Archive for August 30, 2018

Thursday, August 30, 2018

goTenna Mesh

Steven Frank (tweet):

So what’s a goTenna Mesh? It’s a portable battery-powered antenna that’s capable of forming an ad-hoc wireless mesh network with other goTenna Mesh units in-range. That is to say, they don’t connect to the internet, wi-fi, or the cellular network -- just to each other.


The most realistic use-case right now is for people who need to communicate at a distance, but do not have cellular network coverage.


Unlike many goTenna users, I'm rarely off the beaten path deep in the woods, or on an ocean cruise. I bought my goTennas to show my support for an ideal that I strongly believe in: that there should be an affordable, easy-to-use, community-owned alternative to big telecom infrastructure, and that public spectrum is a wonderful thing that we should use.

How Web Reader Modes Modes Work

Daniel Aleksandersen (via Ricky Mondello):

This article is part two in a series on web reading mode and reading mode parsers.

  1. The non-standard rendering mode
    The history of reading mode, a look at the different parsers we have today and how they came to be, and a small criticism of the Apache 2.0 license.
  2. Determining the main page content
    There are many approaches to content-analysis and extraction, and most only work well with English-content. Why is reader mode so slow to activate, anyway?
  3. Title, author, and date metadata extraction
    Visual page inspections, standard metadata, or guesswork? Everyone has their own ideas about how to best determine the metadata describing an article.
  4. Inconsistent and bad reading experience
    Encourage publishers to fix their designs, and standardize reading mode now.

Mandy Michael:

I went on a bit of a journey exploring how our websites are experienced across these technologies and how we can make sure that our content is interpreted the way we want, regardless of how people are consuming it.

For demo purposes let’s look at what a simple HTML page looks like in Instapaper, Pocket and Safari’s Reader mode and compare <div> only content and semantic HTML.

How a 1998 Meeting With Steve Jobs Gave Birth to Wi-Fi

Claus Hetting (via Shawn King):

Cees Links – today general manager at Qorvo – was there. Cees & his team had been working for more than a decade on introducing WLAN technology to the masses, but without luck. After plenty of attempts, Apple finally came to Lucent and said they wanted to meet, giving Cees and team a week to show up in Cupertino.


“Presenting for Steve Jobs was actually quite easy. I just put up the slides and he did the talking, and his talk was not necessarily related to the slides at all. In the end he told us he wanted the radio card at a cost of $50 because he wanted to sell it at $99,” says Cees.

Previously: Macworld Expo New York 1999.

On the History of Mathematical Typography

Eddie Smith:

Gutenberg’s key innovation was really in the typecasting process. Before Gutenberg’s time, creating letters out of metal, wood, and even ceramic was extremely time consuming and difficult to do in large quantities. Gutenberg revolutionized hot metal typesetting by coming up with an alloy mostly made of lead that could be melted and poured into a letter mold called a matrix. He also had to invent an ink that would stick to lead.


The Monotype System is an exquisite piece of engineering, and in many ways represents a perfection of Gutenberg’s original workflow using Industrial Age technology. It’s also a fantastic example of early “programming” since it made use of hole-punched paper tape to instruct the operations of a machine—an innovation that many people associate with the rise of computing in the mid-20th century, but was in use as early as 1725.

Like Gutenberg, Lanston sought to refine the workflow of typesetting by dividing it into specialized sub-steps. The Monotype System consisted of two machines: a giant keyboard and type caster.


The Selectric’s key feature was a golf ball-sized typeball that could be interchanged. One of the typeballs IBM made contained math symbols, so a typist could simply swap out typeballs as needed to produce a paper containing math notation. However, the printed results were arguably worse aesthetically than handwritten math and not even comparable to Monotype.


TeX was a remarkable invention, but its original form could only be used in a handful of locations—a few mainframe computers here and there. What really allowed TeX to succeed was its portability—something made possible by TeX82, a second version of TeX created for multiple platforms in 1982 with the help of Frank Liang.