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Binary Balance

Life on the digital knife edge

Going on Safari

A little while back I read a post by DHH wherein he lays out his reasons for why we should be more omnivorous with our browser use, lest we end up back in a new version of the bad old days when Internet Explorer was the only show in town, holding back the progress of the open web. For some time now and like seemingly most people these days, my main browser has been Google’s Chrome but David’s post struck a chord with me and so - being on MacOS - the obvious alternative to Chrome that I could use is Safari. This is my experience of a long time Chrome user giving Safari an earnest go. Read more...

DTA assessment and what it means to the Australian Government

If you’ve spent any time working in IT within or around the Australian Government, you’ve probably heard about the Digital Service Standard, administered by the Australian Government’s Digital Transformation Agency (DTA). But what does the Digital Service Standard really mean for those who work in/around government today? A staff member of the DTA once told me that to them the Digital Service Standard represents permission for government to work in a new and different way (well, new and different to government perhaps). In large part, it’s permission for government to take inspiration from agile delivery principles and start-up culture in aid of providing better services to citizens. In the Australian Public Service however, this is more easily said than done as a large part of agile delivery and start-up culture is predicated on the assumption that the groups and organisations involved will be small and nimble, two adjectives that typically do not apply to government agencies. This was but one topic that I discussed with DTA representatives at a field trip taken earlier this year to the Canberra DTA office to observe a Digital Service Standard assessment for a government service known as BloodNet, managed by the National Blood Authority. Read more...

Jekyll and Azure App Service: the quest for end-to-end encryption

It’s sad but true that my last blog post here was more than a year ago, how time flies. But, I’m not dead (as Pink once said) and I finally have some time to write an update to my previous post - or another instalment of a perennial favourite post topic of mine: where and how is my blog hosted now?! In my last post I left things with my blog running on GitHub Pages for hosting and Jekyll for content management. Well, I’m still using Jekyll but I have now moved to Azure App Service for hosting. This isn’t a free option but I happen to have some Azure credits hanging around for various reasons and I thought I may as well make use of them to see what I could sort out for my blog on the Azure platform and finally get that proper end-to-end SSL/TLS encryption I’ve been wanting for some time now. Read more...

Jekylls and CDNs and GitHub Pages, oh my!

Some months ago, I finally got around to redesigning my blog with responsiveness in mind, along with switching it to run on a new blogging app and hosting platform. Previous to this, I had been using the excellent Enki blogging app (which I still remain quite fond of, assisting with maintaining the project on occasion) and Heroku. This combination resulted in a free hosting situation with some limitations which I was generally quite happy with. But while Enki is a great little Rails app, especially if you’re the kind of person that likes to be able to blog from any place where you have a web browser and an Internet connection, I felt like I needed a simpler platform. Something where I can worry less about config and maintenance, something that just lets me write my content and stays out of the way. And while Heroku is one of the most developer friendly hosting platforms I have ever used, I was hoping to find something at about the same ongoing price point (say, $0) without the caveats of Heroku’s free plan. Read more...

Why I'm not writing on Svbtle

During September of this year, I was one of what I gather was a large chunk of people that suddenly received an invite to Svbtle (the hosted blogging platform from Dustin Curtis) after applying for said invite so long ago that I can’t exactly remember when it was. Despite my usually cynical nature, I was kind of excited. I mean, sure I worked out pretty quickly that Svbtle was no longer the exclusive hangout that it once was, they’d opened their doors to the plebs to paraphrase one commentator. But whether it’s still trendy or not, I am a huge fan of the minimal ‘let the content speak for its self’ school of web design and I thought Dustin’s design of Svbtle was absolutely beautiful. Great job there, dude. Read more...

My letter in support of the National Broadband Network

I’ve just posted a snail mail letter to our Liberal representative in the Senate, Mr Zed Seselja (Senator for Australian Capital Territory). If you have an interest in securing Australia’s future in the digital economy and ensuring that Australia gets the National Broadband Network (NBN) it deserves, then I encourage you to make your voice heard now in any and all ways possible. Read more...

Comparing cognitive styles of tech tutorials

Historically speaking and development-wise, I’ve had a lot of experience with technologies that typically rest upon Unix and Unix-like environments. Read more...

Postmortem of a side-project

Early July, I sent an email to all users of Filelike (my SaaS application for selling digital files) informing them that as of June 30 2013, I would be discontinuing support and shutting down the site. Read more...

Filelike and a bootstrapper's manifesto

Not so long ago, I was talking to a family member who was interested in ways that they could sell an electronic version of a book they’d written and this got me thinking about selling electronic files online. Read more...

Genuinely surprised that IE still sucks

It’s been a while since I’ve had the dubious pleasure of using IE as my default every day web browser. The last version of IE that I had any large amount of contact with was IE 7 (pretty early after its initial release), and the best thing I can say about IE 7 is that it wasn’t quite as crap as IE 6. But that’s a bit like saying that Hitler wasn’t quite as crap as Stalin. Recently, for reasons out side of my direct control I have once again been required to take up IE (versions 8 and 9) as a regularly used web browser and I am honestly a little surprised at how terrible it still is. I really expected more from Microsoft by now. Read more...

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