SitePoint Podcast #152: The Opposite Of Finland

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Episode 152 of The SitePoint Podcast is now available! This week the panel is made up of Louis Simoneau (@rssaddict), Stephan Segraves (@ssegraves) and Patrick O’Keefe (@ifroggy).

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  • SitePoint Podcast #152: The Opposite Of Finland (MP3, 37:16, 35.8MB)

Episode Summary

Here are the main topics covered in this episode:

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Host Spotlights

Interview Transcript

Louis: Hello and welcome to another episode of the SitePoint podcast. Got a bit of a panel show going on this week, unfortunately Kevin could not be with us, but Patrick and Stephan are both here, hi guys.

Stephan: Howdy, howdy.

Patrick: Hey, it’s good to be here.

Louis: It’s good to be here for sure, how you guys been?

Stephan: Pretty good, pretty good.

Patrick: Pretty good, just working hard, keeping busy, looking forward to going to South by Southwest in about, what is it, two weeks, March 11th I’ll be headed — oh, I’m sorry, March 9th I’ll be heading out, and Kevin will be down there, get to see him and see a lot of other random interactive tech design people.

Louis: Very nice.

Patrick: It should be fun.

Louis: Yeah, I really, um, I should try and make it out there sometime, it’s a long flight when I was living in Quebec, but now it’s become an insane flight, so.

Patrick: Yeah.

Louis: Maybe someday, but I’m not making it easy for myself.

Patrick: Yeah, it’s like another extra couple days in the air.

Louis: Yeah.

Patrick: Stephan knows all about that.

Stephan: (Snickers)

Louis: Alright. So, what’s new on the Web this week, who wants to kick it off?

Patrick: Well, I’ll go ahead and kick it off with a story from .net Magazine, which gave us the Podcast of the Year Award a couple years ago, thank you for that again (laughter).

Louis: We’re just never gonna get over that.

Patrick: Yeah, it’s like give it to us again please, no. Anyway, kind of an interesting fodder story, not really news, but the story is Has the Address Bar had Its Day by Gus Andrews, and it talks about how Safari, Chrome and Firefox have experimented with getting rid of the address bar and how it has maintained nonetheless, covers some different viewpoints, like Jacob Nielson who says that he would support the idea of temporarily hiding elements of the interface like the address bar, but warned that “doing so is dangerous, what’s out of sight is often out of mind, and you definitely cannot rely on short-term memory in user interface design,” and that’s a quote from him. And other people say the address bar is a security feature because it shows people that they are on the right website, and then you have Jeffery Zeldman and Kevin Hoffman at Happy Cog who say it’s often a feature for advanced users because a lot of more novice people who surf the Web don’t really go to the address bar, they use the search engines or like and they type in addresses into the search box or find a website through some sort of search engine. So, yeah, I mean what is the thinking here, what do you think, Louis, about the address bar, is it something we can do without?

Louis: Not, definitely not; I don’t think so. I think that the address bar, first of all, I think both of those points are valid, one, you want your users to have an awareness of where they are, and even if it’s just peripheral vision this is what’s going on, and if you look at the way Firefox displays security certificate information in the address bar makes it very clear what the signing authority is and where you are, that’s one thing, but I also agree with this sort of power user feature, and I think it makes sense, especially if your application or your website is well designed and your URL structure is well thought out, it gives your users, and not even necessarily just power users, but it gives all your users the ability to use the URL bar as an interface into your application. For example when I’m using Twitter, yes, there are ways within the application to easily find somebody’s profile —

Patrick: Right.

Louis: — but none of them are anywhere near as fast as just going to, for example, right; so I’ll get — if I’m looking at the interface and I want to jump to somebody’s profile, the first thing I’d do is go to the URL bar because Twitter has used this really simple, logical structure for the way that URL’s work, and once you’ve been using the app for even a little bit of time you figure that out and you can hop from place to place, and it’s always going to be faster than using the interface and clicking around and trying to search for things.

Patrick: Yeah, I’m just like you, if I know the username I go to the address bar. Now, is that a side effect of our advanced-ness do you think? Are we that high-level; is that not something that common people do?

