Opinion

 

  • 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

  • #Love: My First Experience With Internet Porn

    #Love: My First Experience With Internet Porn

    Pornographic media has existed since the dawn of time, but it has never been as widely available and accessible as it is today. That’s largely due to the internet, which provides a launch pad for our curiosity no matter the topic. But with sex, a topic relatively more private and intimate, the internet can serve as an important resource for sexual exploration, understanding, and yes… Read More

  • Eigenmorality And The Dark Enlightenment

    Eigenmorality And The Dark Enlightenment

    This is a post about good vs. evil and right vs. wrong, but don’t worry, it’s highly technical. Let’s start with Stormfront, the white-supremacist hate site that attracts circa 300,000 unique American visitors per month, and the recent analysis of its members (and follow-up) by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz in the New York Times. Some numbers you probably didn’t expect: Read More

  • Innovator’s Dilemma Is Real And Requires Bold Action To Overcome

    Innovator’s Dilemma Is Real And Requires Bold Action To Overcome

    There has been some debate of late as to the validity of Clayton Christensen’s basic idea of the Innovator’s Dilemma. I’m here to tell you it’s real and it requires brave and decisive leaders to work through it. In his 1997 seminal book by the same name, Christensen recognized that companies and indeed entire industries are being challenged constantly by changes in… Read More

  • The Great Fragmentation: We Are All Weirdos Now

    The Great Fragmentation: We Are All Weirdos Now

    “Technology isn’t a section in the newspaper any more. It’s the culture,” quoth Buzzfeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith, prompting some eyebrow-raising by Guardian and New York Times columnists. And here’s some more from TechCrunch…but my stance is a bit different. “The culture”? That’s an oxymoron. There is no such thing as majority… Read More

  • Who Watches The Watchmen?

    Who Watches The Watchmen?

    In honor of the Fourth of July, let’s talk a little about how horrifically paranoid and counterproductive the US government has become. And I’m not even talking about Congress! Instead I mean our old friend the No Such Agency, who, it turns out, have been singling out for special treatment anyone who displays any interest in tools which might make the NSA’s life more difficult. Read More