Andrew Hussie's Homestuck was a vast, sprawling, impenetrable, hostile webcomic, and it only become harder to define as its popularity grew and its volume stretched toward a million words...
If you ask a fan, you get a flood of enthusiastic nonsense: It’s… well, it’s a webcomic, but sometimes it’s more like an old-school text-based roleplaying game. It’s about a group of kids who are playing that game, and also cause the end of the world…. It’s about growing up, but there’s also time travel, and of course we can’t forget about the alien trolls! and there’s like, complex four-dimensional romance! and really touching moments, and surreal humor, and so many callbacks, self-references, and running jokes I don’t know what it’s even about except for itself, I mean, the author appears as a character, and then gets killed, and the fourth wall isn’t just broken: fourth walls are a tool used by the characters to travel from the… well, see there are lots of universes, and dream universes-
What it was, writes Ben Tolkin, was the first true work of internet art. Participation in the vast, sprawling, impenetrable, hostile subculture around it was an integral part of the storytelling experience.
Homestuck is the first media directed at people for whom the Internet is a way of life, the constantly connected, information-rich community, rather than the individual viewer. Homestuck may not have been written by all of us, but it was written for all of us; since its beginnings as a forum game, Hussie’s writing can only be read by a team constantly supplying each other with knowledge. Read the rest
Trump's fans are having a tough time so far today. First, the realization struck many that one must be registered before election day to vote in all but 14 states. Second, the Trumpernet seems to be context-collapsing: they might yet win the night, but backstabbing and chaos is already upon it. A subreddit, r/the_meltdown, is collecting the most spectacular ragequits. Most are from /pol/, though, which is as much a performance venue as anything else.
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In a brand new series for the Webby Awards where I'm editor-at-large, I commissioned the talented comic artist Andy Warner to illustrate the wild history of the Web, from inspiring eureka moments to crackpot ideas that changed the world to fantastic failures.
The first comic in the series is: "Twitter's First Chirps"!
And for more of Andy's work, I highly recommend his absolutely wonderful book just out this week, Brief Histories of Everyday Objects, the illustrated stories behind life’s most common and underappreciated items. Read the rest
Adblock Plus, an adblocking plugin recently unveiled as a trojan horse for a new ad network, claimed Google and AppNexus were among its partners. This is not so, according to Google and AppNexus. Read the rest
Facebook is at war with users who block ads, and battle proceeds apace. Just two days after boasting that it could serve ads that were undetectable by adblockers, Facebook got a rude awakening in the form of updates to AdBlock that detected them just fine. But it isn't giving up, and has already adjusted its code to once again circumvent the blocks.
A source close to Facebook tells me that today, possibly within hours, the company will push an update to its site’s code that will nullify Adblock Plus’ workaround. Apparently it took two days for Adblock Plus to come up with the workaround, and only a fraction of that time for Facebook to disable it.
Update: A source says Facebook is now rolling out the code update that will disable Adblock Plus’ workaround. It should reach all users soon.]
Still, the cat-and-mouse game is sure to rage on.
AdBlock is at a disadvantage due to Facebook's engineering resources and ability to update its site on-the-fly. That said, Facebook loses more money from each lost ad than AdBlock pays to remove it, which creates an asymmetrical fight. AdBlock is, of course, not a noble venture—it dominates the ad blocking market and whitelists ads from publishers that pay it protection money.
Adblockers generally distinguish ads from content by looking at how web pages are structured and where they come from. To those unfamiliar with HTML, web pages are a nest of boxes, each tagged as a <paragraph or a <division or an <articleor what-have-you, with each identified or classified so that other code can decide what it looks like, where it goes, or what content gets pasted into it as the page renders. Read the rest
Vincent Riemer made a TR-808 drum machine that runs in the browser, complete with all twiddly controls, the classic turn-of-the-eighties color scheme, and all the cowbell you can handle. Read the rest
This bucolic scene is a work of art that anyone can attempt—so long as they have an unrooted treestump close to hand and the brilliant skills of Alison Moritsugu. [via r/Art] Read the rest
"Cuck" is an insult lately beloved of bigots, spreading inexorably from Reddit to the schoolyards of America. What makes it beautiful is that it exposes the speaker's interest in a relatively obscure category of porn centered on the menacing appeal of big black dicks to scared white men: that being by far the most widespread use of the term online before it ascended to the pantheon of inadvertently-revealing insults. Read the rest
I'm not bitter or anything, but Twitter has denied my request for verification. Read the rest
This simulation of live mobile internet stats
offers a sense of scale: there are millions of concurrent Google searches, and, every minute, about half a million photos posted on WhatsApp, 3,000 smartphones sold (roughly half from Samsung and Apple), 35m messages sent on Facebook, and 40m emails opened. It is a marketing infographic, take heed, but it does conclude "Heck some people think smartphones are the gateway to transhumanism, where one day we will fully merge with machines!", which is nice. Read the rest
has just one job: find the unicode character that most closely matches the drawing you give it. It did pretty good finding the Ted Cruz symbol (and many similar ones, though the weirder you get the less likely your system will have a font that includes it) Read the rest
is a website that takes an image and attempts to find its compositional center point. It works well with designy images that have an obvious geometry to them and well-defined shapes to find and center — think logotype surrounded by whitespace. I'm not having a lot of success with photographs, though. [via
] Read the rest
Hitherto believed to be a fairly recent innovation derived from the imperative quality of official telegraphy, etc., it turns out that there is a much longer history of using all-caps text to signify SHOUTING AT THE READER. Glenn Fleishman:
I’m here to BLOW THIS OUT OF THE WATER, with a series of citations that date back to 1856. People have been uppercase shouting intentionally for a century more than recollected. And, as with so many things, longtime Internet users want to claim credit, when they really just passed on and more broadly popularized an existing practice...
The first clear citation I can find is in the Evening Star, a Washington, D.C., newspaper. It appears on February 28, 1856 and was syndicated to other papers around the same time. In a “hilarious” dialect story about a Dutchman who seems to be disease-ridden, this wonderful sentence appears:
[“]I dells you I’ve got der small pox. Ton’t you vetsteh? der SMALL POX!” This time he shouted it out in capital letters.
And that's just an explicit reference to allcaps-as-shouting. Implicitly, it goes back to the Stuart era.
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Sue Walker, the director of collections and archives in typography at the University of Reading, England, found an apposite description in a 1674 book, The Compleat English Schoolmaster, by Elisha Coles. The author wrote that a whole word in capitals “is alwa[y]es more than ordinarily remarkable; as some signal name, Title, Inscription, or the like...”
Unlike URL shorteners, Shady URL
takes any URL you give it and generates a sinister long one instead: "Don't just shorten your URL, make it suspicious and frightening."
For example, boingboing.net becomes
http://www.5z8.info/pirate-anything_p5r2pa_getPersonalData-start and twitter.net becomes
The creation of Mike Lacher, it was revamped by snipe. Read the rest