Louis: You see I tend to think it’s probably something that the more visible the URL bar is, and as people are aware of it, it’s something that it’s there as an option for everyone, right, it doesn’t take very long to figure out using something like Twitter where people’s public handles are well known, you know, you know what someone’s user ID is in Twitter, whereas a lot of applications where you might not be exposed to people’s usernames, so even if you wanted to jump to their profile you wouldn’t know how. But there are plenty of applications where jumping to a category or jumping to different parts of the site are really easily accomplished through the address bar, and I think that having a good set of URL’s — now, there are plenty of applications that have terrible, terrible URL’s that mean nothing and that are just long strings of gibberish, and in those cases, yeah, the user doesn’t get any benefit out of it, but I think it makes sense to have that door open. And whether or not it’s a power user thing, you want the path for a regular user to become a power user to be available, right, and you’re never going to figure out how to use the URL bars and interface if you don’t see it, and you’re not going to suddenly decide to turn it on, so when you start using the Internet I think it’s an important way of understanding how the Internet works, that you’ve addresses, that there are pages at those addresses, and you jump between them either by links in the page or by going there directly.

Patrick: Yeah, I think that’s a great point, and I think what we’re talking about here is really hiding the address bar, because you can’t really get rid of it totally, but hiding it at least until someone gestures or they move to a certain area, and what you just said speaks to what Nielson said basically being out of sight out of mind; if people don’t see the address bar when they first get onto, you know, the Web, or at least start surfing heavily let’s say, then they’re not going to think to go check for it, they’re not going to look to see where they are on the Web or what the address is. And some would say maybe that’s a good thing because it simplifies the experience, but then others would say it’s not a good thing and there’s really no benefit to not knowing where you are, so I think that’s a great point, and I’m proud to say that my mom uses the address bar.

Louis: (Laughs) but to come back to the point you were making of hiding it when it’s not in use, every browser currently does that in full screen mode, so when you full screen your browser the address bar is not visible until you move your mouse to the top of the window, so I think that’s something that anyone can do pretty easily at the moment, I don’t think — I don’t know, you know, maybe there’s something to be gained from changing that, I don’t think so, I think especially I understand on mobile devices, and that’s pretty much already the case that you don’t see the URL bar because there’s just not enough screen real estate, but, you know, with the size of monitors and the increasing pixel densities, even on small laptop screens that we’re seeing now, I don’t think those pixels are that crucial.

Stephan: And if you want to hide it you can, right, I mean if you don’t want to see it you can hide it yourself, so, if the real estate’s really that important to you then you have the option, but I think it stays, it should stay, it’s important to the user.

Patrick: It’s really the battle of defaults is what this is about, battle of defaults, what should be there when they first open it before it’s customized.

Stephan: Yeah. I think the address bar needs to stay, personally, and maybe it’s just the way I browse, but I like it, I like having it there.

Patrick: Alright, that seems like a good finishing point. Anybody want to go next?

Stephan: The story I have is actually kind of some conflict going on in the Flickr Pinterest world, and some of the hubbub around Pinterest using content that is not necessarily made public to people. This originally broke, this story originally broke about VentureBeat had an article about Pinterest.

Louis: So can we step back one tiny step here and talk about Pinterest for a little bit, because I had not heard about it until something like last week, so I’m assuming there are probably a bunch of people who don’t know what Pinterest is.

Patrick: And here I was calling you an advance user (laughter).

Stephan: I may not be the best person to explain it.

Louis: I’m an advanced user of the Internet, I don’t like crocheted owls.

Patrick: Okay, ahhhh, okay, so this is what Pinterest is described as from Wikipedia: Pinterest is a Pinboard styled social photo sharing website. The service allows users to create and manage theme-based image collections. The site’s mission statement is to connect everyone in the world through the things they find interesting. So, basically Pinterest allows you to take images from whether it be an article, it could be the header image of an article, and pin that article with the header image on Pinterest, it could be photography, it could be product images, and basically you’re collecting things that you like or things that fit a theme or things that you’re interested in. And that could be any photo, and it then reproduces the photo to Pinterest’s website, you can organize those into categories or pen boards, and then other people can view them and follow you and so forth, and that’s basically what the site is.

