Creative Beats is a single-serving music box designed to show how easy it is to create things when simple, effective tools are available. I reviewed a Novation Launchpad once and could barely figure it out, but I'd gotten something out of this within a couple of minutes:
It's inspired by a book project by Questlove, and made with Glitch. If the foolproof scale and single kick drum prove too limiting, there's plenty out there to graduate to. Read the rest
Glitch is a simple and powerful open-source canvas for experimenting on the web—and after a year of beta testing, it's ready for artists and coders to get stuck in. If you want to make things online but get put off by complicated frameworks, the headache of server set up, and myriad incompatible platforms your work has to end up running on, Glitch might be for you.
I tinkered with it for the first time last week, and within minutes had overcome hurdles that I thought I'd never have the time or energy to figure out.
To a casual visitor, Glitch looks like YouTube, but for digital artwork and rudimentary games. You can even embed stuff there on your own site, just like video, though you have to click into the editing tools to get the snippets.
Dig in, though, and it turns into a simple but powerful coding environment: one that can't be messed up, no matter how hard you try. For me, it seems to offer all the freewheeling instant gratification of the early web, but with modern tools and technology -- and the chance to collaborate with other people without having to teach them Git. The promise of just focusing on art or application code seems almost alien to the modern web, but here it is, all without having to be my own sysadmin, security expert and full-stack drudge.
Best of all, you can take anything anyone's done, clone it, and tinker with it, and see the results change live: the best and fastest way to learn markup and scripting languages. Read the rest
If you add Chirpss to your website, it will make a chirping noise whenever anyone comes or goes. You have to have Google Analytics installed (it relies on the realtime tracking GA provides) and the willingness to revisit the golden age of hit counters. Read the rest
Earth Wind Map shows the winds blasting over a beautiful, rotatable 3D animated globe. Various modes (click the text on the bottom left) show air, oceanic, particulate and even auroral maps. Read the rest
QuillBot rewrites phrases, making it easy to tweak results and understand what it's up to in each variation.
Four and seven years ago our fathers gave birth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and consecreated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Let's try that America. Read the rest
Pixel Chart splits images into their constituent pixels, then organizes them in various interesting ways that you can define. [via] Read the rest
Privacytools.io showcases web platforms, utilities and services that center on maintaining online user privacy. Anonymous browsing, decentralized social media, note-taking applications, even router firmware. There's a downloadable tool to help secure Windows 10, the "privacy nightmare" of operating systems.
Read the rest
"Arguing that you don't care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don't care about free speech because you have nothing to say." – Edward Snowden
Newer browsers notify users when a login form will be sent over an insecure connection. But some websites are replacing password boxes with plain text inputs to avoid triggering the warning – and using a special font, where all the characters are circles, to fool their users.
Troy Hunt makes an example of ShopCambridge.ca:
And as you've probably guessed by now, that "font" is nothing other than a single disc per character designed to be a visual representation of the real disc you'd normally see when entering text into a proper password field. It needs to work in this order because otherwise the place holder would no longer say "Password" and you'd instead see 8 round discs representing the letters of the word. The bottom line is, once all this is tied together then there's the veneer of a password field but because it isn't a password field, there's no browser warnings! It's like magic! More specifically, it's a pseudo password field designed to fool the user and deny them of the browser's visual warning designed to protect their password.
The craft involved is such that it can't be explained by sheer laziness. It's a peculiar mix of paranoia, marginal competence and the Dunning-Kruger effect.
Hahahaha. Read the rest
Webflow's history of the web is a Bayeaux Tapestry of obsolete virtues and current vices, a superimposition of new and old bad things. It's a clever and very 2017 way to market a web design app that lets normal people keep making worthwhile mistakes on the web -- a gateway to free expression -- as it becomes increasingly technical and forbidding.
I'm startled by how comfortingly, reliably minimal the very early stuff was. Even the lurid GIF explosion in late 1990s! Simple technology made even a terrible mess accessible. Read the rest
Alexis Madrigal describes What Facebook Did to American Democracy and why it was so hard to see it coming. Foreign exploitation of Facebook's ad system in the 2016 election was just the end result of Facebook's filter bubbles and its wildly successful efforts to get media to fill them. tl;dr: the horse was already dead before Russia flogged it.
