October 2020 Weblog: Finding the Web and Making Your Place

This month, making a website has never been this easy. Understanding the web, however, is another story

Web History, Now a Podcast!

I’ve now written four parts in my chapter by chapter series on web history from CSS Tricks that goes all the way back to the beginning. And once I started, Jeremy Keith started narrating each one. And now that we have them all narrated we’ve also put them up as a podcast. Get it now on iTunes, Overcast, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Jackie’s Guide to Making a Website

I came across a wonderful little website for getting started with your own website. It’s called Zines by Jackie, made by designer and programmer Jackie Liu. Jackie has taken an artsy, DIY approach in her step by step, handcrafted zine (available in print or as a downloadable PDF) all about creating your first website. It is a unique and bubbly take on the process of building on the web, and is a perfect gift for you or someone you know who needs that burst of inspiration.

History of the Web From Someone Who Built It

Chris Wilson posted a video this month to Chrome University called simply, “History of the Web.” Wilson is well-suited to the subject. He built the Windows version of the most popular early browser, Mosaic. He then joined Microsoft to help them built Internet Explorer, before making his way to Google Chrome. It’s an excellent walk through browser history from the perspective of somebody that has been doing the work for decades.

For a slightly different take, John Allsopp posted a recap of a talk he gave to a class of graduating web designers. Allsopp traces the webs origins as well, but he uses it to reflect on the way the fundamental principles of the web were reconfigured in the wake of commercialization and silos. Ultimately, he concludes, the web we’ve created has been a series of choices.

The web as it is, is a choice-it is the choice of designers and developers and founders. Who through naïveté, irrational exuberance, cynicism, chose to build these algorithms, optimise for clicks, which biases for negativity, and rage, and worse.

If we are going to build a different web, it will require different choices.

The Tale of Omegaverse Continues

Last month, I shared a video essay from YouTuber Lindsay Ellis that begins with a lawsuit between two fan fiction authors but grows to be a rumination on the state of copyright law and the DMCA in the present day. This month, Ellis posted a follow-up video after she was contacted by the lawyer of her first video’s subject and threatened with litigation. I’m veering pretty far outside of web history here, but the tale that unfolds from there is full of twists and turns and absolute insanity. If part 1 had you hooked, part 2 will amaze.