Episode 158 of The SitePoint Podcast is now available! This week the panel is made up of Louis Simoneau (@rssaddict), Kevin Dees (@kevindees), Stephan Segraves (@ssegraves) and Patrick O’Keefe (@ifroggy).
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The panel discuss the UK Government’s new Design Principle site, the ongoing debate about the role of alcohol in the tech community, and a cool new HTML5 music video project put out by Microsoft to promote Internet Explorer 10.
Louis: Hello and welcome to yet another episode of the SitePoint Podcast, I’m back after a brief hiatus, last week Kevin interviewed Paul Boag for the show, but this week we’re back with a full panel; hi guys.
Kevin: Howdy, howdy.
Stephan: Howdy, howdy.
Louis: How you guys doing? Don’t answer all at once!
Stephan: It’s a Monday (laughter).
Patrick: Full of Easter candy.
Louis: Yeah, so you guys have got the day off today, right, is it a holiday there?
Stephan: No, we only got Friday off.
Louis: Only Friday, alright.
Patrick: When you work for yourself you don’t get days off, so, um, no; I didn’t have Easter off.
Louis: Alright, well, hey, it’s good to have you all back on the show, so let’s just kick into it, who wants to go first with the first story? I’m going to nominate Kevin.
Kevin: Okay, yes! Sweet, I like being the nominee, it’s a pleasure.
Patrick: But will you win? (Laughter)
Kevin: Yes, I will. My link, or story for today, comes from the gov.uk, they’re working on a new project for the government to use, and basically what I want to talk about is a portion of that. The design team has released some design principles that they’ve been using throughout their website, and so this isn’t necessarily a set of principles for “the designing world,” but they did craft this for this specific site, so these are kind of guidelines that they’re using within their project, but I believe that these could definitely be used throughout the web design community as well; I think these are really good principles, and I’ll just go through them quickly here. The first, there are ten of these, the first is Starting with Needs, and they talk about user needs there, and they talk about doing less than designing with the data that you have, doing the hard work to make things simple basically make things usable. And then Iterate, and then Iterate Again, is the 5th one; 6th we have Build for Inclusion, so they talk about accessibility in this section, and we’ll discuss all these in a second, or at least some of the highlighted points. And then Understanding Context, Build Digital Service, Not Websites, Be Consistent, Not Uniform, and Make Things Open, It Makes Things Better. And the 10th one is kind of the flavor of this post in itself because they talk about making things open, that’s why they’ve kind of released this ten principles, just to kind of go along with that.
I’ll kick it off with 10, I think this is an interesting one, but they basically say that we should share what we’re doing whenever we can with colleagues, with users and with the world, and they’re talking about just sharing code, sharing designs, sharing ideas, and everything like this. And I think it’s an important point, I mean it’s kind of what we’re doing with the podcast, right, we’re trying to get information out there to share the information that we have to help make the web designer world a better community.
Let’s see, they also have a Be Consistent, But Not Necessarily Uniform. And basically in this section, design principle number 9, they’re saying that you should use the same kind of language, or voice, within your site, and also have the same types of design patterns. So design patterns being something like a horizontal menu across the top of your page; you don’t want that moving around.
Louis: Man, I just got to say this thing is gorgeous.
Louis: It’s a really, really beautiful site, incredibly well laid out, it’s incredibly well written.
Louis: I love the typography; I’m a big fan of correct use of em dashes instead of hyphens when you want to use a dash, and they’ve done a really good job of that (laughter), it’s a really nit-picky thing to highlight on but I love it, and just great, incredibly well written, and incredibly insightful. We usually think of government web design as this really stodgy, terrible bureaucratic thing that ends up producing horrible, unusable sites; I’m generalizing here, but is it fair to say that that’s your impression of government web design as well?
Kevin: Yes, definitely, I mean if you — the United States government web sites, I think thewhitehouse.org is the one that was redone in Drupal, and that one, it’s pretty good. But like in general whenever you go to a government website, maybe you’re looking up some tax information like how much tax do I owe the government for this specific thing, it can be a real mess to get into. In fact, that’s actually one of the first points they make in this site, of course this is part of the UK so the standards and things and laws are going to be a little bit different, but they talk about starting with the needs, right, and that in the design process building the site around users.
