Simply Jonathan

Archive for 2012

The right to be offensive and wrong 

As Voltaire put it: I disagree strongly with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

Part of allowing free speech is also allowing people to say things that you do not agree with. Then you attack their opinion, not their right to say it.

Rubber Duck Problem Solving 

Atwood describes the technique for programmers, but it’s an almost universally applicable technique.

I think every blogger (or anyone else who has written for their own pleasure rather than to perform some task) has fired up the editor to write something (usually posed as a question in some way) only to discover that describing the problems often leads to a discovery of the solution.

I know I do this all the time at work. I work remotely, so I usually Skype chat with my boss, and I constantly find myself describing potential problems/questions with what I’m about to implement, only to have the solution pop up to me before I need to hit ‘send’.

Why James Whittaker left Google 

Short summary: they’re a glorified ad company. An interesting (if heart-breaking) story about the realisation that Google isn’t about interesting tech as much as they’re about showing ads to people.

Why Google Web Fonts aren’t really open source 

Using Google Web Fonts as his case study, Matthew But­t­er­ick makes a great explanation of what is and what isn’t open source.

Microsoft’s Smoked by a Windows Phone $100 challenge 

There is some obvious unfairness in this, in the Microsoft bloke being obviously trained in how to do this, but I don’t think anyone’s saying it’s a scientific experiment, and the Windows Phone looks very impressive doing this.

If I might add one quip about the objective of the challenge, I don’t see why uploading the image would be something that would need to be done instantly. Clearly, the thing must be getting to the camera quickly, and quickly snapping a photo. The uploading (to Twitter, Facebook, or wherever) can take its time, as I see it.

Still, the Windows Phone looks great.

Google poaching clients off Kenyan competitor 

A chilling story of some seemingly very shady business practice from Google’s Kenyan office. (Though, as is pointed out by the article, it doesn’t seem to just be some rogue branch, but a more centralised tactic.)

What strikes me as weird about this is how clearly un-Google-like this is. I can’t vouch for their business practices overall, but getting people – even low-wage employees – to query a database and contacting people seems very different from Google’s philosophy of letting computers handle everything. But what do I know.

(Via Jeremy Keith.)

What evidence is it going to take? 

To think that people who believe staunchly in forbidding marijuana will be persuaded to somehow feel differently is very optimistic; but for people who believe in facts and science, the fact that marijuana is forbidden but cigarettes and alcohol aren’t, starts to seem less and less self-evident.

Opposition to marijuana is a matter of principle, and matters of principle are rarely affected by science.

(Via Tim Bray.)

To compare Lionel Messi to anybody else is unfair – on them 

Sid Lowe on the very fair concession that Messi just might be the best footballer in history – and thus isn’t apt for comparison to anybody.

Jeremy Keith: One Web (YouTube) 

Keith’s presentation from last year’s Update Conference. As usual, top stuff from Jeremy, about the Web’s unpredictability being its most essential feature.

I still believe there’s a place for native apps (which I believe he does too), but for applications connecting with others, the Web is the way to go.

This is Simply Jonathan, a blog written by Jonathan Holst. It's mostly about technical topics (and mainly the Web at that), but an occasional post on clothing, sports, and general personal life topics can be found.

Jonathan Holst is a programmer, language enthusiast, sports fan, and appreciator of good design, living in Copenhagen, Denmark, Europe. He is also someone pretentious enough to call himself the 'author' of a blog. And talk about himself in the third person.