Where my username comes from

I have been using the username silvertje for several services and multiple social media platforms for years and people have been asking me where my username comes from. The answer is IRC. When I first came online, somewhere in 1995, I quickly discovered IRC and became an avid user :) In contrast to current social networking sites and social media platforms there was no way to “register” a username on IRC. This meant that you either had to hope no-one else would use the same name, or have a very unique username, or be online all the time and “claim” your username through persistant onlineness. Being on a 14K4 dail-up connection which cost over 5 Dutch Guilders (about 5 dollars) per hour I had a clear disadvantage compared to the American and Finnish IRC users who were able to be online all the time for free through their universities. So every time I used IRC I had to dail-up, get online, get on IRC and hope no one was using my username. The first username I picked was ‘sliver’ (after the Nirvana song) but that one was taken very often. Then I decided on ‘_sliver_’ but that one was also often taken. Then […]

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Trying out some new services: App.net, State, Branch, Medium, Kippt, Buffer

Over the past couple of weeks I have joined a variety of new services including App.net, State, Branch, Medium, Kippt, Buffer. App.net I recently backed my first kickstarter-ish project ever and decided to join App.net (AppDotNet or ADN). People keep asking me if I think it can ever compete with Twitter or will it ever reach critical mass or if it will stay a ghost town like Google+? For me the question is not whether ADN will be able to “replace” Twitter but rather I see it as a reflection of the current zeitgeist. ADN is not simply an ad-free alternative to Twitter. Instead, alternatives to major platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are increasingly gaining momentum. ADN is definitely not the first, think for example of Diaspora (launched as a Facebook alternative) and Identi.ca (formerly Status.Net) which calls itself “a stream oriented social network service” (FAQ). Both services never really went mainstream, maybe because they were both ahead of their time. ADN, at a first glance, seems similar to Identi.ca but there is one important distinction which also differentiates it from Twitter because with Identi.ca “You can install the StatusNet software that runs Identi.ca on your own servers, since it’s Free […]

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I’m violating Twitter’s Display Guidelines

Recently there has been quite some turmoil in the blogosphere concerning Twitter’s upcoming API changes. While reading the blogpost announcing some of the changes I noted that Twitter would be shifting from Display Guidlines to Display Requirements. When reading the current Display Guidelines I noticed that I am currently violating these guidelines by displaying tweets underneath my blogposts along with blog comments: “Timelines. 5. Timeline Integrity: Tweets that are grouped together into a timeline should not be rendered with non-Twitter content. e.g. comments, updates from other networks.” Using a plugin called Topsy Retweet Button I’ve been experimenting with gathering the distributed commentspaces, comments posted across different social media platforms related to one single blogpost, underneath the blogpost. The Topsy plugin treats tweets as trackbacks and adds them to your blog’s comment/trackback section. Unfortunately, due to insufficient PHP skills I have been unable to separate Tweets and comments, but that no longer may be a blog priority since it violates Twitter’s terms of service. Tracking or aggregating distributed commentspaces on one’s own blog has become increasingly difficult with social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook increasingly limiting access to comments related to blog posts. I do not want to integrate […]

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Video: Over DuckDuckGo en andere Google alternatieven bij EditieNL (RTL4)

Vandaag was ik, met Danny Mekic, kort in de uitzending van EditieNL over Google en alternatieven voor Google naar aanleiding van Google’s eigen zoekcursus Power Searching with Google. Onderstaande besprak ik met de redactie, waarvan uiteindelijk een klein deel de uitzending (te zien via RTL XL) heeft gehaald. Google wordt gezien als een portaal naar het web, echter Google indexeert niet het gehele web. We zien dus slechts een deel van het web door de ogen van Google. Daarnaast krijgen we altijd maar 1000 resultaten te zien. Probeer maar eens door te klikken in de beloofde 2 miljoen resultaten. Wat Google bijvoorbeeld niet indexeert zijn databases die je benadert via zoekopdrachten, zoals een bibliotheekcatalogus of een telefoongids, of die door middel van een wachtwoord gesloten zijn.  Ook indexeert Google slechts een deel van Twitter en een heel klein deel van de walled garden, de afgesloten omgeving van Facebook, waar Google alleen de publieke status updates en pagina’s van groepen kan indexeren. Bing krijgt meer toegang tot Facebook data, zoals de Facebook Likes, omdat ze een deal gesloten hebben met Facebook. Bing gebruikt deze Like data om de zoekopdrachten te personaliseren, als je vrienden de nieuwe Batman Liken krijg je dat te […]

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Slides: Track the Trackers Workshop. Digital Methods Summer School 2012 #dmi12

Together with colleague Carolin Gerlitz I gave a workshop on Track the Trackers (based on our previous work) at the Digital Methods Summer School 2012. Introduction: In this short workshop you will learn how to map the cookie ecology related to a set of websites using the DMI Tracker Tracker tool and Gephi. The Tracker Tracker tool was conceived at the Digital Methods Winterschool 2012 in January. It is build on top of the anti-tracking plugin Ghostery and allows to identify the invisible web, devices that track user activities online and the services associated to them. In order to prepare for this workshop we recommend reading the related projects and materials listed below. Please download and install Gephi before the workshop starts so you can also learn how to visualize your results. On the Track the Trackers wiki page we documented related materials, readings and research. Please leave a comment if you have additional suggestions.

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