Opinion

 

  • Online Anonymity Will Soon Be The Only Kind We Have

    Online Anonymity Will Soon Be The Only Kind We Have

    Anonymity: it’s all the rage–Whisper, Secret–and it’s rage-inducing. A Brazilian court has ruled that Secret must be removed from app stores there, and existing installs remotely wiped. The UK’s House of Lords has recommended the end of online anonymity. As usual, judges and politicians don’t understand technology. Anonymity can used for awful things, yes… Read More

  • Nerds Love Twitch Because There, They Can Be Heroes

    Nerds Love Twitch Because There, They Can Be Heroes

    Why do so many people watch others play video games on Twitch? Because the fans don’t look much different from the celebrities. They all play the same games. In a world of muscle-clad athletes and beautiful pop stars, on Twitch all that matters are your skills and your wits. Be funny or fast on the trigger, and you can be famous, too. It’s aspirational. That lets viewers identify… Read More

  • Women In Tech: It’s Not Just A Pipeline Problem

    Women In Tech: It’s Not Just A Pipeline Problem

    Why are there so embarrassingly few women in the tech industry? Repeat after me, robotically, defensively: “It’s a pipeline problem!” So says David Cohen of TechStars, echoing many others, e.g. Paul Graham and CNN. But come on, folks. We’re kidding ourselves if we pretend that’s the only obstacle here. The pipeline problem is very real; but so is the trapdoor problem. Read More

  • German Regulator Backs Google Over Publishers, As Europe Gets Embarrassing

    German Regulator Backs Google Over Publishers, As Europe Gets Embarrassing

    German regulators will not pursue a complaint brought against Google by a group of publishers for giving users access to their news articles. A number of German publishers, including Axel Springer and Burda, brought the action under a group called VG Media to demand Google pay them for making their articles available to the public on the search engine without paying them. But Andreas Mundt… Read More

  • Tech Elites Aren’t Ruining Burning Man. They Get Their Hands Dirty, Too.

    Tech Elites Aren’t Ruining Burning Man. They Get Their Hands Dirty, Too.

    Don’t believe the hate. While it’s a juicy narrative that rich people spoil everything the common folk hold dear, there are plenty of tech bigwigs at Burning Man that work hard to contribute and embody the event’s ideals of inclusion. And the thing is, what they do has little impact on Burning Man as a whole. Whether they’re secluded in forts of cushy tour buses like… Read More

  • Do Software Engineers Get Enough Respect?

    Do Software Engineers Get Enough Respect?

    “For software engineers, life must seem like it keeps getting better,” cheerleads CNet. Glassdoor agrees: our median salary is now $85K, and six figures in San Francisco. And everyone predicts that demand for our talents is skyrocketing. So what is one to make of a recent claim that, as a class, we are downtrodden, disrespected, and disenfranchised? …Actually, the guy kind of… Read More

  • BuzzFeed’s Future Depends On Convincing Us Ads Aren’t Ads

    BuzzFeed’s Future Depends On Convincing Us Ads Aren’t Ads

    BuzzFeed makes the majority of its money on ads that pretend to be content, but can it keep up this charade? Or, is the Starbucks-sponsored “10 Summer Emojis That Should Definitely Exist” no charade at all, but actually the future of media that we should just smile and accept? These are the questions that popped out to me from the news that Andreessen Horowitz invested $50 million… Read More

  • Uber Is About To Launch An API

    Uber Is About To Launch An API

    Uber wins when you hit the “Request A Ride” button, so shouldn’t it try to put that button everywhere? It seemed like a smart plan, so I did some digging and now sources confirm to me that Uber plans to launch an API soon. Google Maps was just the start. While it’s not clear what the exact functionality will be, the Uber API could potentially let partnered developers… Read More

  • Let’s Get Over Ourselfies

    Let’s Get Over Ourselfies

    It just became even easier to take selfies at inappropriate times. LINE is set to launch a new app just for selfies. Its key feature? It doesn’t make a shutter sound, so no one will notice when you’re surreptitiously snapping a closeup of yourself. The messaging company’s latest app, called B612, only uses the front-facing camera on your phone and “makes the process… Read More

