Morning Coffee – 5 September 2018

Morning Coffee - 5 September 2018 Morning Coffee

Here are a few stories to read this Wednesday morning.

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: He's here to chew bubble gum and fix broken websites, and he is all out of bubble gum. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills at the drop of a hat. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

7 Comments

  1. Robert Spencer5 September, 2018

    “Google wants to kill the URL, and they’re right to do so – the URL needs to die.”

    I hope that was ironic, or tongue in cheek. Otherwise you’ve successfully pissed me off for the first time.

    There’s nothing wrong with URLs in general. Apart from the fact that they can die or go stale.

    That’s like saying that due to bad web page design, and the occasional malicious site, the internet must die.

    It’s throwing the baby out with the bath water.

    And I don’t trust Google’s motives either.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder5 September, 2018

      URLs are insecure on a design level, and bad actors take advantage of those flaws to spoof, trick, and otherwise engage in malicious activity.

      For example, did you know that if you don’t have the WWW prefix set properly in your DNS someone can hijack it so that visitors to http://www.something.com see a phishing site and visitors to something.com do not? (it’s not just a prefix, it’s a subdomain, and that is a flaw in the URL design).

      To give you another example, I recall a story from last year about a guy who spoofed Google.com by registering a domain that spelled out Google using little-known Unicode characters. If you looked at it, you’d think it was the real thing, but it wasn’t.

      I’m sorry, but I have just heard too many stories about exploiting legit-looking URLs for criminal activity for me to think anything other than the design of the URL architecture is flawed, and should be replaced.

      Reply
  2. Anthony Pero5 September, 2018

    Unfortunately, without some sort of DNS resolution that allows people to specify EXACTLY WHERE THEY ARE GOING, and is more memorable than an IP address, people will be completely reliant on search engines to find anything.Search engines that are more aggressively filtering content than ever before.

    No thanks.

    Reply
  3. Anthony Pero5 September, 2018

    Five seconds of thought is all that is needed to explain any growth in the indie bookstore sector: Major chain book retailers are closing stores faster than digital is being adopted. Indie stores stepped into the vacuum created by the collapse of Borders.

    Reply
  4. Robert Spencer5 September, 2018

    Nate,

    An URL is simply an address. The problems you describe are valid, but not the fault of URL design (everything you describe is DNS issues).

    Anything can be abused if you put your mind to it.

    You can’t trust email addresses, they can be spoofed.
    You can’t trust phone numbers, they can be spoofed.
    You can’t trust snail mail, it can be spoofed.

    In fact you can’t trust strangers, they can lie and say they are someone else other than they really are.

    I don’t see killing them all as a viable option.

    I think Google’s opinion is a steaming pile of BS. They should know better, so I think they’re up to something and I don’t trust their motives.

    And trust is the main issue. You have to trust that the site you are trying to access is set up correctly (and maintained). You have to trust that they set up their DNS properly (and locked it).

    And if by some magic Google finds a way to kill of URLs, you then have to trust them that they are sending you where you really want to go.

    That’s to much power for one party to have (and even if you trust that party at first, do you trust their government).

    That all being said, the push for all sites to use HTTPS is a good thing. Security certificates allow you to confirm that who you’re dealing with is legitimate (if you’re paying attention).

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder6 September, 2018

      This what-about-ism argument is irrelevant:

      Anything can be abused if you put your mind to it.

      You can’t trust email addresses, they can be spoofed.
      You can’t trust phone numbers, they can be spoofed.
      You can’t trust snail mail, it can be spoofed.

      Someone may be able to forge a painting, but that doesn’t mean you should leave your house unlocked or forego getting a better lock if someone breaks in.

      Reply
  5. Rebecca Allen9 September, 2018

    Re:Luddite rambling. Frank Smith is / was anti-phonics, too — he’s a whole language guy. It is unsurprising that this went right along with opposition to computers. I really love wikipedia and google. It makes it possible to take an old newspaper article and contextualize the people quoted in a way that the journalist of the time _should_ have but couldn’t be bothered to do (or didn’t, by way of protecting the Luddite from the consequences of their other beliefs in this context).

    Reply

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