Episode 118 of The SitePoint Podcast is now available! This week the panel is made up of regular hosts Louis Simoneau (@rssaddict), Brad Williams (@williamsba), Patrick O’Keefe (@ifroggy), and guest Josh Catone (@catone) from Mashable. The panel discuss Cisco’s predictions for the future of internet traffic, applications being taken for new top level domains and more.
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Louis: Hello, and welcome to another episode of the SitePoint Podcast. We’re back with a regular panel this week with a few slight modifications, so Stephan couldn’t make it this week but have another special guest filling in for him, so let’s start with the regulars, hi Patrick!
Patrick: Lewis, Louis, my friend.
Louis: You’ll get there.
Patrick: My friend whose name I can’t remember, how are you, sir?
Louis: (Laughs) I am very well, how are you?
Patrick: Excellent, excellent.
Louis: It’s been a while. We had a couple interview shows and then a couple live shows before that, so it’s been quite a long time since we’ve been on the show together.
Patrick: It has.
Louis: And Brad on the line as well.
Brad: Hello! You’re right it has been a while.
Louis: Yeah. And new to the panel this week and sort of filling in for Stephen who couldn’t make it because he started a new job is Josh Catone from Mashable, hi Josh!
Josh: Hey, everyone, good to be here.
Louis: It’s good to have you. So what’s your official role at Mashable?
Josh: I’m the features editor at Mashable, so I manage anything that’s basically not news, all of our lists and how-to’s and info graphics and Op-Ed’s and all of our guest writers, anyone who’s contributing to Mashable who’s not on staff I manage all of that.
Louis: Cool. So there’s quite a lot of news this week to catch up on, not even just to catch up on, stuff that’s just happened this week, so I figure we may as well just dive into it. The first thing that caught my attention and also caught all of your attention from the quick chat we had before the show is this decision by ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, so that’s the big corporation that handles all the top-level domains on the Internet, has just made a decision that approves, or that will approve, sort of arbitrary top-level demands.
Brad: You know this could get real messy.
Louis: That seems to be the general consensus.
Brad: At least the price is right, what is it, it’s $185,000 just for the application fee, and then $25,000 a year to have your own top-level domain, your own TLD.
Patrick: And the interesting thing about this is there are companies who make a business out of selling a TLD but it’s never been so transparent, you know, where I could say you know what I want to start selling dot whatever, and I know exactly how much I have to pay to do that now.
Josh: I actually read that the application fee is $185,000 and then $25,000 a year and all that other stuff you have to go through to actually be set up; it’s about 500 grand before you are even through with your TLD, so it’s half a million dollars, it’s pretty expensive.
Brad: In that case I’m going to get two.
Patrick: (Laughs) Yeah, still, it’s interesting to know that amount because previously I wouldn’t have had any idea what that costs, so that’s interesting fodder, not that I’m in the market to start .xxx or whatever, not saying anything, but it’s interesting to know.
Brad: It’ll be real interesting when they actually come out to see what companies take advantage of this, I mean it’s a pretty hefty investment, and I don’t think anyone really knows how it’s going to be perceived once it comes out. Especially like the amateur web users, I mean the mom and pops that all they know is Google and eBay; when they see a .coke are they going to know what that is?
Patrick: Yeah, I think it’s interesting because to us $500,000, you know, huge amount of money, to Coke or Fortune 500 companies dropping $500,000 on a marketing related endeavor or branding related thing is a drop in the bucket, not that it’s something that they’ll want to spend freely, but there is some opportunity here for marketing, for branding. I mean I think there’s probably a situation where a company could sign up for a TLD and then not sell it to the public, right, they could just use it themselves and control it, and I guess to me I’m not really into the intricacies of the domain name system, but what is the benefit to controlling and running your own registry in this case, is there a tangible benefit for a large company?
Louis: From the branding point of view, and this is odd because it seems like every story I read or every blog post I read about this story sort of focusing on that, on the branding ones, so like .coke or .McDonalds or whatever, but those seem like the least likely to go ahead because that’s a company spending $500,000 when they already have an established web presence like coke.com or mcdonalds.com just for this other thing that end users are probably not going to understand. But what does seem more likely is a lot of these sort of more generic TLD’s, you know like .car or .phone, because that’s something you can build a business out of, right, if you invest the money to set up a registrar that can sell domains on these TLD’s then you actually have a business model of selling domain registrations, so that seems like a likely way for this to end up going.
Brad: And how are they going to sell these generic terms, have there been any details or is just a first come first served or an auction type?
Louis: So it looks like it’s an application process, so they’re going to accept applications, have this somewhere between January 2012 and April 2012, so they’ll accept applications with the application fees, and then they’ll review all those and grant the new top-level domains to sort of the successful applications I guess. I read the FAQ on ICANN’s website and they say we have no way of predicting how many new top-level domains will come out of this because we don’t know how many applications will be suitable, but, yeah, it seems like they’ll just review them and then go ahead with the ones that are valid. And the other thing to note is here is it’s not like registering a new domain name, it’s not just pay the fee and you’ve got it, you have to be able to show that you can have the infrastructure to run a domain registrar.
Patrick: Right. So not me in other words (laughter).
Brad: I think they probably want to avoid squatters on these things, even though I don’t know who would spend that kind of money and squat on it, but I’m sure somebody would.
Josh: I think that’s actually in the guidelines that you have to keep it active. But here’s a question that I have not been able to figure out the answer to, and maybe one of you guys has some idea. It seems like there are protections in place so that trademark holders can’t violate another trademark holder’s trademark, and that was a crazy sentence, but essentially Coke can’t buy .Pepsi and Pepsi can’t buy .coke, but what I’ve been wondering today is could Pepsi buy .soda and then bar coke from registering coke.soda or sprite.soda, and Pepsi could just monopolize that sort of generic domain, and I haven’t been able to find any sort of answers to that.
