Category Archives: Software

February 15, 2015

Redshift

Redshift adjusts the color temperature of your screen according to your surroundings. This may help your eyes hurt less if you are working in front of the screen at night. This program is inspired by f.lux (please see this post for the reason why I started this project).

January 27, 2015

Inside Microsoft’s New Rendering Engine For “Project Spartan”

So we set about to create a new engine using IE11’s standards support as a baseline. I watched Justin Rogers, one of our engineers, press “Enter” on the commit that forked the engine—it took almost 45 minutes just to process it (just committing the changes, not building!). When it completed, there was a liberating silence when we realized what this now enabled us to do: delete code, every developer’s favorite catharsis.

In the coming months, swathes of IE legacy were deleted from the new engine. Gone were document modes. Removed was the subsystem responsible for emulating IE8 layout quirks. VBScript eliminated. Remnants like attachEvent, X-UA-Compatible, currentStyle were all purged from the new engine. The codebase looks little like Trident anymore (far more diverged already than even Blink is from WebKit).

An fascinating read. I always though that EdgeHTML would still be very similar to Trident, but apparently not.

January 20, 2015

What happens when you type google.com into your browser and hit enter

This repository is an attempt to answer the age old interview question “What happens when you type google.com into your browser and press enter?”

Except instead of the usual story, we’re going to try to answer this question in as much detail as possible. No skipping out on anything.

When they say “in as much detail as possible”, they really mean it, starting from what happens with the keyboard circuitry when you press enter. Pretty astounding stuff when you think about it. (via the venerable kottke.org)

January 12, 2015

The God Login

A really insightful post by Jeff Atwood on the design choices behind the login system for Discourse.

December 16, 2014

Parallax Scrolling: Attention Getter or Headache?

Although this article may seem to be a scathing denunciation of the usefulness of parallax scrolling, it’s not all bad news for parallax lovers. If you use parallax in moderation and stay within the bounds of these sophisticated optimization strategies, parallax scrolling actually has the potential to delight users, thus improving a Web site’s user experience.

Whilst not quite as scathing as my own thoughts on the matter, this article does bring up some good examples of the tradeoffs one invariably makes when employing parallax design. Unless there is a strong case to be made for using it, don’t use it.

December 15, 2014

The Evolution of eInk

eInk devices are also pleasant in a paradoxical way because they basically suck at everything that isn’t reading. That doesn’t sound like something you’d want, except when you notice you spend every fifth page switching back to Twitter or Facebook or Tinder or Snapchat or whatever. eInk devices let you tune out the world and truly immerse yourself in reading.

I’m still waiting for an affordable, large eInk screen I can use as an information radiator.

December 5, 2014
December 4, 2014

Google now lets you prove your humanity with a single click

This new “No CAPTCHA reCAPTCHA” (try saying that three times fast) judges you instantaneously with a “risk analysis engine” that considers miscellaneous bits like your IP address and the movements of your mouse cursor to see if you’re actually made of flesh and blood. In the event that you don’t pass muster the first time ’round, you’ll have to sit through a more traditional CAPTCHA complete with those all-too-familiar screwy words and numbers.

An interesting approach, but isn’t it a shame that this requires such profound engineering in the first place?

December 1, 2014

mermaid

Generation of diagrams and flowcharts from text in a similar manner as markdown.

Ever wanted to simplify documentation and avoid heavy tools like Visio when explaining your code?

This is why mermaid was born, a simple markdown-like script language for generating charts from text via javascript.

Great stuff. (via The Changelog)

November 27, 2014

Charted

Charted is a tool for automatically visualizing data, created by the Product Science team at Medium. Provide the link to a data file and Charted returns a beautiful, interactive, and shareable chart of the data. Charted is deliberately sparse in formatting and data transformation options, and instead gives you a few powerful core features:

  • Rendering well on all screen sizes, including monitors
  • Re-fetching the data and updating the chart every 30 minutes
  • Moving data series into separate charts
  • Adjusting the chart type, labels/titles, and background

This is just awesome. There’s a hosted version available at charted.co in case you don’t want to run the software yourself.