This blog is now a part of the #fediverse. I was inspired by the recent migration user growth on Mastodon and other federated social web sites to get the ActivityPub WordPress plugin installed here and start federating out any posts I write here. For more info on how to get this working on your own WordPress site, see The Fediverse beyond Mastodon | Fedi.Tips – An Unofficial Guide to Mastodon and the Fediverse. I also had to muck around with my .htaccess file and this post was very helpful.

Apparently there’s been some confusion about my choice of hair color. Some people seem to have been under the impression that I chose purple to match the color scheme of Samsung Internet. So I want to set the record straight. Purple is my favoirite color, and I exclusively choose employers with purple logos. I hope that clears things up. So now – after six years with Samsung, building and leading the Samsung Internet developer advocacy group, I’m moving on to a new role and a new set of challenges. I want to be clear about one thing: Samsung Internet is a great browser and it’s been a privilege to have worked as part of the team there. I also think, under the leadership of the awesome Heejin Chung, Samsung Internet is on exactly the right path — particularly in putting an emphasis on greater user privacy. During my time there I feel I’ve helped to achieve the goal we set out of putting Samsung Internet on the map and establishing it, rightly, as one of the big web browsers. If you’ve been following my journey (and there’s no particular reason you should have been, but just on the off chance) then you’ll know that one constant theme has been the web. I got my start building web sites and web applications for scientific publishers and later for dot-coms during the go-go 90s when the web was just taking off. After moving to London, and subsequently becoming out of work in London, I landed at Vodafone where I took my passion for the …

All Change, Still Purple. Read more »

Post originally appeared on dev.to. The web is going through an unprecedented period of change and evolution. New features, new technologies and new ideas are coming to the web. Luckily, it’s a platform that, since its invention in 1992 by Tim Berners-Lee, continues to be able to incorporate new capabilities as it develops. Unique among computing platforms, the web is built on top of open, royalty free standards. While there are definitely dominant players, the web is not controlled by any one corporate entity or organisation.  But where do new web standards come from? Many web developers think of standards as something that happens to them, by people in some room over there. Historically speaking, they’re not wrong. The culture of the groups that worked on some of the original web standards were born from the culture of the people creating Internet standards: elite groups of technical architects. I used to be one of those people. But I’ve been on a mission to broaden access to web standards, and to increase transparency and participation by web developers. This web we have doesn’t belong to elite architects. It belongs to the people who build it and the people who use it. there has never been a more opportune time to get involved.  If you’re looking for a much more complete primer on different web standards organisations, where they fit together, what work happens where, and how to get involved, I suggest you take a look at this great site put together by the people at Bocoup: the Web Platform Contribution Guide. …

Why Get Involved in Web Standards? Read more »

This is a repost of something I originally posted to the Samsung Internet blog on Medium. This week, we have been celebrating the 30th anniversaryof the invention of the web. However, the celebration is tinged with anxiety about the current state of the world and the role the web has unwitting played in making it that way. The misuse of social media to control public opinion through the spread of propaganda, bot-enabled harassment campaigns and over-reliance on biased and simplistic algorithms for content promotion are some of the unexpected consequences of a world wide “web of information nodes in which the user can browse at will”. In order for the web to continue to be beneficial to society, we need to include more ethical thinking when we build web applications and sites. The web is made up of a number of technologies and technical standards. HTML, CSS and JavaScript are often thought of as the web’s core set of technologies but there are a raft of other technologies, standards, languages and APIs that come together to form the “web platform.” One of the web platform’s differentiators has always been a strong ethical framework; for example an emphasis on internationalisation, accessibility and (more recently) privacy and security. These are often cited as some of the strengths of the web. The architecture of the web is that of a user agent, the browser, that balances between the needs of the application developers and the people using those applications. This lends itself well towards this more ethical approach by allowing you to choose a browser that …

We Need a More Ethical Web Read more »

