internet

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Joy.

At the beginning of 2015, Alex Balk, then-editor of the now-defunct website the Awl, wrote a post of advice for young people in which he supplied three laws about the internet. The first: “Everything you hate about The Internet is actually everything you hate about people.” The second: “The worst thing is knowing what everyone thinks about anything.” But Balk’s third law was most prescient, especially as we end this miserable decade: “If you think The Internet is terrible now, just wait a while.” He went on: “The moment you were just in was as good as it got. The stuff you shake your head about now will seem like fucking Shakespeare in 2016.” Reader, we’ve waited a while, and today it seems indisputable that Balk’s law has held: The 2010s is the decade when the internet lost its joy.

Clio Chang on the corporate internet.

Things That Give Me Joy On The Internet:

  • my blog
  • Mastodon
  • writing crappy little scripts to do things like crossposting between my blog and Mastodon
  • dank memes.
2020-01-15T09:15:55+11:007th May, 2020|Tags: culture, internet, tech|

Clean-up-as-a-service.

It’s not surprising that given the choice between a free, seedy internet and a costly, orderly one, more people are opening their wallets. What is surprising is how quickly the mood has shifted. Paying for goods and services online used to mean you were an easy mark — someone too lazy or unsophisticated to figure out the necessary hacks and workarounds. Now, subscriptions are a status symbol. Models and influencers line up to join Raya, the $7.99-a-month, invitation-only dating app with an 8 percent acceptance rate and a wait list of more than 200,000 people. Image-conscious teenagers pay $19.99 a year for VSCO, which gives them more options for retouching their selfies. Class division has even come to virtual goods. A study by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner for England found that Fortnite character skins — they’re like costumes for your avatar — have become a source of social cachet for young kids. Poorer kids who use the free, default skin inside the game report being bullied by their peers who can afford to buy rarer ones.

In its early days, the internet was a great leveler. But we should have known better than to think it would stay that way. Free apps like Twitter and Facebook have become extractive mass-surveillance tools. And once the internet became the primary place where our identities are forged and performed, it was inevitable that some people would want to pay their way out of the panopticon — that escape from the very services we lusted after in recent memory would become a premium good.

Kevin Roose on access control.

Also lol at the article for adorable pictures of bemused kittens smeared in fake poop/hopefully-not-actually-chocolate…

2020-01-07T14:25:58+11:0014th April, 2020|Tags: culture, internet, tech|

graveyard.site

A long (and somewhat awkwardly formatted)1 list of third-party content host “deaths”.

If you want to know why I’ve pretty much never seriously run my site on a third-party host,2 this list is basically the answer.

  1. And also incomplete; I can find at least one oldskool blogging/proto-social network site that I’m 99% sure is dead and isn’t included on this list. []
  2. I had a short flirtation with Squarespace and WordPress.com circa 2014-ish, but… mostly nah. []
2019-03-05T09:42:13+11:0030th August, 2019|Tags: blogging, internet, tech|

A short history of the Russian internet.

Insert obligatory “In Mother Russia” joke here.1

Reminds me of all the discussions that went around when the Russian-owned SUP bought out LiveJournal a decade ago…

  1. Literally, in this case, given it’s the title of the post… []
2019-04-29T12:06:45+10:0027th August, 2019|Tags: culture, internet, tech|

Oppa 90s style!

A browser-based, well. Browser. In this case, the OG 1990 version, called WorldWideWeb.

Since it’s not necessarily obvious by modern standards, this is a fully working web browser, albeit one that only supports the version of HTML that existed in, literally, 1990. But it will still browse to any modern website (Document › Open from full document reference), and it’s definitely… interesting to see what works and what doesn’t.1

  1. alis.me works! And… is surprisingly navigable. []
2019-02-27T09:15:52+11:0021st August, 2019|Tags: internet, tech|

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 alis.me‘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+11:0027th July, 2019|Tags: internet, tech|

1999.

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!)

2020-05-12T08:34:56+10:006th July, 2019|Tags: blogging, internet, pop culture, social media, tech|