Best viewed in iOS

From: Boagworld

One of the things I love about the web is its openness. The web is accessible to all, no matter your age, location, disability or technology. Whether you are accessing it via a mobile phone in the heart of Africa or fibre optic connection in Korea, we all have access to the same information.

At least that is the theory.

In reality, the web is full of barriers. One barrier that always caused me great pain ‘back in the day’ were websites that sported the phrase ‘best viewed in Internet Explorer’.

Like many I fought long and hard to eradicate those messages from the web, and largely speaking we succeeded.

Imagine my concern over the current tread of native mobile apps that repeat the mistakes of the past.

Gary Marshall summed it up in a recent .net magazine post:

I understand it, I really do. Apps are cool. Apps are popular. Apps give you the upper hand in the golf club lounge when you’re trying to score points against your fellow CEOs. As a result, “we must have an app!” is the new “we must have a social media strategy”, which in turn was the new “we must have an AOL keyword”. Remember those?

But what I don’t like is the way in which the rise of the app appears to be bringing back the days of “best viewed with”, when some sites expected not only specific browsers but specific plugins, screen resolutions and available colours. At least with those you could change your settings to view the site as the designer intended. Good luck getting an iPhone app to run on Windows Phone.

Let’s not repeat history. Sure, build native apps, but not without putting in place alternatives for those who do not own the latest smartphone.

Think twice about whether you need a native app. Often a web app that is accessible across all devices is the better solution.


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  • IE6 Almost Dead In the US

    From: Slashdot


    SharkLaser writes “Microsoft, and the whole tech world, is celebrating the fact that use of Internet Explorer 6 has dropped below one percent in the US. ‘Time to pop open the champagne because, based on the latest data from Net Applications, IE6 usage in the US has now officially dropped below 1 per cent!,’ said Roger Capriotti, director of Internet Explorer marketing. ‘IE6 has been the punch line of browser jokes for a while, and we’ve been as eager as anyone to see it go away.'”

      <a href="http://twitter.com/home?status=IE6+Almost+Dead+In+the+US%3A+http%3A%2F%2Fbit.ly%2Fy1CkZu" title="Share on Twitter"><img src="http://a.fsdn.com/sd/twitter_icon_large.png"></a>
    

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


    BBC to air a weekly playoffs highlight show

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    We are pleased to announce that the BBC will air a weekly highlights show in January which will allow viewers to keep up to date with the NFL playoffs as the road to Super Bowl XLVI continues.

    Each show will be an hour long and will be presented by Matt Roberts and Mike Carlson. The show will air every Monday night / Tuesday morning:

    read more


    Happy New Year!

    From: D'Blog of 'Israeli

    The Lowlife “Hokusai” Cover for 2000AD Prog 1752
    Dirty Frank © 2012 Rebellion Developments/
    2000AD
    Dirty Frank/Lowlife created by Rob Williams and Henry Flint.

    I was delighted to discover that the Dirty Frank “Hokusai” cover for 2000AD Prog 1752 has won Cover of the Year 2011 on the 2000AD Covers Uncovered blog. Thanks to everyone from Covers Uncovered, ECBT2000AD and the 2000AD messageboards who voted. It’s been a corking year for 2000AD, so competition was stiff, and I’m proud to have placed in a field that included Greg Staples, Cliff Robertson and Henry Flint (no less than 3 times!)

    Thanks where thanks are due: Tharg-in-Residence Matt Smith came up with the idea of basing a cover on a Hokusai print, and also approved what is a very radical take on Dirty Frank. 2000AD design stalwart Simon Parr also deserves thanks for his ever-sensitive design work. Thanks, gentlemen.

    Finally, and at the risk of turning into Richard Attenborough, thanks to Pete Wells of 2000AD Covers Uncovered for his ongoing work showing the time and effort that goes into the cover art for the Galaxy’s Greatest every week.


    Must Read: Australian calls UCI president “a dick”

    From: VeloNews

    Sydney Morning Herald: Chloe Hosking, 21, won the aggressive opening criterium of the Jayco Bay Series in Geelong Sunday, opening her season with a win for Specialized-Lululemon.

    Following her win, the Australian sprinter’s feelings got away from her, when she called the president of the UCI, Pat McQuaid, “a dick.”

    The insult was in response to McQuaid’s comment at the world road championships in Copenhagen regarding the heated issue of professional women’s salaries. The president’s suggestion that women did not deserve a minimum salary sparked outrage among the women’s professional peloton.

