Our favourite web(ish) stories from the week…
“This week I became increasing concerned by Facebook’s policies and privacy, with various changes coming up which are concerning. The biggest of these for me is Facebook’s request to form a PAC, or Political Action Committee. This will give Facebook the power to give money to political candidates they choose, as well as collect money to funnel into political candidates. Facebook stores an awful lot of data on people and trends which could be very useful for someone standing for political office, and it worries me that my data could be used that way.”
“This week saw Amazon unveil their new Kindle lineup including the Kindle Fire – their first offering in the tablet market. At a ridiculously competitive price and with all of Amazon’s content ready to purchase I think it’s sure to be a success. But there was one feature of their announcement that caught my even more. Their new web browser, Amazon Silk. Silk is a split browser, part on the device, part in the cloud. Nobody has worked out quite what will happen where, when it’ll do it or won’t and how the magic occurs. We just know that Amazon say webpages will load faster. Lovely.
However, this does raise a couple of questions. Firstly, as web developers, we have Yet Another Bloody Browser to test in when we launch a new site. Silk is based on the WebKit rendering engine, so hopefully it will be sane, but browser manufacturers love to changes things just enough to piss us off. The second question concerns privacy. With Silk, Amazon is, by default, receiving and interpreting the content of every page you look at – including encrypted traffic. This may trouble you personally or you may not care – but the Data Protection Act will probably have something to say about it. The legality of Silk is being raised as a potential reason for it’s no show outside of the US. Time will tell.”
“Google made those of us who remember when it burst onto the search scene and promptly wiped out the competition feel very old, by turning 13. They celebrated in the usual way with a doodle. Storm favourite B3ta.com also chose to celebrate it – in their own inimitable style…
Also on my list: Stripe.com launched their new developer friendly payment platform that doesn’t require a merchant account, but costs about the same as PayPal and has an exceptionally nice APi, with lots of client libraries already available. Fingers crossed this will help shake up an industry that seems to think that excessive charges, awful APIs and terrible user experience is somehow ok.”
“Well everybody likes winning really don’t they! One offline thing we’ve all really liked this week was our evening at Bath Racecourse for the Bath Business Awards. We came away finalists in both the Small Business and New Business categories, and I was lucky enough to pick up Young Business Person of the Year – which goes to show what a fantastic team we have here, without whom I wouldn’t have stood a chance. You can read a little more about it over on the Storm site.”
“My winner for ‘Mildly amusing shitstorm over nothing’ award this week goes to the Carsonified hiring-a-designer debacle that sprung up yesterday.
Part of the application process for the job was to design and code a one page dashboard app. It seems that a number of designers took exception to being asked to do what they deemed ‘spec work’ and the fact that some people already busy with client work would be ruled out of the running was also raised. My take on the issues? Suck it up. For such a fine opportunity you should be prepared to go above and beyond the call of duty, your present circumstances be damned. I think it is a brilliant test of somebody’s talents to be asked to design something on the fly, and is definitely a technique i will be using in future Storm interviews”
“Well, given that Adam chose to write about Silk (dammit, I wanted that one…!), and Liam stole the
endless rant interesting paragraph I had composed about Facebook….
I guess the thing that caught my eye this week was probably news that everyone’s favourite browser – Chrome – is likely to take 2nd most popular browser spot sometime in December 2011. Pretty impressive stuff, although when you consider how blazingly fast it is, maybe not a huge surprise…”