Posts concerning internet

A Century in Beeps

18:24 25 Aug 2013

This is all I have for you this week:

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Guide to How the Web Works II: For Website Owners

21:14 18 Aug 2013

Second in a planned series of five posts about the technical side of the web. The first post covered what every web user should know, and this one is intended for people who own websites—who also need to know what was in the first post.

This is a work in progress, and I welcome feedback.

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Guide to How the Web Works I: For Web Users

22:47 28 Jul 2013. Updated: 13:47 01 Apr 2015

What I think every web user should know about the technical side of the web. This is intended to be the first in a series of guides aimed at increasingly advanced levels of use[1].

This post covers the basics; enough so that after reading it you won’t mistake a blog post for the new Facebook redesign.

This is a work in progress. Please let me know if you see errors, or if you don’t understand something here—that’s valuable feedback!

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Steve Jobs

23:47 09 Oct 2011

I wasn’t a big Steve Jobs fan; despite my working almost exclusively on Mac hardware for the last several years, I disagreed strongly with the direction I thought he was moving computing in. I was surprised to find myself feeling very sad at the news of his passing.

I’m not entirely sure what drove the extent of that sadness.

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The Videotex Revolution

23:49 23 Jun 2011. Updated: 01:30 24 Jun 2011

In June 1982, the Institute for the Future published a report, “Teletext and Videotex in the United States”, which discussed the likely impact of teletext and videotex services on American homes, jobs, and lifestyles; an article summarizing the report was published in the New York Times. While in many ways it was utterly wrong, in the sense that those technologies never succeeded in the US, in perhaps more important ways it was almost prescient, describing quite well how the Internet has changed things.

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Telehack Interview

23:54 16 Jun 2011

Most of you who need to know about Telehack doubtless already do, but you might have missed this interesting interview with its author by Andy Baio.

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Nothing on Facebook is Then

22:56 09 Jun 2011

This is an excellent post/rant about Facebook from Jason Scott; one of the key aspects of being a proprietary walled garden is that it’s very easy to be an information black hole, with the attendant ill effects on historical archiving.

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A Historical Comparison of IE Versions

23:35 17 Mar 2011. Updated: 00:36 18 Mar 2011

I’ve been struggling all week with a JavaScript issue that’s either caused or uncovered by Internet Explorer 9, and while this video has nothing to say on that front, it’s still fascinating to me:

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How Much is Blog Shilling Going for These Days Anyway?

22:53 18 Feb 2011

I received a kind of monetization offer for this blog today, one that I hadn’t encountered before: a service that would pay me to put up articles that they would provide. The kicker would be the links at the bottom of these articles (no porn or gambling, they assured).

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The Internet, We Wants It

16:09 26 Jul 2010

Having had no internet here for two days, and with my phone lacking a data plan here, I’ve found myself more disturbed by the absence of internet access than perhaps I would have guessed.

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Nobody Scores Returns

23:21 25 May 2010

The webcomic Nobody Scores is back. Its return is accompanied by some nice anti-iPad snark, too. I’m glad it’s back, even though I don’t think the new strip itself is that great.

I used to read it, but had entirely forgotten about it until MetaFilter reminded me of its existence.

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Your Online Life Might be an Open Book

23:09 24 May 2010

My friends Will Moffat and James Home, and their friend Peter Burns, created a site to highlight just how exposed your Facebook updates are: Openbook. It’s an interface to Facebook’s public search API, and the first thing you should probably do with it is search for a phrase from one of your recent status updates. If it shows up, change your privacy settings!

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iPad First Impressions: Consumption Machine

18:52 23 May 2010

I got an iPad for work on Friday, and have been playing around with it. I would not have bought one for myself, and have grave misgivings about the device, primarily due to its highly proprietary, locked-down, walled-garden approach.

That being said, I think it’s an extremely slick, well-designed device, and may represent the first steps towards a new phase in accessing computer and/or internet artifacts.

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Internet Illiteracy

12:40 11 Feb 2010

Rather widespread, apparently. When a ReadWriteWeb article on Facebook’s collaboration with AOL became a highly-ranked Google search result for “facebook login”, hundreds of Facebook users descended on that article and used the Facebook Connect button on that screen—which ReadWriteWeb provides so that people can leave comments using their Facebook account—and then became extremely confused, not understanding why they weren’t being brought to their usual Facebook home screen.

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Race and Class Divisions in Online Social Networks

23:25 29 Sep 2009. Updated: 01:26 30 Sep 2009

I haven’t had time to formulate an opinion yet, but I respect past work by danah boyd and am quite certain that she’s onto something important in the research that led to her talk “The Not-So-Hidden Politics of Class Online”, some of the implications of which she discusses in an interview, “MySpace to Facebook = White Flight?”. A key line: “We’re seeing a reproduction of all kinds of all types of social segregation that we like to pretend has gone away.”

That, in itself, is extremely important, and as more people use online arenas as “public spaces”, the fact that these arenas are actually deeply stratified and subject to a variety of hidden pressures becomes more and more significant. Also significant is how the other arenas, while technically easier to encounter because of all the wonderful information-sharing aspects of the internet, become almost hidden because stratification and habituation make each of us less likely, rather than more, to venture into spaces where we don’t have connections.

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Literacy and Online Life

14:10 22 Sep 2009. Updated: 19:51 24 Sep 2009

I always thought that the explosion of personal writing (email, instant messaging, blogging, microblogging) as the internet has gained acceptance would of necessity lead to an improvement in writing skills; it’s difficult to see how a massive increase in the amount of writing people do would fail to have that impact.

Indeed, the Stanford Study of Writing documents just such an improvement, as Clive Thompson reports in Wired. (Via SarahM.)

Despite voice communication, video, and online gaming, the internet is still primarily a text environment, and will continue to be so. The technical restrictions that forced it to be almost text-only at first may have been around just long enough to force a sufficient mass of people to use text and realize how powerful and efficient a medium it can be—a realization limited to a vastly smaller number of people in the pre-online era.

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