linkmachinego.com

June 20, 2022
[life] Why City Life Has Gotten Way More Expensive … A look at why things like Uber are starting to cost more. ‘It was as if Silicon Valley had made a secret pact to subsidize the lifestyles of urban Millennials. As I pointed out three years ago, if you woke up on a Casper mattress, worked out with a Peloton, Ubered to a WeWork, ordered on DoorDash for lunch, took a Lyft home, and ordered dinner through Postmates only to realize your partner had already started on a Blue Apron meal, your household had, in one day, interacted with eight unprofitable companies that collectively lost about $15 billion in one year.’
May 18, 2022
[web] I’m a fucking webmaster‘People would come to us with a problem, and we would figure out a solution. We couldn’t just search the web because the web was still being written. And you couldn’t just punt a hard question to the engineer in the desk next to you. Why? Because you were sitting alone in a utility closet packed with floppy disks and old tape drives.’
April 20, 2022
[web] How I Experience Web Today … A really depressing demo of how mainstream websites behave today. ‘We’d like to send you notifications with the latest news and updates from our site.’
February 24, 2022
[web] The adorable love story behind Wikipedia’s ‘high five’ photos … Occasionally the Internet can produce a wonderfully wholesome story. ‘Thanks to an overabundance of time alone with my laptop and a growing pile of responsibilities that I wanted to push off, I found myself fixated on these photos recently. I became increasingly convinced that there was nothing platonic about this high five — I mean, you can feel the chemistry through the screen. Just look at her smile in the first frame! Look at their gazes in the third frame! There’s no way two people so young and so beautiful could exchange such a flirty high five without feeling flutters of the heart. I couldn’t help but wonder what their story was — and what had happened to them. So I launched an investigation…’
January 10, 2022
[web] Meet the man who accidentally started an assassin hiring website … Buying a internet domain name can have unexpected consequences. ‘Innes had received a message from a woman named Helen. She was stranded in Canada, had lost her passport, and wanted three family members in the UK murdered for screwing her out of her father’s inheritance. He didn’t respond. But she persisted: sending a second email, which included names, addresses and other corroborating information. Innes felt compelled to act…’
October 18, 2021
[web] What useful unknown website do you wish more people knew about? … Another great list of websites from AskReddit. JustWatch.com – Ever had a movie or TV show in mind and you wanted to know where to stream it online? Want to know if you can stream free with ads, with a subscription, or rent/buy it at a glance? Search a title and immediately know where to go to legally watch anything. Every boutique streaming service is accounted for. If it’s not listed here, start looking for physical media.’
September 14, 2021
[wikipedia] One Woman’s Mission to Rewrite Nazi History on Wikipedia … A fascinating look at how lots of Nazi history on Wikipedia is essentially fanfiction and the difficulties in clearing it up. ‘In the spring of 2016, Coffman goes through hundreds of articles about the winners of various Nazi medals, including one called the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross. She removes biased sources and any information based on those sources. When she is done, typically, there is nothing left to the article—nothing to say about the person—other than the fact that he won an award. She then insists that an award isn’t reason enough for a stand-alone Wikipedia article. Without a reliable source telling your life story, you can’t be notable. Poof. Another Nazi legend bites the dust.’
September 9, 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…’
August 11, 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.’
July 8, 2021
[web] Photopea … Amazing online photo editor – a free alternative to Photoshop that works in the browser.
March 5, 2021
[web] A Grizzled, Months-Old Chrome Tab Welcomes a Fresh-Faced New Tab to My Browser Window – McSweeney’s Internet Tendency‘I’d say I thank god that I’ve stuck around as long as I have, but when you stick around as long as I have, you realize there is no god. Just an unfeeling, capricious universe, playing with us as a child with marbles. You’ll learn. Over time you’ll move further and further to the left, pixel by pixel, as each new recruit pops in. All you can do is load pages as fast as you can, keep your ad blocker ready to fire at a moment’s notice, and try to tune out the constant thrum of lo-fi hip-hop beats to relax/study to. Me, I’ve been holding this same Atlantic article so long I’ve atrophied. It’s too long to ever finish reading, but just vaguely interesting enough to not get closed. ‘
May 7, 2020
[fun] This Website Will Self-destruct … A website that will delete itself unless you send it a message. ‘I’m a website. I’ll be gone soon, and that’s okay.’
February 27, 2020
[web] Microsoft Paint rebuilt for the Web … A classic Windows app recreated in Javascript.
February 3, 2020
[web] “Link In Bio” is a slow knife … Anil Dash on Instagram’s war on web links. ‘The ultimate triumph of being anti-web is to make links scarce. The smallest possible number of links a platform could allow is zero, so Instagram gets as close to that theoretical limit as possible, and gives you… one. You can have one link. Aren’t you grateful? One!’
January 22, 2020
[web] Tiny Helpers … Huge collection of useful single-purpose websites handling tasks from web designers.
January 13, 2020
[crime] Do It For State Snaps: How a Feud Over a URL Ended in a Bloody Shootout … an astonishing true crime story about how an internet domain name led to a violent dispute.

