Camino Planet is the central location for blogs from the Camino community. These posts are uncensored and unabashed. Enjoy with caution.
Posted by Jon Hicks at May 01, 2015 08:57 AM
Your nether-regions are not for sitting on. Your feet are for standing on, your legs are for walking on, and your bum is for attaching your legs to your body.
Finding the Right Saddle – Cycling Tips 2009
I have a problem with bike saddles. I won’t show you a list of all the ones I’ve tried, as that would just be embarrassing. Most people seem to use whatever comes with their bike, and stick with that, but it’s taken me ages to find the ‘right one’ – comfortable, light (and,because I’m a Bike Tart) good looking. I also use my road bike to commute to the office, and finding something that is comfortable without padded tights is useful. (On that note, I’ve also found that white saddles and jeans don’t mix, unless you actually wanted an indigo saddle).
Now to be clear, I’m talking road bike saddles here. My Pashley Guvnor has a lovely Brooks B17 in honey brown that is a fantastic saddle. Especially now that’s breaking in nicely (didn’t take long!). It just doesn’t look right on a carbon road bike though, and the weight makes it much less suitable.
To try out so many saddles, I’ve been mostly picking them up secondhand on ebay. As well as others selling saddles that didn’t work out for them, you can often find cheaper versions with steel or manganese rails, rather than posher Titanium or Carbon. Its also likely that you can pick one up that has already been ‘broken in’, This is less of an issue than it is for Brooks traditional leather saddles, but I’ve found a used Charge Knife was more comfy and flexy than a brand new one. This meant I could try one out, and if it didn’t suit, pop it back on ebay. There’s also a ‘Saddle Swap’ forum on Bikeradar’s Forums where you might find someone to exchange seats with.
Here’s what I’ve learnt about saddles so far, but be warned, there is inevitable talk of my genitals…
Even the smallest adjustment can turn a harsh saddle into a comfy one. There’s a lot to adjust too; height, position fore/aft, vertical angle (pointing the nose up/down very slightly, or keeping it dead level) and even horizontal angle. Unless you have an aero seatpost, it can also be tilted left/right very slightly. I’ve found some scooped saddles that need to be setup dead level, and some that need the back to rise slightly. The only way I’ve found to test a saddle properly is to ride it a bit, adjust it, ride for a bit again, rinse and repeat (A turbo trainer isn’t a great place to test saddles – they all feel harsh). After a while you can take note of how your sitting and adjust accordingly – e.g if I found myself pushing back on the saddle, it needed to be further forwards.
Saddles have different shapes – from flat ones (Fizik Arione, Selle Italia SLR) to rounded and scooped (Charge Spoon, Fizik Aliante, Prologo Scratch), as well as cutouts for dangling your delicate bits should you have them (Specialized Romin), or even with rails placed in the centre to allow the sides to flex while pedalling (Selle Italia Signo). The slightly rounded & scooped shape seems to suit me best. Channels or cut outs don’t always work for me though, e.g the Romin cutout was OK but with the Fizik Aliante VS I could feel the edges of the channel digging in.
Padding is not necessarily a good thing – too much and it can cause chafing.
If you think about it, a deck chair doesn’t have any padding and yet is still comfortable, so padding in itself is not the cure for an uncomfortable seat. A deck chair is comfortable because the fabric has tension in it and supports you with a low average pressure through-out the seat.
I’ve tried saddle recently that pretty much just a carbon shell, with only a mm or two of padding, but it wasn’t as uncomfortable as it looked, due to the supportive shape.
Specialized focus on the width of your sit bones with their ‘Body Geometry’ saddles. The distance between the bones is measured, and then you choose a saddle with just enough width to support these bones, but no more. They are one of the few manufacturers that offer 3 different widths for their range. To measure your sit bones you can sit on a special gel-pad widget at the bike shop, or try and recreate it a home. Its quite a sight though, it involves sitting half-naked on carpeted stairs with tin foil under your cheeks and leaning forwards – hoping to get two clear sit bones bumps in the foil.
The more expensive Carbon, and particularly Titanium, rails are meant to help filter out road buzz, but I can’t say I’ve felt any big difference. It feels like more of a slight weight advantage. I have found that Nylon bases are more flexible than Carbon ones though.
Fizik have a system called ‘spine concept’ which looks at the riders flexibility rather than sit bones. From rigid ‘Bulls’ (unable to touch toes, which is me) to flexible ‘Snakes’ that can easily touch their toes easily. It may sound like marketing guff, but actually is quite common sense: I have low flexibility, so need to rotate my pelvis a lot of achieve a road riding position. I sit on the saddle with different parts of my undercarriage than someone with high flexibility.
Fizik saddles are lovely, the quality is superb, and I love how they have a built in clip system, which makes it quick and easy to switch a saddlebag between bikes. Its the best system I’ve ever used.
The Arione (above) in particular has a stylish racy look that makes it ‘the saddle I wish I could fit’. Sadly it felt like sitting on a rail – too narrow to support my sit bones. The Antares was wide enough, but hard on the sit bones, while the Aliante (which has been my saddle choice so far) has been comfy on the sit bones but pushed up into my squashy bits a little too much on long rides. I’ve always felt that I needed a saddle shape inbetween the Aliante and Antares.
Two years ago, Charge Bikes (who make the Knife Saddle, and the very popular spoon) came out with a new product – the Charge Scoop. A simplified three-part construction: a foam top, vacuum bonded to a nylon base and rails, with no staples or glue.
It was such a hit that other bike manufacturers wanted to spec the saddle, so it made sense to split off Scoop production into a separate company, and so the company Fabric was born. Now these are being specced on Cannondales and the gorgeous new Mason range.
This is the Fabric Scoop Shallow, and its now my favourite saddle. The level of fit and comfort is amazing, a revelation even, and it looks lovely! The shape is spot-on, the padding is comfortable without being too squishy, but I think the most important aspect is that the base is flexible. For the first time, I can sit on something, and really forget about. All my bikes now have a Scoop (with the exception of the Guvnor of course).
