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My Love / Hate List

Last week, Jill wrote about her Top-5 loves and hates. This week, it’s my turn. Here are five of each, in no particular order.

Maps

What can I say? I agree with Jill that maps are cool. New maps. Old maps. Real maps. Fictional maps. I would include globes in this category too.

Concept map for the title sequence of Game of Thrones (Credit: Art of the Title)

Concept map for the title sequence of Game of Thrones (Credit: Art of the Title)

One of my favorite maps this year is the animated map of the fictional Seven Kingdoms shown during the title sequence of the HBO TV series, Game of Thrones. Not only are all the mechanical-looking animations and flyovers fun to watch, but the areas of the map that are highlighted generally correspond with the areas that appear in the episode. Clever and helpful. Read more about the title sequence at Art of the Title.

Mobile-first responsive design

Mobile-first design starts with the phone instead of the desktop (Credit: Rachel McCollin)

Mobile-first design starts with the phone instead of the desktop (Credit: Rachel McCollin)

Remember the old days of browser detection and multiple implementations of the same site to accommodate different devices and browsers? What a pain! Responsive design is so much more efficient and client-friendly. Taking the concept further, mobile-first design, where the layout starts with a mobile phone-sized screen and works its way up toward a full-fledged desktop, is even more efficient and logical to build and execute.

If you want to see what it is like building a responsive site that is mobile-first, take a look at this tutorial, Building a Mobile First Responsive WordPress Theme. It is easy to follow even if you have never made a WordPress theme and carries over to whatever platform you like to use.

Books

No substitute for the real thing (Credit: Flicker.com/Brody)

No substitute for the real thing (Credit: Flicker.com/Brody)

Kindles and ebooks are certainly convenient. However, when it comes to novels and reference material, I still prefer the tactile experience of reading a physical book, especially those with a hard cover.

Breaking in a new binding. Turning pages. Seeing how far you’ve gone and how much is left. There is no substitute, yet.

Clocks and watches

Astronomical clock (Credit: Flickr.com/Matthew Kirkland)

Astronomical clock (Credit: Flickr.com/Matthew Kirkland)

Although the current time is readily available on our computers, tablets and smartphones, I still wear watches and have clocks on the walls. Like books, these physical devices provide something extra that is lost with its electronic counterpart. Whether it’s the style, type of movement, or specialized information presentation, timepieces are still my favorite way to see that I have to run to yet another meeting.

Color

"Color picture" (Credit: Flickr.com/@Doug888)

“Color picture” (Credit: Flickr.com/@Doug88888)

Over the years, I have grown to appreciate the lighting and textures of black & white photography. However, I still prefer color. The crimson red of a burning sunset. The infinite depth of a cloudless blue sky. The emerald green rolling hills in spring. I like to see with all the rods and cones in my retinas.

Breaking the Web with JavaScript

Stop breaking the Web! (Credit: Flickr.com/Josh Miller)

Stop breaking the Web! (Credit: Flickr.com/Josh Miller)

Believe it or not, before there was JavaScript, web browsers could follow links when you clicked on them, clicking a submit button sent form data to a server, and clicking a menu opened a list of options.

So, why is it that as time has passed, this basic HTML functionality no longer works without JavaScript? Why do more and more developers keep breaking things with JavaScript? I really hate it when I visit a site and it looks ugly and nothing works, not even links, without downloading tons of script code.

Smartphone apocalypse

It’s not like I don’t own or use a smartphone. I do. However, instead of a zombie apocalypse, I often feel like we are suffering from a smartphone apocalypse. The things are everywhere, all the time, gobbling up real-world human interaction time.

Take a break, people! Watch the video, above, instead. (OK, watch it on your smartphone if you must. *sigh*)

Newspapers and magazines

No more newspapers, please (Credit: Flickr.com/Phil Gyford)

No more newspapers, please (Credit: Flickr.com/Phil Gyford)

Although I like books, I feel just the opposite when it comes to temporary printed information such as those contained in newspapers and magazines. Newspapers are particularly annoying with their messy inks and clutter-inducing nature. This kind of information is better stored and consumed on e-readers and tablet computers. No clutter, no wasted paper, and faster and cheaper distribution.

Facebook

The king of leaks (Credit: Flickr.com/Sam Michel)

The king of data leaks and spam (Credit: Flickr.com/Sam Michel)

Oh, there are many reasons that I hate Facebook. The primary one is well-known: they can not be trusted to properly handle your information. If it isn’t an intentional release of previously private data, then it’s one of many bugs over the years that leak it out to their benefit, not yours.

A recent, related annoyance is when I added my cell phone number in order to enable two-factor authentication to protect my account login. Even though I have SMS notifications disabled, Facebook feels that they can disregard my “no SMS notification” setting and spam me with messages that I have friend requests waiting. Friend notifications are not login authentication codes. What part of “no SMS notifications” is unclear to you, Facebook?

OK, so I don’t hate Facebook itself. It provides useful functionality to many people. I hate its poorly-managed execution and operation.

Bad site search

(Credit: Flickr.com/Jhayne)

I can’t find anything! (Credit: Flickr.com/Jhayne)

How many times have you visited a web site and struggled to find what you wanted with the available search functionality? What is up with that? Rather than remain frustrated, here is a handy workaround to the problem.

You can use Google to search within a particular site, rather than the entire Web. Simply add “site:domain” to your query. For example, to search Wikipedia for pages about “web design”, enter “web design site:wikipedia.org” into Google and click the search button. Voilà!

(Featured image by Peter Ridge)

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