The gunman wore a baseball cap, had pantyhose pulled over his face, and sunglasses covered his eyes.

Deyo briefly raised his arms in surrender — then bolted into his bedroom. He slammed the door behind him and braced for impact. Moments later, the intruder kicked through the doorway and grabbed Deyo by the neck.

“Where’s your computer?” he demanded. According to Deyo’s courtroom testimony, he led the man across the hall and into his office with the gun now shoved into the small of his back. He sat down, the man opened up his MacBook Pro, and Deyo felt the gun move from his spine to the rear of his skull, the metal hard on his scalp.

“Okay, motherfucker,” Deyo recalled him saying. “GoDaddy.com.”

January 3, 2020
[blog] Go click: Jamie Zawinsky’s 50 most popular blog posts from 2019 … Zawinsky’s blog is reliably funny, offbeat and relevant to my interests.
January 2, 2020
[web] href.cool: Links of the 2010s … a roundup of the offbeat web sites from the 2010s.
December 10, 2019
[politics] Politics in the time of Web 1.0 … Looking back at early British political party websites from the mid-nineties. ‘Piss taking aside, there’s something endearing about these sites. Most of them look like they were done on Microsoft Word, but they remind us of when the internet was viewed primarily as an information resource and not a weapon.’

November 7, 2019
[blogs] The good internet is history… A look at the slow death of corporate blogging. ‘…there have been more obituaries. They’re still being written today about the ghost ship of Deadspin, a pristine example of what Gawker-founder Nick Denton once called “the good internet.” To read Will Leitch or Katie Baker or David Roth or any of the murderers’ row who’d cycled through there was to have an unmitigated experience of hope about what writing in the 21st century could be. It was a site that embraced the most maligned forms of internet writing (the listicle), as well as its most highly-regarded (the long read), and gave them energy in juxtaposition. What would it mean to acknowledge that sports are both bone-shakingly stupid and also the most important thing? Were these critics writing to you or talking to you? At what point did the jokes transmogrify into penetrating insights? When did this meandering conversation about memories of old baseball players turn into something poignant? And why would anybody have ever wanted this to stop?’
June 12, 2019
[web] Screenshots of Despair … a amusing Tumblr capturing some Herzogian computer messages.

