I was at the amazing beyondtellerrand conference this week again and every single time I come home and try to understand our industry, and our society better. There’s so much input and inspiration around, I see a lot of friends and people I see only once per year, I hear great talks. People tell me how frustrated they are with their job, we hear amazing stories of people who seem to have an amazing life, we hear people moaning about bad players in the web like Facebook but rarely do we hear real insights or solutions.
What we don’t hear is that a presentation is highlighting the good parts in life, except when you hear the story of Rob Draper. I’m glad there are amazing people who believe in humans and share how we all as individuals can do something to have a better job and life: It might be as Stephen Hay suggests to trust your own ideas, building your own website and social system or seeing my good friend Andy building an non-profit initiative to build schools in Africa in which he invests not only a lot of time but money as well and forwards 100% of all donations to the project. It’s great to see these visions of a better world and it feels like a good community to be in. The web is so much more than just a space to build technical solutions and write code — it’s a place to build helpful, meaningful and beatuful, individual things.
- Let’s make things official: Safari now has support for Dark Mode in 12.1 which shipped very recently. Check the full article for how to apply it to your pages or check one of the sites like Twitter or Colloq that already support it. And nicely, Safari’s Developer Tools feature a debug mode for Dark Mode as well.
- Chrome 74 is out public and here is what is included: We can detect if a user requested reduced motion. The Feature policy API got updates so now we can request
document.featurePolicy.allowedFeatures()for all allowed,
allowsFeature()for single, or
document.featurePolicy.getAllowlistForFeature()for a domain list that gets the allowed features.
- Googlebot is evergreen now. This means the search crawler of Google is now getting the newest Chromium version automatically and from now on it supports ES6, ECMAScript Modules and newer functionality, understands lazy-loaded content via IntersectionObserver, and the WebComponents v1 APIs. It might be time to drop our ES6 transpilers soon now.
- Stefan Judis with a roundup article about how to keep the web a safe place, keep it affordable and fast, tailor the response to the user and to make it a respectful place — all with HTTP headers. A good read for everybody because we all tend to forget about these things in our daily work.
- The annual Mozilla 2019 Internet Health Report examines how humanity and the internet intersect. Here’s the report itself with some short answers as well for those who don’t want to read it all.
- On-Call rotation is a common thing in tech as well and I know that a lot of teams struggle with it. That’s why I found this guide on “On-call at any size” quite informative and useful. It explains how to prepare, what to do if you’re a small team but also if you’re a big corporation.
- Emily Shaffer shares how to annotate regular expressions to make them understandable by other people as well.
- A pretty good cross-over app that deserves a highlight here: Concepts app is a super flexible sketching, drawing, planning app for creating concepts and digital ideas.
- GitHub is completing the experience: They now offer their own npm registry (but also ruby, Docker, Maven, NuGet) which is integrated in the platform already. A huge step as it allows easy publishing of custom and private packages as well and makes the workflow way easier.
- As web developers we know how to inspect what third-parties and trackers are included in a website. However, for applications that is very different. It’s not very easy to block ads or privacy invading tracking mechanisms in a Desktop or mobile application, and it’s hard to even find out about the tracking itself. Let’s raise awareness about this and build software that doesn’t betray the users.
- stylelint-a11y is a plugin for stylelint that enforces accessibility best practices via the CSS linter.
- Heard of the MutationObserver API but never fully understood it? Here’s the guide to understand it.
- Andy Clarke shows us how we can do art direction and create much nicer layouts on the web using CSS shapes.
Work & Life
- How do Productivity and Promises correlate? In times of constant demands, too much work to do, blurry information about priorities and different senses of urgency you can hardly blame people for breaking with their promises anymore. If we’re constantly getting expectations by other people like “please get back to me by 1pm today”, how can we stick to our original schedule for the day and be productive. Should we ignore such external demands and say “we had better things to do” than replying to the non-urgent but urgency creating email ‘in time’? It definitely takes some courage to do so but in the end this is what productivity is about: Sticking to a schedule and dedicating focus time to one single task.
- Do you do standup calls? Here’s why this is a costly thing and hurts your team mates’ effectiveness at work.
- Stop being so busy, and just do nothing. Trust us. This claim in the New York Times has its reasons; in a world of stress and an environment where we embrace working all day, we need to remember to stop. To take time for ourselves.
- We love to tend to make judgements about other people’s work. That’s why we tend to declare something as “low hanging fruit” in assumption that the task is easy to do and doesn’t take much time or effort. But we forget that we might miss a couple of circumstances and it might become a bigger task than anticipated. Jason Fried says we should be careful when you use the word “easy” to describe other people’s jobs.
- Nathan Barry is founder of ConvertKit and shares a couple of ways how they run the business in unconventional ways: They pay standardised salaries, have their revenue public, and distribute 60% of company profits to the team.
- “If anything about this age is rare, perhaps it is the possibility that our fraught networked systems have finally reached such a unique point, with their environmental and social consequences so visibly intertwined, that they have become impossible to ignore.” — Ingrid Burrington in ‘A rare and toxic age’
- Let’s handover the best possible. The best environment for the next generation. The best work for the employees that take over work from you. Keep it at heart for every aspect of life and you’ll see that it makes a difference. To other people and to you. It feels good to do good.
- What's low-tech, sustainable and possibly the most effective thing we can do to fight climate change? Planting trees. A trillion of them.
- What are we doing to our earth? It seems despite the rising awareness of plastic pollution, global sales of plastic and glass drinks bottles, cans and cartons are still rising. There are so many alternatives, can we please stop buying one-time plastic packaging, coffee to go — each of us, now?
- When we feel overloaded, we tend to lash out at someone in frustration and anger. This comes from the hope that things will be calm, orderly, simple, solid, and under control. The world doesn’t comply with this hope, however, as it is chaotic, disorder, constantly changing, never fixed, groundless. So we get frustrated, angry at others, and feel anxiety. But we can create a habit of calm when feeling frustraded, and here’s how.
- What energy impact does your phone, that small little screen we hold in our hands every day, have? We use video calls, messengers, or upload our photos to the cloud. But all the cloud services, the 4G network itself uses a huge amount of energy that we tend to forget about. This article digs a bit deeper into the dependencies of using a smartphone these days and why it matters to save data and reduce your phone usage — and if it’s just for your own sake.
2015, and four years later most of us didn’t do anything. Let’s change that — What can a technologist do about climate change?
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