Defend the Open Web: Keep DRM Out of W3C Standards

The EFF is on the right side of this one, if there was any doubt:

All too often, technology companies have raced against each other to build restrictive tangleware that suits Hollywood’s whims, selling out their users in the process. But open Web standards are an antidote to that dynamic, and it would be a terrible mistake for the Web community to leave the door open for Hollywood’s gangrenous anti-technology culture to infect W3C standards. It would undermine the very purposes for which HTML5 exists: to build an open-ecosystem alternatives to all the functionality that is missing in previous web standards, without the problems of device limitations, platform incompatibility, and non-transparency that were created by platforms like Flash. HTML5 was supposed to be better than Flash, and excluding DRM is exactly what would make it better.

Adding DRM to HTML5 would absolutely enable new web apps to be made, but guess what: The kind of apps it would enable are across-the-board worse apps than the apps that we already build without DRM. A vote for DRM is a vote for worse in every possible way.

Pure Folly, Miss Poly(gon)

Games journalism, punk rock, and SimCity:

It seems like people—for some reason—were waiting on Polygon to call the industry out on its crap. Polygon, that Microsoft-sponsored, humourless, 70s prog rock supergroup of games journalism. Expecting any kind of populist uproar from Polygon is like expecting One Direction to vilify the X Factor culture that spawned them – they’re entirely within the system, with no interest in existing outside of it. Probably the only thing you needed to know in order to be sure that Polygon was never going to change the world of games journalism was that they could afford to make a multi-part documentary trumpeting all the ways they were going to change the world of games journalism.

Polygon pretty much pissed any credibility they had left down their leg with SimCity. They acted like PR flacks. Rock, Paper, Shotgun just did what they usually do: journalism.

JavaScript Garden

JavaScript Garden is a growing collection of documentation about the most quirky parts of the JavaScript programming language. It gives advice to avoid common mistakes and subtle bugs, as well as performance issues and bad practices, that non-expert JavaScript programmers may encounter on their endeavours into the depths of the language.

This has been an invaluable resource to me while I brush up on my JavaScript for Meteor development.

New claims of prosecutor misconduct in Aaron Swartz case

I haven’t posted much about this here because I’m still very sad about it, but this is encouraging in the sense that every step we take to make sure there isn’t a next time is a good step.

In a letter (made public Wednesday) to an internal Justice Department ethics unit from January 2013, Swartz’s lawyers argue that [Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen] Heymann engaged in prosecutorial misconduct by “withholding key evidence from Swartz’s defense team and overreaching in his attempt to coerce Aaron into waiving his right to trial.”

It’s just awful that there have to be steps at all.

Marco Arment on Google Reader Shutting Down July 1st

Marco sez:

Now, we’ll be forced to fill the hole that Reader will leave behind, and there’s no immediately obvious alternative. We’re finally likely to see substantial innovation and competition in RSS desktop apps and sync platforms for the first time in almost a decade.

It may suck in the interim before great alternatives mature and become widely supported, but in the long run, trust me: this is excellent news.

I think he’s right. But it’s still going to be a major pain in the ass.

“Perfect” iTunes EQ Setting Revised

A revised version of of the Merlin Mann / Mac OS X Hints classic:

perfect itunes

I’ve changed the layout so that the highest setting sits on 0, instead of boosting frequencies. This leads to a more even sound and less distortion of the high end. Everyone’s ears a little different, so your mileage may vary. Experimentation is encouraged.

Of course, what you’re listening through will make a difference. I heartily recommend these over-the-ear cans from Audio-Technica, or if you’re looking to spend under $50, I don’t think you can do better than the Sennheiser HD-202s. If you buy either of them from that link, I get a small kickback.

The Problem With “Warby Parker for X”

Jamie Quint:

Direct to consumer online-only retail is not disruptive because its online. Do not mistake good marketing for a new and innovative business model. Warby Parker was a special case driven by very interesting market dynamics that don’t apply to the other companies in the space. Let’s dive in and take a look.

and it’s a good look. I’ve been seeing this meme a lot in the tech circles lately, and this shreds it pretty hard.