Brad: I would imagine so. I mean I kind of think of it in terms of buying domains even though I know it’s significantly different, but if Coke buys soda.com or .soda and pays for it, I would imagine since it’s a generic term there is no copyright around that, right?
Patrick: Well, I think .com is operated by VeriSign I think, and could they prevent you from registering certain terms? I mean, I don’t know, whatever would apply to that I think is what would apply to these new TLD’s, and I don’t know if there’s any specific case or law, not law, but in an occurrence that we can point to, to say where that happened. I mean most of the — or the only situations I know of were certainly after the fact, mostly trademarks, WIPO cases, whatever, where you have a trademark that’s being infringed upon, nothing that’s preemptive, I’ve never really, yeah, it’s an interesting question, I’ve never really had — obviously I’ve never tried to register anything incredibly obscene to have it tell me no you cannot have that, but if they can then I kind of see no reason why Pepsi couldn’t, although then you have Coke who can certainly take advantage of our legal system to allege some form of discrimination.
Louis: Again, to me it just seems like that’s — I can’t imagine that happening.
Patrick: Yeah, it seems strange.
Louis: Given the size of the fees it just doesn’t seem like the payoff is there, right, so Coke what would they do with .soda or .cola?
Patrick: Well, let’s say you could just block people off it, right, so you could essentially say your website is HYPERLINK “http://www.soda” www.soda, right (laughter), if you control the registry you just redirect, forget any kind of registration in the middle, you’ve got .soda, you know, and I’d be curious about that. Also, www dot www is one too (laughter), I wonder what kind of mass confusion that would cause.
Louis: Oh, man. I’ve really no idea where that would end up going. But, again, some of the examples that are given in some of these blog posts do make sense, a lot of the people are giving examples of city based top-level domains, and that totally makes sense to me, so like a .nyc or .paris or .london, I can see that happening, and that could even be a source of revenue for the city government, if they register it then they can sort of administer the registration of the domains, and there are a lot of businesses that are sort of very city focused, and that seems to make sense to me.
Patrick: Some suckers will sign up for it (laughter). No, I mean I’m just kidding, but the thing is it’s probably so much better to have your name, cityname.com, right, then yourname.city, but of course some people will always sign up for it, I mean for Pete’s sake, I own two .tv’s.
Louis: Yeah, so look at if I’ve got a website and I want to do a hotel reservation website, now, hotels.com is taken and it costs a million dollars if I wanted to get it, and same for hotels.net or whatever, but if say New York City has registered the .nyc TLD and they’re administering that, and if I can get like hotels.nyc and have a website that’s devoted to hotel registrations in New York that seems like something you might want to do, it’s not unreasonable.
Patrick: For sure.
Josh: But Patrick still makes a good point, I mean I think when all of us have registered domains we probably go to .com first, I think there’s still some cache with .com that will remain, I mean you know we’ve seen recently in the past few years some of the CCTLD’s, like .ly and .li and .me have grown in popularity but the .com names are still the ones that people remember and go to first, and so I think for the average user .com will remain probably the most popular and easy to use domain name for a while.
Patrick: So here’s a question, what the most exotic TLD that you guys own?
Brad: What do you mean by exotic?
Patrick: Well, what’s the smallest country, you know, farthest away from where you’re based?
Louis: I think I only have .com domains registered.
Patrick: Okay. I have a .gy.
Louis: A dot what?
Brad: What country is that?
Patrick: Guyana. (Laughter) Geez, I’m serious, I’m serious, I own ifrog.gy.
Louis: That’s pretty good.
Patrick: Yeah, I haven’t actually started using it yet but I figured what the hey, it took about three months to actually secure the registration, I had to send carrier pigeon like 70 times, (laughter) but it is mine, it is mine.
Brad: I do have .ly, I have Libyan .ly.
Louis: See, that’s another thing here, the reason ly got so popular is just because it’s easy to sort of make a word out of it, so it will be interesting to see what kind of English suffixes become TLD’s as a result of this, like .able or .ing, you know like you can make words out of.
Josh: That’s probably a smart business move for someone who wants to put down the 200 grand to start it off. I could see Go Daddy or one of those big registrars snapping up some of those.
Patrick: That’s another good idea, I mean where you have a domain name registrar who says, hey, we want to have this extension, and that opens up another issue with the whole access to the extension thing is what if a registrar does that and says we’re the only ones who can give this out. I think we have situations where there are extensions that are either seemingly exclusive whether on purpose or not, so if Go Daddy, for example, takes .cars and says we’re the only ones who can sell .cars, obviously there will be some people crying foul.
Louis: Yeah, I didn’t manage to gather from any of the posts whether there would be requirements from ICANN in terms of how you would administer the domain once you had it.
Brad: I mean if you pay approximately $500,000 for whatever, .ing, like you said all you have to do is sell 10,000 of them at $50.00 a pop and you’ve just broken even, I mean 10,000 is not that large of a number when it comes to selling domain names, especially if it’s something that’s brandable like you said .ing.
Patrick: I mean you could see .nyc paying off like that for sure, I mean you know just sell all the one-word domains, right, to the people who really would be interested in them. Sucker in the Yankees and the Mets (laughter) because they have the $10,000 to drop, it’s not like it’s a big deal, and just start with the sports teams and just go from there.
Josh: I think very clearly the ING financial services company has a whole new market that they can open up (laughter).
