The format of a Wikipedia page is used as the chilling delivery mechanism for this piece of speculative fiction. The distancing effect heightens the horror.
Wednesday, April 21st, 2021
Monday, December 23rd, 2019
The dominant narrative for the growth of the World Wide Web, the graphical, user-friendly version of the internet created by Tim Berners-Lee in 1989, is that its success has been propelled by Silicon Valley venture capitalism at its most rapacious. The idea that currently prevails is that the internet is best built by venture-backed startups competing to offer services globally through category monopolies: Amazon for shopping, Google for search, Facebook for social media. These companies have generated enormous profits for their creators and early investors, but their “surveillance capitalism” business model has brought unanticipated harms.
It doesn’t have to be this way, says Ethan Zuckerman:
A public service Web invites us to imagine services that don’t exist now, because they are not commercially viable, but perhaps should exist for our benefit, for the benefit of citizens in a democracy. We’ve seen a wave of innovation around tools that entertain us and capture our attention for resale to advertisers, but much less innovation around tools that educate us and challenge us to broaden our sphere of exposure, or that amplify marginalized voices. Digital public service media would fill a black hole of misinformation with educational material and legitimate news.
Sunday, January 7th, 2018
Friday, September 22nd, 2017
A great bit of web history spelunking in search of the first websites that allowed users to interact with data on a server. Applications, if you will. It’s well written, but I take issue with this:
The world wide web wasn’t supposed to be this fun. Berners-Lee imagined the internet as a place to collaborate around text, somewhere to share research data and thesis papers.
This often gets trotted out (“the web was intended for scientists sharing documents”), but it’s simply not true that Tim Berners-Lee was only thinking of his immediate use-case; he deliberately made the WWW project broad enough to allow all sorts of thitherto unforeseen uses. If he hadn’t …well, the web wouldn’t have been able to accommodate all those later developments. It’s not an accident that the web was later used for all sorts of unexpected things—that was the whole idea.
Anyway, apart from that misstep, the rest of the article is a fun piece, well worth reading.
Monday, July 3rd, 2017
You are on a website. There are exits to the north, south, east and west.
Wednesday, June 7th, 2017
As you might expect, lots of sites just don’t work, but there are plenty of sites that work just fine—Google search, Amazon, Wikipedia, BBC News, The New York Times. Not bad!
Friday, May 12th, 2017
I think this might be the first large-scale practical demonstration of the InterPlanetary File System: routing around the damage of Turkey’s censorship of Wikipedia.
Wednesday, November 30th, 2016
At the last Clearleft Hackfarm, one of the ideas I proposed was “a wiki that doesn’t suck.” Looks like someone’s finally done it.
Sunday, October 16th, 2016
Listen to the sound of Wikipedia’s recent changes feed. Bells indicate additions and string plucks indicate subtractions. Pitch changes according to the size of the edit; the larger the edit, the deeper the note.
Thursday, March 24th, 2016
The street finds its own uses for colonial internet practices:
Because the data is completely free, Angolans are hiding large files in Wikipedia articles on the Portuguese Wikipedia site (Angola is a former Portuguese colony)—sometimes concealing movies in JPEG or PDF files. They’re then using a Facebook group to direct people to those files, creating a robust, completely free file sharing network.
Monday, October 12th, 2015
A nice navigable timeline of historical events from Wikipedia.
Friday, August 30th, 2013
Wikipedia edits converted into Eno-esque sound.
Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013
I sense the hand of Tom Morris in this. Wikipedia has created a “nearby” page for browsers with geolocation, much like the Wikinear mashup that Simon created with Fire Eagle five years ago.
Friday, December 14th, 2012
Tantek has put together a wiki page to document the arguments for and against adding a new “main” element to HTML.
Monday, June 18th, 2012
Sure, this is a bleedin’ one-to-one copy of feckin’ Wikipedia. Give it an aul’ spin.
Thursday, December 1st, 2011
Documentation of an ongoing project to create a mobile-first responsive MediaWiki theme.
Friday, November 18th, 2011
Play me off
One of the fun fringe events at Build in Belfast was The Standardistas’ Open Book Exam:
Unlike the typical quiz, the Open Book Exam demands the use of iPhones, iPads, Androids—even Zunes—to avail of the internet’s wealth of knowledge, required to answer many of the formidable questions.
Now one of the principles of this unusual pub quiz was that cheating was encouraged. Hence the encouragement to use internet-enabled devices to get to Google and Wikipedia as quickly as the network would allow. In that spirit, Andy suggested a strategy of “running interference.”
So while others on the team were taking information from the web, I created a Wikipedia account to add misinformation to the web.
Again, let me stress, this was entirely Andy’s idea.
The town of Clover, South Carolina ceased being twinned Larne and became twinned with Belfast instead.
You can mess with geography. You can mess with measurements. But you do. Not. Mess. With. Keyboard Cat.
For some good clean Wikipedia fun, you can always try wiki racing:
To Wikirace, first select a page off the top of your head. Using “Random page” works well, as well as the featured article of the day. This will be your beginning page. Next choose a destination page. Generally, this destination page is something very unrelated to the beginning page. For example, going from apple to orange would not be challenging, as you would simply start at the apple page, click a wikilink to fruit and then proceed to orange. A race from Jesus Christ to Subway (restaurant) would be more of a challenge, however. For a true test of skill, attempt Roman Colosseum to Orthographic projection.
Then there’s the simple pleasure of getting to Philosophy:
Some Wikipedia readers have observed that clicking on the first link in the main text of a Wikipedia article, and then repeating the process for subsequent articles, usually eventually gets you to the Philosophy article.
Seriously. Try it.
Friday, February 25th, 2011
Read it and weep. Here are the articles on Wikipedia that reference URLs that are getting axed as part of the BBC’s upcoming cull.
Friday, February 11th, 2011
What a wonderful idea for a blog: “Collecting Wikipedia’s finest  prose.”
Thursday, February 3rd, 2011
Brilliant; just brilliant. Connor O’Brien remains skeptical about the abstract permanence of “the cloud.” The observations are sharp and the tone is spot-on.
If your only photo album is Facebook, ask yourself: since when did a gratis web service ever demonstrate giving a flying fuck about holding onto the past?