“[Lunsford] has organized a mammoth project called the Stanford Study of Writing to scrutinize college students’ prose. From 2001 to 2006, she collected 14,672 student writing samples — everything from in-class assignments, formal essays, and journal entries to emails, blog posts, and chat sessions. Her conclusions are stirring.
“‘I think we’re in the midst of a literacy revolution the likes of which we haven’t seen since Greek civilization,’ she says. For Lunsford, technology isn’t killing out ability to write. It’s reviving it – and pushing our literacy in bold new directions.’
“The first thing she found is that young people today write far more than any generation before them. That’s because so much socializing takes place online, and it almost always involves text. Of all the writing that the Stanford students did, a stunning 38 percent of it took place out of the classroom—life writing, as Lunsford calls it. …
“We think of writing as either good or bad. What today’s young people know is that knowing who you’re writing for and why you’re writing might be the most crucial factor of all.”
When writing a Rails application, how do you decide on the best indexes to add to your database? It might seem obvious, especially if you work on a project from scratch. The problem is a little harder when you come to optimize an existing codebase.
Recently I’ve been using two methods to work out where to put indexes. Firstly I’d strongly recommend using New Relic RPM in development mode. When running your application you can visit /newrelic to get all kinds of useful information. Here you can see the most recent rails calls:
Cross-browser compatibility issues are the bane of web developers world-wide and in this ever shifting landscape it is important to have processes that integrate cross-browser testing in a robust and systematic way. Over the last 9 years we have evolved a robust workflow for web development and cross-browser testing is an integral part of this.
An overview of the process
We start by constructing the HTML/CSS in a text editor (Textmate, RubyMine IDE or Aptana IDE) and viewing it in Firefox. We develop standards compliant HTML/CSS, so Firefox is a great starting point as it supports the CSS standards well and enables us to use a number of key tools including Pixel Perfect, YSlow and the Web Developer toolbar.
Once we are happy that the design is accurately implemented in Firefox we use Litmus to create screenshots across a selection of Browser/Operating System combinations. Litmus has a number of great features that really make this process easy. Firstly, you can retest the page with a simple button click and Litmus keeps track of the revisions, secondly Litmus uses the W3C validators to check that the HTML and CSS validate and links trough to the error pages and thirdly Litmus lets us indicate visually whether a particular combination is rendering correctly so we can keep track of what is complete and what remains. (more…)