then raised to the top of the staff.
          —4 U. S. C., §7 (emphasis added)

Public Service Announcement: Traffic Safety

Posted in Life, Links at 5:03 pm by

If a traffic signal is not functioning at an intersection, all drivers must treat the intersection as if a stop sign is posted for all directions.
          —2010 Driver’s Manual (GA)

This public service announcement brought to you by those of us who do not wish to be killed or injured in chaos at an intersection where power to the traffic signal has been lost.


On Privacy

Posted in Life, Links at 1:37 am by

The Chronicle recently published a good piece about the complex nature of privacy, vectors of assault on facets of our privacy, and the fallacies of the “if you have nothing to hide” justification commonly used by defenders of measures that intrude on our privacy. Plus, both Orwell and Kafka for the price of one!


Camino Tips: Going Flash-Free (and Cheating using Google Chrome)

Posted in Camino, Links at 1:23 am by

(Hey, look at that; Camino Planet is working normally again, which means my posts are appearing again.)

Once again it’s been over a year since the last post in the Camino Tips series, but we’re back with another one.

Recently, going “Flash-free” (and cheating by using Google Chrome when you hit a Flash-only website) has become all the rage on the web; you can do so in Camino, too, with a little help from AppleScript and/or Automator.

Short version:

  1. Uninstall the Flash Player plug-in by moving Flash Player.plugin and flashplayer.xpt from /Library/Internet Plug-ins to some other location.
  2. Install one of the solutions below to facilitate opening the current page in Google Chrome (which ships with its own built-in copy of the Flash plug-in).

Toolbar Script solution

Carlo Gandolfi (aka gand, of FreeSMUG and Portable Camino fame) wrote a short AppleScript that can be used as a toolbar script; if you’re on a page with Flash that you need to be able to view, you can click the toolbar button to open the page in Google Chrome.

For more information about this method and to download the toolbar AppleScript, see Going Flash-Free with Camino on FreeSMUG.

Automator-based Service solution

Philippe Wittenbergh, always mindful of the keyboard accessibility of features and tricks, adapted the toolbar script solution into an Automator-based Service for Mac OS X 10.6 (it can probably be adapted for use with ThisService for users on Mac OS X 10.5); if you’re on a page with Flash that you need to be able to view, you can use the keyboard shortcut you’ve assigned to the Service to open the page in Google Chrome.

For more information about this method and to download the Automator workflow, see Workflow for a nearly Flash-less online life with Camino at ::[Empty Spaces]::.

Thanks to Carlo and Philippe for putting these tools and their instructions together (it’s something I had wanted to do for quite a while now, but, as usual of late, never found the time to do)!


Graphics for the Weekend

Posted in Links, Travel at 1:35 am by

I’m in a bit of a posting malaise right now, with lots I want to write about but little energy to make it happen when I have the time.

As a step in the right direction, though, I offer these links to some nifty graphics to keep your mind sharp for the weekend:

  • Tallest Mountain to Deepest Ocean Trench from Our Amazing Planet
    • I never realized the Statue of Liberty was so short!
  • Locals and Tourists from Eric Fischer
    • Having been a tourist in nearly a dozen of these places, a former resident of one,1 and a general geography buff, it’s fascinating to see the places we find interesting, and the differences around the world (Greater Cairo, for instance, has a relatively low density of photographs, and an even-lower density of definable locals—but it is fun to see the tourists on felucca rides in the Nile!).


1 Or two, by the definition used in the compilation—had I uploaded any photos to Flickr, of course.


Best of Brent Simmons on Software Development for End-Users

Posted in Links, Software at 9:43 pm by

Brent Simmons, author of renowned feed reader NetNewsWire, periodically writes about software development issues as they pertain to end-users. He debunks common end-user myths and misconceptions about software development (“it’s like one line of code to add this”) and provides guidance to users about making good feature requests and bug reports (and why developers will ask you lots of questions along the way). Since I periodically want to refer back to these posts (and refer others to them) and Google is not nearly as omniscient as one might expect ;) when entering "Brent Simmons" "software development for end users", I’ve decided that here is as good a place as any to collect them for my reference.

(Thanks to Brent for doing all the hard work of writing these articles, and apologies for appropriating your name for the title of this anthology.)