Louis: Speaking of taxes, that’s a great point, the example they give in the context of the user needs thing is this VAT page, the VAT is the Value Added Tax in the UK, so it’s a sales tax on goods with value added, and if you look at that gov.uk/vatrates, it’s just got in giant letters at the top of the screen The Standard VAT Rate is 20%, and then it’s got all the other stuff lower, right, but that one answer that most people are going to want is put really front and center. Yeah, and throughout this whole — even like the design of the Design Principle’s document has had so much care put into it, it’s lovely.
Kevin: Yeah, you know, you brought up that there’s an example in here, and there’s an example I believe for every one of these points, and I think that’s really nice; so you can get like a physical representation of what they’re talking about, you don’t just have to make believe for yourself what some of these things mean.
Another one, The Designing with Data, they have some examples for that I think are really good, they’re basically being aware of AB testing and they go through that in the examples. But there’s a lot of really good stuff here, I know I probably could go on for ages about this, but it’s worth looking at for sure.
Louis: I’m also a big fan of point number 2 which is Do Less, I just want to read that one out because I really like it: Government should only do what government can do, if someone else is doing it link to it, if we can provide resources like API’s that will help other people build things, do that, we should concentrate on the irreducible core. And I think that’s one of those things that’s super-applicable for anyone building any website; there’s not point re-implementing a service that someone else is doing and you can just link to, and at the same time, if you’ve got data that you think other people might be able to do stuff with that you don’t have time to do, then making that available via something like an API is going to give your users the best deal.
Kevin: Yeah, I totally agree with that.
Patrick: Yeah, and in the example for that I think they kind of callout another part of the government; if you hit the example they link to a page from direct.gov.uk about keeping bees, and they say that, “While it’s right we should provide information about that, it’s not necessary for us to provide information about keeping bees.” (Laughter)
Louis: Yeah, right.
Patrick: And they link to the government website with information about keeping bees.
Kevin: Right. Now, this gov.uk is actually from what I’ve read supposed to be the future replacement for direct.gov, and so it makes since that they use this as an example.
Louis: Yeah. I’m reading this page about how to keep bees, but yeah it’s a good point, like obviously there are probably entire websites and forums and communities on the Internet dedicated to teaching you how to keep bees, so if they government wants to provide you with a link to that that’d be great, but like maintaining this is all this work that could be better spent elsewhere, right.
Patrick: Yeah. I mean it has to be updated as the information about keeping bees changes.
Louis: Well, it does change. There was this thing, did you guys see this, it was the news just this past week that this colony collapse disorder was caused by a couple of common pesticides, so I’m sure the beekeeping world is abuzz with new information; did you see what I did there, you see?
Patrick: Right you are.
Louis: Did you get it?
Patrick: You’re a clever gentleman.
Louis: Was abuzz with new — alright.
Stephan: Can I just say one thing and it’ll be quick and it’s completely off topic, but this actual page is awesome, I love the font, so there’s that (laughter).
Louis: It’s really nice, I mean I literally love the design of this page, I’m like, yeah, I want to make a page just like it.
Stephan: It’s really clean, it made me want to read it, my hat is off to them.
Louis: And the content design as well, just putting this very short paragraph up in a giant font and then a little bit more detail in a smaller font just makes it engaging and, yeah, hats off, a hat tip. I will tip my top-hat to the designers of this site.
Patrick: So that seems like a good place to close it out. Who wants to go next? (Laughter) no, that was good, that was a good conversation, don’t beat each other up, I’ll do that for you.
Louis: Alright, cool, what are we doing next? Patrick, you want to take one?
Patrick: So I wanted to talk about the music video for Just A Friend, by Jasmine V, and this isn’t my spotlight (laughter), this is a website for a music video, it’s justafriend.ie, and it’s sponsored by Internet Explorer and Microsoft so just to get that out of the way, I do own stock in Microsoft and whatever, so, it’s not necessarily about that, it’s not even about the music video, if you like the music, or whatever, but what struck me about this was that as I watched it it’s an interactive music video, it uses HTML5, specifically Canvass and HTML5, and also Facebook Connect, so you have the opportunity in the video to do different things with the mouse or with your keyboard, and you see content from your Facebook page integrated into the video.
