/Tag: internet

10 years.

A way better “10 years” meme: how popular websites have changed over the last decade.

According to the whois I just checked, 2019 is‘s ten year anniversary,1 although it was mostly just an email alias/redirect for most of that time and thus doesn’t really have a layout to go back to. On the other hand, 2019 is the twentieth anniversary of My First Blog,2 which was at LiveJournal… and that I still have access to (albeit never use).

… It’s probably for the best that most of all of that is gone, really.

  1. For curiosity, the oldest domain I still own I registered in 2003. I haven’t actually used it… in nearly a decade, I think.
  2. Though I think not website; I think the first static page I made was in circa 1998. It was, ironically, about what would eventually turn into Liesmith.
2019-02-07T14:53:05+10:0027th July, 2019|Tags: internet, tech|


As someone who, was indeed, “building it themselves” in 1999 (where “it” is “a blog”), I am totally all over this retrospective on early social media

(Also, man. DreamBook and Pitas… I’d totally forgotten about DreamBook and Pitas!)

2019-02-04T11:13:17+10:006th July, 2019|Tags: blogging, internet, pop culture, social media, tech|

Automatic previews.

Using automatic website previews to generate feature images for OpenGraph metadata.

I really like this idea a lot, and stole it for my own little plugin that adds the OG meta to the top of link posts.1

  1. Including this one, in fact.
2019-02-04T09:02:55+10:003rd July, 2019|Tags: internet, tech|


The web isn’t a cool geek playground any longer. It is a vital part of everyday life. And decades of trying to find a way to monetise something open and decentralised took their toll. When I look back at when I started publishing on the web there was a genuine “build it and they will come”. Or, to be more precise, “write it and they will come” – as good content, structured in a clear way, was the big winner. To a degree, it still is, but the question is who will come.


Good content still gets you found. But it also invites a lot of people to quote, steal or find some other way to associate their – often terrible – products with it.

Christian Heilmann on the new web.

… Yeah I admit it. I just like the irony. Definitely go read the rest of the article, though, particularly you oldskool DIYers out there.

2019-01-25T09:17:11+10:0030th June, 2019|Tags: internet, tech|

Into air.

Still, the visual remnants of vaporwave have long outlasted its radical ideological underpinnings. Almost immediately, its pastel, geometric, softcore aesthetics were gobbled up by media platforms, in particular the image-driven platforms Tumblr and Instagram. The pastiche compositions of Arizona Iced Tea cans and old Windows desktops were very quickly made available on all these commercial interfaces, which were not only feeding on a countercultural art movement—they were likewise consuming the ghosts of an internet they had long since murdered. The critique offered by vaporwave—its defiant sense of utopia—was immediately and effectively erased, leaving only a commodified, nostalgic aesthetic. And this aesthetic detritus, its millennial pink, Memphis-esque shapes and squiggles made entirely for Instagram, became cold, devoid of joy and playfulness, something the Consumer Aesthetic Research Institute, an ad hoc, Discord-based volunteer group which runs a popular series of blogs and Facebook pages cataloging various aesthetic tendencies across the 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s, simply calls the “bougie design aesthetic.”

Kate Wagner on ravenous capitalism.

This is actually from that article about Web 1.0 that was going around a while back, but this paragraph in particular resonated with me because I always passionately loathed that pastel-pink faux 90s1 Instagram aesthetic—aggressively thin, white, feminine and middle class as it is—and now I have an academic reason I can trot out to explain why! Awesome!

  1. … Yes, yes. I know.
2019-01-23T13:16:23+10:0022nd June, 2019|Tags: culture, internet|


Decentralization upends the social network business model by dramatically reducing operating costs. It absolves a single entity of having to shoulder all operating costs alone. No single server needs to grow beyond its comfort zone and financial capacity. As the entry cost is near zero, an operator of a Mastodon server does not need to seek venture capital, which would pressure them to use large-scale monetization schemes. There is a reason why Facebook executives rejected the $1 per year business model of WhatsApp after its acquisition: It is sustainable and fair, but it does not provide the same unpredictable, potentially unbounded return of investment that makes stock prices go up. Like advertising does.

Eugen Rochko on decentralization.

2019-04-29T12:03:36+10:0016th June, 2019|Tags: internet, social media, tech|

Victimless crimes?

The $7.2 billion number represents about 5% of worldwide online ad spending. To give you an example of how fuzzy this number is, the WFA (World Federation of Advertisers) says that the actual amount of fraud could easily be 30% — or six times this.

Believe it or not, if fraud accounts for just 10% of the online advertising system, in 9 years ad fraud will be the second largest source of criminal activity in the world, second only to drug trafficking.

Bob Hoffman on ad fraud.

 Given that both the people being ripped off (i.e. companies advertising online) and the people doing the ripping off (i.e. people selling online ads) are both part of a garbage ecosystem, I’m really not sure exactly what I feel about this…

2019-01-21T09:19:12+10:009th June, 2019|Tags: advertising, internet, tech|

Fake paid.

You remember when, Back In The Day, people used to try and hide when they were doing things like posting content online that’d been sponsored by brands? Because being seen to be a capitalist shill was unfashionable? Gods, sometimes those days feel so very far away

2019-01-07T15:20:58+10:0025th May, 2019|Tags: culture, internet|