Phineas Fisher Hacks Back! Last year, an Italian company best known for selling surveillance software to governments was hacked. Phineas Fisher gives an overview of how he gained access to the Hacking Team's network.
Shoes - ten years ago Liam Kyle Sullivan created "Shoes", one of the first viral hits of the YouTube era featuring his Midwestern teen girl character Kelly. Now he sits down with Vice to talk about YouTube fame, touring, how it came about, and what came after.
THE SECRET RULES OF THE INTERNET: The murky history of moderation, and how it’s shaping the future of free speech [Potentially NSFW - language & content]
The Guardian Investigates What Goes On "Below the Line" Comments allow readers to respond to an article instantly, asking questions, pointing out errors, giving new leads. At their best, comment threads are thoughtful, enlightening, funny: online communities where readers interact with journalists and others in ways that enrich the Guardian’s journalism. But at their worst, they are something else entirely. [more inside]
The memorable URL damn.dog hides a game where you try to guess the titles of WikiHow articles by one of their illustrations.
How an internet mapping glitch turned a random Kansas farm into a digital hell: For the last decade, [Joyce] Taylor and her renters have been visited by all kinds of mysterious trouble. They’ve been accused of being identity thieves, spammers, scammers and fraudsters. They’ve gotten visited by FBI agents, federal marshals, IRS collectors, ambulances searching for suicidal veterans, and police officers searching for runaway children. They’ve found people scrounging around in their barn. The renters have been doxxed, their names and addresses posted on the internet by vigilantes. Once, someone left a broken toilet in the driveway as a strange, indefinite threat. All in all, the residents of the Taylor property have been treated like criminals for a decade. And until I called them this week, they had no idea why.
A draft of a highly anticipated Senate encryption bill was leaked to The Hill late on Thursday night, sparking a swift backlash from technology and privacy groups even before the legislation has been introduced. [more inside]
The Internet (old/current format) is blowing up at the Associated Press Stylebook announcement that as of June 1st it'll be the internet. Furthermore, Web will begin with a lower case w in all instances from the same date. One author made the case for this (Facebook picture) in 2009. However, others are disagreeing, while others are finding more to disagree on. This, of course, is all good publicity for the forthcoming product.
My Year in Startup Hell. Dogs roam HubSpot’s hallways, because like the kindergarten decor, dogs have become de rigueur for tech startups. At noon, Zack tells me, a group of bros meets in the lobby on the second floor to do push-ups together... On the second floor there are shower rooms, which are intended for bike commuters and people who jog at lunchtime, but also have been used as sex cabins when the Friday happy hour gets out of hand. Later I will learn (from Penny, the receptionist, who is a fantastic source of gossip) that at one point things got so out of hand that management had to send out a memo. “It’s the people from sales,” Penny tells me. “They’re disgusting.” [more inside]
Wikimedia and Facebook have given Angolans free access to their websites, but not to the rest of the internet. So, naturally, Angolans have started hiding pirated movies and music in Wikipedia articles and linking to them on closed Facebook groups, creating a totally free and clandestine file sharing network in a country where mobile internet data is extremely expensive.Vice
From a suburban British house in 1984, Julian (password: 1234) demonstrates a modem while Pat (seemingly not allowed to touch the keyboard) lists her uses of the "communal" BBC Micro. Turn on your recorders as this TV clip ends with a data transmission! But how, in bygone online times, have modems been used... [more inside]
A Journal of Insomnia is an interactive documentary that only comes alive at night. Make a nighttime appointment to experience a sleepless night through stories, images and webcam videos shared by the insomniac of your choice. [more inside]
Billionaires, partying until the early morning, and Internet sleuthing: A recent scandal that rocked the world of high stakes contract bridge has it all.
The future of space travel demands better communication. The pokey pace at which our current Martian spacecraft exchange data with Earth just isn't enough for future inhabitants who want to talk to their loved ones back home or spend a Saturday binge-watching Netflix. So NASA engineers have begun planning ways to build a better network. The idea is an interplanetary internet in which orbiters and satellites can talk to one another rather than solely relying on a direct link with the Deep Space Network, and scientific data can be transferred back to Earth with vastly improved efficiency and accuracy.
