In Black and White: MIX Online and Friends; write about everything from web strategy and design to content and code


Writings

32 Writings | View By

1 - 32 of 32 in All Writings by Joshua Allen

opinion Joshua Allen

Web, Interrupted11

by Joshua Allen on Jun 8, 2011

Web, Interrupted

The Web is an eternal débutante. Since 1995, when Marc Andreessen predicted that the Web would make Windows and Linux obsolete, people have presumed that Web standards would become the client platform of choice. Instead of just Web pages, the Web would be used for applications. For those who love the Web, the last 20 Read More…

opinion Joshua Allen

Social Bulimia8

by Joshua Allen on Sep 23, 2010 in Web Culture

Social Bulimia

Nearly every day, someone tells me about a love affair with a social media service gone sour. Whether Facebook, Twitter, Gowalla or Foursquare, the story is always the same: At first, you’re infatuated, finding delight in every new thing you learn about your love. Over time, the infatuation turns to comfort, and then comfort turns Read More…

opinion Joshua Allen

How To Be Evil21

by Joshua Allen on Jul 22, 2010 in Web Culture

How To Be Evil

Corporate evil is often in the news. Whether we’re lamenting BP’s senseless slaughter of Pelicans in the Gulf, or praising Google for slogans like “Don’t be Evil”, we clearly think that corporations, like people, need to be held accountable for evil. Incentives are often at play when companies and people to do evil things, and Read More…

opinion Joshua Allen

Don’t Talk Down to Me!7

by Joshua Allen on Jul 1, 2010 in Web Culture

In school, we’re taught that we should write at a sixth to eighth grade level when writing for the general public. Newspapers have historically required their writers to write at a low grade level, and in his book “The Vanishing Newspaper“, author Philip Meyer argues that newspapers are struggling, in part, because “Many newspaper stories Read More…

opinion Joshua Allen

On Being an Intelligent Designer17

by Joshua Allen on May 11, 2010 in Web Culture

On Being an Intelligent Designer

I once heard an automotive designer remark on the design quality of a competitor, saying, “They have a factory in Dusseldorf that chews up steel and craps out Porsches.” He was conveying his opinion that the cars were created in a blindly mechanical manner, with no soul or intelligence behind the design. Indirectly, he was Read More…

article Joshua Allen

Geolocation: Finding Your Happy (or Brutal) Place6

by Joshua Allen on Mar 29, 2010 in Web Culture

Geolocation: Finding Your Happy (or Brutal) Place

Today's geolocation systems are in a rut, "augmenting" reality with lists of data. We can do better. Authentic interaction with location is about our animal feelings, not information. Let's get back to happy (or brutal) Read More…

opinion Joshua Allen

Ninja Coders and Despot Designers: Game Over20

by Joshua Allen on Feb 1, 2010 in Web Culture

Ninja Coders and Despot Designers: Game Over

Our industry has just been changed forever. Many have predicted that this day would come, and it finally has — design has irreversibly supplanted development as the center of gravity in software projects. OK, so maybe that’s a bit dramatic. The revolution has taken longer than a day, and will continue for some time. But Read More…

opinion Joshua Allen

HTML5 Video: You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out!24

by Joshua Allen on Jan 25, 2010 in Web Culture

HTML5 Video: You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out!

A few months ago, we shipped our cross-browser, cross-platform implementation of the HTML5 video tag, using the H.264 codec. In the past week, YouTube and Vimeo announced their support for HTML5 video tag, also using H.264. All good deeds, but unfortunately no good deed goes unpunished. Now we see certain bloggers clucking in disapproval, in Read More…

opinion Joshua Allen

What’s So Great About Contrarians, Anyway?5

by Joshua Allen on Jan 20, 2010 in Web Culture

I’ll admit it: I’m a sucker for contrarians. It’s great to have a bunch of knowledge, but it’s always the stuff you don’t know, the stuff that contradicts your common sense, that kills you. That’s what contrarians are great for—drawing out the "unknown unknowns" that wreak havoc on life.  Finding Black Swans Unknown unknowns work Read More…

opinion Joshua Allen

Government 2.0: Activist Paradise, or Treading on the Poor?10

by Joshua Allen on Jan 11, 2010 in Web Culture

This growing crescendo of optimism about technology-enabled citizenry has me feeling a bit uneasy. I don't think it's as innocuous as people want to believe, and I see a couple of problems down the road. As we get swept up in our enthusiasm for the "Government 2.0" initiatives and play the hero in our little echo chambers, I hope we don't lose sight of the real challenges here Read More…

