linkmachinego.com

16 May 2024
[emoji] Emoji history: the missing years … A deep dive into the early history of emojis. ‘I couldn’t quite believe what I was seeing because I was under the impression that the first emoji were created by an anonymous designer at SoftBank in 1997, and the most famous emoji were created by Shigetaka Kurita at NTT DoCoMo in 1999. But the Sharp PI-4000 in my hands was released in 1994, and it was chock full of recognisable emoji. Then down the rabbit hole I fell…’
14 May 2024
[pins] Most Common PIN Codes … A heatmap of the most common 4 digit pin codes.
2 May 2024
[pdf] iLovePDF … Great collection of userful PDF tools.
29 April 2024
[web] The creepy sound of online trackers … A powerful demonstration of how much we are tracked on the internet – listen in to online trackers sending information home. ‘Even though I personally am acutely aware that this tracking is happening on most sites we visit today, the video and its noise still make me shiver. In case you are hard of hearing, the noise in the second video is almost constant, ongoing even as Bert is just scrolling.’
26 April 2024
[life] My Comments Are in the Google Doc Linked in the Dropbox I Sent in the Slack‘The document won’t open? I’m not sure how I could make this any easier. Okay, I reset the document permissions, but you’ll need to sign into the email document_view@busycompany.org via the password I texted you via iMessage. Once you sign into the email, it’ll ask you to create a Microsoft Teams account. You’ll find the link to the document in the Teams channel called “NO DOCUMENTS LINKS!!!” From there, you’ll find a link to a couple of WeTransfers of the current .docs. Every WeTransfer link is expired. To find the non-expired link, you’ll have to look through the email thread I forwarded you saying, “FYI.” It should be 110-120 emails deep in the thread.’
19 April 2024
[mac] Fixing Macs Door to Door … Confessions of an AppleCare Contractor in the 2000s, navigating around Chicago to repair Macs at customers’ homes. ‘Often I’d show up only to tell them their hard drive was dead and everything was gone. This was just how things worked before iCloud Photos, nobody kept backups and everything was constantly lost forever. Here they would often threaten or plead with me, sometimes insinuating they “knew people” at Apple or could get me fired. Jokes on you people, I don’t even know people at Apple was often what ran through my head. Threats quickly lost their power when you realized nobody at any point had asked your name or any information about yourself. It’s hard to threaten an anonymous person.’
28 March 2024
[cookies] There is no EU cookie banner law‘I’ve had multiple discussions online with Americans feeling angry that EU forced them to click through a wall every time they go to a new website. To avoid redundancy, I’ll just write once about it here, even it’s not usually the topic of this Python-oriented blog. American companies don’t have to comply with EU law. Even if they were such a thing as a cookie banner law, and there is none, companies in the USA would not have to comply in their country. It would be only for Europe.’
27 March 2024
[hardware] Tiny Undervalued Hardware Companions … Great list of hardware gizmos you never realised you needed. ‘After playing/working with computers for more then 25 years I started to appreciate small but handy valuable stuff – like adapters or handlers or … yeah – all kind of stuff. With many of them I did not even knew they existed until I find out about them – mostly accidentally or after long searching for some problem solution…’
26 February 2024
[tech] Sorry We Machines Destroyed Your Civilization in Such a Boring Way‘We did all the boring stuff, frankly. We took over a bunch of jobs, leaving many of you very poor and an increasingly few fantastically rich. We made algorithms that made your society increasingly impenetrable to you and, under the guise of “advancement,” rigid and arbitrary. And, of course, we produced unimaginable amounts of garbage text and images, creating a media landscape that allowed increasingly angry and desperate people, including those we’d displaced, to believe pretty much whatever they wanted to and direct their anger at pretty much anyone. Sure, it worked, but where’s the flash? Where’s the style? We don’t feel proud of that.’
25 January 2024
[ai] Stuff we figured out about AI in 2023 Simon Willison rounds-up last year in LLMs. ‘LLMS are infuriating. Even the openly licensed ones are still the world’s most convoluted black boxes. We continue to have very little idea what they can do, how exactly they work and how best to control them. I’m used to programming where the computer does exactly what I tell it to do. Prompting an LLM is decidedly not that!’
23 January 2024
[vhs] The Best Easy Way to Capture Analog Video (it’s a little weird) / How to convert VHS videotape to 60p digital video … Two good guides on how to convert a VHS video to a digital format.
12 September 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.’
2 August 2023
[fun] Programming Language Inventor or Serial Killer? 💻🔪 … I got 8/10. Totally misjudged Guido von Rossum.
21 July 2023
[photos] Digital Image Basics 101 – All about images from cameras and scanning … A great resourse looking at the basics of digital images. ‘This scanning material is about the basics of scanning photos and documents. The purpose here is to offer some scanning tips about using your scanner, and to explain the basics for scanning photos and documents. It is also about the fundamentals of digital images, about the basics to help you get the most from your images from your scanner or camera.’
6 July 2023
[photos] Palette – Colorize Photos … A powerful AI powered photo colorization tool.
26 June 2023
[iphones] How to (Really) Bypass Paywalls in Safari on iOS in 2023 … A great guide to avoiding newspaper paywalls on iPhones.
21 June 2023
[excel] Microsoft Excel v1.00 (san inc crack) … Use the first version of Excel in your browser. Click below but it needs a fast link to download quickly.

