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Almost 530,000 words long—still a little shorter than “Infinite Jest.”

Paul Ford explains the long road to HTML5 and the web standardisations process in the New Yorker.
In “Gathering of the Player Men at Buffalo,” the Music Trade Review described a heady scene in which Mr. P. B. Klugh, speaking for the Cable Company, said that it had adopted “the nine-to-the-inch scale” and that “they were not open to argument on the subject, as such a scale had given entire satisfaction.” Swayed, the manufacturers resolved the issue in favor of Klugh. As a result, we now live in a world where nine-holes-per-inch piano rolls are the standard. You would be a fool to build a player piano to any other metric.
Of course, the Web page is far more complex. It requires dozens of standards, governing words, sounds, pictures, interactions, protocols, code, and more. The role of Web parliament is played by the W3C, the World Wide Web Consortium. This is a standards body; it organizes meetings that allow competing groups to define standards, shepherding them from a “working draft” to “candidate recommendation” and “proposed recommendation,” and finally, if a standard has been sufficiently poked and prodded, granting the ultimate imprimatur, “W3C recommendation.”

posted to MetaFilter by frimble at 11:37 AM on November 24, 2014 (11 comments)

How to Be Polite

How to Be Polite
posted to MetaFilter by keli at 3:49 AM on August 15, 2014 (160 comments)

can you blog in the voice of a meerkat named Philbin?

Wanted: Explainer explainer. Our venture-funded vertical-driven content prosumer phablet platisher is rapidly growing and we need to add some Ninja Rockstar Content Associates A.S.A.P. See below for a list of open positions!
posted to MetaFilter by Diablevert at 10:59 AM on May 29, 2014 (50 comments)

Embrace the Troll

James "The Colossus" Thompson shows us how to deal with internet trolls.
posted to MetaFilter by troll at 12:54 PM on February 16, 2013 (37 comments)

I lost my heart to a ...

Sarah Brightman, multi-million selling singer, actress and songwriter, has taken her medical and will soon start training to become the 7th or 8th 'Space Tourist', visiting the ISS in 2015.
posted to MetaFilter by Wordshore at 9:03 AM on October 10, 2012 (51 comments)

B2B or not 2B? Wetting beak in manufacture.

New to manufacturing. How do I go from making things to having something made?
posted to Ask MetaFilter by evil holiday magic at 1:50 AM on July 5, 2012 (4 comments)

friendship bracelets

Friendship bracelets! A photo tutorial for chevrons and another photo tutorial for basic stripes, chevrons, & diamonds. More basics with simple patterns & advanced. The BeyondBracelets thorough video tutorials (& on her blog is a bracelets 101 to gradually progress your skills). For complicated patterns check out these, and also these (with alphabet patterns & instructions), and also this crowdsourced free pattern-sharing site (patterns & tutorials), and finally this dollar-a-pattern pay site. If you're not interested in bracelets you can use the same idea for tangle-free headphones or wrapping tech cords & cables. (previously: lanyards)
posted to MetaFilter by flex at 6:01 PM on June 17, 2012 (33 comments)

Flamingos are a go.

Last October, the newly rebranded Miami Marlins released an artist's rendering of a tacky home run celebration structure that would be built in their new stadium, to widespread derision. With the offseason nearing its end, the structure has moved from concept sketch to reality. Initial reactions note that the structure is mind-bogglingly enormous, and maybe actually kind of awesome. Recently, stadium staff gave the structure a test run.
posted to MetaFilter by shadow vector at 2:17 PM on March 3, 2012 (91 comments)

Looking for a short story on copyright micropayments

Looking for a dystopian short story that made the rounds around half a year ago about intellectual property. It was (I believe) a father and daughter who go through emails and have to make micropayments for copyright infringement, trademark infringement, etc. Any thoughts? I may have seen it on MeFi or Boing Boing, and my google-fu is failing me.
posted to Ask MetaFilter by evadery at 10:01 AM on February 29, 2012 (5 comments)

Buzzing about network graphs

A hive plot (slides) is a beautiful and compelling way to visualize multiple, complex networks, without resorting to "hairball" graphs that are often difficult to qualitatively compare and contrast.
posted to MetaFilter by Blazecock Pileon at 2:07 AM on December 4, 2011 (14 comments)

That all-important "■"

I do not enjoy Facebook - I find it cloying and impossible - but I am there every day. Paul Ford writes about social media, the ceaseless flow of time, and narratives - or, "Facebook and the Epiphanator".
posted to MetaFilter by WalterMitty at 8:17 AM on July 27, 2011 (53 comments)

The Age of Mechanical Reproduction

The Age of Mechanical Reproduction by Paul Ford. When it comes to IVF, in-vitro fertilization, nothing is normal. Your world is upside-down. Your doctor compliments your wife on her monkeys. Then, when every dollar and exertion has gone toward a single hour of hope, it begins to snow.
posted to MetaFilter by foggy out there now at 9:57 AM on July 11, 2011 (98 comments)

A cure for narcissism in twenty-five words or less...