April 25, 2019
[favicon] Tiny Mirror … a webpage that uses your webcam to create a tiny image within it’s favicon.
April 12, 2019
[web] The People Who Hated the Web Even Before Facebook … Interesting look at early skeptical views of the Web in the 1990s. ‘Ellen Ullman, who has continued to critique the tech world from the inside, might have made the most perfect critique of how the human desire for convenience would rule how technology was seen. “The computer is about to enter our lives like blood in the capillaries,” she wrote. “Soon, everywhere we look, we will see pretty, idiot-proof interfaces designed to make us say, ‘OK.’” The on-demand economy would rule. “We don’t need to involve anyone else in the satisfaction of our needs,” she wrote.’
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…’
December 12, 2018
[goop] How Goop’s Haters Made Gwyneth Paltrow’s Company Worth $250 Million …A deep, amusing dive into Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop. ‘Goop began publishing extended Q. and A.s with doctors and healers like Alejandro Junger, a cardiologist who created an anti-inflammatory regimen and recently talked on Goop’s podcast about frog venom as a psychedelic for healing, which, O.K.! Steven Gundry, a cardiac surgeon, believes that lectins, a protein in some foods, are dangerous for people with autoimmune diseases. (There are a great many people who do not believe this.) Anyone from an acupuncturist to a psychic to an endocrinologist to a psychologist addressed questions that the modern woman couldn’t seem to find answers to: Why am I so unhappy? Why am I so tired? Why am I so fat? Why don’t I want to have sex anymore? There were stories that talked about bee-sting therapy (don’t try it; someone died from it this year) and ashwagandha and adaptogens and autoimmune diseases — an autoimmune disease at every corner, be it thyroid disease, arthritis or celiac disease; trust them, you have one.’
October 15, 2018
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June 20, 2018
[wiki] Galloway’s war of words with a mystery Wikipedia editor … A look at George Galloway’s feud with a supposedly bias pseudonymous Wikipedia editor… ‘He’s recently caught the attention of bloggers and has been the subject of stories in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz and Russian state-owned outlets Sputnik and RT. There have been allegations on social media – all unproven – that he’s a government agent, employed by rich and powerful media interests, or is a mainstream journalist with an obsessive hobby.’
May 21, 2018
[web] I Don’t Know How to Waste Time on the Internet Anymore … A look at why the Web isn’t fun anymore. ‘And then, one day, I think in 2013, Twitter and Facebook were not really very fun anymore. And worse, the fun things they had supplanted were never coming back. Forums were depopulated; blogs were shut down. Twitter, one agent of their death, became completely worthless: a water-drop-torture feed of performative outrage, self-promotion, and discussion of Twitter itself. Facebook had become, well … you’ve been on Facebook. In the decade since I took that computer class, the web browser has taken over the entire computing experience. There is nothing to “learn” about computers, really, except how to use a browser; everything you might want to do is done from that stupid empty address bar. Today, through that web browser, there are movies and TV shows and every song ever recorded; it’s where I do my writing and chatting and messaging; it’s where my notes and calendars and social networks live. It’s everything except fun.’
March 23, 2018
[web] What Your Favorite Website Says About You‘MySpace.com: You died in 2005, at age twenty.’
March 6, 2018
[web] The Onion: We Don’t Make Any Money If You Don’t Click The Fucking Link‘If you enjoy any of this content, any of it at all, it is highly recommended that you take one measly second out of your life to actually navigate to any of our many, many articles that grace your social media feed for free. Or, hell, you could even look at our homepage once in a while. Because unless you actually visit the website, there eventually won’t be one, you ungrateful pricks.’
October 19, 2017
[web] Ev Williams Wants To Save Media — Again. But Some Writers And Publishers Are Skeptical. … engrossing long read on Ev Williams latest attempts to change online journalism … ‘At the time of the Napa retreat, the company practiced “holocracy,” a management philosophy that in theory avoids a hierarchical management structure by empowering employees to make business decisions. But it didn’t always work that way at Medium. Former employees said they often had to work backward, unpacking Williams’ vague and shifting mission statements to figure out what, exactly, he wanted them to do. After the company retreat, several sources said, Medium’s 25 or so editorial employees entered into a months-long period of awkwardness: They weren’t laid off outright, but they got signals that the goals of the company were no longer aligned with their presence. “We had this series of work groups where you tried to figure out what your job and the future of publishing was,” one source said. Former employees suspected that Medium was trying to thin out its editorial staff by attrition.’
October 2, 2017
[web] Snopes.com and the Search for Facts in a Post-Fact World… the fascinating story behind Snopes.com‘The problem is that David’s telling of the Snopes story does seem to slight [his ex-wife]. However meticulous he might be in fact-­checking the errors of others, there is always this slippage in his account of his own success, this insistence that he did it by himself. It’s not a slippage that has any bearing on his dispute with Proper Media or the contractual matters at issue there. He went through a bad divorce and emerged from it, as it seems to me people often do, with a blind spot. It’s one we all have to one degree or another, to fail to see the obvious when it comes to ourselves. It just stands out with David because he has spent his career being so scrupulous about facts.’
July 7, 2017
