Monday, September 29, 2014

Announcement: class Wednesday is at Burns auditorium on main campus

Hey folks,

As announced in class last week, class this Wednesday will be held jointly with a graphic design course in Burns auditorium over on main campus, at the regular time.

The auditorium is in Kamphoefner Hall at the College of Design. Here is a map.

We will discuss our joint project with SAS and graphic design. About half of our class will be working on that project.

Professor Watson.

Reactions: web analytics


Today I'll give a introductory lecture on web analytics, with short script online shortly. If time permits we'll also try to set up our own pages for Google Analytics.

Please simply react to today's class content after class.

Professor Watson.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Reactions: hands on with Javascript


Today we'll work with javascript in class. 

React to some of the more advanced scripts on javascript, before or soon after class. That will be our second javascript reaction.

Professor Watson

Monday, September 22, 2014

Reactions: javascript (surprise!)


Things press today so we'll put off our web tech topic. Instead please have a look at our javascript shorts. You may react either before or after class.

Professor Watson

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Find: Swedish voter uses JavaScript code as write-in candidate

Swedish voter uses JavaScript code as write-in candidate
// Ars Technica

Swedish democracy had its latest workout last Sunday, September 14, with the election of members to the national parliament (Riksdag), county council assemblies, and municipal assemblies. While established political parties drew most of the votes, Sweden allows (and then minutely chronicles) write-in votes. This process has created such venerable institutions as the Kalle Anka Partiet (the "Donald Duck Party," a common write-in), but it also lends itself to more mischievous uses—such as jotting down a bit of JavaScript on the vote form.

Valmyndigheten, the Swedish electoral authority, helpfully logs every single write-in vote across the country, then publishes the complete list on its website. In last Sunday's election, for instance, Swedes voted for:

  • Satanistiskt initiativ
  • Schizofrena autistpartiet
  • Wisemans wisdoms
  • Young volcanoes
  • Vote for pedro
  • Jesus kristus! vår frälsare som älskare oss, dog för oss vill oss det absolut bästa! Halleluja ("Jesus Christ ! Our savior loves us, died for us, wants the best for us! Hallelujah")
  • Ett bättre Sverige för Allah ("A better Sweden for Allah")
  • Bangkok bargirls
  • Led Zeppelin

And, naturally, the "Cannabispartiet."

Read 4 remaining paragraphs

Friday, September 19, 2014

Find: Hack runs Android apps on Windows, Mac, and Linux computers

Run android apps in any browser


Hack runs Android apps on Windows, Mac, and Linux computers
// Ars Technica

The official Android Twitter app running on Mac OS.
Ron Amadeo

If you remember, about a week ago, Google gave Chrome OS the ability to run Android apps through the "App Runtime for Chrome." The release came with a lot of limitations—it only worked with certain apps and only worked on Chrome OS. But a developer by the name of "Vladikoff" has slowly been stripping away these limits. First he figured out how to load any app on Chrome OS, instead of just the four that are officially supported. Now he's made an even bigger breakthrough and gotten Android apps to work on any desktop OS that Chrome runs on. You can now run Android apps on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

The hack depends on App Runtime for Chrome (ARC), which is built using Native Client, a Google project that allows Chrome to run native code safely within a web browser. While ARC was only officially released as an extension on Chrome OS, Native Client extensions are meant to be cross-platform. The main barrier to entry is obtaining ARC Chrome Web Store, which flags desktop versions of Chrome as "incompatible."

Vladikoff made a custom version of ARC, called ARChon, that can be sideloaded simply by dragging the file onto Chrome. It should get Android apps up and running on any platform running the desktop version of Chrome 37 and up. The hard part is getting Android apps that are compatible with it. ARC doesn't run raw Android app packages (APKs)—they need to be converted into a Chrome extension—but Vladikoff has a tool called "chromeos-apk" that will take care of that, too.

Read 4 remaining paragraphs

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Find: Amazon beats Google to purchase .buy domain for $4.6 million

One example of a told purchase. 


Amazon beats Google to purchase .buy domain for $4.6 million
// The Verge - All Posts

Amazon might not be able to create its own .amazon domain, but that’s not stopping the online retail giant from securing the .buy domain instead. Amazon is paying nearly $4.6 million for the top-level .Buy domain, beating a bid by Google. A similar auction for the .tech generic top-level domain (gTLD) saw it fetch $6.7 million from Dot Tech LLC, a group set up to create an online environment for the technology industry as a whole. Google also reportedly lost out on the .tech domain, but it will have plenty of opportunities to secure others thanks to its interest in more than 100 top-level domains.

