Chosen links

Links - 28th May 2023

Ditherpunk — The article I wish I had about monochrome image dithering

I always loved the visual aesthetic of dithering but never knew how it’s done. So I did some research. This article may contain traces of nostalgia and none of Lena.

Memoirs from the old web: IE’s crazy content rating system

Today, Internet Explorer has been consigned to the dustbin of history, yet its quirks and peculiar features remain an interesting area of discussion from a historical perspective. There was one particular feature of IE which not only now seems comically naive, but also completely impractical: namely, IE tried to pioneer a system of content rating.

This was essentially a standardised “parental controls” system. The idea was that a webpage could be rated in terms of the profanity, nudity, sex, violence, etc. that it contained.

Why we’re bad at CSS

We’re bad at writing CSS. Without deep knowledge of CSS and with an inability to hire people with that knowledge, people go to great lengths to avoid writing CSS, whether by relying on Bootstrap/Tailwind or trying to do everything in JavaScript. They end up over-complicating things to the point where their CSS is extremely hard to maintain.

Just take a crowbar to it

Forget tips and tricks for web development: have you considered doing some CSS crimes instead? On Cohost, the “CSS Crimes” tag is filled with users pushing the site to its limit in new and exciting ways. This is because Cohost allows CSS and HTML in posts, prompting an eclectic array of creations. There are digital Moiré animations, DIY erasure poetry on a post claiming that erasure poetry is an act of destruction, an in-post pixel art maker, or a worm to stretch and squash

The word “crime” says something about the way that users feel about what they’re doing: there’s a sense of deviance to it, of the medium being twisted in unanticipated ways. They’re pushing at the bounds of how we’re used to engaging with platforms, to make something unanticipated. In her Glitch Studies Manifesto Rosa Menkman wrote:

Sometimes, [artists] use the computers' inherent maxims as a façade, to trick the audience into a flow of certain expectation that the artwork subsequently rapidly breaks out of. As a result, the spectator is forced to acknowledge that the use of the computer is based on a genealogy of conventions, while in reality the computer is a machine that can be bent or used in many different ways.