Stephan: I like to think of it as visual bookmarking, that’s really the way I see it.

Patrick: The public.

Stephan: Maybe I’m — yeah, public.

Louis: Yeah. Do you guys use it?

Stephan: No.

Patrick: I have an account, and I’ve used it a little bit, but I am a little uneasy with it, and I guess I’ll go into that after Stephan explains the story here.

Stephan: And my wife uses it. She doesn’t use it a lot but she does use it, so, that’s how I knew about all this. And then Patrick Tweeted about it. Anyway, so what happened was Pinterest they use, like Patrick said, they use public images, images that are out there on the Internet anywhere, and they reproduce them on their website as part of your pin board, and just recently they came with some code that allowed you to stop Pinterest from taking those photographs, and this was kind of after some outrage of people finding their photographs on Pinterest, and they were copyrighted or they were protected.

Louis: So this is like a meta tag, sort of, if anyone uses the meta no-follow, no-index.

Patrick: Yeah.

Louis: For the Google bot, for example, the robots meta tag this is very similar, and it’s a no-pin tag that you just put in your page and it means the images will not be posted by Pinterest.

Stephan: Exactly, yes. And so Flickr implemented this on all images that are marked as private, that are marked as adult only, and where the user has explicitly disabled sharing of the image, so, they can’t be pinned. Originally this story came out as Flickr was blocking all photos from Pinterest that have copyrights attached to them, so that’s not true, and Aaron Hockley has a fairly good write-up about this and what the actual restrictions are the Flickr’s put in place. I don’t know, what do you guys think about this? I think it’s good that they came out with code if you want to block people from using your images on Pinterest, but what’s the endgame here, what do we want?

Louis: When do we want it?

Stephan: Yes, what do we want and when do we want it?

Patrick: Take a step back one more time to finish the whole ‘how Pinterest works’ story. Basically you have how most people do it is you have a Pinterest, a pin-it button in your browser, you’re on website with a photo, you press that button, it takes you to Pinterest, you select the photo you want to use from that page, it takes the photo in full, puts it on Pinterest, and links the photo to the page where you got it from, and also there’s a small credit link beneath the photo, I believe, so that’s how it works.

Louis: Right, so nothing terribly new there; that’s not particularly different from how Facebook shares links, except that when you post a shared link to Facebook you’ve got a small thumbnail of the image and a big text description, and when you post it to Pinterest you’ve got a big photo and no text description but there’s still both links.

Patrick: Right. What you get with Facebook is, like you said, the thumbnail, of which is kind of a big deal, and that’s one of the reasons why a lot of people are uncomfortable with it because they take the photo in full, the full size high-quality photo, and they reproduce it on their website. And here in the United States we have the fair use exception to copyright law, and when people talk about thumbnails and the usage of thumbnails, and specifically the ruling is Perfect Ten v. Google, and basically that ruling said that Google served thumbnails in search results, thumbnails, right, not full images, so that ruling isn’t going to help Pinterest because Pinterest reproduces the whole work, there’s no fair use really if all you do is take the photo and republish it, so that is sort of a sticking point with Pinterest right now and a lot of people who are criticizing it. In addition to that, they not only take the photo but they strip out the Metadata that’s in the photo itself, which some photographers have taken issue with, and also in their terms of service they reserve the right to sell the work that’s pinned to the website, so understandably some photographers are upset with that. In addition, on their website they encourage people to pin images from any website; there’s a difference between saying you can upload it to your photo gallery here then you tell people to go out and just pin it from any website. And the final issue that I noticed with them that was kind of strange, and this is kind of — Flickr’s a good example of them, and maybe them taking a little too many liberties, is if you know Flickr you know they have a license on all their photos, it’s right there on the page, and it’s either a copyright all rights reserved or it’s a creative commons license, often as creative commons, and that data is there to read. I use a plugin for WordPress called Photo Dropper, and that’s what I include in my blog post is images through this plugin, Photo Dropper, where I can search for creative commons licensed images that allow for commercial use, and then it automatically inserts the image in a way with the proper citation, that means not only Flickr’s community guidelines but also the creative commons license. And so they could’ve got that license data, but instead they just disregard it and take everything, and so Flickr is now in the position of kind of I would say defending their community in a way, which is of photographers and creative people who often care about how their stuff is used, and giving people the option; Flickr users have the option to enable sharing and enable Pinterest or disable it. So, right now Pinterest is a hot topic and it’s on kind of tricky legal ground, so I guess we’ll have to see how it works out, but I hope that they take some better steps to manage their platform a little better. I don’t know how it’s going to work long-term though just because you can’t get around the fact that they’re taking full images and then competing with those images in search engines, and, yeah, it’s gonna be tough.

