In Japan, and a little session on Web Storytelling (Articles that I liked: July 2015)


I have been blessed to meet so many nice, talented, and driven people in my life, and one thing led to another and I will be talking about how Tech and Design can shape future of web storytelling next week, August 10, 2015 in Tokyo Shibuya’s Loftwork.

This is an amazing opportunity. It has getting me think a lot about what I do (I am still trying to figure out exactly what I do myself) and why I love some aspect of what I do so much, with passion. I think it boils down to the fact that I get chance to meet and collaborate with so many talented and smart people.

My family and I got here this weekend and it is HOT.

Anyway, if you are by any chance living in Japan and see this before next Monday, love to see you. Come join us!

Here is the copy of session description in Japanese.

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ECMAScript 6 (Articles that I liked: June 2015)

A colleague of mine and I have been discussing about future of javascript and our code base at Harvard Business Review’s website, and I am sold on the idea of going with ES6. I love the idea of “One Javascript” and by using tools like webpack and babel Javascript Compiler, you can actually start using the benefit of ES6 today, in every browser (obviously not every feature, but still). I love that they included important stuff like native unicode support in the spec. Please count me in.

Speaking of unicode, I also love the idea of Google Noto Fonts. Love the name. The white block that you see when unicode character is nicknamed “Tofu” and by using this fonts, cached around the world near you, there will be no-tofu. Love it.

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Starting a local simple http server (and Articles that I liked: May 2015)

Github pages are amazing. Best thing ever. Well, second best thing after git, anyway.

More and more javascript work that I do (such as creating slide deck using remark, for example), less and less I need heavy dependency on servers, but I just need to serve up markup and javascript. In the past I have used Mac installed Apache or MAMP type solution, but that is even much more than I need. Then I came across Python 2’s SimpleHTTPServer. Mac OS (at least ones on my machines) comes with it.

All you need to do is:

python -m SimpleHTTPServer 8088

then you can access http://localhost:8088. Nice.

I am constantly running vagrant machines, so usually port 8080 is taken. Being able to specify port like that is actually really cool.

Also, I’ve been posting links that I liked at my tumblr blog. Here are few weeks worth of links:

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May all living beings be happy

  • Mettā Bhāvanā

    May I be happy. May I be well. May I be free from suffering and safe. May I be peaceful and at ease.

    May you be happy. May you be well. May you be free from suffering and safe. May you be peaceful and at ease.

    May my loved ones be happy. May my loved ones be well. May my loved ones be free from suffering and safe. May my loved ones be peaceful and at ease.

    May all living beings be happy. May all living beings be well. May all living beings be free from suffering and safe. May all living beings be peaceful and at ease.

    May people with whom I have difficulty be happy. May people with whom I have difficulty be well. May people with whom I have difficulty be free from suffering and safe. May people with whom I have difficulty be peaceful and at ease.

Using Font Events to speed up your perceived performance.

I’ve been lucky to work with Mat “Wilto” Marquis from Bocoup on web performance issues around Harvard Business Review, and it has been a blast learning new stuff.

One of the approach that we are taking is that we will be using “Font Events” approach to avoid “FOIT” (Flash of Invisible Text). This is pretty cool.

More info on this in an excellent write up by Scott Jehl: “Font Loading Revisited with Font Events”

TLDR here.

Our current situation: Using good old standard @font-face

The browser registers the font, but the font is not immediately availabe to the browser. FOIT. Each font files could be ~100KB per weight/variation of the font, we have 12 files, about to be 14!

Perceived performance = poor.

After our re-factor is done, each css is actually just referencing fall back font stack, so no FOIT. Contents are rendered and immediately readable in a fall back font. For example, our National fonts will appear as Helvetica or Arial.

We’ll use fontfaceobserver.js to check to see if the fonts have been loaded, then add .fonts-loaded class to html tag as successful callback.

CSS rules will look like this (* this is grossly simplified css, but you get the point)

h1 {
font-family: sans-serif;
.fonts-loaded h1 {
font-family: National, sans-serif;

Fortunately, using sass’s nesting, this is pretty easy:

h1 {
font-family: sans-serif;
.fonts-loaded & {
font-family: $national-ff;

On the subsequent request though, I am hoping that server can just add .fonts-loaded class to the html tag. For now, we can bake this right into js/cookie, but eventually we would like to work with backend.

Another thing that Wilto uncovered was Foundation out of the box prefers optimizeLegibility as default text-rendering. Just switching this paragraph setting to optimizeSpeed and headers (i.e h1, h2, h3 etc) to auto, we made almost a full second perceived performance improvement on the slower network. Did not know that made that kind of impact.

OpenVis Conf 2015 (and articles that I liked: April 2015)


Bocoup’s OpenVis conference is by far my favorite conference of all time. I was only able to go one day in 2014, but I participated fully in 2013 and 2015, and I’ve loved every session. Before I forget (which I did last year…) I am going to write down/copy over my notes here.

Languages and libraries to checkout:

Ideas, cool presentations, quotes etc:

  • “Treat user input as first-class streaming data” – Jeffrey Heer
  • “Scrollytelling” “Web is a story telling medium” – Jim Vallandingham (and here is how, and thought on that by Mike Bostock)
  • “Editing is not simplifying, but clarifying.” – Nigel Holms on “Context”
  • “Million, billion and trillion is confusing. It should be mln, billion, trillllllllllion.” – Holms
  • “Getting your web development environment ready = Mise en place” – Alyson Hurt

This conference is awesome and looking forward to next years!
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Articles that I liked: March 2015

I’ve been posting links that I liked at my tumblr blog. Below are the month worth of links:

An excellent and brilliant “Quotes on Design,” a creation by Mr. Chris Coyer:

… Loading quotes from “Quotes on Design” …

And other links that caught my eye.
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It’s not too late to sign up for 2015 Baseball Hack Day


It is almost here. A fun, friendly one-day hacking/coding/designing competition for baseball fans. If you have not signed up yet, it is not too late, follow this link is graciously back as our sponsor, continuing our four-year partnership. We are happy to report that winning teams of each local Baseball Hack Day will win an annual MLB.TV Premium subscription! Also the winners of each city will be judged for Baseball Hack Day grand prize, RBI Baseball 15, and major bragging rights.

Details on each city pages:

Not interested in competing? No problem. To encourage participation of developers and designers of all levels, there will be three tracks? (*In Boston)?:

  1. “Hacking track” is our usual, Baseball Hack Day track. You come with a project and recruit people, or come and find a project to join and work on it for the day.
  2. “Project track,” we’ll have a project/challenge ready to be worked on. There will be a “project manager” who will lead the team(s) to solve the challenge.
  3. “Learning track” is designed for first-time hackathon attendees (no coding experience necessary). This is where you can learn how to hack from our mentor volunteers. This will be less competitive and more like a workshop. You will be eligible for the “Rookie of the Year” award!

We’d like to give shoutout to our sponsors, for without their generous support, this event would not be possible:
Act Blue Tech Services, Boston Globe Media, Chez Boris, CitiCoHo, DraftKings,, Forge Conference, General Assembly, Plank Design, Seat Geek, Shado Sports, Shopify, Sports Data LLC, thoughtbot, TicketLeap, TiqIQ, View From My Seat, Vitamin T, Yelp