Thursday, March 27, 2014

Announcement: Clarification for the css assignment

Hey folks, 

Tried to post this yesterday, sorry it didn't arrive sooner! But it's especially important for those who've just received their CSS files. 

Looks like some of you have been confused about whether or not you have consented for the experimental study. My apologies! 

Your consent for use of online tools we requested at the beginning of the semester is not the same as your consent for the experiment we requested a bit later. 

If you have not received the set of files described in the CSS assignment, it's likely you did not consent. 

In this case, please contact Ju Hee to let her know whether or not you wish to consent. If you consent, you will perform the assignment as described, and receive extra credit. If you do not consent, you will do the same work, but without the ordering constraints, without your contributing your results to the experiment, and without extra credit (there are other extra credit opportunities). In both cases you should receive some css and some 

In light of this confusion we will extend the due date for both parts of the assignment by one week: if you consented, part 1 is due April 2, part 2 April 9. If you didn't consent, the whole assignment is due April 9. 

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Tool: codepen looks very useful.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Announcement: Grading rubric for css assignment

Here it is! 

Your goals for a good grade are to: 

• turn in the assignment components as and where needed. Ju Hee can help with this, but not with remaining points. 

• do cross browser testing and validation, report same 

• maintain a good separation between semantic markup (html) and appearance (css)

• meaningfully improve the appearance and understandability of your content (wide range here) 

• avoid any deprecated css or html 

from Web Class @ NCSU

Assignment: indicate your project preferences

Hi folks,

As we discussed in class today, your projects descriptions are out! You can view them on our course's project page.

We will place you in teams and match you to your projects by class Wednesday. To help us match you with projects and team members you would like, as well as ensure that teams are well balanced and a good match with project needs, please fill out this project matching form by end of day Tuesday.

Professor Watson

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Find: Level 3 and Cogent ask FCC for protection against ISP “tolls”

Things heating up...


Level 3 and Cogent ask FCC for protection against ISP “tolls”
// Ars Technica

Network operators Level 3 and Cogent Communications today urged the Federal Communications Commission to prevent Internet service providers from charging what they deem to be excessive fees for interconnection.

The Federal Communications Commission's first attempt to create net neutrality rules, which were struck down in court after a challenge by Verizon, prevented discrimination, blocking, and pay-for-play charges on the so-called last mile of broadband networks. This required ISPs like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T to treat Web services equally once traffic entered their networks and started making its way to residential and business customers.But the FCC implemented no rules for the interconnections between consumer ISPs and Internet transit providers like Level 3 and Cogent. Notably, Netflix pays Level 3 and Cogent to distribute its traffic across the Internet, and ISPs are demanding payment from all three of these companies in exchange for accepting traffic. Level 3 and Netflix both pay Comcast while Cogent has held out. Verizon and AT&T are also both seeking payment from Netflix.

While ISPs say the traffic loads are too heavy, Level 3, Cogent, and Netflix argue that ISPs are abusing their market power, since customers often have little to no choice of Internet provider. That means there's only one path for Netflix traffic to reach consumers, at least over the last mile.

Read 26 remaining paragraphs 

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Assignment 2: add some style with CSS! (updated)

(updated: logistical correction)

Here is your second coding assignment!


This assignment has two parts. The first is due in one week, by end of day Wednesday, March 26. The second is due a week later, by end of day Wednesday, April 4.

As you know, with your consent we are performing an experiment with this assignment, so its mechanics are a bit unusual. You will be adding style to two html files: your own page, and someone else's page. You will be adding style two times to each file:

  • In one part of the assignment: you will create CSS from scratch for your own page, while with the other page, you create CSS with the help of starting CSS output from our experimental tool. 
  • In the other part: you will swap the pairing, meaning you will create CSS starting from our tool's output for your own page, while you will create CSS from scratch for the other page.
The order in which you perform these parts is being varied for experimental reasons.

My student (Juhee Bae) will shortly send each of you an email describing your randomly selected order, and a link to the experimental CSS output you need. On March 27, you will receive a link to the experimental output you need for the second part of the assignment.


Use CSS file to improve the appeal and understandability of html content.


When working with experimental CSS output:

  • Work with the improved html files that we provide you. (We sometimes improved semantic markup to enable better experimental CSS output.)
  • Do not significantly modify your html content.
  • Do not share the experimental CSS output with others. 
  • The output includes five different CSS style sheets. Choose one to work with, and improve it to reach your goals.

In any case:

  • Ensure your content is suitable for a classroom
  • Turn in exactly two CSS files for each part of the assignment, one for each html file.
  • As before, do not place any CSS styling or attributes in your html – remember, you won't be turning it in.