Louis: Alright. So a couple of things, first of all, the last thing I want to do is get into a debate with Patrick about copyright because that’ll go on forever, but what I want to say is that personally if it’s my website and my work then the more links the better, and I don’t particularly care if it’s the full version or a small version that’s posted, if it’s linking back to the source then obviously anyone who sees an image they like is more likely to go and see, oh, is there more stuff in the same vein at this place where this came from, so I don’t see a reason to get upset about that. Then for me the no-pin tag really does accomplish the required objective, especially now that Flickr’s given its users the option of having that automatically applied if they choose to make the photo private then it won’t be re-shared, that’s great, so Flickr users have that option, it makes sense for other sites to do a similar thing to give users who are uploading photos the option of making this Metadata available to stop it from being re-shared. And, finally, in terms of the shaky legal grounds, it just doesn’t seem like, you know, there’s so much stuff out there that exists where people have been posting, for example, music and videos and clips of movies, and you know those are on even shakier legal grounds, and they do get shut down fairly frequently, but it just seems like there’s nowhere near as strong a photography industry as there is the record industry or Hollywood, so it seems like the challengers to this type of infringement, if it is infringement, are going to be a lot weaker and less frequent, so I don’t see — it seem unlikely that this kind of behavior on the part of Pinterest or other sites like it would change anytime soon.

Patrick: So I don’t want to get into a debate with you either, but I will say a couple things. Obviously if you want and appreciate and desire people to take your photos and put them elsewhere that’s certainly the right you have, you know, that’s not the same application of rights that everyone will want to share with you, and the other thing is that you say anyone will visit a website if they see something they like and click through it, no, they won’t; at the end of the day if the full work is reproduced then in many cases they simply will not go farther than just viewing the photo, and maybe you have to spend some time with Pinterest also to learn kind of the functionality, but a lot of it is like, re-pin, like, re-pin, so a lot of it isn’t going anywhere. You could argue about the commercial impact of that certainly, but at the end of the day there is a lot of photos being taken, and the tricky part, as you said, is that the industry is there, photographers are there, but photos don’t seem to command the same level of, I don’t know what it is, sensitivity, whatever it might be, as video and audio, and it’s a tricky thing because a lot of people just take images for their blog posts.

Louis: Well, that’s just because they’re not a multi-billion dollar industry.

Patrick: Well, photography’s a big industry.

Louis: Well, it’s not Hollywood is what I’m saying; I’m not saying it’s not a big industry, but there’s an issue of scale here.

Patrick: Right, I mean Getty Images, AP, right, I mean there’s a lot of photo agencies that make a lot of money selling photos, so I don’t know if it’s as big, it’s not as big as those industries but it’s still a pretty big thing, and also it’s worth point out, I know you’re not familiar with Pinterest, but this isn’t like a small operation, they’ve received at least 37.5 million in fundings so far, so they have money is what I’m saying to explore things, it’s not like it’s one person running it and surprised by the success, so with all of that money is also going to come a burden or responsibility to find a way to make this work, so I guess we’ll have to keep an eye on it and see how it goes with them.

