Opinion

  • Grab Your Cameras, We Are Little Brother

    Grab Your Cameras, We Are Little Brother

    Dystopian futures have always imagined governments oppressing us with surveillance. Under the all-seeing, all-hearing eyes and ears of Big Brother, free will is curtailed and only “approved” behavior is allowed. Edward Snowden revealed this was no conspiracy theory, and we wouldn’t have to wait for the future. We’re already being watched, our liberty sacrificed for… Read More

  • Uber Über Alles

    Uber Über Alles

    Oh, Uber. Such a great service…run by such short-sighted, thin-skinned executives. Clue: when people criticize you and/or your company, suck it up, take the criticism on board and apologize/adjust if warranted, then shut up and move on. Do not muse aloud, even at a quasi-off-the-record party, about forming million-dollar funds to attack and silence your critics. Read More

  • The Internet Is The Best Thing Ever To Happen To Songwriters

    The Internet Is The Best Thing Ever To Happen To Songwriters

    Ever since, Taylor Swift decided to give Spotify the boot, under the auspices of helping songwriters, there has been a conversation suggesting that there was somehow a golden age for songwriters when they controlled their own destiny –and the Internet killed all that. I’m here to tell you that there was never any such time and if anything, the Internet was the best thing that… Read More

  • Searching For Truths In Big, Enormous, Massive Data

    Searching For Truths In Big, Enormous, Massive Data

    We have so much data, mountains and mountains of data. In fact, there’s so much, the name ‘Big Data’ doesn’t even do it justice. Maybe we should call it humongous data or at least enormous data. Yet for all this data, it seems we are lost in those piles of data, no closer to the answers that are supposed to solve our most fundamental business and social… Read More

  • Where I Went Wrong, Again

    Where I Went Wrong, Again

    Dear readers: can you believe I’ve been writing this weekly column for four years now? Me neither. But I have, and it’s time for my annual self-flagellation piece, in which I iterate over my opinions and predictions of the previous year, trumpet my triumphs, and confess all the things I got completely wrong. Read More

  • Disrupting Democracy

    Disrupting Democracy

    You have to grudgingly admire the black-hat political hackers who have pwned the American electoral system. First, entrench a two-party system; second, gerrymander districts into tortuous shapes; third, cultivate an electorate so polarized that no matter how much voters dislike their incumbent, they hate the alternative worse; fourth, profit! It’s elegant, horrifying brilliance. Read More

  • Why Is It Bad For Tech To Eat Jobs?

    Why Is It Bad For Tech To Eat Jobs?

    Most jobs suck. Yours probably doesn’t–after all, you’re a member of the highly educated, cutting-edge TechCrunch demographic–but most jobs, almost by definition, are done by people coerced by the fear of not having enough money into doing work they mostly don’t want to do. We should be ecstatic about the prospect of robots doing that work for us. Shouldn’t we? Read More

  • Bitcoin 2.0: Sidechains And Ethereum And Zerocash, Oh My!

    Bitcoin 2.0: Sidechains And Ethereum And Zerocash, Oh My!

    Strange, interesting, and wildly ambitious things are afoot in the world of Bitcoin and blockchains. I give you Zerocash, a completely anonymous currency; Ethereum, a blockchain platform designed to decentralize much of the Internet; and Sidechains, a proposal to accelerate the evolution of Bitcoin itself. Any one of these could conceivably become a very big deal. All three? Prick up your ears. Read More

  • The Groups App I Wish Facebook Would Build

    The Groups App I Wish Facebook Would Build

    About once a week, if not more, I find myself typing these words or something similar on Facebook: “I just PM’d you, check your ‘Other’ inbox.” Or, “sorry, I’m on mobile, I can’t get to the ‘Other’ inbox right now.” Or sometimes, just “bump.” If any of these phrases sound familiar, you’re probably also a member… Read More

  • You Too May Be A Victim Of Developaralysis

    You Too May Be A Victim Of Developaralysis

    Dear developers: Do you feel insecure because you’re only fluent in a mere eight programming languages used across three families of devices? Does exposure to yet another JavaScript framework make you shudder and wince? Have you postponed a pet project because you couldn’t figure out which cloud platform would be best for it? You too may suffer from Developaralysis. Be afraid. There… Read More

