July 10, 2015
[catfish] This Is What It’s Like To Fall In Love With A Woman Who Doesn’t Exist … a fascinating UK Catfishing story … ‘The obvious conclusion is that the culprit is a friend of Ruth’s, or least in her circle of acquaintances. Her social media accounts are private and almost always have been, apart from when she first joined Facebook aged 18. But Ruth is adamant that she can’t imagine any of her friends doing that to her. “People say it must be someone you know,” she says. “But I don’t know anyone who has that amount of time.”’
July 3, 2015
[web] The Dark Web as You Know It Is a Myth … a look at what The Dark Web actually is … ‘Of course, there is a technological space called the dark web, where the servers of websites are hidden behind a veil of cryptography, and users also enjoy strong anonymity protections. But that space is nothing like the fairy tale that has been concocted around it; that of a colossal ocean of digital stores selling exclusive products, where criminals are free from prosecution. That characterization is not true. Instead, the dark web is a small collection of sites that reflect the limited number of good, bad, and downright weird humans that use it. Doctors can give impartial advice to drug users, who come out of the woodwork because of the anonymity awarded to them by Tor; Chinese citizens can discuss whatever they like and circumvent The Great Firewall, and, yes, the dark web is also used to host some seriously depraved sites, such as extreme pornography. At the moment, the space is probably used mostly for criminal purposes, but its relevance to the world of cybercrime and other domains has been grossly exaggerated.’
June 30, 2015
[web] How Minions Destroyed the Internet … On the rise and rise of Minions … ‘Wait, no, wait I just got it. I figured out their appeal. Minions are basically emoji. They’re yellow, they run the emotional spectrum, they function as a malleable shorthand for almost indescribable feelings. Like, do you know what the nail art emoji means? It means a million different things. So does the prayer hands emoji. (This is an emerging area of academic study.) Okay, so… Minions are emoji with arms, legs, and goggles.’
June 25, 2015
[web] 20 years of space photos: an oral history of Astronomy Picture of the Day … the inside story of APOD – the remarkably long running daily website … ‘Before we posted our first image we debated this, Jerry and I, as to whether we were going to run out of images in a few days and then say, “Well that was stupid.” But actually there were many images around even back then. And NASA’s Ranger series took tens of thousands of images of the lunar surface, so if we had to we could just start putting up other pictures of the lunar surface. “Here’s another crater that’s a little bit different than yesterday’s crater.” But we never ran out of images. We always had interesting images, and as time went on we were sent more and more images. And now we reject 10 to 1, so for every image you see we’ve rejected 10.’
June 24, 2015
[web] The Internet Doesn’t Exist … an attempt to describe just what the term “The Internet” actually means … ‘What we call the Internet—and what web writers so lazily draw on for their work—is less a hive mind or a throng or a gathering place and more a personalized set of online manoeuvres guided by algorithmic recommendations. When we look at our browser windows, we see our own particular interests, social networks, and purchasing histories scrambled up to stare back at us. But because we haven’t found a shared discourse to talk about this complex arrangement of competing influences and relationships, we reach for a term to contain it all. Enter “the Internet.” The Internet is a linguistic trope but also an ideology and even a business plan. If your job is to create content out of (mostly) nothing, then you can always turn to something/someone that “the Internet” is mad or excited about. And you don’t have to worry about alienating readers because “the Internet” is so general, so vast and all-encompassing, that it always has room. This form of writing is widely adaptable. Now it’s common to see stories where “Facebook” or “Twitter” stands in for the Internet, offering approval or judgement on the latest viral schlock. Choose your (anec)data carefully, and Twitter can tell any story you want.’
June 14, 2015