I’ve also been trying out their rubbery knurled bar tape, and that’s great too. It’s very easy to wrap, cushioned with a gel backing (without adding too much bulk) and feels nice and grippy. Although similar, Lizard Skins tape was harder to wrap, and the tape moved about after a few weeks, leaving gaps. Fabric’s still looks as good months later.
So fabric have won for me!
Posted by Jon Hicks at April 29, 2015 11:31 AM
This episode of Troika is a collection of music that uses NASA samples. The first track is “Space Walk” by Lemon Jelly, which samples Ed White’s reaction to the first ever space walk on the Gemini 4 mission in 1965. Then we have “V1 | 130” by Geremia Vinattieri, released as part of the Space Songs EP from Bad Panda records. The final track, called simply ‘Go’, comes from Public Service Broadcasting’s second brilliant album ‘Race for Space’ uses samples of the hubbub of Mission Control.
Posted by Jon Hicks at April 27, 2015 12:53 PM
I love this video of Slowdive performing “Golden Hair” -at the Pitchfork Music Festival last year. The live version of the song extends the ending into an atmospheric jam session, combined with a luscious low golden evening light. Its a thing of escapist beauty that I watch as a tonic.
At least until yesterday, when Leigh pointed how much the extended part sounds like Sia’s ‘Chandelier’ and along with my daughter Samantha, proceeded to sing those lyrics all over it. Families eh?!
Posted by Jon Hicks at April 21, 2015 09:45 AM
I discovered the music of J Dilla (aka James Dewitt Yancey or Jay Dee) by going backwards. I’m a big fan of the band Phantogram, and when they mentioned their sound uses ‘J Dilla beats’ I looked back on his extensive back catalog and found his influence everywhere. He’s one of hip hop’s most influential producers and artists, but his career was cut short at just 32 after battling the incurable blood disease, lupus. I’ve chosen one he produced, one of his own, and one that was a homage. As Erykah Badu says in the last track “This one’s for Dilla“…
Posted by Jon Hicks at April 06, 2015 10:01 AM
The theme for this Troika is a little more esoteric than normal – it’s comedians, singing parody songs, in the style of other artists. Weird Al Yankovic has made a whole career out of this, but these are maybe slightly less well known.
Posted by Jon Hicks at April 03, 2015 10:51 AM
This week I went for a Track Taster Session at the Olympic Velodrome at Lee Valley in London – a present from my lovely wife Leigh. Track cycling involves riding a fixed gear bike, and this was my first time – no coasting, no brakes and a high gear. To slow you change your pedalling accordingly, and try to kick back, upon which you can really feel the bike kicking back against you.
When we arrived, the camber of the track at the highest points was rather scary. I couldn’t see how it could be done without slipping off. The tutor was great though and once over the initial slow laps, I was more confident. Riding the sprinters line was actually really exciting – as long as you kept the pace up. Towards the end of the hour session my legs were starting to hurt, and the advice was to stay off the top line once you felt tired – otherwise you would slip.
It was really, really fun. Once you trained yourself to not worry about anyone sudden braking (because they couldn’t) it was exhilarating. While I’m not going to do the next 3 courses to become accredited (that’s if you want to race Track) I would definitely do it again.
If you’re planning on doing the taster session, I would really recommend hiring shoes, or if you use Look Keo cleats, bringing your own. I plumped for using trainers with toeclips and straps and it was a bloody nightmare. Not only very uncomfortable, but squeaky too, and my left foot kept trying to come out. At one point it did, and I had no choice but to let the toeclip scrape along the track floor until I could finish the lap. I wish they’d said it was so much harder work than cleats.
Trying fixed didn’t make me want to add a fixie to my current stable of bikes. It’s not something I would ride around town, but I would ride it again in a velodrome.
Posted by Jon Hicks at April 02, 2015 05:09 PM
Back in the mid-90’s the British Music Press had decided that Shoegaze music was finished, and that if you weren’t Britpop or Grunge you deserved to be mocked. Bands like Slowdive disbanded and explored other genres, but it had left enough quality work to inspire the next generation of bands, nastily called ‘Nu gaze’.
Posted by Jon Hicks at March 25, 2015 10:38 AM
The Guardian has a stream of Sufjan Stevens new album “Carrie & Lowell”, and its achingly beautiful. Can’t wait for this to come out!
A deeply personal album – named after Stevens’ mother and stepfather – it’s a departure from his most recent electronic, experimental ventures, and returns to Stevens’ stripped-down roots, leaving space to address issues of “life, death, love and loss, and the artist’s struggle to make sense of the beauty and ugliness of love.”
Posted by Smokey at March 24, 2015 09:25 PM
The other day, my brother asked me to log in to his account on his employer’s1 “HR system” in order to make him some backup copies of information presented there (his existing copies of which he had needed to provide to his supervisor). On the login screen, I was still slightly shocked2 to see the following message:
(If you view the source, you can see that each of the
<a>s has an
id="ielink_001" attribute—not only incorrect, but perhaps a holdover from the days this particular website “supported” only IE?)
Seriously? It’s 2015 and your website is not only not compatible with any version of Safari, but it is only compatible with versions of Chrome and Firefox that are four3 versions out-of-date!? (Kudos for supporting versions of IE dating back six years, though!)
I forged ahead, because if the site claimed to work properly in a six-year-old version of Internet Explorer, it surely would work in a current two-year-old version of Safari (the just-released version 6.2.4 on 10.8/Mountain Lion). Nothing I had to look at seemed to look or function incorrectly—until it came time to look for his timesheets. When I clicked on the tab entitled “Timesheets”, a page loaded with no “content” below the row of tabs, except for a link to help me return to the site I was already on. Indeed, unexpected results may occur when using a browser other than the last four versions of IE or versions of Chrome and Firefox four versions out-of-date! Eventually, I realized that the problem was that loading the page was triggering a pop-up window(!?) with the website for the company’s scheduling system, and Safari was (silently) blocking said pop-up.4
Allowing pop-ups and forging ahead again, I looked at the scheduling system’s website, and it reminded me of a poor knockoff of the web as rendered by Firebird 0.6 or 0.7 more than a decade ago (eerie, that poorly-rendered, overly-fat Helvetica—perhaps it’s Verdana or Tahoma?—and
<table>s, lots of
<table>s!) Also, there was a menu that seemed to have no useful functions. Finally relenting, I launched Firefox 36, discovered the functional part of the menu was indeed missing (according to the Web Inspector in Safari, that part of the menu was being rendered off-screen and I think zero-height; given that Blink and WebKit supposedly haven’t diverged that much, I wonder if this critical piece of the menu would have appeared in Chrome, either, supported version or otherwise?), found the link I needed, and returned to Safari to print out pages of multi-page
These are websites/systems that are created and installed to be used by every employee of this company, from the convenience of each employee’s personal computing device, not systems that are to be used solely by the HR department on company computers where IT can mandate a certain browser and software combination. This is software whose purpose is to be used by everyone; why is it not designed to be used by everyone—compatible with current versions of the major rendering engines, avoiding unfriendly and abused technologies like pop-ups, and so on?
