Forget ‘Do Not Track’ — Protect Your Privacy Today With ‘DoNotTrackMe’ Add-On
Scott GilbertsonScott Gilbertson, WebMonkeyWebMonkey, 2012/12/13

"If you’re serious about online privacy you’re going to have to do more than hope that advertisers voluntarily stop tracking you," writes Scott Gilbertson. "You’re going to have to actively block them." Quite so, and this is doubly important if you work in an industry that involves any sort of security, as tracking data i often the perfect intelligence. I use DoNotTrackMe which has receintly gone through "a major upgrade that blocks more trackers, adds some nice analytics and offers per-site tracking reports." I've also used use Ghostery in the past.

Today: Total:62 [Comment] [Direct Link]
Mozilla Blends Social API, WebRTC for More Social Apps
Scott GilbertsonScott Gilbertson, WebMonkeyWebMonkey, 2012/12/06

This is what we wanted Diaspora to do: Mozilla's "newest Social API demo removes the need for social websites entirely, tapping emerging web standards to create a real-time video calling, data sharing app — one part Skype, one part Facebook, all parts web-native." It's more than just a social network. "pPeer-to-peer video calls and file sharing features come from WebRTC, a proposed web standard that Mozilla and others are working on in conjunction with the W3C." More from Mozilla’s Maire Reavy on the Mozilla blog. The implicaions for Facebook if this takes off are significant, but of course, we would need to see other browsers adopt the API. Most likely outcome? Facebook launching its own browser, to complement its mobile apps.

Today: Total:75 [Comment] [Direct Link]
‘The Useless Web’ Catalogs Time-Wasting Greatness
Scott GilbertsonScott Gilbertson, WebMonkeyWebMonkey, 2012/12/05

Just because: "Somewhere in parallel universe the web consists entirely of totally useful, boring applications and websites. Fortunately we don’t live in that universe, which is why we have The Useless Web (potentially NSFW), a collection of the web’s most useless pages." Note that some of these sites will play loud noises, bog down your computer, and generally disrupt things.

Today: Total:81 [Comment] [Direct Link]
Yahoo, Microsoft Tiff Highlights the Epic Failure of ‘Do Not Track’
Scott GilbertsonScott Gilbertson, WebmonkeyWebMonkey, 2012/10/29

I think we're learning an important lesson in web economics this week, and it's this: if consumers simply ask for privacy and security on the part of web service providers, it will not be granted. There's no such thing as a user's 'terms of service' that imposes obligations on providers. The closest analogy I can think of was 'robots.txt' on my web server, which was routinely ignored. Now we also have the 'do not track' header on web browsers politely asking service providers not to issue and read tracking cookies. And the result: request ignored. (It's a bit like the telephone 'do not call' lists - that were prized by telemarketers as accurate lists of active telephone numbers they could call). We should have learned by now that corporations do not 'self-govern'. It simply doesn't happen. Corporations will opt for short-term self-interest over social good every time, unless constrained by law. Hence: "The DNT specification has become a joke. It has seriously been proposed that one of the 'Permitted Uses for Third Parties and Service Providers' be 'marketing.' So one of the permitted uses for Do Not Track might be to allow advertisers to track you."

Today: Total:40 [Comment] [Direct Link]
Two HTML Standards Diverge in a Wood
Scott GilbertsonScott Gilbertson, WebMonkeyWebMonkey, 2012/07/27

There has been a longstanding tension between the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and various broowser vendors over the development of web standards. As usual, the vendors want to implement new features right away, and W3C wants to wait and seek consensus first. This has been aggrevated by the use of browser-specific tags for styling (such as moz-border-image and dozens of others). Now the much-awaited HTML5 specification is splitting between these two camps. But it's better not to see this as a parting of the ways. “The WHATWG effort is focused on developing the canonical description of HTML,” writes Hickson on the mailing list. “The W3C effort, meanwhile, is now focused on creating a snapshot developed according to the venerable W3C process.”

Today: Total:78 [Comment] [Direct Link]
Meet Squirrel, the Image That’s Also a Webpage
Scott GilbertsonScott Gilbertson, WebMonkeyWebMonkey, 2012/07/27

click me
OK, I don't know how to do it yet, though I've been prodding around the edges of this intriguing mystery. Here's a photo of a squirrel. If you click on the photo, you get a page describing the photo of the squirrel. The very same file is both an image when embedded and a web page when viewed through a browser. I imagine it has something to do with combining files - I tried using the same technique described here, to combine a zip file and a jpg image - but it didn't work. But it's probably something pretty simply like that. Inquiring minds want to know more.

