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October 12 2011

Four short links: 12 October 2011

  1. Steve Yegge's Google Platforms Rant -- epic. Read it.
  2. Guidelines for Securing Open Source Software (EFF) -- advice from the team that audited some commonly-used open source libraries. Avoid giving the user options that could compromise security, in the form of modes, dialogs, preferences, or tweaks of any sort. As security expert Ian Grigg puts it, there is "only one Mode, and it is Secure." Ask yourself if that checkbox to toggle secure connections is really necessary? When would a user really want to weaken security? To the extent you must allow such user preferences, make sure that the default is always secure. (via BoingBoing)
  3. Ladder of Abstraction -- a visual and interactive exploration of design that will delight as well as inform. (via Sacha Judd)
  4. On "Build It And They Will Come" -- I wasn't saying "build it and they will come"—I was saying "don't build it and they can't come". Wonderfully captures the idea that success can't be guaranteed, but failure is easy to ensure. (via Ed Yong)

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January 31 2011

Four short links: 31 January 2011

  1. BBC Web Cuts Show Wider Disconnect (The Guardian) -- I forget that most people still think of the web as a secondary add-on to the traditional way of doing things rather than as the new way. Interesting article which brings home the point in the context of the BBC, but you can tell the same story in almost any business.
  2. 40p Off a Latte (Chris Heathcote) -- One of the bits I enjoyed the most was unpacking the old ubiquitous computing cliche of your phone vibrating with a coupon off a latte when walking past a Starbucks. This whole presentation is brilliant. I'm still zinging off how data can displace actions in time and space: what you buy today on Amazon will trigger a recommendation later for someone else.
  3. Long-Form Reporting Finds Commercial Hope in E-Books -- ProPublica and New York Times have launched long-form reporting in Kindle Singles, Amazon's format for 5k-30k word pieces. On Thursday, he told me his job involved asking the question, “How do you monetize the content when it is not news anymore?” Repackaging and updating the paper’s coverage of specific topics is a common answer.
  4. Why You Should Never Search for Free Wordpress Themes in Google or Anywhere Else -- short answer: free themes are full of SEO rubbish or worse. Every hit on your site boosts someone else's penis pills site, and runs the risk that search engines will decide your site is itself spam.

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