blog.NOVALISTIC

Observing World Backup Day 2019, featuring the WD My Passport portable hard drive

My two new WD My Passport drives, an orange 2 TB drive and a black 1 TB drive; as well as complimentary carrying cases in black and blue.
My two new WD My Passport drives, an orange 2 TB drive and a black 1 TB drive; as well as complimentary carrying cases in black and blue.

Today, March 31, is the annual World Backup Day. I’ve never written about it before, but my newest (and thus most current) backup drive kicked the bucket in January this year, leaving me out of a current backup solution for both my Mac and PC as well as resulting in a significant but non-critical loss of data. So I decided for the occasion that I’d use the opportunity to write about my experience with a new, upgraded backup solution, as well as measures I’ll be taking to prevent or at least mitigate another data loss like the last.

Earlier this month, my dad picked up some brand new hardware for me: not one, but two WD My Passport USB 3.0 portable hard drives, an orange 2 TB drive and a black 1 TB drive. The smaller capacity of the latter is due to budget constraints, but the idea is that the orange one will be my primary backup drive and the black one will be used for redundancy. The black and blue carrying cases you see were gifts with purchase!

In this entry I’ll describe my newest backup strategy and how it improves on the last, as well as provide some unboxing and in-action photos of my new WD My Passport drives.

The new CSS Nesting module… I mean spec

A couple of weeks ago, the CSS Working Group published the first Editor’s Draft of the CSS Nesting Module. And there was much rejoicing, for it was a long overdue addition to the CSS standard. Yes, it’s an Editor’s Draft, meaning it — and by extension everything I discuss in this article — is subject to major changes through its development, but the fact that it’s a W3C draft at all is in itself worth celebrating to many.

As I mentioned in my last entry, I’ve been in a very rough place over the last couple of weeks (actually close to a month now), but I’m happy to report that I’m doing much better this week so I finally had a bit of time to peruse the new spec. In doing so, I thought I’d try my hand at providing an overview of its features along with sharing my personal thoughts on what I see.

No stylesheet preprocessor experience required — this is written from the perspective of someone who has never, ever used one in 13 years of writing CSS (outside of answering questions on Stack Overflow, so I know at the very least a thing or two about them).

Today’s tiny win

This might be a very unusual post given that the blog has thus far remained on a “post something substantial once in a blue moon” basis since the last time I discussed that, but I’ve been in a very rough place over the last couple of weeks and I believe this will make things momentarily interesting. If you’re familiar with the concept of asides in blogs, you’ll understand this post’s existence right away.

This post is inspired by a series of posts my friend Georgie recently started. You can learn more on her blog. We’ve been exchanging tiny wins privately for some time so this is not unfamiliar territory to me, I just never posted about it before now.

So, today’s tiny win: shipped an update to this blog’s WordPress theme that does nothing except remove the calls to body_class() and post_class().

The rationale is simple: no point keeping dozens of class names in markup you know you will never use. The vast majority of custom themes and themes made widely available will of course use them one way or another, but mine won’t.

Sure, I may not be saving kilobytes of bandwidth per page load, but it’s still something, and bandwidth does add up pretty quickly no matter the scale. And for the author of the markup — the human — it means less polluted and therefore more readable markup. Maybe you don’t care about that sort of thing (it sure seems that way for most authors these days), but I do.

That is all.

It’s my 27th birthday!

Today is my 27th birthday! As a Weird Al fan, this amuses me.

But this entry isn’t about Weird Al. It’s about me, and more specifically, me as a LEGO fan.

Because I’ve spent the past year getting back into my LEGO hobby, this year I’ve decided to take things up a notch. Oddly, though, it’s not purchases that I’m taking up a notch (in fact, I’ll be dialing that down a bit), but my involvement in the LEGO fan community, as well as things related to the LEGO Room.

First, I’ll be launching an Instagram account dedicated my LEGO! For now, I’ve populated my feed with my LEGO reviews from the past six months. I won’t be publishing as many this year, but I look forward to what I will be putting out, as well as some MOCs that I have in the works. I look forward to participating in the community!

Screenshot of Instagram displaying my new public Instagram account, @legosonicboy.
My new public Instagram account, @legosonicboy!

As for the LEGO Room, I’ll be working on the backend again and adding some enhancements. Here are some of the new features I have in mind:

The review-specific additions will be my top priorities as I’m hoping to roll those out in time for my upcoming reviews.

And of course I expect to deal with other aspects of life as well, such as my health and my personal and professional development. As with every other year I’m continuing to take each day as it comes, and hopefully I’ll write about some of it here on the blog.

What Microsoft Edge moving to Chromium means for open web standards

When Jonathan Sampson (now at Brave) invited me to join the Internet Explorer userAgents program in 2013, I jumped at the opportunity to embrace and advocate for Microsoft’s commitment to an open web. I’ve been a strong backer of Microsoft’s web platform efforts since Internet Explorer 8 — so, for almost a decade now — and especially so in the face of an increasingly “Chromium-plated web”.

Today I’m a Microsoft Edge MVP, specializing in HTML, CSS, and web standards. Like many people who pride themselves standardistas (though I don’t use that label myself), I’ve firmly held the belief that a healthy web platform requires accountable, innovative, and most importantly independent, implementations of open web standards to thrive. And this is why, even though Firefox continues to be my daily driver 12 years on, I have been working very closely with the IE-and-then-Edge team to improve their browser product as well as to educate and help the developer community about the browser — regressions and innovations alike.

When Opera buried Presto and jumped ship to Chromium, it was seen as a great loss for web interoperability. Today it remains a great choice for users, but for web developers (at least, for me), it’s as good as irrelevant. To the average web developer, it’s “one less browser to worry about”.

Now, my worst fear has become a reality: EdgeHTML, the engine powering Microsoft Edge, will be sunsetted in favor of a Chromium-based desktop browser architecture. In other words, Microsoft Edge will soon become Yet Another Chromium-based Browser. But more importantly, Microsoft has given up on their independent implementation of the web platform and is focusing their efforts toward an existing one. A competing one. On the basis of “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em”.

I know a lot of the big names in web standards are grieving EdgeHTML’s demise as I write this. Even Mozilla has posted a eulogy. But, as a Microsoft Edge MVP and someone with a very personal stake in the matter, I want to provide some context, and perhaps a different perspective. There is a lot more to this than “Chromium wins” and “monoculture, monoculture”. Or at least, I hope so. Let me break this down a little bit.

(Yes, this blog post will be somewhat emotionally charged, but it’s by no means a rant. I really want this to be as informative and balanced as possible while still being very much an opinion piece.)