40 years online

7 rules for rule-breakers

7 rules for rule-breakers

The Internet may be based on standards, but it hates rules. Thanks to the Internet we are now faced with almost daily choices about when to obey, and when to defy. If you’re going to be an online rule-breaker (and you probably should be, at least some of the time) these 7 rules can help with your rule-breaking.

Waiting for your life online

Waiting for your life online

1974 was the beginning of the end for waiting, as home computer kits and time-sharing systems started to cut into all those hours waiting for the mainframe. Over the years, we wait less and less, as our computers and Internet connections and smartphones get better and better. But waiting may just be something worth waiting for.

Dittos remind us of the pleasures of obsolescence

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...
10 ways you can help to build the Internet

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.

10 ways spam taught us to focus our attention

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.

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

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...
6 questions to prepare you for a social media crisis

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...