Thoughts on Apple

Someone recently asked if I thought Apple was sleazy

Apple makes great, solid & beautiful hardware. They push technology forward and they can be great innovators. I love this about them.

What I don’t like about Apple is they rarely adopt any open standards. They come at most everything with an attempt to lock you into their ecosystem. They want to make it very hard for you to leave their platform and they want licensing fees on every little proprietary plug and dongle they can create. Frankly, I’m surprised they support bluetooth and more recently USB-C.

I prefer open standards. It is better for consumers and in many ways the environment (use of plugs/wires/chargers… across people and devices). If they hadn’t kept trying to push me into using their proprietary software I would still be using an iPhone.

I see this bad behavior from many of the big companies right now. Amazon won’t allow Google products in their store or allow Google apps on the Fire tablets. Microsoft does a lot of the same. Xbox doesn’t have Google play movies. You can’t rent Amazon movies on the Xbox’s amazon app.

In the end, it is the consumers who pay big for all this fighting to own us and the companies often lose too. I left IOS because of it and I prefer a Roku for streaming because Amazon, Microsoft and Google refuse to play well together while Roku offers access to all services.

So in many ways, I think Apple is truly great but they really don’t need to adopt these lock-you-in practices to get customers. People would be flocking to Apple even if they were more open to allowing the innovations of other corporations on their platform and their customers would probably love them even more.

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Setting the Active Navbar item with Bootstrap 4 and jQuery

Following in the footsteps of the fine answer at StackOverflow for “How to extract class from body element using jQuery?” using regular expressions, if you are adding your navbar as an include (following DRY principles), here is a nice clean way to not only automatically enable the active item in the navbar and its submenu, but also append the <span class="sr-only">(current)</span> for screenreaders, to the appropriate link text.

Now, all you need to do is on each page, add a ‘page-*‘ class to the <body> tag, which will connect with a matching class that you add on your .nav-item or .dropdown-item, like so (observe the highlighted lines):

Notice how, in the dropdown markup above, the individual dropdown items get one class each, but the nav-item containing it gets each of them appended, so that both the top level nav gets highlighted as active, as well as its entry in the submenu

Bootstrap 4 Beta navbar with active dropdowns set via jquery

Now that’s slick. Check it out on Codeply

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Malware and Viruses

Who do you blame?holy-crap
I can never really decide where the bulk of the blame lands when it comes to malware and viruses on the windows platform. Of course, the authors of the viruses and malware suck, but after that how much blame lands on MS? Personally, I’ve had little trouble. When I have cleaned other machines it is always traceable down to a stupid “yes” click or shady install of some malware. #malware  #viruses   #microsoftwindows

My Malware/Virus removal toolbox *
I always download from the original software vendor’s site to avoid fakes and add-on crapware. Here are some of my primary removal tools:
* The best way to be sure your system is clean is to reinstall the OS, but very few people want to do that out of the gate.

I always run a realtime virus scanner like ESET. You may want to try their free online scanner in a pinch . Your best defense is knowing the software’s source is safe before you click install. Microsoft Security Essentials seems to be pretty good too (and free) but I recently cleaned a machine that supposedly had it running. Of course, no virus software that I know of is going to protect you from manually installing bad software.

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A new look for CSS3 Sprites

It’s interesting to realize just how long ago this technique began to be used, and in terms of web technology, the fact that it still sees widespread usage is pretty telling how groundbreaking this was back then.

Now, with more and more browsers supporting CSS3 transitions, it’s now possible to add fancy fading effects to your sprites without even needing javascript, and with minimal impact to the usual css3 sprites code for rollovers, and a bit of :active for mobile devices to at least catch the fade-in on click.

Starting with a typical sprite used for social media links ;  150×100 with 40px icons centered in a 50px matrix:

typical sprite used for social media rollovers

The markup is pretty simple:

But the CSS gets interesting:

It starts off pretty typical, but around line 23, instead of repositioning the css sprite on hover we do something a bit different —  using the CSS pseudo-class :after to hold the re-positioned image in the same place as the original but with an opacity of 0 (so it’s completely transparent), we adjust the opacity on :hover/:active to 1;

The even fancier bit comes from the new transition property where we adjust it over a 0.8 second span to create the fadein/fadeout effect.

The result?  Sexy.

The CSS for this feels a tad more elegant as well. Plus since this sort of fanciness requires no additional javascript, you save a tad on your website download payload to the client browser.

