Klick_Ass is playing on words: a combination of the Ace of Spades playing card with a mouse pointer

Home of the "19 inch talk" & building stuff

Hello World!

Gambling Table
Ludi incipiant – Let the games begin!

I love building stuff. The majority of my life I spent with drafting ideas, constructing prototypes, engineering a result and working on marketing and business models and workflows.

Whether this has been soldering electronics, working on radio controlled aircraft and submarine models, writing songs and producing music or in the software and web landscape, building my own companies or working freelance or employed. I just love to nurture an initial idea over the whole process and am excited like a kid on christmas when the final thing ships.

This blog is no exception of that rule.

Anyhow, times change, and when it comes to the web and especially the mobile web, this change is tremendously fast and definetely more of the ever-in-process style. People were already talking about topics like responsive images and mobile first coding and content delivery approaches more than a year ago, but even today at best there is a number of great guidelines – but no compact and mature best practice to follow.

By the time when I started talking to Sebastian on my design ideas for this blog we have been able to take some concepts such as the Goldilocks approach into account, so we did. Other stuff like the awesome Cicada Principle didn’t work so well with my stubborn visual plans. And there are a lot of other things I would approach differently when I would start building this blog today.

Anyhow, I am not getting paid for building websites nor will I face consequences and fall into disgrace like things should be when somebody delivers shitty code to a high-traffic ubiquitous web service. I can either go on and fiddle around on the code of this blog, and most likely will not have it published forever. Or just remove the majority of the stuff I haven’t been able to finish yet, so it doesn’t break this site, and just push the damned thing out – today.

Regardless of the numerous flaws I see. Painful to do, somehow, I confess. But I put the ability to post content over my selfish eagerness for code quality. Yes I do. I don’t suffer enough from the fact that my current job doesn’t leave much room for hacking real, productive code – so I can take that burden as well. YES!

(No I can’t. If I could I wouldn’t write this post, right? Haha!)

So here’s the list of noteworthy things I want to improve as soon as I find time:

(…actually this already reminds me a bit of a website of mine crafted 10 years ago, up on the web – and unchanged since then… ;))

  • Responsive Images. This one clearly ate away most of the precious time I was able to allow to myself to create this blog. I built a solution based off a solution Jordan Moore described earlier this year, but I will not be pleased with the situation until much more fundamental improvements have been made to the state of the web, to actually be able to come up with an appropriate solution (and not just a funky workaround). So I kicked out what I had and decided to go with ReSRC.it’s amazingly simple cloud based solution instead. ReSRC.it is beta at the time of writing, so I expect outages and bugs. Whatever, that would have been quite the same with my solution. ;) And because ReSRC.it did uncover some “slight oversights” ;) when I integrated the solution into this blog I needed to remove it as well, so actually there is no responsive solution active in the very moment and all of you nice mobile clients have to eat the full ballast of retina quality images. I know it’s brutal for the moment, but it will be solved soon.
  • Finish SVG implementation. See all the nice ornaments? Currently these are PNGs, which represents the failover for stupid browsers not able to render SVGs. I just didn’t find the time to add the SVG sprites yet (except the social media ribbon in the upper right). TIME. I. NEED.
  • Pagenav can be ugly. My favorite ornament wraps around the page navigation on the bottom of every page (different on mobile, though). Currently it’s a bit odd looking, since there are not many pages to navigate to (which will be the case forever on seldomly used tags). Not priority one, so postponed.
  • Mobile first not implemented right. As Brad Frost describes in his excellent tutorial, I should have engineered shared CSS definitions first, and then apply changes as long as required for larger screens. Stupid me. This would have clearly resulted in much smaller CSS for this site.
  • Responsive Twitter Embed without JS. Okay, I don’t really know how long I will be on Twitter anymore, but that’s another story. For now I have been forced to remove a direct style width:500px!important applied to the <div> that contains embedded Tweets, so that these embeds do not break my mobile designs. Pretty lame Twitter does not let us control this, anyhow pretty lame on my end I wasn’t able to find a way to parse it out inside WordPress’ oEmbed functionality. Yes I tried this fix but even with serious tweaking I couldn’t make it work.
  • Actually this reminds me of the fact that the ribbon on the upper right misses my app.net link
  • Responsive Image Galleries. Currently I use NextGEN Gallery, which still seems to be the most advanced image gallery plugin for WordPress. Unfortunately it doesn’t even think of responsive support, but I suspect this to change sooner or later. Until then gallery images are 72dpi only (NGG keeps the original so there’s light at the end of the tunnel).
  • Webfonts fallback. Yup. Sucks to have a browser that cannot display Webfonts, right? ;)
  • Use DataURIs and other performance optimization. Well, finally there is a good bunch of improvements open in terms of reducing requests and pulling in external stuff. I know I know. Again, as soon as I find some time…

So far on waving hands and the foreword. Now, happy to be live and to start adding more content. ;)

Hope you enjoy!


