The Internet Is Lying To You

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Just kidding! Ha ha!

But I did write about the problems with aggressive link redirecting for New York Magazine.

This is both dangerous and ridiculous. Pages load more slowly, and the extra useless links are much more likely to break, and it’s impossible to know where you’re actually heading until after you’ve already clicked. One of the reasons users must so awkwardly tumble through a useless proprietary server that performs customized URL-redirecting behaviors is because this sort of thing is not actually included in any of our technical standards for building computer networks, and it is not part of any standard because it is a terrible idea. Bouncing internet users around between obfuscating servers in a game of internet pinball is a patently absurd way to run any sort of address system. It is a terrible distributed collective architecture that comes at the expense of the real internet.

Tweet Strings

My new piece for Motherboard unpacks the recent changes to Twitter’s character limits. In short, the big news is not that the tweets are growing longer, it’s that they are now being treated as data structures, not text strings.

Twitter has always performed text analysis of the tweet content to detect elements and extract them as distinct entities to discrete data fields. Now the separation is fixed and formal: They’re auxiliary data points, not part of the message content, and as such they will need to be specifically interpreted by any program, site, or service that integrates with Twitter. This means that tweets are no longer just text; they are turning into something entirely new.

Twitter timelines

My first story for Motherboard, the tech vertical at VICE, is about the darker side of Twitter’s recent experiments with polls and non-chronological timelines.

As polls spread highly structured tweet content, algorithmic presentation meanwhile creates a testable structure around the more chaotic tweets. Since the implicit contract with users would no longer be based on publicly verifiable values like timestamps, a fully algorithmic Twitter would actually just be an experimental Twitter, a service in which the content can be constantly tweaked and manipulated in order to see how users will react.

Twitter and Television

A few nights ago I stayed up late to start watching season 2 of House of Cards as soon as it premiered, and as you might expect, I freaked out when Frank Underwood immediately kills Zoe Barnes in the first episode, so I wrote an essay for Wired about the odd sensation of sharing a cultural experience like that via the internet despite the availability of video-on-demand services like Netflix.

Even in the middle of the night, I wasn’t alone. Both Netflix binges and traditional broadcast television are increasingly subject to an internet-based social halo surrounding fandom, and nobody wants to be the one who misses the party.

more

Audio dork checkup

das-racist

Some cool recent pieces:

At the Indaba blog, I jovially report on the tremendous recent drop in price of Pro Tools and consider how emerging online functionality could shape audio production software in the near future.

For Tape Op, I complain about Simon Cowell some more and then ponder McNugget rappers Das Racist and — wait for it — the implications for audio professionals of the remarkable remix of “Combination Pizza Hut And Taco Bell”.

In related news, I’ll be hanging out with the Tape Op guys at stand #849 at the AES convention in Manhattan today.