The following is an excerpt from a post from all the members of the Samsung Internet Developer Advocacy group on web ups and downs foe 2018. I encourage you to go read that post and hear what others in my group had to say.  On the negative side, we’ve seen the rise of notification spam and spammy notification permissions requests. For example, many sites have started to ask for permission to send push notification on first visit. This antipattern has the potential to poison the well for push notifications, as people will quickly experience notification fatigue. Browsers will have to take a stronger role in 2019 in policing who gets to ask you permission, mirroring the role they’ve been playing in blocking web tracking. 2018 has been a roller coaster ride but I am definitely seeing some signals that make me upbeat about the future of the web. For one, we have had the rise of progressive webapps and the adoption of PWAs by big web brands. These days, on my Android phone, I am using Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Starbucks, Uber, Lyft, Mastodon, and Google maps almost exclusively through PWAs. Speaking of web tracking?—?I think it’s positive that we’ve seen tracker blocking becoming mainstream. Samsung Internet shipped this function earlier this year (as an opt in). Firefox on desktop also has started to block some trackers by default and will be doing more in 2019. This reflects the unfortunate truth that the ad tech industry needs to be reined back and people are taking matters into …

Ups & Downs of the web 2018 Read more »

For what it’s worth, I’ve moved this blog over onto new host (Tsohost) that supports one-click installation and auto-renewal of LetsEncrypt certificates. So now, after years of hammering on about moving the web to https, I’ve finally made my own web site secure. Yay!

Let’s face it, PGP is pretty old school. It’s like pocket-protechor old-school. I’ve personally taken several runs at trying to get PGP up and running. The problem has always been: once I get PGP working, there’s nobody to send encrypted email to. PGP just has never had enough scale to get even close to mainstream. Enter keybase, which is trying to revolutionize the way people use and think about PGP with a friendly web site and integration into services such as Twitter, reddit and github. I finally cajoled an invite out of a friend today and have been giving it a whirl. My first impression is that Keybase does not entirely solve the problem of making public-key encrypted email work better. For one: if you want to incorporate PGP email into Apple Mail, you still have to download and install GPG tools, and the command line keybase tools (which require Node and NPM). And though there is some integration between the GPG tools and the Keybase tools, it’s fiddly and requires lots of command line usage (e.g. to make sure people you “track” on the Keybase web site also have their public keys imported into your GPG keychain so you can send them encrypted emails from within Apple Mail. AND you have to use GPG tools to manually add additional email addresses into your key, if you generated the key with Keybase. So that’s a pretty high bar if you want seamless PGP email from the desktop. I haven’t even tried to get it running on …

Keybase: Reinventing PGP For the 21st Century? Read more »

#HTML5  goes to "Rec." Definitely worth celebrating. But also, Web Standards are messy. This CNET article by +Stephen Shankland really does a good job of peeling that back. Bonus points for featuring a #w3cmeme . #blogthis  ? The World Wide Web Consortium finishes an update to this seminal Internet technology, but with two organizations in charge of the same Web standard, charting the Web’s future is a mess.

This article from The Next Web is a good write-up of different options available for creating your own URL shortener. I’m a big fan of short URLs, but I think one of the draw-backs can be that they create a more “brittle” web – that is, if the URL shortner service (such as bit.ly) you use goes out of business then all the URLs you’ve shortened and shared through various means become useless. Conversely, sites such as the NY Times and BBC have created their own short URL mechanism, on top of a domain they own (nyti.ms and bbc.in respectively), to facilitate sharing. This allows those organizations to keep the short URLs they mint active as long as the organization (and the Internet) continues to exist (which is about as much as you can hope for). Making it easier to host your own domain name shortening service and to own your own short URLs can only be a good thing. But URL owners still need to remember that once a URL (short or otherwise) is out there in the wild it needs to be maintained, even if a site’s structure changes. CF “cool URIs don’t change”: http://www.w3.org/Provider/Style/URI