Opinion

  • Why It’s Right To Report On The Sony Hack

    Why It’s Right To Report On The Sony Hack

    “No one’s private life can totally withstand public scrutiny,” reads an NYT op-ed penned by screenwriter and playwright Aaron Sorkin, angrily blasting the media for reporting the private details revealed through the recent hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment, in what’s shaping up to be one of the largest corporate data breaches to date. “…Every news outlet… Read More

  • FoundationDB And The New NoSQL

    FoundationDB And The New NoSQL

    Databases are the spine of the tech industry: unsung, invisible, but critical–and beyond disastrous when they break or are deformed. This makes database people cautious. For years, only the Big Three–Oracle, IBM’s DB2, and (maybe) SQL Server–were serious options. Then the open-source alternatives–MySQL, PostgreSQL–became viable. …And then, over the last… Read More

  • Hands-On With Facebook Post Search: Strong Recommendations, Yelp Should Worry

    Hands-On With Facebook Post Search: Strong Recommendations, Yelp Should Worry

    We’re all critics, whether we Like it or not. Our Facebook posts are implicit reviews and recommendations of restaurants, apps, movies, news articles, dry cleaners, and even whole cities. Now, Facebook’s new keyword post search is unlocking the value of the opinions we share but never put on review sites like Yelp, Annie’s List, MetaCritic, or the App Store. Of course… Read More

  • A Bitcoin Battle Is Brewing

    A Bitcoin Battle Is Brewing

    Did you know the Bitcoin community is riven by tension, drama, competing agendas, and at least two starkly different visions of our economic future? That even as major banks who thought of Bitcoin as snake oil re-assess its blockchain technology as a major breakthrough, and smart money pours into blockchain startups, the few at its cutting edge are increasingly divided against themselves? Read More

  • Bullying The Bullies

    Bullying The Bullies

    Humans haven’t quite gotten the hang of human rights, let alone social media. Combined ignorance of the two leads people to spew hate from the safety of an Internet connection, writing their bigotry into the public record. Now these moments are being put display for public shaming by a Tumblr seeking justice against racists. It’s a form of cybervigilantism. But is there a… Read More

  • Mo’ Data Mo’ Problems

    Mo’ Data Mo’ Problems

    The most exciting promise of Big Data—and if you hate that term, you’re not alone, but I think we’re stuck with it now—is this: the data collection happening on an increasingly gargantuan scale, parsed by modern data-processing and pattern-recognition algorithms, will unearth powerful new insights into our world and, especially, human behavior. Unfortunately this is… Read More

  • 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

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