Every week we share a lot of articles within the team on things web and digital. Some news, some just fabulous stuff we found. We figured that if you’re interested enough to read this blog, you might be interested enough to read these stories too, so here are eight of our favorites from the last month or so…
1 – Google’s new idea for sending lovely SMS on Android
As the successor of SMS will deal with iMessage
Text messages matter. It’s fast, cheap and universal. And with emerging markets browsing the internet via smartphones, it’s far more important than email. Yet texting on Android sucks. Despite having an 88% market share and numerous attempts, Google has never been able to get its rich messaging like iMessage to work.
However, one problem is the lack of end-to-end encryption… which leads us to:
2 – How modern web technology allows you to avoid the old web censors
Encryption is important to many users, especially where governments don’t like it. China is frequently mentioned when it comes to blocking apps, but it’s by no means alone, with Pakistan, Turkey, and Brazil all blocking apps currently or in the past.
However, governments and courts often have trouble keeping up with modern web practices (Amber Rudd’s « necessary hashtags »).
Telegram both used its hosting on Amazon Web Services to avoid basic IP blocking, but then rerouted the traffic through Apple and Google’s push notification servers. This means that any attempt by the Russian government to block it results in a huge amount of collateral damage, potentially blocking other popular apps and breaking functionality on phones.
3 – What if my invitation gets lost in the mail?
FAQ: They are awful, useless and are no longer allowed on our website (see why). However, we might make an exception if they were as…er…insightful as this one from the New York Times.
4 – It does not replace the photos of the staff
This portrait is built entirely using only CSS and HTML. If you know your way around the inspect element, enjoy deleting the divs and watching his arm vanish.
5 – Why TV’s Martin Lewis is infuriating shady advertisers
With the Cambridge Analytica scandal, you may have missed this smaller but equally important issue. Martin Lewis, annoyed that shady money scams using his photo and claiming to endorse them, is suing Facebook.
Depending on the outcome, there could be major changes to how Facebook ads are sold, so what appears to be just one man protecting his reputation could significantly change the social advertising landscape.
6 – Yahoo! sells! flickr! TO! Pleased!
You may have heard that Smugmug bought Flickr from Yahoo, or more accurately, from Oath, the Verizon subsidiary that now owns the remnants of Yahoo’s former empire. Here’s an interesting read from five years ago about how Flickr, one of the oldest social networks, was strangled under the corporate structure of Yahoo.
7 – The new startup aims to improve higher education systems
« Inspired by the way educators and students use communication tools like WhatsApp and Slack, Aula replaces email and learning management systems with a single platform designed to encourage student interaction and engagement. »
8 – St. Andrews moves WordPress to the cloud
Our adorable friends on the water have decided to move their WordPress network to an external provider.
One of the things that often gets overlooked is how much time our team has to spend keeping platforms like WordPress up to date, especially considering we have four networks with over 75 sites.
We have recently performed a significant check and cleanup of duplicate plugins, outdated themes and abandoned sites, however we are following the progress of St. Andrews with interest.