It’s always been real to me, whether we’re IRL or not

Monday, 25 February, 2013

I’ve never liked the use of the term “in real life”, or IRL, to distinguish our off-line interactions with others from those conducted online, or in cyberspace. I’ve always seen communication, or conversation, that takes place online, being for the most part, a simple extension of our on-going, and very real, day-to-day dealings with people.

And while Massively multiplayer online role-playing game environments, such as “World of Warcraft”, and the like, may be possible exceptions, they’re another story.

I don’t think though too many people go along with the notion that “cyberspace” is some sort of alternative reality anymore, but had more articles like the one Michael Lind wrote recently been in circulation 15 plus years ago, the sentiment might have been dispelled much earlier on:

If you’re not convinced by now that the very notion of cyberspace is silly, try substituting “fax” or “telephone” or “telegraph” for “cyber” in words and sentences. The results will be comical. “Activists denounced government criminal surveillance policies for colonizing Fax Space.” “Should Telephone Space be commercialized?” Again, the point is not that telecommunications should not be structured and governed in the public interest, but rather that the debate about the public interest is not well served by the Land of Oz metaphor.

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Proof, I think, that returning to your past is never wise

Monday, 28 January, 2013

Anyone else feeling nostalgic for the good old days, being the 1990s, of Internet Explorer?

No, I didn’t think so.

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The physical internet is in the pipeline and constantly on tap

Monday, 22 October, 2012

Google data centre pipes

Photos of Google’s extensive server networks… as you can see there’s no missing the efforts to incorporate their branding colours into the data centre infrastructure.

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Remember when the internet used to be our playground?

Friday, 23 March, 2012

The cyberflânerie was an early inhabitant of the web, who was especially common in the late 1990s, but who has all but vanished today.

Something similar has happened to the Internet. Transcending its original playful identity, it’s no longer a place for strolling – it’s a place for getting things done. Hardly anyone “surfs” the Web anymore. The popularity of the “app paradigm,” whereby dedicated mobile and tablet applications help us accomplish what we want without ever opening the browser or visiting the rest of the Internet, has made cyberflânerie less likely. That so much of today’s online activity revolves around shopping – for virtual presents, for virtual pets, for virtual presents for virtual pets – hasn’t helped either. Strolling through Groupon isn’t as much fun as strolling through an arcade, online or off.

I’m thinking that anyone who was doing just about anything online during the mid to late 90s was probably a cyberflânerie. To some degree anyway.

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Make money online with Monopoly’s virtual properties

Thursday, 23 February, 2012

Web lovers edition of Monopoly

Istanbul based design studio Make Some Design has created a version of Monopoly that features web properties such as Facebook, Yahoo!, Flickr, and the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) rather than the more usual streets and railway stations of London.

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We once lived in brick and mortar but now we call the cloud home

Thursday, 13 October, 2011

If brick and mortar businesses such as shops are all going online then it makes sense that the place we call home will eventually follow suit.

What the web has inspired, then, is a postmodern understanding of what “home” is: a de-physicalised, conceptual and psychological phenomenon that externalises its invisible meanings. And interaction designers recognise this: the web is another castle that the Englishman can live in, and he seeks to create virtual places that have as much effect on pride, self-esteem and identity as the bricks and mortar version where he sleeps.

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The internet does not come with an operating manual

Tuesday, 13 September, 2011

David Hayes’ guide to the deceptively simple undertakings of finding, reading, and publishing, content online.

Out­side of Face­book, the can-be-used-for pub­lish­ing plat­form that most civil­ians are likely to have heard about is Twit­ter, which hardly qual­i­fies as a pub­lish­ing plat­form. If you’re ever look­ing for an old tweet, you’ll quickly real­ize that the medium is built to be short-lived. That’s not an inher­ently bad thing, but any­one who has the com­pul­sion to record their thoughts in a pub­lic way prob­a­bly doesn’t want to do so on such an ephemeral plat­form. Add to that the char­ac­ter limit and I would con­tend that any­one try­ing to use Twit­ter for much more than fool­ing around is act­ing fool­ishly. So, one won­ders, how do I pub­lish things in a pub­lic way so they can be found later?

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What a tangled web our internet technologies weave

Friday, 9 September, 2011

Trace the evolution of web technologies, that make every last thing we do online possible, since the early 1990s.

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This world wide web wave thing could be a real game changer…

Monday, 1 August, 2011

In a 1995 memo titled “The Internet Tidal Wave”, Bill Gates tells Microsoft executives that the internet, which he then considered to be the the most important technological development since the personal computer in 1981, is to become the company’s primary focus.

One scary possibility being discussed by Internet fans is whether they should get together and create something far less expensive than a PC which is powerful enough for Web browsing. This new platform would optimize for the datatypes on the Web. Gordon Bell and others approached Intel on this and decided Intel didn’t care about a low cost device so they started suggesting that General Magic or another operating system with a non-Intel chip is the best solution.

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We lived on farms, then cities, and now we live in… utopia online?

Tuesday, 19 July, 2011

While the internet has not exactly become the online paradise that some early adopters envisioned, some of the places it has taken us have been far from dull nonetheless.

But studying the history of the internet is impossible without studying the ideas, biases, and desires of its early cheerleaders, a group distinct from the engineers. This included Stewart Brand, Kevin Kelly, John Perry Barlow, and the crowd that coalesced around Wired magazine after its launch in 1993. They were male, California-based, and had fond memories of the tumultuous hedonism of the 1960s. These men emphasised the importance of community and shared experiences; they viewed humans as essentially good, influenced by rational deliberation, and tending towards co-operation. Anti-Hobbesian at heart, they viewed the state and its institutions as an obstacle to be overcome – and what better way to transcend them than via cyberspace?

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