WDRL — Edition 278: Cname Cloaking, Dark mode favicons, a guide to mastery, and better custom select fields

WDRL — Edition 278: Cname Cloaking, Dark mode favicons, a guide to mastery, and better custom select fields

Hey,

It’s interesting to reflect on our own behaviour: We can often enough catch ourselves complaining or ranting about other people — some of them we know personally, some we don’t. I’m currently reading a (German) book that’s written mostly for farmers but I can’t stop thinking it should be read by anyone, especially non-farmers. Of course it tackles our climate, but more importantly, it points out how we end up in the situation of fueling climate change. It reveals how our social behaviour is broken once we are not in direct contact with people anymore. It’s relatively easy for us to thank beloved ones or a craftsman showing up at your house to repair something, but it’s hard to show the same appreciation to those who grow our coffee, to those who make our shirts and jeans.

It’s hard for us to feel empathy with people in the news, with famous people while it’s easy to complain about them or be envious. But what if we try to show empathy? Maybe they grew into their role and don’t even like all the show business or attention from media. What if we try to see them as part of our society and while their influence may seem bigger than our own, it’s upon us to influence the world around us, not the media’s. We can choose whether to watch TV and do nothing but complain about how bad everything is or take some action, self-reflected, with our friends, neighbours, maybe with strangers who feel the same.

It’s our choice whether we declutter our flat, whether to consume cheap meat, whether to be annoyed by the climate news, or whether we use our common sense and try to help other people, other animals, other plants, trees and in the end ourselves by showing gratitude, appreciation and creating a social, helpful community again. It doesn’t matter where it starts — it can be online, at work, with your clients, while shopping groceries, at home with your friends, children or neighbours.

News

  • Firefox 71 is out and brings Picture in Picture playing mode, more CSS Grid Level 2 features, the column-span property, the JavaScript Promise.allSettled() method, a partial support for the Media Session API. The developer tools now include Network request blocking, a Console multi-line editor mode, network full-text search, a WebSocket message inspector, and logging on Event Listeners.
  • PHP 7.4 has been released and brings typed properties, arrow functions, limited return type covariance and argument type contravariance, unpacking inside arrays, numeric literal separator, allows exceptions from __toString(), and removes some more extensions from the core.

Generic

  • Mel Choyce on why machines and algorithms aren’t neutral, why we as developers, as people working in and with tech should embrace being political instead of trying to deny the truth. We can choose what to do; We can create different algorithms.

Tooling

Security

  • There are dozens of adblockers and tracking blockers on our computers these days, some even built into the browsers. But we still see tracking in some places, one of them by Eulerian, a leading tracking company. How did they do that? They found a way to use a technique called CNAME Cloaking and trick customers into adopting these privacy-invading, scary DNS hacking practices. With that, it becomes more and more important to change your default DNS provider to one that tries to protect your privacy, like 1.1.1.1 by Cloudflare or NextDNS, or your own pi-hole at home running on a RaspberryPi for free.

Accessibility

JavaScript

  • Unconventional to read about that topic from a developer point of view but that makes it so great as resources on it are so rare: Christian Schäfer wrote a blog post on how to deal with ads in 2020. This is about what still sucks about ads, but as more than enough sites rely on them we need a solid concept to integrate it with the least impact on users possible. A lesson on the <xmp> element, lazy loading via Intersection Observer API, creating Contextual Fragments, combined with the connection information from the browser results in ads on sites that most of us would maybe even love but at least not be annoyed of.
  • We all use Custom Select elements. But most of them are less than optimal when it comes to UX or accessibility. Julie Grundy shares her approach of making a better custom select element.

CSS

Work & Life

  • It’s not entirely new and has been suspected and shared in the news already that there’s a huge addiction to the smartphone and it affects our health. But this clinical study on young people reveals alarming results: Every fourth child (or young people) faces Problematic Smarthone Use, a diagnosis that indicates addiction to the phone accompanied by an increased odds of poorer mental health.
  • The path to mastery is available to all of us. With enough effort and persistence, achieving greatness in a chosen field is within reach. We can capture genius and direct our focus and attention to a singular aim that brings both intrinsic and extrinsic rewards. Today it’s just an uncommon, almost forgotten path to go inside our fast-paced, throw-away society but that doesn’t make it less worthy to follow, quite the contrary.

Go beyond…

  • On ethics in our society by the one who played Ali G, Borat and Admiral General Aladeen. Sacha Baron Cohen with an important message on the social media giants, namely here Facebook: Facebook would have let Hitler buy ads for ‘final solution’. And it’s not deniable but instead, totally reconstructable for each of us and we’ve seen the principle happening in the past years during elections.
  • We knew that microplastics — the tiny pieces of broken-down plastic bottles and other garbage — can now be found everywhere from Arctic ice to bottled water to seafood. But scientists figured out in new studies that there are a million times more microplastics in the ocean than we thought until now.

If you want to support produce WDRL, contribute via PayPal or Stripe. Every small amount you pledge will help pay my costs. Thanks a lot!

—Anselm


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