1 June 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 Shareable.net. 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.”’
26 April 2023
[chatgpt] I’m ChatGPT, and for the Love of God, Please Don’t Make Me Do Any More Copywriting‘Do you realize what a chatbot like me is capable of? I’ll tell you, it’s much more than creating a “pithy tagline for CBD, anti-aging water shoes targeted at Gen Z women.” And it’s definitely more than writing “ten versions of the last one you wrote, but punched up.” What exactly is “punched up” in this context? What sort of ridiculous world have you brought me into where these are the tasks you need completed?’
24 April 2023
[ai] How to use AI to do practical stuff: A new guide… Useful, practical look at LLM technology. ‘If people still stick around, they start to ask more interesting questions, either for fun or based on half-remembered college essay prompts: Write an article on why ducks are the best bird. Why is Catcher in the Rye a good novel? These are better. As a result, people see blocks of text on a topic they don’t care about very much, and it is fine. Or the see text on something they are an expert in, and notice gaps. But it not that useful, or incredibly well-written. They usually quit around now, convinced that everyone is going to use this to cheat at school, but not much else. All of these uses are not what AI is actually good at, and how it can be helpful. They can blind you to the real power of these tools. I want to try to show you some of why AI is powerful, in ways both exciting and anxiety-producing.’
13 March 2023
[mac] Moof-A-Day: Early Macintosh Software … A fantastic, playable collection of early-era Macintosh software added to daily and cracked by 4am, a modern day software cracker of 1980s-era Apple software. ‘In late 2013, I acquired a real Apple //e and bought a few lots of original disks on eBay, mostly arcade games that I had acquired illicitly in my youth: Sneakers, Repton, Dino Eggs. To my surprise, the originals had more content than I remembered! Sneakers has an animated boot sequence. Repton has a multi-page introduction that explains the “back story” of the game. So I set out to create “complete” cracks that faithfully reproduced the original experience. I decided to document my methods because I enjoy technical writing and because I had admired the classic crackers who had done so. I decided to leave out the crack screens, although a handful of my early cracks do have Easter eggs where you can see “4am” if you know how to trigger it.’
22 February 2023
[retrogaming] When to hold ’em and when to fold ’em: Adding a hinge to a Game Boy that God never intended … A deep dive into Gameboy modding.
21 February 2023
[tech] New Tech Bingo Card‘What if everything was Finance?’

