in a highly abstracted, technological world where artificial intelligence is coming up, I have the feeling that we struggle more and more with the basics of our human nature and our human understanding of ethics and life.
While we create smart solutions for driver-less cars, to remote control our house, to help people re-gain abilities to move their extremities, we also create smart solution that don’t respect other people. We neglect the privacy of people, we try to make profit from other people’s losses, and we try to make life as convenient for ourselves as possible, not caring if other people suffer from it. We build websites that are easy to maintain, but that users can’t use or get a broken experience.
I think we’re doing great at making progress as human species, but I also think everyone of us as a single person could do socially better.
- Eric Elliot collected the — from his view — best books for people who love code in this article.
- Robert Hoekman Jr shares an important lesson on How To Take Charge of A UX Kick-Off Meeting. This features his experience from agencies which didn’t manage to get this right, and stresses how important it is to ask the right questions before designers and developers are starting to work on the project.
- The google webfonts helper is an app that gives you instant previews and usage-snippets for all google webfonts, doing a much better job than the official website for it does currently.
- Creating a solid living styleguide system is usually not an easy task. But devbridge-styleguide is an attempt to make it easier, giving you a node.js-based tool that generates a styleguide based on some markers (comments) in your source files.
- Daniel Demmel shares why using Docker to setup a web development environment locally can be such a relief for us. Given what I’ve seen so far in projects, investing into a proper setup that runs smoothly on every programmer’s machine is the best thing you can do. And as Docker keeps evolving and fixing things like Mac OS compatibility and improved Windows support I think it’s worth having a closer look at the tool for upcoming projects, especially as it’s relatively easy to set up and play with it.
- The Node Security Project has now a new new Node.js and Gulp task to check your dependencies for known vulnerabilities. It’s great to have it back and now have two fine tools — the other one being Snyk — to improve security for Node.js applications.
- A.I. assistants can give you the news, order you a pizza, and tell you a joke. All you have to do is trust them—completely. An interesting story about the new listen-to-us devices that can scare the hell out of you if they surprise you. Reading George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four” currently, I keep asking myself how we can still want to have such devices that are fully controlled by some company that only has follow-up commercial interest in selling such devices.
- Microsoft, vendor of several cloud-services with user privacy-related content like Mail, Contacts, Messages, or other Files, published an interesting article about how often they get government inquiries to tap user accounts that they’re not allowed to talk about. As the number of non-disclosable requests grows, Microsoft wants to challenge if that is still in the users’ interest and the company now filed a legal ECPA complaint about this matter.
- Philosophy professor Michael Lynch says that privacy violations erode individuals' rights to autonomously make their own decisions and exercise individual power. An interview worth reading.
HTML & SVG
- If you have to display country flags, you likely have some sort of picture-list for it. At least all the time this happened to me in the past, I was annoyed to not have an appropriate resource-set for it in times where we have SVG. Now, there is flag-icon-css, an MIT-licensed set of country-flags.
- Microsoft shares their Microsoft Edge accessibility architecture and how this improves the usability of websites for everyone, and makes building better solutions easier for us developers.
- Did you ever noticed that Chrome DevTools have an Accessibility Inspection? Umar Hansa shares how to use it.
code. You can see the difference in this neat demo.
- Using multi column properties and Flexbox together lets you achieve a so called ‘Masonry’ layout with only CSS.
- Do you use scss-lint? It’s a nice tool to ensure Scss coding conventions. One drawback of it though always was that it’s Ruby-based and has not very much granular options. But stylelint, a Node.js based alternative to it is much more powerful, giving you full, fast linting capacity for your CSS, Scss or Less code. And with stylefmt you can even auto-format code based on your rules.
Work & Life
- Likely, we’re all in a field where we need full concentration when we work. Whether you’re a programmer, designer or concepter — these tasks require you to concentrate on solely the task you’re doing. This is why it’s so important to not be disturbed. Create an ‘atmosphere of focus’ by teaching your clients to not call you and your colleagues to not interrupt you by dropping over to your desk if you haven’t asked for it.
- Cory Doctorow analyzes why companies like Lyft and Uber economically work. The fact that the whole business model only works because they offload their cost of capital (investments into cars, etc.) to their workers (who are often contractors to avoid taxes and healthcare). So the whole business model of these companies seems to only work because such workers are willing to accept such a bad deal because the labor market sucks. And we support such violations of proper employment by being a customer? I think we could do better.