Web Excursions 2021-07-20

An argument on the usefulness of the “New File” context menu item on Windows; a proposal of hosting website in the PDF format against centralization; and Apple got sued for wrongfully accuse a teen of shoplifting.


Why does the New menu even exist for creating new empty files?

  • User research shows that for many users, the way they create a new file is to find an existing file of the same type, copy it, then open the copy and delete everything in it.

  • In fact, in the Xerox Star (the precursor to our modern GUI interfaces), creating a new document is done by copying an existing one.

  • For people with a document-centric view of the world, programs aren’t really things that you think about. What you really work on are documents.


Lab6 Issue 0 - 0

[Note: The site publish all content in the form of a PDF file and redirect visitor to the PDF upon visiting the domain name.]

  • I’m publishing this document in PDF because:

    • PDFs are self-contained and offlineable

    • PDFs are files. We must not lose sight of the fact that files are a basic freedom.

    • discoverable, independent

    • PDFs and a PDF tool ecosystem exist today.

    • PDF is an open standard

    • PDFs are part of the web, as much as HTML – they support hyperlinks and you can link to specific pages with URL fragments.

    • PDFs are page-oriented. This is another fundamental freedom – to know unambiguously which part of the document you are looking at.

      • Compare to infinite-scroll HTML pages which are disorienting by design.

      • HTML focuses on logical structure and leaves the physical structure to the browser,

        • which ostensibly formats it for optimum viewing by the user,

        • but in practice formats it for optimum “engagement” with the advertiser.

  • PDF’s historical disadvantages are now either resolved or mitigated:

    • used to be large, and

      • although they are still larger than equivalent HTML, they are still an order of magnitude smaller than the torrent of JavaScript sewage pumped down to your browser by most sites3.

    • used to be inaccessible, but now you can tag them.

    • used to be unreadable on small screens, but now you can reflow them.

    • used to be read-only, but now there are tools to edit them, or dump their contents to other formats.

    • used to be best consumed as printed pages, but now there is an abundance of PDF tooling for viewing and manipulating them on screens of all sizes.

  • Some say the organic web is dead, but it is still out there.

    • It’s out there in the same sense that the open countryside is still out there: local, boutique, and characterful,

    • but gradually thinning in favour of a great migration away to the cities.

  • Starting with Web 2.0 techniques such as XMLHttpRequest, which was the key enabling technology for reloadless single-page-applications, we now have a web of applications, not just a web of pages.

    • The web is no longer just HTML, but also Web GL, Web Sockets, Web Assembly, Web RTC, Web NFC, Web Storage, a Vibration API... the catalogue of specs is monstrous.

  • When is a browser finished?

    • ChromeOS’s answer is: not until it has completely taken over all functionality of the OS,

    • and turned the whole computer into a browser appliance!


Apple sued in nightmare case involving teen wrongly accused of shoplifting, driver's permit used by impostor, and unreliable facial-rec tech • The Register

This Complaint arises from repeated false felonious accusations against the Plaintiff by Defendants for thefts across the eastern seaboard that were actually committed by one or more impostors in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts between April 2018 and February 2019. These accusations included one of theft in Boston, MA in May 2018 and one in Holyoke, MA in December 2018, which are the gravamen for relief in this Complaint

This Complaint alleges that the Defendants' investigative practices leading to these false allegations were inadequate and provided no reasonable basis for these accusations, which were made in reckless disregard for their truth or falsity. The private Defendant Apple and Sis'accusations were inherently unreasonable, as they were based on information which was, on its face, unreliable. The private Defendants' repeated accusations claiming that the Plaintiff as a thief across multiple jurisdictions created a chain reaction, resulting in recurring false accusations as the actual impostor continued to shoplift

Apple and SIS reckless and malicious behavior is further evidenced by the eir pursuing wrongful criminal charges against the Plaintiff while simultaneously failing to preserve video evidence of the thefts and the impostors true identity -evidence that would have conclusively exonerated the Plaintiff