FYI, I am not a fan of PWAs.
Why demand for Progressive Web Apps is growing rapidly by Soumik Roy:


APPS are useful because they help companies better engage with customers through prompts and notifications.
However, developing a good [ed: bold mine] app is expensive, time-consuming, and needs multiple iterations. Further, they’re mobile operating system (OS)-dependent, which means, most companies need to develop two apps — one for Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android phones.
Good is the operative word. PWAs go for the lowest common denominator.
This is why the demand for Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) is increasing rapidly. They’re everything that traditional, native mobile apps aren’t.
PWAs are based on web-browsers
True
they’re quick to build and deploy
True
seem to be safer than native mobile apps
As far as I know, there is little evidence to back this claim up.
and work on all kinds of mobile operating systems.
True.
And they aren’t very good.

Wait, what’s a PWA again?

A PWA is an app that runs on your mobile’s browser (Chrome, Safari, etc) and doesn’t need to be installed.
Not only that, PWAs provide a full screen experience. They look and feel just like native or regular mobile apps – with an icon neatly sitting on your home screen and push-notification capabilities.
Thanks to help from ‘service workers’, PWAs work even if users are offline or on low-quality networks.
A service worker is a snippet of code, a script that runs in the background and helps a PWA function. It’s one of its critical building blocks. Service workers help PWAs do things like send notifications to users and stay up-to-date.
Service workers help provide an engaging experience while offline and ensure that your application loads quickly.
As a malicious actor, PWAs mean I only need to focus on one target.

Should all businesses get a PWA now?

Well, the Internet is of the opinion that you need PWAs to make life easier for customers.
Well, Google is of the opinion, for sure.
Irrespective of size, PWAs have provided great benefits to companies that have been early adopters of the technology.
If PWAs are so great, then let users know they are about to install a PWA versus a purpose built app. And let them have the choice to run them in the browser instead of as a fake app.
My complaints about PWA largely echo my issues with Electron apps on the desktop: it’s based off of a lie where the user doesn’t know they are vulnerable to reported web security issues because there is no transparency to the user. Neither is a native application technology.
Overall, it seems as though demand from customers for faster experiences on mobile is driving up the demand for PWAs, and this might continue to grow in the future as the technology can support WebVR, an intelligent and modern way for companies to deliver VR content to customers.
Bringing VR or AR into the discussion makes the PWA push less attractive.

Toshio Suzuki and Ghibli Exhibition: Feel The Powerful Magic of Words by Tiffany:

Toshio Suzuki and Ghibli Exhibition: Feel The Powerful Magic of Words
Any talk about Studio Ghibli will bring to mind the legendary Hayao Miyazaki or Isao Takahata, but perhaps some fans may be less familiar with Toshio Suzuki. As the producer and former president, Suzuki is as integral to the studio’s success as Miyazaki and Takahata. Thanks to the dynamic trio of Miyazaki, Suzuki, and Takahata, Ghibli films are critically acclaimed, well-loved hits all over the world.
toshio suzuki and ghibli exhibitionPhoto by Tiffany Lim
If you’re a Ghibli aficionado and/or you want to know more about Suzuki, you’re in luck! April 20, 2019 marked the launch of a Suzuki-centric exhibition, simply called Toshio Suzuki and Studio Ghibli. Held at the newly opened Edo Culture Complex (EDOCCO) center on the grounds of Kanda Myojin, one of Tokyo’s most famous shrines, the exhibition runs from April 20 (Saturday) to May 12 (Sunday), 2019.