Validate your page using the W3C CSS Validation Service. Address as many of the resulting warnings and errors as you can.

Test your page on various browsers ("crossbrowser testing") using Browserling, Browsera, BrowserStack or SauceLabs. These tools make it easy to see how a page is rendered in different browsers without actually running those browsers. Test at least half of the following browsers:

  • Firefox for Windows
  • Firefox for OS X
  • Chrome for Windows
  • Chrome for OS X
  • Chrome for Android
  • Internet Explorer for Windows
  • Safari for OS X
  • Safari for iOS


Using wolfware classic assignment "css", for each part of the assignment, submit:

  • two CSS files
  • two matching html files
  • a text file of 1-2 pages documenting why you modified any CSS you received
  • (Optional) post your impressions of the appearance of your homepage with provided CSS file to our forum for extra credit.

Find: Level 3 blames Internet slowdowns on ISPs’ refusal to upgrade networks

More information on internet developing internet tolls. 


Level 3 blames Internet slowdowns on ISPs’ refusal to upgrade networks
// Ars Technica

Recent public battles over how network interconnections affect the quality of streaming video have almost all involved one company: Cogent Communications.Cogent CEO Dave Schaeffer has claimed that his company is simply the only one willing to put up a public fight. But even though Cogent makes the most noise, it's not the only Internet bandwidth provider battling consumer Internet service providers like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T. Level 3, another company that has fought consumer ISPs in previous years, has mostly remained quiet lately. But today, Level 3 decided to voice its displeasure in a blog post by General Counsel for Regulatory Policy Michael Mooney.

Like Cogent, Level 3 is one of the Internet bandwidth providers that Netflix and other companies pay to distribute their traffic across the Internet. Both have objected to demands that they pay for the right to peer, or exchange traffic with, last mile ISPs that serve home broadband users.

Level 3 itself caved in and agreed to pay Comcast after a dispute over Netflix traffic in 2010, and it appears to be troubled that Netflix just recently agreed to pay Comcast as well. Mooney today wrote:

Read 5 remaining paragraphs

from Web Class @ NCSU

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Find: Unity game engine heading to the browser without plug-ins

Unity goes webgl only. 


Unity game engine heading to the browser without plug-ins
// Ars Technica

Mozilla and Unity today announced that Unity 5, to be released later this year, will include an early access preview of a version of the 3D engine that supports WebGL and asm.js, enabling plug-in-free access to the Web.

The Unity game engine has found huge success among game developers as it can target Windows, iOS, Android, OS X, Linux, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and more. Unity games can also be deployed on the Web, but this function currently uses a browser plug-in, the Unity Web Player. The early access will remove the need for the plug-in. Initially, it will only support desktop Firefox and desktop Chrome, due to their performance and (in Firefox's case) explicit support for the high performance asm.js subset.

A bunch of Unity games running in the browser with WebGL.

While the WebGL/asm.js version of the Unity engine is not as fast as the plug-in version, the companies say that it's still good enough to hit 60 frames per second in a range of games. Unity is looking for feedback from developers during this early access preview to refine and improve the engine prior to producing a final version. The generated code takes advantage of some of the new browser APIs that Mozilla is pushing, such as support for gamepads.

Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

from Web Class @ NCSU

Monday, March 17, 2014

Find: Creator of the web never expected it to be used for 'kittens'

Creator of the web never expected it to be used for 'kittens'
// The Verge - All Posts

On this date in 1989, Tim Berners-Lee submitted a proposal outlining what would ultimately become the World Wide Web. He took time to reflect on his monumental invention during a Reddit AMA today. "25 years later, I'm amazed to see the many great things it's achieved - transforming the way we talk, share and create," wrote Berners-Lee. Another thing he's amazed to see? "Kittens." That was the answer he provided when asked to name one thing he never envisioned the web being used for. Berners-Lee also said — as he has previously — that he almost called the World Wide Web by another name: the Mine of Information. "None had quite the right ring," Berners-Lee said of the rejected names, which also included The Information Mine and The...

from Web Class @ NCSU

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Find: In sudden announcement, US to give up control of DNS root zone

Yup. As expected. The us is no longer the ultimate decision maker in domain naming. 


In sudden announcement, US to give up control of DNS root zone
// Ars Technica

In a historic decision on Friday, the United States has decided to give up control of the authoritative root zone file, which contains all names and addresses of all top-level domain names.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), under the United States Department of Commerce, has retained ultimate control of the domain name system (DNS) since transitioning it from a government project into private hands in 1997. With Commerce’s blessing, the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) acts as the primary essential governing body for Internet policy.