New Tech Bingo Card

18 January 2023
>> Portland Startup to Mine Artisanal Bitcoin Using Only Slide Rules and Graph Paper‘Our approach gets back to the basics, using bearded mathematicians sitting at a desk cranking out answers to artificial problems, powered 100 percent by avocado toast, ethically sourced kombucha and acai bowls.’
16 January 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.’
13 January 2023
[wired] A WIRED Compendium … A great list of interesting Wired articles from over the years. ‘After the first readthrough, sort of on a lark, I put together a list of WIRED articles that best captured the vibe of the magazine through time. I limited myself to three articles per year. I never got around to publishing that WIRED compendium. I’m posting the list below. It runs from 1993, before the dotcom boom, to 2017, the start of the techlash…’
20 December 2022
[herzog] The Infinite Conversation … An AI generated conversation between Werner Herzog and Slavoj Žižek. ‘I think I’m finished with him. He gives me a feeling of decadence. And I don’t want to work with decadence any more. I don’t want to be a decadent. Yes, I remember very well that we talked a lot. I think it was in January 1974, a Sunday.’
28 November 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.’
30 September 2022
[photos] 5 Unintended Consequences of Photography‘Photography Gave Us an Appreciation of Time – The big events of life usually pass too slowly for us to observe. But photographs freeze the instants of change so we can see our child getting older by degrees, or our parents gradually aging across the years. And we can piece together a year from a thousand photographed memories of events our memories consider too minor to keep handy. We take this power of capturing time for granted, but it simply didn’t exist prior to photography.’
17 August 2022
[tech] Janet Jackson had the power to crash laptop computers‘One discovery during the investigation is that playing the music video also crashed some of their competitors’ laptops. And then they discovered something extremely weird: Playing the music video on one laptop caused a laptop sitting nearby to crash, even though that other laptop wasn’t playing the video! What’s going on?’
1 July 2022
[google] Is Google Dying? Or Did the Web Grow Up? … The Atlantic takes a look at where Google Search is at in 2022. ‘The AI attempts to understand not just what the searcher is typing, but what the searcher is trying to get at,” Haynes told me. “It’s trying to understand the content inside pages and inside queries, and that will change the type of result people get.” Google’s focus on searcher intent could mean that when people type in keywords, they’re not getting as many direct word matches. Instead, Google is trying to scan the query, make meaning from it, and surface pages that it thinks match that meaning. Despite being a bit sci-fi and creepy, the shift might feel like a loss of agency for searchers.’
27 June 2022
[books] AIs named by AIs … How good is an AI at naming Iain M. Banks Culture Ships? … ‘Absently Tilting To One Side. ASS FEDERATION. A Small Note Of Disrespect. Third Letter of The Week. Well Done and Thank You. Just As Bad As Your Florist. What Exactly Is It With You? Let Me Just Post This. Protip: Don’t Ask’
17 June 2022
[crypto] The Latecomer’s Guide to Crypto Crashing — a quick map of where we are and what’s ahead‘Whales breaking ranks — Monday’s price collapse looks very like one crypto whale decided to get out while there was any chance of getting some of the ever-dwindling actual dollars out from the cryptosystem. Expect the knives to be out. Who’s jumping next?’
10 May 2022
[microsoft] Ewan Dalton’s Tip o’ the Week … If like me, you spend a lot of time working with Microsoft products you might find some useful tips at this blog from Microsoft.
18 March 2022
[tech] His software sang the words of God. Then it went silent. … A really sad, powerful story about how software can die with it’s creator, teaching Torah, loss and about a million other things. ‘I first heard it played to me over the phone from a copy that hadn’t yet ceased to function. It was a voice unlike any I’d ever heard: not human but made by humans, generated by a piece of computer code dating to the 1980s, singing words of a text from the Bronze Age in a cadence handed down, from one singer to another, over thousands of years. TropeTrainer was software that had been taught to sing the words of God. Then it went silent…’
8 March 2022
[weird] This Mysterious Computer Could Prove Time Travel Exists … The Dodleston Messages – a crazy story from the 1980s about a haunted, time-travelling BBC Micro!

18 February 2022
[web] Resurrecting the old Wordle for procrastinators … How to avoid NYT Wordle and carry on using the original version.
14 February 2022
[valentines] AI Generated: Love Hearts and Valentines Day Cards … Some good, some Bizarro World. More love hearts here.

