Internet

Is Google's algorithm making the web stupid?

In Is Google making the web stupid?, Seth Godin suggests that the declining prominence of organic results in Google searches is significantly to blame:

If you want traffic, Google’s arc makes clear to publishers, you’re going to have to pay for it.

Which is their right, of course, but that means that the ad tactics on every other site have to get ever more aggressive, because search traffic is harder to earn with good content. And even more germane to my headline, it means that content publishers are moving toward social and viral traffic, because they can no longer count on search to work for them. It’s this addiction to social that makes the web dumber. If you want tonnage, lower your standards.

(Don’t miss the cited Aaron Wall article as well.)

From Google and blogs: “Shit.” – Marco.org

Wiki creator reinvents collaboration, again

This new wiki is composed of a server and a client written in CoffeeScript. The server is a minimal persistence engine that's designed for scenarios ranging from laboratory control systems to academic server farms. The pages it stores contain only JSON, rendered by the client, which does most of the work. Two JSON objects comprise a page: the story (a set of items) and the journal (which remembers how items were added, edited, moved, or deleted). You add items to the page by means of plug-ins that inject paragraphs of plain text, HTML, or markdown, as well as images, video, equations, raw data, charts, and computations. 

From Wiki creator reinvents collaboration, again | InfoWorld

Vint Cerf warns of 'digital Dark Age'

Vint Cerf, a "father of the internet", says he is worried that all the images and documents we have been saving on computers will eventually be lost.

Currently a Google vice-president, he believes this could occur as hardware and software become obsolete.

He fears that future generations will have little or no record of the 21st Century as we enter what he describes as a "digital Dark Age".

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-31450389

Paperbackswap goes from free to fee

Paperbackswap.com sent the following email to users of the site on February 1.

Dear Members,

Happy February!

We are proud that we have been able to provide PaperBackSwap to you for free for the past 10 years. However, we have stated from the beginning that there may come a time when we need to charge a nominal fee in order to support the club's growth and to offer new services.

In order to maintain the service levels that you have come to expect, PaperBackSwap needs to begin charging swap fees of 49 cents per book request. As explained below, there are other options for you to consider, and also a way to avoid swap fees by using PBS Printed Postage which would allow you to continue to swap for free!

2015 will be our eleventh year of providing this club for book lovers all over the country. It’s been a decade of fabulous growth, in which we’ve overseen the exchange of nearly 20 million books; by any calculation, our members have saved millions of dollars. Through the years, our site has sustained itself with optional services (such as Printed Postage fees and new-book sales). We’d like to do more with the club - fix things that aren’t working well, enhance others, and introduce new features (such as a mobile app, and continuing to investigate ebook swapping). We really can’t do that without some “elbow room” from revenue.

Beginning February 15, 2015, as a member in good standing at PaperBackSwap, you can select:

A Standard Membership at $20 per year ($18 for early subscribers), that includes unlimited swapping, new features, and a 500-item Wish List. Best Value!

A Limited Membership at $12 per year, where you'll get the ability to request 30 books without paying swap fees, some new features, and your Wish List limit will stay at 200 items.

For those who don’t swap often or who don't want to commit to an annual membership, there is an “A la Carte” option at 49 cents per book request, with a Wish List limit of 100 items.

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What the Web Said Yesterday

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/01/26/cobweb

“I’m completely in praise of what Tim Berners-Lee did,” Kahle told me, “but he kept it very, very simple.” The first Web page in the United States was created at SLAC, Stanford’s linear-accelerator center, at the end of 1991. Berners-Lee’s protocol—which is not only usable but also elegant—spread fast, initially across universities and then into the public. “Emphasized text like this is a hypertext link,” a 1994 version of SLAC’s Web page explained. In 1991, a ban on commercial traffic on the Internet was lifted. Then came Web browsers and e-commerce: both Netscape and Amazon were founded in 1994. The Internet as most people now know it—Web-based and commercial—began in the mid-nineties. Just as soon as it began, it started disappearing.

Q&A: One Million Preprints and Counting

Today (December 29), the preprint server clocked its one-millionth upload. In anticipation of this milestone, The Scientist spoke with ArXiv founder Paul Ginsparg of Cornell University about sharing data, peer review, and what%u2019s next for the resource.

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How Ninja Librarians are Ensuring Patrons' Electronic Privacy

Librarians in Massachusetts are working to give their patrons a chance to opt-out of pervasive surveillance. Partnering with the ACLU of Massachusetts, area librarians have been teaching and taking workshops on how freedom of speech and the right to privacy are compromised by the surveillance of online and digital communications -- and what new privacy-protecting services they can offer patrons to shield them from unwanted spying of their library activity.

Library Patrons Are At Risk

One of the authors of this Boing Boing article, Alison Macrina, is an IT librarian at the Watertown Free Public Library in Massachusetts, a member of Boston's Radical Reference Collective, and an organizer working to bring privacy rights workshops to libraries throughout the northeast. Librarians know that patrons visit libraries for all kinds of online research needs, and therefore have a unique responsibility in helping keep that information safe. It's not just researchers who suffer; our collective memory, culture, and future are harmed when writers and researchers stop short of pursuing intellectual inquiry.

In addition to installing a number of privacy-protecting tools on public PCs at the Watertown library, Alison has been teaching patron computer classes about online privacy and organized a series of workshops for Massachusetts librarians to get up to speed on the ins and outs of digital surveillance.

Petition To Stop Hennepin County Library's plan to shut down the KidLinks and Teenlinks websites

https://www.causes.com/campaigns/77615-save-kidlinks-teenlinks-birthtosix

Hennepin County Library is planning to shut down the KidLinks and TeenLinks websites. Tell the Hennepin County Commissioners to support children and teens by continuing to provide reading development through these outstanding online resources.

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Observations on The New Millenium and How Technology has Changed Our Habits

A piece called DIARY from the London Review of Books from Rebecca Solnit. It begins:

"In or around June 1995 human character changed again. Or rather, it began to undergo a metamorphosis that is still not complete, but is profound – and troubling, not least because it is hardly noted. When I think about, say, 1995, or whenever the last moment was before most of us were on the internet and had mobile phones, it seems like a hundred years ago. Letters came once a day, predictably, in the hands of the postal carrier. News came in three flavours – radio, television, print – and at appointed hours. Some of us even had a newspaper delivered every morning."

The story of WebP: How Google wants to speed up the web, one image at a time

Google wants WebP to become the internet’s next dominant image file format. That’s not likely going to happen anytime soon — but WebP could still have a huge impact.

http://gigaom.com/2014/07/19/the-story-of-webp-how-google-wants-to-speed-up-the-web-one-imag...

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