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What’s the difference between a domain forwarder and an alias?

(1) There are 2 typical types of multi-URL setups: the Forwarder and Alias.
(2) Both types will involve changes at the registrar; creating an alias involves some setting adjustments at the host server.

The forwarder:
There is an existing website at and you have another url If you want people to type in and get forwarded to (and see in the address bar) this is a forwarder.

The alias:
A visitor types in and they see all the content from but the address is the one seen in the address bar. Some hosting systems call this a “parked” domain.

Years ago I liked aliases but with the changes in search engine optimization I generally recommend forwarders over aliases these days.

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#forwarder #dns #aliases #parked domains

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POSSE is an acronym/abbreviation for Publish (on your) Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere. It’s a Syndication Model where the flow involves posting your content on your own domain first, then syndicating out copies to 3rd party services with perma(short)links back to the original version.

POSSE lets your friends keep using whatever silo aggregator (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) they’ve been using to read your stuff.

It’s a key part of why and how the “IndieWeb” movement is different from just “everyone blog on their own site”, and also different from “everyone just install and run StatusNet/Diaspora” etc…”


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On-Demand and Streaming TV Programming is a pain

The direction of On-Demand and Streaming TV Programming is really getting worse. I pay a couple hundred a month to comcast and now they want me to pay for a majority of on-demand shows… except for some of the most recent.

Netflix is being used to market incomplete shows (just a few episodes) and shows that haven’t gained an audience. Once they attract attention on Netflix new seasons are forever (if ever) to show up on Netflix.

My paid HuluPlus account is as slow and riddled with ads as the free version. My benefit for paying for show I already pay comcast for is a larger library.

TV episodes seem to be costing $2.99 to stream. This seems a bit damn high. Hey, how about $.99 cents? What happened to that? Afterall, we aren’t talking a movie. Of course, I’m already paying comcast a ton for this stuff but their DVR fills up in  a flash. Remember VCRs and all the law suits that format went through? In the end, we were able to record what ever we wanted, watch it whenever we wanted and keep it as long as we wanted. As long as it was for personal use and we weren’t trying to profit.

These days, some of my digital recordings self-destruct after a period of time. Most have to have the viewing completed in a period of time after starting to view. Lastly, some programs are blocking the DVR altogether.

Then there is the device sniffing. I had an early android tablet that could watch netflix in the browser, then they required an app and the app wouldn’t work on that device. Have you ever seen the “This program is not available for your device” message? Give me a break! If I am paying for it, what do you care if I am on a computer or a tablet?

And why in the workd is HuluPlus still not on GoogleTV? Google is abandoning it and renaming the platform AndroidTV. Oddly my Google TV, which is only 2 or 3 years old, is considered a dinosaur and not worth attention. The Google app exists but is still blocked on GoogleTV. Bite me you digital media monsters.

I love the digital world. Hell, I’ve made a career out of it, but everything that had so much potential is being turned into a money grab by big corporations and lawyers. The consumer is the victim in this battle.

And on a somewhat related side note, if you want things to get worse, ignore the Net Neutrality fight. We’ve practically lost the ability to record a program. Can you imagine when ISPs start controlling what sites you can go to and what apps/websites get into the fast lane?

end rant.

#StreamingMedia   #mediarights   #fastlane  #internetspeedthrottling  #NetNeutrality

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Is Amazon’s new Kindle Unlimited doomed to fail

Amazon  might say otherwise, but as near as I can tell, they have killed Kindle’s Prime Lending Library for the entirely unattractive $9.99 per month Kindle Unlimited (also coined unofficially as a Netflix For Books).
Even their own lending library page has nothing but “KindleUnlimited” titles as far as I can tell (see screenshot and link) Now I’m a huge Amazon fan, but on this one I will pass. I read 2 or 3 books a month and unless I’ve borrowed them for nothing, I own them. Most of my books only cost 5 bucks or less and many are free. There is no way I’m paying $10 per month for the privilege of borrowing books. I’ve been able to borrow from the brick and mortar library for free for years and from the prime lending library for free for quite a while.I predict this effort will be an absolute flop . Particularly, in the light of the fact that you took away something you were already including with prime membership and added it into this new KindleUnlimited initiative.
Will the new Amazon Music be the next service to move out of prime and into its own monthly subscription service?
#Amazon #NotForMe #KindleOwnersLendingLibrary #kindleunlimited #NetflixForBooks #AmazonMusic

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