2014-10-24 22.55.20

Inbox by Gmail invite

So yes I bitched about not getting an invite for the shiny & new on Twitter. But lo and behold, couple of days later I got my ‘Inbox by Gmail‘ golden ticket.

The app install was nice and quick. I didn’t have to enter any details or log-in by the traditional means. It just asked which Gmail account I wanted to use and checked to see if the invite was in that account. When it was, I was in.

What is does…

It shares a lot with similar email management apps such as Boxer and Mailbox. Swiping for different actions, ‘snoozing’ the email until you are ready to look at, etc. New things are setting reminders, pinning your email, and pre-sorting to Gmail’s content detector.

I’m not a big fan of the content detector in Gmail (promos, social, etc.) so I disabled it in Gmail, but with Inbox it’s front and center.

What it doesn’t…

Inbox by Gmail doesn’t work with paid accounts, so I can’t use it on my work email. I know people who solely use this option feel left out, but I am sure it’s only a matter of time before that gets rolled out too.

Another thing I noticed is that there’s no delete functionality unless you open the email. I think this could be part of the “why delete, just archive” philosophy. One thing I liked in Boxer was the “long swipe” to delete.

Now on the web…

This morning I came in to find I could access Inbox through Chrome, instead of my normal Gmail. I like that it has a different URL and still “sits on top” of Gmail.

It follows the new material design rules, though it’s not responsive as the header features overlap each other when the browser window gets smaller.

Inbox by Gmail on web

So far so good. I’m taking off other mail apps while I try this out, as I’m getting 3-4 notifications per email.

And yes, as soon as I’m able, I’ll send invites to to the few that mentioned it if they didn’t get in already.

Also on:

While I’m still on the fence of moving (if I can) fully over to Known as my blogging platform, one thing that is swaying me over WordPress is their bookmarklet.

Whilst chatting, Tantek summed up my issues like this:

the hurdle for me is copy & pasting tweet url’s into [my posting UI] to reply to them. Known’s [bookmarklet] makes that a lot easier

It’s a great add-on to your browser that takes you from the URL that you’re on and lets you share, reply, bookmark it. That’s incredibly powerful and highlights one of the huge hurdles the indieweb has to jump.

URL’s are the nervous system of the web. They connect everything together, passing information along with them and let us do a ton of the fantastic stuff we can do today. But the problem with silos like Facebook and Twitter is that a lot of people still don’t use the web interfaces. They use the apps on their devices. This makes it incredibly easy for you to create content in these silos. Problem is they don’t create or expose URLs in the same way that working on the web does. This means, as far as I can see, pretty much forsaking the use of these apps to have 100% of your content on your site.

Now this isn’t too much of an issue as a lot of social media have pretty good “responsive” sites that work well on all devices. Downside is that Chrome (and I suspect other device browsers) doesn’t let us use bookmarklets. So it’s now down to you to copy and paste all manner of URLs, content and tags onto multiple tabs on your device. Tricky at the best of times.

If we can get these bookmarklets to run on those mobile browsers, or even create OS-specific indieweb apps that sit as a background service and let you share via them such as Evernote or Instapaper does, then I can see the friction diminishing for those of a wider audience.

Also on:

As I explore more ways of implementing the #indieweb, the more I come across the reasons why we need it. Content is getting increasingly difficult to reach within the silos that is Google, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc.

One thing that I’ve been stuck on is replies. How can we reply continually across these silos? It’s something like what we’ve been grappling with in the UX community for a while now. There we call it ‘cross-channel‘, moving between “mobile”, “web” and “physical” channels in an experience.

The tech parts involved are POSSE and webmention. Both work really well.

But keeping a continuos reply thread going, across silos, while posting on your own site breaks and falls down, at least for me, a lot of the time when you reply to a reply.

Example

1. Someone I know on Twitter posts a question
Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 10.18.02 AM

2. I answer on my blog (in this case I’m trying out Known) and link to the URL of his tweet
Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 10.19.14 AM

3. It shows up in Twitter as an ‘@’ reply with a link back to my post.
Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 10.19.36 AM

4. My blog now has a link to the originating piece of content and my reply in the form of a post.
Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 10.19.14 AM

5. Someone now replies to my post using their own blog.
Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 10.38.24 AM

6. Great! Now my blog shows a link to the original tweet, my reply post, and now the other persons reply to my post.
Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 10.20.24 AM

So the conversation is taking place across Twitter and two different blogs. On my blog I can see all of it laid out chronologically with links to each piece. But this is where everything breaks. How do I now reply to him and keep this chronology?

Well I tried adding a reply on my blog. But that doesn’t connect to anything. He won’t see it as there’s nothing to notify his blog about my reply.
Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 10.37.50 AM
And this is the same on WordPress, not just Known. The chain has now been broken.

I have to create a new post on my blog and use his posts link as the reply-to.
Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 10.23.56 AM
Now we’ve started a new conversation.

Luckily the indieweb community has an IRC channel so I hopped on there and posed the question and I got chatting with some very smart people about context threads and reply contexts.

I’ve rambled on too long, but what I’m hoping for soon is a way to keep the whole conversation going across the silos.

Also on:

This week there’s an IndieWebCamp going on in Brighton. I’ve set up a hashtag search on Twitter to look at later.