The new change is in advance of the upcoming ICANN meeting to be held in Brazil in April 2014. Brazil and other nations have fumed at revelations of American spying on its political leaders and corporations, which were first revealed in September 2013 as the result of documents distributed by whistleblower Edward Snowden. The South American country also threatened to build its “own cloud,” as a consequence of the NSA’s spying.

Read 19 remaining paragraphs

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Find: Webstate - chrome gains vs firefox on desktop, vs safari on mobile

Desktop: 5:2:2:1 ie:ffox:chrome:other 
Mobile: 5:4:1 safari:google:other 


Weeks before expiration date, Windows XP still has 29% OS market share
// Ars Technica

In February we saw the usual small movements in the browser market. More significantly, however, we didn't see any significant movements in the operating system market. For the second month in a row, Windows 8.x's share is basically unaltered... and so is Windows XP's.

The desktop browser space today seems steadier than it has been for a long time. Internet Explorer's share was virtually unchanged, down 0.02 points. Firefox also fell, down 0.40 points, and Safari dropped 0.13 points. Chrome grew, up 0.56 points. Chrome and Firefox haven't been this close since last July; perhaps 2014 will be the year when Chrome pushes Firefox into third place.

Absent some big reason to shake things up, this is unlikely to change any time soon. The impending loss of support of Internet Explorer on Windows XP should hopefully push users of that operating system to, if not switch operating systems entirely, at least switch to Firefox or Chrome; Mozilla and Google will both support their browsers on Windows XP for at least a year after Microsoft drops support. But in practice, anyone conscientious enough to switch browsers because of the lack of support would switch operating systems too.

Read 9 remaining paragraphs

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Find: Verizon has most reliable cellular network in test, AT&T has the fastest

Verizon has most reliable cellular network in test, AT&T has the fastest
// Ars Technica

A nationwide test of the four major US carriers' cellular networks puts Verizon Wireless and AT&T in a near-tie in most categories, with Sprint and T-Mobile lagging well behind their bigger rivals.

Verizon was the winner in four out of five categories, including reliability, data, calls, and texts. AT&T won the speed test by a hair and finished slightly behind Verizon in the overall score.

Test results for the second half of 2013 were revealed today by RootMetrics, which calls itself an independent mobile analytics firm. The tests don't appear to be funded directly by any of the carriers, but RootMetrics' business sells "subscription data products to strategic wireless carriers, infrastructure companies, and device manufacturers."

Read 11 remaining paragraphs

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Monday, March 3, 2014

Announcement: no class today!

Hey folks,

Due to the weather, no class today. Just wanted to be clear, since the official cancellation is from 3p on.

I will post some video shorts today. Please try to view and react to them before Wednesday!



Saturday, March 1, 2014

Tool: Introducing Google Maps Gallery: Unlocking the World’s Maps

Introducing Google Maps Gallery: Unlocking the World’s Maps
// Google for Nonprofits Blog
Editor’s note: Last year we introduced the Google Maps Engine public data program, which lets organizations easily publish their map content online. Today, we’re expanding on that program and letting organizations improve the discoverability of their maps. To find out more information about the program, read our FAQ.

Governments, nonprofits and businesses have some of the most valuable mapping data in the world, but it’s often locked away and not accessible to the public. With the goal of making this information more readily available to the world, today we’re launching Google Maps Gallery, a new way for organizations to share and publish their maps online via Google Maps Engine.

Maps Gallery works like an interactive, digital atlas where anyone can search for and find rich, compelling maps. Maps included in the Gallery can be viewed in Google Earth and are discoverable through major search engines, making it seamless for citizens and stakeholders to access diverse mapping data, such as locations of municipal construction projects, historic city plans, population statistics, deforestation changes and up-to-date emergency evacuation routes. Organizations using Maps Gallery can communicate critical information, build awareness and inform the public at-large.
Screenshot from 2014-02-24 12_55_17.png
Google Maps Gallery also offers several key benefits for organizations. With the Gallery, governments, nonprofits and businesses can publish maps and manage their content on their own terms with settings that enable control over maps branding, styling and licensing. Additionally, with the ability to synchronize maps from legacy systems and open data portals to the Gallery, organizations can take advantage of having a complementary online channel for their data. This lets their maps be more accessible and useful for their audiences — all powered by Google’s reliable cloud infrastructure. 

Today, Gallery users can browse content from organizations such as National Geographic Society, World Bank Group, United States Geological Survey, Florida Emergency Management and the City of Edmonton — but this is just the beginning. Maps Gallery is now open to organizations with content for the public good. Organizations interested in submitting content can apply to participate in Maps Gallery.

Google Maps Gallery gives organizations better ways to surface maps and make data more discoverable. Together with governments, businesses and nonprofits, we can unlock the world’s geospatial data.

Posted by Jordan Breckenridge, Google Maps, Product Manager 

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