But beyond that what really struck me about this and why I wanted to talk about today was that there’s a link on it in the bottom right to Behind the Tech, and if you go to this page you’ll see that basically they talk about in detail how it was put together, they include a behind the scenes video of the development of the HTML5 interactive music video, they talk about different code snippets, there’s code from Internet Explorer posted on GitHub that’s in use to create this, you can download the asset manager, and it’s kind of a funny thing because I’ve never seen this in a music video for a recording artist on a major label where essentially the developers, the web developers who put this together, are the stars in a way of this music video because they created this interactive environment and used these cutting edge technologies, web technologies, to put together this video. And not only that, but they’re putting it front and center on this website talking about how they did it and showing examples of the code they used.
Louis: Yeah, it’s really nice stuff. I think it’s so cool to see the IE team especially pushing forward into IE10 and taking on board so much of this new cool stuff from HTML5 and CSS3. They came late to the party but, you know, they brought a lot of booze, so.
Patrick: Yeah, I mean I’ve never seen this sort of thing, like I said, before, I mean I’ve seen uses of Canvass and whatnot, but just this, and obviously I’m not really a programmer or web developer, but it’s you guys that know how to do that, you’re the stars now, I mean it’s that tipping point where it is such a big part of what we do in the entertainment industry, some labels, some companies are embracing that, and this is probably a good example of that. But to me it was funny to see right there, you know, here’s the guys at the agency who made this, that’s the behind the scenes video, it’s not the singer, it’s not Jasmine V., it’s these guys at the agency who talk about how they made this video.
So did any of you guys have an opportunity to take a look at the code on this page or anything like that; does any of it pique your interest?
Louis: I’m looking at it now, it’s actually some stuff that I have worked with a little bit before for the HTML5 book for SitePoint actually, we did something kind of similar where you can — because with HTML5 video you can actually access the video via the API and take a snapshot of it and then use that and manipulate the frame in Canvass, and so apply some live effects on top of the video in Canvass.
Louis: And I guess that’s what they’re doing here except they’re putting in stuff from your Facebook, is that what’s happening here?
Patrick: Basically, yeah. Part of it is the Facebook content like your pictures, your photo on her phone, and then the other element is sort of — it’s almost like you know the old choose your storyline books, you know, you take a, b or c and you go to a different page of the book and you get that story, I mean that’s kind of in a way how it works, you can push this boyfriend into the pool and — I don’t know how relevant this storyline’s gonna be to all of us, but the technology is the point. So you can use your mouse to follow this movement, and then there’s like different reactions, there’s different things that can happen within the video, so it’s sort of a dual — kind of two-part approach with the content and then with the interactive elements. And in addition they used, I’m not familiar with this but I guess Tropo API, and then you can enter your phone number at the end, enter your phone, and you’ll get a call from her and receive one of six random messages as well, so they tied in that API too.
Patrick: Yeah, definitely.
Louis: So this is maybe one of those first exploratory ventures in that direction, but it’s going to be really cool to see how that develops as more developers come on board with the HTML bandwagon.
Patrick: So justafriend.ie is not Biz Markie’s new website (laughs), it’s a music video by Jasmine V.
Louis: When I saw you sent me the link that is what I thought it was.
Patrick: Got what I ne-ed (singing).
Louis: No, don’t do that! Now we’re going to get a DMCA takedown for the show.
Patrick: No, not for that. I co-host the Copyright 2.0 show (laughter), they know who I am. I’m just kidding.
Louis: And do you sing Biz Markie in your show?
Patrick: I don’t sing Biz Markie normally on any show, you’ve just witnessed something rare, and I didn’t drink at all, I don’t drink.
Louis: Speaking of not drinking, and not drinking at all, beautiful thing for the setup there, Patrick, I appreciate it. So something that I saw floating around the Web a lot these past few weeks was this blog post written by, and I’m going to get the name wrong because I’m not sure if the URL is actually his name, but his URL is Ryan Funduk, ryanfunduk.com.
Patrick: You are correct.
