It’s been quite a while since the last one, so a list with a variety of topics this time.

  • The End of the Internet Dream - Noted attorney and educator, Jennifer S. Granick, Director of Civil Liberties at the Stanford University Law School Center for Internet and Society, argues that “In 20 years, the Web might complete its shift from liberator to oppressor.” And further that “It’s up to us to prevent that.”
  • The ethics of modern web ad-blocking - Programmer, writer, podcaster, and self-described geek, Marco Arment, believes that because “web ad quality and tolerability have plummeted, and annoyance, abuse, misdirection, and tracking have skyrocketed,” the use of ad-blocking software is now completely justified.
  • Publishing Versus Performance: Our Struggle for the Soul of the Web - Famed web designer, author, and entrepreneur, Jeffery Zeldman, whom many regard as the ‘Godfather of Web Standards’, says he’s torn between the dichotomy that “either you can have a performant website or you have a business model based on advertising.” There needs to be a way, not yet fully realized, to provide both.
  • Modern CSS Layout, power and responsibility - UK web developer, Rachel Andrew, believes that with the use of powerful new layout tools like CSS Grids and Flexbox, developers may stop creating semantic, well structured documents. She adds, “Worse, I believe there will be a strong temptation, especially with Grid, to flatten out document structure in order that all elements become a child of the element with the Grid declared. Making layout simple, but at what cost?”
  • EU’s new VAT rules forcing thousands out of business - In order to prevent big businesses from unfairly profiting by locating in lower-VAT (Value Added Tax) regimes, the European Commission created the new EU Digital VAT rules, which moved the place of supply, where the tax rate is to be computed, for VAT on digitally-delivered services to the customer’s location. As is often the case with overblown, clueless bureaucracies, this has created a clusterfuck of unintended consequences.