1. EEEEVIL:

    “Council can now steal instruments from . civil disobedience campaign begins” [1]@indyrikki via Jovian Salak

    As reported by: Ham&High News Change org

    Threatening to fine someone £1000 is bad enough, but for musicians, confiscating instruments is much more than theft — an instrument is an extremely personal extension of your body.

    Of course, no-one wants excessive noise pollution, but charging buskers a yearly fee and holding legal threats above them is going to achieve the exact opposite goal, by putting acoustically playing children and amateurs off, leaving more room for the serious buskers - the ones who can make troublesome noises with all their amps and equipment.

    As a long-time busker in the UK I’ve always found the police to be supportive and helpful (once memorably dragging a drunkard off me at Christmas late night shopping). Hopefully the police in Camden are equally reasonable and won’t strut around intimidating children.

  2. Yesterday we at Vísar tested the neat SVG image element hack on all the devices and browsers we had at hand to see how it performed and whether or not it was viable to use in production.

    Given this markup:

    <svg>
        <image xlink:href="http://example.com/the-image.svg" src="http://example.com/the-image.png" width="100" height="100" />
    </svg>

    Here’s a table of what each browser+device downloaded:

    Browser Format Requested
    Mob. Safari iOS 4.2.1 PNG
    Mob. Safari iOS 6.1.3 SVG
    Chrome 28 Mac SVG
    Safari 5.1.9 Mac SVG
    Safari 6.0.5 Mac SVG
    Firefox 26 Mac SVG
    Firefox 22 Mac SVG
    IE 8.0.6 PNG
    IE 10 SVG+PNG
    Kindle (3rd gen) PNG

    Note that the Kindle downloaded the PNG despite having pretty good SVG support. Tests carried out locally by watching the Django request logs.

    At first, this looked perfect — browsers which supported SVG only downloaded the SVG (apart from IE 10), and other browsers just got the PNG. However, it seems that SVG image elements can’t be sized with percentages, meaning our flexible layouts were never going to work. I tried to fix it using the dreaded viewBox and user units (as I have previously to compensate for percentage-based units not being allowed in SVG paths), but that just led to everything being completely the wrong size.

    So, (unless someone can show me how to fix this), whilst we think this is a great hack, it’s not going to work out for our product due to the weirdness of SVG sizing limitations.

  3. Ben Werdmuller: Government - the last great gatekeeper - is ripe for disruption.

    The first is to publicly declare the jurisdiction in which you live, and in which your data is hosted. That way, people can make an informed decision about how to communicate with you.

    That’s a really brilliant idea. Maybe link the brand names to their tosdr.org pages too.

  4. shawfactor: Thoughts on extending webmentions

    Great work getting webmention set up and your content marked up with microformats!

    At the moment of the method is built around a POSSE architecture. This works well for long form articles which can stand alone but address issues or ideas that are posted on an external website.

    The evidence is against you here, as almost all known usage of webmention has been for short replies which don’t make sense without context.

    But if that is all there is to webmentions it is just a nicer implementation of Pingback.

    Pingback succeeded because it was simple. Webmention is even simpler, for good reason.

    However the current workflow is awkward and i doubt it will catch on with the general public. Sophisticated Indieweb users can and will read an article on an external site and then return to their own to post a comment, but that king of behaviour is not intuitive.

    I absolutely agree! I’m trying various different approaches to making this easier (and making web content more actionable in general), currently I’m using web action toolbelt to really quickly reply to content on other sites. There’s been a lot of discussion about this, and it’s something which everyone can work on as more people start implementing indieweb comments.

    I make the comment on the external site and as part of making the comment I add my author url, that being the url of my own site. The external site then sends a webmention of the comment to my site. My own site could then scrapes my comment and saves a copy in my CMS. Otionall  I could republish the comment in my blog or activity feed at my discretion. Thus fully implementing PESOS.

    We actually discussed this exact flow at IWCUK 2012, but no-one ever implemented it because, with browser extensions, there’s no need to log in to other people’s sites (complex to implement) and have those sites post to each other (security hole).

    Thanks for bringing these issues up, it’s great to have new people join the discussion! I’ll start documenting your points on the Indiewebcamp wiki — it’s there and on the IRC room where most discussion takes place.

  5. “For a platform to be reliable, it must either have a single implementation, or be so utterly simple that it can be implemented uniformly. If we assume a practical need for open, freely implementable standards, the only option is simplicity.”

    Magic Ink, @worrydream

  6. Went whale watching, saw several dolphins, two minke whales, a load of puffins and several thousand unexpected jellyfish.

    Comic highlight when the announcer tried to give us a sense of just how big blue whales can be…

    “Imagine a basketball court, with a blue whale in. That basketball game… would be over”

  7. I just sent a support email to @github making the following request for better 404 pages:

    Your 404 pages are pretty but useless for actually trying to find stuff which is misspelt, moved or gone. Could you consider implementing some of these improvements?

    • Show the github header on the 404 page for consistency
    • If the path is /real-username/missing-project, show the user’s profile and a list of their repos
    • If the path is /missing-username/*, show a search for “missing-username” or at the very least prefill the search box with that text
    • Keep track of projects which have moved and do HTTP redirects to their new locations

    Thanks for all the great work you’ve done and made possible,
    Barnaby

    Archived here for posterity and public commentary.

  8. “So easy is it, though many housekeepers doubt it, to establish new and better customs in the place of the old.”

    Walden, Henry David Thoreau

  9. What happened when I started a feminist society at school is a wonderfully written article documenting the troubles encountered by some humans trying to promote their equality with other humans

    One of the worst parts of this is the school blatantly victim-blaming:

    As such, we will take steps to recommend students remove words or images that they place online that could compromise their safety or that of other students at the school.

    Seeing as the activism was happening on the web, I read this as “give up, don’t offend the misogynists, they might hurt you”, which could hardly be called “support”. The pseudo-politicalese “take steps to recommend” is vague and and improvable.

    Clearly such institutions cannot be trusted to support the fight for equality.

  10. Human Theremin using conductive ink

    Using hand built circuitry I was able to turn my sister into a fully functioning theremin, the idea being that eventually the equipment could be used by dancers to create music that relies entirely on choreography and body movement to generate sound as they dance. In this way the visual performance and the audio become intrinsically linked and thus the viewer is able to ‘see’ the sound as it is created.

  11. After RSVPing the local meetup tonight, I get an email with shared signup details for wp10.wordpress.net so I can post my photos from the party to their site.

    This is another, rather bizarre example of WordPress promoting monoculture. Even funnier is this misguided quote from the email:

    If you don't already have the WordPress mobile app for your smartphone, you'll want to download it so that you can upload pictures and post to the site right from the party. It would be a good idea to add the site to your mobile app before your party so you don't have to worry about it later.

    Paraphrased: “So that you can participate TO THE MAX, post to our hosted silo and download yet another app that you’ll delete straight away”.

    Nevertheless, I plan to download the app and try it out as I’ve never used it before and WordPress UX tends to be pretty good. Perhaps then discuss the whole thing in on freenode to brainstorm a better way of doing this topic-based aggregation.