Ars Technica: “The Linux of social media”—How LiveJournal pioneered (then lost) blogging. “Last April, famed writer and hero-murderer George R.R. Martin announced that he was hoisting his ancient blog from his moldering LiveJournal onto his personal website. For casual Game of Thrones fans, it was a minor hiccup at best—most clicked the new link and never looked back. For a certain strata of enthusiasts, however, this was a far more momentous move. Described as ‘the last holdout’ by longtime LiveJournal volunteer-turned-employee Janine Costanzo, Martin’s blog was perhaps the once-blogging-giant’s last bond to the world of great pop culture. So while the author may never finish his most beloved literary series, his simple act of Web hosting logistics truly marks the end of an era.”
Motherboard: The Rise and Demise of RSS. Oh boy, if I ever agreed less with a headline… “About a decade ago, the average internet user might well have heard of RSS. Really Simple Syndication, or Rich Site Summary—what the acronym stands for depends on who you ask—is a standard that websites and podcasts can use to offer a feed of content to their users, one easily understood by lots of different computer programs. Today, though RSS continues to power many applications on the web, it has become, for most people, an obscure technology.” Important but depressing.
The Next Web: The internet is toxic because humans are toxic. “Facebook’s problems can’t be solved with more data or better code. They’re simply the most potent and alarming example of the fact that the internet has failed as a public forum. Not long ago, the scientists and software developers who pioneered the World Wide Web thought it would democratize publishing and usher in a more open, educated, and thoughtful chapter of history. But while the internet and its offshoot technologies have improved society and daily life in many ways, they have been an unmitigated disaster for the way people communicate and learn.”
Wired: The Next Great (Digital) Extinction . “I’ve been thinking about the GOE [the Great Oxidation Event], the Cambrian Explosion, and the emergence of the mammals a lot lately, because I’m pretty sure we’re in the midst of a similarly disruptive and pivotal moment in history that I’m calling the Great Digitization Event, or GDE. And right now we’re in that period where the oxygen, or in this case the internet as used today, is rapidly and indifferently killing off many systems while allowing new types of organizations to emerge.”
The Next Web: My colleague Googled my dad and it got weird. “It’s hard to describe how weird it is to have your coworker send you a never-seen-before photo of your parent, and even weirder when said parent in said photo looks like a baby in a suit. Seriously, it’s uncanny. Anyway, this photo led my colleagues and I down a bit of a rabbit hole.”
Slate: The Very First Social Network. “The brainchild of the Advanced Research Projects Agency—ARPA, the progenitor of today’s DARPA—ARPANET was envisioned as a way for military-funded scientists to share an incredibly rare and costly commodity back then: computing time and power. At the time, only a handful of universities had computers. The only way to use one (or to transfer a file from one device to another) was to travel to the facility where the computer was housed. IBM even had planes whose job it was to fly computer files back and forth. ARPANET promised to solve this, making it possible for scientists not just to share computing time but to direct multiple computers toward a single problem or acquire a mountain of data with a single, fast-as-light query.” This article is from a book excerpt, and it looks like I have something to add to my reading list.
Gizmodo: How to Look Up Your Oldest Activity on Google, Facebook, Netflix, and more . “You might be familiar with Facebook regularly throwing heartwarming (or heartbreaking) memories in your face every once in a while, but if you want to take a serious dive into your digital past,. Here’s a guide to dredging into your your digital past on some of the most popular apps and services out there.”