Pinebook Pro

I shouldn't be excited for what will probably be a pretty poor performing ARM based *nix laptop, but I am. The newly pre-announced Pinebook Pro will be big step up from the original Pinebook. The Pro version should be powerful enough for light computing tasks and is built from hardier materials. (The plastic on the Pinebook looks horrible.)

Web development isn't particularly taxing—although my creeky Vagrant setup might argue otherwise—and most of my time is spent on the command line. Maybe that's all I need is a decent keyboard and an SSH-capable terminal. I got by with an iPad,1 perhaps a $250-ish Laptop could do just as well.


  1. The iPad, while my favourite computer of all time, never felt right for my development workflow since it depended upon multiple monitors. The Pinebook Pro would be better suited in that way... until new iOS software can right that ship. 

Akira the Linux Design Tool

Akira is an open-source UI design software project that's looking for help getting development started on Kickstarter. Consider donating.

I spend every day with design files and while Figma is an incredible achievement, using a browser for complex designs can be difficult. On Windows, you can use the Adobe suite; on the Mac, you have access to Sketch, the Affinity Design suite AND the full Adobe suite. On open source platforms, not so much.

There are programs currently available for open source operating systems, like Gimp, Inkscape, Krita and others on Linux and BSD, but they aren't focused on UI design. Of all the designer/developers who run Linux that I know, they get by either running Photoshop in a VM, or using web based tools. Having a fast, native and modern design tool be accessible to all can only be good for the future of design.

I mean, how many of this last generation of designers got their start using bootlegged Adobe software? Wouldn't it have been better to have gotten our start using applications that were not only free to use but could contribute to its development?

ClockworkPi GameShell

I don't need this. I so don't need this, but my heart yearns. I recently picked up an MFI controller to play a few games and that's been great, but an integrated device would be ideal. The interface has a wonderful aesthetic to it too.

Emotional Rich Alt Text

I’m guilty of not taking the care to consider people with different abilities compared to my own. As a person of the Internet, I spend a lot of my free cycles thinking about writing, developing and making things for the Internet. Often, those projects include images which I do my best to include Alt text for anyone using a screenreader to browse what I’ve produced. I feel more guilty for not having thought about the depth that I describe those images.

This old post by Léonie landed in my lap recently and it shook me up:

A good alt text can conjure up wonderfully stimulating mental images. A friendly smile is the same in print, photo or wax crayon.

Whether you listen to an image or see it, the emotional response is the key factor, so why should we recommend that these emotion rich images should be given a null alt text and hidden from screen reader users?

I now think—obviously?—the emotional power and content of images should not be confined to the sighted. If an image is important enough to spend my bandwidth on, to share with everyone who visits my weblog, then I should consider the different means of consumption that someone could choose.


To pull off on a tangent for a moment, I think there’s a wider discussion that should be had about metadata in general. Knee-jerkingly, I consider most metadata to be anywhere from neutral to chaotically evil: used by the powers that be to identify, track, categorize, target, etc. Think of Instagram/Facebook and location metadata, or the invisible fingerprints left after calling someone—all ways to make associations whether helpful or incriminating. Perhaps, I should spend more effort thinking the wide variety of microformats that contribute meaning to the weave of our shared Internet fabric.

October 02, 2018

System Font Stacks in CSS

I’m going to need to remember these for later, so I figure what better place than to stash them here. (As an aside, I love Pinboard and Pocket but my habit for checking them lately has completely disappeared. It feels easier to pluck up the energy to post here than to check any of those places where saving content is effortless.) I have one link for default sans-serif font stacks and a monospaced version:

  1. System Font Stack CSS Snippet by CSS-Tricks
  2. CSS System Font Stack Monospace v2
September 21, 2018

Text Encoding, Amirite?

Sorry about all the screwiness around that last post—particularly if you follow via RSS. Tried to make a quick edit, but no, that wasn’t going to happen. Instead, I spent the last fifteen minutes trying to format, reformat, branch, re-encode, merge branches, before I finally just deleted the whole thing and started over.

All of which is a long-winded way of saying I’ll try to be better.

Vapid

I try not to get too excited by new CMS technology, it comes and goes too quickly. Most people want a reliable and stable platform, hence why Wordpress, Squarespace, Wix, etc., are the go-to CMS services. I wouldn't dream of recommending anyone turn to any other solution, unless they knew what they were doing.

That all aside, Vapid is really something else. It's built “for people who build websites for other people” and they mean it because this system creates fields in a backend dashboard from the front end, not the other way around. It's hard to get across without diving in but just know the only required skill is HTML, no React, no Angular, no PHP, just HTML.

Look into the Glitch instance if you've got some time and perhaps you'll understand why I'm excited (for my own purposes) about Vapid.


Update: 2018-09-20 19:57

Having had time to think about it, I am reminded of services like Perch and Concrete5 which follow the same methodology for laying out their backend. While I know the latter two (particularly in Perch's case) are battle-hardened for production use, I am not as convinced about Vapid. On the official site, two high-traffic production examples are listed. I think I might have a bit of I-don't-know-therefore-I'm-afraid syndrome. Perhaps, with the ability to generate a static website from either the command line, or, preferrably, the interface would shake some of that fear out of me.