[web] A Complete Taxonomy of Internet Chum … some analysis of those grids of advertisements you see on web pages… ‘Like everything else on the internet, traffic flowing through chumboxes must be tracked in order for everyone to be paid. Each box in the grid’s performance can be tracked both individually and in context of its neighbors. This allows them to be highly optimized; some chum is clearly better than others. As a byproduct of this optimization, an aesthetic has arisen. An effective chumbox clearly plays on reflex and the subconscious. The chumbox aesthetic broadcasts our most basic, libidinal, electrical desires back at us. And gets us to click. Clicking on a chumlink—even one on the site of a relatively high-class chummer, like—is a guaranteed way to find more, weirder, grosser chum. The boxes are daisy-chained together in an increasingly cynical, gross funnel; quickly, the open ocean becomes a sewer of chum.’
May 9, 2015
[fractals] Web Mandlebrot … nicely done web-based Mandelbrot generator. [via Kottke]
May 2, 2015
[web] Inventing Favicon.ico… the story of how the Favicon was created at Microsoft … ‘I still remember telling my friend Michael Radwin at Yahoo about favicon.ico. He was looking at Yapache logs for fun as he does, and he had noticed an unusual spike in HTTP requests for He said, what the hell is favicon.ico? And I explained it to him. He was so excited that he slammed a favicon.ico onto the server, which might have been one of the first official favicons in existence.’
April 26, 2015
[web] The Failed Promise of Deep Links… a depressing look at how deep linking is becoming an idea for mobiles rather than the Open Web … ‘With mobile’s deep links, everyone seems to have collectively wiped the buzzword slate clean and started fresh — no context, no memory. No depth. It’s as if someone started a new comedy act today and called it “Monty Python” without offering any sign of knowing the name had a history. This cluelessness is extra-ironic because, originally, the exact purpose of links was to make this kind of connection clear. The people who invented the link saw it as a tool for relating ideas in illuminating ways — for making conceptual leaps and connecting disparate thoughts. If these visionaries had achieved their aim, the kind of tech-cultural amnesia represented by the recycling of the term “deep links” shouldn’t have been possible, two decades into the Web era. The links with true depth that they envisioned would have made sure of that.’
April 20, 2015
[web] HTTP Error 447: Gone until I get the attention I deserve … a new type of HTTP error … ‘The 447 response is primarily intended to assist the task of ego maintenance by notifying the recipient that the resource is intentionally but temporarily unavailable and that the server owners desire that people pay more attention to them. Such an event is common for resources belonging to emotionally unstable individuals when they feel the world is no longer going their way. ‘
March 7, 2015
[web] What does HTML’s “HREF” stand for?‘Today it occurred to me that, after a little over ten years of basic fluency in HTML, I have absolutely no idea why the href attribute is named “href”. Why not “url”, “link”, or even just “ref”?’
February 21, 2015
[tech] How “omnipotent” hackers tied to NSA hid for 14 years—and were found at last … a fascinating look at the NSA’s collection of malware … ‘Beyond the technical similarities to the Stuxnet and Flame developers, Equation Group boasted the type of extraordinary engineering skill people have come to expect from a spy organization sponsored by the world’s wealthiest nation. One of the Equation Group’s malware platforms, for instance, rewrote the hard-drive firmware of infected computers—a never-before-seen engineering marvel that worked on 12 drive categories from manufacturers including Western Digital, Maxtor, Samsung, IBM, Micron, Toshiba, and Seagate. The malicious firmware created a secret storage vault that survived military-grade disk wiping and reformatting, making sensitive data stolen from victims available even after reformatting the drive and reinstalling the operating system. The firmware also provided programming interfaces that other code in Equation Group’s sprawling malware library could access. Once a hard drive was compromised, the infection was impossible to detect or remove.’
January 30, 2015
[web] What the Web Said Yesterday … a New Yorker profile of the Internet Archive and Brewster Kahle …