    Hosking’s response to questions from the Sydney Morning Herald about McQuaid’s remarks was, “What can be said? Pat McQuaid’s a dick. To say at the biggest sporting event of women’s cycling that we’re not progressed enough to have a minimum salary, I mean, how do we progress if we all still have to work and we can’t support ourselves?”

    Hosking has since apologized for her wording, though stands by her statement. She is planning an official apology with her team director, Kristy Scrymgeour, but in the meantime Hosking has said, “I’m not going to apologize for what I said, but I do apologize for how I phrased it.”

    She hopes some good has ultimately come of the situation, and that her bold comment has brought attention to the subject. “This has got the world talking about women’s cycling, hasn’t it?” Hosking asked the Herald.

    Cycling Australia will consider Chloe’s explanation of her remarks before enforcing disciplinary action. “All our members have the right to express views contrary to those of the UCI, but it is not acceptable for any member of Cycling Australia to personally denigrate others,” Cycling Australia told the Herald.

    Currently, Melissa Hoskins is wearing the yellow jersey, with Hosking a point behind going into the final stage, the Williamstown circuit, Wednesday afternoon.

    — Read More


    2000AD Cover of the Year Vote 2011 – The Result!

    From: 2000AD Covers Uncovered

    The results of the great 2000AD cover vote for 2011 are in! They have been meticulously checked and then even more meticulouslyer double checked by myself, then independently checked (and, of course, corrected) by KTT winner the Emperor, to whom I’d like to send a million thanks!
    Over 60 people took the time to vote on the 2000AD messageboard, this blog and the brilliant ECBT2000AD blog. I’d like to say thanks to those for taking the time to do so.
    So, onto he results! The winner, by an absolute landslide is D’Israeli’s Hokasi inspired Dirty Frank cover of Prog 1752. Simply beautiful!
    Readers with longer memories will recall that this is the second time in three years that the D’emon D’raughtsman has won, you can see his earlier winning entry here.
    In second place is Greg Staples’ amazing wraparound for relaunch issue Prog 1750…
    Cliff Robinson‘s bloomin’ brilliant Dredd cover for Prog 1738 claimed joint third place…
    with Henry Flint‘s incredibly original Shakara cover of Prog 1725.
    Fourth place again went to Henry Flint for this marvellous Dredd piece of Prog 1763.
    The fifth spot went to Liam Sharp for his highly cinematic Flesh cover for Prog 1724…
    Bubbling under were three crackers, the first by Henry Flint (again!)
    Second by newcomer Garry Brown

    And finally the brilliant 1729 by another cover debutant, James Mackay!

    Well done to all winners in this fantastic competition!



    A plea for progressive enhancement

    From: Stephanie Rieger

    This is vitally important people so listen up. The web now connects a third of our planet. Over 1.2 billion people [1] use the web on devices, and this number is rising fast. Mobile already amounts to close to 6.5% of web traffic worldwide, and large sites such as Facebook and YouTube routinely report mobile traffic of at least 30%. By 2015, the ITU predicts mobile traffic will exceed desktop traffic and the ‘mobile-mostly’ group already make up a staggering 20% of users in the US and UK.

    For this ubiquity to truly benefit all of us (not just those of us with a high income, or the latest phone) we have to start building sites using solid, future friendly principles such as progressive enhancement…not just when it’s handy or simple, but all the time. Here’s a very timely example of why…

    Last night Brad Frost posted a picture of the lovely sliding side menu contraption on Barack Obama’s new responsive campaign site. As shown in the image below, It looked quite nifty. You tap on the icon next to the word Menu, and the menu slides open from the left hand side. So I decided to try it out on my iPhone 4.

    And the menu failed. Never even opened. Suddenly, the site was without navigation…at all.

    On a hunch, I tried it on a handful of popular devices. The results were pretty devastating. These are the browsers (and devices) where the menu worked as expected.

    • Galaxy Nexus (hot off the assembly line last week with Ice Cream Sandwich and a mobile version of Chrome)
    • iPhone 4 (with iOS 5)

    These are the ones where it didn’t.

