My avatar across the web: a photo of my feet in grey-white socks and brown sandals.

Ben Babcock

3 Articles in March 2013

  1. Thoughts on Amazon buying Goodreads

    Last Thursday my Twitter feed erupted with people talking about Amazon buying Goodreads. As I read the first few, sporadic tweets, I blinked incredulously. Was I reading that right? I scrolled down and saw that I had missed a tweet from the official Goodreads account making the announcement. I followed some links and landed in the feedback forum’s official announcement topic. Two days and more than 800 posts later, a particularly vocal portion of the Goodreads member base has voiced its concern and disappointment over this turn of events. There has been quite a bit of rage-quitting and table-flipping in the past few days.

    I had to admit that, after those first few confused moments, my reaction was similar. Amazon has not exactly had a stellar track record in terms of good corporate citizenship. (To be fair, unlike Google, it has never claimed it wouldn’t be evil.) In particular, Amazon has made no secret of its desire to achieve a monopsony in the book trade. Its acquisition of Goodreads seems like yet another step along that path, a path that I don’t think really benefits consumers. Finally, I share many of the reservations expressed in that topic about how…

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  2. New design

    It’s been over four years since my previous major redesign, and two years since any major tweaks to my website’s layout. This latest redesign began life as a series of minor tweaks designed—it always seems like there are rough edges. As I got a better grasp of what I didn’t like about the design and what I wanted to do with it, the project grew slightly more in scope. Still, I’m pleased with how quickly it all coalesced into the finished product.

    This latest design (version 5.0, I think) has been an opportunity to educate myself and play with some of the latest techniques. CSS3 has been around for a long time now, but cross-browser support has finally reached a point where all those cool new properties and selectors seem feasible! I’ve made liberal use of background-size and box-shadow. I’ve also jumped on the responsive design bandwagon, using media queries to progressively enhance the site design based on the width of the browser (and a few other attributes). I’ve embarked on a similar odyssey of education when it comes to new PHP 5.3 features and coding practices as I work on yet another incarnation of blogging software.

    There isn’t…

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  3. Playing host to herpes zoster

    It started the weekend before last. I woke up with my right eye slightly swollen and a little irritated. I groaned and worried I was developing conjunctivitis. Every since the half-term, I had been battling an epic cold that just wouldn’t go away, and a few times before, the toll such a cold takes on my hygiene has resulted in a bout of conjunctivitis at the tail end of the illness. I sighed and booked my first appointment with a doctor since I moved here and registered with a surgery, wondering if I would need to take work off on Monday in order to keep it.

    Monday came round, and it brought more bad news. When I woke up, the swelling around my eye had turned into a tiny, bumpy white rash. I knew there was no way I could go in to work, so I called in sick, sent in some cover work, and composed myself for my appointment. The doctor saw me promptly, took a look at my eye, and told me I had shingles. Good thing I went to the doctor so quickly after developing the symptoms! He was able to put me on antivirals.

    Well,…

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About Me

I’m a 27-year-old math and English teacher back in Canada after two years teaching in England. In my free time, I read books! When I’m not reading, I’m writing, coding, or knitting.

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About this site

I started coding websites, in bad HTML on Geocities, in 2004 in a fit of whimsy. Since then I’ve learned PHP/MySQL, coded my own blog software, and rebuilt this site several times. With the exception of the blog, it’s currently running on the exquisite Symphony CMS. This website is hosted by HawkHost

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