If the software is intended to be used by everyone (or, generally, people beyond those whose computer configuration you can dictate by supplying said computer) and it’s web-based software (or has a web front-end), then the company (or the company’s software vendor) needs to continually test the software/web front-end with new versions of major rendering engines, making changes (or reporting bugs in the rendering engine) in the unlikely event something breaks, so that they aren’t requiring employees to use six-month-old versions of browsers in order for the corporate software to work properly.
As for the integration between the main HR system and the scheduling system, if the two can’t talk to each other directly behind the scenes, then why not embed the scheduling system into the “Timesheets” tab with an
<iframe>s are already present in some of the other tabs). If an
<iframe> won’t work for some technical or security reasons, why not include a button on the “Timesheets” tab that the user can click to trigger the pop-up window with the scheduling system, thus escaping the pop-up blocker? It’s not as elegant in some ways as automatically launching, but pop-ups are already not as elegant as showing the data inline (and pop-ups are arguably not elegant at all), and manually-triggered pop-ups are more friendly since the human involved knows he or she is triggering some action and isn’t annoyed by blocked pop-up notifications. You also then get Safari compatibility “for free” without requiring users to change settings (and without having to tell them how to do so). If there are still legitimate reasons not to use a button or link or similar element, at the very least some explanatory text in the “content” section of the “Timesheets” tab is far more useful to anyone than a link to return to the very site you’re already viewing.
When I encounter software like this, I often wonder how it was built. Was there a user experience or human interface designer as part of the team? Was there any testing? Any quality assurance team involved? Or did some product manager just throw a spec sheet from marketing at the software engineers and tell them, “Not only do you have to write the code to make it do these things, but you have to determine how it’s going to do these things, too.” Or did management decide to ship as-is, perhaps over the objections of team members, in order to meet some deadline?
Design is how things work. Not everyone is a good designer, just like not everyone is a good programmer or tester (they’re not necessarily mutually exclusive, but many times excelling in one field means not learning as much about another), but every good piece of software needs all three skillsets, working in concert, whether in one body or more. Too often, “corporate software” like this seems to be missing one or more of the three, and that’s a shame, because with a little more effort, every interaction with the software could be improved. Then the vendor sells better software, the employees who use the software have a faster, easier experience and can get back to doing what they love and are good at, and the company installing the software can have happier employees. Everyone wins.
1 An unnamed major American restaurant group. ↩
2 I know, I know, I really shouldn’t be. ↩
3 In fairness, Firefox 31 is at least still in the ESR support window until May. ↩
4 Question 1: Why, in 2015, does Safari still not support a per-site control for pop-ups (and, at least as of version 6, still not provide any sort of notification of blocked pop-ups; granted the UI balance there is hard—and a subject for another post—but still!)?
Question 2: The better question is, why, in 2015, are sites still using non-user-triggered pop-up windows for critical functions, or any functions at all? ↩
Posted by Jon Hicks at March 19, 2015 07:38 PM
So welcome to Troika Episode 4! This one is all about a genre called Light Music, a form of orchestral music that was at its height in the 1950s and 60s. These were shorter, lighter, more whimsical pieces of music, often used in the soundtracks of films and Pathe News reels.
Posted by Jon Hicks at March 16, 2015 08:38 PM
I’m not a fan of Kraftwerk at the best of times. I have friends who adore them, but they leave me cold. I was listening to one last week that was all about using a ‘Pocket Calculator’ – adding and subtracting. In particular, when there is a Cycling related programme on telly, the likelihood is that they will end up using their ‘Tour De France’. Its feels about as far removed from the experience of cycling as I can think of. I love electronic music, but for me it doesn’t have the right feel. I think Rapha have got it spot on. They’re a high-end cycling clothes brand, but to promote their range they regularly publish videos of their rides. If you were cynical, you’d say these are just big adverts, which they are in part, but they’re also very inspirational. It was watching these videos that made we want to get a proper road bike and head out into the countryside. Maybe they’ve twisted my view of what ‘music to cycle to’ should be, but these are the sounds in my head when I’m riding.
Posted by Jon Hicks at March 13, 2015 10:42 AM
For the Communication Arts Interactive Annual #21, I was asked the question “What are the challenges or joys you face when creating an icon set?”. The answer had to be short, so the angle I took was…
We’re getting into very exciting territory with regards to what technology we have to play with! SVG is finally becoming widely adopted and with it the opportunity to provide scalable and responsive icon sets. Higher pixel density screens will also mean spending less time making artwork conform to a pixel grid. The days of fuzzy bitmapped icons are almost over! Until then, the challenges are in providing fallback options, and getting decent SVG export and optimisation in apps like Adobe Illustrator.
I didn’t get time to explain what responsive icons were (maximum 75 words), but it was nice to get asked to be in such a venerable tome. (The photo didn’t get the proper credit though, which was by Jeremy Keith)
Posted by Jon Hicks at March 09, 2015 01:17 PM
I heard an interview with Jarvis Cocker (he of PULP fame) where he was asked about ‘guilty pleasures’. His response was ‘there’s no such thing as a guilty pleasure. If it’s music, and you like it, why feel guilty about it?”. Quite right – there’s too much music snobbery. Somehow there’s this rule that certain types of music are to be embarrassed about.
With that in mind, I want to present three songs on a similar ‘power ballad/rawk’ arena that all come from the 80s/ early 90s. They’re not the kind that get repeated ad-infinitum on commercial radio though.