I'm looking for quotes that basically convey - it's not about you / get over yourself.
posted to Ask MetaFilter by kitcat at 4:32 PM on July 4, 2011 (24 comments)

The History of Cartography

Free PDFs of The History of Cartography, vol. 1 and 2, from University of Chicago Press.
posted to MetaFilter by Stan Carey at 9:09 AM on July 3, 2011 (13 comments)

Should we stay or should we go?

In After Earth Ben Austen looks at "Why, Where, How, and When We Might Leave Our Home Planet" while Jared Daniel asks, if given a chance to found the first human colony on Mars, would you go? Maybe we could turn it into a home away from home or perhaps we should terraform Earth first.
posted to MetaFilter by joannemullen at 3:28 PM on July 3, 2011 (73 comments)

Every one a little lawyer.

“Watching the video I thought that it was wise of Major League Baseball to combine this sort of sentimental moment with mass speculative litigation. It kept brand values strong. I felt strangely grateful that I could have a moment to remember that afternoon. Surprised by the evidence of both copyright violation and father-daughter affection.” —Paul Ford, “Nanolaw with Daughter”
posted to MetaFilter by kipmanley at 9:43 PM on May 15, 2011 (26 comments)

Tractatus Digito-Philosophicus

"This is a somewhat odd venture: a translation of Wittgenstein's Tractatus into the domain of software development." Wait, not so crazy, Harrison Ainsworth explains, "Central in the Tractatus is the concept of the ‘proposition’: a statement about the world that can be true or false. It is a logical artifact used to describe the world (and so links logic and world together). This maps straightforwardly to software: a proposition becomes a program. Where a proposition describes the world, a program constructs the imagination, or intended-world – an artifact. A program is like an executable proposition."
posted to MetaFilter by geoff. at 6:44 AM on April 25, 2011 (29 comments)

Who's got the back that makes the beat go boom?

Y'all Get Back Now is the joyous new music video from Big Freedia, the Queen Diva of New Orleans Bounce. If Y'all Get Back Now isn't enough for you, there are more videos to watch on her website. [New Orleans Bounce previously on MeFi]
posted to MetaFilter by Kattullus at 1:55 PM on March 31, 2011 (40 comments)

Stasi, SSIS, ...

"I almost can't believe I'm witnessing this. We're inside the fortress of terror, our very own Mordor..."
posted to MetaFilter by jeffburdges at 6:17 AM on March 7, 2011 (74 comments)

"How can fringe benefits be nearly as much as salary?"

WSJ bravely criticizes the "excessive power of collective bargaining." Robert M. Costrell of wsj.com explains how the governor's proposal to restrict collective bargaining...seems entirely reasonable. via twitter.com/ftrain
posted to MetaFilter by fartknocker at 9:29 AM on February 27, 2011 (139 comments)

Light-heartenness?

How to be more light-hearted?
posted to Ask MetaFilter by ruelle at 5:37 AM on January 18, 2011 (31 comments)

13 thinkers on 10 years of Wikipedia

The way different people respond to Wikipedia may tell us more about them (or ourselves as we react) than it does about The Opus itself. Oh well, when you're rowing a boat, you're always looking at where you've been. At any rate, Atlantic has posted a nice selection of opinions on a worthy, controversial subject by mostly recognizable names.
posted to MetaFilter by Twang at 4:23 PM on January 17, 2011 (74 comments)

Open Sourcing Intelligence Analysis

In an age of information wealth, how do we decide what's true & what's not? Allow me to introduce the world of discussion mapping. First up we have zest (demo here), a simple tool for threading mailing lists for easier navigation. It lacks the advanced features of the others but it's an easy starting point for structuring your discussions.
posted to MetaFilter by scalefree at 11:53 AM on January 10, 2011 (6 comments)

WWIC

Metafilter gets a very kind shout out on Paul Ford's new essay The Web Is a Customer Service Medium.
posted to MetaTalk by artlung at 6:38 AM on January 6, 2011 (57 comments)

