Mourning An Internet Friend

April 17, 2017 By: erik Category: Internet

Black RibbonI have a different relationship to social networks than I think most people do. As a transatlantic telecommuter, I spend much of my day physically isolated from other humans. When I was doing this before Twitter and Facebook, I was much more chatty and collegial with my coworkers over whatever chat service we used to use. I also blogged more. Whilst I certainly suffer from the distraction, filter bubble, and other dopamine-based addictive issues with Facebook (I saw a report the other day that the average Facebook user that logs in every day checks their newsfeed 150 times a day…seems high, but…) that everyone does. But Facebook also scratches my innate human social itch that would not otherwise be alleviated by watercooler chitchat.
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5/8/13 – Fibonacci Day Viral Experiment

May 08, 2013 By: erik Category: Experiments, Geeky, Internet

Happy Fibonacci DaySeveral months ago, amongst random meandering thoughts, I realized that there would be a day this year that would match three consecutive numbers on the Fibonacci sequence. For those of you who can’t remember your math teacher’s face, the Fibonacci sequence is the sequence of numbers that starts with 0 and 1, and creates each number in the sequence by summing the previous two. So it goes: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89… You may notice that three of those numbers are 5, 8, and 13, which are today’s date. In the United States and nowhere else. Anyway, this sequence is important throughout mathematics, including the awesomeness of the Golden Ratio and its surprising, but not so surprising when you think about it, occurrence in Nature.
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Meeting Internet People

October 08, 2012 By: erik Category: Geeky, Musings

Facebook Friends BreakdownThis week, I am traveling to Brussels to meet some very good friends of mine, with whom I communicate on a daily basis, but whom I have never actually met in person. This is a very, very strange phenomenon which has only been possible since the rise of the internet. Maybe before the internet, you could have a pen pal that you get to know intimately before meeting, but that’s not the same as feeling part of a social group dynamic like I do.
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Why WWW is stupid

January 19, 2012 By: erik Category: Complaining, Fighting Stupidity, Geeky, Internet

Back when the internet first began way back in yesteryear, there were many protocols (i.e. ways of transferring data). There was telnet for actually logging into command shells on remote servers; there was FTP for transferring files to and from remote servers; there was Gopher, which provided a very user-friendly system of menus to navigate to get to various information; and there was HTTP for requesting these newfangled documents with hyperlinks in them. Because of the interconnectedness of these hypertext documents, Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau coined the phrase World Wide Web. There was a previous long-standing practice of naming servers by the internet service they provided, so FTP servers had a “ftp.” prefix, Gopher servers had a “gopher.” prefix, etc. So naturally they started naming these “web” servers with a “www.” prefix.
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Cookies Are Not Evil

October 05, 2011 By: erik Category: Geeky, Internet, Marketing, Musings

The Real Cookie Monster, by Jeremy HoffmanThere’s been a bit of an online privacy storm lately over the fact that Facebook doesn’t remove all the cookies from your browser when you log off. Every three or four months, there’s a big “OMG!! Facebook is EVIL and breaching my privacy!” wave that runs over the online community before everyone forgets it and keeps using the service.
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Facebook’s Power: Targeted Ads

October 03, 2011 By: erik Category: Geeky, Internet, Marketing

Facebook ExclamationFacebook’s genius has been to make it “cool” to “tell all your friends” what movies and products and politics you like, which is exactly the data advertisers are dying to get their hands on.

A few months ago, I placed an ad on Facebook, mainly as an experiment to satisfy my curiosity about how their advertising system works. It was a few days before the British royal wedding, and I had done up a silly little photoshopped image of the bride and groom with their faces swapped, so I decided to see how much traffic I could drive to that page. I told Facebook I was willing to spend up to $10 on the ad over three days (I ended up pulling the plug, curiosity quenched, after spending only $8). Then I got to select who the ad was presented to…and that’s when things got creepy.
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Giving Disqus A Throw

May 24, 2011 By: erik Category: Internet, Reviews, Wordpress

DisqusLately around the internet, I’ve been noticing more and more sites, serious respectable magazines and important blogs, switching their comment mechanism to use Disqus. My only experience with Disqus in the past was using it as a disgusting javascript hack to allow comments on a Tumblr blog. It seemed like a strangely useless service, but it has matured a lot in the three years since my initial evaluation. Let’s evaluate the pros and cons of using Disqus on a WordPress blog like this one.
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The Private Internet

September 06, 2010 By: erik Category: Geeky, Internet, Reviews

AOLbookRemember back in 1995, when companies didn’t advertise their internet urls so much, but their AOL keywords. “Find us online with AOL keyword ‘fluffy anvils’!” The reason this worked is that so many people connected to the internet via AOL that some people never even ventured out into the world wide web, but kept their entire online experience confined to AOL’s private servers. Corporations had, and I presume paid handsomely for, their own AOL pages.
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