“Every time a light blinks, someone is uploading or downloading,” Kahle explains. Six hundred thousand people use the Wayback Machine every day, conducting two thousand searches a second. “You can see it.” He smiles as he watches. “They’re glowing books!” He waves his arms. “They glow when they’re being read!”

One day last summer, a missile was launched into the sky and a plane crashed in a field. “We just downed a plane,” a soldier told the world. People fell to the earth, their last passage. Somewhere, someone hit “Save Page Now.”

Where is the Internet’s memory, the history of our time?

“It’s right here!” Kahle cries.

The machine hums and is muffled. It is sacred and profane. It is eradicable and unbearable.

November 15, 2014
[winamp] Winamp2-js … the classic media player reimplemented in HTML5 and JavaScript … ‘Winamp, it really whips the llama’s ass!’
October 23, 2014
[internet] Twitter I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down … Quinn Norton On The Internet … ‘The net never forgets. Forgetting is a gentle process of thought and learning which the net can’t do. Losing things, which the net does plenty, is different.’
October 12, 2014
[www] The Secret History of Hypertext … interesting look at some pre-computer visions of the World Wide Web … ‘Paul Otlet, a Belgian bibliographer and entrepreneur who, in 1934, laid out a plan for a global network of “electric telescopes” that would allow anyone in the world to access to a vast library of books, articles, photographs, audio recordings, and films. Like Bush, Otlet explored the possibilities of storing data on microfilm and making it searchable, with a web of documents connected via a sophisticated linking system. Otlet also wrote about wireless networks, speech recognition, and social network-like features that would allow individuals to “participate, applaud, give ovations, sing in the chorus.” He even described a mechanism for transmitting taste and smell.’
July 6, 2014
[web] Report mobile and Internet Service Providers blocking sites… what British ISP’s are blocking your website? Turns out I’m blocked by Talk Talk. ‘20% of sites tested were blocked.’
May 2, 2014
[security] 4 Simple Changes to Stop Online Tracking … some great tips from the Electronic Frontier Foundation … ‘Get Adblock Plus. After it is installed, be sure to change your filter preferences to add EasyPrivacy.’
March 13, 2014
[www] 25 Things You Might Not Know About The Web On Its 25th Birthday‘5 Tim Berners-Lee is Gutenberg’s true heir – In 1455, with his revolution in printing, Johannes Gutenberg single-handedly launched a transformation in mankind’s communications environment – a transformation that has shaped human society ever since. Berners-Lee is the first individual since then to have done anything comparable.’
March 11, 2014
[dailyfail] Profits Of Doom … Is the Daily Mail Online as sucessful as it seems? … ‘DMGT also reported that their print advertising was down 2%, bringing in only £53million this year. This figure was kind of brushed over in favour of talk of website growth – played down almost – but it’s worth a quick look. £53 million is £12 million more in ad revenue than the website generates. Yes, the website’s growth has been impressive – it has become the biggest newspaper website in the world – but it’s actually pulling in much less cash than its dead-tree equivalent. The Daily Mail’s circulation is 1.6 million, about 1% of its apparent online audience. So the ad space they’re selling online is actually, relatively, worthless and it appears to be their only major stream of revenue.’
March 3, 2014
[web] Only 90s Web Developers Remember This … HTML tag nostalgia … ‘The 1×1.gif — or spacer.gif, or transparent.gif — is just a one pixel by one pixel transparent GIF. Just like the most futuristic CSS framework of today but in a billionth of the file size, 1×1.gif is fully optimized for the responsive web.’
January 19, 2014
[web] Have I Been Pwned? … a service that allows you to check if any of your usernames or passwords been compromised in recent website security breaches.
November 26, 2013
[web] Motherfucking Website … a lovely sweary rant on website design … ‘Cross-browser compatibility? Load this motherfucker in IE6. I fucking dare you.’
November 25, 2013
[web] 17 Ancient Abandoned Websites That Still Work … I remember CNN’s O.J. Simpson trial website from 1996. I feel old.
November 15, 2013
[lists] Top Nine Things You Need To Know About ‘Listicles’ … a list about Internet lists … ‘A listicle feels more democratic than a hierarchically structured argument, as well as more in tune with a conception of history and the world as just one damn thing after another. The foundational text of Protestantism was a listicle nailed to a church door: Martin Luther’s “95 Theses” posted at Wittenberg. So it makes sense that in our culture, which makes a fetish of anti-authoritarianism, the listicle should have spread everywhere, like mould.’
