Opinion

  • Technology and the laws of power Crunch Network

    Technology and the laws of power

    Is the tech industry partly responsible for the rise of Donald Trump? That’s what John Robb, who’s always worth reading, suggests in a series of recent posts, citing the great Nassim Taleb in support. His vision: “The nation-state as we’ve known it is rapidly hollowing out … this century’s spike in globalization, financialization, and technological change… Read More

  • Pandora should revive Rdio as pay-for-what-you-want streaming

    Pandora should revive Rdio as pay-for-what-you-want streaming

    Music listeners are cheapskates. Few will pay Spotify or Apple $10 a month even to stream almost every song ever. Meanwhile, radio services like Pandora hardly scrape by on the meager ad rates after they pay out royalties. So if Pandora wants to resuscitate the battered corpse of Rdio it acquired for $75 million last year, it can’t just be another unlimited monthly subscription. The… Read More

  • On the war between hacker culture and codes of conduct Crunch Network

    On the war between hacker culture and codes of conduct

    Did you know that a Code of Conduct war is underway in the world of open-source software development? I realize that this sounds ridiculous. Codes of Conduct boil down to: “a) don’t be an asshole, b) this is how we define ‘asshole’ around these parts”. Who could argue with that? And yet this has become eruptively controversial — and with good reason. Read More

  • After The Gold Rush Crunch Network

    After The Gold Rush

    The startup gold rush of the last ten years is over. Sorry. Those hordes of ambitious entrepreneurs still stampeding to the Bay Area in the hopes of building their Minimum Viable Product, getting into Y Combinator, and growing their app into the Next Big Thing–they’re already too late. That era is behind us. It was a good run, even a legendary one, but it is over. Time for the new… Read More

  • We Now Return You To Your Regularly Scheduled Cyberpunk Dystopia Crunch Network

    We Now Return You To Your Regularly Scheduled Cyberpunk Dystopia

    Apple will lose this battle with the US government. Maybe not this year, or next, but soon enough, and for the rest of our lives. It is folly to pretend otherwise. Most ordinary people, and most powerful people, don’t care about abstruse theoretical arguments against back doors and weakened security. They care about—or want to exploit—the raw visceral fear of terrorist violence. Read More

  • Why Apple Is Right To Reject The FBI’s Push To Brute Force iPhone Security

    Why Apple Is Right To Reject The FBI’s Push To Brute Force iPhone Security

    Apple is under pressure from the FBI to backdoor iPhone security. But how will any technology company be able to offer trusted services to consumers if government-mandated backdoors are being forced upon them? Read More

  • When Data Goes Bad Crunch Network

    When Data Goes Bad

    So I know this guy Sulemaan from my Toronto days. Really good guy, despite being a Spurs fan. Sulemaan has a son, Syed, who is flagged as a security risk, a suspected terrorist, every time he flies. Syed is six years old. This is, of course, completely insane. But the data has been parsed; the algorithm has spoken; and so others must suffer from the idiocy of those who built the system. Read More

  • How To Fix Tech’s H-1B Problem Crunch Network

    How To Fix Tech’s H-1B Problem

    I’m a Canadian who has spent a sizable fraction of his adult life working in the USA, so immigration, especially as it relates to the tech industry, is a pretty personal subject. I was at a Waterloo Engineering alumnus event in San Francisco this week, and, inevitably, the arc of every conversation bent towards immigration, and how Kafkaesque it can be, even for us fortunate Canadians. Read More

  • This Teddy Bear Could Have Exposed Your Child’s Identity

    This Teddy Bear Could Have Exposed Your Child’s Identity

    Are smart toys worth the risk? That’s a question parents are asking themselves these days as they weigh the usefulness and delight that comes from cloud-connected toys, with the potential for them to be turned into spying devices, as was the claim against the Wi-Fi-enabled “Hello Barbie,” or the possibility of massive leaks involving their children’s personal… Read More

  • The Great White Fail Whale Crunch Network

    The Great White Fail Whale

    Call me Ishmael. Some years ago–never mind how long precisely–having nothing particular to interest me in meatspace, I thought to visit the Vale of Silicon. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen. Whenever my meds get such an upper hand of me, that I yearn to troll passersby–then, I account it high time to get to cyberspace. Read More

  • Beef Twitter

    Beef Twitter

    Why do we allow ourselves to be dragged into pointless, likely fruitless, micro-arguments on Twitter? Is it because the pithy length lends itself to misunderstanding? Perhaps the ego has a hand — no one likes to be called out publicly by peers in the same network, especially when you know everyone you both know can see. Then there’s good old fashioned obstinance. Read More

  • Bitcoin Is Dead (Again), Long Live Bitcoin (Again) Crunch Network

    Bitcoin Is Dead (Again), Long Live Bitcoin (Again)

    Oh, the drama, such drama. Last week, longtime Bitcoin developer Mike Hearn declared “the Bitcoin experiment…has failed,” and resigned from that community with a fusillade of verbal grenades (and a New York Times profile of his dissent.) This in turn provoked a whole torrent of hot takes and reactions, which mostly had one thing in common: contempt for all who disagree. Read More

  • Book It, Baby Crunch Network

    Book It, Baby

    Remember e-books? Those were the days, weren’t they? Those crazy few years when the fad of reading on a Kindle swept the nation. Now, of course, that fit of mass hysteria is behind us. E-book sales are falling, down more than 10% in 2015 — YA down 44%! — while used bookstores are coming back. Yes, that’s right; print is regaining its regal primacy; e-books are dead. Right? Read More

  • Buzzy Social App Stolen Shuts Down Amidst “Concerns” From Users

    Buzzy Social App Stolen Shuts Down Amidst “Concerns” From Users

    Amidst concerns over the gaming mechanics of a popular buzzy app called Stolen, its creators Hey Inc. has decided to shut down. They tweeted out the news today. Basically, the app allowed you to “own” peers with Twitter accounts, whether they signed up for the service or not. It was meant to be a fun game, but rubbed many people the wrong way. We've decided to shut down… Read More

  • The GoProblem

    The GoProblem

    Action cameras are like tablets. Lots of people want ONE. But very few need to constantly update to the latest model. I suspect this is why GoPro’s sales are slowing, it’s reduced sales forecasts, and it had to lay off 7% of its employees this week. It’s hitting market saturation. Many of the people likely to buy a GoPro already have one and don’t need… Read More

  • The Cruel Inequities Crunch Network

    The Cruel Inequities

    There are few people in technology more infuriating than Y Combinator’s Paul Graham, who earlier this month dropped a brilliant summary and analysis of the ongoing refragmentation of modern societies, followed immediately by a blinkered, muddled, wrong-headed essay on technology’s role in economic inequality. The response from his fellow tech VCs was remarkable. Read More

  • Colleges Are Overreacting Like Your Parents And Banning Hoverboards

    Colleges Are Overreacting Like Your Parents And Banning Hoverboards

    Surprise, surprise! If you buy cheap off-brand electronics from a shoddy factory in Asia, they may have poorly-designed lithium-ion batteries that can catch fire. After nearly 60 airlines basically banned hoverboards overnight, college campuses are now jumping on the hoverboard hate bandwagon. Read More

  • Let’s Put Twitter Moments In The Hands Of Twitter Users

    Let’s Put Twitter Moments In The Hands Of Twitter Users

    Storytelling is fun, but it’s also not easy. You have to have an idea of what story you want to tell and what pieces to include to illustrate it. Sometimes it’s words, sometimes it’s photos, sometimes it’s videos, and sometimes it’s all of them. Read More