Monthly Archives: January 2012

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.

Comments

Count me among those who find plenty of value in blog comments not only because the ability to add something to another person’s Web page is quite powerful, but disparate conversations on third-party services are pretty hard to wrangle (Echo and LiveFyre are getting better at this, but they are far from perfect).

Ultimately, whether you have comments is your business — there’s no blanket “right” or “wrong” way to do this. I, personally, get a lot of value out of the debate and accountability well-managed blog comments can provide, so I’ll more frequently patronize sites that have them than those who don’t.

Time to dump IE 7, too?

A rumor that Facebook Timeline won’t support IE 7 got traction over the New Year’s weekend. According to a comment by Facebook engineer Stefan Parker, though, Facebook will eventually support Timeline on IE 7 (and 6, for that matter). IE 6 got all the attention for being the straggler, but with it finally fading out of view, I suspect Web developers will increasingly turn their collective ire on the five-year-old IE 7 now. We’ll know for sure when Microsoft launches “IE 7 Countdown.”