The Web is going to get faster in the very near future.

It won’t be because some giant company created something great, though they probably have. The Web will be getting faster very soon because a small group of developers saw a problem and decided to solve it for all of us.

The story of the Picture element isn’t just an interesting tale of Web developers working together to make the Web a better place. It’s also a glimpse at the future. The separation between those who build the Web and those who create Web standards is disappearing. The W3C’s community groups are growing, and sites like Move the Web Forward aim to help bridge the gap between developer ideas and standards bodies.

How a new HTML element will make the Web faster http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2014/09/how-a-new-html-element-will-make-the-web-faster/2/

No tool will save you from that. None. Everything will be out of control as soon as it’s scaled to more than a prototype, because control isn’t even 10% about the tools, but awareness about the impact of hundreds of small decisions, which requires real knowledge about the subject domain. It’s about forging and sharpening that awareness through a mentality that embraces constant refactoring, while always trying to make the better decisions right now.

Julio Ody – http://julio-ody.tumblr.com/post/82957538258/we-have-an-education-problem

Quote from “The Lost World of the London Coffeehouse”

Interior of a London Coffee-house, 17th century | Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Interior_of_a_London_Coffee-house,_17th_century.JPG

Interior of a London Coffee-house, 17th century | Source: wikipedia.org

On the social impact of coffeehouses

“Remember — until the mid-seventeenth century, most people in England were either slightly — or very — drunk all of the time. Drink London’s fetid river water at your own peril; most people wisely favoured watered-down ale or beer. The arrival of coffee, then, triggered a dawn of sobriety that laid the foundations for truly spectacular economic growth in the decades that followed as people thought clearly for the first time. The stock exchange, insurance industry, and auctioneering: all burst into life in 17th-century coffeehouses.”

A look inside a coffeehouse:

“As the image shows, customers sat around long communal tables strewn with every type of media imaginable listening in to each other’s conversations, interjecting whenever they pleased, and reflecting upon the newspapers. Talking to strangers, an alien concept in most coffee shops today, was actively encouraged.”

Change, openness and free exchange of information cause fear amongst the ruling class:

“Charles II, a longtime critic, tried to torpedo them by royal proclamation in 1675. Traditionally, informed political debate had been the preserve of the social elite. But in the coffeehouse it was anyone’s business — that is, anyone who could afford the measly one-penny entrance fee.”

Source: “The Lost World of the London Coffeehouse” by Dr Matthew Green published on publicdomainreview.org

It’s much more possible that other countries around the world who are truly indignant about the breaches of their privacy security will band together and create alternatives, either in terms of infrastructure, or legal regimes that will prevent the United States from exercising hedgemony over the Internet or make the cost of doing so far too high. I think, even more promising is the fact that large private corporations, Internet companies and others will start finally paying a price for their collaboration with this spying regime.

What the outcome of this conflict is, what the Internet ultimately becomes really is not answerable in any definitive way now. It depends so much on what it is that we, as human beings, do. One of the most pressing questions is whether people like the ones who are in this room, and the people who have the skills that you have, now and in the future, will succumb to those temptations, and go to work for the very entities that are attempting to destroy privacy around the world, or whether you will put your talents, skills and resources, to defending human beings from those invasions, and continuing to create effective technologies to protect our privacy. I am very optimistic, because that power does lie in your hands.

Glenn Greenwald – Excerpt from the keynote of 30th Chaos Communication Congress

But why do we need “smart” watches or face-mounted computers like Google Glass? They have radically different hardware and software needs than smartphones, yet they don’t offer much more utility. They’re also always with you, but not significantly more than smartphones. They come with major costs in fashion and creepiness. They’re yet more devices that need to be bought, learned, maintained, and charged every night. Most fatally, nearly everything they do that has mass appeal and real-world utility can be done by a smartphone well enough or better. And if we’ve learned anything in the consumer-tech business, it’s that “good enough” usually wins.

Marco Ament – Smart watches and computers on your face

If we really care about the next generation becoming hackers and makers, not just consumers, we need to reject Apple’s bullshit, reject Micorsoft’s (decreasingly relevant) bullshit, and focus on open systems. This doesn’t have to be Android. Ubuntu Phone looks promising, Firefox OS might not be more Mozilla vaporware, and Jolla looks incredibly promising.

Hunter-gatherers have nothing akin to school. Adults believe that children learn by observing, exploring, and playing, and so they afford them unlimited time to do that.

The Sudbury Valley School and a hunter-gatherer band are very different from one another in many ways, but they are similar in providing what I see as the essential conditions for optimising children’s natural abilities to educate themselves. They share the social expectation (and reality) that education is children’s responsibility, not something that adults do to them, and they provide unlimited freedom for children to play, explore, and pursue their own interests. They also provide ample opportunities to play with the tools of the culture; access to a variety of caring and knowledgeable adults, who are helpers, not judges; and free age-mixing among children and adolescents (age-mixed play is more conducive to learning than play among those who are all at the same level). Finally, in both settings, children are immersed in a stable, moral community, so they acquire the values of the community and a sense of responsibility for others, not just for themselves.

The practice of taking an intentional break from technology and civilization is probably as old as technology and civilization. But it seems increasingly urgent now, in an era when the Internet—and thus most of the planet—is as close as an iPhone. We go to seek waldeinsamkeit, as the poet Ralph Waldo Emerson described it—the feeling of being alone in the woods.

The phone isn’t the problem. The problem is us—our inability to step away from email and games and inessential data, our inability to look up, be it at an alpine lake or at family members. We won’t be able to get away from it all for very much longer. So it’s vitally important that each of us learns how to live with a persistent connection, everywhere we go, whether it’s in the wilderness or at a dinner party.

The rapid adoption of WebRTC provides a dramatic opportunity for a turning point: here is the first communication API to be added to web browsers—and, even better, it’s peer-to-peer (once you have signaling in place). And undoubtedly, the concerns the XMPP community has focused on for years have become suddenly and powerfully relevant to the web. An imperfect, but battle-hardened and well-distributed standard is exactly what we need to avoid the poison of 15 people reinventing the wheel.

Over the past 20 years of my work, I’ve created interactive marketing games, gamified sites (before it was called that), and dozens of other projects carefully, artfully, scientifically designed to slurp (gulp) cognitive resources for… very little that was “worth it”. Did people willingly choose to engage with them? Of course. And by “of course” I mean, not really, no. Not according to psychology, neuroscience, and behavioral economics research of the past 50 years. They were nudged/seduced/tricked. And I was pretty good at it. I am so very, very sorry.

My goal for Serious Pony is to help all of us take better care of our users. Not just while they are interacting with our app, site, product, but after. Not just because they are our users, but because they are people.

Because on their deathbed, our users won’t be thinking,”If only I’d spent more time engaging with brands.”

Help them conserve and manage their scarce, precious, easily-depleted cognitive resources for what really matters. To them. And don’t forget to take care of your own.

I think we’re probably going to see more and more WebGL user interfaces soon. We’ve seen a lot of 3D stuff written on top of WebGL, and it is certainly good for that, but I’m betting that normal 2D user interfaces on the web will start being written with it too, just thanks to its great performance characteristics. HTML and CSS is great for documents and applications, to a point, but for web apps to compete with native on performance, hardware accelerated UIs on top of WebGL will be important.