Blog

This blog rounds up my posts from around the web, including for the Harvard Business Review, the Wall Street Journal and Medium.

Cut the cord

Cords suck. The people of New England made this discovery at 1 am on December 12, 1986. That was when a single cable broke between White Plains, New York and Newark, New Jersey, knocking all of New England off the Internet. As incredible as it may sound today, back in...

Honoring the debt Canada’s connectivity owes to Chinese workers

When you choose a historical metaphor, you make claims on conscience as well as imagination. Canada chose to complete its national network of connectivity in November 1985, on the 100th anniversary of completing a national railway built on the hard work of ill-treated Chinese workers. The Canadian – and global — Internet is in danger of repeating that sad history.

Custom URL shorteners put the poetry back in domain names

Looking to create your own custom URL shortener, or running into trouble with YOURLs? Follow my sys admin's step-by-step directions for running YOURLS on an nginx server in this blog post on how to get (and give) great tech support. A man and a woman sit side-by-side...

25 rules of social media netiquette

The quality of our online communities depends on the attitudes and behaviors we bring to it. But Emily Post can’t always help: life online demands new ways of interacting. The term “netiquette” was coined in 1983, the same year that brought us our first list of guidelines for online behavior. The 13 rules laid down in 1983 are still as relevant as ever, but social media has brought new challenges and thus, new best practices. This post rounds up 25 netiquette rules from across the web, covering both longstanding and emergent principles.

6 ways to beat time zones with technology

If you want to pinpoint the moment when the machine takeover officially began, look back to 1982. That's when Time Magazine named The Computer as its "machine of the year", the first time the magazine awarded that honor to an object rather than a person. When Charles...

Picturing the Internet in 1981

The Sony Mavica camera, released in 1981, was the beginning of the digital camera revolution. The Mavica itself wasn't a true digital camera: it was a camera that captured video stills. But it was the first commercially released electronic camera, and it was a sign of...

6 questions to prepare you for a social media crisis

On October 27, 1980, the ARPANET -- the Internet's earliest incarnation -- had its first epic fail. I'm not talking about your garden-variety system glitch: I'm talking about a spectacular, network-wide outage. The entire network was offline for hours. Today it's hard...

Listening to the voice that says it’s ok to be online

I saw my first Broadway musical in 1979: a revival of The King and I starring Yul Brynner and Constance Towers. 1979 was the end of the decade in which microphones became ubiquitous on Broadway, so I heard a King who captured me not only with his stage presence but...

10 ways spam taught us to focus our attention

First seen in 1978, spam has become the vaccine for your attention span. It’s the toxin that has stimulated our immunity system’s defenses. Thanks to spam, we’ve had to find technical, social and personal ways of keeping our eyes on the 22% of e-mail that isn’t pure junk, and to avoid the 78% that is.

10 ways you can help to build the Internet

You can help to create the Internet without writing a single line of code. You can help create the online world in which you and your children are going to live. This post maps out 10 ways you can help with that important and rewarding work.

Dittos remind us of the pleasures of obsolescence

In 1976 I was in kindergarten, and like any five-year-old looked forward to the high point of each day: the arrival of our latest ditto-ed handout. For those of you under 30, let me explain that a ditto (similar to a mimeo) was a purple-inked paper used to...

Share This