Maciej, more commonly known as Pinboard on Twitter (the name of his bookmarking service that I use for these weekly links), is my internet hero. His talk on the history of radio, from anarchic beginnings as a peer-to-peer medium, through to centralisation and exploitation by astute political propagandists, offers relevant lessons for the future of today’s internet.
In less than four decades, radio had completed the journey from fledgeling technology, to nerdy hobby, to big business, to potent political weapon.
This trajectory must have come as a shock to its pioneers.
At its birth, it seemed like radio would only be a force for good. How could something that connects people together be anything but beneficial?
But radio waves are just oscillating electromagnetic fields. They really don’t care how we use them. All they want is to go places at the speed of light.
It is hard to accept that good people, working on technology that benefits so many, with nothing but good intentions, could end up building a powerful tool for the wicked.
But we can’t afford to re-learn this lesson every time.
A friend sent this on – if you’re feeling weary about the incessant hype around the blockchain, this will depress you even further but at least the great writing will cheer you up. Levine starts with the whole silly KodakCoin business but makes a wider point that maybe nobody really believes in this stuff: like other pump-and-dump scams everyone knows it’s a scam, people just think they can make a quick buck before selling on to a greater fool.
I don’t know what to call this – a ‘graphic essay’? It’s a ‘graphic novel’ treatment by Mike Dawson of an essay by Chris Hayes identifying some of the origins of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars in the sugary nostalgia for World War II that broke out in the US in the late 1990s. Both are well worth a read.
A useful and very comprehensive collection of resources for naming things. Lovely typography too.
The article I wish I wrote about quitting social media. Joel Spolsky muses on why Twitter and Facebook make us unhappy, and how “when you design software, you create the future”.
Yours truly with a much less eloquent ragequit of Facebook.
I love articles about industries I know nothing about, like this one on mens fashion. Some interesting insights into the state of the modern fashion industry.
Another article that starts with mens fashion, but takes a fascinating diversion into the world of generic brands, drop shipping and Instagram. Also starring a 17 year-old YouTube star from Ratoath, Co. Meath (Ratoath!) who is a leading light in this business, posting his video updates to his thousands of followers on how to get rich quick.
A sweet story on the design of the iPhone’s first emoji, from an intern who worked at Apple. Don’t read if you’re particularly fond of the ice cream emoji ;-]