Louis: Yeah, so I’m just again trying to read through the FAQ on ICANN.org to see how they’re actually going to review these applications. There’s some stuff in here on the different panels that will be reviewing the applications.
Patrick: They don’t want to sell .pedophile, for example, is that what we’re talking about?
Louis: No, I was just saying like do you have to show that you’re going to provide registry services to anyone.
Patrick: Right, or can they just be private.
Louis: Yeah. So it does say that it expects the TLD’s to be active so you can’t buy it and not use it. The application process requires applicants to provide a detailed plan for the launch and operation of the proposed GTLD, or expect it to be delegated within one year of signing a registry agreement with ICANN, so that’s something, but it doesn’t necessarily say whether you can buy one and just use it yourself or buy it and sort of limit who you sell domains to. So I guess we’ll sort of have to wait and see what happens once this really gets going.
Patrick: So WordPress 3.2 is right around the corner, it’s already some release candidate releases, but Mick Olenick at SitePoint has seven things that we should know, or you should know, about WordPress 3.2 and, Brad, feel free to chime in on these as I read through them here.
Brad: I might.
Patrick: The first is that 3.2 is the first version of WordPress that will drop support for MySQL4 and PHP4, if you try to upgrade from WordPress 3.1 with that installed you will be told that you have insufficient requirements, so I would like to hope a majority of really active WordPress installations are already on MySQL5 and PHP5 so they won’t have this issue, but some will; are there any numbers out there on usage?
Brad: It’s low, I think they said that they’re aiming for under 5% or something like that if I remember right, it’s low but there are still hosts out there that enable PHP4 by default, so most users have no idea they should even switch it, you know, they just go with whatever’s set up and leave it at that, which a lot of this is trying to force those final few hosts to make that switch, but I think it’s really low.
Louis: Yeah, I mean that’s just ridiculous, right, if your host is providing PHP4 by default they shouldn’t be, and they shouldn’t even be in the hosting business as far as I’m concerned, so for WordPress to — totally legitimate decision I think.
Brad: And there is a requirements check plugin which is called WordPress Requirements Check, so if you’re not sure you can just install the plugin and it will tell you if your host is compatible with 3.2 or not.
Patrick: Yeah, and that plugin is by Ryan Duff who both me and Brad and Stephan, actually all three of us hung out with at WordCamp Raleigh in May, so hey Ryan.
Brad: Duff man! (Laughter)
Patrick: On that same compatibility note, WordPress —
Brad: This is the awesome one.
Patrick: This is the awesome one, well, it’s the one that, you know, and Microsoft even applauded this, I think on their Twitter stream I saw that, IE’s Twitter stream I’m pretty sure I saw this, that WordPress is dropping support with this version for IE6.
Brad: Thank you.
Patrick: And so there’s nothing else really to say on that, everybody wants that it seems like.
Brad: This is where we need that big applause sound effect, you know that big cheering crowd. I’ve had a few people ask me; just to clarify that’s dropping support on the admin side of WordPress, so if you log in it’s not that they’re completely breaking it on purpose, they’re just not testing it in IE6, and from what I’ve heard, I haven’t tested it, I’ve heard that 3.2 is pretty much unusable on the admin side if you’re on IE6 at this point.
Patrick: So you’re saying the front end will be fine.
Brad: The front end is still fine; it’s the admin side that’s no longer supported.
Louis: I guess they won’t be testing the default theme either though, so when at this point the default theme is still the one that came with WordPress 3.0.
Brad: Yeah, basically your front end is your theme, so if you’re running it, if I still support IE6 it will still support it; it’s not going to break that.
Louis: But when they do a new default theme, say in WordPress 4.0, they won’t be testing that on IE6 is what this is saying.
Brad: Right, yeah, and the admin side; so basically anything that ships with core will no longer be tested with IE6.
Patrick: It’s off the list.
Patrick: Speaking of the admin interface, a new streamlined admin interface is a part of 3.2 as well, there’s a screenshot here at SitePoint.com, and it looks like a nice coat of paint; have you played around with the admin interface yet, Brad?
Brad: Yeah, it’s like you said, they just kind of cleaned it up a bit, tightened up some things, if you’re on WordPress.com this has already rolled out, so you can actually see it or just set up a WordPress.com site to check it out. But, yeah, it’s nice, I mean any time they change the admin side it always takes a little bit of getting used to, but this is one of the more intuitive ones because it really doesn’t change where things are at, for the most part it just really changes the way they look, so overall it’s a pretty nice little facelift.
Patrick: Yeah and there’s I guess the screen options work really well in 3.2. Is it weird to say that I’ve never played with those; I mean have a majority of people not really explored screen options all that much?
Brad: I think most people don’t realize they’re there. The screen options and the help, the little dropdowns at the top right you click them and they pull down, and screen options have different options for the page you’re on and help has some contextual help for the page you’re on. I think a lot of people overlook that, but yeah I know the help is great, I’ve been pointing it out because they’ve really, the last few versions they’ve added a lot of great kind of specific help in there, so for new users it’s great if they’re on a page and they’re not really sure what they’re doing they can just click that and get some more information.
Patrick: And you know those video sites that allow you to turn the lights out, well, WordPress Writing at least has no essentially that feature, distraction free writing where you can put really the body of the post, the message box, the title, in sort of a full screen where that’s all you see, these two text boxes and then some of the what you see is what you get editor, so it’s pretty simple, pretty straight forward, so if that’s distracting to you, the menu’s distracting to you, if everything around the message box is distracting to you, you can now put that stuff aside, hide it and put it up, just the real bare bones part of the post up in full screen.