opinion Joshua Allen

Pictures or it Didn’t Happen5

by Joshua Allen on Dec 8, 2009 in Web Culture

Pictures or it Didn’t Happen

You’ve probably seen this meme on Twitter or Facebook. Your friend posts a juicy status message like, “I just saw Tiger Woods flirting with Richard Simmons at LAX!”, and someone quickly replies, “Pictures, or it didn’t happen!”. I love this meme, because it functions on multiple levels, and has a sort of ironic postmodern twist. Read More…

opinion Joshua Allen

Gestalt Grows Up6

by Joshua Allen on Nov 20, 2009 in Development

Last week, we discussed the fact that Microsoft invests heavily in both HTML5 and Silverlight, two technologies that other companies would have you believe are mortally opposed.  Our commitment to both was underscored this week by our announcements about IE9 and Silverlight 4. When we launched Gestalt beta less than 4 months ago, our goal Read More…

opinion Joshua Allen

HTML5 vs. Silverlight: Which Will Win?89

by Joshua Allen on Nov 10, 2009 in Development

Every now and then, someone asks me, “Which technology will win: HTML5 or Silverlight?”, or “What is Silverlight’s strategy to compete with HTML5?”. I always have to take a deep breath before responding, because these questions presuppose something that doesn’t make any sense to me. It’s like asking a tool store owner, “Which will win, Read More…

opinion Joshua Allen

Iz Puttin’ Namespaces in Ur HTML54

by Joshua Allen on Oct 12, 2009 in Web Culture

A few weeks after I wrote about "The HTML5 Semantics Debate", the Internet Explorer team sparked an exciting discussion with a proposal for extensibility in HTML5. IE’s proposal seems to have been inspired by Sam Ruby’s proposal from 2007, and suggests a few different ways to make HTML5 extensible. The proposal was welcomed by some, Read More…

opinion Joshua Allen

When Closed to Open Sucks9

by Joshua Allen on Sep 28, 2009 in Web Culture

A recent presentation by Ian Bicking got me thinking about closed versus open source software. Does software transformed from closed to open source suck? How do Mix Online’s products, which are designed to be open source from the very beginning, fit into the picture? Is it possible to make great closed to open source software? Read More…

opinion Joshua Allen

Web Tribal Wars6

by Joshua Allen on Sep 14, 2009 in Development

People have used conflict as a storytelling device since the beginning of time. Many world religions describe the history of the cosmos as an ongoing conflict between two forces, for example. And in our personal lives, we often frame situations in terms of opposing forces. Joining a political party, cultural movement, or taking sides in Read More…

opinion Joshua Allen

The HTML5 Semantics Debate3

by Joshua Allen on Aug 31, 2009 in Web Culture

If you’ve been following the development of the new HTML5 specification, you’re probably familiar with the demo-friendly new features like Canvas, Drag-Drop, and the Video tag.  But unless you’re a microformats or semantic web geek like we are, you may have missed the new "semantic" tags in HTML5.  Last I looked, the HTML5 draft proposed Read More…

opinion Joshua Allen

Twitter’s “Flailing” Adolescence4

by Joshua Allen on Aug 21, 2009 in Design

As recently as a few months ago, Twitter seemed to be on a path to world domination, with incredible growth rates and massive media attention. My grandmother even started talking about Twitter, after hearing Oprah talk about it. But now, I’m not so sure. I recently heard someone use the phrase "flailing around" to describe Read More…

opinion Joshua Allen

Sex, Evolution, and User Ratings12

by Joshua Allen on Jun 15, 2009

A few days ago during a design discussion, our team was forced to grapple with that age-old community-design question: 5-star user ratings for content, or a "likes" feature? When allowing users to provide feedback on your content, is it best to use a range of values, or give a "thumbs-up" (and maybe a thumbs-down)? User Read More…

opinion Joshua Allen

How Do You Get the Latest News?11

by Joshua Allen on May 18, 2009

Do you still use an RSS reader to keep up with the latest interesting information, or have you switched to using Twitter? Steve Gillmor, writing at TechCrunch, lit a fire last week by declaring that RSS is dead. I haven’t been in Google Reader for months. Google Reader is the dominant RSS reader. I’ve done Read More…