Today: Total:84 [Comment] [Direct Link]
Ready or Not, Adaptive-Image Solution Is Now Part of HTML
Scott GilbertsonScott Gilbertson, WebMonkeyWebMonkey, 2012/05/18

One of the (few) really neat things about OpenPublish on Drupal is the image system. Here, you upload an image once, and the system creates several versions of the image, which can be used by a device-aware system (which OpenPublish isn't) to put small images on small screens and bigger images on the large screens. As Webmonkey says, "web authors use a variety of hacks to (incompletely) work around this problem, but to really solve it the web likely needs new tools." Using HTML, for example, that will read information from the head of the document to serve the right image.

Today: Total:59 [Comment] [Direct Link]
WebKit Offers Early Preview of ‘Web Intents’
Scott GilbertsonScott Gilbertson, WebmonkeyWebMonkey, 2012/05/09

This is really interesting. The Webkit 'intent' tag is supposed to accomplish basically the same objective as Learning Tools Interoperability. Instead of linking directly to a specific online application, such as a photo editor, it makes clear the intent of the tag, to (say) 'enable photo editing'. The browser software then inserts a link to your preferred application, or to a list of applications, as the case may be. This is better than LTI, of course, because the work is done by the individual browser, not the learning management system, which allows for genuinely personalized tools.

"For some more background on Web Intents, check out Paul Kinlan’s blog, particularly his overview post on the brief history of Web Intents and his follow-up on using the Web Intents JavaScript APIs in Chrome. Tantek Çelik, the creator of microformats, also wrote a nice post last year on what he calls Web Actions (same thing, better name)."

Today: Total:50 [Comment] [Direct Link]
Multiplayer Asteroids, Sans Asteroids
Scott GilbertsonScott Gilbertson, WebmonkeyWebMonkey, 2012/04/11

If you had spent as much time as I had standing in front of a console playing Asteroids at the local arcade, you'd understand why I have to run this item. "It started with a post on Seb Lee-Delisle’s blog where he claimed to have built a Node.js-based real-time multiplayer version of the classic Asteroids videogame (albeit without the asteroids). That turned out to be an April Fool’s prank, but the idea was compelling enough that now there really is a real-time, multiplayer Asteroids game on the web. It’s based on Doug McInnes’ HTML5 Asteroids and uses the as-yet-unreleased Firebase API." Ah, progress. Today: Total:60 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Got a Profitable Flash-Based Videogame? Adobe Wants a Cut
Scott GilbertsonScott Gilbertson, WebMonkeyWebMonkey, 2012/03/29

Well this is going to mean the end of Flash. "Starting Aug. 1, 2012, Adobe will begin taking a 9 percent cut of game developers’ net revenue over $50,000." No doubt game designers are looking at the HTML5 demo by Mozilla as a way of avoiding Adobe's tax. Today: Total:52 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Secure Your Browser: Add-Ons to Stop Web Tracking
Scott GilbertsonScott Gilbertson, WebmonkeyWebMonkey, 2012/03/01

Mozilla warns, "If you haven't realized it yet, companies are tracking you across most of the sites you visit daily on the web. It's quite likely that these companies know more about you than your government. Some of them might even know more about you than your best friends." They've released the useful Collusion plug-in that allows you to see the tracking that occurs when you visit different websites. Taking a look at the PrivacyScore website gives you a good sense of who is doing the most tracking - companies like Facebook, Imgur, Twitpic and Drudge Report (the top four, respectively). Today: Total:71 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Backup Your Flickr Images in Your Own Parallel Dimension
Scott GilbertsonScott Gilbertson, WebmonkeyWebMonkey, 2011/11/11

If you are depending on Flickr to keep the one-and-only copy of your favorite photos, you might want to consider an alternative. This application will create a backup library of your Flickr photos (me, I keep my photos on multiple backup disk drives, and use Flickr as a backup for them). Today: Total:58 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Gate One Puts a Terminal Emulator in Your Web Browser
Scott GilbertsonScott Gilbertson, WebmonkeyWebMonkey, 2011/10/14

Oh, hey, this is cool. "If you’ve ever needed to connect to a remote server without installing any desktop software or doing anything other than opening a new browser window, then you need to check out Gate One. Gate One is a web-based terminal emulator and SSH client that will work in any modern web browser." Today: Total:74 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Mozilla Hacks Blog Offers HTML5 Geolocation Primer
Scott GilbertsonScott Gilbertson, WebmonkeyWebMonkey, 2011/09/16

