Carl Rustung


Who needs vanity license plates? Trust me, the hottest online trend this winter is vanity URL-shorteners.


Hunting the Nearly-Invisible Personal Website

Fun text about personal websites, written as a safari animal-spotting guide.

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Personal website reproduction

Unlike other animals that are seen or heard mainly at mating time, personal websites do not reveal their presence in this manner, because they do not mate. Instead, they reproduce asexually. Some produce offspring by budding, a plantlike characteristic. Many, if not most, also exhibit another plantlike characteristic. They sprinkle their spoors (technically, known as hyperlinks) over the floor of the Internet jungle in the hope of being one day chanced upon by an Internet user and ingested. Though ingestion rarely occurs, when it does, through some process not well understood by present-day science, the Internet user is occasionally induced to create his own personal website. This website is then free to bud under the careful attention and care of the host Internet user, who has now been transformed into an entity sometimes known as a "developer", though developer is not an especially well-defined designator. At the proper time, the new website naturally begins to produce its own spoors, and its life cycle repeats.

How the Awful Stuff Won

Tom Scocca points out some interesting parallels in a double book review of Antisocial: Online Extremists, Techno-Utopians, and the Hijacking of the American Conversation by Andrew Marantz, and Unfollow: A Memoir of Loving and Leaving the Westboro Baptist Church by Megan Phelps-Roper.

A chilling description of attention economy and internet extremism.

(See also: The Social Dilemma)

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Just another thing on the internet

One of the attendees wears a T-shirt depicting Harambe, the zoo gorilla whose death had been an Internet sensation shortly after Dat Boi faded from memory. Marantz asks him to explain it: “‘It’s a funny thing people say, or post, or whatever,’ he said. ‘It’s, like—it’s just a thing on the internet.’” Marantz pauses to emphasize his own familiarity with the sort of numbness that goes with experiencing “much of life through the mediating effects of a screen,” and observes, “It wasn’t hard for me to imagine how anything—a dead gorilla, a gas chamber, a presidential election, a moral principle—could start to seem like just another thing on the internet.”


Bored and lonely

Unfilled moments, moments where you don’t have entertainment, or moments where you don’t have companionship, may actually spawn creativity. Certainly a lot of 19th-century romantics thought that.

Being still with yourself can give access to all sorts of ideas and musings that wouldn’t otherwise occur. So perhaps in our quest to end boredom our creativity is being stunted, and we’re actually becoming more boring.

UX vandals

After the goldrush, the definition wars really kicked in — everyone wants to plant their flag in the ground and coin the next big design term; to be the next Don Norman. They start blogging incessantly and throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks. All the community blogs follow a pattern of nonsensical reinventions of the wheel: ‘WHAT IS empathetic system design’, ‘WHAT IS person engagement design’, ‘WHAT IS doing and thinking design’ and of course ‘UX is dead’.