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Category Archives: Internet

The Founder of GeoCities on What Killed the ‘Old Internet’

Gizmodo: “David Bohnett on what sets the social web apart, how GeoCities handled hate speech, and the profound need to log off more often. In the early aughts, my wheezing dialup connection often operated as if it were perpetually out of breath. Thus, unlike my childhood friends, it was near to impossible for me to watch videos, TV shows, or listen to music. Far from feeling limited, I felt like I was lucky, for I had access to an encyclopedia of lovingly curated pages about anything I wanted to know—which in those days was anime—the majority of which was conveniently located on GeoCities. For all the zoomers scrunching up their brows, here’s a primer. Back in the 1990s, before the birth of modern web hosting household names like GoDaddy and WP Engine, it wasn’t exactly easy or cheap to publish a personal website. This all changed when GeoCities came on the scene in 1994. The company gave anyone their own little space of the web if they wanted it, providing users with roughly 2 MB of space for free to create a website on any topic they wished. Millions took GeoCities up on its offer, creating their own homemade websites with web counters, flashing text, floating banners, auto-playing sound files, and Comic Sans. Unlike today’s Wild Wild Internet, websites on GeoCities were organized into virtual neighborhoods, or communities, built around themes. “HotSprings” was dedicated to health and fitness, while “Area 51” was for sci-fi and fantasy nerds. There was a bottom-up focus on users and the content they created, a mirror of what the public internet was like in its infancy. Overall, at least 38 million webpages were built on GeoCities. At one point, it was the third most-visited domain online. Yahoo acquired GeoCities in 1999 for $3.6 billion. The company lived on for a decade more until Yahoo shut it down in 2009, deleting millions of sites.

Nearly two decades have passed since GeoCities, founded by David Bohnett, made its debut, and there is no doubt that the internet is a very different place than it was then. No longer filled with webpages on random subjects made by passionate folks, it now feels like we live in a cyberspace dominated by skyscrapers—named Facebook, Google, Amazon, Twitter, and so on—instead of neighborhoods..”

How Misinformation About COVID Vaccines and Pregnancy Took Root Early On and Why It Won’t Go Away

Pro Publica: “Before coronavirus vaccines were even released, a disinformation campaign used a moment of national and personal vulnerability to prey on those who were pregnant or who planned to become pregnant.But that was only the beginning. Misinformation seeped into every corner of social media, onto Facebook feeds and into Instagram images, pregnancy apps and… Continue Reading

Brave vs. Tor: Which Browser Offers More Security and Privacy?

MakeUseOf: “There are dozens of web browsers out there, some more popular than others, but only a select few can actually be considered both safe and private. Brave and the Tor Browser are certainly among them, and though they are similar in some respects, they are two very different pieces of software. So, how exactly… Continue Reading

Visualized: The Top 25 U.S. Newspapers by Daily Circulation

Visual Capitalist: “Most people today—more than 8 in 10 Americans—get their news via digital devices, doing their reading on apps, listening to podcasts, or scrolling through social media feeds. It’s no surprise then that over the last year, only one U.S. newspaper of the top 25 most popular in the country saw positive growth in… Continue Reading

Why The Massive China Police Database Hack Is Bad News For Surveillance States Everywhere

TechDirt: “A couple of weeks ago, Techdirt wrote about how an anonymous user had put up for sale the data of an estimated one billion Chinese citizens, probably obtained from the Shanghai police.  Back then, what exactly had happened was a little unclear — not least because the Chinese authorities were shutting down any discussion… Continue Reading

What is end-to-end encryption?

Mashable: “One easy way to up your privacy game and communicate securely online is to start using apps that utilize end-to-end encryption. End-to-end encryption prevents any bad actors from picking up your messages in between you and the person you’re sending a message to. Basically, end-to-end encryption means that your messages are for your eyes… Continue Reading

Celebrating over 3,000 Historical and Contemporary Legal Reports Now Online

In Custodia Legis: “For more than eighty years, the Law Library of Congress has been engaged in the preparation of research reports on legal topics, with an emphasis on foreign, comparative, and international law, in response to requests from Congress, the executive and judicial branches of the federal government, and others. The Law Library has… Continue Reading

Open-source flight trackers have been repeatedly used to break news over the last few weeks

Vice: “More than 700,000 people were tracking the flight path of the U.S. military plane believed to be carrying House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this morning. She touched down in Taiwan at 10:50 pm local time, making Pelosi the first high-ranking American official to visit the self-governing island in 25 years, amid threats of a military… Continue Reading

Report – Hidden Harms: The Misleading Promise of Monitoring Students Online

Center for Democracy & Technology: “The pressure on schools to keep students safe, especially to protect them physically and support their mental health, has never been greater. The mental health crisis, which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and concerns about the increasing number of school shootings have led to questions about the role… Continue Reading

New WorldCat.org sneak peak

YouTube: “Danielle Bromelia, OCLC Product Manager, provides a preview of the redesigned and soon-to-be-released WorldCat.org. The new, mobile-friendly site offers more ways to reach people in your community, including those who don’t currently use your library. You’ll learn how WorldCat.org helps people find unique collections and other resources in your library and other libraries nearby… Continue Reading

The uneven energy costs of working from home

The Verge: “The COVID-19 pandemic has given us a sneak peek into how working from home changes electricity demand and what that might mean for Americans’ utility bills. The picture it’s painted so far isn’t very pretty, particularly for anyone who’s already struggling to meet their needs. The transition to remote work is changing our… Continue Reading