Louis: That’s good. I really like that one because one thing, I don’t know if anyone else has this problem, but I login and start writing a blog post and because the comment count is updating in Ajax on the sidebar I’ll see new comments come in I’ll go, ooh, I want to go read a comment on my last post, and then I’ll wind up approving comments and then responding to comments and then two hours later oh, hey, I was in the middle of writing something.
Josh: It’s funny because I think distraction free writing mode is probably the thing that I’m most excited about in WordPress 3.2 but also the thing that I’ll probably never use, I mean I love the idea and the concept, and you know when I’m actually writing something not a blog post I usually try to get as distraction free as possible and close down, sometimes I have to close down IM and stuff just to get everything out of the way so I can concentrate on writing, but I just don’t trust writing in WordPress, I’ve had my blog post erased midway enough times where the Internet goes out or the server goes down or something, so I just do all my writing in TextMate and I don’t think it’s going to change, so.
Brad: When I first heard about this feature I was like, because I kind of have full screen now, it’s obviously not as distraction free as this, but there is a full screen option and a lot of people probably don’t even realize it’s there, and I heard about this and I was like yeah I don’t really see why that needs an update, I don’t know how much people will get out of it but when I actually used it and saw it in action I was like this is pretty cool, I mean it’s a really slick feature and the way they did it, it just kind of fits with the whole just how WordPress works, very smooth, a lot of Ajax-y features, they came really nice.
Louis: It looks like when you go into full screen mode there’s still a title bar on the page, but then as you stop moving the mouse that sort of fades away and all you’ve got is a big text field, and then at the bottom right corner is this one sentence that it’s actually the only part of the GUI that’s on screen is the sentence, ‘Just write’.
Brad: Simple and to the point.
Patrick: Just you and your words. WordPress 3.2 is apparently much faster, apparently it’s a lot faster than previous version because the core dev team re-factored the core code, removed a lot of depreciated functions and just made it overall run a lot more efficiently, and also the switch from PHP4 to PHP5 also offers significant speed increase as well. There’s really not much to say with that one, right, it’s just much faster.
Brad: It’s one of those ones you probably won’t — you just don’t notice unless your site’s extremely slow, but I’m sure a lot of people will when they upgrade; I know they spent a lot of time going through a lot of the admin side in the really highly used sections and seeing what they could do to optimize it, whether via caching or optimizing the queries that are pulling from the database, and this is something people have been asking for a while because a lot of people have the feeling that WordPress is a little sluggish, and it can be if you get a lot of content in there; I’m sure Mashable has a ridiculous amount of caching set up to handle the amount of traffic you guys get, any site pretty much needs it.
Josh: I couldn’t speak to it technically, that’s above my head, but I do know that our CTO is Frederick Town who wrote one of the more popular WordPress Caching plugins.
Brad: Yeah, W3 Total Cache, I love that, I love that plugin.
Patrick: On the speed note, 3.2 also introduces incremental updates, in the past according to this article upgrades were for replacements of core code, whereas now it will work where it only replaces files that have actually been modified and need to be changed, so the upgrade process will be a little bit faster. And I’m an old-school kind of guy anyway, I don’t trust the whole one click upgrade thing, I upload the changed files.
Josh: It’s too easy (laughter).
Patrick: Yeah, I know, it’s just too easy (laughter), it’s something like Mullenweg snuck a bogeyman on that code, man, I really need to upgrade it one at a time, no. And the final entry in this entry by Mick Olenick at SitePoint is that there is a new default theme aptly titled 2011. There are a couple color schemes that come default with it, light and dark, and you can make — there are some customization options in the admin panel to change things like the link color and the layout, I know this is the upgrade from 2010 obviously, we’re in a new year; so how much different is this theme?
Brad: It’s not significantly different at first appearance. The header is obviously much bigger when you first view it, the header is bigger, and they have a rotating header image so every refresh, every pageview the header will change between six or seven different images, but it is different. There are some layout options on the backend like you said, left sidebar, right sidebar, no sidebar, stuff like that, and it’s kind of cool to see them do this, and I hope they keep doing it each year because I always tell people like if you’re ever looking to get into themes or see how themes are developed, you know the default themes that come with WordPress are a great place to start. And the fact that they’re adding options to these themes is even better because then you can see how do you make options in a theme and how do you do it correctly, you know, so rather than basing it off of some free theme you download that may or may not have done it the right way, you’re looking at the one that a theme has done it as flawless as it can, so it’s a great place to dive in if you’re looking to start developing themes. And just out of the box it’s a really nice theme, you throw up a custom header and you have a good looking site.
Patrick: And WordPress 3.2 is planned for release on June 30th with 3.3 due out sometime this year as well.
Brad: The big question out there is do developers get better with age? And a guy by the name of Peter Knego, I always get no matter what story I’m talking about they always have the strangest last names and I always butcher them, so I’m sorry, Peter, but it’s K-N-E-G-O, ‘Nee-go’ (phonetic) is what I’m going with. So what he did, he wrote a bash script which basically downloads data from stack overflow because he wanted to know how developers cope with the onslaught of new technologies with age. So as a developer you’re not going to work on the same language you’re entire life obviously, you know technology’s evolving and extremely quickly; chances are if you’ve been developing five years you probably already switched languages at least once, so it’s a common question. So what he did, he wrote a bash script that went through the data from 70,000 different developers on stack overflow who had a reputation of over 100, so these are active users, these are not just random accounts that have done nothing. And from those 70,000, 53% of them, or 37,400 actually had their age listed, so that’s the data we’re working with, 37,400 devs, obviously this is not a scientific study but it is interesting nonetheless. So basically he has some graphs and we’ll have the link in the show notes, essentially he goes through and looks at the number of developers and their reputation by age, and he has two different color lines on the graph, so the one is number of devs and you can see the numbers start around 16 and they shoot up significantly starting at around 19 or 20 and it peaks at about 27 and then starts trending its way down a little way to around 50 to where the stats stopped. I don’t know if there’s nobody over 50 or if he just cut it off, I’m assuming there’s developers over 50 on stack overflow (laughter).