The information systems that people use to process news have been rerouted through Facebook, and in the process, mostly broken and hidden from view. It wasn’t just liberal bias that kept the media from putting everything together. Much of the hundreds of millions of dollars that was spent during the election cycle came in the form of “dark ads.”
The truth is that while many reporters knew some things that were going on on Facebook, no one knew everything that was going on on Facebook, not even Facebook.
Facebook's uncanny method is to trickle enough traffic to publishers so they chum it constantly with Facebookish content, but not so much that publishers can assimilate Facebook visitors into their own audience. Unfortunately for this clever and destructive arrangement, the new far-right sites represented such a cohesive emergent affinity group that Facebook's machinery was co-opted.
It's said (usually on Twitter) that no-one is better than Nazis at exploiting a libertarian dropout's ideological impostures. This sort of thing usually strikes me as pompous and vague, but Facebook so perfectly embodies it I'm going to need two leftist energy bars for breakfast this morning. Read the rest
Short Trip is a scenic tram simulator made by Alexander Perrin. Every detail is hand-drawn, it takes only a few minutes to enjoy the ride (controls: right arrow), and it's the most perfect thing on the web today. You can even pick up and drop off passengers at the stations along the way.
It's free of charge but you can donate to Alexander through PayPal. Read the rest
In CSS, the style markup that goes with HTML, colors are encoded as hexadecimal RGB values of either 3 or 6 letters. This means that certain words, such as EFFACE and FACADE, are legitimate CSS colors. Allow for substitutions, such as 0 for O, and a full gamut presents itself, with BIOTIC and OTITIS and so on. c0ffee.surge.sh is a beautiful collection of all the words that work. Read the rest
Our friends at The Webby Awards have announced this year's recipients! The Webby Awards, now in its 21st year, celebrates well-known big sites and also fantastic indie operations I've never heard of before but can't wait to explore. Congratulations to our friends Adam Savage, Internet Archive, and all of the other winners and nominees! Webby Awards 2017 winners Read the rest
CelebrityNetWorth.com was a popular, data-driven website whose 12 staffers led serious efforts to research public figures and give a credible estimate of their fortunes. Google liked the look of this, so it made site founder Brian Warner a proposition: let Google include the Big Number as a featured "snippet" atop relevant search results, in return for the snippet linking to the website.
Warner, though, knew that the link offer was worthless and said no. Mysteriously, Google started "answering" questions about celebrities' net worth anyway, only occasionally disclosing the source; he seeded his database with a few fake celebrities to prove Google was using CelebrityNetWorth.com's data. The result was just as he predicted when he said no: his site's lost most of its traffic, even as Google depends on it to provide accurate answers.
Read the rest
Google’s push into direct answers has wide-reaching consequences for more than just small business owners who depend on search traffic. The email Google sent Warner in 2014 gives some insight into how Google selects reputable sources. Google wouldn’t answer questions about this, but based on the emails, the vetting was pretty thin; Google seemed more interested in whether the data was machine-readable than whether it was accurate. And the bar for featured snippets — the answers culled algorithmically from the web — is even lower, since it appears that any site good enough to rank in search results is good enough to serve as the source for Google’s canonical answers. That’s how you get erroneous answers that claim Barack Obama is organizing a coup, or that the Earth is flat, or that women are evil...
Flag Waver accepts uploaded images or URLs and turns them into an on-screen waving flag. There are advanced options for wind and hoisting! Sadly, you cannot export or save animations. Read the rest
ASMRion generates relaxing "Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response" soundscapes for you. There are ten sigils with sliders underneath them, each representing a particular sonic ingredient—"leaves rustling in the wind," "barbershop haircut," "whispering psychopath," etc—that allegedly trigger the vaunted ASMR response. Previously. Read the rest
Draw a maze at PathFinding.js, pick a an algorithm, and watch it explore and find its way to the target square. Read the rest