The .vip domain was also sold as part of the recent auction, and Irish domain resellers Minds + Machines secured it for just over $3 million....

Continue reading…

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Assignment: use CSS give your manifesto some emotion!

Here is your second coding assignment! It's due in a week and a half, on Monday, Sept 29, by the end of the day.


You will be adding style to the marked up manifesto you turned in for your first programming assignment. Your goal is to use CSS to improve the appeal and understandability of that manifesto. In particular, strive to express the emotion expressed in your content.


While working toward this goal, please:

  • Do not significantly modify your content.
  • You may improve your markup, especially to identify the elements you which to manipulate.
  • Turn in exactly one CSS file, and one HTML file.
  • As before, do not place any CSS styling or attributes in your html, beyond the link to your CSS file.
  • Do not use any javascript, unless you wish to request extra credit.


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


Your goals for a good grade are to:

  • 10% Good turnin
  • 10% Good separation between semantic markup (html) and appearance (css) 
  • 25% Avoid deprecated html and css
  • 25% Do cross browser testing and validation, report same 
  • 25% Improve the appearance and understandability of your content 
  • 5% Express the emotion of your content 
  • 10% (extra) Enter our CSS contest, in which we publish your homework on the web so that can your classmates can vote on the best manifesto. Winners will receive an additional 10% extra credit.


Using wolfware classic assignment "prog2", submit:

  • one CSS file
  • one matching html file
  • a text file of at most 1-2 pages documenting how you corrected and improved your CSS and HTML. At the top, please indicate whether you would like to enter your page in the contest.
  • (Optional) post your impressions of the appearance of your homepage with provided CSS file to our forum for extra credit.

Reactions: more CSS


If you haven't already, have a look at the CSS shorts up and react to them before class.

Professor Watson

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Find: Android Browser flaw a “privacy disaster” for half of Android users

Nice illustration of same origin policy failure. Note the mention of scheme, domain and port. 

If you use an older android device, a malicious site could have read personal data off your phone. 


Android Browser flaw a “privacy disaster” for half of Android users
// Ars Technica

Thanks to a bug in the Android Browser, your cookies aren't safe.

A bug quietly reported on September 1 appears to have grave implications for Android users. Android Browser, the open source, WebKit-based browser that used to be part of the Android Open Source Platform (AOSP), has a flaw that enables malicious sites to inject JavaScript into other sites. Those malicious JavaScripts can in turn read cookies and password fields, submit forms, grab keyboard input, or do practically anything else.

Browsers are generally designed to prevent a script from one site from being able to access content from another site. They do this by enforcing what is called the Same Origin Policy (SOP): scripts can only read or modify resources (such as the elements of a webpage) that come from the same origin as the script, where the origin is determined by the combination of scheme (which is to say, protocol, typically HTTP or HTTPS), domain, and port number.

The SOP should then prevent a script loaded from http://malware.bad/ from being able to access content at

Read 9 remaining paragraphs

Monday, September 15, 2014

Reactions: networking and protocols


Today we'll discuss networking and protocols (#networking). No shorts prepared, so you may either:

  • Wait until after today's class to react to class content, or
  • React now to one of these two related videos: Bob Metcalfe on Ethernet; Paul Mockapetris on DNS.
Professor Watson

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Find: Europe gears up to fight back against giant US beasts of the internet

Google does have a monopoly on search, so it makes sense that it would be regulated. Both google and Microsoft have leveraged their positions to build markets for office products....


Europe gears up to fight back against giant US beasts of the internet
// Technology

EU regulators are confronting the 'voluntary self-subjugation' of Europe to the dominance of Google, Amazon and Facebook Continue reading...

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Come to the first nexUX Meetup! Hunt Library @ 330p

Come to the first nexUX Meetup! Hunt Library @ 330p
View this email in your browser

Come to the first nexUX Meetup!