Patrick: That’s retirement age.
Brad: But what’s interesting is you can see from the start it’s almost the average reputation progressively gets higher the older you get based on his stats, so it would seem that basically the older you get the more answers you’re providing which are actually correct, so the more you’re teaching the more you’re actually asking questions which would prove that as you get older as a developer you are actually learning, and progressively learning, and teaching the younger developers as they come up, so did you guys check out these stats at all?
Patrick: I did. And what became apparent to me is the older you get the more retweets and the more Diggs, and whatever other thing you want to get, the more you beg for those things. I mean the more reputation points you beg for the older you are (laughter), that’s what it is obviously. I like how people thought I was serious (laughter).
Louis: Yeah, I don’t even know where to go from there.
Patrick: Yeah, it’s a small sample size, right, I mean part of this is it is a small sample size, you can see the number of devs drop drastically, you have the highest reputation point at what looks like, let’s see, 46, 47, age 48, and you have also coincidence, I don’t know, it’s the smallest or second or third smallest number of developers, so I think it’s important to keep that in mind that while this is fun to look at certainly the bulk of people, the more people you have, I think it’s natural the more that the reputation number will generally be driven down, it’s just the law of averages.
Louis: Hmm. But if you look at the part of the graph that has sort of very high numbers, so that area between around the age of 20 and the age of about 35, that those are pretty high samples, those are over 1,500 devs for each of those ages, and you can see still an increase in the average reputation between those ages, so even before you get to those sort of lower sample sizes at the very end of the graph it looks like there’s some kind of correlation there. But the one thing that’s interesting is the last graph he shows which is a graph of the number of up-votes per post by age, so that’s the actual sort of number of votes that each their posts has gotten, so not their reputation and not the number of answers they provided but the actual quality of each of those answers. And that doesn’t seem to actually be affected by age at all; it looks like a pretty flat graph.
Patrick: Yeah, that to me seems kind of like a balancing factor, I don’t know, I can see how there is reputation with age, but at the same time the numbers kind of play with it when you skew down, even with those middle numbers you were talking about, there is some up and down, and you only get those really sizable gains once the number of devs has dropped by half or more in some cases, so I don’t know how to read this except to say it’s fun. I would actually like to see the numbers; I guess there are full stats interactive graphs of how low these numbers actually get, I’m going to look at those now.
Brad: If you hover them you can see the numbers.
Patrick: I see. So there are a 141 devs that are age 48, okay, versus 2559 who are 27, that’s the high peak; so you have a drop from 2559 to 141 so that’s pretty substantial.
Josh: For that first graph it’s talking about reputation and that accumulates, right, I’m not too familiar with stack overflow and how it works, but reputation doesn’t expire so if you join the site at age 25 and then accumulate age 31 whether or not your answers are getting better you are still going to have more reputation than four years ago, your stock might be frozen at a couple years old, but you know.
Louis: Yeah, that’s probably an interesting point, most people who are 17 or 18 on this site have probably not been on stack overflow very long so that probably does account for some of that difference.
Patrick: Yeah, the people who are 48 have been on here like 30 years (laughter), so it’s like old-timers move on, let go!
Louis: You can always count on Patrick to come out of left field with one of those.
Brad: One of the first comments is maybe seniors have more spare time to answer questions on stack overflow, that might not be a bad point.
Patrick: Yeah, I mean the questions and answers thing really doesn’t — there’s a drop, right, but it’s not a huge, huge drop as far as questions asked, answers answered — answers answered, that’s awesome, that goes up a lot (laughter), but questions asked doesn’t really drop and I think that’s a good thing because I think it’s dangerous especially in developer communities of which I run one where I’ve had members who think this person doesn’t know things because they ask questions, where of course it’s the opposite, it’s the people who really know things that ask questions when they don’t know them and improve their own knowledge, so I think that is kind of shown here in a way.
Brad: I’m almost surprised the questions don’t actually go up as they get older, because a lot of the older developers started out in languages that aren’t even used anymore and ultimately are going to have to migrate to something more current. I started out with my first database driven sites were built in Classic ASP, and that’s what I use primarily through seven or eight years of SitePoint is Classic ASP which is pretty much unheard of at this point, there are still a few sites out there I come across running it, but nothing like it used to be, it’s pretty much dead. And I had to move on, I had to move, so I had to evolve or get swallowed, so now I code in more current languages.
Patrick: You know when SitePoint first started, I wasn’t that far after, but they started on Latin and now it’s a dead language, so (laughter).
Brad: There’s a little bit of trivia for you.
