Category Archives: Tech

Read these if you’re downloading a driver update in the background.

HTML 0 through 5

I was impressed by something Mark Pilgrim wrote in his Dive into HTML 5:

I am extraordinarily fascinated with all aspects of this almost-17-year-old conversation that led to the creation of an HTML element that has been used on virtually every web page ever published. Consider:

  • HTTP still exists. HTTP successfully evolved from 0.9 into 1.0 and later 1.1. And still it evolves.
  • HTML still exists. That rudimentary data format — it didn’t even support inline images! — successfully evolved into 2.0, 3.2, 4.0. HTML is an unbroken line. A twisted, knotted, snarled line, to be sure. There were plenty of “dead branches” in the evolutionary tree, places where standards-minded people got ahead of themselves (and ahead of authors and implementors). But still. Here we are, in 2010, and web pages from 1990 still render in modern browsers. I just loaded one up in the browser of my state-of-the-art Android mobile phone, and I didn’t even get prompted to “please wait while importing legacy format…”
  • Some of the same people are still around and still involved in what we now simply call “web standards.” That’s after almost 20 years. And some were involved in predecessors of HTML, going back into the 1980s and before.

It’s crazy to think that a single generation has watched what was once just a cool idea develop into a worldwide publishing platform that revolutionized communication and commerce. And it still works off of the same backwards-compatible standard.

That’s a marvel of collaboration.

I’m getting excited about what HTML 5 will bring. It will make it easier for the blind to navigate websites. It will give us new options for including images, audio, and video in our pages. And it won’t mess up existing pages.

Pretty remarkable.

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Thirsty for Gadgets

Jen’s due for a phone upgrade. This is a very exciting time.

Right now, she has the Blackberry Curve 2. It’s served her well, but she’s ready to move up. A manual trackball seems like a kludge by comparison, especially when it collects lint and won’t scroll.

We’ve been browsing AT&T’s smartphone selection, and we’ve been impressed with the new Android phones they just rolled out. I spent a while with the HTC Inspire, and I’m pretty much sold. Sucker is big, but the screen is so shiny! And parents can’t resist a good 8-megapixel camera.

Then there’s the Motorola Atrix. It’s a phone you can use as a laptop. I’m pretty sure the processor in that phone is faster than the one in my computer. The big difference for Jen, though? It has a camera on the front, which would let us video chat. That’s what sold her on the iPod.

Which brings us to an odd thought. Jen’s already got a music player that records HD video, has a web browser, runs a bazillion apps, and, oh yeah, plays music.

Somewhere, deep down, my inner curmudgeon is saying, “Back in my day, MP3 players could only hold 10 songs, and had buttons! And we liked it just fine! We didn’t have any of these appy things or wiffy or Grumpy Birds! And cellular phones were for making calls! Bah.”

But more to the point, Jen and I are wondering how many gadgets we really need. Don’t get me wrong: I love me some gadgets. I’m thirsty for gadgets. Really, that’s why I’m trying to reel myself in.

We’re trying to find the line between having nice things and sheer technological gluttony.

Jen ended up getting the Inspire today. So far, very good. We’ll see what happens once all the music gets loaded onto it.

Daylight Savings Tip

I really wanna be on time for church tomorrow.

I use my iPhone as my alarm clock. I’m pretty sure that it automatically sets itself for daylight savings time. I’m pretty sure, but I’m not entirely sure.

I think I’ve figured out a system whereby I can figure out what time it actually is when I wake up tomorrow.

I need to get up at 7. I’ve got my usual Sunday alarm set for 7, and another alarm set for 6, just in case the thing doesn’t update. When I get up, I’ll check the UNSO Master Clock. Thank you, Navy!

I’d check time.gov, but they use a Flash widget, which doesn’t work on iPhone’s browser (grr).

Option 1: Pure sophistication

 

It strikes me that it might just be easier to set a timer.

Option 2: Some quick math

 

It strikes me that it would be even easier if I had an old school alarm clock.

Option 3: Does one thing really well

 

I love my gadgets,  but I’ve got to admit: they don’t often make life simpler.

Feed Me

I use the MobileRSS feed reader on my iPhone. Lately, I’ve had an unread count in the low hundreds.

This is nothing compared to Jen’s – or many others, I’m sure – but it bothers me. I want to have kept up. When I’ve read everything in my queue, all is right with the world. It feels like an achievement when I can look down and see no new articles – or, for that matter, no new e-mails or Facebook messages.

I need a new RSS philosophy. I guess I need to accept that some things just won’t get read. I need to prioritize.

One of my major problems is that I haven’t blocked out enough time to read things besides the Bible. I’ve set aside time to write, to read the Bible, to hang out with the wifey (I love Tuesdays), to go to work… but not to just read.

So, instead of relaxing with a long-form story or an in-depth article, I rip through whatever I can consume the fastest. Thus, I know a little bit about a lot of sci-fi goings-on (blastr.com), but I’m behind on Stuff Christians Like.

By the way, it’s true: it’s much harder to write well if you’re not reading a variety of stuff regularly.

Anybody else having the same problem? If not, when do you take time to read? What are you / should you be reading now, online and otherwise?