September 3, 2013
[language] The Rad New Words Added to the Dictionary in the ’90s: Where Are They Now?… Alexis Madrigal investigates what new words added to dictionaries during the 90’s made it into common usage today … ‘Cypherpunk: In the early days of both computing and the Internet, cryptography to keep people from spying on you was all the rage. For obvious reasons, both the term and idea of cypherpunk are coming back, I think.’
July 1, 2013
[web] Google Reader Closedown: Find LinkMachineGo’s RSS Feed Here Or Follow LMG On Twitter.
[web] Google Translates Lorem Ipsum‘We will be sure to post a comment. Add tomato sauce, no tank or a traditional or online. Until outdoor environment, and not just any competition, reduce overall pain. Cisco Security, they set up in the throat develop the market beds of Cura; Employment silently churn-class by our union, very beginner himenaeos. Monday gate information. How long before any meaningful development. Until mandatory functional requirements to developers. But across the country in the spotlight in the notebook. The show was shot. Funny lion always feasible, innovative policies hatred assured. Information that is no corporate Japan’
June 25, 2013
[security] Anatomy of a Hack: How Crackers Ransack Passwords Like “qeadzcwrsfxv1331” … A fascinating look at how easy it is to crack passwords … ‘Even the least successful cracker of our trio—who used the least amount of hardware, devoted only one hour, used a tiny word list, and conducted an interview throughout the process—was able to decipher 62 percent of the passwords. Our top cracker snagged 90 percent of them.’
May 28, 2013
[wikipedia] Revenge, ego and the corruption of Wikipedia … a fascinating look at the detection of a rogue Wikipedia editor … ‘Some parts of the exchange struck me as odd, particularly his declaration that he was was “tech-deficient.” Young has over 5,000 friends on Facebook, a Twitter account, a resume that includes a stint teaching at the online-only University of Phoenix and a credit on his eldercare website that says “Designed by Robert Young © 2012 using Homestead website templates.” He sounded right at home in the realm of new technology.’
May 13, 2013
[web] Don’t Be a Stranger … a longer read on internet friendships and the differences between the Web in 2006 and now … ‘Internet friendship yields a connection that is selfconsciously pointless and pointed at the same time: Out of all of the millions of bullshitters on the World Wide Web, we somehow found each other, liked each other enough to bullshit together, and built our own Fortress of Bullshit. The majority of my interactions with online friends is perpetuating some injoke so arcane that nobody remembers how it started or what it actually means. Perhaps that proves the op-ed writers’ point, but this has been the pattern of my friendships since long before I first logged onto AOL…’
May 3, 2013
[web] After Checking Your Bank Account, Remember To Log Out, Close The Web Browser, And Throw Your Computer Into The Ocean … some good computer security advice from Chase Bank … ‘If you’re using a publicly shared computer at a library, for example, additional precautions are required. Before logging in, raid the library’s artifact collection and grab the sharpest object inside—a sword, bayonet, or antique letter opener will do. Then repeatedly stab everyone who’s in the building, preferably in the neck, as you never know which one of them might look over your shoulder while you’re online. Once they’re incapacitated and bleeding out, simply hop on the computer for your session…’
May 2, 2013
[tv] Law & Order’s Fakest Websites … great supercut of all the fake websites used on Law and Order … ‘Laffy Time Kids Club – a magical land of fun, games and sexual assault.’
April 11, 2013
[web] Plan Your Digital Afterlife With Inactive Account Manager … A dead man’s switch for Google accounts.
March 6, 2013
[tech] How Qihoo 360 Won the Browser War in China … a look at how a virus company leveraged it’s position to create China’s most popular web browser … ‘When a user tries to uninstall the 360 browser, they are presented with three choices: Repair, Change to IE9, or uninstall directly. If they choose to change to IE9, after installation another popup occurs and when you click “Next”, it reinstalls the 360 browser and makes it the default.’
November 19, 2012
[words] First Known Use Of OMG – – in a 1917 letter to Winston Churchill …

