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strawberryshakes writes "The death knell for IE6 was sounded a couple of years ago, but seems like some people just can't let go. Many UK government departments are still using IE6, which is so old — 11 years old to be exact — it can't cope with social media — which the government is trying to get its staff to use more to engage with citizens."


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About three years ago, I shared 37 data-ish blogs you should know about, but a lot has changed since then. Some blogs are no longer in commission, and lots of new blogs have sprung up (and died).

Today, I went through my feed reader again, and here's what came up. Coincidentally, 37 blogs came up again. (Update: added two I forgot, so 39 now.) I'm subscribed to a lot more than this since I don't unsubscribe to dried up feeds. But this list is restricted to blogs that have updated in the past two months and are at least four months old.

Design and Aesthetics

  • information aesthetics — By Andrew Vande Moere, the first blog I found on visualization five something years ago.
  • Well-formed data — Another one of the oldies but goodies. The blog of Moritz Stefaner, known for lots of projects around these parts
  • blprnt.blg — Blog of Jer Thorp, who has recently been on a github binge. See also blprnt.tmblr
  • Fathom — Ben Fry-run studio talks about interesting things
  • feltron — Nicholas Felton's tumblr with quick bits of delight
  • Tulp Inspiration — Another tumblr, this one run by Jan Willem Tulp

Statistical and Analytical Visualization

Journalism

General Visualization

Maps

Data and Statistics

That's what I read. Your turn.

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A handful of the many screens your site needs to handle. Photo: Ariel Zambelich/Wired.com

Responsive design means making your website readable no matter what screen it might be on. In the words of karate master Bruce Lee, “Don’t get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water.” Lee may have been talking about your mind, but his words apply just as well to your website. To paraphrase the rest of that quote, you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup; so, you put your content on a tablet, it becomes the tablet; you put it on a TV, it becomes the TV.”

On a more practical level, achieving a Bruce Lee-like command of the fluid web means ditching the pixels and points for flexible units like ems or percentages. There’s a lot more to responsive design than just fluid layouts, but it’s definitely a key part of the process.

Curiously, when it comes time to use the other universal element of responsive design — the @media query that applies the actual responsive design — most of us revert right back to pixels with something like @media all and (min-width: 500px) {}. It seems logical; after all, you’re trying to fit your content into a window with specific dimensions, so why not use pixels?

Certainly you can, and most sites we’ve seen up to this point use pixels for the actual media query breakpoints, but it’s worth noting that you can use ems here as well.

Lyza Gardner over at Cloud Four recently posted a look at why Cloud Four’s new responsive design uses ems in its media queries. Here’s her reasoning for Cloud Four’s em-based approach:

Folks who design for traditional reading media — where the content really is king — don’t center design decisions around the absolute width of content-holding elements so much as around the optimal line lengths for the content they’re flowing. There are some tried-and-true numbers one can shoot for that make for the “right” number of letters (and thus words) per line for comfortable human reading.

Thus actual column width is a function of font size and ems-per-line.

The rest of the post walks through how Cloud Four used em-based media queries to create a better navigation experience on their site. Some of the advantages may not apply to every responsive design, but there is one additional benefit that works nearly everywhere — em-based media queries mean that your site will handle user zooming much better, applying media queries instead of allowing content to overflow its container.

But perhaps the best part of an em-based approach is that it seems to work in nearly every web browser. Cloud Four’s post doesn’t get into the specifics of their browser testing so I fired up a couple of virtual machines and tested their site and my own simplified demo page in every major browser.

According to my testing, em-based media queries work properly in all OS X browsers. (I tested the latest versions of Safari, Firefox, Chrome and Opera.) Only Firefox and Opera apply media queries on zoom, though. (Chrome and Safari need a page refresh before the query is applied.)

On Windows 7 Firefox, Opera and Chrome behave the same way they do on OS X. IE 9 also worked fine and, like Firefox and Opera, applies media queries when zooming without needing a page refresh. Judging by the comments on the Cloud Four blog, Chrome on Linux may have some issues, but in my testing Firefox and Chrome on Fedora worked as expected.

All the mobile browsers I tested on Android worked as well (Firefox, Chrome, Opera Mini and the default Android browser). On iOS Mobile Safari applies em-based queries as you would expect.

In the end you certainly don’t need to use em-based media queries. As many sites out there demonstrate, pixel-based queries work. At least for now. However, as a wider range of screen sizes begin to access the web switching to em-based queries may put you ahead of the game. Em-based queries mean addressing the content-width rather than just the screen width and that feels like a more future-friendly approach.

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Less than 24 hours after a Russian hacker pocketed $60,000 by exploiting a previously unknown critical vulnerability in Google Chrome, company developers released an update removing the security threat.

The quick turnaround underscores one of the key advantages of Google's open-source browser: the speed in which highly complex bugs are fixed and updates are pushed out to users. By contrast, Microsoft, which must run updates through a battery of rigorous quality-assurance tests, often takes months to fix bugs of similar complexity.

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Michael J. Ross writes "With more people accessing the Internet using mobile devices than computers, web designers and developers are challenged to make sites that work well on both categories of hardware — or resign themselves to the greater costs and other disadvantages of maintaining two versions of each web site (a mobile-ready version as well as one for much larger screens). Fortunately, recent advances in web technologies are making it easier to build web pages whose contents and their positioning are automatically modified to match the available screen space of the individual user. These techniques are explored in detail in a recent book, Responsive Web Design, written by Ethan Marcotte, a veteran web designer and developer." Keep reading for the rest of Michael's review.

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This module allows you to use svg-edit to create SVG files and then do a number of things with them. You can save them as a PNG and display it as an image, allows user to create their own drawings and submit them to a gallery, and anything svg-edit allows you to do!

SVG-edit is a fast, web-based, Javascript-driven SVG editor that works in any modern browser:

Firefox 1.5+
Opera 9.50+
Safari 4+
Chrome 1+
IE 6+ (with the Chrome Frame plugin, native IE9 support in 2.6)

SVG-edit is an online vector graphics editor that uses only JS, HTML5, CSS and SVG (i.e. no server-side functionality). SVG-edit has the following features:

  • Free-hand drawing
  • Lines, Polylines
  • Rects/Squares
  • Ellipses/Circles
  • Polygons/Curved Paths
  • Stylable Text
  • Raster Images
  • Select/move/resize/rotate
  • Undo/Redo
  • Color/Gradient picker
  • Group/ungroup
  • Align
  • Zoom
  • Layers
  • Convert Shapes to Path
  • Wireframe Mode
  • Save drawing to SVG
  • Linear Gradient Picking
  • View and Edit SVG Source
  • UI Localization
  • Resizable Canvas
  • Change Background
  • Draggable Dialogs
  • Resizable UI (SVG icons)
  • Open Local Files
  • Import SVG into Drawing
  • Connector lines and Arrows
  • Plugin Architecture
  • Smoother freehand paths
  • Editing outside the canvas
  • Increased support for SVG elements
  • Add/edit Sub-paths
  • Multiple path segment selection
  • Support for foreign markup (MathML)
  • Radial Gradients
  • Configurable Options
  • Eye-dropper tool
  • Stroke linejoin and linecap
  • Export to PNG
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