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My big accomplishment of 2010 was finishing the first edition of Dive Into HTML5 and working with O'Reilly to publish it on paper as HTML5: Up & Running (as well as several downloadable DRM-free formats). I also accomplished a few minor personal things, but in this post I'm going to focus on the book.

The book went on sale in mid-August and earned out almost immediately. "Earning out" is a publishing term which means that the book has sold enough copies that my cut of the profits has paid back the advance payments that O'Reilly gave me during the writing process. Which means that I'm already receiving royalty checks for real money. Of the four books I've published through traditional publishers, this is only the second book to earn out. (The original Dive Into Python was the first, and it was on sale for over two years before it earned out.)

I write free books and people buy them. It works out surprisingly well.

"HTML5: Up & Running" sold over 14,000 copies in the first six weeks, of which about 25% were digital downloads and 75% were books on paper. Folks sure do love them some paper. The book continues to be available online for free, as it was during the entire writing process, under the liberal Creative Commons Attribution license. This open publishing model generated buzz well in advance of the print publication, and it resulted in over 1,500 pre-orders which shipped the day the book went on sale. Res ipsa loquitur.

The online edition at includes Google Analytics so I can evilly track your every movement find out what the hell is going on. The analytics tell me many things. Some highlights:

  • Throughout 2010, the site served 2 million visitors and 3.9 million pageviews. Each chapter is on its own page because that's how I wrote the book (in HTML5). I don't need to inflate pageviews for non-existent advertisers (I work for Google so I'm not allowed to put ads on it anyway), and I never got around to writing a split-chapter-into-multiple-pages script.
  • 40% of the site's traffic came from search engines. 30% came from direct traffic or non-web applications like Twitter or email clients. 30% came from one of over 8,900 referring sites.
  • 98.7% of the search engine traffic came from Google. Less than 1% came from Bing. The rest came from search engines that I didn't know still existed.
  • John Gruber sent me three times as much traffic as Bing.
  • The most popular chapters tracked closely with the most popular incoming search keywords. HTML5 video was the most popular topic, logging almost half a million pageviews alone. #2 was web forms, followed closely by canvas, semantics, and Geolocation. Microdata was in dead last. Seriously, the shit that nobody gives about my beloved Peeks, Pokes & Pointers chart is rivaled only by the shit that nobody gives about microdata.
  • My little history of HTML logged almost a quarter million pageviews, and the average visitor spent almost four minutes reading it. (Only the video chapter was higher, at 4:45.) Folks love them some Internet folklore.
  • 6% of visitors used some version of Internet Explorer. That is not a typo. The site works fine in Internet Explorer -- the site practices what it preaches, and the live examples use a variety of fallbacks for legacy browsers -- so this is entirely due to the subject matter. Microsoft has completely lost the web development community.
  • 4% of visitors read the site on a mobile device. Of those people, 85% used an iOS device (iPhone + iPad + iPod Touch). 14% used Android, and the rest used mobile devices that I didn't know had browsers.
  • The site itself, its typography, and the book's live examples have led to bug fixes in at least four browsers and one font. Hooray for living on the bleeding edge.

Although it makes little sense to talk about "editions" of a web site (you can see a changelog if you like), O'Reilly and I have already discussed the possibility of doing a new edition of the printed book. Besides rolling up all the updates since August, we've discussed one chapter on Web Workers and another on web sockets. Since all the world's browsers have recently disabled their web sockets implementations due to a subtle (but fatal) protocol-level security vulnerability, the Web Workers chapter will probably come first. No promises, you understand. No promises at all.

If there are new chapters someday, I will urge O'Reilly to provide them for free to everyone who has already bought a digital copy. But understand that the final decision is not mine to make. Not mine at all. In any event, it will be available online at for free, like the rest of the book.

I'm not big on predictions, but I do have one for 2011: HTML5 will continue to be popular, because anything popular will get labeled "HTML5."


Zip Chip is an accelerator chip for the Apple //. What follows is 6502 assembly language. You have been warned.

