The History Of “Disaster Girl”

Disaster Girl
If you’ve spent enough time on the internet you know “disaster girl”, perhaps not by that moniker, or her real name Zoe, but you recognize the face. Her father, who took the picture documented the history behind the meme. Apparently the original is in fact real and unedited.

You can see a history of “her” disasters on buzzfeed.

It’s always interesting to learn the history of internet memes.

Most Apollo Flags Still Standing

From the BBC:

Images taken by a NASA spacecraft show that the American flags planted in the Moon’s soil by Apollo astronauts are mostly still standing.

The photos from Lunar Reconaissance Orbiter (LRO) show the flags are still casting shadows – except the one planted during the Apollo 11 mission.

This matches Buzz Aldrin’s account of the flag being knocked over by engine exhaust as Apollo 11 lifted off.

Pretty amazing to think they survived this long. It also shows how little we know about the harsh space environment. Virtually nobody thought there was a chance of finding them intact.

NASA To Use Apollo Era F-1 Rocket Again?

Apparently everything old is new again. NASA is looking at the possibility of once again using the F-1 rocket engine that got the Apollo missions (via the enormous Saturn V) off the ground. It doesn’t say if NASA is interested in the F-1, or the F-1A (which was developed post Apollo). Just goes to show that just because something is old, doesn’t mean it’s irrelevant.

Jeff Bezos and team found the F-1 engines of Apollo 11 a few months ago. Since then NASA has suggested The Smithsonian gets first dibs at an engine (which would still be their property if recovered), but a 2nd if recovered could go to the Museum of Flight.

Remote Programming

From the BBC:

Wanted: 12 programmers to live on a remote tropical island for two months to do nothing but write code.

Applicants are being sought for the coding jamboree that will take place on an as yet un-named island.

Those applying will have to submit a proposal explaining what they will work on during the hackathon.

They will also have to complete a psychological evaluation to show they can live in harmony with other coders for the duration of the event.

Part of me thinks this would be a pretty cool way to just focus on whatever project you’re doing. Another part of me thinks island fever would set in after a few weeks. It’s one thing to not be distracted for a large chunk of the day. It’s another thing to pretty much remove yourself from it all for 2 months.

Kindle Poll And Brand Confusion

kindle 2%

I’d love to know how this question was asked so that “I don’t know” was even an option. My guess is confusion existed over the iPad, iPhone and Android apps which leads to the question: is “Kindle” the reading platform or the hardware? I’m not even entirely sure myself. Amazon should have done a better job keeping them separate.

Via: Violet Mae Lim via MG Siegler

OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion

OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion is pretty nice, however I don’t think it really has a killer feature (though John Siracusa’s exhaustive review lists pretty much every change). Notification center is in my opinion the closest to it, and not for notifications itself, but because it can serve as a sort of dash board for calendar making it really accessible. I think that will change my workflow a bit. Lots of subtle UI polish which is nice and appreciated. For those who use Calendar’s location field for phone numbers it’s nice that it’s always completely visible now and never cut off. Apple’s been resolving this slowly over time. OS X 10.6 was terrible when it came to this.

I still don’t understand why my desktop picture reverts every OS upgrade. I’m also a little disappointed HFS+ hasn’t been replaced with something more modern.

Overall a smooth upgrade.

On Apple’s Lack Of Adaptive Image Support In WebKit

It’s becoming clear to me that despite Apple having a huge chunk of the mobile web, it still treats the web as a second class citizen on iOS and Mac OS X. My latest battle is adaptive images, in particular for use in High DPI devices (“Retina” on the Mac). High DPI displays are awesome. I own an iPad 3, and it’s one of the greatest displays I’ve ever looked at. What I don’t get is why Apple is making it so difficult to take advantage of as a developer.

Currently, there’s no easy way to switch image resolutions based on the display being used. The basis of that isn’t Apple’s fault. Nobody thought of the problem when HTML was first created. All of the methods have ugly tradeoffs. They are hacks. Even doesn’t have a great solution. They were doing image replacement (easier to read version here). Apple does however have a solution called image-set which looks like it will be in iOS 6 and Mac OS X 10.8.

That’s several months later. The iPad 3 was announced March 7, which was only about 2 weeks after the initial proposal. Why wasn’t a solution for web authors included when the iPad 3 shipped? It seems silly that there’s no API to properly interface with one of the most touted features of the new device. Of course there’s a way to take advantage of that brilliant display if you build a native app.

You could argue that Apple didn’t want to rush implementing something proprietary without discussing it with the community at large, but Apple has said in the past:

tantek (Mozilla): I think if you’re working on open standards, you should propose your features before you implement them and discuss that here.
smfr (Apple): We can’t do that.
sylvaing (Microsoft): We can’t do that either.

So Apple is pretty candid about reserving the right to implement features without discussion, yet nothing happened. It’s not that such a discussion would have been a “leak”. The iPhone 4’s display would be adequate justification for the feature. In fact it’s mentioned in the first sentence of that proposal in www-style by Edward O’Connor. So not disclosing the new product doesn’t seem to be the reason either. Apple could have done this a year ago without anyone being any wiser about the iPad 3’s display.

I can’t be the only one who’s scratching his head over this. Why didn’t the iPad 3 ship with a browser capable of providing an efficient way to switch images? The cynic in me would say “to encourage native app development”, but then why bother now?

The upside is Apple products have high OS adoption rates. All those retina iPad 3’s will be running iOS 6 relatively quickly. If it were a popular Android device I’d be much more concerned because we’d be dealing with 2 years of devices on a stale OS with no support. This is why we need more competition in mobile. We need web solutions to be a priority, not an afterthought.

As far as I’m aware image-set is also prefixed, but that’s another rant.

HTML5 One Time Submit

One of HTML5’s coolest features in my opinion is that forms are easier to build. Things like required, autocomplete, pattern make it much easier to create an intuitive form without having to jump through hoops and repeating efforts to do some basic form validation.

The one thing that I still see as missing is a one-time submit button. Many sites create transactions that should only be performed once. For example, when you click “place order”, you definitely don’t want your transaction being processed multiple times, so what websites do is disable the button after the first click. I’m not sure why, but this little pattern never quite made it into HTML5. I’d love to see something like this:

<input type="submit" id="process_order" transactionsafe="true"/>

Then when the submit button is pressed, it automatically sets the disabled attribute. Either on the server side (if you submit the entire page), or via JS (for a refresh-less UX) you could unset the disabled property should you want the user to be able to submit again (for example if the order failed).

It’s trivial, but we seem to use this pattern quite a bit. It would be nice to one day be able to do this without an event.