- ‘Green Tinted Sixties Mind’ – Mr Big
I still have the 12” picture vinyl of this single, and while I never really took to their other music, I absolutely loved this. Even though I was at the start of my ‘crusty folk phase’ having just seen the Levellers play in Nottingham. Great chorus, get ready to powergrab!
- ‘Rough Boy’ – ZZ Top
ZZ Tops’ Afterburner was one of those summer-y records that helped me pretend I was American for a few minutes. Rough Boy had the added cool of a video with Hot Rod Space Shuttle.
- ‘Take my Hand’ – Toto
When the David Lynch version of Dune hit the cinema, my friends and I took up a whole row at our local. I didn’t remember Return of the Jedi getting such a good turn out, but there we all were. I particularly loved the soundtrack by Toto, and with the closing credits was this plinky-plonky piano instrumental called “Take my Hand”…
Posted by Jon Hicks at March 03, 2015 10:00 AM
This first edition of Troika is about ambient music. Not the bleepy,beaty, dancy kind, but the more soothing ‘neo-classical’ or drone style of Ambient. Music for watching the stars (amongst other things).
These tracks are all connected by Adam Wiltzie from Stars of the Lid. We start with Christina Vantzou (who Wiltzie worked with on ‘The Dead Texan’ project), then Stars of the Lid themselves, and finish with A Winged Victory for the Sullen (Wiltzies’ current collaboration with composer Dustin O’Halloran).
- ‘Homemade Mountains’ – Christina Vantzou
- ‘Don’t bother they’re here’ – Stars of the Lid
- ‘Steep Hills of Vicodin Tears’ – A Winged Victory for the Sullen
Stars of the Lid were named after the lightshow you see with your eyes closed, literally ‘stars of the eyelids’. So lie back, pop your headphones on and lets see where the music takes us!…
Posted by Jon Hicks at February 28, 2015 05:33 PM
Hello, peoples of the internets! Troika* is a new, low-key, music podcast from Hicksdesign.
The idea is that I’ll present a set of just three songs, connected by some sort of link – either by genre, artist, songs that were important to a particular time in my life or just some other odd notion that happens to take my fancy. Sometimes I might have guests on board to choose their trio of music. Talking from me will be minimal – just a short introduction, and then the music! I have several episodes planned, and the first one is recorded and ready for listening.
I won’t be making a seperate website for Troika, or setting up its own Twitter/Facebook/whatever page as that would only add more work for me to upkeep, and I want to keep this low-friction as possible and a part of the Journal. So episodes will be posted here, and you can subscribe to Troika via Huffduffer which will provide the podcast feed.
*The name comes from a Russian word that describes a configuration of three horses abreast, usually pulling a sleigh. Like so…
Posted by Jon Hicks at February 03, 2015 10:03 AM
Mew are back! YIPEEE!!!
Posted by Jon Hicks at January 22, 2015 12:46 PM
Hand painted, animated street art – wonderful piece of madness!
Posted by Jon Hicks at January 20, 2015 02:18 PM
Despite my appearance at the Chicago conference last August, I’ve been asked back again by An Event Apart to speak at the Boston conference on May 11-13th! AEA Chicago was my first of their events, and I loved how it was all set up, from the seating to the speaking. It’ll be my first time in Boston, and its a place on my ‘to visit’ list, so I can’t wait to be there. I’ll be presenting a new and updated version of my Icon Design Process talk.
I also have one of those new-fangled discount code thingies which is: AEAHICKS. You can use it to get $100 off any two- or three-day AEA event in 2015, not just the Boston one! If you’re coming to Boston, let me know via something like Twitter and lets have a chinwag!
September 27, 2014 11:30 PM
Posted by Smokey at June 13, 2014 03:00 AM
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)
June 05, 2014 07:19 PM
This gorgeous piece of Hyrulian art was made by Ryan McKanna with a suggestion from his lovely wife, Jennifer Putzier - two of my dear friends who have an ongoing project called 52 Lasers. This project was started as an effort to branch out with innovative uses for their laser cutter featuring a new project for each week of the year, the least of which is this breathtaking mirror due to inhabit my home and compliment my limited edition Link to the Past 3DS and the Wind Waker Wii U. I am beyond words at how gorgeous this is - I donated it to him as a test project a few years ago and we never quite decided what to do with it. Jen had the brilliant idea to work with a Legend of Zelda inlay and I was just surprised with this out of the blue.
Please check out their work! I am humbled by my amazingly talented friends!
“Hylian”, tho. runs away
May 07, 2014 09:38 PM
My fake aunt, dapper as fuck.
May 07, 2014 09:06 PM
High Contrast — Spectrum Analyser
Posted by ss at May 30, 2013 09:46 PM
Today we updated Camino’s website to note that the browser is no longer under development and has thus reached the end of its life. We’re encouraging all of our users to switch to Chrome, Firefox, or Safari.
Of course, anyone observing Camino will note that it’s not a surprising change given we last released an update in March 2012. Our previous attempts to breathe life into the project and switch to Webkit didn’t succeed.
It was back in February 2005 that I first started helping the Camino project, first setting up a domain, then working to get their new website published. Camino got me involved in the Mozilla community, which eventually got me my job at Mozilla.
It’s sad to think this browser that gave me so much is finally being laid to rest. But here we are, more than a decade after it was first created, saying goodbye.
Goodbye old friend, rest in digital peace.
Posted by Stuart Morgan at May 30, 2013 09:35 PM
After a decade-long run, Camino is no longer being developed, and we encourage all users to upgrade to a more modern browser. Camino is increasingly lagging behind the fast pace of changes on the web, and more importantly it is not receiving security updates, making it increasingly unsafe to use.
Fortunately, Mac users have many more browsers to choose from than they did when Camino started ten years ago. Former Camino developers have helped build the three most popular – Chrome, Firefox, and Safari – so while this is the end of Camino itself, the community that helped build it is still making the web better for Mac users.
Thank you to all our loyal users, and to everyone who contributed in countless ways over the years to make Camino what it was.
