September 12, 2023
[google] The end of the Googleverse … A look at Google’s impact on the internet and some ideas on why it’s influence is waning. ‘Discoverability of the open web has suffered. Pinterest has been accused of eating Google Image Search results. And the recent protests over third-party API access at Reddit revealed how popular Google has become as a search engine not for Google’s results but for Reddit content. Google’s place in the hierarchy of Big Tech is slipping enough that some are even admitting that Apple Maps is worth giving another chance, something unthinkable even a few years ago.’
August 16, 2023
[web] Anna’s Archive … A search engine for huge semi-hidden collections of books and written material on the internet. ‘📚 The world’s largest open-source open-data library. ⭐️ Mirrors Sci-Hub, Library Genesis, Z-Library, and more. 📈 21,278,536 books, 86,614,441 papers, 2,451,043 comics, 508,999 magazines — preserved forever.’
June 1, 2023
[internet] Doug Rushkoff Is Ready to Renounce the Digital Revolution… A profile of Douglas Rushkoff in 2023. ‘I first encountered Rushkoff’s writing around this time, in 2010, while I was working for a site called The site’s premise was that connecting everything and everyone to the web would allow people to freely lend the stuff they already owned, creating further abundance for all. Room-sharing platforms would reduce housing costs, and ride-sharing platforms would reduce the number of cars on the road. Rushkoff was a proponent of reorganizing the internet according to peer-to-peer principles, and he became one of the site’s most popular contributors. As platforms like Airbnb and Uber took over, leading the world into a new age of inequality and increased resource consumption, his dream of participatory decentralization died hard. But even amid mounting cognitive dissonance, certain parts of Rushkoff’s faith held out. On reflection, he says, “I blamed capitalism and held the technology itself innocent.”’
January 16, 2023
[modem] The Sound of the Dialup, Pictured … An infographic showing what the noises mean when a modem connects to the internet. ‘As many already know, what you’re hearing is often called a handshake, the start of a telephone conversation between two modems. The modems are trying to find a common language and determine the weaknesses of the telephone channel originally meant for human speech.’
December 19, 2022
[internet] The Founding Fathers – ARPANET Logical Map, March 1977