Avoid the Tamagotchis – a list of Open Device Labs

IMPORTANT NOTE: THIS POST AND THE SUBSEQUENT LIST IS OUT OF DATE WITH JANUARY 21, 2013. Please read this newer post on the evolution of this directory or go directly to the succeeding OpenDeviceLab.com to look up a matching Open Device Lab in your area.

Do you remember Tamagotchis? They want your love, all day. Just like all these mobile devices, asking for power, updates and attention.

Whether you take care for the web, develop multiplatform apps or hack other stuff for different mobile platforms, you quickly realize there is more devices to take care of than your personal ones (insert own tablet and smartphone brand/model here).

Of course you need to test your stuff on much more than two or three real devices, we’re not going to discuss this here.

I completely realize that not everybody is as stupid as me, owning and nurturing a growing list of currently 29 30 32 34 internet connected mobile devices. I use to refer to the necessary care with the term “looking after my Tamagotchis”. You remember Tamagotchis? You must be as old as me, haha!

If you want to avoid the Tamagotchi-thing, there is a growing list of truly awesome people who have planted the seed for so called “Open Device Labs” around the globe (basically this is just another european invention, but I strongly assume other countries will follow – Update Sep 4, 2012: I just added the first US based lab to the list – Update Sep 11, 2012: Mobile Portland claims to have announced the first US one, but is not functional yet. Go guys!).

So if you want to test on a broad range of devices, check out a device lab near to you – and don’t forget to contribute!

ACHTUNG: DIESES VERZEICHNIS WIRD SEIT DEM 21. JANUAR 2013 NICHT MEHR AKTUALISIERT UND IST DEMNACH INAKTUELL. Bitte lese diesen Artikel über die Weiterentwicklung dieser Liste oder gehe direkt auf OpenDeviceLab.com um ein Open Device Lab in Deiner Nähe zu lokalisieren.


IMPORTANT NOTE: THIS POST AND THE SUBSEQUENT LIST IS OUT OF DATE WITH JANUARY 21, 2013. Please read this newer post on the evolution of this directory or go directly to the succeeding OpenDeviceLab.com to look up a matching Open Device Lab in your area.

North America




IMPORTANT NOTE: THIS POST AND THE SUBSEQUENT LIST IS OUT OF DATE WITH JANUARY 21, 2013. Please read this newer post on the evolution of this directory or go directly to the succeeding OpenDeviceLab.com to look up a matching Open Device Lab in your area.

There is no Open Device Lab in your city? Establish one! LabUp! is here to help! Read more on the project.

There is now a list of people running Open Device Labs on Twitter: check out and subscribe here.

Do you know about an Open Device Lab that is not listed here?
Add a comment so I can update the list. Thanks!

Need: Multidevice Stand for Mobile Web Development

Back in March 2012 I sat down with the Adobe Shadow Adobe Edge Inspect development team on a nice monday evening in Adobes HQ in San Jose, California. Actually we launched Shadow Labs Release 1 together that night, the very first public release of a tool that soon should make a big impact to Web Devs around the globe.

I cannot hide this to be one of the most exciting software releases I ever have been part of, despite the fact this has been my first release under the flag of big buddy Adobe (you don’t get many chances like that). Besides from releasing what we tagged as #MobileRelief on social media, I felt a big relief in finally seeing the tool going live. I mean I had to constantly pull back myself from telling everybody about it, since I gained insight into the first rough drafts some painfully long months before…

However, after the initial Adobe TV demo video by Bruce Bowman climbed up to some tenthousand views in a matter of hours, whilst sitting in a Shadow presentation to Adobe folks the next day something dawned to me:

How in hell will I be permanently managing that illustruous farm of devices on my tiny desk?

A minute or two later the following idea was born, and I tweeted it just to see if there were any people sharing my feeling:

Five months after that day we’re using Shadow Labs Release 4 with numerous improvements (and the product isn’t even 1.0) and thousands of Web Pros around the globe foster a messy setting of numerous devices, cables and whatnot on their desktops – just like me.

This is to ask utility makers of the world to provide us with a solution to that problem. I am posting my original drawing (sorry for the shitty quality) again via this article, in case the one out of my tweet on yfrog gets lost:

Quick drawing of my idea from March 2012. See article for explanations on the main parts of the device.

Here is what I request:

  • Solid Stand with heavy base to carry a large number of Smartphones and Tablets
  • Modular structure, possible to easily adjust and combine to a tailormade fashion ideally suiting a specific project (!= permanent installation, == different set of devices for each project)
  • Rotatable suction cups to snag on devices, allowing to rotate from landscape to portrait (snap to these positions)
  • Clamp to securely lock base on table
  • Convenient solution to safely, inobstructively and hiddenly wire all devices with USB/charging cables
  • Powerful USB 3.0/2.0 (charging) Hub included into device (base?)
  • Extensible system, so additional arms/suction cups/base pillars can be added if needed

Mobile web testing and debugging became highly relevant to every webworker on our planet. I would estimate at least half a million potential customers for the proposed solution out there. I am filing this post in the category “Awesomness” since I clearly expect a manufacturer to come up with an awesome solution right away. Go guys, ship it. And let me know where I can get one.