Louis: Yep, definitely. Moving on, I had a story this week which came out of Facebook’s technology blog just yesterday. So, Facebook has released a mobile browser test suite that they are calling Ringmark, basically it’s this little application that can run in your mobile device, and what it does is it provides this very thorough test of all different types of functionality that exists in the browser so things even from the most basic CSS and Canvass and HTML5 audio and video going to things like WebGL for 3D, and all sorts of things like that. So it’s really interesting, you can load it up in your mobile device directly by going to, and the goal here is that it’s a tool for mobile developers, or mobile web developers, to be able to look at a device and figure out very thoroughly what’s supported. And one of the things that’s interesting about it is that the goal is to try and find out whether the feature actually works, right, so I don’t know if you’re familiar with sort of JavaScript feature detection, but a lot of feature detection just goes along the lines of checking window.geolocation and if that is defined, if that exists and it’s not undefined in the browser then we just assume that geolocation works, whereas this set of tests are much, or from what I understand, are much more thorough, so they actually go to the trouble of trying to create objects and play around with them and poke at the API to really make sure that the feature is really supported and usable. So, yeah, very interesting. And so right now the software is not open source, however, what’s in this blog post it says that it will soon be open source and will be donated to the W3C; I don’t know why that wasn’t done from the get-go, but, look, if they stay true to that word and it does eventually become open source and donated to the W3C then I think it’s a great thing.

Stephan: So my question for you, Louis, is this: how does this — this is actually just testing a device, right, the browser of the device, so it’s just going through a bunch of tests and saying this browser supports Canvass or this browser supports WebGL or whatever it is, and giving you kind of a lowdown on that; it looks like it has kind of a debug screen. What would be the use for this, I mean are people going to sit around with 50 devices and see what this supported?

Louis: Right. So that’s one thing that’s kind of tricky, but it does at least give you a very quick overview of what’s supported on a given device, but that’s obviously not a really — like you said, it’s not a really useful workflow to just sit there with a device, hit this thing and watch what it supports, and then hit it with another device in order to be able to develop your app. However, if the tests are all open sourced then that opens up a lot more possibilities, right, because a tool like Modernizr does something very similar, although it just really detects the presence or absence of a given feature, it’s not really thorough testing, but in this case if you had access to say the test code to ensure that a feature that you want to use is not only present but works as expected in the browser, then you can incorporate that into your application and either provide a fallback or just provide messaging to the user saying this app requires WebGL, for example, and it’s not supported on your device.

Stephan: I got you, I got you. So it’s kind of like you could build your library, put it in your library of code, yeah.

Louis: Yeah, the actual visual thing where you just go to it on your browser and it tells you everything that your browser supports is nice and it’s good to be able to — and that might also help browser makers and mobile device makers test out their devices, I mean that’s not — we’re not sure whether this is something they would actually use, but if they do then that’s potentially powerful, right, because it’s nice green circles and you want your new phone to have lots of green circles, right. So if it pushes browser makers in the right direction then that’s great, but on top of that if you can rip out the little bits of the test library and use them in your code, specifically for feature detection, and if they’re more complete tests than what we have up-to-date then it’s not just checking to see if the feature’s there but really works, then that can be really useful. So, again, I don’t see any reason why they wouldn’t follow through and, as they’ve said, open source it and donate the tests, but I’m a little mildly baffled as to why they would come out and announce it if it hasn’t already been open sourced, but we’ll wait and see.

Stephan: It looks cool.

Patrick: Yeah, I was just reading a story before the show about Facebook and mobile, their developer blog reported that they have 425 million monthly mobile users, and the platform sends more than 60 million visitors every month to apps and games which generate more than 320 millions visits. So, pretty big numbers, and about 16% I believe was the percentage of visitors to mobile are going to apps, sorry, 14% are going to apps, so that’s a lot of traffic to apps, and I can see why people are developing mobile apps and why they felt the need to put this tool out, I’m sure it encourages their ecosystem.

Louis: I guess if Facebook is seeing a huge growth in mobile use they want to make it possible for developers to jump in and plugin to Facebook.

Patrick: And do it right, of course.

Louis: Yeah, unlike those passive read-share apps. (Laughter)

Patrick: The competition is crazy in this space.

Louis: Yeah, I wonder how many of those app visits were actually deliberate or just people clicking on a link in Facebook thinking they were going somewhere and it asked them to install an app.

Patrick: I don’t know, how many visits have there been to the SitePoint app? (Laughter) Oh!

Louis: Oh! Snap. No, we don’t have an app, see that’s it, we link to our content.