ARPANET logical map, March 1977

November 28, 2022
[time] The Thorny Problem of Keeping the Internet’s Time … The story behind the internet’s N.T.P. Protocol. ‘A loose community of people across the world set up their own servers to provide time through the protocol. In 2000, N.T.P. servers fielded eighteen billion time-synchronization requests from several million computers—and in the following few years, as broadband proliferated, requests to the busiest N.T.P. servers increased tenfold. The time servers had once been “well lit in the US and Europe but dark elsewhere in South America, Africa and the Pacific Rim,” Mills wrote, in a 2003 paper. “Today, the Sun never sets or even gets close to the horizon on NTP.” Programmers began to treat the protocol like an assumption—it seemed natural to them that synchronized time was dependably and easily available. Mills’s little fief was everywhere.’
March 24, 2022
[lol] Why We Use “lol” So Much … A deep-dive into LOL. ‘We use lol as a way of downplaying a statement; adding irony, levity, humility, empathy, or commiseration; expressing amusement; or just neutral acknowledgment. No longer simply an internet acronym that’s entered the mainstream, lol is an example of how language evolves over time, adheres to new grammatical rules, and creates community around the people that use it.’
December 27, 2021
[tv] What Was the First TV Show to Reference the Internet?‘The X-Files had to have been among the first shows to use the web in a storyline, in “2Shy,” which originally aired in November 1995. The episode features a mutant serial killer who sweet-talks self-conscious women online, convinces them to meet in-person, then pulverizes their flesh for sustenance. (Moral of the story: Chat with strangers online and an alien will turn your body into goo.)’
October 20, 2021
[internet] The ‘Dead-Internet Theory’ Is Wrong but Feels True … An odd conspiracy theory that claims that most of the content on the internet is posted by Bots. ‘Anyway … dead-internet theory is pretty far out-there. But unlike the internet’s many other conspiracy theorists, who are boring or really gullible or motivated by odd politics, the dead-internet people kind of have a point. In the New York story that IlluminatiPirate invokes, the writer Max Read plays with paranoia. “Everything that once seemed definitively and unquestionably real now seems slightly fake,” he writes. But he makes a solid argument: He notes that a majority of web traffic probably comes from bots, and that YouTube, for a time, had such high bot traffic that some employees feared “the Inversion” — the point when its systems would start to see bots as authentic and humans as inauthentic.’
March 2, 2021
[meme] An anniversary for great justice: Remembering “All Your Base” 20 years later ‘This video’s 20th anniversary will likely make you feel old as dirt, but that doesn’t mean the video itself aged badly. There’s still something timeless about both the wackiness and innocence of so many early-Internet pioneers sending up a badly translated game.’
December 24, 2019
[memes] 100 Best Memes Of The Decade … Another roundup of the decade list. ‘ “This Is Fine” Dog: The meme has been used a lot to describe various political situations: The official @GOP Twitter used it once, and a senator even described the comic during a Senate Intelligence Committee while describing how Russian election interference was not fine. But the staying power of the dog is about how we all grin and bear it through everything that’s happened over this decade that feels like the house is on fire — the climate crisis, elections, the disappointing last season of Game of Thrones. There is nothing that captures the 2010s more than “this is fine” dog.’
December 4, 2019
[time] The 2010s Have Broken Our Sense Of Time … How mobiles phones and social media changed our perception of time. ‘Using a phone is tied up with the relentless, perpendicular feeling of living through the Trump presidency: the algorithms that are never quite with you in the moment, the imperishable supply of new Instagram stories, the scrolling through what you said six hours ago, the four new texts, the absence of texts, that text from three days ago that has warmed up your entire life, the four versions of the same news alert. You can find yourself wondering why you’re seeing this now — or knowing too well why it is so.’
November 28, 2019
[trolls] That Uplifting Tweet You Just Shared? A Russian Troll Sent It … How Russian disinformation/trolling campaigns look in 2019. ‘We have experienced a range of emotions studying what the IRA has produced, from disgust at their overt racism to amusement at their sometimes self-reflective humor. Mostly, however, we’ve been impressed. Professional trolls are good at their job. They have studied us. They understand how to harness our biases (and hashtags) for their own purposes. They know what pressure points to push and how best to drive us to distrust our neighbors. The professionals know you catch more flies with honey. They don’t go to social media looking for a fight; they go looking for new best friends. And they have found them.’
November 22, 2019
[funny] Ballad of a WiFi Hero… Animated adaption of the Mike Lacher’s McSweeney’s article. ‘And at last the warrior arrived at the Router. It was a dusty black box with an array of shimmering green lights, blinking on and off, as if to taunt him to come any further. The warrior swiftly maneuvered to the rear of the router and verified what he had feared, what he had heard whispered in his ear from spirits beyond: all the cords were securely in place. The warrior closed his eyes, summoning the power of his ancestors, long departed but watchful still. And then with the echoing beep of his digital watch, he moved with deadly speed, wrapping his battle-hardened hands around the power cord at the back of the Router.’

September 3, 2019
[internet] Go Look: Usage Share of Internet Browsers 1996 – 2019 … A fascinating infoviz – mainly because it neatly illustrates Internet Explorer’s total domination of browser share for much of the early 2000s and later the rise of Chrome.
June 27, 2019
[comics] How ‘This is Fine’ Dog Creator KC Green Made Money From Meme … How a comic creator made lemonade when one of his creations became a popular meme. ‘But most of all, Green has stolen from the people who stole from him. “I can write to Redbubble, or Etsy, or any other place, to ask them to take something down, but I think the best way to try and take it back yourself is to steal other people’s ideas,” he says with a laugh. “Like, Oh, they wanted a tote bag with this on it? Then I’ll make a tote bag with that on it. I’ll stop them. Like, they want a shirt print with just the two panels on it, so they go to Etsy to make a dumb version of the print. Then here” — that is, on his site and on his store at creator-friendly merch site TopatoCo — “we offer a print with just the two panels, or we offer a shirt with just the two panels, because that’s all people fucking want.” Turnabout’s fair play, after all.’
June 11, 2019
[crime] The bizarre world of the true crime YouTube influencers‘It’s hard to explain the current trend towards lifestyle/true crime crossovers without acknowledging a disconcerting fact; that what seems at surface level to be a wild mismatch, has a perfectly sound internal logic lurking under the surface. Both rely on the marketing of a product in a wildly oversaturated marketplace. The required skills are readily interchangeable: a ‘relatable’ manner, the ability to spin a compelling yarn and an on-the-nose sincerity. And, most importantly, the savviness to seize an opportunity. And while the traditional avenues of online lifestyle revenue begin to shift and change, crime remains conventionally big traffic business. ‘
April 1, 2019
[privacy] A Few Simple Steps to Vastly Increase Your Privacy Online … straight-forward list of ways to inprove your privacy on the internet in 2019. ‘Switch to Firefox as your browser on all devices. I’m not a Chrome or Edge hater, I’m just lazy. I don’t want to parse whether each new update contains a privacy regression or new settings I need to worry about. I just want a browser that has more of my best interests in mind. Firefox is developed by a non-profit company, Mozilla, explicitly dedicated to users’ needs…’
March 25, 2019
[web] Killed by Google – The Google Graveyard & Cemetery … A list of products shutdown by Google. ‘Google Reader – 2005 – 2013. Killed over 5 years ago, Google Reader was a RSS/Atom feed aggregator. It was over 7 years old.’
March 5, 2019
[internet] The Internet is Full of Bullshit … a perennially useful animated GIF from Swear Trek.