Louis: Although that — it looks like from his Twitter that’s actually his name, so Ryan Funduk has written this extensive blog post about what he calls the culture of exclusion in the web development community, specifically conferences, and specifically related to alcohol. So at a lot of web development conferences you know you spend the day seeing talks by experts in various fields, and then sort of immediately after that everyone goes out to the pub, or, you know, even into the conference rooms, and starts drinking and sort of partying it up and getting to know people at the conference. And his point is that he doesn’t drink and that he feels excluded by this, he doesn’t want to be hanging around in loud environments with people who are being incoherent, what he wants to do is actually talk about technology with likeminded people, and he feels that this culture of booze gets in the way of that.
I was interested by this for a bunch of reasons, one is because it’s drawn a number of responses from all over the Web, and a lot of people have kind of disagreed with what he said, and I feel kind of like even if I wasn’t drinking at a conference I wouldn’t feel excluded, and I feel it’s a great way especially for nerds who are kind of introverts by definition to be able to socialize a little bit more easily and get to know people, which is what I like about conferences maybe even more than the talks.
But I wanted to get, Patrick, your opinion on this because you’re one of the few people I know who doesn’t drink.
Patrick: (Laughs) you exclusionary —
Louis: I know, I know. So, yeah, I just wanted to know from like a quick read-through, I know I just sent it to you this morning, of this; like what are your impressions, how do you feel about this? You go to a lot of conferences.
Patrick: Right, and this morning being now, because it’s the morning in Australia, Louis just got this on Skype. You know I was really interested, I haven’t had a chance to really read it at all that much, I’ve scanned maybe a very small portion of it, but it’s an interesting topic for me. Like you said, I don’t drink really, I mean it’s not — I just didn’t get into it, like I have a toast if there is that sort of thing going on, but I don’t go out, I don’t drink, I’ve turned away — I’ve turned away thousands of dollars in free alcohol, I estimate, over the years (laughter), at all of the conferences I’ve spoken at, because I do speak at a bunch of conferences. And it’s an interesting thing, I don’t know that I’ve felt excluded, I can’t really say I felt excluded, I’ve gone places, I’ve stayed out, you know, I try not to stay out too late, but I stay out as late as I want, I hang out with the people I want to hang out with, I can’t recall feeling too excluded, I mean there is that sort of culture there I would say at many conferences, many tech conferences, where there is this level of drinking and all the parties for the most part have some sort of element, and that’s a part of how they value the party is if they can drink.
You know, again, I don’t really feel excluded, I think to me there’s always — part of the danger with this, and this is kind of a side topic I guess, but, I don’t understand some people who things that are let’s say not very good and then, you know, there’s obviously people taking photos and whatnot, so that’s kind of an undercurrent to this topic also is some people at conferences do go too far, but that occurs with drinking in general. So just to stick to the conference thing I would say I don’t really feel excluded. I know my friend Wayne Sutton, he doesn’t drink also, so we have like a secret club at conferences, when we are at the same one, of people who don’t drink, so we have a club of two (laughter). I randomly meet someone else who doesn’t drink, but, yeah, I’ve never felt excluded and I think it’s unfortunate if he feels that way because I’m sure that some people do, um, I don’t know, I would say that some people do make others feel that way whether on purpose or not on purpose. So it’s fair to feel as he feels, but it’s a big world.
Stephan: You know, I think it all comes down to personal choice, so if Patrick really wanted to have a drink he could have a drink, if he doesn’t want to have a drink he doesn’t have to have one. If Patrick wants to go to bed at 9:00pm at night and leave the party he can.
Patrick: Wait, wait, you’re saying too much! (Laughter), you’re going too far, I’ll stop you right there. No, sorry, go ahead.
Stephan: But my point really is this, is that there are some people who don’t want to partake in those parties, and that’s fine, I don’t think that conferences are going out of their way to not include people, and I think the premise — he mentions in his post he’s talking about getting sloshed.
Stephan: So there’s a difference between having a drink and people getting just hammered, right, and so I think that’s the key is that do you think that at conferences you see a lot more of the heavy binge drinking, or do you just see people having a drink?