Patrick: I know.

Louis: We do Internet correctly.

Patrick: Sorry. Well done, SitePoint, well done. So I picked up on on Craig Buckler’s story, Microsoft Rebuilds a New Windows 8 Logo, and as he says, he says, “I wouldn’t normally write an article about it, but this is the first major redesign in 22 years, and since most of us use Windows everyday that’s a fairly big deal.” So, Windows 8 logo, it is kind of a bright blue, a window-like icon and then the word Windows followed by 8, of course; have you guys seen this logo, what do you think, too simple?

Stephan: This may be the worst logo I’ve ever seen (laughter).

Patrick: Oh, come on, that’s not fair!

Stephan: It’s terrible, this is terrible, I mean it’s — it’s bad. And they tried, like they made the window at an angle so that the one side is bigger than the other.

Louis: Yeah, but the angle is pointing away from the logo.

Stephan: Yeah, it’s odd. It’s just odd. I don’t even know what to say (laughs).

Patrick: Right, okay, so they wrote a blog post about this on the Windows Team blog, and I’ll just give you a quick summary of what the logo represents to them. First of all they wanted the new logo to be both modern and classy by echoing the international typography style or Swiss design that has been a great influence on our metro style design philosophy, which means using bold flat colors, clean lines and shapes. Number two, it was important that then new logo carried their metro principle of being authentically digital, by that they mean that it doesn’t have to emulate Faux industry — Faux industry design characteristics such as material, glass, wood, plastic, etcetera, it has motion, and these are their words, not that they make sense to me (laughter). And the third point is that the goal is for the logo to be humble yet confident. So, that’s kind of the vision for the logo, and you know, it’s —

Louis: Man, it’s just the spacing is weird.

Patrick: It’s there, you know, it’s just there.

Louis: Yeah, I don’t — it doesn’t even look like a logo, really, it just kind of looks like some text and a picture of something that might be a window.

Patrick: Yeah, you know, it looks like for it to be a logo it would have to be from like the 1800’s, like the New York Times logo which is just like text, it doesn’t really look like a logo that you’d expect to see brand new, but, I don’t know, I don’t know, yeah, it will seem strange, like imagine the window start screen coming on.

Stephan: This reminds me of AOL.

Patrick: AOL, yeah, you know that’s a point, or GAP, I suppose.

Stephan: Yeah.

Patrick: You know, very simple.

Louis: Wasn’t it AOL that did that thing where there logo was just negative space and superimposed on different images.

Stephan: Exactly.

Louis: Oh, yeah.

Stephan: (Laughs)

Patrick: AOL, big A, small o, small l, and I think a period, yeah, that’s what it is, and they have it on the homepage now, it’s a leaf, it’s over a leaf on right now.

Louis: I’m seeing a cityscape, so maybe it’s random on refresh.

Patrick: It could be.

Louis: Yeah, it is, I got a dove when I refreshed, you see I actually kind of like that, I like this better than the Windows 8 logo.

Patrick: All it is is negative space.

Stephan: Let’s think about this, I don’t know have you guys seen that video with the little kid, the little girl going through the logos as they go on the screen, have you seen this?

Louis: Yeah, yeah, yeah, somebody posted this, a designer had his daughter sort of say the first thing she thought of when she was seeing all these different —

Stephan: Yeah, and the first thing I wonder is what is she going to say when she sees this that looks like the flag of Finland (laughter), it’s just opposite colors.

Louis: I think you’re giving this five-year-old far more extensive geography knowledge than is average.

Stephan: Probably.

Patrick: Or even me far more extensive geography knowledge.

Stephan: Well, it’s the colors reversed, so, yeah.

Louis: Yeah, it’s the opposite of Finland. That should be the slogan: Windows 8, it’s the opposite of Finland (laughter).

Patrick: Or everything that Finland isn’t.

Stephan: Ohhh, yeah, it’s bad. Makes me not want to buy Windows.

Patrick: They should launch it in Helsinki.