First Known Use Of OMG

November 15, 2012
[web] The Hacking Of A General’s Mistress … a look at how long it takes to hack a password used by General Petraeus’ girlfriend … ‘Using oclHashtcat, it’ll take 17 hours to crack her password using a GPU accelerator trying 3.5-billion password attempts per second, trying all combinations of upper/lower case and digits. After doing this, you’ll discover the original password is “vsKLVg8L”. This is a fairly strong password, consisting of random upper/lower case letters and numbers, which is why it takes 17 hours to crack.’
November 5, 2012
Gangnam Style Is Now the Third Most Popular YouTube Video Ever. Here Are Numbers 1 and 2 … Alexis Madrigal on the most popular YouTube videos… ‘If you’re old, you may not understand why these music videos have such obscenely high view counts. But the kids these days — by which I mean everyone in their 20s and below — seem to use YouTube like a jukebox. A jukebox that’s free and shows motion pictures! (Even if it is low-fidelity and seemingly the worst possible way of listening to music on a computer.)’
October 19, 2012
[web] The Gospel According to Pinterest … The New York Times on Pinterest – notably that an estimated 10% of Pinterest web traffic comes from inspirational quotes

“It’s one thing for a family member to tell you to get yourself together,” Ms. Martinez said. “It’s quite another when a person you follow on Pinterest presents some sound advice with a great typeface on a pretty background.”

March 15, 2012
[stuff] Some links I’ve had in my “ToBlog” list for far too long…

March 1, 2012
[dailyfail] The Insider: The Secrets Behind The Mail Online’s Soaraway Success … how the Daily Mail does SEO to drive traffic … ‘The SEO team receive stories from journalists and then change the headlines and add some key words before launching them on the site. It’s like a sub-editing job using SEO, a machine churning through the content. The journalists and sub-editors continue to do the job they would be doing while the SEO team’s brief is to drive traffic. Bosses at the Mail look at the traffic that is coming in on almost an hourly basis. One of the reasons why [a former SEO figure at the Mail] left was because he couldn’t handle it. If the Mail Online was having a bad day for traffic, he’d be pulled into the office and would be torn a new one.’
February 29, 2012
[web] Interactive ASCII fluid dynamics animation … move your mouse within the white space to begin the demo. [via Waxy]
February 28, 2012
[web] Dr. Samuel Johnson on Pinterest

November 21, 2011
[web] Google Analytics A Potential Threat to Anonymous Bloggers … I’ve always believed that it is almost impossible to be completely incognito and publish something on the internet – here’s one more example of the pitfalls anonymous bloggers have to watch out for … ‘Watch your history. Sites like Whois Source track your history of domain and nameserver changes permanently, and may archive old versions of your site. Being the first person to follow your anonymous Twitter account or promote the link could also be a giveaway.’
October 17, 2011
[amazon] The 10 Best Amazon Reviews Ever … this doesn’t mention Henry Raddick (a fantastic Amazon reviewer who was once interviewed by Andrew Orlowski) so isn’t complete by any means. However, this great review for a container of Wolf Urine compels me to blog it: ‘Even though it has a rather short and crisply defined finish, I still believe this has the composition and acidity to age well in the cellar of any self-respecting urine connoisseur.’
September 14, 2011
[wordpress] How to upgrade WordPress via SSH … this is my #1 geek tip for using WordPress … ‘If you know how to log in via SSH (Secure Shell Access), then you will be able to upgrade your WordPress site in three minutes or less by using the following lines of code.’
September 13, 2011
[web] Go Look: In 60 Seconds On the Internet… ‘694,445 Search Queries’
September 9, 2011
[google] How Google Dominates Us … a profile of Google from James Gleick… ‘…your search history reveals plenty—as Levy says, “your health problems, your commercial interests, your hobbies, and your dreams.” Your response to advertising reveals even more, and with its advertising programs Google began tracking the behavior of individual users from one Internet site to the next. They observe our every click (where they can) and they measure in milliseconds how long it takes us to decide. If they didn’t, their results wouldn’t be so uncannily effective. They have no rival in the depth and breadth of their data mining. They make statistical models for everything they know, connecting the small scales with the large, from queries and clicks to trends in fashion and season, climate and disease. It’s for your own good—that is Google’s cherished belief.’
August 30, 2011
[wordpress] Take 5 Minutes to Make WordPress 10 Times More Secure … If you’re running WordPress you probably should take the time to read this.
August 20, 2011
[web] TinEye Reverse Image Search … this is a useful way of searching for images – especially if you want to credit the creator of an image you’ve found on the web … ‘TinEye is a reverse image search engine. You can submit an image to TinEye to find out where it came from, how it is being used, if modified versions of the image exist, or to find higher resolution versions.’

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