I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. It feels like a user’s browser history is an incredibly rich seam of valuable information just waiting to be presented in a more interesting way.
Fortunately there’s a back-up on the Internet Archive, but this tale of Google’s overnight destruction of fourteen years of writing is truly infuriating.
When we use their services, we trust that companies like Google will preserve some of the most personal things we have to share. They trust that we will not read the fine print.
When you pitch your tent in someone else’s walled garden, they can tear down your home whenever they want.
Here’s an interesting proposal from Google for a user-initiated way of declaring a site’s offline assets should be prioritised (and not wiped out in a clean-up). Also interesting: the way that this idea is being tried out is through a token that you can request …sure beats prefixes!
If you’re going to make a manifest file for an existing site, start with this very handy tool. You give it the URL of your site and it then parses the content for existing metadata to create a best first stab at a manifest JSON file.
I need to wrap my head around the details of this approach, but it sounds like it might be something I could do here on my site (where I feel nervous about my current dependency on a database).
Marco is spot on here. The New York Times article he’s responding to is filled with a weird Stockholm syndrome—the one bit of the web that’s still free of invasive tracking and surveillance is where they wish a centralised power (like Apple) would come in and lock down. Madness!
This could be a handy replacement for some Google Charts images of graphs. It uses SVG and is responsive by default.
I bet it wouldn’t be too tricky to use this to make some sparklines.
A data-driven look at impact of performance:
I hadn’t heard of the
save-data header. This article shows how you can use a Service Worker to sniff for it and serve up smaller assets, but I’m guessing you could also sniff for it from the server.
A great piece of near-future sci-fi from James.
I enforce from orbit, making sure all the mainframes that used to track and store every detail of our lives are turned off, and stay off. And as the sun comes up over Gloucestershire this morning, there they are, resplendent in the mist-piercing light of RITTER’s multispectral sensors: terabytes of storage laid out around the scalped doughnut of the former GCHQ building. Enough quantum storage to hold decades of the world’s pillow talk. Drums of redundant ethernet cable stacked stories-high. Everything dismantled, disconnected, unshielded. Everything damp with morning dew.
A subset of one of my favourite sites on the web:
Explore the Arctic of the past from the deck of a whaling ship.
Choose your vessel and get transcribing.
A really nice piece by Paul Ford on the history of databases and the dream of the Semantic Web.
Sometimes I get a little wistful. The vision of a world of connected facts, one big, living library, remains beautiful, and unfulfilled.
This is something that has been bugging me ever since reading the book:
While Andy Weir does a good job of representing the risks faced by Mark Watney, stranded on Mars and confronting one life-threatening challenge after another, he is silent on the threat of radiation, not just to Mark but particularly to the crew of the Hermes as they contemplate executing a daring rescue mission that more than doubles their time in deep space.
Well, this paper answers all my questions.
I really like this comparison between Waldsterben and the current situation with the web after years of pervasive tracking.
A nice navigable timeline of historical events from Wikipedia.
Imagine a location service that sold itself on the fact that your personal information was securely contained in its environs, used by you and you alone. You could have devices on your person that used their sensors to know things about you – when you last ate, what your dining preferences are, what your blood-sugar is, and so on, but these devices would have no truck with the cloud, and they would not deliver that information to anyone else for analysis.
What a lovely bit of progressive enhancement—styling data tables to display as charts.
This infographic offers a visual way to explore the various stages of the Earth’s history using a 12 hour clock analogy.
More of this kind of thing, please!
Lea wasn’t happy with the lack of styling and extensibility of the datalist element, so she rolled her own lightweight autocomplete/type-ahead widget, and she’s sharing it with the world.
A nice little pattern for generating a swish timeline in SVG from a plain ol’ definition list in HTML.
Curiosity’s journey so far, nicely visualised.
I should fork this on Github and add instructions for exporting your Huffduffer data.
Beautiful visualisations of science and nature.
Made with love by a designer with a molecular biology degree.
The first in a series of posts looking at the process behind builfing this “quantified self” site:
As with most decisions in my life, I asked myself: What would Tony Stark do?
The transcript of Maciej’s talk from Beyond Tellerrand on how the web has become more and more centralised:
The degree of centralization is remarkable. Consider that Google now makes hardware, operating systems, and a browser.