Louis: Well, I mean it’s kind of the end of an era; if you scroll down Craig Buckler’s article he’s posted all the previous Windows’ logos, and it really is since Windows 3 that there has been this kind of four-colored, wavy window that’s really become iconic and that’s held out through the years, and this is the first time that that’s going away.

Patrick: Yeah, and he also included the Windows 1.0 logo which is in the Microsoft blog post also, they have like a more complete list of logos, but they mention that it was, uh, they found it refreshing and inspiring as they were doing their work, and you can kind of see the resemblance, in a way at least; some might argue that the Windows 1.0 logo had a little more to it.

Louis: Yeah, the Windows, it actually had some use of typography in the way that Microsoft is offset from Windows, whereas this new one just the spacing kills me, it doesn’t seem unified, it seems like it’s three separate things; there’s a window, the word Windows, and an 8, and they’re not like — they don’t feel linked at all to me.

Patrick: Yeah, and it probably doesn’t help —

Stephan: They’re missing a registered trademark sign, that’s what they’re missing.

Louis: No, it’s there.

Stephan: No, no, they’re missing it by the 8, though; you see what I’m saying? (Laughter)

Louis: I wonder if they would be able to get away with trademarking the letter 8 in that typeface (laughter), probably not so much. Look, obviously if anyone on the Microsoft team who was involved in designing this is listening to us right now, well, they’re not listening anymore.

Stephan: We’re sorry.

Louis: It’s probably too little too late.

Patrick: It’s easy — if they are listening it’s easy to be snarky.

Louis: They’ve seen chucked their iPod out the window, oh, sorry, their Zune; that was a totally unnecessary last minute thought.

Patrick: You didn’t even get a complimentary laugh for that. What do you want for that, do you want like a slow clap or something (clap slowly).

Louis: Yeah, alright, well yeah, look, it’s a logo. I mean I do kind of look forward to the new Windows, I do use Windows on occasion, I don’t use it at work or for any kind of development, but I do have a home machine that use mostly for gaming and casual use that’s a Windows machine, so I do look forward to Windows 8, I’m excited to see what it comes out with, but maybe not so much the logo. Anyway, do you guys want to talk about some spotlights?

Stephan: Let’s do it.

Patrick: Yeah, let’s hit it. I’ll go first with my spotlight, it is a Kickstarter campaign for a show with Ze Frank, Ze Frank, the video web show godfather that he is, launched The Show with Ze Frank in 2006, and he wants to bring it back, and he’s got a Kickstarter campaign going for it.

Louis: So is this really a return of the show?

Patrick: It’s a big deal. Like I said on Twitter, the ruler is back.

Louis: (Laughs)

Patrick: It’s slick Ze.

Louis: I’ve got that snare drumroll stuck in my head.

Patrick: (Laughs) but, yeah, that’s what it says, there’s a Kickstarter campaign, like I said, and it says on it that “In 2006 I launched a show called The Show with Ze Frank, it was one of the most strange, exciting, difficult and amazing things I have done so far. I think it is time to do something similar what with the economy in the crapper and the election coming up, if Newt can do it, so can I, so can we, same but different.” So, some similarity, obviously some differences, he says it’ll be — from the campaign here it sounds like it’ll be a pretty similar format, and he’s got a number of backers; I watched the Kickstarter campaign jump up just in front of my eyes. When I first saw it, it was 5,000, about five minutes later it was 10,000, let me refresh it, my current — when I’m looking at it right now it says 19,008, I opened that probably 15 minutes before we started the show, so about an hour ago, it’s at 24,781 now, so money and backers are pouring in, and I have little doubt that it’ll rich that 50,000 goal soon and we’ll see the show return.

Louis: That’s very exciting. That’s the best news I’ve heard all month.

Stephan: It’s awesome.

Patrick: I deliver again (laughter). With a different beat, different snare.