Louis: So the other thing that’s interesting about is he’s kind of talking about it in a broader context of the sort of startup tech culture, programmers, he’s talking about GitHub have their regular hack nights that include beer, and, you know, coming from here at the SitePoint Group of company, you know I’ll accept we do have a pretty alcohol-focused culture whereby we go out for drinks every month, and then even on a regular Friday we’ll usually have some beers in the office, and that’s just part of the culture here. But at the same time, you know, Kevin Yank who was here for probably just about as long as anyone at SitePoint —
Louis: (Laughs) — who worked at SitePoint for over 10 years I think, and he didn’t drink, and looking at him I never felt like he felt that he didn’t fit in or anything, you know, if we were going out to the pub he’d come out and come along and have a soda or whatever. So, I don’t know, you know, I kind of took it awkwardly, it felt weird to me because I’ve seen examples of people who are in this culture and who don’t drink, and it doesn’t seem to be a problem for them. And likewise I’ll have times when for whatever reason I don’t feel like having a drink, and I don’t, and I still come along or I go home or whatever, and like Stephan said, it feels like this strong a reaction what bugs me about it is he makes it sound like it’s discriminatory, sort of like — and he opens up his whole post, in fact, the first paragraph says, “Lately there’s been a lot of great articles being written and discussion happening around sexism in the tech industry,” and he says that’s what reminded him of this post that he’s been thinking about writing for some time; those are totally different things I feel like, you know.
Louis: Yeah. Yeah, exactly.
Patrick: And you know part of this post, too, is about health and whatnot, and you mentioned GitHub so I did a word search for GitHub, and it says, “As much as I love GitHub and think I’d love to do the kind of work they do, I can’t imagine actually going into that office everyday confronted with people drinking out of kegs; GitHub people this is not healthy, physically or mentally.” And, you know, to each their own on some level; I would not say that sort of thing personally, I don’t really like to tell other people necessarily what to do with their bodies, and so, I don’t know, I think there’s a certain perspective here that he’s expressing, and it’s sort of — it’s not just there’s drinking that goes on at the conferences, but it’s that drinking is unhealthy and so we shouldn’t be promoting it at conferences.
And, again, I haven’t read his whole post, so if I’m misrepresenting that in any way I apologize, but, so that’s kind of a side issue, and it’s a matter of choice, and I think if you are hanging out with people who make you feel like you are being excluded, you are hanging out with jerks, and I think you should pick more people to hang out with, because I hang out with a lot of different people at conferences, friends of mine obviously, and then people I just met, and in general I can’t say that I’ve really felt excluded by anyone, and if I did then I’d note in my mind ‘that person’s a jerk’, and I would not spend time with them, and I think that’s the choice we have to make as individuals.
Louis: Yeah, here, here, I’ll drink to that.
Patrick: Not with me you won’t (laughter).
Louis: I’ll drop in a quick link; one of the better responses to this post that I’ve read comes from Michael Rogers at michaelrogers.com, so I’ll drop a link in the show notes, but again, sort of a point of view of someone who organizes conferences and someone who feels like having that alcohol available to help especially, like I said earlier, people who are not necessarily the most sociable people who are programmers, to be able to form bonds and communicate with people really easily, especially in a short span of time where you don’t have a lot of time to get to know people, can be a real benefit. And you know I feel like I’ve made friends at conferences, and they’re people I only spoke with for a few hours on one night, but thanks to being able to be a little bit socially lubricated by alcohol I consider them good friends, and whenever I talk to them on Twitter it’s like, yeah, still have a good sense of connection and community there that I don’t feel like I would’ve had had I just been sort of awkwardly standing around in the corner. And maybe that’s me, maybe I need alcohol as a crutch because I’m bad at communicating, but that’s, you know, I think a lot of people in our community fall into that bucket, so that’s — anyway, so this is an interesting retort from Michael Rogers, something to check out before we get too deep into the psychotherapy aspects of the podcast.
Patrick: Yeah. Yeah, it’s almost 10:00AM over there, how many have you had so far Louis?
Louis: Um, I’ve had one espresso, which is clearly not enough.
