Conan O'Brien and Robert Smigel made a pilot starring Adam West as a washed-up actor believing he can fight crime in real life called Lookwell.

For now you can watch the Lookwell pilot on Youtube.

This could have been comic gold.

Posted on 3 Jan 2016, 7:18 p.m. by toadwarrior

A couple of great Christmas gifts

Two of my favourite gifts this year were an AeroPress Coffee maker and a Summit microfibre towel.

The towel is basically like a giant glasses cleaner. You don't realise how handy something like that could be. For starters when going exercising it will certainly soak up the sweat, you can rinse it out and it will be dry in relatively no time (at least compared to a normal towel). But the other nice benefit will be that I could also use it to more quickly clean larger shiny surfaces like my TV screen. Though I'll have to think twice if I want to do that with my "sweat towel".

The AeroPress is perhaps the best gift. It lends itself to experimenting with coffee making more than other devices in my opinion, it's quite cool and feels "sciencey" when you're making it.

I'm not sure I'll get to the point of participating in the World Championship but I get why people do it. There are some cool apps for recipes. I like OchoCoco's app AeroPress Recipes and Timer but £8.00 for an app that feels like it might have been abandoned is something I'm not sure about. However I really like how it's done and the fact he's defined an open recipe format rather than locking people out.

Posted on 3 Jan 2016, 5:23 p.m. by toadwarrior

The website obesity Crisis

IdleWord's talk on the website obesity crisis was one of the best things I've read in some time and it sums up pretty much how I feel about where web development is heading.

As we enter 2016 I can look back on 2015 as the year I've embraced ad blockers. Part of that is because Apple and their content blocking system makes it work so well but that maybe covers 5% of the reason I've made the switch. I still prefer a free web and don't mind ads as such. However ads are becoming so bloated and so are the websites they're featured on.

In an increasingly mobile world that relies on slower battery powered hardware it's downright criminal what some web developers do so I feel it's in everyone's best interest to block them. Be fair and contact the website to let them know why.

Then hit up 1Blocker for iOS and Adamant for OS X Safari isn't too bad. It has some quirks on certain pages of sites like LinkedIn which lead to disabling and re-enabling it but the overall benefit from it makes it work it.

Posted on 1 Jan 2016, 11:40 p.m. by toadwarrior

The hamburger

Recently the hamburger button has taken off on the internet and mobile apps. While the button itself is quite old I would imagine part of the reason for its take-off has been the anti-Skeuomorph movement.

I get the point of that movement and to an extent I understand it. However while children now and in the future may not know what a floppy is I would then argue that its origin doesn't really matter. It just becomes the symbol that everyone understands what it does.

The problem with the hamburger is there is no definitive action for it. Ironically while not being skeuomorphic it's been associated with a real world item anyway and arguably in a way more confusing than a floppy disc.

I think it's quite a handy icon but it's ridges imply it should be draggable and pull something into view. If it does that it's often not in a direction that goes with the ridges. Horizontal ridges would imply a thumb should pull down.

I've recently seen the hamburger used for bringing up pop-up menus. It has no defined use so I would have to agree with the wikipedia entry which mentions poor design choice.

We do need new design ideas but let qualified designers work on it. Rather than it being something programmers use to cut costs on design (like flat design).

Posted on 6 Dec 2015, 11:13 p.m. by toadwarrior

RIP Thunderbird

Mozilla Thunderbird has been more or less on its death bed since 2012 but Mozilla has made it official that they don't care for it and they're dropping Thunderbird entirely. Now this could be a good thing for Thunderbird but I think it's unlikely. At least not anytime soon.

I've moved away from Thunderbird a couple months ago largely because I've felt the writing was on the wall for the program despite it being an excellent little email / newsgroup client.

What concerns me more is what will happen to Firefox which seems to be quite keen on going down the Opera route of becoming a Chrome clone. I didn't mind the little visual tweaks but the whole extension signing process among other things which will throw all their loyal add-on developers under a bus doesn't seem like the right move forward.

I'm not sure they understand why people use Firefox and if they're going to create a very Chrome-like browser then surely that means user's might as well just use Chrome.

Not surprisingly I've moved fully over to Safari too after so many years of Netscape / Firefox usage. Now that Firefox is on iOS I should be joyed that my preferred browser is there but I've simply lost any confidence in Mozilla understanding its users. I joined the internet with Netscape Navigator, I've got my donor shirt and now I'm just ignoring them.

It'll be interesting to see what happens on Linux. I will use Firefox there for the foreseeable future but we'll have to see what the future holds.

Posted on 6 Dec 2015, 11:01 p.m. by toadwarrior

LastFM closes down RSS access

If you've been using RSS feeds from LastFM you'll probably have noticed that they quit working. I believe this was back in September. In October they implied it was coming back shortly.

So far it looks like LastFM RSS feeds still don't work despite being on the API page.

If they don't want to give people nice, easy, open access to their own data then to be honest what is the point of using LastFM? It's a bit rubbish as a source of music to be honest and it's not really growing in any meaningful way as far as I can tell.

I think they need to be more honest about their intentions so people such as myself can know if they should remove what is currently unused code / functionality based on their feeds.

This would appear to be yet another case towards proving that 'open data' APIs are anything but.

Posted on 6 Dec 2015, 10:44 p.m. by toadwarrior

LastFM - Most Recent Tracks

Last updated: 22 Jan 2016, 12:31 a.m.