Louis: So the other story I had this week was a blog post on the Microsoft Security Blog which is very simple titled WebGL Considered Harmful. And what it is, is sort of an expansion on this — so, for anyone who’s not familiar with the background, WebGL is this new sort of standard technology that’s meant to provide sort of hardware accelerated 3D graphics in the browser sort of as an extension to the Canvass element, so you could create a Canvass with 3D context and that would have access to hardware accelerated 3D in the browser. So already Google has implemented this in Chrome, Mozilla has implemented it in Firefox, Opera’s working on implementation and Apple has stated that they’ll have it in IOS 5 but in some sort of limited form only for the ads platform if I understand correctly. So a few weeks ago there was a blog post, sorry, not a blog post, a report from a group called Context Information Security, and they exposed a couple of sort of security flaws in the WebGL technology, so one of them was that in the Firefox implementation it was possible for a website to sort of take a screenshot of the users browser and desktop so you could actually if you viewed a website they could take a screenshot and save it on their site of your desktop including whatever open tabs or whatever else you had. And the other one was a potential for a denial of service attack where if they just made a bunch of requests to your graphics card they could sort of overload your system and shut it down. So Microsoft has actually come out and said we don’t see any way for WebGL, or basically what they’re saying is we don’t see any way for WebGL to be used in a secure manner and so we’re not going to go ahead an implement it, which is a pretty serious blow because it means it would potentially never be implemented in Internet Explorer. So I don’t know if you guys have any thoughts on this.
Patrick: I’m just changing my desktop that’s all (laughter).
Brad: That’s scary. I mean I hadn’t heard about the security vulnerabilities being able to kind of get into your system like that, but I mean that is scary; you know any time you open a different part of your computer to a browser you’re always going to run the risk for that, right, I mean there’s always going to be a chance for a security vulnerability no matter what you’re doing if you open it up. So, I would hate for them to just say it’s dead and we’re not going to support it and that’s it, I would hope they would really work to try to figure out a proper solution for it because I think it could be really cool especially if it’s adopted in the Internet Explorer where, what, like 60% of the users are at, something like that.
Louis: Yeah. I think actually around 50 at the moment.
Patrick: Finally a reason that I can be glad I haven’t downloaded Chrome yet.
Brad: Patrick mentions that at least one time a show I swear (laughter).
Patrick: It’s a meem. IE is actually at 43.87% as of May this year, according to the Statcounter global stats.
Louis: Wow, that’s even lower then I thought. This is definitely interesting, however, so there’s been a reply from Mozilla’s Vice President of Technical Strategy, Mike Shaver, has posted on his personal blog, not on the Mozilla Security Blog interestingly, sort of a rebuttal to this, and a couple of the points he makes I think are very, very interesting. So one of them is that Microsoft and Adobe both have 3D acceleration in Flash and Silverlight, so yeah, so Adobe and Flash both have come up with some way of sort of maybe handling this because they do provide access to developers straight into the 3D acceleration of the system, so they obviously feel that Silverlight which is available on Mac, it’s a cross platform thing, can be protected in some way, so that’s one thing. And the other thing is sort of it might be seen as a little bit hypocritical for Microsoft to be all defensive about browsers exposing security vulnerabilities since they developed ActiveX controls for ten years now which have been for a very long time pretty much the number one source security vulnerabilities exposed through the browser.
Patrick: Yeah, I think that’s a weak point, I think if it’s an issue it’s an issue; if Microsoft Silverlight has an issue it’s an issue, bring it up. I don’t know if it negates anything; should Microsoft never say anything just because they’ve developed things that are let us say iffy? So, I mean are they never allowed to speak again? (Laughter) No, if it’s an issue then it is an issue so that’s the only thing that really needs to be judged here.
Brad: You know Internet Explorer is the only major browser not supporting it, I think ultimately in the end it’s going to hurt Microsoft because ultimately if somebody wants to use a site that is running WebGL or a game or whatever it may be, they’re going to use the browser that supports it, they’re not going to say, no, I can’t use Internet Explorer so I can’t do it. I don’t think this is something that if you run into that roadblock I think you’re going to be technically savvy enough that you’ll know, alright, I’ll use Chrome or Firefox or whatever.
Patrick: They said the same thing about Flash and the iPad.
Louis: (Laughs) Yeah. Well, it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out. I mean I do think that probably what’s most likely to happen is that the remaining browser vendors will work together to secure this and make it a better implementation at which point Microsoft might revise its opinion. It does seem, as someone was saying earlier, I think it was you, Patrick, it does seem a little bit odd to come out and say this is not a valid technology rather than actually participating in the discussion and trying to come up with what are solutions to these problems.
Patrick: My spotlight this week is Turntable.fm. I know Brad’s on this service, I don’t know, Louis, have you played around with this at all?
Louis: I have not; I’ve yet to see it, no.
Patrick: Okay, cool, Josh?
Brad: Don’t, you’ll get addicted and get no work done.
Patrick: Okay, so here’s the thing, Turntable.fm is sort of a social DJ-ing service, you login, right now access is limited to Facebook friends of people who are already on it I believe, or at least that’s how it was when I got in. And you know you sign in, you sign up, you login and then you can access any number of rooms, different rooms for different genres, different companies, different topics, whatever, you click in a room and you can listen to what the DJ’s in that room are playing, and if there’s a DJ slot available you can DJ yourself, and by DJ I mean that you select from a list of licensed songs that they’ve licensed from MediaNet, so it is a legit service that has the music legally, and so you pick the songs, you play the songs you want to play and people vote on them, awesome or lame; if people vote awesome you get DJ points, they can become fans of DJ’s, so in a way it’s sort of like your own radio station, but I like it because it’s a legit service, how they’ve set it up is very fun, very social, I’ve been hanging out a lot in the WDS Café Disco, which WDS is Webdevstudios.com.
Brad: It’s crazy in there.
Patrick: (Laughs) So Brad and a number of his employees as well as his business partner are in the room and playing different tracks, and I’ve joined in that as well, and it’s just a fun thing, a fun experience, it’s one of those things where it’s almost better just to do it then to hear me explain it.
Louis: Yeah, I’ll definitely have a look.
