The Verge’s web sucks

Les Orchard wrote about how The Verge’s web sucks.

Wow. Devtools performed a second reload of the page to get an overall performance analysis. This time it downloaded 12MB – a little over 7MB in that is JavaScript!

Just to put this in some rough perspective: Assuming I had a 1GB / month data plan, I could visit sites like The Verge about 3 times per day before I hit my cap. If I’m lucky, some or most of this will get cached between requests so it won’t be quite that bad. In fact, another report tells me that a primed cache yields 8MB transferred – so maybe 4 visits per day.

It is a big concern and something I have become conscious of after my data usage spiked last month, despite me being overseas and not using my data plan for a week. Websites need to be more responsible with how they push content and advertising to us.

The web is stuffed full of call-to-actions, social media buttons, advertising, making the whole experience of surfing the web unbearable. I hate websites with ads that cover the content, making you unable to browse the site and leading you to inadvertently tap on the ad.

Twitch is ditching Flash and switching to HTML5

The Verge reported on Twitch ditching Flash and switching to HTML5.

The streaming service today announced that it was rolling out a redesign to its video player controls, replacing the old Flash versions with new Javascipt and HTML5 options. This isn’t the end for Flash on Twitch just yet — for now the site’s videos still use the software — but the streaming service says this is a step toward releasing its “much-anticipated” full HTML5 player.

Winds of change.

The way forward in productivity

Benedict Evans wrote about office, messaging and verbs.

That is, the way forward for productivity is probably not to take software applications and document models that were conceived and built in a non-networked age and put them into the cloud, or to make carbon copies of them as web apps. This is no different to using your PC to do the same things you used your typewriter for. And of course that is exactly how a lot of people used their PCs – to start with. Just as today we make web app copies of software models conceived for the floppy disk, so the first PCs were often used to type up memos that were then printed out and sent though internal mail. It took time for email to replace internal mail and even longer for people to stop emailing Word files as attachments. Equally, we went from typing expense forms (with carbon copies) to entering them into a Word doc version of the form, to a dedicated Windows app that looked just like the form, to a web page that looked just like the form – and then, suddenly, someone worked out that maybe you should just take a photo of the receipt. It takes time, but sooner or later we stop replicating the old methods with the new tools and find new methods to fit the new tools.

Sadly, I still come across many instances where people are unable to grasp the point of moving into a digital workflow.

Instead of filling up forms, they type the forms out in Word or Excel and print these out. And then the printed form gets passed to someone, who then scans the form and saves it in their computers. The slightly more tech savvy individuals would fill in the form digitally and send it via email, skipping the printing and scanning steps.

But that still clings onto antiquated notions of having to reproduce a form digitally in Word or Excel. And in many cases, the information in these document files need to be manually transferred into a database. The way forward is to have an online web form that automatically submits the information to the database.

The faster we embrace technology, the faster we progress and improve the workflows.

Clickbait vs real journalism

Ken Segall wrote about poor journalism surrounding the rumours about the sales of Apple Watch.

You know, it’s easy to report a press release as fact. Real journalism requires some effort. Happily, a small number of sites chose not to reflexively publish a headline that seemed too bad to be true. They actually looked at the source, analyzing its merits and faults. Signs of intelligence were detected at The Motley Fool, Forbes and even Fox News.

Since there are no qualifications required to publish on the Internet, a Slice-like press release can actually serve a higher purpose.

The coverage it generates can help us distinguish between those who can offer meaningful insight — and those who will publish anything for a click.

Why not everyone should be doing beta testing

Federico Viticci wrote on MacStories about how apps are getting negative reviews in the App Store for issues with beta versions of iOS and OS X.

The frustration of the tweets embedded above generates from the fact that some users are leaving negative App Store reviews pointing out problems with running apps on beta versions of iOS and OS X. Some of those users may not know this (and understandably so, it’s not their responsibility to know), but App Store reviews are important to developers. It is widely believed that positive reviews affect the ranking and visibility of an app on the App Store, but, perhaps more importantly, reviews are, for customers, the primary way of knowing whether an app is worth downloading or not. An app with several 1-star reviews? Probably not worth installing for many.

People who want to be involved in beta testing should have some basic knowledge of how to handle the issues that arises, especially from version incompatibilities.

Google Photos may be uploading your pics, even if you don’t want it to

David Arnott wrote on Nashville Business Journal about Google Photos uploading photos even if you don’t want it to.

Five weeks later, on a whim, I figured I’d see if Google Photos had made any tweaks and re-downloaded the app. Instead of my pair of test photos, I saw hundreds of images. They weren’t synced from my phone in that moment, because I always delete photos from my device once they’ve been uploaded. My phone must have been uploading pictures to Google Photos even though I didn’t even have Google Photos on my phone. […]

All I had to do to turn my phone into a stealth Google Photos uploader was to turn on the backup sync, then uninstall the app. Whereas one might reasonably believe uninstalling the app from the phone would stop photos from uploading automatically to Google Photos, the device still does it even in the app’s absence. Since making this discovery, I have re-created the issue multiple times in multiple settings on my Galaxy S5.

I reached out to Google, and after reaching someone on the phone and describing the issue, was told to wait for a comment. Several hours later, I received a terse email that said, “The backup was as intended.” If I want to stop it from happening, I was told I’d have to change settings in Google Play Services.

Be careful what you’re getting yourself into with a free app. If you’re not paying, you’re the product.

Mozilla has had enough of Flash’s security flaws, disables Firefox plugin

The Next Web reported on Mozilla disabling Firefox’s flash plugin.

Mozilla has blocklisted all vulnerable versions of Adobe Flash in its Firefox browser, following the discovery of numerous critical security flaws in the platform.

Mark Schmidt, head of Firefox Support, took to Twitter to announce the change.

Fall out from this.

Authors and booksellers accuse Amazon of antitrust violations, demand inquiry

The New York Times reported on authors and booksellers accusing Amazon of antitrust violations, and demanding inquiry.

The Authors Guild, the American Booksellers Association, the Association of Authors’ Representatives and Authors United said in letters and statements being sent this week to the Justice Department that “Amazon has used its dominance in ways that we believe harm the interests of America’s readers, impoverish the book industry as a whole, damage the careers of (and generate fear among) many authors, and impede the free flow of ideas in our society.”

Security researcher reveals that Google App Engine is vulnerable to attack

Digital Trends reported on Google App Engine’s vulnerability to attack.

According to a report released on’s Full Disclosure, a new set of vulnerabilities could leave Google’s App Engine open to attack from a rudimentary Java exploit.

Seven different unpatched holes were discovered by Adam Gowdiak, CEO of the Polish security firm Security Explorations. The exploit uses the cloud platform Google App Engine to launch a defunct string of Java code, which can then be executed to break out of the first-layer sandbox and wreak havoc on protected areas of Google’s servers.

Facebook’s head of security wants Flash to die

The Next Web reported about Facebook CSO Alex Stamos calling for more rapid moves to force Flash’s extinction.

It is time for Adobe to announce the end-of-life date for Flash and to ask the browsers to set killbits on the same day.

It can’t come sooner.