stephenway.net

Hi I'm Stephen. I love to design websites, drink local brews and play with gadgets.

BrowserStack Bookmarklets

I’ve been so busy lately I forgot to report on my latest release, it’s not groundbreaking but definitely useful!

BrowserStack is a service that provides cross-browser, cross-mobile testing to developers who need to test javascript and/or css. I thought it was so handy that I wanted to cut out some of the time I was spending with URLs and just get a set of bookmarks that let me call up a browser from the current site I was on. This is a complete set of browsers offered on this service.

To use, Clone My GitHub Project

Google to Drop Support for IE8 in Nov.

Gregg Keizer writing for Computerworld:

Google will drop support for Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) for its online apps and services in mid-November, effectively ending support for many users of Windows XP.

Sounds like a good plan to me.

iOS 6

Today Apple announced a major update to it’s mobile operating system iOS. I’ve been using iOS 6 Beta for the past 3 months on my iPhone 4S and iPad 2 and I have to say it does improve upon some of the core apps that have shipped since the first iPhone. It also comes with one new app and many improved features.

The user interface (UIKit) has gotten an update in how it handles the color of the system and app title bar. Now when an app has a colored title bar the system bar gets a slightly darker shade of the same color.

Maps

For years we have had a Google powered Maps app. Now it’s powered by TomTom data and Apple’s new maps. With the brand new maps app, Apple has also included a navigation feature for getting directions. Having used TomTom’s own navigation app and MotionX, it’s a joy using Maps navigation. The refresh rate is almost un-noticeable because the animation is smooth. Although they still have to work on the data side of things (I did get lost in the country one time with it.), overall a great new version of the Maps app.

Shared Photostreams

A nice improvement to Photostreams is also packed into iOS 6 for touch devices and AppleTV. I’m going to skip over the comments and notifications, I don’t think Apple wants to replace Facebook or anything with these basic features.

My main AppleTV has always been set to my Photostream, but with all the screen-shots and wallpaper I save to my camera roll the more gunk-ed up my Photostream gets. With Shared Photostreams I can finally make a screen-saver Photostream and put all the photos I want on it instead of the whole camera roll.

Passbook

The new app in iOS 6 that will hopefully make your wallet fit in a Slimmy, clip or rubber band. Passbook is the first step to eliminating your physical wallet.

My first use case was at Best Buy, I was helping a friend out with a Mac purchase (there are no Apple Stores in Bend, OR) and I picked up some Sodastream flavors, once I got to checkout the guy asked for my rewards zone card, I quickly pulled out my phone and parked it on his register with my Rewards Zone card open in Passbook. He pulled out his scanner and tried scanning the bar-code on the card, but it was a different type of bar-code, so he manually entered in the member number. I think it will be interesting to see what Best Buy actually releases for an official Passbook card because I don’t think the regular bar-codes are supported.

Second use case was at the local theater. Same thing happened, bar-code wouldn’t scan and the employee had to enter the number manually. With that in mind, I think the world has some adjusting to do before we can all ditch our cards, but as long as the ID number is on your Passbook card you always have that to fall back on.

There are a couple things that will ruin your battery life with Passbook, location access and automatic updates for cards. For some reason I would use up a whole charge within 4 hours. This was enough of a setback for me to turn all that extra functionality off.

Facetime

Would be useful if my carrier AT&T didn’t block over cellular. However it performs perfectly if it’s enabled.

Phone

Do Not Disturb blocks all those annoying calls and notifications at night, or whenever you switch it on. There was only one time where an unknown caller called me twice in my area after Do Not Disturb had been turned on, so I know it works great.

Mail

Attachments are more accessible inside the Mail app, something I’ve wanting for years. People just think that way about VIP contacts seems like a Google

Safari

New version of Safari has a noticeable increase in page load times and javascript performance. The most noticeable improvement is landscape full-screen. There is so much more you can see in that view.

Conclusion

This could be called the “back to our roots” update by improving the core apps once again, and by adding Passbook, which is a big leap forward even if the world isn’t ready for it, I suspect it will get more attention over the next year.

iPhone 5

When I look at how big this thing is, I just think about how nice my 4S feels in my hand just using one hand. However I do have some big hands, I can easily touch any part of the screen with one hand. It’s important, using one hand when I’m holding my son, or holding a drink while I skim over the morning Twitter feed. The true test is always going to the Apple Store and holding one in your hand to see if it could be a match.

Ultrafast Wireless

I’ve never actually used a true LTE device, but I heard it’s almost like WiFi which is great (Apple used the phrase, “…in some cases, better than WiFI.”). When a carrier comes out with a family friendly pool plan, one connection, all devices for up to 4-5 people I doubt people in the know will keep their broadband connection.

A6

To be expected, however the graphics seem to be similar quality to the Xbox 360. Can’t wait to play some newer games and find out how responsive it is, how clear the game looks.

Overall, I think this is a great device, but I’ll wait for NFC next year.

Testing Websites in Game Console Browsers

Anna Debenham writing for A List Apart:

More than one in eight internet users in the UK, US, and France—and nearly one in four American teens—uses a game console to get online, according to studies from 2010 and 2011.

I have at least two of these devices at home, but I’m not suddenly going to go out and buy them all to make sure they all work. Maybe this would be more realistic if we had device simulators.

The article does take a nice spin into progressive enhancement, and I think it’s a good idea just to test your favorite work at least once in whatever gaming device you have available.

Bower

Speaking of Yeoman, there is also a new package manager called Bower. It lets you install assets into your app like jQuery or backbone.

1
2
3
4
$ bower install jquery
$ bower install git://github.com/maccman/package-jquery.git
$ bower install http://code.jquery.com/jquery-1.7.2.js
$ bower install ./repos/jquery

For those of you familiar with Sublime Text’s 3rd party package manager, this is a breath of fresh air for managing projects in a shell.

I didn’t link to it’s homepage because it’s just an image and a button.

Yeoman

A new front-end toolset, available today.

Yeoman is a robust and opinionated set of tools, libraries, and a workflow that can help developers quickly build beautiful, compelling web apps.

Simply open your shell and run:

1
$ curl -L get.yeoman.io | bash

Then to start a project, make a new directory and run:

1
$ yeoman init

Note: If you already have node.js and NPM, upgrade them before installing Yeoman.

Tango Down

#TangoDown – http://www.godaddy.com/ | by @AnonymousOwn3r |

I really need to get off GoDaddy.

This hacker news thread is also a good resource for some free alternative DNS services if you don’t want to pay transfer fees.

Update: Moved DNS over to Zerigo, just in time for the third timeout on GoDaddy. Cheers!

Update 2: More details on the outage as GoDaddy itself moves it’s own DNS to Verisign.

4 Years of Zen Coding

Chris Coyier on Emmet for Sublime Text:

Zen Coding is being sunset and is now Emmet. For sublime: https://github.com/sergeche/emmet-sublime … New features for CSS like w100p -> width: 100%;

Zen Coding was a huge leap forward for web designers when it was first released, among the many text editors it extended, it contributed to the rise of TextMate. I would be curious to see some numbers that show what text editor all the ex-TextMate users are using, I have a hunch the majority is Sublime Text. Link to Emmet for Sublime Text

Heres the original Smashing Magazine post from the creator Sergey Chikuyonok in 2009: Zen Coding: A Speedy Way To Write HTML/CSS Code