Patrick: No, you made me think of another point, I was just at SXSW and I went to a party, it was for Gokit, I think that’s gokit.me, and I was there because like I said my friend Wayne is on the advisory board for that and helped co-found it, and they didn’t have alcohol as part of the drinks tickets. And going in I thought, huh, that’s interesting, I wonder what people will think of that; if you can’t get one alcoholic beverage, it’s just for juice, soda and water. And they did it and, you know, people were there; people were there, people seemed happy, it was I would say a pretty busy party, pretty good event, and I think it was like 5:00 o’clock, so in the early evening, and it went fine, and there was nothing that transpired as far as I saw that was in any way negative, it went off without a hitch, and they saved money not paying for alcohol. So I think it kind of — I don’t know what that point really says except maybe to say that it kind of goes both ways, you know, alcohol is — it’s not as needed as you might think, but, you know, how much it hurts is really up for debate, and I think our experience here kind of says that, at least with us it hasn’t hurt our interaction with people, so, yes.
Louis: Yeah, I think that’s a valid last point, and I think it’s fair to say maybe there’s more room in the space of conferences to have a better range of alternatives understanding that not everyone is after that.
Patrick: There’s no one way.
Louis: And possibly it doesn’t have to be every conference doing the no alcohol thing, but if some of them do and focus on other things as part of their parties or part of their activities outside of the speaker tickets, then maybe that will appeal to certain demographics that can feel more included in those conferences, so maybe there’s room for a little bit more diversity there.
Alright, who’s left for a story here, I think it’s Stephan.
Stephan: Yeah, I can talk about mine if you want.
Louis: Let’s do it.
Stephan: Am I the last up?
Stephan: So we’ll close up the day with a story about Wikipedia dumping Google Maps, and they have now decided to go with Open Street Map. And I’m guessing the reason for this, and they’ve kind of said without saying it, is that the Google API is costing too much money, and so they wanted to go with an open source, Mapping Solution. So they have dropped it, and this is only for the Wikipedia for Maps I guess, I couldn’t understand it, I don’t actually use this so I don’t know, maybe you guys know; they have a mapping solution on the phone applications so when you, I guess, look something up on there on your phone in the Wikipedia application, you look locally, it can use this map data. I haven’t used it so I don’t know, but I think it’s interesting that more and more — because Foursquare ditched Google for Open Street Maps as well, so I’m wondering how many more people are going to start jumping on the Open Street Maps bandwagon.
Patrick: Yeah, looking at the post here it is, like you said, it’s mobile and that’s why I haven’t experienced it myself, there’s an app for IOS and an app for Android where they do have a mapping solution in previous versions, as you alluded to used Google Maps, but now they’re using Open Street Maps, and they say it’s thanks to the amazing Leaflet.js library, and they’re using MapQuest MapTiles as well for the application but plan on switching to their own as well in the future, so a lot of different details there that our developer audience would appreciate. But, yeah, I don’t know; this is interesting, is there an estimate of like how much it was costing them? On the website it says Google was charging four to ten dollars per additional one thousand loads to any site pulling over 25,000 daily loads, there’s really no information on the post about how much they were loading besides to say they have 2.25 million installations of the app. So I don’t know what that would be, but I’d be curious to know how much it was costing them.
Louis: Yeah, we did talk about this on the show when Google Maps first introduced charging for the API.
Louis: I think it’s good in general to have competition, and obviously for Google to provide this service for free and have it used so extensively it must’ve been costing them a fortune to provide Google Maps for free, and maybe the advertising wasn’t compensating for that so they figured, look, we’ll charge for API and if some people want to use it that’s fine, and if they don’t, well, maybe there will be alternative solutions, and if it has prompted alternative solutions to get better then great, and I’ve been wanting to look into Open Street Maps for a while now because it’s looking really good, and especially the custom tiles; I’ve seen some examples of people putting together tile sets that just look really gorgeous, so I think it’ll be really interesting to see what people do with that.
Patrick: Yeah, give me one second and I’ll know what episode of the podcast that was we mentioned it on.
Kevin: So, I have a question, is it openstreetmap.org, because we’ve been saying Open Street Maps.
Stephan: Open Street Map is the name.
Patrick: Yeah, you’re right; it is Open Street Map, good point.
Stephan: I always call it Open Street Maps, sorry.
Patrick: No, plural.
