Web


Design

Wikipedia Is Finally Getting a New Look

25th September 2020 PERMALINK • 1 min read

Olga Vasileva, writing at Diff (a blog ran by the WIkimedia volunteer community) about the new look that’s coming to Wikipedia, and also why they’re making the changes now:

Wikipedia has remained a critical and widely-used resource for knowledge across the world for the past two decades. Over this time, the site has expanded significantly to contain unparalleled amounts of reliable and thorough information, including 53 million articles across over 300 languages. While Wikipedia’s content has grown rapidly, our interface has not kept pace. We’re proud that our website is more direct, simple, and advertisement-free than the rest of the internet. Yet, the design of desktop Wikipedia and other Wikimedia Foundation projects have not seen any substantive changes for the past 10 years, leaving certain elements of the site’s navigation feeling clunky and overwhelming to readers and editors whose main purpose is to create, learn, and curate content.

There’s no definitive list yet on the differences that will be coming in the new design. But the improvements will include things like a max content width, collapsible sidebar, sticky headers, more prominent search bar and table of contents, and a few other things. You can see a few of these concepts on MediaWiki.

Web

WindowSwap

17th July 2020 PERMALINK • 1 min read

Okay, so this website is great.

It’s called WindowSwap, as as you may have already guessed, it’s a window into other peoples… windows.

I think it’s a brilliant idea. And I’ve already been watching the videos out of various peoples windows. I’ve seen windows from all over the UK, India, Israel, Germany, Finland, and I’m going to watch some more now.

If you’re thinking it’s just going to be a website where you just click through random badly taken photos out of peoples windows, then you’ll certainly be surprised. The videos on WindowSwap are 10-minute HD videos, which I assume go through some amount of compression, and it depends on your connection as to what quality you see.

One thing I’ve noticed, is that I haven’t been fond of any views from windows in England. it seems there’s much better views everywhere else in the world.

Web

Speed Test by CloudFlare

29th May 2020 PERMALINK • 1 min read

I just came across a new speed test tool (via The Newsprint), and it’s certainly the most detailed and responsive one I’ve seen.

It’s made by CloudFlare, and has the simple name of Speed Test. You can find it at speed.cloudflare.com.

Unlike Speedtest.net, it loads instantly, and there’s no delay until your internet connection is tested. Which is something that always annoyed me when visiting Speedtest.net.

The speed or instantaneous testing aren’t the only benefits. It’s also packed full of data. Have a look at my screenshot below, to see the type of stuff you can test.

(You may worry that I’ve shared my location. Rest assured that this data isn’t even close to being accurate.)

Web

BBC Launches Tool for Joint Lockdown Viewing

19th May 2020 PERMALINK • 1 min read

BBC News – Entertainment & Arts:

If you’ve been wishing you could enjoy a TV or radio show with friends during lockdown, the BBC is trialling a tool to allow just that.

BBC Together lets you watch or listen to content from BBC iPlayer, Sounds, Bitesize, News and Sport in sync with other people using different devices.

It is available through the BBC’s experimental website Taster.

BBC R&D’s Dr Libby Miller said being separate “doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy great programmes with our friends”.

She added: “We wanted to see if technology could bring people together to watch and listen to BBC shows remotely as a shared experience.”

The “host” of the group can send a link from the BBC Together site, then control when to play and pause so everyone sees the same thing at the same time. A maximum number of 50 people can join.

I’ve heard about this type of platform before, where groups of people in different locations can watch videos or listen to music together. So it’s good to see BBC experimenting with adding support directly inside iPlayer.

Check out BBC Together.

Archive

Medium tries to prevent people reading deleted articles on The Wayback Machine →

1st May 2018 PERMALINK • 1 min read

Daniel Caffrey writing for Selected Intelligence:

I was recently trying to check a reference on an article I’d read on Medium about 2 years ago. It had been removed from Medium by its author. So I checked the link on The Wayback Machine and there were plenty of snapshots. However when I click on any of them I get immediately redirected to the Medium.com homepage.

I’m not exactly sure of the benefits for Medium with this, but it seems pretty aggressive to me.

Blogging

#OpenWeb →

13th April 2018 PERMALINK • 1 min read

Michael Rockwell, writer for Initial Charge, has come up with a fantastic new project, #OpenWeb:

I spent a few days over the past week working on a little project that’s been bouncing around in my head lately. I’ve wanted something like this to exist for years and with the skills I’ve obtained from Treehouse over the past several months, I thought it was finally time to build it myself. Today, I’d like to announce #OpenWeb.

The site aggregates headlines from independent publishers that focus on Apple products and software. It also serves as a directory of single-person weblogs within our community. Over the past few years, social networks have become less and less exciting to use and there have been some subtle indications that the open web is poised for a comeback. With Micro.blog, JSON Feed, the meteoric rise in podcasting, and the frustration that many of us have had with Twitter and Facebook — I think weblogs could be the next big thing.

The idea of a place to discover new bloggers, and to help push more independent writers (like myself), has always been something I’d liked to have.

There are 16 sources currently being fed into #OpenWeb, and I’m sure this will grow and be refined over time. But along with the combined feed of posts from these blogs, you can also find an .OPML file, which will allow you to add all of them to your RSS reader of your choice.

Obviously, I’m massively grateful that I was included as one of the sources! I’ll have to pay that back by trying to write better, and more often.

Check out #OpenWeb, and read Michael’s blog post introducing it.

Verge

Verge 3.0

1st November 2016 PERMALINK • 1 min read

The Verge has just gone over a massive overhaul and redesign, they call it Verge 3.0.

Nilay Patel (Editor-in-Chief), has written a big post which details the many changes, and updates to the underlying system which their blog resides.

I for one read The Verge a lot, and I really appreciate the diverse content they create. But I admit the website was becoming a bit clunky, and it always felt bloated to me.

They’ve made everything better, the loading speed, readability of the icon, the overall simplification of the website structure, and general brand design.

I really love it, and I urge you to read Nilay’s piece "Welcome to Verge 3.0".

There’s also a short video they made, which you can watch below or on YouTube:

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