It’s not just possible, but fairly common for someone to visit a Google website from a Google device, using Google DNS servers and a Google browser on the way.
This is a level of of end-to-end control that would have caused us to riot in the streets if Microsoft had attempted it in 1999. But times have changed.
Cleanup of Silicon Valley Superfund site takes environmental toll | The Center for Investigative Reporting
A terrific piece of well-illustrated data-driven journalism.
A lovely visualisation that combines two of my loves: space, and the correct use of the subjunctive.
Fast Company features Aral’s tantalising Indie Phone project that he’s been working on at Clearleft Towers.
Good to see Oskar the dog getting the recognition he deserves.
On the top floor of a commercial building in the old maritime city of Brighton, England, Balkan has been quietly hacking away at Indie Phone for the last several months with the rest of his team—Victor Johansson, an industrial designer, Laura Kalbag, a professional web designer (and Balkan’s partner), and her Husky, Oskar.
A lovely bit of data celebration from Ravelry on the occasion of their 4 millionth user.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if you want to see a successful example of a real social networking site, don’t look at Facebook; look at Ravelry.
An interesting pattern for handling complex data tables in responsive designs. It’s a desktop-down approach, but pretty smart.
This tool for building ScrAPIs is an interesting development—the current trend for not providing a simple API (or even a simple RSS feed) is being interpreted as damage and routed around.
I like Erin’s list.
A beautiful real-time visualisation of winds on our planet.
An epic tale of data recovery.
Of course Jason Scott was involved.
Data visualisations that make no sense.
On the one hand, this is yet another Snowfall clone. On the other hand, the fact that it’s responsive is impressive.
A gorgeous interactive visualisation of our local galactic neighbourhood.
A long-zoom data visualisation.
This is wonderful stuff! I’m a big fan of the
datalist element but I hadn’t realised how it could be combined with
input types like
A collection of those appalling doublespeek announcements that sites and services give when they get acquired. You know the ones: they begin with “We’re excited to announce…” and end with people’s data being flushed down the toilet.
Charles Arthur analyses the data from Google’s woeful history of shutting down its services.
So if you want to know when Google Keep, opened for business on 21 March 2013, will probably shut - again, assuming Google decides it’s just not working - then, the mean suggests the answer is: 18 March 2017. That’s about long enough for you to cram lots of information that you might rely on into it; and also long enough for Google to discover that, well, people aren’t using it to the extent that it hoped.
This powerful timeline illustrates how drone attacks have increased dramatically under Obama’s administration.
I heartily concur with Luke’s call for sharing of data:
If you’ve had success with a responsive design, my plea to you is to please share what you’ve learned.
I’m going to see if I can get some Clearleft clients to open up.
A damning analysis of the Empire’s military strategy at the battle of Hoth, complete with illustrations. The comments are good too:
Guys, cut Palpatine some slack. He’s still in his first term as Emperor…
A beautiful timelapse visualisation of code commits to Flickr from 2004 to 2011.
I know have a visualisation of my public data in the form of 3D-printed snowflake, thanks to Medaler.
Investigating the options for off-world backups.
Data is only as safe as the planet it sits on. It only takes one rock, not too big, not moving that fast, to hit the Earth at a certain angle and: WHAM! Most living species are done for.
How the hell is your Twitter archive supposed to survive that?
Eight of Jan White’s excellent books on graphic design are now available for free online, licensed under CC0 …they’re in the public domain now.
All he asks in return is that you might buy one of his books still in print, and maybe make a donation to the Internet Archive.
Jan V. White is a mensch.
A really nice interactive timeline of data from ten years of scrobbling music to Last.fm.
A handy step-by-step guide to scraping HTML to get data out. Useful for services (—cough—Twitter—cough—) that keep changing the rules of their API use.
The fascinating story of how a dream team of geeks helped Obama to victory. Personally, I think it’s all about the facial hair. I mean, how could they lose with Trammell’s beard to guide them?
Craig writes about the hologram of his quantified self.
A great article by Hannah, focusing on the Long Web—it isn’t about the quantity of data you’re publishing; it’s the quality. This builds nicely on the article I linked to recently about digital scarcity.
A nice visualisation of Apple’s transition From desktop to mobile over ten years, one Daring Fireball article at a time.
Oh, and happy birthday, Daring Fireball.
Some good database character-encoding advice from Mathias.