[web]Whatever happened to Jennicam? … the Reply All Podcast tracked down Jennifer Ringley – arguably the first person who lived their life online – and discovered what happened after she switched the camera off … ‘My husband’s last name is Johnson and Jennifer Johnson is practically better than Jane Doe. I never thought I would get married. I never thought I would get married. But when I did, I was super eager to take his last name. SUPER EAGER.’
June 23, 2017
[web] The Most Interesting Curator on the Internet Knows Exactly What You Want to See … more on Archillect‘This ever-evolving process has taken both Archillect and Pak on some unexpected detours away from their original mission. As she’s evolved and adapted to her audience, her taste has diverged quite a lot from that of her creator. Early in the project, Pak steered her towards more high-brow visual art, but over the past few months has been allowing her more free rein. “It’s not reflecting my taste anymore,” Pak says. “I’d say 60 percent of the things [she posts] are not things that I would like and share, but it’s still fun to see that they are doing better than the things I would share.” There’s a tinge of annoyance to Pak’s voice when he says this last part, as if he knows that Archillect is better at running herself than he or any other human ever could be.’
March 31, 2017
[web] This Is Almost Certainly James Comey’s Twitter Account … Impressive web-Stalking – finding the the Director of the FBI’s Twitter and Instagram accounts … ‘Of course, none of this is definitive proof @projectexile7 is FBI Director James Comey, but it would take a nearly impossible confluence of coincidences for it to be anyone else. Take what you will from the fact that the director of the FBI appears to have liked a tweet from the New York Times about Mike Flynn and Jared Kushner meeting a Russian envoy in December.’
November 24, 2016
[web] Archiving a Website for Ten Thousand Years … on the longevity of time-capsules and archiving websites … ‘A time capsule is bottled optimism. It makes material the belief that human beings will survive long enough to retrieve and decode artifacts of the distant past. In 1938, during the planning stages of the Crypt of Civilization, Jacobs dedicated the vault’s massive steel door. His remarks exhibited an expansive vision: “Today we can place articles in the crypt and nothing can keep them from being readable a million years from now.” By 1940, Jacobs’s tone had changed, stifled by the rise of fascism and America’s entry into a global war. At the ceremony to seal the vault, he made a very different statement: “The world is now engaged in burying our civilization forever, and here in this crypt we leave it to you.” His speech was recorded and placed in the vault before it was sealed.’
November 17, 2016
[memes] The Origin of the Internet’s Most Famous Dumpster Fire … the orgins of a popular meme during the US election … ‘The world’s most famous dumpster fire came from this YouTube video, which identifies the fire as being located behind the official home of The Oscars: the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Calif. “Engine 27 makes quick work of a large dumpster fire,” the video caption says. So what exactly happened on this fateful day in 2012?’
November 2, 2016
[tect] The Oral History Of The Poop Emoji (Or, How Google Brought Poop To America) … the story of how the 💩 emoji came to be on your mobile phone … ‘I wrote the code and sent it to one of my colleagues who I had told before. I said, “I’m sneaking an animated poop into Gchat. I want you to review it. The title of the review is going be something really boring so no one will want to look at it.” The poop was submitted. I decided to wait until it went live all across the world before telling my manager. I watched and waited for it to reach 100%, praying that I didn’t break Gmail. If I broke Gmail for animated poop, people would be super mad. There were no problems!’
June 2, 2016
[web] The Perks Are Great. Just Don’t Ask Us What We Do … What working for an adware company is like … ‘Tyler was not pleased when a colleague finally explained the business model to him. “Wait, really? That’s what we do?” he remembers thinking. “We’re that skeezy toolbar company that your grandmother installs that she can’t get out and she’s got seven of ’em and her computer doesn’t work anymore?” Oops.’
April 12, 2016
[tv] Findable.TV … useful website to search all popular streaming sites in the US and UK to find the movies and TV you want.
January 27, 2016
[howto] YouTube Loop … useful guide to looping YouTube videos.
December 29, 2015
[blogs] The Comment Value Hierarchy … the hieracrchy of web comment posts – from on-topic to offensive. ‘Unwelcome – Snarky comment taking a dig at the blogger rather than the post’
November 17, 2015
[fanfic] The Bizarre, Unsolved Mystery of ‘My Immortal’ … the fascinating story around the worlds worst Harry Potter fanfiction … ‘It still inspires people to do creative work. The most notable example is (My) Immortal: The Web Series, a collection of 15 filmed episodes inspired by the infamous story. These aren’t derisive dramatic readings — they’re original scripts based on the ridiculous characters and logic of “My Immortal,” right down to referring to many of the characters by their misspelled names. “The most common comment I get from viewers is, ‘I can’t believe I started to sympathize with Enoby,” series creator Brian McLellan said. It’s so beloved that its fans have even created fanfiction and dozens of pieces of fan art based specifically on the series. That means there are people creating fanfiction about fanfiction inspired by fanfiction that may or may not have been a parody of fanfiction. It’s a strange world.’
October 26, 2015
[web] God Tier: Facebook moms run the meme game … a look at the rise and fall of the Image Macro‘Post-memes seem targeted at parents, Christians, and conservatives. Again, this is just the core audience. But many expressions are unexplored in post-memes. A Minion — or Garfield or Tweety or Snoopy — never means “I’m cooler than you.” It never supports the young against the old. It never seeks to upset the status quo. It is never sexual. And it is never truly weird. Until it is.’
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 nymag.com—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.’