The Internet: crashing itself?

This just in, from a recent Guardian article:

The inventor of the world wide web always maintained his creation was a reflection of humanity – the good, the bad and the ugly. But Berners-Lee’s vision for an “open platform that allows anyone to share information, access opportunities and collaborate across geographical boundaries” has been challenged by increasingly powerful digital gatekeepers whose algorithms can be weaponised by master manipulators.

“I’m still an optimist, but an optimist standing at the top of the hill with a nasty storm blowing in my face, hanging on to a fence,” said the British computer scientist. Read more

Democratize Facebook

Question: What’s stopping us from just taking over Facebook?

We live in an era of rage, and rage is an appropriate response to the nearly unprecedented level of cultural and political corruption, but unless outrage has a productive direction to go in, it just ends up with…well, with Trump & Co. What we need is creativity, imagining new possibilities for society, beyond the sound-bytes and clichés that both conservatives and liberals have been fighting about for decades.

So, here’s an idea: We take over Facebook Read more

Back to blogging

I’d been blogging like a fiend for about six weeks, then suddenly nothing, until this post. I didn’t realized how much my blogging depended on my smartphone until my smartphone began to die, a few weeks back. At first I thought it was the battery, because the power would drain fast and take a long time to charge. So, new battery. When that didn’t work I ended up getting a new phone, well, new for me. I picked up a refurbished version of the phone I have been using for a few years, the ole Samsung Note 3.

The Samsung Note 3 was the phone that everyone started calling a “phablet” a few years back. (Is it a phone? Is it a tablet? It’s both!) Big phones are the norm now, but a few years back the Note 3 looked and felt like way too much, so people would send them back, and because there were so many models sent back, I picked up a refurbished model of the Note 3, for cheap.

Now that I’ve been reconnected to the virtual world, I can blog again, but without the smartphone, it just doesn’t happen. Blogging just becomes another writing exercise where I stare at the blank page and blink and find myself thinking of a half-dozen things that I’d rather be doing.

For me, regular blogging seems dependent on the smartphone, beginning with saving ideas for posts. I use the phablet to jot down ideas when I’m out and about, then when I sit down at a respectable keyboard, I only have to polish them up for the blog. I usually have as many as a dozen thoughts in the que that I can use for blogging, so that when I actually get to a proper keyboard to peck them out, it usually goes pretty fast.

Generating the ideas is a big part of it, but equally as important is that these days I use my phone as a hotspot for most of my Internetting. So, no phone, no internet. No internet, no blogging. Using my data as a hotspot has worked well in this part of Alaska where Internet isn’t so easy to come by. Most other forms of connectivity or wireless phones are pretty sketchy, but Verizon is remarkably reliable, the best for Internetting in this area. So, I do my part to keep feeding the corporate beast, but it keeps me blogging.

The God’s Eye View by Barry Eisler

How I rate it: 4 of 5 stars

What I liked: It was a thrill ride, a thinkers thrill ride, but a thriller nonetheless. It’s a bit creepy to contemplate the reach of the government in the post-9/11 world. Even creepier, I submit, when a skilled author brings characters to life who have to grapple with the issues in real time, on the run. 

Plot Summary: A clean up by the NSA leads to a cover up, and cover ups lead to more cover ups. The body count and loose ends lead an analyst inside the agency to start to ask questions, questions that she knows she isn’t ready to answer, questions that peel back the curtain on the NSA’s power and god-like reach.

“Something about all that power seemed to make the assholes who wielded it believe they were invulnerable.”

Read more

In defense of Facebook minutia

I’m not typically the guy with the Facebook updates sharing what I ate for breakfast. I don’t mind seeing what you or others eat for breakfast, and I certainly don’t have anything against breakfast, per se. Breakfast is a wonderful time of the day, so rich with potential, our bodies are on the verge of great creativity and productivity, if only it were given the fuel necessary to energize it. For my part, I had a bagel with cream cheese. That was my breakfast. And I sprinkled some sugar on it and added cinnamon. That’s not my typical breakfast. Usually it’s just fruit. Fruit and perhaps a handful of almonds. Why is this my normal breakfast? Well, if I told you, then this would start to seem like a story. Read more

Holacracy

HOLACRACY ADVOCATES ARGUE THAT CENTRALIZATION OF POWER SUFFOCATES INNOVATION

What is holacracy?

Holacracy is management by committee with an emphasis on experimentation. The CEO formally relinquishes authority to a constitution and re-organizes everyone into decentralized teams that choose their own roles roles and goals.


Zappos just abolished bosses. Inside tech’s latest management craze. – Vox
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Article “The internet is fucked” | The Verge

One of my own (many) gripes against capitalism is that it breeds huge mutant monopoly companies who eat their families. When big industries are deregulated, the powerful tend to use their power to squash competition, or merge with other powerful companies. They then use this new strength to squeeze out even more competition until they remain, alone, at the top of the heap. (Think about the old days when princes would murder their brothers and any other familial rival…Hey, at least they were honest.)

This sad capitalistic story keeps replaying itself in American, and if you want, you can make a bag of popcorn and watch it unfold, as mega-bucks mutant freak corporation Comcast grows bigger and bigger….But be warned, watching it unfold may require shelling out big bucks to Comcast for an internet bundle plan.

Read more