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EECI 2012

The details for this year's EECI were posted just yesterday and I can't even begin to explain how excited I am to be speaking. Well, excited and terrified as there are a ton of really great speakers and, if last year in Brooklyn was any indication, one of the sharpest groups of attendees I've met at any conference.

For my part, I'll be speaking about writing custom plugins for your projects. Everything from how to get started and the basics of plugin authoring to more advanced features and how to leverage some of ExpressionEngine's CodeIgniter backbone to accomplish even more custom work without overburdening your templates with inline PHP.

The Social Graph is Neither

We have a name for the kind of person who collects a detailed, permanent dossier on everyone they interact with, with the intent of using it to manipulate others for personal advantage - we call that person a sociopath. And both Google and Facebook have gone deep into stalker territory with their attempts to track our every action.

ExpressionEngine Add-On Templates Made Easy

I've recently gotten more into custom EE Add-On development and have found Pkg.io to be an invaluable resource. You can package up templates for every type of add-on imaginable, and it pretty much does all the work for you short of, you know, actually writing the add-on.

Thank You, Steve

He may have never known my name but he undoubtedly helped shape my career and my passion. Thank you, Steve, for everything you've given me and the world.

Hours are Bullshit

By allowing for a more flexible work schedule, you create an atmosphere where employees can be excited about their work. Ultimately it should lead to more hours of work, with those hours being even more productive. Working weekends blur into working nights into working weekdays, since none of the work feels like work.

A great post from Zach Holman on operating hours at GitHub. For me, I know that even though I'm in the office at 8:30 or 9 in the morning, on most days I don't actually start being truly productive until after lunch.

Federal Law Blocks Netflix, Facebook Integration — But Should It?

A wonderful post over at Threat Level on why Netflix integration into Facebook is blocked by federal law. Though mostly about consumer privacy laws, one remark stood out as especially poignant:

…that would make Facebook users even bigger advertising pawns than they already are…

Advertising pawns, indeed.

Apple's New Display Isn't Friends With the Mac Pro

AnandTech just posted a review of Apple's new Thunderbolt display. All in all it sounds like a great deal for Apple laptop owners. But then there's this:

That's right, the only way to get video to the Thunderbolt Display is by using a Thunderbolt enabled Mac (or theoretically a Thunderbolt enabled PC). For Mac users that means only 2011 MacBook Pro, Air, iMac or Mac mini models will work with the Thunderbolt Display.

Which means that if I were to buy a Mac Pro from the apple store right now, I'd have to go somewhere else to buy a display. That's the most un-Apple-like thing I've seen Apple do in a long time.

Dots for Tots

This Friday, March 25th, 2011, some of my great friends at Viget and I are hosting the first annual Dots for Tots Ms. Pac-Man marathon. Starting Friday morning at 8:00 am EST we'll fire up our original Ms. Pac-Man cocktail table and won't quit until donations stop coming in and we'll be broadcasting the whole thing live on our site at dotsfortots.org.

Every cent donated goes directly to Child's Play Charity so come check us out, enjoy the show, and help out a really great cause.

Dots For Tots harnesses the power of Ms. Pac-man, and our irrational love for her, for good.

The first annual Dots For Tots is a gaming marathon of nostalgic proportions. The Falls Church, VA office of Viget Labs proudly boasts a cocktail model of Ms. Pac-Man - and a handful of Viget's web nerds play the classic arcade game a bit too much. So on March 25, starting at 8am EST they'll hold a Ms. Pac-Man marathon to raise funds for Child's Play, a charity that gives games to children's hospitals worldwide.

Donations are taken on the site and 100% of the proceeds go straight to Child's Play. As the donation total rises, so does the length of time that the team will continue to play Ms. Pac-Man. The initial goal is to play for eight hours and raise $1,200 but the game will extend as long as donations allow. The marathon will be broadcast live at www.dotsfortots.org where viewers can watch the action, see the scores, donate money, tweet at the players, and chat with them via UStream. The players will chart their scores over the day and battle it out to make the Top 10 list. As the day progresses, the competitive spirit might turn the players against each other, or at the very least make them loopy after several consecutive hours of Ms. Pac-Man. Either way it promises to be entertaining and for a worthy cause.

For more information, check out www.dotsfortots.org, www.twitter.com/dotsfortots or email dotsfortotscharity@gmail.com

Truth, Equality and JavaScript

New post on Angus Croll's JavaScript, JavaScript blog on the crazy intricacies of how JavaScript handles equality and truth with examples like:

if([0]) {
      console.log([0] == true); //false
      console.log(!![0]); //true
    }
    
Metagame - Games About Games

A wonderful post by Andy Baio indexing meta-video-games for just about every gaming platform ever.

Daring Fireball - Full Metal Jacket

I've read and enjoyed this review dozens of times in the many years I've been reading Daring Fireball but came across it today thanks to Shawn Blanc. It stands as a benchmark for amazing reviews as well as being great snapshot of a company that very clearly understands product design better than anyone.