January 25, 2019
[blogging] “The Linux of social media” — How LiveJournal pioneered (then lost) blogging … A brief history of LiveJournal. ‘When friends started complaining about the unsheared “walls of text” that some of their peers would post, Fitzpatrick added a “post” button so they could space out their paragraphs. There was no way to respond to other people’s output initially, no matter how insipid—until, of course, Fitzpatrick decided that he wanted to make fun of one of his friend’s posts. He next added in the comment functionality just to post “a snarky-ass comment.” “Everything was like that,” Fitzpatrick says. “Current mood, current music, profile pics—it was all screwing around and trying to add whatever new things we could do or what the Web supported at the time.” At a certain point in his college career, around the year 2000, Fitzpatrick realized that LiveJournal had turned from a fun way to mess around with CGI scripts into something approaching an actual business…’
January 18, 2019
[internet] The secret rules of the internet … Fascinating look at the moderation of content on social networks. ‘Joi Podgorny is former vice president at ModSquad, which provides content moderation to a range of marquee clients, from the State Department to the NFL. Now a digital media consultant, she says founders and developers not only resist seeing the toxic content, they resist even understanding the practice of moderation. Typically cast off as “customer-service,” moderation and related work remains a relatively low-wage, low-status sector, often managed and staffed by women, which stands apart from the higher-status, higher-paid, more powerful sectors of engineering and finance, which are overwhelmingly male. “I need you to look at what my people are looking at on a regular basis,” she said. “I want you to go through my training and see this stuff [and] you’re not going to think it’s free speech. You’re going to think it’s damaging to culture, not only for our brand, but in general.” Brian Pontarelli, CEO of the moderation software company Inversoft, echoes the observation. Many companies, he told us, will not engage in robust moderation until it will cost them not to.’
September 27, 2018
[hacking] The Untold Story of NotPetya, the Most Devastating Cyberattack in History … Sobering, insider accounts on the worldwide impacts of the largest cyberattack so far.

Early in the operation, the IT staffers rebuilding Maersk’s network came to a sickening realization. They had located backups of almost all of Maersk’s individual servers, dating from between three and seven days prior to NotPetya’s onset. But no one could find a backup for one crucial layer of the company’s network: its domain controllers, the servers that function as a detailed map of Maersk’s network and set the basic rules that determine which users are allowed access to which systems.

Maersk’s 150 or so domain controllers were programmed to sync their data with one another, so that, in theory, any of them could function as a backup for all the others. But that decentralized backup strategy hadn’t accounted for one scenario: where every domain controller is wiped simultaneously. “If we can’t recover our domain controllers,” a Maersk IT staffer remembers thinking, “we can’t recover anything.”