opinion Joshua Allen

Opera’s Web Standards Curriculum: Progress or Ossification?3

by Joshua Allen on Apr 14, 2009

The Internet has always been a sort of a class project, patched together via "loose consensus and running code", with new knowledge being created and shared tribally. At first, we shared knowledge via USENET newsgroups and loosely-maintained FAQs, and eventually Brendan Kehoe had the brilliant idea to write a text file for beginners called "Zen Read More…

opinion Joshua Allen

A Fresh Sliced Flickr Badge by Cindy Li2

by Joshua Allen on Apr 2, 2009

Do you want the Flickr badge on your web site to light up on IE8? Check out this article and sample created by Cindy Li, showing how she converted her Flickr badge to support IE8′s "Web Slices" feature. Read on to learn more about how it was done. The Web is one big collection of Read More…

opinion Joshua Allen

So Long,Farewell,Auf Wiedersehen…0

by Joshua Allen on Mar 24, 2009

And so we say “Goodbye” to another excellent MIX conference. MIX09 is finished, and MIX10 is announced for next year, but we will continue publishing cool new open source experiments and articles here at MIX Online. We’ll be bringing you code-name “Glimmer” soon, and a super top-secret project shortly after. Come back to visitmix.com regularly, Read More…

opinion Joshua Allen

Protected: Bondi Uses Silverlight for Online Magazine Archives1

by Joshua Allen on Mar 18, 2009

There is no excerpt because this is a protected post. Read More…

labNote Joshua Allen

Protected: Netflix and Business Value of Silverlight0

by Joshua Allen on

There is no excerpt because this is a protected post. Read More…

opinion Joshua Allen

MIX09 Keynote and Partner Highlights12

by Joshua Allen on

The Day 2 Keynote with Deborah Adler and Dean Hachamovitch is streaming live now! You can watch the keynote full-screen in the player below, or go straight to http://live.visitmix.com. As the keynote progresses, we’ll be posting in-depth video interviews and demos from the keynote partners right here, so come back to this page often! And Read More…

opinion Joshua Allen

From SXSW to MIX09: Phizzpop Design Challenge Finale and More2

by Joshua Allen on Mar 12, 2009 in News

This year as last year, MIX09 and SXSW Interactive conferences are back-to-back. Since they are so close in proximity and time, many people will be attending both conferences again this year, including a fair number of people from our team. If you will be at SXSW, you should check out these 3 panels: Microformats: A Read More…

opinion Joshua Allen

Web Standards Gone Wild18

by Joshua Allen on Feb 18, 2009

I recently attended the excellent “Web Directions North” conference, and the opening keynote by Dan Connolly of the W3C really brought into clarity something that’s been gestating in my mind for awhile now. Dan was editor of the original HTML 1.0 specification and began his keynote by explaining that he is a tinkerer who likes Read More…

opinion Joshua Allen

Visualization is Child’s Play9

by Joshua Allen on Feb 3, 2009 in Design

A recurring topic of conversation among parents here at Microsoft is, "how do I teach my children to program?" This desire is motivated in part by the belief that programming ability was important to our own career success, as this funny comic from xkcd.com illustrates. Confirming this diagnosis is the fact that parents often tend Read More…

article Joshua Allen

5 Tips For Building Effective Infographics23

by Joshua Allen on Jan 30, 2009 in Design

Information Visualization is a hot topic. It seems like a new data visualization library or artistic visualization is released every week. As Jon Udell's article shows, we are just beginning to see how software can help us find meaning in data. So, when we set out to create this issue of MIX Online, we decided to focus specifically on interactive infographics, a fascinating application of information visualization that hasn't received much coverage Read More…

opinion Joshua Allen

Oxite: Putting Your Design Front and Center18

by Joshua Allen on Dec 16, 2008 in Web Culture

If you’re a professional front end web developer, you care deeply about web standards and professional best practices like semantic markup, unobtrusive JavaScript, and CSS. And you’re used to seeing Microsoft’s web products painted in a not very flattering light regarding these best practices. It’s practically cliche to see a litany of standards validation errors Read More…

opinion Joshua Allen

A Bright Future for Software14

by Joshua Allen on Dec 3, 2008 in Web Culture

It seems like everywhere you turn these days, there is more bad news about the global economy. Bankruptcies, layoffs, and bailouts continue to mount. We are hearing the words "recession" and "depression" more frequently than ever before in our lifetimes. The truth is, the world is in the midst of a severe economic crisis, and Read More…