Ross Teague and Todd Eischeid of Allscripts UX

Data Visualization in Healthcare:  a working meeting discussing best practices and ideas for meaningful presentation of data 

The amount of data being collected in healthcare is now immense and there are promised benefits of improved patient care, improved efficiency, and reduced costs with the analysis and presentation of the findings from this data. A clinically meaningful presentation of the data will be important to realize these benefits and "data visualization" is important. But what does "data visualization" really mean? Is it a chart, an answer to a question, a line graph? Are there data visualization standards that can be followed for presenting different types of information? What are the best ways to determine how best to present information to clinicians?
This is not a "sit back and listen" meeting, but a chance for us to bring together a cross disciplinary group of people to brainstorm and discuss what is known about how best to address some of these questions. While Todd and Ross will present the questions we'll seek to answer in the context of their healthcare environment, the discussion and output from this discussion will be applicable to any domain where the presentation of data/results of analysis of this data is important.
If you're coming, please RSVP with the button below. Also, please forward this email to whomever you think meet be interested. 
RSVP to this Meetup


Thursday, September 11 (today), 330pm


nexUX Meetups take place in the James B. Hunt Library on NCSU’s Centennial Campus. Events will be held in the Duke Energy Hall of Hunt Library.
James B. Hunt Jr. Library
1070 Partners Way
Raleigh, NC 27606
google maps


There is ample parking near the Hunt Library on NCSU’s Centennial Campus.
  1. Visit the Parking Kiosk located as you enter Centennial Campus from the corner Varsity Drive and Avent Ferry Road. At the kiosk you can purchase a day pass for $5.00. This will allow you to park it the C-parking deck located near the Hunt Library on Partners Way. You can access this lot when leaving the parking kiosk by driving down Varsity drive, through Main Campus Drive and taking a right onto Partners Way. The multi-level parking deck will be on your right hand side.
  2. Directly outside the front doors of the Hunt Library (on Partners Way) is an hourly lot. There is a mechanical arm at the entrance to this lot. You can pay by the hour at $2.00/ hour to park here. Just be prepared, as this lot only accepts credit cards (no cash).
Once parked, you will be entering the Hunt Library on the ground floor. The Duke Energy Room is up the yellow stairs and on your left.
NCSU Wolfline buses also service the Hunt Library on several routes. See the full system map (PDF) or the real-time bus tracking map.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Reactions: CSS

Hey folks,

Today you have plenty of shorts to examine on CSS. Please react before class. You can focus on the intro, dom and cascading shorts, though any are okay.

Professor Watson

Monday, September 8, 2014

Announcement: reaction clarification

Hey folks,

Understandably, there is confusion about what to react to when. My apologies.

Basic rule: look at the calendar, and react to the topic listed for that day. If you see a posted short for the topic, react to that before class. If you don't, you can either react to notes, or wait until class and react to lecture.

Today: the internet and society. React to the short and figures, or reacting to lecture would be fine.

Future: to help I'll post reminders before class whether or not there is a short.

Professor Watson

Assignment: html markup of an online manifesto

Hey folks,

Below is your first coding assignment! It's due by end of day Monday, September 15.


  • Create a page describing an online manifesto in HTML5 alone.

  • Don't use any CSS, or any tags that control appearance (we'll do this later).
  • Your page should be contained in one html file.
  • Your content should be suitable for use in a classroom context.
  • We suggest that you use the Cluetrain Manifesto (wikipedia), but you are free to use any classroom appropriate manifesto you like.
  • Many manifestos are too long for this assignment. Feel free to edit or summarize as you like to make this manageable, but ensure you fill at least one desktop screen.

  • Validate your page using the W3C Nu Markup Validation Service Address as many of the resulting warnings and errors as you can.
  • Test your page on various browsers ("crossbrowser testing") using BrowserlingBrowseraBrowserStack or SauceLabs — or any equivalent tool. These 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 "prog 1", submit the following as a single zip file by end of day Monday September 15:
    • Your version of the homepage HTML5 source.
    • A text file of 1-2 pages documenting the results of your validation including any remaining errors and warnings, and your summary of the results of crossbrowser testing.
  • (Optional) post your impressions of the crossbrowser testing tool you used to our forum for extra credit.

  • 10% proper turn in
  • 10% proper content
  • 20% using html5 only 
  • 20% avoiding CSS and styling 
  • 20% good validation
  • 20% good cross browser testing

Friday, September 5, 2014

Extra credit: participate in a mobile interface experiment

Hey folks,

We are currently running a experiment in our lab testing an improvement to the mobile phone interface, and could use your help as participants. Participating should take less than 45 mins, and earn you 1% in extra credit.