Zeldman - On The Little Things

Viewed through today’s eyes, a site that calls excessive attention to its creators’ skills is like an oversized, gold-plated vanity press book of rhyming couplets. Or maybe it’s more like a penis extension in a men’s prison. Either way, although it may be impressive, it’s something nobody needs.

Watermelon - Dummy Images in TextMate

Doug Avery's immeasurably helpful TextMate bundle allows you to easily insert dummy and placeholder images into your markup, simply by using the "dummy" and "place" tab triggers.

Google Says So Long to H.264

I especially love what Daniel Jalkut had to say about it

Google's two major assets were awesome search results and likability. They seem to be systematically eroding both with no help from others.

Gruber on Flash

Flash is never going to decrease in popularity so long as all web browsers support it. Flash might decrease in popularity because of iOS. If you believe that Flash’s current position as a de facto standard technology is harmful to the web, then users — not just iOS users but everyone using the web — would benefit if that happens.

Exactly why I have had flash blocked in all of my browsers for years

Ack - Better than Grep

A command-line utility I use daily in place of grep. Written entirely in Perl, it can take advantage of Perl's regular expressions to make searching through files from a terminal a snap.

Using Delegate and Undelegate in jQuery 1.4.2

A handy reference for the new delegate() and undelegate() methods added to jQuery 1.4.2

Shaun Inman on The Pipeline

Dan Benjamin has an interview with one of my favorite developer/designers, Shaun Inman, on his podcast The Pipeline.

Hosting Mail With Google

I've been using MediaTemple for hosting all of my domains for a number of years now and while I've been generally satisfied with their Grid Service I've found it a bit lacking lately. I don't have the traffic or any financial need to necessitate spending money on a high availability server but I do completely depend on email for most of my communication so when it's down or can't authenticate I feel almost completely cut off.

With that in mind I started looking for alternate hosting solutions but I couldn't find any that matched MediaTemple's feature set or phenomenal customer service (availability issues aside). Ultimately, I ended up finding Google apps mail service. The "Premier" version is essentially an third-party-hosted MS Exchange replacement that seems extremely robust. On digging a bit deeper, though, I found that they offer the Google Apps Standard Edition - a feature-lite version offering up mail, calendaring and chat all through your personal domain.

For those unfamiliar with DNS records, set up might not be as easy as signing up for a Gmail account, but other than that mail was flowing only a few minutes after making the switch.

And now I'm happy to report that a week in things are great. Being able to take advantage of all of gmail's advanced features from my own domains is pretty amazing. If you're looking for an alternative to you hosting providers email solution or interested in a cheaper alternative to Exchange, Google apps is a great choice.

Christopher Bown's Dual-Drive Setup

An interesting solve for those of us wanting to make the jump into SSD but have too much data to make the choice cost-effective

Minimalist Star Wars Tourism Posters

Justin Van Genderen's beautifully designed vintage destination posters for locations featured in the not shitty like the other original Star Wars trilogy.

The Seven Deadly Sins of JavaScript Implementation

Smashing Magazine has a great write-up on what not to do when enhancing your sites with JavaScript

thick with witty banter

My good friend Clint posts what can only be considered as the intellectual peak of most of our online conversation

(Almost) never add a reset button to a form

456bereastreet on the now seldom used, and hopefully shortly banished, practice of adding 'reset' buttons to web forms.

How to Hold a Daily Scrum

One of the keys to good project management and teamwork is constant communication. There's a fine line, however, being staying informed and being bombarded with every minute detail of everyone's work. Agile Software Development has a nice write up on how to hold a daily scrum, a 15 minute recap of the previous and current day's status.

The 5 P's of Twitter's runaway success

Cameron Moll on how Twitter got to where it is and why it's so important.

Use the p element to create paragraphs

An important refresher on semantic markup. Yes, it even needs to apply to WYSIWG editors.

Pronunciation of sIFR

The discussion rages on as to how to properly pronounce everyones hate to love (or is it love to hate?) Flash based font replacer.

Sexy Music Album Overlays

Helpful reference for CSS image overlays and masking. The same principles used in this album artwork guide can apple to just about anything that needs to be masked.

Fluid Grids

Ethan Marcotte, Senior Designer for Airbag Industries, has a write-up over at A List Apart on Fluid Grids, taking the industry standard approach of fixed width grids one step further to accommodate fluid layouts.

CSS Browser Support

A handy guide cross referencing currently used CSS selectors against more than 15 of the most used browsers (Google's Chrome being the column with all the green check marks and IE6 being the column mostly filled with red x's).

Firebug 1.4 alpha

Firebug, the web developer multi-tool for firefox, has a new release on the horizon and is available now as an alpha build for testing. Notable new features include the panel remembering which pages it was open on, and improved UI for the Net panel and tab switching for better usability.

Sprockets

A wonderfully built Javascript preprocessor that takes the pain and guesswork out of concatenating JS source by hand. Combine with jsmin and deploy script or post-commit hook for hassle free optimization.

Rules for Computing Happiness

Twitter's Alex Payne shares his outline for technological bliss. I fully agree with every point but if I could add just one it would be this: "Don't update just because something is newer. For hardware, software or firmware only update to fix bugs you've run into or for new features you must have".