Don't Panic Labs Reading List

DPL Reading List – March 4, 2016


| March 4, 2016 | in

Here are some of the articles we’ve been reading around this office this week.

More Than 11 million HTTPS Websites Imperiled By New Decryption Attack (Thanks to Matt Babcock for recommending this article) – “More than 11 million websites and e-mail services protected by the transport layer security protocol are vulnerable to a newly discovered, low-cost attack that decrypts sensitive communications in a matter of hours and in some cases almost immediately, an international team of researchers warned Tuesday. More than 81,000 of the top 1 million most popular Web properties are among the vulnerable HTTPS-protected sites.”

42% of Mobile Homepages Risk Setting Wrong Expectations For Their Users (Thanks to Jarrod Wubbels for recommending this article) – “Despite mobile users having a greater need for a homepage design that allow them to infer the type of site, our desktop and mobile benchmarks reveal that mobile homepages tend to be oversimplified compared to their desktop counterparts. On desktop “only” 28% of the top 50 US grossing e-commerce sites have a homepage design that doesn’t allow their users to accurately infer the site’s product catalog – on mobile, the figure is 42%.”

What’s Next In Computing? – “I tend to think we are on the cusp of not one but multiple new eras. The “peace dividend of the smartphone war” created a Cambrian explosion of new devices, and developments in software, especially AI, will make those devices smart and useful.”

The Basics Of Page Speed (Thanks to Jarrod Wubbels for recommending this article) – “There’s more that goes into page load time than just what happens on the frontend of your site, such as making calls to a database or compiling templates into HTML. However, as Steve Souders says, “80 to 90% of the end user response time is spent on the frontend.” As this is where the vast majority of the user experience lives, we’ll be focusing on the frontend aspects of page load time.”

The Magic Of 30-Minute Meetings (Thanks to Brian Zimmer for recommending this article) – “If you have half the time to accomplish something, you become hyper-aware of how you’re using that time. And hyper-focused during it. Most of my phone calls are now 30 minutes or less. My podcast is 15 to 20 minutes. Even many of my conference calls, with multiple parties, are 30 minutes or less. People on the calls, aware of the time constraint, are more thoughtful about when they speak, and more careful not to follow tangents that aren’t useful.”

Is Technology Really Helping Us Get More Done? – “Metcalfe’s Law, however, has a dark side: as the cost of communications decreases, the number of interactions increases exponentially, as does the time required to process them. The impact can be seen in the workplace. Thirty years ago, when executives or managers got a phone call while they were away, they received pink slips from their secretaries saying that someone had called. A busy exec might get as many as 20 on an average day, or about 5,000 a year. Then came single-user voicemail, followed by multi-party voicemail (the pre-email version of “Reply All”); the cost of leaving a message thus declined, and the number of messages left rose accordingly, perhaps to 10,000 a year. Then, finally, came today’s layers of networks — phone, email, IM, and so on — in which the cost of communicating with one person or many hundreds of people is virtually nil.”

Delivering Octicons With SVG (Thanks to Jarrod Wubbels for recommending this article) – “Icon fonts have always been a hack. We originally used a custom font with our icons as unicode symbols. This allowed us to include our icon font in our CSS bundle. Simply adding a class to any element would make our icons appear. We could then change the size and color on the fly using only CSS. Unfortunately, even though these icons were vector shapes, they’d often render poorly on 1x displays. In Webkit-based browsers, you’d get blurry icons depending on the browser’s window width. Since our icons were delivered as text, sub-pixel rendering meant to improve text legibility actually made our icons look much worse.”

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