bonus time: the dark net

Related to this, there are whole thriving communities of hackers out there, striking blows against what they see are as injustice. (say, Chinese hackers, who recently sprang to prominence in the Melbourne Film Festival fiasco ). Or Australian ones:

      W O R M S    A G A I N S T    N U C L E A R    K I L L E R S
    \__  ____________  _____    ________    ____  ____   __  _____/
     \ \ \    /\    / /    / /\ \       | \ \  | |    | | / /    /
      \ \ \  /  \  / /    / /__\ \      | |\ \ | |    | |/ /    /
       \ \ \/ /\ \/ /    / ______ \     | | \ \| |    | |\ \   /
        \_\  /__\  /____/ /______\ \____| |__\ | |____| |_\ \_/
          \                                                 /
           \    Your System Has Been Officially WANKed     /

     You talk of times of peace for all, and then prepare for war.

(courtesy Wikipedia)

If you wan to read about the wank worm, check out Suelette Dreyfuss’s intriguing Underground: Tales of Hacking, Madness, and Obsession on the Electronic Frontier.

Take home message: It’s a dark and untrustworthy internet out there. Is your email account for sale? Your credit card? Can you verify that your traffic isn’t being stolen? What about when the hacks move into the real world?

under construction


What else?

things happening right now on the web that you should know about.

Hell, I hate marketing buzz. Let’s check out ReadWriteWeb’s opinion.

  1. Structured Data
  2. The Real-Time Web
  3. Personalization
  4. Mobile Web & Augmented Reality
  5. Internet of Things

I’d add to that list…


Yahoo pipes is the harbinger of a whole ream of useful tools that do clever things by updating live in response to changes in the internet, and could be some of the most important technical plumbing the web sees. Check out codepadUtility Mill, and Scriptlets for a taste of that.

The Semantic Web

See the W3C for some nice background, and some of the design issues opposed to it, such as The Rule of Least Power. Check out spooky services like “open” calais, and zemanta, and also naysayers, who have my sympathies.

Data visualisation

I partially wrote a lecture about that which we didn’t have time for.

the dark net

I partially wrote a lecture about that too which we didn’t have time for either.


Making things over the net is a rapidly expanding project.


Well, this ain’t new. The net’s been running on code for a long time. It could be next for you, however. Now code is more powerful than its ever been before, and there are more great tutorials. If you want to do some real fancy tricks online, why not give some more javascript (and jQuery) a burl? Or one of those modern trendy languages, python and ruby?

bonus time: my god, it’s full of fractals. and portfolios. and piecharts.

Dada Visualization I

Data visualisation and aesthetics are one of the crazes, or movements, sweeping the net right now. The arguments they make are potent.  There’s lots of data out there that visualisation can help us to understand. The net itself, forexample, is hard enough to understand without visualising it, (even our local bit of it).

The web as a contested landscape

The Incredible 2-Headed Transplant
It’s late in the semester, and hopefully everyone’s drunk a fair share of web 2.0 kool-aid. So, let’s supplement the tools and techniques of the course with a bit of context about the problems of using them. This is by no means a complete list. It should be enough to start you thinking.

Where is the public space online?

Public space  is generally considered pretty critical to, among other things, a functional civil society. Consider how many governments fall because of mass street protests. Or the curfews that totalitarian regimes impose upon the use of public space. Continue reading ‘The web as a contested landscape’

Example mashups take manhattan

A terrifying number of people have taken me up on the javascript business, and powered on through with material that we haven’t covered in class. OK, that is awesome, but if that’s the path we’ve gone down, I should almost certainly be taking questions on that theme…

For example, if you followed the link through to the google spreadsheet map maker from the last post in this series, then you might have found that it made you some horrible javascript that it is NOT obvious how to do nice stuff with, and how to attach javascript widgets to. If anyone wants to follow through a step-by-step rebuild of that into some nicer javascript, then we can do that.

We can also look at other things – Google Apps for Your Domain (or What Does Google Apps for Your Domain Actually Do?)… BBpress installation as an example alternate app install. It’s up to you.

Feedback on assignment 2

One key problem with lots of the project proposals was a differentiation between your goals as site creator, and the kind of experiences you wished to provide to your users. Make clear in each section the whose goals you are attempting to meet in each section of the plan.

Similarly, there was a lot of talk of technologies that can be used without a motivation as to why to use them. Google maps visualisations might be cool or whatever, but there is also a real need to justify why to use it other than that “it is there”. There has to be some value add to your aesthetic or commercial goal to motivate using it.

Prioritise! The bulk of proposals were for project far more ambitious than could be delivered in the timeframe. That’s fine, but make sure that you are clear on the priority of your goals, and that you have a plausible fallback plan in the face of (inevitable) difficulties.

Finally, a project proposal is a pitch document. Make sure that you are aware of its need to be persuasive and to present your idea as worth investing time in. Don’t get bogged down in the technologies you will use any more than necessary  – they might be how you will implement them ,but they aren’t what makes your project worth doing.

Now, one final some resource that springs to mind from reading the assessments: The form generation tool that google provides – that dumps data straight into a google spreadsheet for you to use, mashup-style. I think that would be really handy for a number of you getting punter surveys created.

Feedback on assignment 1

The first assignment, our basic hypertext one had a few issues that came up pretty often, so I’m covering them here.

hypertext as an idea

This assignment was by its description very focussed on the idea of text, and what hypertext means, and a few folks has trouble distinguishing the idea of hypertext from the idea of graphic design. I recommend diving back into the history of this stuff and work out what is going on with hypertext as an idea, and where it has come from. e.g. the original proposal for the WWW, Doug Engelbart’s 1968 demo of some of the ideas in embryonic form , or even Vannevar Bush’s 1945 techno-utopian screed on technological knowledge diffusion which is credited with spawning lots of these ideas. Or you might want to expand on the list of media-art specific readings that I gave you – the media art history conference re:live has their archives online, and there is reams of hypertext-oriented material in there. Or you might want to look at some alternative vision of what hypertext could be, e.g: hypertextopia.

progressive enhancement

image courtesy AListApart

Continue reading ‘Feedback on assignment 1’


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