The ability to follow links down and around and through an idea, landing hours later on some random Wikipedia page about fungi you cannot recall how you discovered, is one of the great modes of the web. It is, I’ll go so far to propose, one of the great modes of human thinking.
Suppose the internet is “rewiring our brains” …what of it? Perhaps we can also rewire the brain of the internet.
I’m getting more radical in my view of the internet, this unconsciously-generated machine for unconscious generation. I’m feeling more sure of its cultural value and legacy, and more assertive about stating it. We built this thing, and like all directed culture of the past, it has an agency and a desire, and if you pay attention to it you can see which way it wants to go, and what it wants to fight. We made that, all of us, in time, but we don’t have full control of it. Rather, like the grain of wood, it’s something to be worked with and shaped, but also thought about and conceptualised, both matter and metaphor.
John expands on just one part of his superbly dense and entertaining dConstruct talk.
Lara’s fantastic book is now available online in HTML for free. Have a read and then order a copy of the print book for your library.
There’s something so beautifully, beautifully webbish about this: readings of blog posts found through a search for “no one will ever read this.”
Listen to all of them.
The many benefits of an analogue detox. There’s neuroscience and everything.
It’s so important that we take the time to connect and switch on.
Here’s a lovely project with an eye on the Long Now. Trees that were planted last year will be used to make paper to print an anthology in 2114.
Margaret Atwood is one of the contributors.
A cute way of exploring a collection of classic works.
The transcript of Owen’s talk at The Web Is. It’s a wonderful, thoughtful meditation on writing, web design, and long-term thinking.
One of the promises of the web is to act as a record, a repository for everything we put there. Yet the web forgets constantly, despite that somewhat empty promise of digital preservation: articles and data are sacrificed to expediency, profit and apathy; online attention, acknowledgement and interest wax and wane in days, hours even.
Richard never rants.
Here’s Richard ranting.
Some very handy techniques for working with right-to-left text.
There are many services out there for keeping track of what you’re reading. Susan has found the best one:
Slowly, ever so slowly, as I realize how things come and go on the web, I realize that this is my home. Because this is my home, I want all the things that matter to me to reside here.
If you insist on having a fixed header on your site, please, please, please add this script to your site. I often use the spacebar to page down so this would be a life-saver.
Usually I find these kinds of name-and-shame collections to be unnecessarily mean-spirited. In this case, the sites being named and shamed are themselves guilty of far worse rudeness.
This is a great idea from A Book Apart—the more different books you buy at the same time, the more of a discount you get.
Got to get ‘em all!
From the lovely people behind Editorially comes STET:
A Writers’ Journal on Culture & Technology
Francis Spufford—author of the excellent Backroom Boffins—writes a cover story for the New Humanist magazine remembering Iain Banks with the middle initial M firmly to the fore: it was Iain M Banks—and his creation, The Culture—that took the seemingly passé genre of space opera to new heights.
A cute little read-only Twitter client from James that only displays fully-formed tweets: no hashtags, no @-replies.
Just like in the Borges short story, you can now see everything at once …from Project Gutenberg, or from Twitter, or from both.
This may be the only legitimate use case for (truly) infinite scrolling.
Vasilis examines the multitude of factors that could influence an ideal measure.
Some handy tips for starting off your responsive designs from the type out.
I share Tom’s frustration with news apps that should be websites:
I wouldn’t download a BBC app or an NPR app for my computer. Why would I want one on my phone?
A really nice write-up of issue four of Offscreen magazine, wherein I was featured.
The out-of-copyright books of Olaf Stapledon are available to download from the University of Adelaide. Be sure to grab Starmaker and First And Last Men.
A nice Readlist based on that excellent article by Craig on digital publishing:
This reader is made up of Craigmod’s essay “Subcompact Publishing” and essays linked to in the footnotes.
Very smart thinking from Craig about digital publishing.
A step-by-step guide to unDRMing your Kindle books—a prudent course of action given Amazon’s recent unilateral wiping of Kindles.
A fascinating look at what happens when you mash up beauty and ugliness in one typeface.
James muses on the physicality of ebooks in this week’s Observer.
I quite the look of Medium, but Dave Winer absolutely nails it with this feature request:
Let me enter the URL of something I write in my own space, and have it appear here as a first class citizen. Indistinguishable to readers from something written here.
I think it might get a tattoo of this:
There’s art in each individual system, but there’s a much greater art in the union of all the systems we create.
Those articles about the “Internet of Things” I linked to? Here they are in handy Readlist form.
Frank has published his book online in HTML. Very lovely it is too.
How about this for a trip down memory lane—a compendium of articles from over a decade of A List Apart, also available as a Readlist epub. It’s quite amazing just how good this free resource is.
The only thing to fault is that, due to some kind of clerical error, one of my articles has somehow found its way onto this list.
If this were Twitter, you’d be at-replying me with the hashtag “humblebrag”, wouldn’t you?
I’ve written a piece for issue three of The Manual. Despite that, it’s well worth getting your hands on a copy.
