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
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
"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
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.
Read the rest
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...”
For example, boingboing.net becomes
http://www.5z8.info/pirate-anything_p5r2pa_getPersonalData-start and twitter.net becomes