As newsrooms disappear, veteran reporters are being forced from the profession. They dedicated their lives to telling other people’s stories. What happens when no one wants to print their words anymore?
Internet Map 2015 Such great beauty you have internet!
One of the Internet's core building blocks has a vulnerability that leaves hundreds or thousands of apps and hardware devices vulnerable to attacks that can take complete control over them. There is a patch available for Linux-based devices that do domain-name lookups, but it will take time to patch them all.
Web pages are ghosts: they’re like images projected onto a wall. They aren’t durable. Contrast this with hard-copies—things written on paper or printed in books. We can still read books and pamphlets printed five hundred years ago, even though the presses that made them have long since been destroyed. How can we give the average independent web writer that kind of permanence? Joel Dueck on building a website with Matthew Butterick's Pollen, allowing it to also be published as a printed book.
"After Taryn Wright exposed an elaborate fake tragedy on Facebook, she found herself leading a squad of online detectives – but on the internet, it doesn’t take long for a crowd to become a mob." (Guardian)
"We grew up pretty conservative," she recalls. "My parents kept us away from everything. Now everything we do is a sin." Meet Chris Johns and Tabitha Rae, the God-fearing Wisconsin couple who, if web glitches, fiercely defended patents, and a shortage of Novint Falcons don't stop them, are going to build the future of remote fucking right here in the Upper Midwest.
Fake Online Locksmiths A locksmith’s shop on a street in Sun City, Ariz. [...] turned out to be a fiction that was created for the locksmith by a web design firm using Photoshop at what is, in fact, a vacant lot. [via marginal revolution] [more inside]
Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World - "With interviewees ranging from Elon Musk to a gaming addict, Werner Herzog presents the web in all its wildness and utopian potential in this dizzying documentary." (via)
MetaFilter is long familiar with the dichotomy between Ask Culture and Guess Culture. Alice Maz, a programmer writing for the new group blog Status 451, has described another common dichotomy between “harmonious emotional experience” and “information sharing”, and what happens when the two meet. (In short: “Harsh words may be exchanged, and everyone exits the encounter thinking the other person was monumentally rude for no reason.”) [more inside]
“I realize I’ve begun writing defensively on the web, putting in hedges and clarifications that really aren’t necessary for a charitable reader. I’ve also taken to toning down any rhetorical flourishes that could be interpreted uncharitably in a way that annoys some people. The result: boring writing stripped of a lot of my own personal style.” Paul Chiusano discusses how online feedback has affected our writing styles.
Say goodbye to online comments as you know them We have finally realized that the kind of person who devotes his day to arguing with strangers anonymously on the Internet is not necessarily representative of a large swath of public opinion or necessarily good at articulating anything. [more inside]
Here, nine YouTube sensations whose lives were upended briefly in the past decade (plus one from the prehistoric web era, before YouTube made its debut in 2005) speak about this odd, relatively new kind of fame. Most embraced the experience, seeing where it would take them. Some ended up in dark places. A couple have made it their living and found themselves with new careers. Others stepped away, opting out of the flame wars. Pay attention: Someday, the accidental celebrity could be you.
“I received a call from the horrified IT Director (the IT Manager himself had been made redundant straight after me), to ask if I knew why they faced an ISDN bill for over £100,000.”
Internet Confessional. Bless me, Father, for I have sinned… I looked up an essay that drove me crazy when it came out three years ago solely for the pleasure of wallowing in hate. I relished every loathsome word.
Sending and receiving emails are important parts of his job. On average, he gets an email every 45 minutes. Sometimes, the interval between emails is only two minutes. Other times, it’s three hours. Although many of these emails are unimportant or stress-inducing, some of them are fun. Before long, whenever Michael S has an internet connection, he starts refreshing his email inbox every 30 minutes, and then every five minutes and then, occasionally, every two minutes. Before long, it’s a compulsive tic – the pecking pigeon of web usage.If the internet is addictive, why don’t we regulate it?
You may have heard about n-grams, which identify particular strings of text in a large corpus (an n=3 n-gram could be "plate of beans"). You probably have played with Google Ngram search which lets you look through millions of books to see the first use of the phrase, or when it was most popular (though be warned, recent research shows some limitations, such as the false popularity of a certain expletive in the 1700s). The newest is the Reddit ngram search by 538, which lets you chart the rise and fall of things progressive and regressive. I await more insights in the discussion...
