Websites used to be things. Sites, even big sites, used to consist entirely of a single Movable Type installation, or a Drupal setup, or your own little big homegrown solution. But that’s hardly ever the case anymore, not for big sites anyway. Your hypothetical news emporium may have blogs that run on WordPress, but you also maintain a couple of wikis, readers respond using Facebook Comments, your online advertising is taken care of by DoubleClick, analytics by ChartBeat, classifieds using a custom-built Django app and that special project the newsroom did last week got its own microsite.
Patchwork websites can be pretty messy: you kind of have to hope that all these different applications and widgets will mesh without much issue, and not look like they were just thrown together. But the alternative is pretty messy in its own way, too. Imagine a monolithic system that tries to handle blogging, ad handling, analytics, video serving, live chats, commenting and special-purpose mini-apps all by itself. What you end up with is a CMS that tries to be everything but is good at nothing. And few things sap the life out of product managers and programmers faster than a big old system that’s breaking under its own weight.
So the challenge when building a website in 2011 is not to select the best CMS and then tweak it to perfection. Instead, it is to find the kind of components that together will make up a good experience. And that’s hard.
Announcing GitHub for Mac – a desktop GUI for GitHub.
Honeypot Captcha: you can create a honeypot form field that should be left blank and then use CSS to hide it from human users, but not bots. When the form is submitted, you check to make sure the value of that form field is blank.
Funny that I should stumble across this just after a conversation about how our society gives celebrities (especially athletes) passes for being bad human beings. I loved Dahl’s books as a kid, and never noticed the misogyny or antisemitism (apparently thanks to good editors). But talent is no excuse for bad behavior.
“People wring their hands over how to make science relevant and accessible, but newspapers hand us one answer on a plate every week, with the barrage of claims on what’s good for you or bad for you: it’s evidence based medicine. If every school taught the basics – randomised trials, blinding, cohort studies, and why systematic reviews are better than cherrypicking your evidence – it would help everyone navigate the world, and learn some of the most important ideas in the whole of science.
But even before that happens, we can feel optimistic. Information is more easily accessible now than ever before, and smart motivated people can sidestep traditional routes to obtain knowledge, and disseminate it. A child can know more about evidence than their peers, and more than adults, and more than their own teachers; they can tell the world what they know, and they can have an impact.”
College: What I Did Right and Where I Screwed Up. Reflections of a recent graduate including “bold, unwarranted advice for students and educators.” Really inspiring, fantastic insights on finding your passions and following them in and out of the classroom. Hat tip to Daniel Bachhuber for finding, sharing, and the epic comment thread at the end.
Summer Reading List: 10 Essential Books for Cognitive Sunshine: a cross-disciplinary selection of the 10 most essential cognitive fertilizers for a season of creative and intellectual growth.
The NYTPicker is one of my favorite media criticism blogs, and this post is a winner. Writer Joseph Epstein, who subscribed to the New York Times for 50 years, cancels his subscription because:
“…the Gray Lady is far from the grande dame she once was. For years now she has been going heavy on the rouge, lipstick, and eyeliner, using a push-up bra, and gadding about in stiletto heels. She’s become a bitâ€”perhaps more than a bitâ€”of a slut, whoring after youth through pretending to be with-it. I’ve had it with the old broad; after nearly 50 years together, I’ve determined to cut her loose.”
Fuck Yeah Journalism: Bringing you the good, the bad and the unintentionally funny things the journalism world brings us.
I came across this comment today that really helped me solidify how I feel about Ayn Rand, Objectivism, and one of my favorite books, Atlas Shrugged.
I don’t consider myself an Objectivist, but A does equal A.
Some day I will write a really long, tedious blog post about this that no one will read. :)