Latest Writing & Things of Interest

March 21, 2018

Hope for the Web

The open web is something I think about often—usually with some fear and trepidation. For the past decade, the open web has been under increasing attack. The community, connections, and creativity that made the web so amazing have been replaced by groupthink, bots, and blandness. Nearly every day, it feels like we’re losing a little more of the open web.

A lot of people try to do something to maintain what’s good about the web. I like to think that I do, too. We write about the web, standards, accessibility, and community. We talk to each other. I usually end up lecturing or ranting to my family about the danger in which we find ourselves and the web. But it’s hard to keep up the fight, especially when you’re facing monoliths like Google and Facebook. What hope do a relatively small number of people have when defending against these behemoths?

That’s why I was heartened to see the inventor of the web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, tweet storm about his own fears and his hope for the future of the web. It’s reassuring to see that someone so entangled with the web—the creator of the whole damned thing—has similar feelings. But it’s even more reassuring to see that he still hasn’t given up the fight.

It’s going to be a hard fight, but a worthwhile one. Even when it seems like a small thing in our personal and professional lives, standing up for openness, access, inclusion, and diversity on the web can make a big difference. If enough people do that, it scales. It can change the world.

Just some random thoughts, but I wanted to write them down for future reference when I feel like the web is coming crashing down. Here are his tweets for posterity, too.

March 15, 2018

Link: A New View of the Moon

Hat tip to Jason Kottke (congrats on 20 years BTW) for this amazing video of Wylie Overstreet and Alex Gorosh letting people around LA look through their telescope. The reactions are priceless and completely in line with what I’ve seen from my kids when we pull out the telescope.

March 7, 2018

Link: The Great AMP Debate: The Ethics of Google's Mobile Traffic Boost

Another good overview of the controversy surrounding AMP. I think the best point is that developers (myself included) have responded negatively to a variety of technologies and projects that have turned out to be non-issues. However, I agree that this time it feels different and speaks to a larger issue in our society:

On the other hand, the AMP debate feels different, because it reflects the reality that a small handful of large companies can control what it means to run a business or organization on the internet—a defining story of our times, a theme that plays out in ways big and small throughout our society. Associations are not immune to these issues.