Trent shares his ideas on handling line lengths in fluid, responsive layouts.
I’m really pleased to be working with Bobbie on Matter.
Nine years and five months after he began publishing every entry in Samuel Pepys’ diary, Phil Gyford posts the last entry.
Like the Web Standards Project but for ePub. I approve of this message.
This looks like a really handy service from Readability: gather together a number of related articles from ‘round the web and then you can export them to a reading device of your choice. It’s like Huffduffer for text.
Russell was the final panelist to speak at the New Aesthetic South by Southwest tour-de-force, taking a look at how our relationship to text is being changed.
Well, this looks clever: a self-updating bookmark (that’s an actual bookmark for books, not browsers).
Bobbie’s new journalism project is up and running on Kickstarter. Get in there!
Perfect seasonal entertainment. Perfect.
Brent Simmons writes about the desire of regular web users—not just the geeks—to have a comfortable reading experience. Publishers ignore this at their peril.
A responsively designed comic. Yeah, you heard me right. Responsive. Comic!
Josh nails it: publishers need to stop thinking in terms of issues:
Publishers and designers have to start thinking about content at a more atomic level, not in aggregated issues. That’s how we already understand news as consumers, and we have to start thinking that way as publishers, too. This is why Flipboard, Instapaper, and other aggregators are so interesting: they give you one container for the whole universe of content, unbound to any one publisher.
I’ve been using Tumblr to store interesting quotations (and cat videos). Findings looks like it could be a good alternative for the quotations (though less good for cat videos). The Kindle integration looks interesting.
A rallying cry from James: since when did we decide that text couldn’t stand by itself without extra layers of “interactive” shininess?
This handy matrix shows the effect of different -webkit-font-smoothing setting on various text combinations (serif/san-serif light/dark, etc.).
An overview of the strategy behind the fantastic Boston Globe website.
Craig has written down his dConstruct talk, the one that completely polarised opinion. Personally, I loved it.
A valiant attempt to polyfill support for hyphenation in browsers other than the latest Safari and Firefox.
Finally. Hyphenation on the web.
Pretty much the only forms of Western literature that don’t use hyphenation are children’s books and websites. Until now.
A cute website that’s a call-to-arms against low-contrast text on the web.
Kevin Kelly asks “What is a book?” and provides some thought-provoking answers. There’s some inspiring crystal-ball gazing in here.
A useful bookmarklet that suggests font stacks to match up with the web fonts on whatever page you happen to be viewing.
A great piece about the changing nature of content ownership and distribution. And now I share it with you, validating its central premise.
A browser-based ePub reader. ‘Cause it’s (X)HTML all the way down, baby.
James’s talk from Tools Of Change. Great stuff!
I wish I could’ve attended James’s talk at Tools of Change. It sounds like it was great.
Could it be that the current penchant for quick, real-time bursts of content could actually be beneficial for more thoughtful, long-form content?
One web page for every book. I love this project.
James Bridle propsed Open Bookmarks during a presentation at Tools of Change in Frankfurt today: "Open Bookmarks is not a thing, it’s a proposal, a flag in the ground. We need to agree on a way of sharing and storing annotations and bookmarks, reading attention data and everything around the book: that aura."
A site that aims to ask and explore the Big Questions of human purpose and ultimate reality, with a focus on science, religion, markets and morals.
A fascinating look at hypertext in illuminated manuscripts.
A detailed look at traditional and digital publishing, considered from the content out.
A medium-zoom view of shifts in publishing.
A thoroughly researched and well-written look at font stacks, with some practical suggestions and advice.
Coming soon to a bookshelf near you.
Best. Appropriate domain name. Ever.
A forthcoming typeface designed specifically to help people with dyslexia read and write more effectively.
Jackson is gathering data to test on-screen readability. Sign up and join in.
A beautiful PDF literary magazine, designed to be printed out and read away from the computer. I'd still love to see an HTML version.
This looks like a nice book reading app.
A good piece from Steven Johnson on the future of e-books but alas, it completely ignores DRM which is a show-stopper to the bright future he imagines.
A quick round-up of typographic best practices applied to the web.
Help keep your culture error-free by proof-reading small pieces of literature from Project Gutenberg.
An excellent bookmarklet designed to help you read more easily on the web (by hiding all that filthy, filthy advertising).
Cats. Reading. Once again, it's all about the cumulative effect.
A nice simple little app for saving URLs to read later. This kind of simplicity is remarkably hard to achieve.
A superb skewering of Kindle and just about any other attempt to make book distribution digital that involves ludicrously restrictive terms of service (or worse, DRM).
I love this article by Amber Simmons. The truth shines through.
Paul's book will be out in a few weeks. Looks like it'll be a good one.
Andy Hume has written a superb article about typography on the Web.
Suck it up, ya fixed width losers: your favourite escape clause has just been deflated. "Twenty college-age students read news articles displayed in 35, 55, 75, or 95 characters per line (cpl) from a computer monitor. Results showed that passages formatte