Metadata Depends on Perspective

I’m reading The Discipline of Organizing. Early in the book, the author talks about “metadata,” which is a topic I’ve complained about before (go read those; I’ll wait). When it comes to web content management, I think it’s hard to differentiate between the “first order data” and the “metadata.” Which is which? The author calls […]

Read Article

Things that Web Crawlers Hate

I wrote a web crawler in C# a couple years ago. I’ve been fiddling with it ever since.  During that time, I’ve have been forcibly introduced to the following list of things my crawler hates. Websites that return a 200 OK for everything, even if it was a 404 or a 500 or a 302 […]

Read Article

Is Fareed Zakaria editing his own Wikipedia page?

Fareed Zakaria is Apparently Editing His Own Wikipedia to Remove Plagiarism Allegations:  CNN contributor Fareed Zakaria has been accused of plagiarism. Our Bad Media has noted several edits to his Wikipedia page which they suspect are coming from Zakaria himself. The edits are coming from New York City where Zakaria lives, they remove a lot […]

Read Article

Startup Depression

Startup Without Depression: A site dedicated to combatting depression in the startup world. Depression in the startup community can be an unfortunate byproduct of the stresses of creating something from nothing. For each individual that finds the strength to speak or write publicly of their struggles, many more grapple silently with their own demons. Below […]

Read Article

Do Hyperlinks Change the Meaning of Content?

I’ve been thinking deeply about the idea of hypertext lately (reading Vannevar Bush didn’t help), and I’m curious if there’s a standard, convention, or best practice for the actual selection of words to link in a sentence? Additionally, to what extent does the existence of a link and the placement of that link affect the […]

Read Article

“As We May Think”

I’ve become quite interested in Internet history lately, and I’ve run across Vannevar Bush‘s name multiple times. He was a American scientist, quite active during Word War II, and is historically known for expounding on an idea he had for a device called the “memex,” which was, in some ways, a precursor to the web […]

Read Article

Racism on Reddit

Hate Speech Is Drowning Reddit and No One Can Stop It: I was vaguely aware of this, but I don’t frequent many of the subs where this comes to light. Reddit has a hate speech problem, but more than that, Reddit has a Reddit problem. A persistent, organized and particularly hateful strain of racism has […]

Read Article

Facebook Increasingly Owns the News

How Facebook is changing the way its users consume news: Wow. I admit to always looking at the “Trending” column on the right, but I never knew it was this pervasive. About 30 percent of adults in the United States get their news on Facebook, according to a study from the Pew Research Center. The […]

Read Article

Twine

Want to write the new Zork or a Choose Your Own Adventure book?  You need Twine. Twine is an open-source tool for telling interactive, nonlinear stories. You don’t need to write any code to create a simple story with Twine, but you can extend your stories with variables, conditional logic, images, CSS, and JavaScript when […]

Read Article

Writing Good Command Line Tools

Hints for writing Unix tools: I love command line programming, and this is some great advice for making Unix tools that can apply to everything. Beyond the actual advice here, I love the philosophical underpinning behind it – be non-opinionated, share well with others, don’t assume what the user wants to do, etc.  Good Unix […]

Read Article

Text Wins

always bet on text: I enjoyed this blog post about something I also believe to be true: text in the safest, most stable, most durable communication medium we have ever known. I figured I should just post this somewhere so I can make future reference to how I feel about the matter, anytime someone asks […]

Read Article

Incivility in Open Source Communities

Here’s an interesting diatribe on the Linux development community. Much of the Open Source community tries to advertise the community as one happy place to the outside. Where contributions are valued only by their technical quality, and everybody meets at conferences for beers. Well, it is not like that. It’s quite a sick place to […]

Read Article

New York Times Subscriber Numbers

New York Times Lays Off Staff, Shuts Down Opinion App: This is negative article about layoffs at the New York Times because their “multiple app” plan wasn’t working as well as they hoped. But I think it’s important to look at these numbers and acknowledge how far The Times has come in terms of paid […]

Read Article

Another Argument Against Ad Blocking

Butterick’s Practical Typography: The author of Practical Typography released it on the web, for free (he specifically refused other, downloadable formats, even).  If you wanted to pay for it, you were welcome to.  A year later, he examines what happened, and he completely summarizes the perfect argument about why the advertising model is so broken, […]

Read Article

Secret Hashtags

Inside The Secret World Of Teen Suicide Hashtags: Hashtags are being use to mobilize communities around some very bad things. What’s interesting is that the posts are public, but the hashtag acts as a password to the aggregate – so you can’t get the entire picture unless you search for the hashtag, which you need […]

Read Article

Email Never Dies

Email Will Last Forever: Absolutely agree. A wave of new companies have recently tried to replace the communication channel people love to hate: email. Slack pretends to be “an email killer”,Asana promises “teamwork without email” etc. But the promise of a world without email is a fantasy. Email represents a solid pattern of user interaction: […]

Read Article

Desktop Linux in Munich: The Aftermath

Linux-on-the-desktop pioneer Munich now considering a switch back to Windows: I remember writing about this often a decade ago. Sad to see that it hasn’t worked out, but I’ve long-maintained that Microsoft isn’t nearly as bad as it’s made out to be. The world is still waiting for the year of Linux on the desktop, […]

Read Article

The Difference Between Reading on Paper or in Pixels

Reading Literature on Screen: A Price for Convenience?: I was waiting for someone to do a study like this. The results confirm what I suspected, as I personally tend to rush more when reading something electronically. A team of researchers led by Anne Mangen at the University of Stavanger in Norway and Jean-Luc Velay at […]

Read Article

Scoop

Scoop: A Glimpse Into the NYTimes CMS: The NY Times lifts the lid on its own CMS – entitled “Scoop” – to explain how it works and what it does. The article is brilliant: it explains a lot of the features in clear terms. Some notes: The system is clearly decoupled, and they explain why […]

Read Article

Uber as an Example of the Perils of Technological Expansion

Uber isn’t the problem; taxi regulations are: This column for the Boston Globe (by John Sununu, of all people?) pulls no punches, and explains one of the problems faced by technological advancements in any field: they threaten the established status quo which someone is making money from. Uber has plenty of enemies. The Web-based taxi […]

Read Article

Does Online Advertising Work?

Online advertising effectiveness: For large brands, online ads may be worthless: A lot of startlingly honest revelations in here. Turns out that we have no idea if online advertising works, and it probably doesn’t. […] if somebody searches for “Amazon, banana slicer,” and clicks on a search ad that pops up right next to his […]

Read Article

Miller’s Magic Number and It’s (Non-) Relevance to Web Navigation

At some point, anyone working on the web has heard the exhortation that ideal web navigation should be “seven items, plus or minus two” with some vague reference to science which “proves” this is true. Some years ago, I finally decided to look up the “science” and found that this is a reference to what’s […]

Read Article