Posted by ss at April 15, 2013 06:16 PM
I’ve been using Forecast since they launched, but I hadn’t “installed” it on my phone until very recently. To say I’m impressed with their mobile web app is an understatement.
There are a few places where you can tell it’s a web app and not a mobile app, but not many. In fact, it’s my favorite weather app barnone. In a recent blog post, the team talks about how it was their goal to design not a mobile app and not a web app and not even a mobile web app, but just an App (with a capital A).
We’ve had conversations like this dozens of times since launching Forecast. They usually comes from people who have an iPhone but aren’t particularly tech savvy, and I’m fairly certain none of them will ever know that Forecast is actually a web app. To them, it’s just an app you install from the web.
Putting the app maker in control of the entire user experience – in-app purchases, advertising, updates to the app, etc – is of course the ideal. But up until recently there hasn’t been a mobile web app that looks and feels like a real app.
If Firefox OS is to survive and flourish – and really this applies to other alternative mobile operating systems – there needs to be more of these slick mobile web apps that feel exactly like a real app. The portability of apps that is a major selling point of Firefox OS is within reach if more companies choose the path that Forecast has and create thought-out, well-done
mobile web apps apps you install from the web.
I highly recommend reading Forecast’s blog post, which includes some of the lessons they learned creating their app.
Posted by ss at March 18, 2013 09:47 PM
I was able to handle the 1,500 users who were using the service everyday, but when 50,000 users hit an uncachable and resource intensive backend, unless you’ve done your homework and load tested the living crap out of your entire stack, there’s going to be trouble brewing.
It has also been a dream come true to receive accolades from the many who are trying NewsBlur for the first time and loving it. Since the announcement, NewsBlur has welcomed 5,000 new premium subscribers and 60,000 new users (from 50,000 users originally).
Because it’s open source and because I can actually pay for it (unlike Feedly), Newsblur is my top choice for replacing Google Reader at the moment. And the new design he’s working on is a nice improvement.
Posted by ss at March 14, 2013 12:56 AM
The big news in the feeds I follow is that Google Reader is shutting down July 1. Why?
There are two simple reasons for this: usage of Google Reader has declined, and as a company we’re pouring all of our energy into fewer products. We think that kind of focus will make for a better user experience.
Of course, usage has declined because they’ve poured their energy elsewhere, but facts don’t matter here.
So now what? What other web apps exist that can replace Google Reader, especially the backend sync feature? For just a web app, there’s Fever. For a desktop app, Newsfire can still be purchased, but hasn’t been updated in years. Nothing is ideal.
2nd Update: The Old Reader looks much nicer to me, but feeds aren’t updated all that often from what I can tell.
4th Update: Okay okay, I know I left out a few before. Feedly, of course. And NetVibes and Bloglines. But I’m not all that impressed with those, and the idea of an open source feed reader is particularly enticing. Meanwhile, Digg has thrown its hat into the race. And as Robert Kaiser says below, there’s ownCloud News if you don’t mind running your own.
5th Update: Feedbin is another option.
Posted by ss at March 08, 2013 05:23 PM
Back when I was working at Mozilla, there was quite a bit of discussion about user choice, specifically how important it is for users to be able to choose their browser. Often, this discussion was tied to the Mozilla Manifesto, point 5:
Individuals must have the ability to shape their own experiences on the Internet.
Back in February 2010 (a couple months after I left Mozilla), Mozilla launched the “Open to Choice” campaign (since shuttered), which was a great place to send individuals to show them why the ability to choose your own browser is important. The campaign was mostly tied to Microsoft’s settlement with the European Union and its requirement to offer a selection of browsers to choose from during setup. Here’s Mozilla’s then-CEO John Lilly on why browser choice matters:
(Side note: the Open to Choice campaign has been shut down and wasn’t archived, unlike most other Mozilla sites. Going to opentochoice.org leads to a bad https site, and then a 403. I would love to read the letter from John Lilly and Mitchell Baker again.)
As an iPhone user, I’m more-or-less stuck with Safari. Sure, I can find numerous browsers in the App Store, Chrome included. But the browsers in the app store are mostly just embedded version of WebKit – a limited version of WebKit at that. Why can’t I run Firefox on my iPhone? Why can’t I run a real version of Chrome? Apple has locked out browser makers by making specific requirements of the applications in the App Store and making the App Store the only way to distribute apps. Short of jailbreaking my iPhone and hoping Mozilla or Google port their respective browsers to jailbroken iPhones, there’s nothing I can do.
Prior to my iPhone, however, I had a Google Nexus One phone. One of the features of Android is the “open” Android Market and the ability to install applications from any source. Back then, I wasn’t locked in to any specific browser. In fact, I ran Firefox on my Nexus One and was quite happy with it, even back in the days of Firefox being incredibly slow on Android. The situation has gotten even better with Google shipping a version of Chrome for Android. It isn’t hard to imagine another browser running on the platform some time in the future.
Last year, in May 2012, Harvey Anderson, Mozilla’s General Counsel, wrote about the lack of browser choice on Microsoft’s Windows RT, an ARM-specific operating system tailored for tablets. He conclusion is quite clear:
The prospect that the next generation of Windows on ARM devices would limit users to one browser is untenable and represents a first step toward a new platform lock-in.
But the upcoming Firefox OS, built on Mozilla technology (namely Gecko), doesn’t appear to have any browser choice (as John Gruber pointed out a couple days ago). Is this an oversight or are developers working on the ability to allow browsers to run successfully on Firefox OS? And what about Chrome OS – why hasn’t Mozilla publicly asked for browser choice from Google?
Even webOS –
Palm’s HP’s LG’s ill-fated operating system built on Linux and WebKit – had a method for porting browsers. In fact, a Mozilla developer started an experimental Firefox port a while ago. That experiment ended, likely because it isn’t important to port Firefox to a dying platform, but the point remains that it was possible.
I’ll ask again: where is the ability to select a third party browser on Firefox OS? Is this ability being planned in the future? And why has there been no advocacy against Chrome OS for its lack of browser choice? It all feels rather hypocritical to me.
