Tag Archives: Web

Microsoft Putting Edge on Chromium Will Fundamentally Change the Web [Owen Williams/Motherboard]

Microsoft putting Edge on Chromium isn’t just about the browser. It’s about making Web apps that do a better job integrating with the operating system — like Electron apps, or MacOS Marzipan apps, but better.

Interesting. Until reading this article I thought Edge on Chromium was a yawner, because I don’t see any reason to switch to Edge. But this puts a new face on it.

Get Facebook (and Google+) to support the open Web

Dave Winer wants Facebook to support the open Web.

He wants Facebook updates to support embedded links, titles, enclosures, and styling such as italics and boldface.

I 100% agree. And it applies to Google+ too.

I create and publish my blog with WordPress, and syndicate it as far and wide as I can using the NextScripts Social Networks Auto Poster plugin. On Tumblr, the posts show up in very close to native format. The three social networks that are the worst for preserving original content are the three I care about most: Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

I’d settle for less than Dave. I’d be happy if Facebook and Google+ supported embedded links and blockquotes. And let me post using that formatting with a third-party app, like WordPress.

Twitter is a lost cause. It’s always going to have that 140-character limit. Twitter flirted with changing that, but changed its mind.

All I want to do is share my posts in ways so that people who want to see them can easily and conveniently do so. Why does it have to be so goddamn hard?

More from Dave:

Why Notes are not the answer. Very few people read Facebook notes, and there isn’t a standard API for writing to notes using an external program like WordPress or Dave’s own 1999.io….

“All silos are not equally silo-y”: Twitter is a silo, but you can link to a tweet from elsewhere and someone else can read it even if they aren’t logged in. On Facebook, that’s confusing and often not true.

Small changes to this blog, big deal for me

I made a couple of changes to the blog recently. Readers will find these changes to be minor. But they’re a big deal for me.

Linked List

The first thing I did was install the Daring Fireball Style Linked List plugin for WordPress, by YJ Soon. The plugin is designed for link blogging — which is most of what I post here.

When I put up a post that’s primarily a link to something elsewhere — an article in the news, for instance — the DFLL plugin changes the title of the post so it links to the external article. Normal behavior on WordPress is for the title of the post to link to the post itself.

This solves the problem for me of having to figure out where to put the link when I write a link post. It’s a small decision, but eliminating it speeds up the blogging process and makes the process more pleasant.

Also, readers of this blog can more easily find the link to the external article.

And it means less of a need for me to reformat blog posts for posting to Facebook and Google+.

So it’s a nice little utility.

The DFLL plugin is designed to modify the RSS feed of the blog. To modify the Web pages, I had to learn to install a child theme on WordPress, which is simple — once you figure out how to do it. The author of the DFLL plugin provides pre-cooked child themes for the Twenty Ten and Twenty Eleven WordPress themes, but none for Twenty Fifteen, which is the one I used. So now I’m using the Twenty Eleven theme.

At some point, I may want to figure out how to modify WordPress themes more to my liking. I like a lighter theme. Examples: Manton.org…, The Loop, 512 Pixels, and Hypertext.net…. However, those blogs don’t run as many photos and images as I do, so maybe this blog is just going to be heavier and there’s nothing I can do about it without making unacceptable sacrifices.

Thanks to Benjamin Brooks for pointing out this nice little plugin, and for responding when I asked him if he is still using it, and it still works well despite no updates in years. (The answers of course were yes and yes.)

The name of the plugin — Daring Fireball-Style Linked List — comes from the blog Daring Fireball, which pioneered this style of blogging.

Hiding categories

I figured out how to hide categories so they don’t display on the website. I’ve been wanting to do this since I relaunched the blog in February, so while this is a small change externally it’s a bit of a triumph for me.

WordPress offers the option of assigning both categories and tags to posts. I have never figured out when to use categories and when to use tags. After doing some reading — for example, here and here — I have come to the conclusion that the reason WordPress supports both categories and tags is that categories came first and now some people like categories and some people like tags and some people like both.

Categories and tags seem redundant and confusing to me but as long as my blog displayed categories and tags I felt obliged to select both in a way that would be useful to readers.

Hiding categories is simple — once you figure out how to do it. You create a child theme, then go into the files content-single.php and content.php, navigate down to the sections for the blog entry footer, and delete everything that looks like a category listing.

On the home page, which is controlled by content.php, that code starts with something like “Posted in”

On single entries, controlled by the “content-single.php” file, the wording is slightly different.

Look to the public web pages of your own blog to find the exact wording, then go into content.php and content-single.php files to make the necessary changes.

And now that’s done and I no longer have to decide on a category for every blog post.

I may stop using tags too, but for now I’m sticking with them. I’m trying out the Strictly Auto Tags plugin to automate the process. I’m not sure how much help it actually is — it doesn’t usually seem to choose the tags I would have chosen. Perhaps I can fiddle with the settings and make it work.

Categories and tags are supposedly important for search engine optimization. SEO isn’t a priority for me on this blog. It’s desirable, but it’s not something I’ll go out of my way to do.

Link

There’s potential prison time for every millennial who shares his Netflix password and employee who asks a coworker to log in to his email. You can thank the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, passed before the Web was even a thing.

Brian Feldman reports for New York Magazine:

Punishment under the CFAA can be severe. Threatened with the prospect of years in jail for downloading millions of articles from JSTOR, the nonprofit digital library, cyberactivist Aaron Swartz committed suicide in 2013. This past spring, journalist Matthew Keys was sentenced to two years in prison for providing his Tribune Media log-in credentials to vandals who changed a Los Angeles Times headline for less than an hour.

Link

A handy Keyboard Maestro macro from Federic Viticci, for those of us who have uninstalled Flash from our Macs but need to watch the occasional Flash video. I had an app to do this, but a Keyboard Maestro macro is simpler.

RSS just keeps humming along

What makes RSS truly powerful is that users still have the control. The beauty of the system is it that no one can force you to be tracked and no one can force you to watch ads. There are no security issues I am aware of and no one ever has to know what feeds you subscribe to. This may be the last area of the Internet that you can still say things like this.

The Old Reader: behind the scenes – What Not Dying Looks Like

I wrote a whitepaper evangelizing RSS for the publishing company I worked on in 2005. I proclaimed RSS would be as big as the Web or newsletters. That didn’t happen. On the other hand, Facebook and Twitter are very RSS-like. And I’m still using RSS as my primary channel for accessing many websites.