Stephan: Okay. It’s interesting because Apple, I had no idea about this either, but they actually switched over to using Open Street Map data for iPhoto on the iPad and iPhone. And I’m guessing this is because of the way it pulls data, right, when you load a map tile I think it has to make a call every time it’s loading a new tile, so you think about you scroll out, you scroll over, you zoom in, it’s having to reload tiles three or four times, so I can see it being potentially really expensive.
Patrick: Yeah, and if you want to see our discussion, or listen to our discussion about the Google Maps API charges when they first came out, you can listen to episode number 138 back in November.
Louis: Obviously in terms of features there’s so much stuff in Google Maps, you know those added features, whether it’s street view or traffic information, you know there’s all those extras piled onto it. But in terms of just straight up maps the Open Street Map one actually looks really nice, and maybe the colors give you a better idea of what the different streets actually are, and I’m looking actually, this is pretty cool, I’m looking at a park and it has mapped out all the paths in the park.
Louis: Which I don’t think is in Google Maps, so it looks like it might even be more detailed in terms of an actual map, even though obviously some of the features aren’t there.
Patrick: I’ve actually never been on this, I’m just lacking in my knowledge of the Web. It’s actually got my town on it, that’s good (laughter), Open Street Map you’re okay.
Louis: Wow, lots of detail here. Anyway, before I spend the entire rest of the show just scrolling around a map of Melbourne why don’t we cut to spotlights.
Patrick: I’ll go first. My spotlight is the return — it’s a new thing really, but it’s kind of the return of the show Ze Frank, it’s a show with Ze Frank.
Louis: Ah, that was mine.
Patrick: And that’s why I had to go first because I had a feeling Louis was gonna snipe me (laughter), and I had a feeling that Louis was gonna come in and take that one, um, so yes, it’s mine!
Louis: Well, I had two and then I gave one to Stephan because I wanted to use that one (laughter).
Stephan: Now you’re screwed (laughter).
Patrick: So you are you are spotlight poor (laughs), well we can share this one because I know you’re going to have some complaints in a second. Anyway, the show with Ze Frank premiered today, it’s ashow.zefrank.com, the first episode is Invocation, and I enjoyed it, great stuff, we talked about his Kickstarter campaign in episode 152, and it close with $146,752 from 3,900 backers, so very successful, he only asked for $50,000 initially, so almost three times of the initial request, and yeah, I mean the show, a show is back and seemingly in full force save for some technical difficulties.
Louis: Obviously I’m super excited, the show was so good, and I actually — I came to it a bit late, like I was watching them on the day they came out for maybe the second half of the original show, but the first I wasn’t tuned into it. But, yeah, I mean it was the best thing the Internet ever did, and now we get more of it, so, (laughter) obviously I’m thrilled.
Patrick: There’s “the show” and then there’s SitePoint, and those are kind of the two main things.
Louis: Yeah, I was having a problem logging in to the show with Ze Frank this morning; did anyone else experience the difficulties that I was describing?
Patrick: Yeah, you know, I did; and we should say the show itself comes up fine, you can watch the video, it’s on YouTube too, the channel is zefrankone, but there’s also login system I guess to comment and whatnot, and I took a look at it and it took me a second to realize that it’s using — it appears to be using the login from star.me which is a — I’m not totally familiar with them but I think it’s a startup that he’s responsible for or in some way working with, or something, and so that’s a login system and so I noticed my email address was taken, that’s how I figured that out. And so they’re using that account system and my password wouldn’t work, I have to do a recovery, and I know you ran into like an SSL cert issue.
Louis: Yeah, I was getting an invalid SSL certificate on that login, although now I’m trying it, I was trying it on my phone originally, now I’m trying it on the desktop and it appears to be working I guess.
Patrick: Yeah, I didn’t get an SSL cert issue on the desktop, but I didn’t look on mobile obviously, me looking on mobile’s a problem.
Louis: Well, now that I see that it works on the desktop, because I did this sort of on my way to work this morning because I was running late for the show. It’s great, it’s a great first episode, and obviously super excited to have it back on the air, like I said, it’s more of the best thing, can’t go wrong.
Patrick: Yeah, it really is, and there’s a quote in the first episode that I thought was really good and relevant where he said, “Let me take the idea that has gotten me this far and put it to bed. What I’m about to do will not be that, but it will be something.” Good stuff. Who’s next? Spotlight stealer Stephan you’re up!