What to expect at the Toshio Suzuki and Ghibli Exhibition

toshio suzuki and ghibli exhibitionPhoto by Tiffany Lim
In addition to being a co-founder of Studio Ghibli, Suzuki is also a talented calligrapher, so the exhibition features some of his writings. Suzuki is a believer in the power of words, and indeed, as you walk through the venue, you too will feel the magic of words.
toshio suzuki and ghibli exhibitionPhoto by Tiffany Lim
You’ll see Suzuki’s inspirations–old-school, Showa-era (1926-1989) manga and films–and learn more about the trajectory of his career. While explanations are only in Japanese, and there are sadly no multilingual audio guides as of this writing, there’s more than enough for you to see and enjoy even if you can’t understand Japanese. If you’ve ever wondered what anime magazines from the ’70s looked like, or what a handwritten thesis looks like& well, you’ll wonder no more once you check out this exhibition.
Suzuki’s love for the written word didn’t just stop at calligraphy; his way with words also helped him brilliantly craft the copy for Ghibli films’ promotional materials. Did you know that the taglines for many Ghibli films have the word “live” (ikiro in Japanese) or some variation of it? Thanks to this exhibition, now you know! Be sure to have a look at Suzuki’s documents, notes, sketches, handwritten versions of Ghibli films’ taglines, and more.
Yubaba | Photo by Tiffany Lim
And now for the fun part. Time to have your fortune told. Take your pick from the imposing Yubaba or her twin sister Zeniba, who’s just as imposing. Yubaba’s got luck-related fortunes up her sleeve (er, mouth), while Zeniba has love-related ones. Unfortunately, you can’t line up for both.
toshio suzuki and ghibli exhibitionZeniba | Photo by Tiffany Lim
Reach into either sister’s mouth, pull out a number, and head to the nearby drawers. Find your number, and take a fortune. Don’t worry; this one’s got English translations. Heed Yubaba’s reminder to take good care of your new “name” (i.e. fortune), and off you go.
toshio suzuki and ghibli exhibitionPhoto by Tiffany Lim toshio suzuki and ghibli exhibitionPhoto by Tiffany Lim
Finally, at the end of the exhibition, you’ll find merchandise, in case you want to take home the magic with you. Not only event-exclusive items, but also some popular items from the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, are in store.
toshio suzuki and ghibli exhibitionPhoto by Tiffany Lim
Downstairs, you’ll also find the shrine selling limited-edition Ghibli-themed omamori (charms) and _ema _(prayer tablets). While ema are typically used to write prayers or wishes, and then left on shrine grounds, you can take these tablets home.

Tips

  • Especially if you’re visiting on a weekend or holiday, be prepared to wait in line just to get into the gallery. While not tiny, it’s not huge enough to accommodate too many people, either.
  • Save time by buying tickers from Loppi, Lawson’s ticketing service (link in Japanese only).
  • If you don’t want to spend too much time in line waiting for your fortune, the line for Zeniba’s love fortunes is shorter.
  • Are you a merch hound? If so, check out not only the shop at the end of the exhibition, but also the first floor of EDOCCO and the shrine’s stand for lucky items. Each area has its own merch related to the exhibition.
    Can’t make it to the exhibition? Check out the permanent Ghibli Museum in Tokyo.

The Coming Victory of Democracy: Thomas Mann on Justice, Human Dignity, and the Need to Continually Renew Our Ideals by Maria Popova:

“Progress is never permanent, will always be threatened, must be redoubled, restated and reimagined if it is to survive,” Zadie Smith wrote in her stirring essay on optimism and despair. But what does the reinvention, reassertion, and survival of progress look like when the basic fabric of democracy is under claw?
That is what Thomas Mann (June 6, 1875-August 12, 1955) examined on the cusp of World War II with a prescience that bellows across the decades to speak to our own epoch and to every epoch that will succeed us.
Thomas Mann at his desk (Thomas Mann Archive)
When Hitler seized power in 1933, the 58-year-old Mann, who had won the Nobel Prize in Literature five years earlier, went into exile in Switzerland. The following year, he visited America for the first time. He returned each year thereafter, until he finally emigrated permanently in 1938 and became one of a handful of German expatriates in the United States to vocally oppose Nazism and fascism. Between February and May 1938, just before the outbreak of the war, Mann gave a series of poignant and rousing lectures across America, published later that year as **_The Coming Victory of Democracy_** (_public library_) — a spirited insistence that “we must not be afraid to attempt a reform of freedom,” and a clarion call for the urgent work of continually renewing and reasserting democracy as menacing ideologies rise and fall against it.
In a testament to the great Serbian-American physicist, chemist, and inventor Michael Pupin’s assertion that “an immigrant can see things which escape the attention of the native,” Mann opens with an incisive reflection on democracy, its original ideals, and the necessity of its continual recalibration to the pressures pushing against it:
> America needs no instruction in the things that concern democracy. But instruction is one thing — and another is memory, reflection, re-examination, the recall to consciousness of a spiritual and moral possession of which it would be dangerous to feel too secure and too confident. No worth-while possession can be neglected. Even physical things die off, disappear, are lost, if they are not cared for, if they do not feel the eye and hand of the owner and are lost to sight because their possession is taken for granted. Throughout the world it has become precarious to take democracy for granted — even in America& Even America feels today that democracy is not an assured possession, that it has enemies, that it is threatened from within and from without, that it has once more become a problem. America is aware that the time has come for democracy to take stock of itself, for recollection and restatement and conscious consideration, in a word, for its renewal in thought and feeling.
In a sentiment that calls to mind Martha Graham’s notion of “divine dissatisfaction” as the motive force of all creative work, Mann notes that a certain restlessness about the state of the world and our place in it is inherent to the human animal:
> It is the fate of man in no condition and under no circumstances ever to be entirely at ease upon this earth; no form of life is wholly suitable nor wholly satisfactory to him. Why this should be so, why there should always remain upon earth for this creature a modicum of insufficiency, of dissatisfaction and suffering, is a mystery — a mystery that may be a very honourable one for man, but also a very painful one; in any case it has this consequence: that humanity, in small things as in great, strives for variety, change, for the new, because it promises him an amelioration and an alleviation of his eternally semi-painful condition.
Art by Salvador Dali from a rare 1969 edition of Alice in Wonderland
The greatest threat to democracy, Mann argues, comes from demagogues who prey on this restlessness with dangerous ideologies whose chief appeal is “the charm of novelty” — the exploitive promise of a new world order that allays some degree of dissatisfaction for some number of people, at a gruesome cost to the rest of humanity. To counter this perilous tendency, democracy must continually regenerate itself. Mann writes:
> Daring and clever as fascism is in exploiting human weakness, it succeeds in meeting to some extent humanity’s painful eagerness for novelty& And what seems to me necessary is that democracy should answer this fascist strategy with a rediscovery of itself, which can give it the same charm of novelty — yes, a much higher one than that which fascism seeks to exert. It should put aside the habit of taking itself for granted, of self-forgetfulness. It should use this wholly unexpected situation — the fact, namely, that it has again become problematical — to renew and rejuvenate itself by again becoming aware of itself. For democracy’s resources of vitality and youthfulness cannot be overestimated& Fascism is a child of the times — a very offensive child — and draws whatever youth it possesses out of the times. But democracy is timelessly human, and timelessness always implies a certain amount of potential youthfulness, which need only be realized in thought and feeling in order to excel, by far, all merely transitory youthfulness in charms of every sort, in the charm of life and in the charm of beauty.
That particular strain of fascism was endemic to Mann’s time, but it has manifested in myriad guises countless times before and since. In a letter penned at the peak of the war Mann was hoping to prevent with this humanistic shift in consciousness, John Steinbeck would capture these cycles chillingly: “All the goodness and the heroisms will rise up again, then be cut down again and rise up. It isn’t that the evil thing wins — it never will — but that it doesn’t die.”
Art by Tomi Ungerer from his visionary book
Mann considers the idea of justice as elemental to our humanity, locating in it the wellspring of our dignity:
> It is a singular thing, this human nature, and distinguished from the rest of nature by the very fact that it has been endowed with the idea, is dominated by the idea, and cannot exist without it, since human nature is what it is because of the idea. The idea is a specific and essential attribute of man, that which makes him human. It is within him a real and natural fact, so impossible of neglect that those who do not respect human nature’s participation in the ideal — as force certainly does not — commit the clumsiest and, in the long run, the most disastrous mistakes. But the word ” justice ” is only one name for the idea — only one; there are other names which can be substituted that are equally strong, by no means lacking in vitality; on the contrary, even rather terrifying — for example, freedom and truth. It is impossible to decide which one should take precedence, which is the greatest. For each one expresses the idea in its totality, and one stands for the others. If we say truth, we also say freedom and justice-, if we speak of freedom and justice, we mean truth. It is a complex of an indivisible kind, freighted with spirituality and elementary dynamic force. We call it the absolute. To man has been given the absolute — be it a curse or a blessing, it is a fact. He is pledged to it, his inner being is conditioned by it, and in the human sphere a force which is opposed to truth, hostile to freedom, and lacking in justice, acts in so low and contemptible a manner because it is devoid of feeling and understanding for the relationship between man and the absolute and without comprehension of the inviolable human dignity which grows out of this relationship.
Art by Isol from _Daytime Visions_.
A quarter century before the pioneering social scientist John Gardner penned his influential treatise on self-renewal, Mann calls for a reinvention of democracy that places human dignity at the heart of its political and civic ideals:
> We must reach higher and envisage the whole. We must define democracy as that form of government and of society which is inspired above every other with the feeling and consciousness of the dignity of man.
Echoing Theodore Roosevelt’s admonition against the cowardice of cynicism as one of the greatest obstacles to a flourishing society, Mann calls for relinquishing our reflexive cynicism about human nature:
> The dignity of man — do we not feel alarmed and somewhat ridiculous at the mention of these words? Do they not savour of optimism grown feeble and stuffy — of after-dinner oratory, which scarcely harmonizes with the bitter, harsh, everyday truth about human beings? We know it — this truth. We are well aware of the nature of man, or, to be more accurate, the nature of men — and we are far from entertaining any illusions on the subject& Yes, yes, humanity — its injustice, malice, cruelty, its average stupidity and blindness are amply demonstrated, its egoism is crass, its deceitfulness, cowardice, its antisocial instincts, constitute our everyday experience; the iron pressure of disciplinary constraint is necessary to keep it under any reasonable control. Who cannot embroider upon the depravity of this strange creature called man, who does not often despair over his future& And yet it is a fact — more true today than ever — that we cannot allow ourselves, because of so much all too well-founded skepticism, to despise humanity. Despite so much ridiculous depravity, we cannot forget the great and the honourable in man, which manifest themselves as art and science, as passion for truth, creation of beauty and the idea of justice; and it is also true that insensitiveness to the great mystery which we touch upon when we say “man” or “humanity” signifies spiritual death. That is not a truth of yesterday or the day before yesterday, antiquated, unattractive, and feeble. It is the new and necessary truth of today and tomorrow, the truth which has life and youth on its side in opposition to the false and withering youthfulness of certain theories and truths of the moment.
It is only a difference of degree, not of kind, between this ordinary cynical contempt for human goodness and the most extreme acts of evil. Mann writes:
> Terror destroys people, that is clear. It corrupts character, releases every evil impulse, turns them into cowardly hypocrites and shameless informers. It makes them contemptible — that is the reason why these contemners of humanity love terrorism.
Thomas Mann with Albert Einstein at Princeton, 1938.
Twenty years before Aldous Huxley asserted that “generalized intelligence and mental alertness are the most powerful enemies of dictatorship and at the same time the basic conditions of effective democracy,” Mann places education and critical thinking at the center of a robust democracy:
> Democracy wishes to elevate mankind, to teach it to think, to set it free. It seeks to remove from culture the stamp of privilege and disseminate it among the people — in a word, it aims at education. Education is an optimistic and humane concept; and respect for humanity is inseparable from it. Hostile to mankind and contemptuous of it is the opposing concept called propaganda, which tries to stultify, stupefy, level, or regiment men for the purpose of military efficiency and, above all, to keep the dictatorial system in power.
>
> [&]
>
> Democracy being a fertile ground for intellect and literature, for the perception of psychological truth and the search for it, contradicts itself inasmuch as it has an acute appreciation and makes a critical analysis of the absurd wickedness of man, but nevertheless insists resolutely upon the dignity of man and the possibility of educating him.
In consonance with Iris Murdoch’s assertion that “tyrants always fear art because tyrants want to mystify while art tends to clarify,” Mann considers art as a pillar of democracy:
> To come close to art means to come close to life, and if an appreciation of the dignity of man is the moral definition of democracy, then its psychological definition arises out of its determination to reconcile and combine knowledge and art, mind and life, thought and deed.
Complement **_The Coming Victory of Democracy_** with Leonard Cohen on democracy’s breakages and redemptions, Jill Lepore on the improbable birth of American democracy, Robert Penn Warren on democracy and poetry, and Walt Whitman’s indispensable _Democratic Vistas_, then revisit Mann on time and our search for meaning.