January 27, 2013 12:01 AM
November 18, 2012 08:12 PM
For future reference: Don’t use
public.item to mean “any file type”. Use
September 28, 2012 07:16 PM
The Inconspicous Appendage 2: The Return by MultiTrip
HE’S BACK AND IN BLACK (You can paint it black)
HOLY FUCKBALLS DOTT
September 28, 2012 07:12 PM
JON: This correspondents’ strike may go down as the least-effective piece of industrial action in recorded history—if you’re an option, I’m firing all these guys right away! […] As far as I’m concerned, I just traded up my ‘83 Toyota for a Maserati!
September 10, 2012 01:33 AM
Set a delay.
September 10, 2012 01:33 AM
Just leave the crop size set to infinite, and it should work. If it’s an “infinitely scrolling” page, you might have to interact, scroll manually, and then press cmd-return to capture without reloading (0.6.5+).
Posted by Samuel Sidler at August 16, 2012 08:35 AM
This past weekend, we deployed the Amasis web font on headings throughout our website. We’re excited to finally be able to use the popular web font technology present in Camino 2.1 and to be able to use the same font on our website as we use in our logotype.
We would like to thank fonts.com for providing a license to make this possible; without their support, we would be unable to take advantage of web fonts on caminobrowser.org. We’ve added fonts.com to the Thanks section of our Contribute page, alongside our current hosting sponsor NetworkRedux. Thanks so much, fonts.com!
August 16, 2012 12:52 AM
August 16, 2012 12:29 AM
A few people have written describing a very odd issue: Paparazzi! randomly launching on them for no reason.
Two of these people mentioned using Folder Actions, so I figured Apple Events/AppleScript were involved. They were also all using 10.6 or 10.7.
Turns out, Folder Actions want to talk to System Events. On 10.8, Folder Actions Setup asks for System Events using its bundle ID (
com.apple.systemevents). However, on 10.7, it looks for it using its (deprecated) creator code (
If System Events isn’t already running, Folder Actions somehow can’t find it via its creator code. (I’m fairly certain now that this is an Apple bug.)
TLDR: If you’re having Paparazzi! launch on you randomly, and you’re using Folder Actions, try launching
/System/Library/CoreServices/System Events.app manually. If the problem goes away, add it to your login items.
(Or stop putting off your upgrade to Mountain Lion.)
August 12, 2012 07:55 AM
A few people have reported an issue with Paparazzi! where it will spontaneously launch or come to the foreground, interrupting their workflows. I can’t reproduce this, so if anyone is seeing this I woud appreciate any info that could help me track it down! (Console logs around the time it occurs, etc.)
August 09, 2012 05:00 PMPaparazzi! 0.6b4:
Yeah, this was last Monday, and I forgot to post it here. :S
July 20, 2012 02:15 AM
July 12, 2012 04:46 AM
The hole Internet. Right here.
Posted by Smokey at May 20, 2012 07:29 AM
Today I discovered one of my friends had returned to blogging. Seized with happiness, I went to leave a “welcome back” comment.
Unfortunately, in the two-plus years since I had last left a comment on her blog, WordPress.com had completely redone comment authorization. Even though the text reads
Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:
(emphasis added) and I filled in my details rather than clicking on a service icon, WordPress.com decided that, because said email address was also associated with my Gravatar or WordPress.com accounts (both, in this case1), I would have to sign in to WordPress.com in order to leave a comment.
That’s not the end of the world (although way back when, I had carefully crafted my cookies exceptions list to ensure I was remembered on her blog but not anywhere else in the WordPress universe—there’s nothing more frightening than showing up on a site you’ve never visited before and finding that you’re logged-in in the comments field—and generally free from being tracked by WordPress.com in my travels across the web), if that were where it ended. I would have logged in, had my comment posted, logged out, and gone about the rest of my evening, and you’d never be reading this post.
However, what happened is, without any notification whatsoever, WordPress.com replaced the details I had entered (remember, I entered my name, URL and email address instead of clicking on a service icon) with a reference to my WordPress.com account. So instead of “Smokey” from http://www.ardisson.org/ leaving a comment, “sardisson” with no URL left a comment. Even after I visited my never-used WordPress.com profile and entered http://www.ardisson.org/ as my “Web Address” (“Shown publicly when you comment on blogs and in your Gravatar profile.”), my comment still has no URL. I guess because my blog isn’t actually at WordPress.com, I can’t have a Web Address associated with my comments on WordPress.com sites. As for my name, I can also change my “Public Display Name”, but, once again, doing so didn’t alter my comment. (I can also change my WordPress.com username, which might produce the desired effect—though based on the prior two changes it seems unlikely—but I don’t want to jump through the hoops required to do that, and, besides, I like my username just fine.)
On the one hand, I can understand WordPress.com’s desire to force all commenters to use an account from one of their blessed services (even if I don’t agree with the idea), but in that case, why even allow for the appearance of commenting with any name/URL/email? I can also see an argument for forcing anyone who is trying to comment using a known-to-the-WordPress.com-universe email address to log in, so all comments can be associated with the user profile and aggregated (though, in my opinion, that argument is not one that carries much weight).
But if you’re going to force this correlation on visitors/users,
- Make it clear the association is going to happen, and don’t offer alternative identification UI that leads users to believe they can still comment using the traditional name/URL/email details, and
- Realize that users—and here by users I mean people, human beings, flesh-and-blood, your mom, your brother, your best friend from college, real people you know and interact with in person on a daily basis, not some abstract construct called “users”—are going to want to identify themselves differently in different contexts,2 so you need let them. Not just let them, but facilitate this choice.
After all, even Yahoo! allows you to have separate “identities” associated with the same account and has allowed you to subscribe to different Yahoo! Groups using different identities for so long I’ve forgotten when they introduced that feature. And, er, I believe Gravatar.com supports exactly that sort of thing, different gravatars for different email addresses (except, I guess, if you want to comment on WordPress.com?). Why can’t WordPress.com comments?
Please, just let me comment on my friend’s blog as “Smokey” from http://www.ardisson.org/ using the email address I customarily use on the internet, and let me choose to comment elsewhere on WordPress.com blogs as “Smokey Ardisson” or “sardisson” or whatever facet of my identity is most appropriate for the context in which I am commenting.