Some interesting stuff coming through from Jeremy Keith about web actions. Also I had to jump back on IRC to garner some assistance as the ‘Social’ WP plugin stopped working when I updated to WordPress 4. Now trying out brid.gy (we’ll see how is works with this post).

Posted in general, read, web | Tagged , | 2 Comments

I remember attending SXSWi 2008, mingling with the cool kids at the ‘Great British Boozeup’, swapping favorite websites with a couple of people. I asked another attendee if she’d ever visited Netdiver? It’s so good. Always something cool I enthused. Oh, I’m glad to hear that. I’m Carole Guevin — That’s my site.

Doh!

I can’t believe that was 6 years ago now. You see, before then my morning routine meant visiting my favorite 20 sites individually each morning to see if anything had been updated, Netdiver was always top of my list. But, like a lot of other things, it fell by the wayside.

These day’s I’m only just dusting off my RSS feeds and getting back into the habit of reading them. One of those feeds was Zeldman.com, where I saw that Netdiver is back!

Now Netdiver has reclaimed it’s spot in my Feedly as something I check all the time. You should take a look too.

Also on:

One of my photos was selected for the curated Levis® Commuter™ x VSCO Grid™. I think that’s cool :-)

I really like using the VSCOcam app on my Nexus. It lets me control the filters and settings a lot more than stock one’s baked in to Instagram, Google, etc. They also have a magazine and community which is a nice extra. Though I don’t put as much as I should on my grid, these partnership with brands along with a specific preset is very cool intro.

Also on:

This year marked the second RustbeltRefresh conference and the organizers gathered another great line-up of local, national, and international speakers.

Here's some of my notes and photos from the "single day dedicated to web design and front-end development".

Karen McGrane

I've had the pleasure to watch Karen present at the IA Summit before. She's a great speaker and has a ton of insight on one of the growing issues we face with the web today – Content.

Karen

Give up the shared hallucination that we have control

  • Look into the Google Communications Group
  • "NOBODY IS READING YOUR PDFs!" – Big 'blobs' of locked content. Very expensive to liberate.
  • As the diversity of devices grows so does the importance of 'content modelling' and not only how things are displayed but also how they are read aloud.
  • Check out the NYT Innovation Report.

You can view her slides for 'Content for a Zombie Apocalypse' on SlideShare.

Matt Griffin

Matt basically won the animated GIF competition in his presentation. He talked about wireframing within the browser (small screen first natch') and using that code to overlay your styles etc. This meant, for some projects, there wasn't a lot of code changes.

  • "Swoop & Poop!"
  • Collaborative sketching
  • Small deliverables, more frequently

The agency he created, Bearded, has it's own starter kit you can grab from GitHub. He is also making a documentary about the web.

As I had a meeting over lunch I missed some of the presentations before and after, so little notes, but what I saw was very informative.

Jen Myers

Jen spoke about 'shepherding unicorns' and how we sorely need more mentors in our industry. This is something I heard quite a bit at this years IA Summit. She spoke about she wouldn't be the answer-bot if her students needed help, rather guide them to solving the issue by asking them questions.

Jenn Lukas addressing the audience

Jenn Lukas

Jenn is just full of excitement and energy about web design and this comes through in her presentation.

She spoke about what goes in to make 'The Developers Ampersandwich' focusing on web typography, icons, and ARIA roles to name a few.

You can find a lot of links she mentioned on her Nerdary post.

Tim Kadlec

Tim started his talk about performance by relating a story of getting lost with his family looking for the perfect Xmas tree.

It's all about thinking of things that could happen between A to Z. Performance equals panning and the same goes for the lack thereof. It should be something baked in and not an afterthought. He gave some interesting facts about the impact of performance like Amazon losing 1% sales for every 100ms of latency.

A great linked he shared was http://webpagetest.org/

Rachel Nabors

Rachel took us through how she created 'Alice in Videoland' for Adobe's Creative Edge magazine. It's a nice take on Alice in Wonderland and the interactive "book" uses HTML & CSS for it's animations.

Jeremy Keith

If you've been in this industry for any amount of of time you know of Jeremy. It's always great to see him present and this was no exception. He wanted to change our minds. He showed us the arrow in the FedEx logo as well as ducks all wear dog masks. That it's Tony Danza, not Tiny Dancer. And that there's certain parts of the web that are fault tolerant (HTML & CSS) and parts that are not (JavaScript).

Jeremy, with David Siegel's pivotal book

All stuff that we know. Personally, professionally, and as an industry en-masse. But then he laid down the challenge.

Do websites need to look the same in every browser? NO!

Then why do we, as an industry, spend so much time retrofitting JavaScript, creating shims and hacks to run in these old browsers?

If you are still hacking sites together to get it to look right in IE8, you're part of the problem.

With that Jeremy laid down the gauntlet. It's time as professionals to stand up. The first website was, and still is responsive. It can be viewed on all browsers using any device unlike some modern ones that completely fail if JavaScript doesn't run.

It's our job to educate people not to use an old and broken browsers. Build for the future.

Looking forward to next year

As with 2013's RustbeltRefresh conference the organizers did a fantastic job. I'm looking forward to next year's in September. And you should too.