Louis: I’m going to deliver a far more down tempo spotlight this week, something I saw on Hacker News this morning, which is a full stack web framework built on top of node.js, it is called tower.js and its homepage lives at And, yeah, so it’s a combination of Node for serving the backend, MongoDB for the database, it’s written using CoffeeScript, which if anyone is familiar with is just sort of like this pre-processed JavaScript language that gets turned into JavaScript but that’s a lot prettier and easier to write than JavaScript. So, yeah, and it seems like this is sort of maybe one of the first indications of Node having gone beyond this very, very low-level hackery where you can maybe write a socket-based chat client in a couple of lines, but you wouldn’t want to build a whole website into it, to something that you can really develop on top of. Obviously it’s a fairly new project, but if you’re looking at starting up a new MVC back to web application and you were curious about Node or CoffeeScript or trying to do JavaScript on the server, yeah, it looks like it’s pretty full-featured, it’s got models, it’s got controllers, and it ties in nicely to the view; I get the impression that it can probably do some clever things with interacting with layouts because the layouts are also using JavaScripts, so there’s maybe a bit more potential for code reuse than what you’d get in a typical application.

Stephan: Cool, looks neat.

Louis: I haven’t had a chance to play with it at all because obviously I just saw it this morning, but it’s potentially exciting and good to see Node progressing to the point where there are really big application frameworks written on top of it which might let people get into it without having to write everything themselves.

Stephan: Cool. I’ll go last. So I have something called, and it is from the guy who brought us, and basically it’s a — it allows you to search for a place and if it’s there, fine, if it’s not then you can add it, and they also have a JSON API so that you can get geo-coded location information from their API, so it’s all open source, all your search queries go into the public domain. So, it’s pretty neat, I’m a big fan of GIS and map data, I think it’s really —

Louis: Does it do reverse geo-coding, can you throw coordinates at it and get the name of a place.

Stephan: I have not played with it enough to know, but I think that’s what the point of it is, so if you have some lat-longs I would type them in and we could find out.

Patrick: I entered my city and it’s not there.

Stephan: You gotta add it, that’s the point (laughter).

Patrick: But I’m not a programmer. I’m just kidding. I’ll have to add it then.

Stephan: It’s just a neat way, you know, because it’s hard to get geo-coded data quickly and cheaply, sometimes you have to buy libraries or you have to pay-per-use for the Google API or something, so I just think it’s neat, I hope it takes off, I hope they’re putting more work into Open Street Map, it’s a cool thing as well.

Patrick: So this data, this lat-long city —

Louis: I’m just sort of figuring it out, so it’s got this box that you can drag around, so if you do a search that isn’t there it gives you a rectangle that you can drag around to mark what the boundaries of the place that you’re describing are so you could theoretically use descriptors for any neighborhood or even smaller areas than that.

Stephan: Exactly. So, what’s missing right now is a lot of street names, there are some neighborhoods that are missing, there’s cities apparently that are missing, so I see it could be a really cool tool in a year or so after people have added a lot of data.

Louis: Yeah, definitely.

Patrick: Where Louis is right now, enter (laughter). No direct match, click here to add it. How can I add it if I don’t know it! Sorry.

Louis: Let’s see, we do we got, Collingwood, Victoria.

Patrick: I have to enter Harbinger, North Carolina.

Louis: Are you from a place called Harbinger?

Patrick: Harbinger, yeah, it’s actually Harbinger, not Har-binger, but it’s spelled like, you know, of doom.

Louis: Ha, ha, ha, wicked.

Patrick: Which explains my generally sunny disposition.

Louis: That joke would make sense if it was ironic, but you’re not a pessimist so it doesn’t really.

Patrick: Oh.

Louis: Alright, let’s wrap it up.

Patrick: I am Patrick O’Keefe of the iFroggy Network; I blog at, on Twitter @ifroggy, i-f-r-o-g-g-y.

Stephan: I’m Stephan Segraves, I tweet @ssegraves and I blog at

Louis: And you can follow SitePoint on Twitter @sitepointdotcom, that’s sitepoint d-o-t-c-o-m; you can find us on the Web at, and you can email us at; you can find me on Twitter @rssaddict. That’s all for this week, thanks for listening.

Theme music by Mike Mella.

Thanks for listening! Feel free to let us know how we’re doing, or to continue the discussion, using the comments field below.

Louis SimoneauLouis Simoneau
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Louis joined SitePoint in 2009 as a technical editor, and has since moved over into a web developer role at Flippa. He enjoys hip-hop, spicy food, and all things geeky.

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