"The Mozilla Hacks blog has posted a nice screencast overview of the HTML5 Geolocation API," reports this item. I don't know anything about geolocation (beyond the basics of some geo xml formats) but I'm sure it will come up in some online course in the future, so it's good to have this reference. Today: Total:42 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Mozilla’s WebAPI Wants to Replace Native Apps With HTML5
Scott GilbertsonScott Gilbertson, WebMonkeyWebMonkey, 2011/08/24

This is good news. "Mozilla has launched an ambitious new project aimed at breaking down the proprietary app systems on today’s mobile devices. The project, dubbed WebAPI, is Mozilla’s effort to provide a consistent, cross-platform, web-based API for mobile app developers." Of course, how willing proprietary companies, like Google and Facebook, will be to work with Mozilla instead of their own APIs is yet to be seen. Today: Total:46 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Adapt.js Offers JavaScript Alternative to CSS Media Queries
Scott GilbertsonScott Gilbertson, WebmonkeyWebMonkey, 2011/04/20

Nice nifty little Javascript that will handle stylesheet selection for you, thus offering support to browsers that don't recognize the @media directive in CSS. Today: Total:43 [Comment] [Direct Link]

OpenID: The Web's Most Successful Failure
Scott GilbertsonScott Gilbertson, WebMonkeyWebMonkey, 2011/02/01

Scott Gilbertson makes the case that OpenID was not, in fact, a failure. H epoints to the fact that some 50,000 websites (including this one) support OpenID. He notes that it solved the original problem it was intended to solve, but then bogged down as the vision expanded. But the main issue with OpenID, he suggests, is that publishers never warmed to the idea because it meant users could enter, leave a comment, and exit, all anonymously. And he points out that things like Facebook Connect do the same thing and do it better, mostly, he suggests, because it shares user details using OAuth. A proposal to enable OpenID with OAuth has been entertained, but has not gained traction. Personally, I think one of the major stumbling blocks for OpenID is that it did not belong to some company. So there was no major push for it. Don't get me wrong - I think this was a strength of OpenID. But with the internet as it is now, with a few major players eagerly dividing the spoils, if it's unowned they're uninterested. Today: Total:68 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Opera's Next Act: Add-ons, Hardware Acceleration, Android
Scott GilbertsonScott Gilbertson, WebmonkeyWebMonkey, 2010/10/14

I spent a good amount of time working with Opera today, and while there's a lot I like about it - the integrated email and calendar, for example - I'm not happy with the mail filtering system that stubbornly refuses to filter emails (what's up with that?), an inability to create directories, and most importantly, the lack of an ad-blocker. The next release, which will support extensions, may support some of this. And the overall browser is very slick, very useful. Today: Total:45 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Diaspora Unveils its Open Social Code
Scott GilbertsonScott Gilbertson, WebmonkeyWebMonkey, 2010/09/17

So the long awaited alternative to Facebook has released its source code and the verdict seems to be: more work needed. The project announcement is here and you can get the code directly here. And the developers themselves admit there's more work needed. "We know there are security holes and bugs, and your data is not yet fully exportable." Other reviewers were much less kind. Dan Goodin, in the Register, writes, "hackers began identifying flaws they said could seriously compromise the security of those who used it. Among other things, the mistakes make it possible to hijack accounts, friend users without their permission, and delete their photos." More from Download Squad. Today: Total:57 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Twitter Moves to OAuth: The OAuthcalypse Is Nigh
Michael CaloreMichael Calore, WebmonkeyWebMonkey, 2010/09/04

Twitter is moving toward requiring that developers use OAuth. So this may be the point where OAuth 2.0, the simplified version of OAuth, takes off. "In OAuth authentication, the website or app will send you to Twitter where you sign yourself in, then Twitter will tell the website or app "Yeah, they are who they say they are." The website or app only gains the ability to do certain things with your account - post, read, reply, search - while staying locked out from the more sensitive stuff... The biggest advantage of OAuth is you don't have to tell your Twitter password to anyone other than Twitter." Today: Total:60 [Comment] [Direct Link]

New Frameworks Give Mobile-Web Apps a Boost
Scott GilbertsonScott Gilbertson, WebmonkeyWebMonkey,

Web programming (and therefore e-learning development) is hardly about HTML any more. Today's web programming involves the provision of advanced services, and for this developers are using more and more sophisticated web frameworks. These are especially useful as they can deliver content and services to a variety of platforms, and not just web browsers. This article is a good overview and introduction. Today: Total:71 [Comment] [Direct Link]