Pin down the past

Historypin uses Google Maps and Street View technology and hopes to become the largest user-generated archive of the world's historical images and stories. Historypin lets you layer old images onto modern Street View scenes, giving a series of peaks into the past. Upload and pin your own old photos, as well as the stories behind them, onto the map.
posted to MetaFilter by dobbs at 5:46 AM on June 29, 2010 (20 comments)

Basic Mechanics in Fire Control Computers

I've never really had a clear understanding of how mechanical computing worked, until today when I watched these US Navy training films from 1953. Part 1 focuses on shafts, gears, cams and differentials. Part 2 explains mechanical component solvers, integrators and multipliers. More information about ship gun fire-control systems here.
posted to MetaFilter by drmanhattan at 2:04 PM on February 14, 2010 (28 comments)

Old media eyes comely site 150 years its junior; sparks fly

"What I wish I could do is take our tens of thousands of nice registered subscribers and offer them a Metafilter-style community." --Paywalls, Blogs, Comments, Editing and Magazines: A Conversation with Paul Ford, Web Editor of Harper's Magazine
posted to MetaTalk by kittyprecious at 11:07 AM on February 4, 2010 (76 comments)

A world in which knowledge is always a double edged sword

The Wire - David Simon's original pitch and series bible. "At the end of thirteen episodes, the viewer - who has been lured all this way by a well-constructed police show - is not the simple gratification of hearing handcuffs click. Instead the conclusion is something Euripides or O'Neill might recognize: an America at every level at war with itself." [Previously.] (via)
posted to MetaFilter by Electric Dragon at 4:15 AM on April 17, 2009 (42 comments)

A touching song about gay trees.

Paul Ford is back with six-word reviews of SxSW 2009 music (previously in 2008). Also be sure to check out Paul's (another Paul's) SxSW Artist Catalog (previously) for further SxSW music metadata goodness.
posted to MetaFilter by shadytrees at 8:11 PM on March 18, 2009 (12 comments)

The entire Harper's Index

The entire Harper's index is now online.
posted to MetaFilter by chunking express at 12:44 PM on February 14, 2009 (29 comments)

Just People, Talking

The recent passing of Studs Terkel sparked a renewed interest in his interview projects, like Working, Race, and Hard Times. But Studs was not just a broadcaster who liked people; he was a practitioner of oral history, a method of gathering information about the past through preserving individual recollections. It's a subfield of history, with its own ethics, techniques, professional literature, uses, and limitations. Learn how to collect and share oral histories yourself, from interviewing to recording and getting clearances to preserving and disseminating. Oral histories have been preserved as text transcripts for decades; now digital media isreinvigorating the form, bringing new ease to recording and wider opportunities for the public to see and hear the content. Explore oral history projects on the web with stories of veterans, suffragists, Tibetans, jazz cats, Nevada nuclear test site witnesses, Basque Americans, rodeo cowboys and cowgirls, musicians, Katrina survivors, ACT UP activists, Cambodians under the Khmer Rouge, Native Americans, women whose lives were affected by the Pill, survivors of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire,women in World War II, Hawai'ians, workers in Paterson, NJ....
posted to MetaFilter by Miko at 9:09 AM on December 11, 2008 (20 comments)

4 Hour Tribute to the Notorious B.I.G.

On the 10 year anniversary of his death, Mr. Cee of New York's Hot 97 played a 4-hour tribute mix (with some interviews and such) dedicated to the Notorious B.I.G., a/k/a Biggie Smalls a/k/a Big Poppa a/k/a Christopher George Latore Wallace. Downloads in four parts available here.
posted to MetaFilter by kosem at 10:00 AM on October 6, 2008 (20 comments)

PDFs to thumbnails

I have an ordering centre for books and other written materials. I have PDFs of the books, but I don't have images of the covers. I want to make thumbnails of the covers to help people recognise the item they are looking for. How can I generate thumbnails from the first page of the PDFs?
posted to Ask MetaFilter by heatherann at 3:16 PM on September 11, 2008 (6 comments)

What's your favorite bookstore in NYC?

I have the week off and want to visit some great bookstores I haven't been to before. What are your favorites in Manhattan and why? Thanks.
posted to Ask MetaFilter by captainscared at 7:59 AM on August 26, 2008 (18 comments)

hello, world (of programming)

What should my first programming language be, if I just want to have fun? And what are good books or websites for learning said language?
posted to Ask MetaFilter by papayaninja at 9:37 PM on August 17, 2008 (45 comments)

The oldest joke in the book - really!

