How the Internet Works

It’s become second nature to use the internet for web browsing, email, messaging, and streaming music and video. It’s a bit like how we use electricity: we have a vague idea how it’s generated and how it gets to us, but we are rarely concerned about the details.

The difference with the internet is that you share personal information with retailers and social networks, provide detailed financial information to banks and investment firms, and tell some of your deepest secrets to friends and family.

Security and privacy are (or at least should be) key concerns for internet users. To fully grasp why these are so important, it’s helpful to understand how the internet works. In this article, I’m going to give you an overview of how the internet works, how your data gets from one location to another, and why it’s important to protect your privacy and security online.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

What Does .io Mean and What is the .io Domain Extension?

You’re probably familiar with the term TLD, but what is a TLD and what exactly does it stand for? The term TLD stands for top-level domain and refers to the ending of a domain name, or the section that immediately follows the dot symbol, such as .com, .net, .org, .edu, and others. You’ve almost certainly seen the plethora of country-specific TLDs (also known as a country code top-level domain, or ccTLD), such as .fr, .ca, or And you probably know that there are scads of other generic top-level domains (known as gTLDs), such as .inc, .business, and, yes, even .xxx. According to Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), there are currently more than 1,500 TLDs.

While there are over 1,500 TLDs, this article is intended to focus on the .io domain extension and will help provide answers to some of the more common questions we hear from startups, such as “What does .io mean?,” “What is the .io domain extension?” and, most pertinent to new businesses, “Should I use the .io domain for my startup?”

Read the rest of the article on The Startup Finance Blog.

How to Use Cloudflare’s Public DNS (And Why You Should)

Cloudflare, a company that provides content delivery networks, DNS services, and more, has recently announced a new public DNS service, called This service is designed to be both faster than traditional DNS services and more private. Cloudflare claims that they will not store your data, and that their DNS service allows people to avoid censorship that some ISPs may use.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

Why Instagram Doesn’t Owe Us Anything – Fstoppers

It seems like every time you open Instagram, someone is complaining about their post exposure or the algorithm on their profiles. Whether algorithm changes or some other inexplicable event have dropped their engagement, the reason they don’t have a following yet is because Instagram is always holding them back. What we fail to realize is that this free platform that promotes our work really doesn’t owe us anything.

This is the general feeling about such “free” platforms, but as we’re starting to realize with Facebook, it’s not free. We pay for it with our attention and our data. If it were truly “free,” then how could it survive? The hundreds of millions of people who use Instagram provide valuable information, and give eyes to advertisers. As long as you’re giving up data and being fed ads, it’s not free.

Source: Why Instagram Doesn’t Owe Us Anything | Fstoppers

eBay Is Getting Rid of PayPal

An email from eBay today:

eBay is happy to announce plans to further improve the customer experience by intermediating payments on our Marketplace platform. In doing so, eBay will manage the payments flow, simplifying the end-to-end experience for both buyers and sellers. We have signed an agreement with Adyen, a leading global payments processor, to become our primary payments processing partner. PayPal, a long-time eBay partner, will be a payments option at checkout for eBay buyers.

To be honest, PayPal is a necessary evil. Their policies are confusing and sometimes hard to work with. But I had never heard of Ayden before. I don’t know how easy it will be to trust that company.

eBay says:

Payments intermediation will bring significant benefits for eBay sellers. You can expect a simplified pricing structure, more predictable access to funds, and most sellers can expect their costs of payments processing to be reduced.

We’ll see about that.

eBay will begin intermediation on a small scale in North America starting in the second half of 2018, expanding in 2019 under the terms of the Operating Agreement with PayPal. In 2021, we expect to have transitioned a majority of Marketplace customers to the new payments experience.

Forewarned is forearmed.

5 Freedoms That Just Died With Net Neutrality – Tom’s Guide

You expect your home Internet connection to “just work” like water and electricity. But what if the electric company provided inadequate power to your Whirlpool refrigerator, because Whirlpool hadn’t paid a fee? And what if the water company completely cut off the flow from your Kohler faucet because it owned a stake in another faucet company?

Unlike public utilities, your Internet service provider (ISP) can abuse its power to influence which Internet businesses win and lose by slowing down or even blocking sites and services. However, with most homes having a choice of just one or two providers, consumers have little recourse. Under FCC’s “Open Internet Order, that a court struck down in January, wired broadband providers were forbidden from discriminating against any type of Internet traffic that flows through their pipes — a principle widely known as net neutrality. And there never were any rules to protect against wireless companies discriminating.

The FCC has proposed a new set of rules that would prevent ISPs from outright blocking anyone but would still allow them to deliver different services at different speeds. However, it’s just a proposal, and right now, there is no sheriff in town.

This is one of the best explainers I’ve seen about how the demise of net neutrality could affect everyone in the United States.

Source: 5 Freedoms That Just Died With Net Neutrality

No, You Can’t Use My Photos On Your Brand’s Instagram For Free – PetaPixel

My name is Max Dubler, and I am a professional photographer who has been working full time in downhill skateboarding for the last several years. I am a well-known person within this little niche: I started an influential website with my friends, was on staff for the only downhill magazine since its first issue, have written extensively about downhill skate safety, and have been hired by almost every major downhill skate brand to shoot photos.