  • #Love: Crossing The Read Line

    #Love: Crossing The Read Line

    The birth of the Read Receipt was inconspicuous enough. It started out in our work email, with easy opt-out options, and was meant to slightly increase productivity. Today, the Read Receipt is everywhere, oftentimes as a default, poking its devilish head into all parts of our life, from the mundane to the professional to the very personal. Though most people will tell you otherwise, the… Read More

  • John McAfee In Crazytown

    John McAfee In Crazytown

    “The press has portrayed me alternately as a mad genius or a mad psychotic genius,” began the infamous John McAfee, speaking at Def Con–and why break that streak now? I must admit: when he’s crazy, he’s crazy like a fox. Ultimately, though, as insane and riveting as his tale is, what’s most interesting to me is the way he has weirdly come to symbolize… Read More

  • Notes From Crazytown, Day Three: Black Hat Breakdown

    Notes From Crazytown, Day Three: Black Hat Breakdown

    So far this week, at Black Hat, I have learned to deeply mistrust: passwords, chip-and-PIN cards, USB devices, HTTPS connections, more than two billion phones, governments worldwide, all human societies, and my sense of the ridiculous. You should mistrust all those too! Sorry. What follows is a summary of the most eyebrow-raising talks I attended or heard about: Read More

  • Notes From Crazytown, Day Two: How To Fix Everything

    Notes From Crazytown, Day Two: How To Fix Everything

    Did you know the CIA has a venture fund? Of course the CIA has a venture fund. It’s called In-Q-Tel, and yesterday its Chief Information Security Officer, Dan Geer, a world-weary man with white Wolverine sideburns, stepped forth from the shadows to give the keynote address at Black Hat. It was a remarkable speech and I want to signal-boost it. Read More

  • Notes From Crazytown, Day One: The Business Of Fear

    Notes From Crazytown, Day One: The Business Of Fear

    Can your computer be hacked? Yep. Can your phone be hacked? Yep. Have your passwords been harvested? Very possibly. (The NYT just reported that one Russian group has more than a billion, though it’s unclear how many are salted and hashed.) So how worried should you be, exactly? …Good luck getting a real answer to that. Almost nobody has a strong incentive to give you one. Read More

  • Dear America, Would You Please Give Edward Snowden His Medal Of Freedom Already?

    Dear America, Would You Please Give Edward Snowden His Medal Of Freedom Already?

    2013: “A government task force is preparing legislation that would pressure companies such as Face­book and Google to enable law enforcement officials to intercept online communications as they occur.” 2014: “Politically, it’s plutonium now for a member of Congress in this environment to be supporting something that would enhance the government’s ability to… Read More

  • Facebook Takes A Stand With Free Access To Women’s Rights Info In Africa

    Facebook Takes A Stand With Free Access To Women’s Rights Info In Africa

    No one should be denied understanding of their human rights just because they can’t afford a mobile data plan. Now women in Zambia won’t be, as Facebook and Internet.org’s new app gives them free Internet connection for accessing women’s rights resources like MAMA  (Mobile Alliance For Maternal Action), WRAPP (Women’s Rights App), and Facts For Life by… Read More

  • #Love: In The Time Of Spotify

    #Love: In The Time Of Spotify

    If you look closely at what I’ve built—at my playlists, all of them public—you can see me. You only have to search my name and you’ll see it all right there: what’s in my head. I’m 23, and my idea of love isn’t far from the chorus of “In Your Eyes”. I’m living in the memory of John Cusack standing outside a window. I’m in the… Read More

  • On The Importance Of Forgetting

    On The Importance Of Forgetting

    The ongoing debate about Europe’s so-called ‘right to be forgotten’ ruling on search engines has shone a light onto a key pressure point between technology and society. Simply put the ability of digital technology to remember clashes with the human societal need to forgive and forget. Read More

  • How To Save Books

    How To Save Books

    It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was a time of triumph, it was a time of disaster, it was the publishing industry in 2014, just after mighty Amazon fired a new salvo in its war on traditional publishing by announcing its $10/month Kindle Unlimited book subscription service. At first glance this might seem useless and ridiculous: Read More

  • A Most Dangerous Machine

    A Most Dangerous Machine

    Facebook’s News Feed has decided that I like gruesome murders. Actually, senseless deaths and gruesome murders. I’m not exactly sure when the problem started, but I imagine it was around the time of one of the now too-common stories of mass shootings like Sandy Hook. Or at least, that’s what I like to tell myself – that surely, I was following a nationwide news story… Read More