Simon Willison’s Weblog


25 items tagged “internet”


100 years of whatever this will be. This piece by apenwarr defies summarization but I enjoyed reading it a lot. # 2nd December 2021, 8:37 pm


What the Hell is Going On? (via) David Perell discusses how the shift from information scarcity to information abundance is reshaping commerce, education, and politics. Long but worthwhile. # 17th March 2019, 4:50 pm

[On 5G] This is the great thing about the decentralized, permissionless innovation of the internet—telcos don’t need to decide in advance what the use cases are, any more than Intel had to decide what the use cases for faster CPUs would be.

Ben Evans # 18th January 2019, 6:55 am


My Internet Mea Culpa. Rick Webb asks “What if we were wrong?” about the internet leading to enormous benefit for humankind. I’ve been worrying about this a lot recently: it turns out the internet provides tools that allow bad people to spread lies, propaganda and discrimination with lethal effectiveness. It’s hard to believe that universal access to the sum of all human knowledge can have negative effects, but there are clearly a whole load of negative effects that us internet utopians failed to predict. # 26th December 2017, 2:59 pm

This Is What Happens When Millions Of People Suddenly Get The Internet (via) “Countries which come online quickly rank lowest in digital literacy & are most likely to fall for scams, fake news” # 19th September 2017, 4:59 am


What steps can I take to protect my data in case my laptop gets stolen?

Set up full drive encryption—that way if someone steals your laptop they won’t be able to access your data without a password.

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What technologies were used in developing web applications in the ’90s?

Perl. Lots of Perl. There was a site called Matt’s Script Archive which was full of terribly written Perl scripts for things like hit counters and form emailers and guest books. It was very popular.

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What will HTTP be superseded by?

HTTP 1.x will likely never be completely replaced, but there is ongoing work at the moment to define HTTP 2.0. The first draft of this was released in November and is based on Google’s SPDY protocol, which is already widely deployed in Google Chrome and Google’s web properties (other browsers have experimented with support for SPDY as well):

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Which web startup conferences are there nowadays?

We have a pretty comprehensive list on Lanyrd—the site works like wikipedia, so if there are any we are missing you can sign in and add them to our Startups topic: Startup conferences and events

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How are websites hacked to have their content defaced? How can I prevent such attacks on my website?

There are countless ways in which a website could be defaced—way too many for a single Quora answer!

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How does a new Website that depends on content from users start?

The tried and tested way to solve this problem is with a closed alpha period. Launch the site as a private alpha, then invite a bunch of people you know and trust to start trying it out. Once you launch to the public you’ll already have some content and more importantly you’ll have set an example of how new users to the site should behave.

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Do country/city IP addresses always stay the same?

Yes, they can change—and there isn’t much central control. IANA dish out IP blocks to regional authorities, who hand them on to ISPs,who distribute them to end users... But the ISPs might cover multiple cities or even countries. You can read a bit about this process here:

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How did slashes become the standard path separators for URLs?

I’m going to take an educated guess and say it’s because of unix file system conventions. Early web servers mapped the URL to a path on disk inside the document root—this is still how most static sites work today.

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What are some good ways to promote a “networking event” on the internet ?

Add your event to and encourage your attendees to mark themselves as attending. That way, anyone who follows them on Twitter and uses Lanyrd will hear about the event, either directly on the site or via email if they’ve signed up for our email alerts.

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What are the main things a non-technical co-founder of a tech company should focus on while the site is still being developed?

Building the right product.

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What are some popular movies that are no longer plausible due to the ubiquity of cell phones & the internet?

“No Signal”

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What is the story of Advogato?

There’s a Google Tech Talk about Advogato:

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Is the 90-9-1 rule of user participation a myth?

Anecdotal evidence from crowdsourcing style projects I’ve worked on tend to support the basic principle (if not the exact ratios). The vast majority of the work on projects I have been involved with ends up being performed by a tiny subset of highly active users.

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Why do so many Internet sites end with the letter ’r’ (but not ’er’)?  Think about Tumblr, Dopplr, Migratr.  What’s behind this?

We just launched a project called lanyrd, which is a play on lanyard. We partly picked the name because the domain was available, but there’s actually a big advantage to using a made-up word: it’s really easy to search for coverage and feedback on Twitter, Google Blogsearch and the like. The string “lanyrd” is almost exclusively used to discuss our project—had we used a dictionary word, tracking down feedback would have been a lot harder.

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The Net is the greatest listening engine ever devised. These days anyone can choose, with its help, to be well-informed. You have to make the effort to figure out which key people are really on top of what you care about, so that you can start listening to them. Plus, you need to deploy some saved searches. Once you’ve done these things, then when you turn your computer on in the morning, it’ll tell you if anything’s happened that you need to know about.

Tim Bray # 10th February 2010, 5:40 pm


Authority, historically, gets bestowed on the gatekeepers of information, such as Britannica, universities, newspapers, etc. Everything that can be digitized will be digitized, and will then be available over the internet, which is disruptive, not only to business models, but to authority.

Joe Gregorio # 19th November 2009, 6:53 pm

I was thinking the other day how long it had been since I used the acronym “IRL” or the expanded phrase “In Real Life.” It used to be the thing we’d say when we meant “not on the internet”, and I’m glad that it has become gradually obsolete over the years, now that the internet is accepted as part of life.

Meg Pickard # 26th October 2009, 9:59 pm

There’s no such thing as a good day to bury bad news any more, the Internet has seen to that.

Tom Steinberg # 22nd January 2009, 10:20 am

What the Internet has actually done is not decimate literary reading; that was really a done deal by 1970. What it has done, instead, is brought back reading and writing as a normal activity for a huge group of people.

Clay Shirky # 13th January 2009, 2:22 pm


Happy 30th Birthday Internet! “Exactly 30 years ago today on November 22, 1977 the first three networks were connected to become the Internet.” # 22nd November 2007, 3:25 pm