Internet

The Wayback Machine Is Getting a Search Engine

The Wayback Machine is knowledge storage on a colossal scale: maintained by the Internet Archive, it’s a repository of how everything looked on the internet in the past. But the biggest libraries are the hardest to organize, which is why $2 million is being spent to give the Wayback Machine its very own Google.

The Laura and John Arnold Foundation announced yesterday that it’s donating $1.9 million to develop a search engine for the Wayback Machine. Why should you care?

From The Wayback Machine Is Getting a Search Engine

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Death by a thousand likes: How Facebook and Twitter are killing the open web

The answer is simple, but it isn’t easy. We need to stop pretending that content is free. Publications need to ask readers to pay for their content directly, and readers need to be willing to give up money, as opposed to their privacy and attention. This means that publications will have to abandon the rapid-growth business models driven by display ads, which have driven them to rely on Facebook for millions of pageviews a month.

There’s a lot to be gained in this scenario.

From Death by a thousand likes: How Facebook and Twitter are killing the open web - Quartz

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How Public Libraries Can Support Broadband Adoption

The barriers to broadband adoption are well-documented, and include digital literacy, relevancy and cost. Digital literacy and relevancy are often addressed simultaneously; libraries and non-profit organizations teach digital literacy skills through relevant use of the Internet and often provide direct training classes. To successfully increase broadband use in communities, all three barriers must be addressed through a diverse set of local partners with established roots in the community.

From How Public Libraries Can Support Broadband Adoption | PublicCEO

How eBay's CSS Framework Helps Enforce Accessibility

A user interface control not only needs to look like a certain control, it must be described as that control too. Take for example a button, one of the simplest of controls. There are many ways you can create something that looks like a button, but unless you use the actual button tag (or button role – more on roles later), it will not be described as a button.

Why does it need to be described as a button? Users of AT (assistive technology), such as a screen reader, may not be able to see what the control looks like visually; therefore it is the job of the screen reader to describe it aurally. A screen reader, such as VoiceOver for Mac OSX and iOS, can do this job only if we, the developers, ensure the correct semantics are present in our HTML code.

From How Our CSS Framework Helps Enforce Accessibility | eBay Tech Blog

Googling stuff can cause us to overestimate our own knowledge

The internet has changed the way we do many things, from organising a get-together to looking up a recipe. Tasks that little over a decade ago would have involved dozens of phone calls or a trip to the library, can now be completed in a heartbeat. There has been much animated debate about the potential relative harms or benefits of all this, but convincing evidence has not been forthcoming. Now a new study of 119 men and 83 women recruited through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk and published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General has found that after accessing information on the internet, people can experience an illusion of knowledge. Even if the internet hasn't necessarily changed the way we think, it seems it does have the potential to change our perceptions of what we think we know.

From BPS Research Digest: Googling stuff can cause us to overestimate our own knowledge

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Googling stuff can cause us to overestimate our own knowledge

The internet has changed the way we do many things, from organising a get-together to looking up a recipe. Tasks that little over a decade ago would have involved dozens of phone calls or a trip to the library, can now be completed in a heartbeat. There has been much animated debate about the potential relative harms or benefits of all this, but convincing evidence has not been forthcoming. Now a new study of 119 men and 83 women recruited through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk and published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General has found that after accessing information on the internet, people can experience an illusion of knowledge. Even if the internet hasn't necessarily changed the way we think, it seems it does have the potential to change our perceptions of what we think we know.

From BPS Research Digest: Googling stuff can cause us to overestimate our own knowledge

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It’s hard to believe today, but 10 years ago Wikipedia was widely considered doomed

Wikipedia was founded in 2001, and for the first few years was mostly treated as curiosity by those outside of the Wikipedia “movement.” But Wikipedia grew in popularity, and in 2005 became the most popular reference site on the internet. Popularity led to intense media scrutiny. Most commentators considered Wikipedia a doomed experiment run by utopian radicals. To give a sense of this for those who weren’t following the controversy at the time or don’t remember, here are some examples of popular critiques of Wikipedia from 2005.

From It’s hard to believe today, but 10 years ago Wikipedia was widely considered a doomed experiment… — Medium

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New top-level domains a money grab and a mistake: Paul Vixie

"I think it is a money grab. My own view is that ICANN functions as a regulator, and that as a regulator it has been captured by the industry that they are regulating. I think that there was no end-user demand whatsoever for more so-called DNS extensions, [or] global generic top-level domains (gTLDs)," he said.

From New top-level domains a money grab and a mistake: Paul Vixie | ZDNet

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The Internet's Dark Ages

It is not just access to knowledge, but the knowledge itself that’s at stake. Thousands of years ago, the Library of Alexandra was, as the astrophysicist Carl Sagan wrote, “the brain and heart of the ancient world.” For seven centuries, it housed hundreds of thousands of scrolls; great works of philosophy, literature, technology, math, and medicine. It took as many centuries for most of its collections to be destroyed.

The promise of the web is that Alexandria’s library might be resurrected for the modern world. But today’s great library is being destroyed even as it is being built. Until you lose something big on the Internet, something truly valuable, this paradox can be difficult to understand.

From The Internet's Dark Ages - The Atlantic

There's No DRM in JPEG - Let's Keep It That Way

The professional version of the JPEG format, JPEG 2000, already has a DRM extension called JPSEC. But usage of JPEG 2000 is limited to highly specialized applications such as medical imaging, broadcast and cinema image workflows, and archival, therefore the availability of DRM in JPEG 2000 hasn't affected the use of images online, where the legacy JPEG format remains dominant. Now, the JPEG Privacy and Security group is considering essentially backporting DRM to legacy JPEG images, which would have a much broader impact on the open Web.

From There's No DRM in JPEG—Let's Keep It That Way | Electronic Frontier Foundation

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