How to Report on Trump: Tell the Truth

Reporting on Trump has been giving the media fits since he first started his presidential run in 2015. The editor for The Cleveland Plain Dealer writes about what should be obvious.

The north star here is truth. We tell the truth, even when it offends some of the people who pay us for information.

This is what journalism is supposed to be. The truth regardless of what it is.

This is not subjective. We all saw it. Plenty of leaders today try to convince the masses we did not see what we saw, but our eyes don’t deceive. (If leaders began a yearslong campaign today to convince us that the Baltimore bridge did not collapse Tuesday morning, would you ever believe them?) Trust your eyes. Trump on Jan. 6 launched the most serious threat to our system of government since the Civil War. You know that. You saw it.

The facts involving Trump are crystal clear, and as news people, we cannot pretend otherwise, as unpopular as that might be with a segment of our readers. There aren’t two sides to facts. People who say the earth is flat don’t get space on our platforms. If that offends them, so be it.

I wish more of the news media was willing to ditch the false equivalency of Trump and the GOP and focus more on the truth regardless of who it might upset.


The Quiet, Pervasive Devaluation of Frontend

But despite all these claims, CSS is also somehow “not a real programming language.” Many people online will tell you so, often quite loudly, and sometimes even using memes. Same with HTML.

Sadly I understand where Josh is coming from.

Becoming better with CSS is something I really want to do. I want to improve my skills there and slowly I think I am.

Shame on anyone who thinks that creating amazing, beautiful, and accessible layouts with HTML & CSS is “easy” or should be devalued.


Once More With Feeling: Banning TikTok Is Unconstitutional & Won’t Do Shit To Deal With Any Actual Threats

People keep saying “but they do the same to us.” That’s no excuse. We shouldn’t take a page from the Chinese censorship playbook and basically give them the moral high ground, combined with the ability to point to this move as justification for the shenanigans they’ve pulled in banning US companies from China.

If we’re doing what China is with regards to censorship, we’ve failed. This whole thing reeks of bad reasoning, and curtailing people’s speech.

Public sentiment in the US regarding China is reaching record lows, with the vast majority of Americans reasonably concerned about China’s role in the world. So if China is using TikTok to propagandize to Americans, it’s doing a shitty job of it.



A letter to my younger self, as an accessibility advocate

It's the getting people to understand the organizational changes needed to address them that is the hard part. It's a lot of time convincing people of things that have been documented for years. It's a lot of time spent educating people on things you learned 1, 5, 10 year(s) ago

I’ve been working on a new project at work and thankfully the team is on board in making sure it’s accessible. But I’ve been on the other side of it as well. It can be hard to make people recognize the extra work to ensure accessibility is both necessary and the right thing to do.

And I’ll also admit that I haven’t always put accessibility where it needs to be and have in the past skipped out on it. I’ve been trying to make sure that’s no longer the case.


Once More With Feeling: Banning TikTok Doesn't Do Much If We Don’t Regulate Data Brokers And Pass A Privacy Law

But banning TikTok, while refusing to pass a privacy law or regulate data brokers (which traffic in significantly greater volumes of sensitive data at much greater collective scale), winds up mostly being a performative endeavor driven more by anti-competitive intent (and a desire to control the flow and scope of modern news, information and propaganda) than any desire for serious reform.

I don’t use TikTok, I don’t have an account nor, do I intend on ever creating one. But if China wants to get info on all of us, they don’t need TikTok. They can just go to a random data broker and slurp up what they have on all of us. And best of all, that’s pretty much completely legal. They can get more data than TikTok (probably) has and we’re still screwed.

But even lawmakers who sincerely believe that banning TikTok makes meaningful inroads on national security or consumer privacy generally don’t seem to understand the size and scope of the problem we’re dealing with.

That’s unfortunately so often the case in many fields when it comes to technology (and more).


What is Utility-First CSS?

Utility-first detractors complain a lot about how verbose this is and, consequently, how ugly. And it is indeed. But you’d forgive it that if it actually solved a problem, which it doesn’t. It is unequivocally an inferior way of making things which _are_alike look alike, as you should. It is and can only be useful for reproducing inconsistent design, wherein all those repeated values would instead differ.

