iPhone X

So I was able to pick up an iPhone X on the launch day Nov 3rd. I had been vacillating between getting the 8+ or the X for over a month now. Despite all the talk of how expensive the X is, the 8+ is nearly just as expensive at $949 for the top end version with 256GB of storage. The thing that was really putting me off of the X was the lack of touch ID. I had a 6+ and really love the touch ID. The new Face-ID is not a substitute in my eyes as I usually put a tape flap over the camera for privacy reasons. Using face-ID would make that a pain to deal with multiple times a day to unlock.

However, I am now coming around to this and I am thinking I will start using the face-ID. I just have to find something that will allow me to have the camera covered and easily uncover to unlock. The tape worked well enough for the rare occasion I wanted to take a selfie, but it will not work for everyday unlocking. I otherwise really like the smaller sized device with a large screen.

The Loss of Serendipity

Increasingly systems are personalizing how and what they display to people. In many cases this is great as it makes the experience much more relevant. However I find that there are many times where this is not so great. For example, google search has been for quite a while now returning results that are based on your geolocation determined from your IP address. If I am looking for a restaurant, then this may be good. But if I am searching for news or some other information then this is not that good at all. No longer are you able to accidentally find something interesting which even though it may not be located near you is still very relevant to your interests. The digital world of all places should not always be bound by our physical location.

This gets worse when your IP address may actually be wrong. I worked for a company where we had a global network. I could change my network proxy to appear as if I was in the UK, when I was really sitting in Chicago. This at times could be amusing, but more often it made us aware that searching for the exact same term provided differently ranked results depending on where google thought we were located. I am not sure there is a solution here as the benefits of location relevancy seem to outweigh the benefit of serendipity. But I do have a sense of loss or nostalgia at times for days when I would find interesting articles from people in other parts of the world.

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Call me Uncle

Well, I am now an uncle. My younger sister had her first baby just after noon today. It was a long labor (24+ hours) as that little guy just did not want to come out.

My kids are older now, so it’s been a while since I’ve been around a baby. Babies are amazing to watch how they learn about the world around them. And it will be fun to watch my sister and my brother-in-law learn how to be parents.

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4th on the 3rd

Every year the town I live in has the 4th of July celebratory fireworks on the 3rd. I’ve heard part of the reason explained is so that as other towns have theirs on the 4th there is not a massive number of people crossing paths. Another reason is so that more people can attend multiple fireworks shows. This all makes sense, but it just seems odd to me to celebrate a holiday that is specifically about a date on a day other than that date.

It’s understandable that people celebrate holidays like Christmas or Thanksgiving on different days. Especially for large families where you need to visit multiple locations. However, doing the 4th on the 3rd is similar to having a New Years eve party on December 30th or Jan 2nd. Sure you can get together with family, but it kind of seems lame to have the countdown any other time than when the year actually changes.

The fireworks displays have also been getting boring over the years and expectations for this year looked to be the same. There was some excitement this year with a drone flying overhead and around the firework display as they were going off. I really need to get a drone.

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Site outage

Apparently, my personal site here was down a week ago or so, and I had no idea. I don’t check it every day and it seems my host does not have a notification of when a site is not working. Regardless, when I did get things restored it looks like I lost some articles. Checking my back-ups I realized I had not refreshed that in over a year. So it looks like I lost anything I posted in the last year. Actually, I’m not sure I posted anything as it has been a crazy busy year.

At any rate, things have been restored and I need to think about getting a system notification check service as well as a better back-up strategy other than manually copying posts into text files or doing irregular sql dumps.

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Microdata and html5

Spending some of my time off exploring microdata and html5 more in depth. If the semantic web is going to finally gain wide adoption microdata is going to be the catalyst. Unfortunately as easy as it is, it still involves a some effort to add microdata to your code. Still it is a million times easier than XML or other semantic formats.

Unfortunately, I think performance will still be an issue in actual implementations. Microdata is still fairly verbose and also referencing the scope/schema from a third party server may be a problem for some high traffic servers. Adding microdata to your mark-up can easily double or triple the size and there is always the latency issue of referencing a third party server.

These were the sources I was reviewing;
html5
http://www.w3.org/TR/html5/
http://diveintohtml5.org/
http://html5demos.com/

microdata
http://www.w3.org/TR/microdata/
http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=176035
http://html5doctor.com/microdata/

Cleaning House

Well I finally got around to cleaning up the site here and upgrading the blog software. I had let things go for a while and pretty much had to start over with the site design. The fun thing is I got to try out some cool stuff that I have been using for some professional work, but did not have time to do for my personal site. I added a jquery image slider to the header. JQuery is really hot right now amongst designers because it makes adding powerful interaction and UI effects as easy as it can get. I also added a google font api for the site title text. This is really cool as it expands the fonts one can use in site design without having to resort to images. Google is offering these fonts hosted from their servers for free. If google ever turns that off, the CSS will degrade nicely using the other font family I have set for that particular design. Another good thing about this… It will not interfere with SEO rankings as your text is indexed with the emphasis of the surrounding tags. I hope to work on a couple of other designs shortly as I think it is really fun to make the site look completely different visually while still keeping the same structure and content.

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