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Archive for the ‘Internet’ Category

As reported by BoingBoing: “Blogger gave lecture on dealing with trolls, then stabbed to death by a troll“.

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As a fan of HyperCard, I am intrigued by the story Bill Atkinson tells about the origins of the product.

HyperCard was a precurser to the first web browser, except chained to a hard drive before the worldwide web. Six years later Mosaic was introduced, influenced by some of the ideas in HyperCard, and indirectly by an inspiring LSD experience.

Yes, you have read that correctly: Bill Atkinson says he was under the influence of LSD when he thought of the need of links between pieces of information as a tool to create better knowledge and wisdom.

What is ‘hypertext’?

On one hand, it’s strange that he needed an ‘acid trip’ to think of hyperlinks, because he could have read the work of Vannevar Bush, or talked to people like Ted Nelson or Douglas Engelbart who were already working on the concept for decades. But on the other hand, of course, the internet – which would have allowed him to discover those people – did not yet exist…

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It cannot be repeated enough:

We support the consideration of measures that would improve the ability for creators to receive fair remuneration for the use of their works online. But we cannot support Article 13, which would mandate Internet platforms to embed an automated infrastructure for monitoring and censorship deep into their networks. For the sake of the Internet’s future, we urge you to vote for the deletion of this proposal.

These words were written by an group of resounding names in Internet technology circles, which includes Internet pioneer Vint Cerf, the inventor of the World Wide Web Tim Berners-Lee, Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales, co-founder of the Mozilla Project Mitchell Baker, Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle, cryptography expert Bruce Schneier, and net neutrality expert Tim Wu. You can read their full letter to the President of the European Parliament on the site of the EFF.

Please help oppose articles 11 and 13, for example by contacting your MEP about this matter.

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In the coming days and weeks, the European Parliament will debate an update to the Copyright Directive. There are a few things wrong with the current proposal.

The EFF shows the impact of two articles in the proposal: The EU’s Copyright Proposal is Extremely Bad News for Everyone, Even (Especially!) Wikipedia.

MEP Julia Reda details the situation of article 13 of the proposal: How you can #SaveYourInternet from Article 13 and the “Link Tax” in the next 14 days.

Both articles also contain links to sites that will help you express your voice and influence the members of the European Parliament, like saveyourinternet.eu. Help defeat bad legislation: go visit those site and act!

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In Wired’s “It’s Time For An RSS Revival“, RSS gets a bit of love – some would say: “much needed love”. RSS isn’t a new web technology; its original version was published in 1999.

“The most amazing thing to me about RSS is that no one really went away from it,” says Wolf. “It still exists…”

Well, of course RSS still exists, and there are many websites, personal and commercial, that publish one or more RSS feeds. What purpose do these “feeds” serve?

If you have never used an RSS feed, you may not know what you’re missing. RSS stands for “RDF Site Summary” or “Really Simple Syndication“, but that does not explain much. An RSS feed will publish a list of “items”, each pointing to a webpage on the site publishing the feed. Details about the link may include a page title, a summary of the link’s content or the whole text, an audio attachment (think ‘podcast’), publication date, etc. Usually, these lists are used to publish the latest updates on a site. That’s how they allow you to use them to discover new opinions, news, updates to pages, etc. without having to go to each individual page. “Feed reader” software combines the RSS feeds of multiple feeds, thus giving you a single tool to discover news from multiple sites.

Such feed reader software is what I have used for more than a decade now, to keep up with the many news sources I like to consult. Combining multiple sources in a single tool on a mobile device (tablet of smart phone) was the first driver for my decision to go that way. The possibility to read those feeds even when you’re not even online was the second driver: indeed, once you have downloaded the feed, you do not need an internet connection to get your dose of news – and that was very handy in those days when mobile internet access was hard to get and expensive!

Even today, when I’m practically always online, I still prefer browsing “the news” through a feed reader. That allows me to bypass the homepages of sites filled with screaming titles and adverts, and use just the item titles to judge their value to me. I find this so much more compelling than surfing from website to website, that an RSS feed reader was the first mobile app that I paid for – I’m using Byline on iOS, and I love it!

I can only encourage you to try out a web-based RSS reader like Feedly if you want to discover what RSS is all about. Then go looking for the RSS icon on the sites you care about, and add those feeds to your Feedly account. When you decide to use a separate application or app to read your feeds, there’s plenty of choice – and more may be coming, if Wired’s talk of a revival comes through. And no, you don’t have to be tired of Facebook to start reading RSS feeds – just don’t be surprised when you discover that RSS feeds are more interesting than a stream of messages on one of the many social media…

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Dave Winer writes:

Wait till the press figures out that Google knows everywhere you go. Not only on the web, but in the world.

Only a fool knows everything. A wise man knows how little he knows.

African proverb. The photo is (c) W.Van daele.

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Want to learn something about SSL and SSL certificates? I sure do, having just encountered an revoked certificate blocking an app at work. So I read “Revocation is broken” by Scott Helme. In summary:

We have a little problem on the web right now and I can only see this becoming a larger concern as time goes by. More and more sites are obtaining certificates, vitally important documents that we need to deploy HTTPS, but we have no way of protecting ourselves when things go wrong.

As you can guess, that didn’t really help to solve our problem – but it’s a clear explanation of the current state of affairs in certificate validation land, at least for browsers!

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