1 Even if I hadn’t used the same email address on both services, once Auttomatic acquired Gravatar and linked it with WordPress.com, practically speaking for everyone the two accounts are one and the same. ↩
2 :cough: Google Buzz :cough: Google Plus :cough: ↩
Posted by Smokey at April 30, 2012 03:57 AM
Periodically I glance at the statistics for افكار و احلام, and as I did so today at breakfast, I noticed some referrer activity from another author’s response to one of my old posts.
I glanced back at my old post and re-read it; although it was nearly a year-and-a-half old, the post still resonated with me as strongly today as then, and it remains just as timely and relevant today.
So for today’s Sunday Re-Read, I offer up again September 2010’s If not me… for thoughtful reading.
Posted by Smokey at April 27, 2012 09:00 PM
Since Mac OS X 10.5 “Leopard”, the Postfix mail server runs only on demand and only for sixty seconds at a time. In most normal cases, this is probably great; I suspect it saves some on resource usage, and it’s a nice demo for the wonders of
launchd. Unfortunately, when things aren’t working right, and you have a UNIX/Linux sysadmin feeding you troubleshooting commands, Postfix not being running is a problem.
In this exact situation a few days ago, the awesome Dave Miller (aka justdave) provided what turned out to be a really useful hack:
touch a junk file in the Postfix
maildrop directory (
/var/spool/postfix/maildrop on client,
/Library/Server/Mail/Data/spool/maildrop on Server). Since you’ll likely not have permissions to do this, use
launchd will see “new mail” and start Postfix; even better, since the junk file was created using
sudo, Postfix can’t clear the file, and after the sixty seconds of runtime are complete,
launchd will start Postfix right back up. In addition to allowing you plenty of time to run troubleshooting commands, this hack turns out to be very useful in (more) rapidly clearing a large backlog of mail to be sent that accumulated when things weren’t working correctly in the first place! When you’re done troubleshooting or clearing mail backlogs, just delete the junk file and Postfix will return to its normal on-demand behavior.
There’s probably a recommended way of changing this behavior by editing the Postfix LaunchDaemon and reloading (if you know what the recommended way is, please mention it or include a link to documentation in the comments), but in a pinch, forcing a file into the
maildrop directory works well.
April 16, 2012 09:20 PM
Bell (Taken with instagram)
Posted by Samuel Sidler at March 14, 2012 08:15 PM
We’ve just released Camino 2.1.2, a maintenance release which contains various security and stability updates to Camino 2.1. All users are urged to update.
In addition, Camino 2.1.2 is available in the following languages:
- Chinese (Simplified)
- English (US)
- Norwegian (Bokmål)
- Spanish (Castellano)
When you first launch a new version of Camino, the welcome page now checks for an outdated Flash Player plug-in to help keep you up to date. If you see an update message, please follow the link to install the latest Flash Player plug-in to get the most stable and secure browsing experience.
Posted by Smokey at March 14, 2012 06:03 AM
No, افكار و احلام hasn’t been taken over by a band of rogue German speakers in my absence. Instead, this post is just a little preview of a surprise that’s coming in Wednesday’s Camino release for German-speaking users:
Danke to Mehmet and Tobias for all the hard work these past few weeks to make this possible!
(As always, if you’d like to help provide Camino in your language, please stop by the caminol10n mailing list to get involved; you and a friend can bring Camino to thousands of users!)
February 29, 2012 04:27 PM
I like the new icons on the dashboard, but why does is there still a ‘Photo’ icon? Illustration, typography, fine art, animated gifs, etc aren’t ‘Photo’. It should simply be ‘Image’.
Amirite? Reblog for justice.
Reblogging in the name of justice
Posted by Samuel Sidler at February 21, 2012 09:00 PM
We’ve just released Camino 2.1.1, a maintenance release which contains various security and stability updates to Camino 2.1. All users are urged to update.
In addition, Camino 2.1.1 is available in the following languages:
- Chinese (Simplified)
- English (US)
- Norwegian (Bokmål)
- Spanish (Castellano)
When you first launch a new version of Camino, the welcome page now checks for an outdated Flash Player plug-in to help keep you up to date. If you see an update message, please follow the link to install the latest Flash Player plug-in to get the most stable and secure browsing experience.
Posted by Marcello at February 18, 2012 07:53 AM
Release notes can be found at Bug 725812. See the full article for the usual status matrix.
Please note that there will be one and only one release of any localized version of Camino. Therefore, it's very important that release notes translations are produced and sent as soon as possible.
The translations are expected to be sent by Sat, Feb 18
Posted by Smokey at February 14, 2012 04:55 AM
Ten years is almost an eternity in “web time”. In February 2002, state-of-the-art for Mac web browsers was Microsoft’s Internet Explorer for Macintosh, version 5.1. The OmniGroup’s NeXTSTEP-born OmniWeb (perhaps version 4?) was the only web browser built using Cocoa. Upstart classic Mac browser iCab (version 2.7.1 Preview) had jumped to Mac OS X, Opera had released version 6, and Netscape’s offering was version 6.2.1, based on Gecko 0.9.4.1. Aside from OmniWeb, all of the browsers were written using the Carbon API derived from the classic Mac OS, and most still supported Mac OS 9. Today’s three leading Mac browsers, Apple’s Safari, Mozilla Firefox, and Google Chrome, were months to years away from starting development. Camino, née Chimera, was thus the first web browser born on Mac OS X.
In those last ten years, dozens of people—first mostly at Netscape and then from the young Mac open-source community—have written code for Camino, hundreds have contributed translations, graphics, bug reports, and user support, for thousands of users. I joined the team, starting as a lowly bug triager, in early 2005—only three years into the browser’s life, as surreal as that seems from this vantage point. It’s been a blast, although certainly frustrating at times. For me, it’s also been a real privilege to work with all the talented developers who have contributed to Camino over the years and with the support team that’s had our back, but especially to make something that so many people have installed on their Macs and rely on daily. While the future and the next ten years for Camino are uncertain, I’m immensely proud of what all of us have accomplished and built on the foundations that Chimera 0.1 provided ten years ago.
Happy Tenth Birthday, Camino!