  • Apple Announces Too Many iPads

    Apple Announces Too Many iPads

    If you’re in the market to buy a new iPad, your choices just became dizzying. As expected, Apple announced new iPads this morning at its news conference in Cupertino, but it didn’t retire some of its older products to make way for the additions. How many iPad models can you choose from now? Five? And that’s not even counting the fact that each flavor comes with various… Read More

  • The Internet Of Someone Else’s Things

    The Internet Of Someone Else’s Things

    The Internet Of Things is coming. Rejoice! …Mostly. It will open our collective eyes to petabytes of real-time data, which we will turn into new insights and efficiencies. It will doubtless save lives. Oh, yes: and it will subtly redefine ownership as we know it. You will no longer own many of the most expensive and sophisticated items you possess. You may think you own them. But… Read More

  • Months After Its “Upgrade,” Simple’s Online Bank Is Still Broken

    Months After Its “Upgrade,” Simple’s Online Bank Is Still Broken

    Simple is no longer “simple.” Nearly two months after an upgrade to its systems and infrastructure, online banking service Simple is still recovering from a series of glitches that have affected every aspect of money management from bill payments to being able to see a correct available balance to refund delays, credits appearing as debits, and much more. Read More

  • Us vs. Them: What’s Wrong With You People?

    Us vs. Them: What’s Wrong With You People?

    Internet, we need to talk. In a nuanced, thoughtful, intelligent way. I don’t want this to turn into some kind of knee-jerk confrontation. But it will, won’t it? You’ll end up citing the Nazis while frothing at the mouth, won’t you? That’s what you do. Every. Single. Time. What’s wrong with you, Internet? Why can’t we just agree to disagree? By which… Read More

  • Just Say No To This Sexual Consent App

    Just Say No To This Sexual Consent App

    It’s an oft-trotted-out tech truism that there’s an app for everything. But when a pitch for a smartphone application for sexual consent lands in the inbox, well yes, it can certainly feel like there is indeed an app for everything. Read More

  • We Have Entered The Golden Age Of Hardware Hacking

    We Have Entered The Golden Age Of Hardware Hacking

    Hardware is the new hotness. This has been true for some years now: but today, the acorns planted by Arduino, TechShop, Kickstarter, lean prototyping, etc., are finally beginning to sprout into oaks. The best thing about this year’s Disrupt SF conference was that its Startup Alley boasted far fewer sugar-water SoLoMo apps…and many more nifty hardware start-ups. Read More

  • The Demons Of On-Demand

    The Demons Of On-Demand

    Are today’s on-demand and local services really about catering to the lazy rich, as as claimed, or are they about a new way to book services from local providers by satisfying demand more efficiently through the use of geolocation and advanced software that can map out where customers are, what they need and when? I’d argue it’s likely the latter, but I also understand… Read More

  • Let’s Fix The Internet

    Let’s Fix The Internet

    I hate to be the one to tell you this, but: we, the people of the Internet, have collectively run up a colossal amount of technical debt. Much of our online infrastructure consists of band-aid and/or legacy Rube Goldberg solutions hacked together with bubble gum and baling wire; and the only way to pay back technical debt is to fix it. The good news is, we’re finally doing just that. Read More

  • Hey Microsoft, Acquiring A Hit Game Is Stupid

    Hey Microsoft, Acquiring A Hit Game Is Stupid

    Buying a game company is like buying an aging baseball player. You’ll need a miracle to get another hit. And while they might have plenty of fans, they probably aren’t making a lot of new ones. Mojang hit a grand slam home run with Minecraft, but that doesn’t mean Microsoft should pay $2.5 billion for it, as it’s reportedly going to announce this week. There’s… Read More

  • Twitter’s Huge Mistake

    Twitter’s Huge Mistake

    The worst tech news I read last week was: “Twitter CFO says a Facebook-style filtered feed is coming, whether you like it or not.” The horrified firestorm of condemnation that erupted in response was the first time I’ve ever seen anything like unanimity on my Twitter feed. Fortunately, it seems it’s not actually happening. (At least not any time soon.) Read More

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