If you are interested please contact Chris Stroud at

If you are not interested you can always take advantage of readings for extra credit.


Professor Watson

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Find: Most of the US has no broadband competition at 25Mbps, FCC chair says

The first step toward solving the problem is recognizing you have one. This may be recognition. 


Most of the US has no broadband competition at 25Mbps, FCC chair says
// Ars Technica

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler speaking to the cable industry in April 2014.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler today stated what is obvious to US Internet users: for broadband speeds fast enough to serve modern homes, competition simply does not exist in most of the country.

The numbers are OK if you use the FCC’s outdated broadband definition of 4Mbps downstream and 1Mbps upstream. But the FCC is proposing to boost the download portion of the definition to 10Mbps and considering whether to raise the upstream portion. Even 10Mbps doesn’t cut it in homes where numerous devices connect to the Internet, however, Wheeler said.

“A 25Mbps connection is fast becoming ‘table stakes’ in 21st century communications,” Wheeler said in a speech this morning at 1776, a self-styled "hub for startups" in Washington, DC (transcript).

Read 23 remaining paragraphs

Find: Big tech companies plan “Internet Slowdown” to fight for net neutrality

Big tech companies plan “Internet Slowdown” to fight for net neutrality
// Ars Technica

Next week, some of the biggest tech companies will lead a symbolic “Internet Slowdown” to protest the Federal Communications Commission’s network neutrality proposal.

“Several top websites—including Etsy, Kickstarter, Foursquare, WordPress, Vimeo, reddit, Mozilla, Imgur, Meetup, Cheezburger, Namecheap, Bittorrent,, StartPage, BoingBoing, and Dwolla—announced that they will be joining more than 35 advocacy organizations and hundreds of thousands of activists in a day of action that will give a glimpse into what the Internet might look like if the FCC’s proposed rules go into effect,” a blog post today from the advocacy group “Fight for the Future” said.

The FCC’s proposal would require Internet service providers to provide a vaguely defined minimum level of service to all legal applications and websites, but it would not prevent ISPs from charging companies for faster access to Internet users. Net neutrality advocates argue that so-called “fast lanes” will divide the Internet into different tiers, with deep-pocketed companies having unfair advantages over smaller ones. But the FCC isn’t allowed to issue stronger restrictions on fast lanes unless it takes the controversial step of reclassifying broadband as a utility or "common carrier" service.

Read 3 remaining paragraphs

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Find: desktop chrome drops a bit, mobile chrome gains

August growth puts Windows 8 back on track
// Ars Technica

After a couple of months that saw Windows 8.x stop growing and even lose some usage share, August was quite a turnaround. Both Microsoft's operating system and its browser saw usage increase. Firefox, which has been on a downward spiral for almost a year now, also had a good month, picking up a few points.

Internet Explorer was up 0.45 points, Firefox gained 0.15 points, and Safari's presence also grew, up 0.16 points. Chrome, however, lost out, dropping a hefty 0.76 points in the month. For both Firefox and Chrome, this marked the end of a ten month run of losses and gains, respectively.

Chrome's mobile performance is more assured, with Google's browser gaining 1.63 points in August. Chrome's sort-of predecessor, Android Browser, fell sharply, dropping 1.35 points, though overall this still represents a gain by Google's mobile browsers. Safari was up a little, growing by 0.24 points. Internet Explorer grew for the second month in a row, up 0.20 points.

Read 2 remaining paragraph

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Announcement (updated): the script for our markup short is up!


The script for our markup short is up! The video (pdf) will soon follow.

Please have a look and react to it before class tomorrow.

Professor Watson

Find: How a new HTML element will make the Web faster

A great store for HTML geeks, about a new element that avoid download of large images to small displays. About responsive design and the standards process. 


How a new HTML element will make the Web faster
// Ars Technica

Soon, you won't need to be the Flash for quicker Web browsing.

The Web is going to get faster in the very near future. And sadly, this is rare enough to be news.

The speed bump won't be because our devices are getting faster, but they are. It won't be because some giant company created something great, though they probably have. The Web will be getting faster very soon because a small group of developers saw a problem and decided to solve it for all of us.

That problem is images. As of August 2014, the size of the average page in the top 1,000 sites on the Web is 1.7MB. Images account for almost 1MB of that 1.7MB.

Read 71 remaining paragraphs