Posted by Marcello at February 10, 2012 12:26 AMThe most recent Camino release is version 2.1.1 (Universal Binary, for Intel, PowerPC, needs Mac OS X 10.4 or higher). Camino 2.1.1 multilingual contains: Chinese (Simplified), Dutch, English (US), French, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish. Camino 2.1 users should receive notice of the new version by way of the internal software update engine. If you have not set up Camino to check automatically for new versions, use the "Check for updates..." item in the Application menu.
Posted by Smokey at February 08, 2012 10:51 PM
What follows is the text of my email reply to CCAS’s recent email announcing the availability of the latest newsletter.
At 4:17 PM -0500 on 2/8/12, Center for Contemporary Arab Studies wrote:
But I am delighted to present to you a new, redesigned newsletter using a cutting-edge technology, ISSUU. Rather than downloading a PDF from this e-mail, all you need to do is click on the link to ISSUU on our website and read the newsletter there! Note that ISSUU offers users some attractive features via the row of icons under the newsletter, such as searching the newsletter for key terms or names, leaving comments about the newsletter, posting the newsletter to social media, and downloading or printing the newsletter.
Seriously, Flash?! In this day and age? That’s not cutting-edge, that’s edge-of-extinction. Even a PDF is more accessible, and more widely supported, than Flash. (And, btw, PDF supports searching, too, since it’s *real text* and not an image. And those buttons that let you post to social media aren’t hard to implement; you could stick them next to a link to a PDF newsletter on the CCAS site. And if you really, really wanted comments, embedding something like Disqus on a page for each newsletter would still be easy, and far better than forcing everyone off to a third-party Flash content-locker.)
Plus, the Flash viewer is so buggy (it won’t zoom-on-click to a scale at which the text is readable, and using the zoom slider, the viewer gets stuck in pan-or-zoom mode, so any movement trying to read jars either the position or the zoom scale). It’s absolutely not a pleasant reading experience by any stretch of the imagination. Moreover, the content is stuck inside a Flash “window” specifically designed to show that it’s a container holding the content, inside a tab, inside my browser window with normal browser chrome; when I was viewing the old PDF Newsletters inside my PDF viewer, it’s just the Newsletter content inside that window (which has minimal chrome, allowing me to focus on the content and not the container). I gave up on trying to read the Newsletter in the Flash viewer very quickly. So I figured I’d just download a copy, hoping it’d let me read in my PDF viewer like I had been doing since you discontinued the print version (I loved being able to grab the printed newsletter and take it with me, reading it wherever I was), but, wait, now I have to sign up for some third-party service just to download a copy of the CCAS Newsletter that used to be freely available on the CCAS website?! Seriously?! And what happens when this third-party service shuts down or is bought out? There go all the CCAS Newsletters posted there.
I can understand if you wanted to move away from PDF to reduce download sizes, or improve accessibility, or improve the ability to “mash-up” and share the content, or to make the newsletter more widely available to multiple device types and to support reading habits/preferences, but to do that, you need to take a step forward, not backwards. Move to a nice HTML newsletter in that case. But not to Flash.
Please, can you make the newsletter available again as a simple PDF download from the CCAS site, instead of this Flash monstrosity and its “you must create an account with a third-party service and sign in in order to download a readable version” content wall?
Posted by Smokey at February 07, 2012 07:34 AM
Someday—in my lifetime—will you please make the current, native, recommended
.sdef scripting definition format less buggy than the old, less powerful, and implicitly not recommended
Thank you. That is all.
February 01, 2012 03:56 PM
Stack #videogames #snes (Taken with instagram)
January 25, 2012 11:37 AM
Aw yeah. (Taken with instagram)
January 02, 2012 07:07 AM
Posted by Smokey at January 01, 2012 08:03 AM
In many ways, 2011 mirrored 2010. For me, 2011 was even more exhausting than 2010, and that once again served to limit my contributions to Camino; for Camino itself, 2011 was again a year of transitions, as we continued to bid fond farewells to familiar faces and began to see the shape of things to come.
- First and foremost, we finally shipped the long-awaited Camino 2.1, bringing a significant under-the-hood upgrade to all of our users, as well as a completely-rewritten autocomplete system for the location bar. The new version shipped in only six languages, but our hard-working localization teams are readying three more languages for Camino 2.1.1.
- In addition to Camino 2.1, we released three security updates for Camino 2.0 and three milestones on the road to 2.1, for a total of seven releases shipped in 2011.
- At the end of March, Mozilla announced the end of Gecko embedding, and as a result, we issued a blog post on the future of Camino.
- We found ourselves very fortunate that there was no tinderbox excitement in 2011; the most exciting change in that area of the project was when I finally turned off Camino 2.0.x builds in December.
- While there were no large website projects (or problems!) in 2011, we did do a significant update of the site content, both text and images, to coincide with the Camino 2.1 release. In addition, Samuel Sidler started a special project that he has yet to complete.
- Once again the composition of our development team shifted as life and job changes impacted the free time of our all-volunteer team. In particular, this resulted in a virtual hiatus in the spring as many of these changes coincided. Thus, for most of 2011, only Stuart Morgan and I were actively working on Camino code—and not always regularly even then. Philippe Wittenbergh continued to help out with graphics and design, as well as QA and user support, where Chris Lawson pitched in as well. I enjoyed spending more time working on Camino code but sadly found myself stretched thin due to my older build and release, website and documentation, and support responsibilities.
Coming so close on the heels of Camino 2.1 and after such an exhausting year, this summary feels a little bit like it’s just a quick rehash of my Camino 2.1 release post—perhaps, for once, this annual post is an abbreviated one. Still, it provides an overview of the year’s major events in the world that surrounds our favorite web browser. As always, I want to thank the entire Camino community—developers, testers, localizers, users, and friends—for all of the help and support in 2011; Camino could not have made it this far without your contributions.
2012 is the year in which Camino turns 10, which is both exciting and bittersweet. I remain hopeful for the future over the coming year and look forward to diving back in to Camino work as the holidays wind down (and, in particular, shipping Camino 2.1.1 soon). If you want to help build the future of Camino, please do join our development discussion list—perhaps one of your New Year’s resolutions is to help develop your favorite browser? So here’s to 2012; together, let’s make it a great year for Camino!
December 24, 2011 02:50 AM