    • iPhone 4 (with iOS 4.3.5…the prior version of iOS)
    • iPod Touch (still very popular, especially with youth)
    • Nexus One (old but top of the line Google reference device in its day)
    • Nokia Lumia 800 (brand new Windows Phone 7 device with Internet Explorer 9)
    • HTC ChaCha (popular QWERTY phone with dedicated Facebook button and Android 2.3.3 )
    • HTC Wildfire (very popular mid-range phone with Android 2.3.3)
    • Huawei Blaze (brand new, £50 phone with Android 2.3.5 )
    • Galaxy SII (top of the line device with Android 2.2.3)
    • Galaxy Mini (cheap, low-spec phone with Android 2.2.1 )
    • Blackberry 9810 Torch (one of their newest devices with WebKit-rich Browser 7.0)
    • Blackberry 9300 (a slightly older 6.0 device with a WebKit browser)
    • Galaxy Tab 7″ (first generation tablet with Android 2.3)
    • Galaxy Tab 10″ (second generation tablet withAndroid 2.3)
    • Amazon Kindle Fire (proxied Amazon Silk browser)

    These devices are pretty new. With the exception of the Nexus One and the older Galaxy Tab, all these devices are for sale in the UK right now. Most are also for sale in the US. And at least four of these are top of the line, flagship devices for their brand. And to be clear, the menu wasn’t merely a bit flaky on these devices. It never opened at all (and this is a big, presumably important menu…with 20 sub-navigation items).

    On all devices except the Galaxy Nexus, Kindle Fire, and 10″ Tab, at least a third of the content also loaded offscreen, resulting in a perpetual horizontal scroll. To make matters worse, the viewport meta tag had been set to ‘maximum-scale=1′, preventing most browsers (and therefore users) from zooming to temporarily rectify the horizontal scroll issue.

    We also tried the site on some lower end devices (70% of the US and about half the UK still use feature phones) but gave up. The site was too heavy and complex to render gracefully on many of these devices. (And incidentally didn’t load at all past the ‘splash page’ using Opera Mini on the iPhone).

    This on a site whose goal was to reach as many Americans as possible, regardless of age or income level. As it stands the site only appears suitable for the Google staff who received a Galaxy Nexus for Christmas, and the maybe 5% [2] of Americans who own (and have recently updated) their iPhone.

    I can’t speak to exactly what’s causing the menu to fail, but I can take a pretty good guess. I’m also fairly sure that a progressive enhancement approach (combined with a good dose of testing) would have solved (and certainly uncovered) all the problems we encountered. As a matter of fact, we’ve recently been working on a (still to be launched) client project with a similar (but far simpler) collapsible, sliding menu and went to great pains to ensure things like this didn’t happen.

    First, we built the menu to fail gracefully. In this case, it meant building a menu that was open by default, and only closed once the page had loaded. If the JavaScript failed, the menu would simply never close. It might not look terribly graceful, but it would still be fully usable (to navigate…not to slide open and shut triggering fancy animations…that’s not the menu’s actual job.)

    Secondly, we built the menu using ‘normal’ JavaScript rather than jQuery, as we’ve found jQuery still doesn’t work reliably across devices (in particular for tasks such as DOM selection). We also tested the JavaScript based functionality all the way back to dinky, underpowered little phones like the Nokia N95. This served as a reality check and helped further minimise our points of failure. If it works on a 5 year old browser, it’s considerably less likely to fail on today’s devices.

    And finally, we identified browsers with inadequate levels of JavaScript or DOM manipulation support and served an entirely different menu to this group. We swapped this out server side to ensure these devices didn’t receive the JavaScript at all, and newer devices didn’t have the client-side burden of negotiating the switch from one menu to the other. Incidentally, we also built the site ‘mobile-first’ (i.e. for the simplest device first…and no, that device is not the iPhone), so the ‘fancy’ menu doesn’t even kick in until you reach a screen size of 320 px (regardless of whether JavaScript may be supported). This may penalise the tiny number of devices that happen to be below 320 px in width, and have awesome JavaScript, but also minimises the chance that weaker, older devices will try to load the menu accidentally.

    Despite all this, we still had issues, namely with general DOM manipulation flakiness and inconsistencies caused by device-specific events such as zooming, reorientation, or adjustment of Zoom settings (especially on Android…and especially on HTC). For this reason, we found that the calculations required to correctly trigger and execute the animation sometimes failed, resulting in an only partially open menu. So in the end, we removed the animation altogether (especially as this problem wasn’t limited to lower-end devices so it wasn’t possible to simply conditionally load the animation based on say…the browser version).

    A final problem was the visual disruption caused by a menu that initially loads open, but then quickly closes. To be honest, we still haven’t decided what to do about this. This is a site with a strong accessibility (as in access…) mandate so the idea of shipping a menu that may sometimes never open doesn’t sit well with any of us. So we’re still discussing it. Given this site’s small proportion of traffic from low-end devices, and the measures we’ve taken to ensure the menu will work most of the time, we may still choose to chance it and go the other way.