April 16, 2018
[timemachinego] The Rise in Self-Proclaimed Time Travelers … fascinating overview of the epidemic of Time Travellers online. ‘With time travel, you can step outside the eternal stream of time. You can conquer physics. You can deal with loss and overcome death. In this way, these clickbait time-travel stories are a very American form of existentialism: We like to believe we can shape the future, and we need to know that everything will be okay.’
April 4, 2017
[tv] A dying habit: why the average BBC1 viewer is 61 … the slow death of Broadcast TV … ‘According to recent research by Enders Analysis, ITV’s average viewer is now 60; Channel 5’s is 58 and Channel 4’s is 55. Even at E4, birthplace of such yoof-targeting shows as Made in Chelsea and Hollyoaks, the average age is 42. The reason, of course, is simple: the internet…’
December 16, 2016
[horror] ‘Creepypasta’ is how the internet learns our fears … fascinating look at how the internet crowd sources horror stories and memes‘Effective horror, after all, has little or nothing to do with gore or body-counts. ‘Atmosphere is the all-important thing,’ wrote Lovecraft, ‘for the final criterion of authenticity is not the dovetailing of a plot but the creation of a given sensation.’ This is the only test of weird fiction that matters: can the work excite, at its least mundane point, a particular emotional response, ‘a profound sense of dread, and of contact with unknown spheres and powers’? Creepypasta represents a kind of industrialised refinement of this art. It is a networked effort to deliver dread in as efficient a way as possible, with the minimum of extraneous matter. Like pornography, it is single-minded in its pursuit of a particular response.’
August 30, 2016
[wikipedia] Wikipedia Is Not Therapy! … behind-the-scenes look at how Wikipedia deals with mental health issues within it’s online community of volunteers … ‘A ‘recent changes’ feed tracks every edit made across Wikimedia projects; this is constantly monitored by volunteer community members. Experienced editors know that when an alarming change hits the feed, they should reach out to This address is connected to a 24-hour pager system that notifies Earley’s geographically dispersed team. Human eyes will usually read this message within a couple minutes. If at least two team members agree that the situation seems serious enough, they will report it to a law enforcement agency. Earley says that the Foundation has established police contacts across the English-speaking world who are familiar with this type of online threat of harm; it’s never a matter of hurriedly trying to explain Wikipedia to a confused or suspicious local cop.’
June 13, 2016
[hetzog] Lo And Behold: Reveries Of The Connected World Trailer … the official trailer for Werner Herzog’s film about the Internet … ‘Have the monks stopped meditating? They all seem to be tweeting.’ [via Kottke]
November 12, 2015
[tech] The Room Where the Internet Was Born … A visit to the place where the first messages over the internet were sent from … ‘In a strikingly accurate replica of the original IMP log (crafted by UCLA’s Fowler Museum of Cultural History) on one of the room’s period desks is a note taken at 10:30 p.m., 29 October, 1969—“talked to SRI, host to host.” In the note, there is no sense of wonder at this event—which marks the first message sent across the ARPANET, and the primary reason the room is now deemed hallowed ground.’
October 16, 2015
[internet] Nihilistic Password Security Questions‘What is the maiden name of your father’s mistress?’
August 28, 2015
[web] Almost None of the Women in the Ashley Madison Database Ever Used the Site… Gizmodo does some data analysis on the user data from the hacking of the Ashley Madison website‘When you look at the evidence, it’s hard to deny that the overwhelming majority of men using Ashley Madison weren’t having affairs. They were paying for a fantasy.’
February 2, 2015
[funny] 5 People on Etsy Who Are Clearly Serial Killers Part 1 | Part 2


‘Hey, remember that nightmare you had once where you wandered into that rural cult compound and everyone celebrated the arrival of an outsider by tying you to a banquet table, putting on their ceremonial animal masks, and drinking your blood from a chalice? Well, even if you don’t, this nice woman sure does, and she was really hoping you’d like to be reminded for only $30. She’s a Canadian photographer and expert in subtle terror. Objectively, there’s nothing scary about a kid wearing a plastic animal mask, and yet her pictures are so ominous, they look like something you’d find in the attic of a house no one will buy.’
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.

January 14, 2015
[fake] 86 Viral Images From 2014 That Were Totally Fake … a fascinating collection of well faked images …

Fake Nazi Candy

November 8, 2014
[net] What happens when you accidentally become internet famous?‘Fist clenched, a look of pure determination on his face, Success Kid is the boy who can do it all. You may have seen his face posted when someone’s particularly proud of an achievement. Success Kid’s real name is Sam Griner and the photo is one of many his mother Laney, a photographer, took of her son and posted on her Flickr page. She still remembers the day and the moment she snapped this picture…’
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.’
August 17, 2014
[tech] Browsing speeds may slow as net hardware bug bites… BBC News on the 512K routing bug … ‘This may come as a surprise to non-specialists who view the internet as a high-tech affair comparable to the bridge of the USS Enterprise of Star Trek fame, in actuality, the internet is more akin to an 18th century Royal Navy frigate, with a lot of running about, climbing, shouting, and tugging on ropes required to maintain the desired course and speed.’
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.’
April 29, 2014
[trolling] The Compleat Troller, Or, THE ART OF TROLLING