This is an important subject (and one very close to my heart) so I’m very glad to see these data protection guidelines nailed to the wall of the web over at Contents Magazine.
- Treat our data like it matters.
- No upload without download.
- If you close a system, support data rescue.
Vannevar Bush’s original 1945 motherlode of hypertext.
A nice timeline visualisation of recent history.
Kyle’s Matryoshka phones are as cool as they are cute.
Google’s datadump makes for a fascinating—and worrying—bit of data dumpster diving.
The way that Chloe has catalogued her music over time is fascinating. It’s like the Long Now opposite of This Is My Jam.
An in-depth analysis (graphs! data!) of how popular sites are using—or not using—compression.
Dan writes about how data saved his life. That is not an exaggeration.
He describes how, after receiving some very bad news from his doctor, he dived into the whole “quantified self” thing with his health data. Looking back on it, he concludes:
If I were still in the startup game, I have a pretty good idea of which industry I’d want to disrupt.
A beautiful and disturbing piece of data visualisation. The numbers are quite astonishing.
A thoughtful—and beautifully illustrated—piece by Geri on memory and digital preservation, prompted by the shut-down of Gowalla.
Explore the shape of the underwater world of internet backbones.
Stef does some data-sleuthing and uncovers some shocking behaviour on the part of Google in Kenya.
Fred touches on the same issues that Frank highlighted in his dConstruct talk last year: what do we do with all of this wealth of material we’ve been collecting/ffffinding/scrobbling/liking/favouriting/plus-one-ing.
Mashing up Angry Birds and spreadsheets to better visualise project time-tracking.
A Responsive Design Approach for Complex, Multicolumn Data Tables | Filament Group, Inc., Boston, MA
A really nice pattern for data tables in responsive designs. Just as with conditional loading, the key point is making a distinction between essential and optional content.
Colly’s thoughts on digital preservation are written in a lighthearted tongue-in-cheek way but at least he’s thinking about it. That alone gives me comfort.
A stroke of genius: turning money itself into the carrier for infographics on wealth distribution in America.
One of the opening lightning talks at Science Hack Day in San Francisco by Sean Herron of NASA.
A very even-handed look at the time and data debacle in HTML5.
Richard would like your help. Take a few minutes to run through a card-sorting exercise to help classify fonts in a more meaningful way.
This is may just be the best thing on the internet about data visualisation and statistics. And sex.
A great piece by James on the architecture, aesthetics and perception of datacenters.
A nice project from BERG that aligns numbers from your own world (like the number of people you follow on Twitter) to numbers in the larger world.
A worrying report on the state of digital preservation and the web, specifically in the UK. Welcome to the memory hole.
Stewart Brand wrote this twelve years ago: it’s more relevant than ever in today’s cloud-worshipping climate.
I’d like to think that it’s ironic that I’m linking to The Wayback Machine because the original URL for this essay is dead. But it isn’t ironic, it’s horrific.
A fascinating examination by Hixie of web technologies that may have technically been “better” than HTML, but still found themselves subsumed into the simpler, more straightforward, good ol’ hypertext markup language.
The follow-on comments are definitely worth a read too.
These lovely visualisations of geotagged photos and tweets are almost indistinguishable from aerial views of cities at night.
This looks like it might be worth investigating as one potential solution to the sharecropping problem: code for decentralising your data; you allow apps to access your data but you get to decide where that data lives. Intriguing.
The Riegers are like emissaries from Planet Smart and we mere mortals are fortunate that they take the time to give us great articles like this.
A dataviz demo of creepiness: displaying the movements of Malte Spitz by correlating her phone activity and web usage.
I really like this idea: one street in Brighton is openly displaying its electricity usage over time.
A very pretty visualisation of tweets on a map using canvas.
If you speak Flemish, you might enjoy this article based on a chat I had with a Belgium journalist.
If you don’t speak Flemish, well, just move along.
This consortium of institutions and universities came together “to provide practical solutions and expertise in digital preservation.”
PLANETS stands for Preservation and Long-term Access through Networked Services.
For once, I’m happy to see data being destroyed.
The New York subway schedule converted into sound by treating each line as a string.
Visualising the Republic of Letters.
This looks like it could be a good book: a collaborative project to find patterns and stories in the data of one city.
Oh, and the site is lovely and responsive.