The webcomics blog about webcomics

Oooooh, Scary!

  • As has been established on this page, Homestar*Runner is a webcomic, just one that updates rather infrequently. But happily for all who love awesome things, one of the occasions upon which you can count on H*R to update is Hallowed Ween, and this year’s spooooky story and costume fest is now available at YouTube, hooray!
  • I mean, it’s also up at the H*R site, and the trailer is worth watching, too if you’re willing to brave an unpleasant terror or two. I speak, naturally, of the fact that the H*R site relies (as did much of early to mid Webcomickstan) upon the worst technology ever constructed by putatively human hands, Adobe Flash.

    Flash!¹ The security nightmare of a million breached websites and stupid, designed-in vulnerabilities. Flash, which sucked up power and which browsers have been trying to quietly ignore for years now. Flash, which we’ve all done without for so very, very long. Flash, which at long last is getting what it deserves, which is to sink even further into obscurity:

    “Google Search will stop supporting Flash later this year,” said Dong-Hwi Lee, a Google engineering manager, in a blog post. “In Web pages that contain Flash content, Google Search will ignore the Flash content. Google Search will stop indexing standalone SWF files.”

    Lee says most websites and users won’t notice anything right away, and that’s because Flash no longer does much to help sites rank higher in the Google Search algorithm. But web publishers who still rely on Flash should be looking at other technologies if they want Google Search traffic.

    In an email clarifying the web giant’s position, a spokesperson said indexed Flash content will not be removed immediately from search results, though it will disappear as the index is updated over time. Pages that include Flash files will themselves continue to be indexed, though the Flash components will be omitted.

    Which brings up an interesting dilemma — there’s lots of old websites (including webcomics) that have gone by the wayside, but which live forever in our hearts and also the mighty repository known as the Internet Archive. What will happen to those archived pages when Flash no longer exists, when browsers escalate from merely ignoring it to actively suppressing it? How much will be beyond our reach? Some day, chunks of the culture may exist only for those that visit an appropriate museum or painstakingly maintain obsolete technology.

    And it won’t end with Flash. What happens when JavaScript is superceded, or some future standard of HTML or CSS finally declares it’s no longer maintaining compatibility with the versions we use now? If you’ve got comics that rely on a formerly standard (or at least widespread) architecture that’s falling from favor, you need to decide how to translate them to a form that will survive. We’re in the midst of a rolling Digital Dark Age, frantically creating new while losing the ability to read the old, and I don’t think a Digital Renaissance will be upon us without some damn good translation tools.

  • That last section was kind of a bummer, so let’s end on an up note: today is the last day of Inktober, and while there was so very much that was so very good², I am going to point you to one that is near to my heart. I made Cat Farris’s acquaintance at #ComicsCamp this year, where we quickly began to nerd out about the noblest dogs to stride the Earth, greyhounds. Cat and her husband Ron Chan are members of Portland’s Helioscope Studio and parents to frequent studio mascot Sally the greyhound.

    I think you see where I’m going with this: a month’s worth of #LifeWithSallyDog #Inktober drawings. Some are silly and cartoony, some are serious (or at least as serious as you get with a greyhound), all of them capture the innate joy these fuzzy lumps exude on those occasions when they deign to be awake. Browse them all, and try not to smile wider at each one; you won’t be able to.

Okay, time to go camp the front door for Trick or Treaters. Have a good one, everybody!

Spam of the day:

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Stop just throwing words together, spammers. Words having meanings! MILF and teen are opposites. Are you going to try to entice me with barely legal MILFs next?

Oh crap, you totally are. We live in Hell.

¹ Ah-ahhhhh!

² I mean, did you see graphic novelist Bruce McCorkindale’s arthouse movies by Muppets theme? It’s amazing.

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