The Compleat Troller

March 19, 2014
[internet] How to use the Internet

How to use the Internet

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.’
February 22, 2014
[tv] What happens at Netflix when House of Cards goes live‘Edberg said the last time House of Cards launched, the engineers figured out that the entire season was about 13 hours. “And we looked to [see] if anybody was finishing in that amount of time,” Edberg said. “And there was one person who finished with just three minutes longer than there is content. So basically, three total minutes of break in roughly 13 hours.”‘
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.
January 15, 2014
[internet] Cicada 3301: I tried the hardest puzzle on the internet and failed spectacularly … more on the mysterious internet puzzle that restarted recently … ‘The image included text hidden with steganography, a technique which lets users bury information in seemingly innocuous files. To get the information out required me to use a program called OutGuess. To install OutGuess, I need to compile the program from source. To do that, I need to install Xcode, the Mac OS X developer tools, create a new command line project based on the source code I downloaded, reconfigure the program for Mac, deal with any dependency issues, build it, and then run it from the terminal. What I actually do is spend the better part of an hour clicking around in Xcode, desperately trying to find a magic button to click which will make everything work without requiring me to learn how to code in an afternoon. There is no such button. This may be harder than I thought.’
December 18, 2013
[mystery] The Internet Mystery That Has The World Baffled … the fascinating story of a complex internet hunt / puzzle that nobody knows who created. ‘…a scavenger hunt that has led thousands of competitors across the web, down telephone lines, out to several physical locations around the globe, and into unchartered areas of the “darknet”. So far, the hunt has required a knowledge of number theory, philosophy and classical music. An interest in both cyberpunk literature and the Victorian occult has also come in handy as has an understanding of Mayan numerology. It has also featured a poem, a tuneless guitar ditty, a femme fatale called “Wind” who may, or may not, exist in real life, and a clue on a lamp post in Hawaii. Only one thing is certain: as it stands, no one is entirely sure what the challenge – known as Cicada 3301 – is all about or who is behind it.’
November 14, 2013
[work] Hyperemployment, or the Exhausting Work of the Technology User … Whatever happened to Keynes idea of a Leisure Society? ‘The economic impact of hyperemployment is obviously different from that of underemployment, but some of the same emotional toll imbues both: a sense of inundation, of being trounced by demands whose completion yields only their continuance, and a feeling of resignation that any other scenario is likely or even possible. The only difference between the despair of hyperemployment and that of un- or under-employment is that the latter at least acknowledges itself as an substandard condition, while the former celebrates the hyperemployed’s purported freedom to “share” and “connect,” to do business more easily and effectively by doing jobs once left for others competence and compensation, from the convenience of your car or toilet.’
November 12, 2013
[internet] Netflix Has Taken a Huge Bite Out of File Sharing … interesting look at what’s being downloaded on the Internet these days … ‘BitTorrent, the report notes, now accounts for only 7.4 percent of traffic during peak period, while file-sharing in general hovers below 10 percent. And that’s a sharp drop—only five years ago, BitTorrent managed to draw 31 percent of daily streaming traffic and even twice that 10 years ago.’
September 11, 2013
[web] The Pinterest Skeptics Board … pushing back at fake, misleading or wrong quotes on Pinterest.
June 20, 2013
[tech] Internet Anonymity Is The Height Of Chic … A look at the plausibility of remaining anonymous from Google and the Internet … ‘In the 1930s, HG Wells wrote of a “world brain” through which “the whole human memory can be … made accessible to every individual”. Today, perhaps we have that world brain, and it is called Google. Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, professor of internet governance and regulation at the University of Oxford’s Internet Institute, sounds an Orwellian note about this: “Quite literally, Google knows more about us than we can remember ourselves.” No wonder some dream of slipping under Google’s radar.’
October 16, 2012
[webstalking] Find that fireball! When journalist turns stalker … fascinating demonstration of efficient webstalking … ‘Back to the video for more clues. As the camera panned across the garden, we saw palm trees come into view – not so common in New York, perhaps, but pretty ubiquitous in Florida. We honed in on Naples, Florida. The knowledge database Wolfram Alpha returned the weather report below for Naples, Florida on the date the video was uploaded (October 5), and the word thunderstorm leaped out.’