Lately, in an effort to get new riders excited about skating, I have departed from my usual policy of only releasing the most technically perfect pictures of sponsored riders and started posting all of my halfway decent photos from skate events on and its Facebook page. This is a lot more editing work, but as a skater myself I understand the excitement of seeing a good photo of myself from an event. It also helps drive traffic and engagement.

I don’t put huge watermarks in the middle of my photos or charge individual skaters to use them on social media because skaters are mostly broke teenagers, watermarks ruin the picture and don’t stop people from stealing your photos, and I make an okay living from freelance work and my steady gigs. The second-hand stoke is enough of a reward for me. I do charge for-profit companies a fee to use my photos because they are making money off my work. This is a pretty straightforward distinction.

A few days ago an established, successful small longboard brand downloaded one of my pictures from an event in Canada and posted it to their Instagram account.

FFS. The excuses this company gave for ripping off this guy’s photos are pathetic.

“We’re just a small business, we can’t afford it.” Dude. Man. Bro. Guy. Your company has worldwide distribution and I asked you for twenty five f**king dollars. You can afford it. Think of it as an intellectual-property parking ticket. Pay me.

Source: No, You Can’t Use My Photos On Your Brand’s Instagram For Free

Yahoo Becomes Altaba Because…?

The venerable beleaguered Yahoo, once the hottest property on the internet, is changing its name after completing its acquisition by Verizon. The new name will be:


Uh huh. That’s right. Because all the good domain names are already taken.

Actually, it’s supposed to come from “alternative” “Alibaba.” Like that term for racists alt-right, Yahoo is becoming alt-Chinese sell everything company.

It turns out that Yahoo owns 15% of Alibaba, so the new company is, as the Washington Post says, “is now essentially a vehicle for holding Alibaba’s stock.”

I know a few people who write for Yahoo, and I hope their jobs are not in peril. While the company has been a disaster in recent years, it is one of the defining brands of the internet. Times have changed. And all the good domain names have been taken.

You may be using Snapchat illegally without realising it

The UK’s culture minister, Ed Vaizey, has warned that taking a screenshot of a Snapchat message and sharing it without the consent of the sender is illegal in the UK. When asked about the legality of Snapchat, he said, “Under UK copyright law, it would be unlawful for a Snapchat user to copy an image and make it available to the public without the consent of the image owner. The image owner would be able to sue anyone who does this for copyright infringement.”

If this is the law, then it doesn’t only apply to SnapChat, but also to photos that people send via iMessages, MMS, or any other non-public messaging service. I would assume this wouldn’t apply to photos attached to tweets, unless a user’s account is private; there is an understanding that tweets are public. And what about Facebook? You choose whether your page is publicly accessible or not; if it isn’t, then the law should apply as well.

Source: You may be using Snapchat illegally without realising it –

Stephen King Retweeted One of My Tweets and Here’s What Happened

Yesterday, I was hanging out in front of my computer in the afternoon, scrolling through my Twitter feed, and Stephen King made a bit of a joke about one of the characters in The Hunger Games. I replied with a jokier joke, and much to my surprise, Mr. King retweeted my reply.

Stephen king tweet

I’m a big fan of Mr. King’s works. I’ve been reading his books for more than 35 years, and I buy each of them when they are published. So I was chuffed, as they say on this island, when he retweeted my tweet. I noticed that it was the first tweet he ever retweeted, so I guess that, in spite of my joke being simple, I should be honored.

After Mr. King’s retweet, my iPhone started displaying scads of notifications: my Twitter client, Twitterrific, notifies me when someone retweets one of my tweets, mentions me, or follows me. The notifications were overloading my iPhone. (Not really; but their frequency was a bit annoying.)

It’s now about 24 hours later, and I was interested to see what effect Mr. King’s retweet had. You can access Twitter’s analytics feature by clicking the little bar-graph icon below any of your tweets. And I did. Here’s what it tells me:

Tweet analytics

The most interesting thing to note is that only about 132,000 people saw the tweet. Impressions includes any view of the tweet on the web, or in the official Twitter client. I don’t know what percentage of people use third-party clients, but they aren’t counted. However, I’d guess it’s a small number of Twitter users.

Next is the number of engagements. These are the people who clicked on the tweet, who retweeted it, who liked it, or who looked at my profile. Granted, the fact that Mr. King retweeted one of my tweets made a number or people – about 400 – wonder who I was. I got some new followers, but most unfollowed me pretty quickly. Not surprising; I’m not really in the same league as Mr. King.

There are some other numbers, which, in this case, aren’t really useful. I’m not very clear on what media engagements are; it seems to be clicks on media such as graphics or videos. Maybe those are clicks on other tweets, made my people inspection my profile.

The most interesting takeaway is the fact that even for a celebrity with more than 1 million followers, this person’s tweets are seen by about 1/8 of those followers. Sure, it’s only 24 hours after the tweet, and there will be a small number of views over time, but it shows that most people don’t check Twitter very often, if at all. When you see celebrities with millions of followers, you need to realize that only a fraction of them are active Twitter users, and not bots.

Keep this in mind the next time you see a very high follower count. It doesn’t mean what you think.

Oh, and, Mr. King; thanks!