Humor goes back a long way. The oldest recorded joke in the world was told 4,600 years ago to Pharoh Snefru by the magician Djadjamankh: "How do you entertain a bored pharaoh? You sail a boatload of young women dressed only in fishing nets down the Nile and urge the pharaoh to go catch a fish," and there's lots more ancient Egyptian humor (some quite dirty) as well. Humor really got rolling with the Greeks, however, and the Philogelos (Laughter Lover) a joke book from the 4th century. A representative joke: “An intellectual was on a sea voyage when a big storm blew up, causing his slaves to weep in terror. ‘Don’t cry,’ he consoled them, ‘I have freed you all in my will'."
posted to MetaFilter by blahblahblah at 9:18 AM on July 16, 2008 (70 comments)

Most books published 1923-63 in public domain

"For U.S. books published between 1923 and 1963, the rights holder needed to submit a form to the U.S. Copyright Office renewing the copyright 28 years after publication. In most cases, books that were never renewed are now in the public domain. Estimates of how many books were renewed vary, but everyone agrees that most books weren't renewed. If true, that means that the majority of U.S. books published between 1923 and 1963 are freely usable." How do you know? The renewal copyright records have traditionally been scattered and hard to access, but Google - with the help of Project Gutenberg and the Distributed Proofreaders painstakingly typed in every word - has just released a single database as a freely downloadable XML file.
posted to MetaFilter by stbalbach at 8:23 AM on June 25, 2008 (54 comments)

Indie platformer extravaganza!

Do you enjoy classic 2D platformers? Then boy, are you in luck! The indie game community is thriving, and a good majority of its games are exactly that. I've spent many hours playing these unique, beautiful, and often exceptional projects, and there's quite a few - more than I can count on my fingers! - that could stand toe-to-toe with the finest contemporary games. Inside is a list of some of the greatest indie platformers, based on community recommendations and my own experience. Enjoy!
posted to MetaFilter by archagon at 3:28 AM on June 24, 2008 (48 comments)

What's going on in the world?

I need basic info about current events.
posted to Ask MetaFilter by blahtsk at 5:40 PM on June 18, 2008 (13 comments)

The Muse in the Machine

Robert Pinsky writing about Zork. Yes, I know its super old.
posted to MetaFilter by juv3nal at 12:25 PM on June 10, 2008 (15 comments)

Tilling Word and Land

Wendell Berry is an agrarian writer, poet, and Mad Farmer. Perhaps most famous for his decision not to buy a computer, which stirred some controversy, Berry is an anti-war, anti-state, anti-capitalist, conservationist conservative.
posted to MetaFilter by anotherpanacea at 7:09 AM on April 10, 2008 (34 comments)

He’s really excited about that girl.

Like a dog fucking a blender. Six-Word Reviews of each of the 763 SXSW Mp3s. [Previously] [Via]
posted to MetaFilter by churl at 9:40 PM on March 13, 2008 (68 comments)

Vector map of United States

Where can I find a free, vector map of the United States, with outlined states?
posted to Ask MetaFilter by Jimmie at 9:29 PM on February 14, 2008 (10 comments)

Kin-dza-dza!

Kin-Dza-Dza! is a Soviet sci-fi cult classic that has managed to go largely unnoticed outside of Russia. Bizarre, funny, and at times surprisingly deep. Truly one of the unknown sci-fi greats. Part One. Part Two. [Google Video, with embedded English subtitles]
posted to MetaFilter by pravit at 11:43 PM on January 20, 2008 (14 comments)

Are dead-tree magazines good or bad for the climate?

"So by this analysis dead-tree magazines have a smaller net carbon footprint than web media. We cut down trees and put them in the ground. From a climate change perspective, this is a good thing" explains Chris Anderson, Wired Magazine's editor-in-chief. While some decry this type of carbon footprint accounting as "cheating", the paper industry has lately been eager to convince the public that they are carbon-neutral.
posted to MetaFilter by finite at 10:12 PM on December 29, 2007 (36 comments)

How to say "I love you"

How to say "I love you" "(42) Inappropriately, to a coworker who is already sleeping with another coworker. (43) With a heart filled with lies. (44) With a she puppet and a you puppet. (45) As she leaves for Spain with your much better-looking brother. (46) At Thanksgiving, to her twin sister, by accident."
posted to MetaFilter by dhruva at 8:41 PM on November 8, 2007 (41 comments)
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