To enable maximum acceleration of everything except the joystick port, the Apple speaker, and slot 6:

  LDA   #$5A
  STA   $C05A ; write 4 times to unlock chip
  STA   $C05A
  STA   $C05A
  STA   $C05A
  LDA   #$FF
  STA   $C05B ; enable Zip Chip
  LDA   #$80
  STA   $C05E ; disable I/O delay
  LDA   #$40
  STA   $C05F ; normal joystick speed, fast language card
  LDA   #$41
  STA   $C05C ; all slots fast except S6 and speaker
  LDA   #$00
  STA   $C05D ; CPU at full speed
  LDA   #$A5
  STA   $C05A ; lock chip

To disable all acceleration:

  LDA   #$5A
  STA   $C05A ; write 4 times to unlock chip
  STA   $C05A
  STA   $C05A
  STA   $C05A
  LDA   #$FF
  STA   $C05A ; disable Zip Chip

These routines work on both the Zip Chip 4000 (4 Mhz) and Zip Chip 8000 (8 Mhz).


Source: Amazon

Amazon Web Services (AWS) rents computer infrastructure on a self-service basis.

I ain't in this for your revolution, and I'm not in it for you, Princess. I expect to be well paid. I'm in it for the money.

AWS does not pre-screen its customers, but it does have terms of service that must be followed.

Let's just say we'd like to avoid any Imperial entanglements.

There have been reports that a government inquiry prompted us not to serve WikiLeaks any longer. That is inaccurate.

I have just received word that Emperor Lieberman has dissolved the council permanently.

We've been running AWS for over four years and have hundreds of thousands of customers storing all kinds of data on AWS.

You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.

It is not credible that the extraordinary volume of 250,000 classified documents that WikiLeaks is publishing could have been carefully redacted.

I find your lack of faith disturbing.

Human rights organizations have in fact written to WikiLeaks asking them to exercise caution.

The Force is what gives a Jedi activist his power. It's an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.

When people go about securing and storing large quantities of data that isn't rightfully theirs...

The Force can have a strong influence on the weak-minded.

Folks need to go operate elsewhere.

Amazon: Let me see your money.
Unnamed Jedi Activist: [waves hand] You don't need to see his money.
Amazon: We don't need to see his money.
Jedi Activist: These aren't the customers you're looking for.
Amazon: These aren't the customers we're looking for.
Jedi Activist: He can take his business elsewhere.
Amazon: You can take your business elsewhere.


The phrase "implausibly illustrated" garnered virtually no hits before I published that piece on Web Workers, and now I totally own it. Could be the start of a new brand, if I cared about that sort of thing. Which I totally don't. Unrelated: you should all be reading Tweetage Wasteland and then unplugging everything you own, just like I am and have. True fact: I am blogging this on paper while playing Prince of Persia on a solar-powered Apple //e. Oh yeah. Just kidding about the solar part.


I've been active online for 9 years now. With one exception, nothing I've done online has brought me closer to making 25-year friends. Life online rewards breadth, not depth. As gratifying as it may be to have 1 million "visitors" read at least one word of my latest online book, chances are none of those visitors will turn into people who turn into friends who turn into 25-year friends.

How many 25-year friends can you hope to make in one lifetime? 25 years is a long time. That's half of a short life, a third of a normal life, or a quarter of an extraordinary life. Depending on when you start counting, 25 years might include some or all of growing up, graduating from multiple schools, getting married (or remarried), having (and raising) kids, changing jobs, or changing careers.

But a 25-year friend is not just "a friend for 25 years." It's not the passage of time that matters as much as the "of course"-ness of it all. Of course I want to hear about your breakup. Of course you can come over anytime. Of course I'll help you move. Of course you'll be my best man, and I yours. Of course we'll be each other's godfathers. Of course you'll "lend" me some money when I hit hard times. 25 years of "of course."

And in the end, and I mean the very end, of course you'll come visit me when I'm all but paralyzed. Of course you'll go outside to throw a ball around with my son while the paramedics take me off to the hospital, again. After I can't so much as lift my legs, of course you'll sit with me in the hospital and help me get comfortable every five minutes. After I can't feed myself, of course you'll ignore the doctor's orders and sneak in some cheese bisque and feed me one spoonful at a time. And after I can't change myself, of course you'll call the nurse to say there's shit running down my leg, and of course you'll stick around to help the nurse roll me over so she can wipe me down, then roll me back so she can change my sheets.

A good friend will help you move. A great friend will help you move a body. A 25-year friend will help you move your own body, if that's all that's left to do.

And when the nurse asks, "Family? Friend?" of course you'll say, "25-year friend." And she'll say, "25-year friend. What a thing. What a thing to be."

In the end, how many 25-year friends can you hope to make in one lifetime? How many do you really need? I would have said "only one," but it turns out what I meant was "one who will outlive me."

So, two.