Developments like wikis and Facebook walls and comments sections were supposed to open the Internet to everyone, “using the Web the way it’s meant to be used.” Ten years in, and it sometimes seems those technologies only opened us up: to quantification, to monetization, to tracking, to abuse. Given these rather disappointing developments, it’s little surprise that some look back at Web 1.0 with longing.
The counterintuitive, GIF-tastic plan to redeem the modern Internet (SLWaPo)
The counterintuitive, GIF-tastic plan to redeem the modern Internet (SLWaPo)
Three years ago, the people living in the Ochiichagwe'Babigo'Ining Ojibway Nation in Ontario would crowd in each other’s homes and outside the band office to access what little internet the community had. There was dial-up, there was expensive cellular data, and there was some service from an internet provider in a neighboring town; when the network went down, it would sometimes take weeks for a technician to come and fix the issue. The community’s kids—itching to get their gaming systems online and scroll through Facebook on their phones—weren’t having it. [more inside]
Blue Monday - a sci-fi short story by Laurie Penny for Motherboard all about cats, Internet videos, and emotional contagions.
Despite the press conference, the case was fairly low profile. It received more attention back in Canada than it did in Los Angeles, where the suspicious disappearance of a young woman — though not exactly common — wasn’t a rarity either. And with no news to report as the days went on, coverage of her disappearance basically ceased. That was, until February 13, when the LAPD summoned the public’s help again. This time, the department released a video. They wouldn’t confirm it at the time, but the video was taken by the Cecil Hotel’s elevator security camera in the early hours of February 1. It was, it turns out, the last known footage of Lam. And it was so strange, so creepy, so inexplicable that the release turned the case inside out.
Twitch Installs Arch Linux — Remember how chaotic Twitch Plays Pokemon was? Now we have a much harder challenge: install Arch Linux. Every ten seconds, the most popular keystroke in Twitch chat will be entered into an Arch Linux virtual machine. [more inside]
Called "2g Tuesday, Facebook will give employees super slow internet speeds once a week so they can better understand markets like India
networkeffect.io appears to be an internet art installation, with themes of connectedness and impermanence.
Caveat: Chrome only, and requires sound. Even so, worth it.
Caveat: Chrome only, and requires sound. Even so, worth it.
Europe's top court, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), has struck down the 15-year-old Safe Harbour agreement that allowed the free flow of information between the US and EU.
Everyone you know will be able to rate you on the terrifying ‘Yelp for people’ — whether you want them to or not
On September 20th, Ann Arbor-based freelance writer Emily Bingham, 33, wrote a post on Facebook that went on to be shared more than 40,000 times. Why? Because it touched on something that many, many women related to - namely, how often they're asked about their personal reproductive plans. [more inside]
Fresh from The Intercept (that fearless vanguard of journalism helmed by Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras): disturbing documents exposing the unfathomable reach of the United Kingdom's GCHQ in its quest for total awareness of global internet traffic. A hundred billion user actions logged per day. A "Black Hole" database of 1.1 trillion logs. Frightening programs like KARMA POLICE, MEMORY HOLE, and MUTANT BROTH that correlate the kilo-crore corpus -- IP addresses, cookies, forum posts, search histories, emails, and passwords all compiled and cross-referenced into a real-time "diary" that gives penetrating insight into the relationships, beliefs, and desires of every web user on the planet. Internal documents suggest only widespread encryption can threaten the regime -- a movement the UK is determined to subdue (previously). [more inside]
"Before we enter into the question of cat videos, we must talk about cats themselves. Cat videos are the crystallisation of all that human beings love about cats, the crux of which is centred in the fact that cats are both beautiful and absurd. Their natural beauty and majesty are eternally just one tiny slip away from total humiliation, and this precarious condition fills us with a sympathetic panic and delight, for it exactly mirrors our own." Maria Bustillos on how cats won the internet.
In fact, women have never once asked me why my account is locked—and unlike some of my male editors, they’ve never recommended opening it up. They understand that the online world has become a horror show, and that men largely drive that horror.Stacey May Fowles: I am afraid of men on the Internet.