I've certainly built some utility classes is CSS and I believe they certainly have a place. Using them for the just about everything is not my preferred way of doing things and would recommend against it.

It turns out, people in tech are particularly bad at distinguishing between paradigm shifts and paradigm sharts. That’s why we have nose-diving cryptocurrencies, dust-collecting monkey JPEG portfolios, and AI-generated children’s books teaching kids about pink, two-headed dinosaurs that never existed.

Truer words have never been spoken.


Falsehoods Junior Developers believe about becoming Senior

These are mostly my thoughts about what I was expecting as a junior and how I perceived senior developers. To be honest, I was romanticizing them quite a bit — senior developers were the people who could solve all the problems, constantly told me what to do, and knew all the answers.

I wish I had all the answers, that would make my life so much easier. 17 years in the work force and I'm learning something new every day.


It feels like React is getting a bit of a kicking recently

I don’t like the fact that libraries like React are so heavily used, but over the years, I’ve grown more empathetic about the decision by teams to use them. The web platform doesn’t currently give us all the tools we might need, but I’m hopeful it will in the longer term. I also get that people can’t wait for that and need to get moving, so libraries service their needs better than the web platform currently does.

Definitely agree here. For bigger & more complicated projects, libraries can provide a lot of help to get it off the ground quickly. Necessary, no, but from a practical perspective I get it. Managers and higher ups don't necessarily always care about what is best, they care about the bottom line and having something to ship.

All I would say is finding the lowest-tech solution and leaning into browser capabilities as much as possible is a good way to build something resilient and reliable.

Completely agree, if you can avoid over-complicating your builds with libraries and sticking with HTML & CSS, go for it.


Piracy is Surging Again Because Streaming Execs Ignored the Lessons of the Past

So there’s very little indication any of these problems are going to slow down. Consumers are going to be forced to pay higher and higher rates for increasingly deteriorating services, to the point where piracy is going to become an increasingly alluring value proposition. And when that happens, you can be absolutely, indisputably assured that executives will blame absolutely everything but themselves.

Wil Wheaton put it perfectly when he said that many people would pay for content if it’s easy and cost effective. Jack up the prices, make it difficult to find the content you want, and the results shouldn’t be surprising.


Never Underestimate HTML

Writing HTML in itself isn’t that hard, no.

But: building user interfaces by elegantly composing this language’s features with CSS, creating pleasant designs and user experiences worth remembering requires experience and skills that should not be underestimated. Neither should HTML; it’s one of the languages—if not the most important one of them all—that shape the web.

Web browsers can be incredibly forgiving in terms of displaying content to the user, so mistakes can go unnoticed. But those mistakes can cause problems with accessibility and many other things. Writing good, accessible HTML takes skill and should never be discounted.


Giving Yourself Stakes

Build something that matters to you, at least a little bit. The classic is to make yourself a personal website. That’s real. That means the things you learn you can attach to a real project.

I’ve always felt I learn better when I have something real to build. Another todo app that sits around and clutters my file system is good and all, but the lesson feels muted.


Content Moderation is Impossible

Content moderation at scale is utterly impossible to get ‘right’, where the online crowd and journalists and politicians all agree you’ve done the correct things. This doesn’t absolve sites from having to try, to do the best job they can under the circumstances. But it should make us a bit more sympathetic when we see stories about how terrible some site’s efforts at moderation are.

It's one thing to get things wrong from time to time. It's going to happen and we shouldn't always pile on them for every little mistake.

I don’t know the answers to any of this! The point I want to emphasize is that all of this is impossibly nuanced, impossibly complex, and impossible to do in such a way that satisfies everyone. You still have to draw a line somewhere, but be prepared to get yelled at anyways.

I'll leave finding the answers to people smarter than me, I'd just like to see a legitimate effort.


An Image Dialog Web Component

This is actually a pretty cool use for web components and I might have to steal this for my photography site.