    These are complex problems. Problems that cause us to examine the true goals of what we’re building and very often greatly test our assumptions around the value of design. Even seemingly inconsequential decisions such as constraining the zoom level can have unintended consequences. But progressive enhancement doesn’t just happen. It needs to be planned from the start, then iterated and carefully discussed when things go wrong. And on mobile, the only way to know that things have gone wrong is to test on actual devices. Given that a good 80% of the Android devices we tested displayed content off-screen, we’d be surprised if barackobama.com had been tested on Android at all.

    We have an opportunity to make the mobile web a million times more useful and relevant than the desktop web has been. The failure of the Obama site was not in the use of new techniques like responsive design, it was in forgetting that older principles and techniques still have an important role to play in building a better web. If anything, they are more important than ever before. Without progressive enhancement, responsive design is simply a site that looks pretty when you resize your desktop browser. With progressive enhancement, the mobile web truly becomes a tool, capable of reaching and connecting all of us. Which is it going to be?

    —————-

    [1] A statistic from analyst Tomi Ahonen’s awesomely useful 2011 Phone Book.

    [2] 5% is an educated guess. Current Nielsen figures show US smartphone penetration at 38%. The iPhone is 28% of that 38%. The number of people with an iOS 5 capable iPhone is smaller, and the number who will have upgraded is smaller still.


    Top 10 Photoshop Disasters of 2011

    From: PSD: Photoshop Disasters

    Time to pause and look back at some of the worst disasters of the year that had celebrities losing limbs, models who were more mutant like and animals that often ended up feeling the full wrath of the art department.

    Thanks everyone for your submissions over the last year and we wish everyone a Happy New Year!

    1. Victoria’s Secret: With or Without it?
    One arm is defiantly better than none!
    2. Totsy Baltex: Somebody Stop The Screaming


    They say the best way for women to fend off attackers is with her elbows, I don’t think this model has anything to ever worry about.

    3. Beachmall: Full Face Transplant
    The models for Beachmall are so stunningly beautiful that they have watermarked the images (repeatedly) so that no-one will steal them.
    4. Jennifer Aniston: Anistorted Yogalosophy 
    Not a PSD.  Jennifer has been cast in the next X-Men film as “Spanx Doll,” an aging-but-still-attractive mutant with the inherent ability to move excess fat tissue to any other part of her body at will.
    5. Industry Week: Smiling is my favorite exercise
    This reminds me of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory when Violet blows up into a giant blueberry after consuming an experimental piece of chewing gum.
    6. Pop Up Pet Crates: Doggone!
    A half pet is better than no pet at all… no wait!
    7. Keith Urban: Loving Parts of You
    Don’t go, don’t go
    Just leave your arm behind
    For me to snuggle
    While I’m without you
    And I will never surrender – your arm…
    8. Two and a Half Men: Gone But Not Forgotten
    Charlie has not gone – that’s him drunk on the floor pointing up at his replacement..
    9. HTC Windows Phone: Business Casualty 
    Hey, Princess, check this out – watch what happens to Daddy’s hand when I stick my arm outside the airlock!
    10. Golden Acrylics: Shopping Crimes
    • Stock image – $2.50 
    • PS “artist” – $10.00 
    • Branding impression of a lifetime – Priceless!


      EA, Nintendo, Sony Quietly Withdraw SOPA Support

      From: Slashdot


      wbr1 writes “Electronista reports that Sony, Nintendo, and Electronic Arts have all pulled their support for SOPA, but have not issued any statements as to why. The house.gov list of SOPA supporters is here.”

        <a href="http://twitter.com/home?status=EA%2C+Nintendo%2C+Sony+Quietly+Withdraw+SOPA+Support%3A+http%3A%2F%2Fbit.ly%2FvZcpRm" title="Share on Twitter"><img src="http://a.fsdn.com/sd/twitter_icon_large.png"></a>
      

      Read more of this story at Slashdot.


      klassic komix!

      From: Dinosaur Comics
      archivecontactsexy exciting merchandisecutesearchabout



      December 30th, 2011: Classic comics for a classic reader (YOU!)! Unarguably-new comics resume next week. HAPPY HOLIDAYS: I hope they were/continue to be awesome!

      As this is a magical URL where the comics change but the URL doesn’t, here’s what was previously here: Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday.

      <

      p align=”right”>– Ryan