Stephan: Sweet. My spotlight was actually Louis’ originally but he let me have it, and it’s a really interesting look at the architecture behind Instagram, which is fitting today, and it talks about how they’re doing things technically behind the scenes to control traffic and make sure that they don’t go down due to traffic issues. And there’s some interesting stuff in here, they talk about some of their data replication and how they use PostgreSQL and Amazon to replicate their data when they need it. So I think it’s just an interesting read; what did you think about it Louis, I know that you picked it out so I wanted to know.
Louis: Yeah, likewise, I mean I really like these kinds of posts that are just sort of breakdowns of how a site coped or didn’t cope with a massive influx of traffic. So in this case, you know, obviously brought on by the launch of Instagram for Android, suddenly the platform within the space of 24 hours has to deal with a million new users, which is huge, right; I mean I’m pretty sure that none of the sites I’ve ever built would be able to handle that, and none of the infrastructure I’ve ever worked with, so it’s cool to see how these other services deal with this. And even though obviously they’re using Jango for Python is their framework, and they’re using Postgres as their database, so those are technologies that I don’t personally work with. I think the concepts behind it, being able to bring up read sites for your database really quickly using this streaming replication, and paying attention to stats using statsd which is a really nice library put out by the guys at Etsy to see what’s happening in realtime so you can react to it, so a lot of these concepts I think are applicable even if you’re using different infrastructure like if you’re using MySQL and Rails like we are, or if you’re using whatever else the concepts still hold.
Stephan: It’s a really cool article, thank you for sharing it with me.
Louis: My pleasure. Kevin you’re up.
Kevin: Alright, so I have an interesting site, it’s not a brand new site it’s a relaunched site, and this is snipt.net, and you can go over to this site and look at it and you’ll find a galore, or a large number of snippets of code, and in here you can sign up and add your own snippets to the public repository. Again, this site has just relaunched with a design, so it looks really, really nice, and I tell you the one feature I’d like to see on this is bookmarking, so you can’t currently, or from what I’ve browsed around the site haven’t figured out how to bookmark any kind of snippet, so I can’t go in favorite things. So hopefully that’ll come in the future, they’re also going to provide an API which I think will be rather interesting to get a hold of perhaps, you could put your snippets on here and pull those snippets into a site that you’re working on. So, yeah, it’s interesting and worth a look, and check it out, they’ve got many, many, many snippets on here.
Louis: Very nice indeed.
Patrick: My favorite snippet is long cat, halfway down the page, long cat (laughs), it’ll be so worth it (laughter), you won’t regret it.
Louis: Ah, yeah, right.
Kevin: You have to click expand, you have to click expand.
Louis: Click expand because obviously it’s a long cat, yeah (laughter).
Patrick: It breaks the page it’s so long I think; it breaks the design almost towards the bottom, and his feet kind of protrude through multiple snippets. There’s a vulnerability to here, long cat exploited it.
Louis: Mine doesn’t break the CSS, so in Firefox it works fine.
Patrick: I’m in Firefox.
Kevin: Get off IE; get off IE Patrick.
Patrick: No, I’m in Firefox 11.0.
Louis: Alright, well that’s — I guess that’s a wrap. I’m on 11.0 as well, so I don’t know, good, obviously go to snipt.net and search for long cat because it’s funny.
Louis: And you can find SitePoint on Twitter @sitepointdotcom, that’s sitepoint d-o-t-c-o-m, you can go to sitepoint.com/podcast to find the show’s page and get all of our past episodes, subscribe in iTunes, leave a comment, all that stuff. You can email us at email@example.com, we’d love to hear from you, especially I’d like to hear what anyone out there thinks about the whole alcohol culture in the tech world debate, where do you stand on that, really interested to hear what other people think and what is it like in your workplace, at conferences that you’ve attended, if there’s anyone out there who doesn’t drink and who has felt excluded by the culture in the tech world, love to hear from you. And you can follow me on Twitter @rssaddict. The show this week was produced by Karn Broad, and I’m Louis Simoneau, thanks for listening and bye for now.
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