How on earth did the World Wide Web ever get to the point where this needed to be written:
Newsletters; or, an enormous rant about writing on the web that doesn’t really go anywhere and that’s okay with me
I know it’s very pretty to look at, but that’s an awful design to actually use in a web browser if you want people to read the textual content.1 Despite that it’s a well written essay – though I think the attitude to RSS is completely wrong-headed – that’s certainly worth a read.
- Can’t help but add that that’s not “an enormous rant” by any reasonable definition of the term; it’s 1,755 words once you strip out all the HTML and CSS. It’s just made to feel enormous because of the mostly-one-sentence-at-a-time presentational approach. ↩
- And yes, I’m aware of the irony that I got this link via a newsletter. I’d have been happy to have got it from the RSS feed of the Sentiers blog, but that’s not how this worked out. ↩
Watching Hashtag, I can’t help but notice that it’s unclear from the film’s storyline how far our protagonist’s lifestyle differs from that of a male social media influencer trying hard to keep their position near the top of the tree. In the near future the film depicts, are the menfolk participating in the influencer business under similar pressure to maintain a basic level of attractiveness to heterosexual followers and display a willingness to flash some flesh to keep followers on the hook?1 Or is it the case that the menfolk in that line of business are called something else, despite being every bit as superficial and vapid and mercenary as their female counterparts?2
Initially I didn’t even spot that our female lead in this short film was Gigi Edgley, who was great fun as Chiana in Farscape and who haven’t seen since then beyond a supporting role in one season3 of The Secret Life of Us. Looks as if she’s maintaining a steady career in Australian TV, which understandably is not something those of us in the UK are particularly aware of. Good to see she’s still going strong: understandable, perhaps, that I didn’t recognise her in this at first what with the lack of blue skin and the wig.
- I’m sure that Gigi Edgley, being a 42 year-old actress striving to keep a career going, is very conscious of the parallels with her chosen profession. ↩
- I don’t pay enough attention to the world of current-day social media influencers to have a good sense of how that works nowadays. (Well, I would think that, wouldn’t I?) ↩
- The third season, I think it was? A really good show that never got the audience it should have in the UK. Looking into it as I write this, I see that the UK’s Channel 4 was initially a co-funder of the production but that stopped after season 3, which presumably was part of the reason it disappeared from Channel 4’s schedules. ↩
One day Mark Zuckerberg probably is going to roll out a Facebook update that makes Futurebook a reality.
Settle down and enjoy a little bit of history:
The bittersweet consequence of YouTube’s incredible growth is that so many stories will be lost underneath all of the layers of new paint. This is why I wanted to tell the story of how, ten years ago, a small team of web developers conspired to kill IE6 from inside YouTube and got away with it. […]
There’s totally an argument to be made that this was the sort of underhanded flexing of corporate muscles by unaccountable employees of major corporations that we’ll all look back on and regret one day when we’re required to browse Web 6.0 over our 6G internet connection while logged in with our FreedomID, so that the Secretary of State for Homeland Security can ensure that we’re not abusing our freedom by looking at unreliable online content that might knock our ResponsibleConsumer status down to PotentialSubversive.
But first, a couple of generations of web developers would like to give these folks a medal.
ArchiveBox looks like something I’m going to have to find the time to look into:
ArchiveBox takes a list of website URLs you want to archive, and creates a local, static, browsable HTML clone of the content from those websites (it saves HTML, JS, media files, PDFs, images and more)
You can use it to preserve access to websites you care about by storing them locally offline. ArchiveBox imports lists of URLs, renders the pages in a headless, autheticated, user-scriptable browser, and then archives the content in multiple redundant common formats (HTML, PDF, PNG, WARC) that will last long after the originals disappear off the internet. It automatically extracts assets and media from pages and saves them in easily-accessible folders, with out-of-the-box support for extracting git repositories, audio, video, subtitles, images, PDFs, and more.
I currently pay to have my Pinboard account archive pages I bookmark, but as a matter of principle I like the concept of having a toolset that enables me to have the ability to save and browse local copies of stuff. 1 I currently tend to grab stuff I think I’ll want to read and refer to later and either chuck the URL at Pinboard or else use Evernote’s ability to grab a page’s content and file it away safely, but it’d be nice to have another option for accessing stuff that caught my eye open to me.
[Via Four short links]
There’s no substitute for thinking ahead. Who can say when we might need these HTTP error codes for civilisational errors:
Civilisational HTTP Error Codes
To be truly useful, HTTP error codes need to take into account possible future issues. We therefore propose the 8xx range of codes for errors pertaining to the civilisation in which the server is operating. Inspired by https://github.com/joho/7XX-rfc. Forks and pull requests encouraged!
- 80x ‘Temporary’ failures (but I’d wait a while before re-requesting):
802 NUCLEAR WINTER
803 GULF STREAM ERROR […]
We can but hope that one day there will be a need to deploy code 831.
Not one but two announcements that remind me how long I’ve been playing round with this internet thing and how times have changed:
And Baio confirms that this time it looks as if Suck.com’s content has finally been ousted from the domain where it lived when it was, truly, the best damn ‘zine on the internet.
According to The Register, Demon Internet (one of the early Internet Service Providers in the UK) is finally being closed down.
I left Demon Internet years ago once it became clear that their new owners were much more interested in selling comprehensive telecoms packages that running an ISP, and last time Suck was being updated I was reading the site using Windows 95. but never mind: both the ‘zine and the ISP helped to show me what the internet was good for. It’s sad to to see them both disappear from the internet.
Having caught up with Kashmir Hill‘s Gizmodo piece ‘People You May Know:’ A Controversial Facebook Feature’s 10-Year History, I’m both supremely glad that I’m not on Facebook 1 and creeped out by how little difference that makes to Facebook’s determination to shadow profile me whether I like it or not.
In other words, People You May Know is an invaluable product because it helps connect Facebook users, whether they want to be connected or not. It seems clear that for some users, People You May Know is a problem. It’s not a feature they want and not a feature they want to be part of. When the feature debuted in 2008, Facebook said that if you didn’t like it, you could “x” out the people who appeared there repeatedly and eventually it would disappear. (If you don’t see the feature on your own Facebook page, that may be the reason why.) But that wouldn’t stop you from continuing to be recommended to other users.
Facebook needs to give people a hard out for the feature, because scourging phone address books and email inboxes to connect you with other Facebook users, while welcome to some people, is offensive and harmful to others. Through its aggressive data-mining this huge corporation is gaining unwanted insight into our medical privacy, past heartaches, family dramas, sensitive work associations, and random one-time encounters.
[Via Pixel Envy]