Patrick: So you should definitely check it out, and it’s got a lot of buzz going right now as far as in the social entrepreneur, or whatever you want to call it, social media circles, there’s a lot of people talking about it, there’s a lot of people on it, there’s a lot of people that have rooms. I’m looking at it right now and there’s a Google NYC room, I don’t know if Google created that but there is a Google room and there and I know Jason Calacanis had a room in there, and there’s rooms for various companies and websites, and there’s Airbnb room I’m looking at right now. So it’s just a really cool service, check it out if you love music.
Louis: Yeah. Just out of curiosity how is the selection of songs if it’s all licensed, is it pretty decent?
Patrick: Well, MediaNet says they have a catalog of over 11 million songs with a 100,000 songs added every week, so they have the four major labels and they have they say 80,000 independent label. So they have that license catalog and they also — a lot of people upload music; I, myself, am hesitant to do that just because I’m not sure how the MediaNet licensing allows for that or makes that okay, so I’m holding off on any uploading, but, in general the catalog that they have, as I said, quite large, over 11 million tracks, so if you can think of a track there’s a good chance that it is on there, especially if the group has been signed to a major label or even if it ‘s an indie one there’s a fair chance as well. There’s every genre of music that you could think of, the WDS room especially has played every genre of music from Putting on the Ritz by Taco, which is Brad’s daily record that he plays, to my collection which is a little more Hip Hop in influence. You should check it out, Louis.
Louis: Sounds good. I will; I think I’ll have to friend you guys on Facebook, I haven’t but that will be worth it.
Patrick: Thank you for admitting that publicly (laughter).
Josh: The one thing that will make it worth it. It wasn’t worth it before, but now.
Louis: My spotlight this week is this set of icons, it’s sort of web icons, so these little icons that you can use for a site, it’s got like a search icon, a magnifying glass and all of those things that are generated in pure CSS. So it’s all using sort of the after and before pseudo selectors to create icons for your interfaces on your websites without any images, and there’s really an amazing selection of them going from sort of checkmarks, pie charts, a repeat rewind, permalink, and so these are done using just sort of rotates and CSS transforms to sort of create shapes, maybe some of you have seen the sort of tutorials where they show you how to create like triangles or page curls or whatever in pure CSS, but this is really taking it to another level in doing, I don’t know, there must be 50-odd or more than that icons all in pure CSS and all just available to use, it’s just code so you can give it a go. Obviously it doesn’t work in IE but that’s just I guess (laughter) —
Brad: But what does really?
Louis: Yeah, I know, nothing works in IE, so.
Patrick: Is this powered by WebGL? Is my desktop going to get taken advantage of? (Laughter)
Louis: Right now there’s no 3D icons but you never know.
Brad: I have a fun info graph, everybody loves info graphs, always fun pictures and stats; I guess I’m bringing a lot of stats or graphs to the table today.
Patrick: And no one loves them more than Shanghai web designers though.
Brad: Apparently. And this one a lot of you have probably seen it but I thought it was pretty interesting, so if you haven’t seen it check it out, it’s called What Happens on the Internet Every 60 Seconds, and it lists all sorts of things that happen within 60 seconds on the Internet such as Google serves up almost 700,000 searches every minute, there are 6,600 pictures uploaded to Flickr every minute, 168 million emails sent, 70 new domains are registered every minute, so just over one a second. I actually thought domains would be higher but I guess it’s probably because there’s just not as many out there, right? It takes longer to find them. There are 170,000-plus minutes of voice calls on Skype, I mean it’s really mind-blowing just looking at some of these numbers, it’s a pretty neat little info graph so we’ll definitely have a link in the show notes.
Patrick: Yeah, I hadn’t seen this actually myself. These numbers are interesting, 70 domain names like you said in 60 seconds, and the Skype number is 370,000 minutes per 60 seconds, so that means 370,000 people are on Skype at any given moment.
Brad: I like the one new definition on Urban Dictionary every minute.
Louis: Yeah, that was my favorite as well.
Patrick: And I wonder how the one new Associated article got in there, I’m looking at that one like is this sponsored, what’s going on over there? This looks weird to me.
Brad: Oh, did you see the iPhone, 13,000 iPhone applications; that’s insane.
Patrick: We can never sleep, that’s why we’re all dying younger.
Josh: So I also have an info graph. At Mashable we’ve actually just started doing some of our own really high quality info graphics that we’re pretty proud of, so I’m just going to put this out there, I know it’s a little self-referential but we’re really proud of this so, you know. Basically we got a big data dump from Cisco that showed that they had a ton of spreadsheets that I didn’t understand that I gave to an artist that he sorted through, this guy Nick Sixx Siegler who is really talented, and he pulled out all this amazing data about what Cisco expects global Internet traffic to do over the next five years, or four years I guess. Some of the predictions that they’ve made are really mind-blowing, so I mean it’s actually very similar to what Brad was talking about but this is for the entire year so, for example, a million minutes of video will go across the Internet every second in 2015, so if you thought what was going across the Internet every minute now is a lot, that’s 674 days of video every second four years from now and that’s pretty crazy. And the average broadband speed will obviously have to go up to accommodate all that traffic, so the good news is that the average speed around the world will go up from seven megahertz per second to 28 which is welcome news; I know a lot of people who are still stuck on slow DSL.
Louis: Yeah, like all of Australia (laughter).
Patrick: I don’t know what ‘slow’ is but just watch it.
Louis: I’d love to believe that but I’m just so —
Patrick: Let’s get our measuring sticks out.
Louis: I’m so bitter about DSL now that we’ll see what happens.