To See How OpenID Can Work Well, Look at Stack Overflow
Scott GilbertsonScott Gilbertson, WebmonkeyWebMonkey,

OpenID is still very much a work in progress. To be honest, I haven't made the leap to start using myself, mostly because I don't trust any of the OpenID providers (no, not even Google). And I really want to see it merged with OAuth. In the end, I want to provide my own ID, but we've been drifting toward branded IDs, which has its good points and bad points. This post links to Jeff Atwood's overview of OpenID on Stack Overflow. And while OpenID isn't perfect, as Atwood says, "I would rather be part of the solution than yet another brick in the wall of the problem… even if it involves a tiny bit of short-term friction." Today: Total:55 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Conway's Game of Life in JavaScript
Michael CaloreMichael Calore, WebmonkeyWebMonkey,

Every computer science student knows the game of "Life" as a first-year programming exercise. But it's also a great illustration of how simple rules and autonomous but interconnected cells can produce complex behaviours. This page links to a Javascript version of Life. But if you want to play it, I would recommend using Google Chrome - the Javascript crawled on my Firefox but zipped briskly along on Chrome. Today: Total:76 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Xkcd Redesign Pays Homage to GeoCities, Which Dies Today
Michael CaloreMichael Calore, WebmonkeyWebMonkey,

I quite enjoy the web comic XKCD, which publishes geek-literate panels every day. I especially liked it today as the page was redesigned to pay homage to the shutting down of Geocities. I remember when Geocities opened up - it was a marvel in its time, which an especially creative Javascript system (that I studied in detail) to support user authoring of web pages. Today: Total:50 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Firefox 3.6 Aims to Bring Fullscreen, Open Source Video to the Web
Scott GilbertsonScott Gilbertson, WebmonkeyWebMonkey,

Open video could be a gamechanger. To date, video has been fairly tightly controlled, because most of it resides on large hosting sites like YouTube or Blip, and these respond very quickly (and without question) to takedown orders or regional blocking. But give video to the masses, and it gets a lot harder to control, especially if net neutrality means that the average user pays the same rate as a large producer, and not a whole lot more, as would otherwise be the case. Today: Total:55 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Amazon Cripples Mobile Apps With New API Restrictions
Scott GilbertsonScott Gilbertson, WebmonkeyWebMonkey,

This is an odd one: Amazon.com has released new terms of service that prohibit any mobile applications from accessing its API. The suggestion is that this new restriction is intended to kill competition to SnapTell, recently acquired by Amazon. A large number of developers are upset, but you know, building a platform-sepcific app was one of the thing I recommended that you not build in the future. Today: Total:55 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Weave Update for Firefox Syncs Your Web Identity
Scott GilbertsonScott Gilbertson, WebmonkeyWebMonkey,

More post-Web 2.0 magic. "If you're a Firefox user, you now have the ability to synchronize not only your bookmarks, browsing history and user preferences across multiple PCs - you can also sync your identity." More on the new version of Firefox. Today: Total:75 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Google Waves Goodbye to E-Mail, Welcomes Real-Time Communication
Michael CaloreMichael Calore, WebMonkeyWebMonkey,

A couple of non-event announcements today, Google's Wave, a communication tool (replaces Outlook?) and Microsoft's Bing, a search tool (replaces Google?). You can't actually use either of these yet, so what you're reading from the various reports is pre-launch publicity. Today: Total:78 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Why Facebook Shut Down the Only Useful App It Ever Had
Scott GilbertsonScott Gilbertson, WebMonkeyWebMonkey,

Facebook is going in exactly the wrong direction as it closes off RSS feeds out of Facebook accounts into the world. Scott Gilbertson writes, "we'll miss Newsfeed RSS is it provided a tantalizing glimpse of how fun Facebook could be when we really did have control over the experience." Why? He opines, "the Facebook platform and all its blustering about privacy end up looking more like a smokescreen designed to make your data available to an advertising platform that will (so the site desperately hopes) enable Facebook to one day make money." Today: Total:49 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Sharing Your Media With Media RSS
Andy VolkAndy Volk, WebMonkeyWebMonkey,

Good article deswcribing how RSS can be used to syndicate multimedia content. And hey, if you substitute the words 'learning resource' for 'media' in this article, you get a pretty good picture of what I have been saying about learning object metadata for a while now. Via Marc Canter. Today: Total:54 [Comment] [Direct Link]


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