Long Lost ‘Zork’ Source Code Uploaded to GitHub, But Few People Understand It – Motherboard:

In 1977, four members of MIT’s Laboratory for Computer Science Dynamic Modeling System started writing a seminal work of interactive fiction. Published later in three parts by Infocom, Zork (along with Zork II and Zork III) is one of the earliest text adventure games, and the start of Infocom’s legacy in interactive fiction. The games told stories using a choose-your-own-adventure style. You reach the end of a hallway. Which way do you choose? The player types their answer to continue the story. But beyond simple commands, Infocom’s games were able to understand more complex sentences, which gave it a depth other games of the era didn’t have.

Infocom was eventually bought out by Activision in 1986, but was quickly shut down a few years later. There are more modern collections of Infocom games available, keeping the spirit of Zork alive, but the source code, which could teach us how Infocom managed to create such a sophisticated game at the time, had been deemed lost. That is, until this week, when internet archivist Jason Scott uploaded a collection of all Infocom text adventures and interactive fiction games’ source codes to GitHub, including the Zork games and Infocom’s video game adaptation of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

More Infocom goodness!

✚ Productivity and Promises:

Your productivity and your moral character are not intertwined.

Meaning: Getting things done does not make you a good or better person. And, conversely, failing to be “productive” does not make you a bad person.

… many “productive type things” get thrust upon us by other people. People who have expectations which they’ve projected upon us without our consent!

