Some bits about internet

On #DeleteFacebook

Nietzsche on Facebook

Do I counsel you to delete your Facebook account? #DeleteFacebook is a virtue with some, but with many almost a vice.

I asked Nietzsche what he thinks about #DeleteFacebook, and he was not amused.

via medium.com
March 26, 2018

The beginning of silent reading changed Westerners’ interior life

For centuries, Europeans who could read did so aloud. The ancient Greeks read their texts aloud. So did the monks of Europe’s dark ages. But by the 17th century, reading society in Europe had changed drastically. Text technologies, like moveable type, and the rise of vernacular writing helped usher in the practice we cherish today: taking in words without saying them aloud, letting them build a world in our heads.

If a relatively small typographic advancement had such a profound impact on the way we construct reality, imagine what being constantly interconnected with every other individual in the world will mean for future generations.

via quartzy.qz.com
November 25, 2017

DRM Is Toxic To Culture

DRM is

The problem with technology-enforced restrictions isn’t that they allow legitimate enforcement of rights; it’s the collateral damage they cause in the process. In my personal opinion the problems are (very concisely) that they:

  1. quantise and prejudge discretion,
  2. reduce “fair use” to “historic use”,
  3. empower a hierarchical agent to remain in the control loop, and
  4. condemn content to become inaccessible.

Insightful analysis of the troubling collateral damages of Digital Rights Management technologies by Simon Phipps. While the short-term disadvantages of DRM may seem obvious, especially from a UX perspective, the long-term implications could be way more damaging in terms of access to our cultural heritage.

via meshedinsights.com
November 14, 2017

Against an Increasingly User-Hostile Web

WWW Lynx

I quit Facebook seven months ago.

Despite its undeniable value, I think Facebook is at odds with the open web that I love and defend. This essay is my attempt to explain not only why I quit Facebook but why I believe we’re slowly replacing a web that empowers with one that restricts and commoditizes people. And why we should, at the very least, stop and think about the consequences of that shift.

Another good piece on the current state of the Web as an open platform, with some very practical examples.

While the idea of quitting social media may be unrealistic for most people, it’s important to raise awareness about what is at stake. No platform is inherently bad, as long as users understand what they are giving away in exchange for the service.

via neustadt.fr
November 6, 2017

We’re building a dystopia just to make people click on ads

So when people voice fears of artificial intelligence, very often, they invoke images of humanoid robots run amok. You know? Terminator? You know, that might be something to consider, but that’s a distant threat. Or, we fret about digital surveillance with metaphors from the past. “1984,” George Orwell’s “1984,” it’s hitting the bestseller lists again. It’s a great book, but it’s not the correct dystopia for the 21st century. What we need to fear most is not what artificial intelligence will do to us on its own, but how the people in power will use artificial intelligence to control us and to manipulate us in novel, sometimes hidden, subtle and unexpected ways. Much of the technology that threatens our freedom and our dignity in the near-term future is being developed by companies in the business of capturing and selling our data and our attention to advertisers and others: Facebook, Google, Amazon, Alibaba, Tencent.

Essential talk by sociologist Zeynep Tüfekçi on the (very current) risks of machine learning applications in social media and advertising networks.

via ted.com
October 30, 2017

A Brief History of JavaScript

Netscape Navigator

It all happened in six months from May to December 1995. Netscape Communications Corporation had a strong presence in the young web. Its browser, Netscape Communicator, was gaining traction as a competitor to NCSA Mosaic, the first popular web browser. Netscape was founded by the very same people that took part in the development of Mosaic during the early 90s, and now, with money and independence, they had the necessary freedom to seek further ways to expand the web. And that is precisely what gave birth to JavaScript.

Nice post on the history of JavaScript, or how a scripting language that was initially designed and developed in a few weeks has become one of the most successful programming languages of all time.

via auth0.com
January 23, 2017

The Tech that Turns Each of Us Into a Walled Garden

The big change is: there’s now no difference between ads and content. Content, the information you see on your feed, is targeted at you just like ads. And that content can be anything and serve any purpose. There’s no implied social contract for content to be true. Content is now weaponized for a purpose. In other words: content is now propaganda.

A more fundamental question lies here, hidden in plain sight: what makes fake news “fake”? The answers to this question could be way scarier then technology in itself.

via highscalability.com
December 8, 2016

Why the World’s Leading Photojournalists Are Ditching Their DSLRs to Shoot on Instagram

I look at my Instagram feed and it’s a network; I’m seeing through the eyes of people around the world,” says the image-sharing app’s Teru Kuwayama. Following two decades as a noted photojournalist, covering war and humanitarian crises in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Kashmir, the TED Senior Fellow now works on the community team at Instagram, specifically with photojournalists and the wider photo community. “So many eyes and so many minds are coming online and being harnessed to this grid,” he says. For Kuwayama, this collective network and its unprecedented audience serves as the greatest draw for his involvement. “It’s unlocked a totally different spectrum of reporting,” he says.

So far, Instagram has succeeded where Twitter has failed. They say a picture is worth more than 140 characters, isn’t it?

via artsy.net
January 22, 2016

The Fake Traffic Schemes That Are Rotting the Internet

“I can think of nothing that has done more harm to the Internet than ad tech,” says Bob Hoffman, a veteran ad executive, industry critic, and author of the blog the Ad Contrarian. “It interferes with everything we try to do on the Web. It has cheapened and debased advertising and spawned criminal empires.” Most ridiculous of all, he adds, is that advertisers are further away than ever from solving the old which-part-of-my-budget-is-working problem. “Nobody knows the exact number,” Hoffman says, “but probably about 50 percent of what you’re spending online is being stolen from you.”

via bloomberg.com
October 6, 2015
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