Josh: The other crazy stat on here is just that the projected device growth, and we looked at the percentages because raw numbers were a little deceiving, but the percentages you can actually see which categories of devices are going to see the most growth over the next four years, at least according to what Cisco is predicting, and crazily enough flat panel television’s up 1000%, I think that’s probably just because a lot of people are finally getting ready to upgrade from those old tube televisions and also as more flat panels are getting Internet apps baked in people are going to start switching over. But, not surprisingly the second biggest device growth category is tablet computers with 750% growth predicted over the next four years which is, you know, that’s showing what kind of impact the iPad has had on personal computing; desktops are only going to be 25%, people are still buying them but not that much, non-Smartphones only up 17%, laptops only up 83%, so really —
Louis: Everyone’s looking at this same number on this graph, it’s got the third largest, so you mentioned flat panel television in the lead with tablets —
Patrick: Yeah, this is the surprising one; this is the biggest number here. Go ahead, Louis.
Louis: The third largest one at 600% growth from 2010 to 2015 is apparently the digital photo frame, now I’m really not sure I buy that one.
Brad: I thought that phase passed a couple years ago.
Patrick: Yeah, I don’t have one. I mean that’s what it’s saying; I’m going to buy one, in the next five years I will own one so just count on that (laughter) before I own a Smartphone.
Josh: I’ve heard that Brad’s put in like a pre-order for like 40,000 of them, so he’s accounting for like —
Patrick: As soon as you can hook those babies up to Turntable.fm he will line his wall.
Brad: I’m going to have the .digitalphotoframe TLD too, so I’m gonna really own that market.
Louis: I think maybe that’s it because it’s a percentage here.
Josh: It’s a function of us looking at percentages, so I think it might be that there’s one digital photo frame out there right now and then there’s going to be 600 four years from now (laughter).
Louis: Yeah, that’s maybe where that’s coming from.
Patrick: And maybe it’s just one of those really kind of, I hate to say it, but it’s not a lack of knowledge but just a pretty consumer device, you know, it’s an easy sell, you know, it’s easy to describe, it’s like here is a frame, you put your card in it, it displays your pictures, bam! And that’s it, it’s like it’s an easy sell I guess you could say.
Louis: The other thing is they’ll probably be — I mean you know they’re already pretty cheap, but they’ll probably be like 10 or 15 bucks in a couple years. It’ll be cheaper than buying a wooden photo frame. One of the things I really like about this though is that it’s saying that worldwide Internet traffic will approach one zettabyte per year by 2015, and then it’s trying to explain what one zettabyte is, and the information it gives is “One zettabyte is all digitally stored information as of 2010,” so the entire amount of information we currently have would be traversing the Internet every year in five years.
Patrick: What is a zettabyte?
Brad: That number’s so large, so big, you can’t even fathom like how big that is. Even looking at all those zeros it’s still doesn’t compute like how big that number is.
Josh: Yeah, I mean and some of these numbers came from Cisco, we were actually able to verify from Scientific American the estimated capacity of the human brain is 2.5 petabytes which is, I’m not going to even attempt to do the math, but that’s —
Patrick: You don’t have a calculator that has that many zeros.
Josh: I mean a petabyte is a 10 to the 15 bytes, and a zettabyte is 1×10 to the 21 bytes, so it’s orders of magnitude smaller and that’s the capacity of the human brain, and the brain carries a lot of information so there’s going to be a lot of information out there. I remember when we were doing the research for this info graphic we came across another info graphic, and I’m going to butcher this stat, but it was something like if you were to try to build a datacenter, to house one zettabyte of information it would cost like the GDP of every country in the world or something ridiculous.
Patrick: It would cost a zettabyte is what it would cost in actual currency.
Josh: It would like cover the state of New Jersey, like it was just impossible to store this amount of information in one place with the technology we have right now, so it’s an amazing amount of information. And then to think that that’s actually just going to be traversing the Internet over the course of the year, not just stored places, that the amount of information that’s stored is going to be even bigger, so it’s just crazy how much more information we’re adding out into the ether every year.
Patrick: People talk about how much will a gigabyte cost, how much will a zettabyte cost when we get there; when will I get my zettabyte external hard drive, USB hard drive, when will I get that?
Josh: Steve Jobs probably already has an iPod that holds a zettabyte like out in — that’s like the iPod 10, and it just implants directly into your eye and you just see it, you don’t even have to like hold it, it’s amazing technology.
Patrick: I saw a South Park episode about that I think.
Brad: The eye-I (laughter).
Josh: Yes, the eye-I.
Louis: So, hey, that was a good long show, so it’s been great having you on, Josh, and hopefully —
Josh: I’m sure you’ll never have me back (laughter).
Louis: Stephan might be back next week but I won’t be, I’m going to be on vacation for a month back home, so yeah, you guys will be holding down the fort, Patrick will be running lead for the next couple of weeks, and hopefully I’ll see you guys on the other side. So, yeah, do you guys want to go around the table?
Brad: Sure. I’m Brad Williams with Webdev Studios and you can find me on Twitter @williamsba.
Patrick: I am Patrick O’Keefe of the iFroggy Network, on Twitter @ifroggy, i-f-r-o-g-g-y.
Josh: I am Josh Catone of Mashable. I’m on Twitter @catone, that’s c-a-t-o-n-e, and thanks for having me, guys.
Louis: And thanks for listening to this week’s episode of the SitePoint Podcast. I’d love to hear what you thought about today’s show, so if you have any thoughts or suggestions just go to SitePoint.com/podcast and you can leave a comment on today’s episode, you can also get any of our previous episodes to download or subscribe to get the show automatically. You can follow SitePoint on Twitter @sitepointdotcom, that’s SitePoint d-o-t-c-o-m, 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.
Theme music by Mike Mella.
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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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