They want us to reply to their email within their desired timeframe. Or they want us to be available on Slack when they need us. Or whatever.

And then they have the audacity to be disappointed at us when we do not meet their unfair and un-agreed-upon expectations of what they consider to be “productive behavior”.

Well, shame on them. We had better things to do.

(Via Shawn Blanc)

Agreed!

Mozilla Firefox to Enable Hyperlink Ping Tracking By Default by Lawrence Abrams:

Firefox
Mozilla has told BleepingComputer that they will be enabling the tracking feature called hyperlink auditing, or Pings, by default in Firefox. There is no timeline for when this feature will be enabled, but it will be done when their implementation is complete.
For those not familiar with hyperlink auditing, it is a HTML feature that allows web sites to track link clicks by adding the “ping=” attribute to HTML links. When these links are clicked, in addition to navigating to the linked to page, the browser will also connect to the page listed in the ping= attribute, which can then be used to record the click.

When these links are displayed on the page, they will appear as a normal link and if a user clicks on it, there is no indication that a connection is being made to a different page as well.

Mozilla feels it’s a performance improvement

While some users feel this feature is a privacy risk, browsers developers feel that trackers are going to track, so you might as well offer a solution that provides better performance.

When we asked if they felt that users should at least be given the ability to disable the feature if they wish, Mozilla stated that they did not believe it would have any “meaningful improvement” to a user’s privacy.
“We don’t believe that offering an option to disable this feature alone will have any meaningful improvement in the user privacy, since website can (and often already do) detect the various supported mechanisms for hyperlink auditing in each browser and disabling the more user friendly mechanisms [ed: bold mine] will cause them to fall back to the less user friendly ones, without actually disabling the hyperlink auditing functionality itself.”

How is this “user friendly” exactly? Let’s block all of the tracking mechanisms and let people explicitly opt in to share their data … especially considering this method is already being used in DDoS attacks.

Or maybe just be transparent. That the user doesn’t know and can’t know without parsing the HTML themselves that these are there is … problematic at best.

The annual Earth Day Matsuri (Festival) is taking place at Yoyogi Park’s event space this weekend (20-21 April 2018). Every year I think I won’t go, I end up going, and enjoy myself in the process.

Every year when I come back I can’t help but think, “If we all consume less and then, when we consume we’re more thoughtful about it”, wouldn’t that be better for the environment than buying a bunch of organically grown and ethically harvested cotton made into a T-Shirt you don’t need?

Of course, that is a gross over simplification of the complexities. And the reality of existence is that one needs income to live pretty much everywhere on the planet. By not consuming you negatively impact the job of the farmer and picker and weaver and dyer and …

Two Part Job:

 
Part of your job is to do your job.

But the other main part of your job is to help others feel good about you doing that job.

If you can cause others to be glad that you do what you do, they’ll want you to do it again and they’ll tell their friends.

(Via Gabe The Bass Player)

Mistakes, chatter, and showing up:

The more time we spend trying to build new things or get work that matters done, the more mistakes we are inevitable going to make.

I’ve come to realize that the key is to not let the chatter (both external and internal) about the mistakes and the stuff that is broken to get in the way of showing up every day with enthusiasm.

Every day, we get the opportunity to solve puzzles that involve continually prioritizing between fixing what’s broken, plugging short term gaps, and investing in the long term. We get to do this in our products, in our communities, in our families, and within ourselves.

We (and what we build) are always going to be work in progress. Once we accept that, it follows that the best thing we can do is to make the most of that opportunity and continue to earn it every day.

In the long run, it turns out that becoming is far more important than being.

(Via A Learning a Day)

Wow. That’s … not relatable for a lot of people, IT or otherwise.

My takeaways? Show up and learn from mistakes instead of letting them get in your way. If the rest applies, that’s gravy.

Laptop holding techniques in the office — Quartz at Work:

They walk among us in just about every office: People with their laptops open, bound for conference rooms and common areas, many keeping their devices ajar to avoid losing those precious few seconds of computer wake-up time.

While we cloak our phones in shock-proof plastic and their screens with tempered-glass shields, laptops rarely get similar protection. Considering these pieces of hardware are some of the most expensive items we work with, it’s a little shocking to see how cavalier we can be toward our one essential work device.

But since when has safety outweighed looking cool?

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been observing Quartzians in their natural habitat and have tried to make sense of their odd office rituals in porting their laptops from one meeting to the next. Here are some of our findings.

This is some silly fun. I know which one I am (“The Clutch”) and which I’d like to be (“The Vacationer”).