I Survived the 10.7.3 Delta Update

I successfully updated to Mac OS X 10.7.3 the other day via Software Update, but there were a lot of people who didn’t. Looks like Apple is now pushing the entire 1.3GB Combo Update package at least temporarily until they find and fix the delta update.

For what it’s worth, 10.7.3 has been great so far. Wi-Fi after wake is much faster and I’m not quite seeing the discoloration issues I once was switching to my external monitor. Fingers crossed…

Mac OS X 10.7.3 soon?

Looks like Mac OS X 10.7.3 is close. I’m hoping that’s the case, because I’ve suffered from an incredibly annoying bug where portions of the user interface are discolored when I attach or detach from an external monitor (a configuration I switch between a couple times a day). It’s not just me, so here’s hoping that a fix will be along sooner rather than later. 10.7.2 was a pretty rough build of Lion in general so it will be good to get an update.

MetaFilter on being on the wrong end of DMCA abuse

If you’re curious as to why there is such an uproar about the Stop Online Piracy Act and its companion in the Senate, the PROTECT IP Act, read Mat Howie’s post at MetaFilter, in which he describes a situation where he was targeted by a mistaken takedown notice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and nearly lost his site completely (which comes up very rosy in comparison with SOPA and PIPA).

The DMCA is imperfect law. SOPA and PIPA are downright dangerous and unnecessarily broad. Jam your representative’s and Senators’ phone lines today!

Gillmor on SOPA: It’s not about piracy

A common thread through the SOPA drama is that Congress is legislating from a position of ignorance on how the Internet works. In a column for the Guardian today, Dan Gillmor argues the opposite:

[…] What we’re seeing does not derive from any misunderstanding. Rather, I’m convinced, this concerted push to censor the internet, through measures that would fundamentally break it, stems from a very clear understanding of what’s at stake. Indeed, legislation like Sopa, or its US Senate companion, the Protect IP Act (Pipa) – and a host of activities around the world – share a common goal. These “fixes” are designed to wrest control of these tools from the masses and recentralize what has promised to be the most open means of communication and collaboration ever invented.

I’d take this one step further and posit the question: Do you think WikiLeaks could exist in a SOPA-fied world? Not a chance.

(Also: Interesting that Gillmor frames it as an attempt to recentralize the Internet. Seems like we are doing a pretty good job of that ourselves with the current generation of social networks.)

SOPA tabled for now

Update 1/17 @ 4:21PM EST: SOPA markup will resume in February. It’s not dead yet.

SOPA has been tabled for now (though the Protect IP Act, SOPA’s contemporary, lives on in the Senate).

Pardon my cynicism, but I’m fairly sure that in an election year, no member of the House would want to be saddled with passing a bill that the public believes would censor the Internet. Something tells me this will be back (especially if PIPA presses on in the Senate) — let’s just hope there is some actual technical consultation in the next go-around (though I have yet to be convinced we need something beyond the DMCA).

Experimenting with LESS

I’ve been exploring LESS this weekend as a way to make writing CSS a much more efficient affair. So far, so very good! I’m using LESS.app for Mac OS X to compile my .less files down to CSS with each save. There are Ruby scripts and JavaScript available for interpreting LESS on the fly, but I far prefer to serve up already-baked CSS with the app, which gets bonus points for spitting out minified files. Be careful with the minifier, though, if you’re writing CSS with LESS for WordPress (try saying that three times fast) — it will strip the comment block WordPress needs to identify your theme from the CSS file. There are a couple workarounds for this; the easiest way is probably just to use a minifying WordPress plugin (I use W3 Total Cache’s minifying facility myself), or if you want your server to have one less thing to do, you can spit the minified files out to a different location, reference that location in your HTML, and just use style.css as a way to identify the theme and for nothing else. (WordPress doesn’t require you to store your styles there, but it is generally more consistent to do so.)

Using the app has another great side benefit as its compiler flags errors it finds in the code and tosses up a Growl notification with a brief explanation of the problem — so not only am I writing CSS more efficiently, I’m also writing much more error-free CSS as a result. Win-win.

Who else is using LESS (or its contemporary SASS) to write and simplify CSS?

WordPress over IM

Matt Mullenweg:

Glad to see someone still remembering how powerful it can be to get notified of social media over IM. It’s still a real shame Twitter never brought back its XMPP bot.

Head over to im.wordpress.com and get the bot if you’re into being pinged about blogs — you can subscribe to my blog using the command sub jaredwsmith.com.

A no-doubter: It’s time to stop supporting IE 6

Internet Explorer 6 usage share in the US is now below 1 percent according to Microsoft. If you’re still expending energy trying to design for IE 6, it really is time to move on. It turned 10 last year. For some perspective, the other active browsers at the time of IE 6’s release included Netscape Communicator 4.7, Netscape 6, and Opera 6. Do you still test for those?

If you’re using Internet Explorer 6 by choice, stop. You are missing out on the best the Web has to offer. If you can’t upgrade your machine from Windows XP or earlier, there are still working versions of Firefox and Chrome available for you (and IE 8 works on Windows XP, too).

And if your corporate IT policy demands Internet Explorer 6, your corporate IT department is knowingly running an insecure browser (Secunia reports at least 15% of IE 6’s known flaws remain unpatched). Who in the world would think this is sane IT policy?

IE 6 had a remarkable run largely at the expense of the advancement of Web standards. Fortunately, Mozilla disrupted things and kicked Microsoft out of cruise control and back to competing (a position from which Microsoft has historically done its best work). IE 9 was a massive improvement over any previous version of IE to date, and IE 10 is expected to be pretty fantastic standards-wise, so even if the open source alternatives aren’t palatable, Microsoft is doing a much better job on this front and should only continue to improve.

How Path is winning me over

I’m trying to get into Path more. While the idea of a social network with an extremely low friend limit (150 friends) is hard for me to grasp given my assumptions that anything I publish online is for public consumption, I’m won over by its excellent design — indeed, it has a timeline implementation that Facebook could only dream of — and its ability to be a universal publisher to the big four social sites (Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and Tumblr).

By far the most interesting use of Path I’ve seen so far is by Jon Mitchell on ReadWriteWeb, where he uses Path to illustrate a story on his experiences serving on a jury and what they mean for the social Web. It only works, too, because Path is so well-designed and thought out.

It will be fun to watch Path’s path. It could be quite a contender in 2012.