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A Better Internet

Seamus Byrne
Seamus Byrne
3 min read
A Better Internet

The internet is a mess. But is it the internet’s fault?

Thinking about climate change arguments and UK projected election results and measles outbreaks, they all have problems that are exacerbated by the state of today’s internet. Bad ideas can propagate faster than ever, and the unsubstantiated can go further than expertise and facts – because fakery is like a magic trick. More exciting, or a bit scary, and it’s so much more fun when you don’t have to worry about the details.

It’s true that what the internet has become is making things worse.

But that’s all about the layers that have been built onto the network. The way these layers have been abused by people eager to abuse. Eager to mislead. To win at all costs.

Some of this week’s links look at how people are thinking about trying to do it better. And that, at some point, what exists now will change. We need to interrogate what this all has become, and why, and we need to plot a course to a better internet.

Take a break more often. Rub those eyes. And if you can, do your part in getting from here to there.

A better Internet is waiting for us

Great article exploring what else the internet could be. Annalee Newitz is a great writer. How do we put humans back at the core of the digital world?  •  Share

Twitter wants to develop an open, decentralized, federated social media standard... and then join it

Twitter is advertising for “a small independent team of up to five open source architects, engineers, and designers to develop an open and decentralized standard for social media” with the goal of becoming “a client of that standard.” It’s a pretty seismic move.  •  Share

Verizon kills email accounts of archivists trying to save Yahoo Groups history

Verizon says the archivists it has blocked breached its terms of service. When we try to rescue the history of the internet you’d think companies who are about to delete it all would be a little more helpful than this?  •  Share

Magic Leap’s next-generation headset is reportedly ‘years away from launch’

Too early to say “remember Magic Leap”? The augmented reality company that made some super sexy hype videos is reportedly dealing with low sales, layoffs, and high-level shakeups, including Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai stepping down from its board.  •  Share

Cool Profiles

Canva Uncovered: How a young Australian kitesurfer built a $3.2B startup phenom

Really good profile of Melanie Perkins and Canva, one of the great Australian digital success stories. And that it’s not just some startup bubble. It’s profitable.

“Her digital tools are populist, profitable and a potential threat to Adobe and Microsoft.”  •  Share

Inside VSCO, a Gen Z-approved photo-sharing app

Long before Instagram toyed with removing “likes,” VSCO, an Oakland-based photo-sharing and editing app, built a community devoid of likes, comments and follower counts. Perhaps known to many only because of this year’s “VSCO girl” meme explosion, the company has long been coaxing the creative community to its freemium platform.  •  Share

How TikTok is rewriting the world

A great look at TikTok (from earlier this year). A great point: it is winning in part by dismissing what is placed as a priority at other social networks – it isn’t about your friend networks and connections at all.  •  Share

New Things

Google Pixel gets first 'feature drop'

Pixel phones are so much better than most Android phones, in large part because Google is giving priority access to new features. And now it’s making new features hit the phones on a regular basis. Best feature, but only US for now, is a call screening system to save you from spam calls.  •  Share

Basecamp now has a free option

I really like Basecamp and the company behind it, and they just recently released a free ‘personal’ edition that lets you dive in and use it for all sorts of purposes for free. If you need more you can upgrade, but it’s great to have this free access that will be useful for so many purposes.  •  Share

I Adore This App

RunPee app turns 10!

RunPee is an amazing app that tells you the best times to run and pee during a movie so you don’t miss the best scenes, plus it lets you know if there is anything extra after the end credits. You can earn ‘peecoins’ by watching ads (do it before you go to the movies) or you can buy coins with cash - or support their great work by buying a lifetime sub.  •  Share


Anatomy of a hack: how crackers ransack passwords like “qeadzcwrsfxv1331”

This is six years old now, but a great insight into how leaked lists of user account details get cracked, and why we need to choose better passwords. The modern answer? Use a password manager and let it choose passwords for you.  •  Share

Planescape: Torment turns 20 years old today – here’s why it’s a classic

One of my favourite games of all time. A look back at why it was so special.  •  Share


Seamus Byrne Twitter

Founder and Head of Content at Byteside.

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