hypertext, words and more


  • Nina Strochlic at National Geographic writes:

    Between 1950 and 2010, 230 languages went extinct, according to the UNESCO Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger. Today, a third of the world’s languages have fewer than 1,000 speakers left. Every two weeks a language dies with its last speaker, 50 to 90 percent of them are predicted to disappear by the next century.

    In rare cases, political will and a thorough written record can resurrect a lost language. Hebrew was extinct from the fourth century BC to the 1800s, and Catalan only bloomed during a government transition in the 1970s. In 2001, more than 40 years after the last native speaker died, the language of Oklahoma’s Miami tribe started being learned by students at Miami University in Ohio. The internet has connected rare language speakers with each other and with researchers. Even texting has helped formalize languages that don’t have a set writing system.

    Other languages have not been so lucky in a post-internet world. Many, will never return from extinction. But it’s true that being more connected, we have more opportunities to connect and preserve our ancestral dialects and languages. In National Geographic’s article, they share a video of two surviving speakers of Gottscheerish:

    For more information, check out WikiTongues, the seed bank of the world’s languages.

  • I love coming across this stuff. I always forget that Marc Andreessen is basically the father of Mosiac, Netscape and plenty of other internet startups through his VC, Andreessen Horowitz.

    Here’s Andreessen’s super-duper casual proposal over email, sent on February 25, 1993:

    I’d like to propose a new, optional HTML tag:


    Required argument is SRC=”url”. 

    Lovely. Marc goes forward to say that browsers should support bitmap image filetypes, be flexible and recommends browser behavior when an <img> has been given a non-supported filetype in the src argument:

    Browsers should be afforded flexibility as to which image formats they
    support. Xbm and Xpm are good ones to support, for example. If a
    browser cannot interpret a given format, it can do whatever it wants
    instead (X Mosaic will pop up a default bitmap as a placeholder).

    Amazing to see how far we’ve come since then.

  • It’s the year 2000 and The Dot-com Bubble has just arrived. I was 11 years old at the time. I don’t remember it. What I do remember is playing Chess on Yahoo! Games or chatting with friends on AIM. Those were the good ol days.

    However, researching The Dot-com Bubble has been eye-opening. Two major factors catalyzed the conflagration of sell-offs, bankruptcy and failure of so many e-companies (as they were called then). Those startups (as we call them now), were plagued with:

    1. A crazy amount of over-spending. [1]
    2. The stock market crash that followed the 9/11 attacks.

    9/11 was unavoidable for those businesses. But overspending, or burning cash was a very serious problem then — and remains a serious problem now. Snapchat lost almost half a billion dollars in 2016. Uber spent $2.6 billion in 2016 alone. Apple, the prodigal son spent $10 billion on R&D in 2016. The tide is pulling back for some of these VC-backed companies, and there may be a tsunami looming around the corner.

    Enter, the holding company.

    Holding companies reduce the risk for owners. If a financial hardship comes for one of the holdings, it’s unlikely the business will disappear as the corporate group as a whole owns a stake. This is a healthy relationship, and strengthens the bonds between business and consumers.

    Tiny's Homepage

    Recently I came across Tiny. Tiny invests in internet startups, but it also buys businesses into their holdings. If you’re a bootstrapped company, struggling to grow under your own weight, or can scale to level that your VC’s want — Tiny will make you an offer (within 7 days no less).

    Their portfolio is very impressive.

    Dribbble, Crew, Designer News, Need/Want, and Buffer are just a few of their holdings. Tiny won’t flip the business, and they won’t come in and micro-manage team culture. These internet businesses are thriving — each one isn’t an Uber-sized goliath, but they come together in harmony. Each one working as hard as the next, producing a quality cluster of nodes for the web. Each one producing jobs, solving problems and existing through lean years and fat years. Even The Walt Disney Company has an immense amount of holdings and assets, which to say the least… is smart.

    If another (VC catalyzed) bubble is coming, and it most certainly will… I believe most of the businesses (if not all) within Tiny will survive. As overspending becomes more and more entrenched, it’s going to get rough out there. Minimizing the next bubble fallout means taking action.

    Holding companies can make the web a healthier place. Less link rot. Less bullshitery like what happened to Vine. No more dead projects like FFFFOUND, RIP.

    Maybe I’m paranoid, buy if you’re not standing underneath the umbrella of a holding company, I’d be worried about survival.

  • Good news everybody!

    Yeah, this is going to be awesome. May the web enjoy healthy browsing again.

    While I may be in “AMP is bullshit” camp, I can still respect the solution it is trying to solve. I totally agree with others that it is the web developer’s responsibility to load pages fast. As John Gruber points out, it is in the interest of publishers to use AMP as Google features AMP-ready cards in search queries.

    Which… is dumb. But oh well. However, when a user shares a webpage from the Safari sharesheet it will save me the headache of thinking about AMP.