Myles Braithwaite

New Website Design

Ever since I read Responsive Web Design by Ethan Marcotte I wanted to make my website work on browser sizes between 1000 to 300 pixel. I had something which was essentially a hack up for a long time but that was pretty much rubbish. I started using the Less Framework 4 (a CSS framework for creating responsive websites) for Frigga.

Less Framework provides four different layouts: Default, Tablet, Mobile, and Wide Mobile (see examples at the bottom of this post). This is great because about 10% of my traffic comes from people who are using tablets or mobile phones.

Default Layout

Less Framework 4 Default Layout

Tablet Layout

Less Framework 4 Tablet Layout


Less Framework 4 Tablet Layout on an iPad

Mobile Layout

Less Framework 4 Mobile Layout


Less Framework 4 Mobile Layout on an iPhone

Wide Mobile Layout

Less Framework 4 Wide Mobile Layout


Less Framework 4 Wide Mobile Layout on an iPhone

Dr. Stallman, you like to use the argument that proprietary software is like a drug, so let me extend that analogy: today's proprietary stuff isn't marijuana; it's heroin, and it's really, really good. You don't get somebody off heroin by lecturing them about how they should value their freedom; you switch them over to methadone for a while and let them slowly detox.

Spare us the e-mail yada-yada

Apparently those stupid email footers mean absolutely nothing (according to The Economist):

Many disclaimers are, in effect, seeking to impose a contractual obligation unilaterally, and thus are probably unenforceable. This is clear in Europe, where a directive from the European Commission tells the courts to strike out any unreasonable contractual obligation on a consumer if he has not freely negotiated it. And a footer stating that nothing in the e-mail should be used to break the law would be of no protection to a lawyer or financial adviser sending a message that did suggest something illegal.

I wont debate the technical aspects of the FSF's latest complacent because it's actually true. When you visit a website that uses JavaScript (and are not using an extension like NoScript) technically code is being executed on your computer that is likely to be preparatory (i.e. you visit Facebook without disabling JavaScript you are running non-free1 code on your computer).

But still I have read their document, "The JavaScript Trap", and What the Fuck!

  1. Non-free software is any software that is not free. Its use, redistribution or modification is prohibited, or requires you to ask for permission, or is restricted so much that you effectively can't do it freely. 

We can't estimate the time for any individual task in software development because the nature of the work is creating new knowledge.

The goal of software development is to automate processes. Once a process is automated, it can be run repeatedly, and in most cases, in a predictable time. Source code is like a manufacturing blueprint, the computer is like a manufacturing plant, the inputs (data) are like raw materials, and the outputs (data) are like finished goods. To use another analogy, the reason Starbucks makes drinks so quickly and repeatably is because they invested a lot of time in the design of the process, which was (and is, ongoing) a complex and expensive task. Individual Starbucks franchises don't have to re-discover this process, they just buy the blueprint. I'll leave it as an exercise to the reader to infer my opinion of the Costa coffee-making process.


SrtipeSpotter has got to be the coolest Open Source project of the year. From a picture of an animal with prominent stripes or patches the software can read it like a barcode. This will help Zoologist analyze animals without having to put a tracking device on them.

Imagine that you connected this to a photo sharing services like Flickr and were able to see if anyone else took a of that Zebra you saw in Kenya.

(via New Scientist)

You will most likely use this when traveling and in meetings.

It has the same drawbacks as the iPad where you are really creating content on the device but consuming it. You can view/edit Excel, Word, and PowerPoint documents (though a third party application).

It looks like the fact that it doesn't include an email, calendar, contacts, and BBM is for security. But how many times are you somewhere without your phone?

It has a front and rear facing camera so you can do some video conferencing. Which would most likely be proprietary to the BlackBerry. Hopefully Skype will come out with something soon.

If you are going to buy it I would suggest getting some type of Cloud Storage option (like Dropbox) so you don't have to mess around with syncing files (PDF, DOC, Excel, etc.).

  • Smaller than my iPad (could fit in your jacket pocket).
  • Wirelessly connects to your BlackBerry for Email, Calendar, Contacts, and BBM.
  • Download books using Kobo (the Indigo book store). Amazon has a Kindle app for BlackBerry phones so they also should come out with one for the PlayBook.
  • Has access to Documents To Go, so you can edit Excel, Word, and PowerPoint files (mostly like will cost money ~$20).
  • Has a built in PDF reader.
  • It has both a front and rear facing camera. So you could do video calling off it (Skype has an application for BlackBerry phones so the might have one for the PlayBook).
  • The web browser is based off WebKit (which powers Apple's Safari and Google's Chrome web browsers) so it should be standard compliant (but web apps like the CRM don't work so while) (Facebook and the like work fine).
  • Has Mobile Flash, which isn't the full flash so I am not sure what may or may not work.
  • It based off the QNX OS which is a variant of Unix for real-time tasks on an embedded system.
  • The BlackBerry App Store looks okay. Most apps look more oriented towards the Enterprise user.
  • Google Talk application so you can connect to Pidgin.
  • Evernote - a great note taking and searching application.
  • I couldn't find a remote desktop client (ex when you are in a meeting you could connect to your desktop).
  • It has support to run Android applications but most Android applications don't run while on Android phones so if I had to guess it would be wonky support at best.
  • Has support for an HDMI-out so you might be able to load a PowerPoint presentation on it and then display it on a projector/television (one that has HDMI support).
  • It has an application similar to iTunes where you could download music, movies and podcasts, but I wouldn't buy anything off it.
  • From what I can tell from the screen shots it looks like the calendar, contacts, and email is pretty much the same design as the phone version.

Just got invited to Novell Vibe by Tom. It is a really interesting idea for realtime communication but way to confusing. One cool feature of Vibe is that it supports capture (you get the email address <username>

But why make me have multiple accounts per email address, that means I have to have to have at least five different accounts.

Novell Vibe

Anyways I hope to have a review of Vibe up in a few days (or weeks). If you would like to communicate with me on Vibe my username is myles.