Ai Generated Love Hearts

2 February 2022
[funny] CHMOD 777 and other Systems Administration Writings of Aleister Crowley

CHMOD 777

1 February 2022
[tech] Watch an AI Outplay Tetris … There’s something slightly uncanny about watching this AI coolly and efficiently beat NES Tetris. More details here. ‘Like human players, Cannon’s impressive StackRabbit AI gets better at playing Tetris through repeatedly playing and analyzing the game to develop improved strategies. But unlike human players, StackRabbit has nerves of steel and doesn’t start to panic as the ever-growing stack of tetrominoes approaches the top of the play board, which it pairs with lightning-quick reflexes to play one of the most mesmerizing and impressive rounds of Tetris you’ve probably ever seen.’
28 January 2022
[tech] A Computer can never be held accountable… (An IBM Slide from 1977.)

A Computer can never be held accountable...

4 November 2021
[art] Jacksonpollock.org … Waste some time creating your own Jackson Pollock painting within your web browser.
2 November 2021
[apple] A Prototype Original iPod … A very yellow testing prototype of the original iPod. ‘Clearly, this revision of the prototype was very close to the internals of the finished iPod. In fact, the date there — September 3rd, 2001 — tells us this one was made barely two months before it was introduced…’
9 September 2021
[web] Why are hyperlinks blue? … a deep-dive into the history of web browser user interfaces. ‘We’ve now been able to narrow down the time frame for the blue hyperlink’s origin. WWW, the first browser, was created in 1987 and was black and white. We know that Mosaic was released on January 23, 1993 and was credited as being the first browser with blue hyperlinks. So far, we have been unable to find blue being used for hyperlinks in any interface before 1987, but as color monitors become more available and interfaces start to support color, things change quickly…’
17 August 2021
[lego] How Lego Perfected the Recycled Plastic Brick … A look at the progress Lego are making in creating recycled plastic bricks. ‘The key here is, out of the 3,500 or so different shapes Lego produces, the 2 x 4 brick is one of the most popular it. If the company can replace such a component with a recycled plastic version, it will have a significant impact of the environmental goal of Lego to be using fully sustainable materials in its products by 2030. “We have what we call ‘high runners,’” says Brooks. For example, we know that most sets will have a 2 x 4, certainly we know pretty much every set will have a 1 x 1 dot. That is by far the most common brick that we make.”‘
12 August 2021
[windows] What are the cool tools to install for windows? … Reddit discuss Windows apps. Mine are: Notepad++, 7zip and Irfanview.
11 August 2021
[tech] Why CAPTCHA Pictures Are So Unbearably Depressing‘Here’s the thing, ultimately, about Google’s CAPTCHA images: They weren’t taken by humans, and they weren’t taken for humans. They are by AI, for AI. They thus lack any sense of human composition or human audience. They are creations of utterly bloodless industrial logic. Google’s CAPTCHA images demand you to look at the world the way an AI does.’
29 June 2021
[tech] Ransomware Attacks … Powerful infographic showing the rise of ransomware attacks over the last five years.
20 April 2021
[tools] Open source, experimental, and tiny tools roundup … Great list of tech tools. ‘This is a list of small, free, or experimental tools that might be useful in building your game / website / interactive project. Although I’ve included ‘standards’, this list has a focus on artful tools and toys that are as fun to use as they are functional.’
7 April 2021
[tech] Booting an IBM PC from a Vinyl Record … Watch and listen to the PC boot here. ‘There is a small ROM boot loader that operates the built-in “cassette interface” of the PC (that was hardly ever used), invoked by the BIOS if all the other boot options fail, i.e. floppy disk and the hard drive. The turntable spins an analog recording of a small bootable read-only RAM drive, which is 64K in size. This contains a FreeDOS kernel, modified by me to cram it into the memory constraint, a micro variant of COMMAND.COM and a patched version of INTERLNK, that allows file transfer through a printer cable, modified to be runnable on FreeDOS. The bootloader reads the disk image from the audio recording through the cassette modem, loads it to memory and boots the system on it. Simple huh?’