blue bits. red rocks.


I have come to believe that advertising is the original sin of the web. The fallen state of our Internet is a direct, if unintentional, consequence of choosing advertising as the default model to support online content and services. Through successive rounds of innovation and investor storytime, we’ve trained Internet users to expect that everything they say and do online will be aggregated into profiles (which they cannot review, challenge, or change) that shape both what ads and what content they see. Outrage over experimental manipulation of these profiles by social networks and dating companies has led to heated debates amongst the technologically savvy, but hasn’t shrunk the user bases of these services, as users now accept that this sort of manipulation is an integral part of the online experience. The Internet’s Original Sin

There is something distasteful about charging by the byte. The idea of freedom of information is sullied by a price tag on an icon, a taxi-meter ticking away on the corner of the screen. Tim Berners-Lee

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Everything they told you about how to live in the world when you were a kid is a lie. Education doesn’t matter, not even on paper. Being ethical doesn’t matter. Being a good person doesn’t matter. What matters now is that you’re endlessly capable of the hustle, of bringing in that long green, of being entertaining to enough people that somebody will want to give you money or fuck you or fund your startup. We’re all sharks now; if we stop swimming for just a little too long, we die. We lose followers. We’re lame. We’re not worth funding, or fucking. Because all that matters is the endless churn, the endless parade, the endless cycle of buying and trying to sell and being bought and sold by people who tell you that they’re your friends, man, not like those others. Microsoft is evil and Google is not evil, except when they are, but that’s not really important, and if you decide that maybe you’re tired of being reduced to nothing more than a potential lead for a sales pitch, like something out of a fucking David Mamet play, then you’re a hater and irrelevant and a Luddite. And besides, what would you do with yourself if you weren’t checking Facebook or playing Candy Crush Saga or watching some teenage dumbass smash his genitals on the side of a pool on YouTube? What the fuck would you even do, bro? Everyone I know is brokenhearted

This is modern cybergnosticism. When identities are tossed around like balls, when you can be whatever you want to be online, we are entering into a realm that is harmful to society. Unsettled Christianity

Think about what happens when you visit a website. It may take 800 milliseconds to load, but about 20% of that time is devoted to an algorithm that takes everything it knows about you, visits an online ad exchange, offers up the spot to bidders, and serves it. In 160 milliseconds. No human could do that. Yes, that ad will likely annoy the hell out of you, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need machines to make correlations between concepts, sentiments, events, and entities and offer help in making decisions. Man and his Machines

Nothing’s really free on the Internet. From search engines and email to social media and online publishing, if you’re not entering in your credit card number somewhere, you’re paying in a different way. As the adage goes, if you’re not the consumer, then you’re the product. You’re either paying with your eyeballs on advertisements, or with your personal data that gets sold to advertisers. If this is true of the Internet, then the same logic applies for the “Internet of Things.” This is the buzzword for the fast emerging trend of everyday objects being embedded with sensors. These sensors, which are networked over the web, collect, store, and analyze torrents of data—usually by transmitting data to remote “cloud” servers—about how people use the products the sensors are attached to. Some examples include personal devices like wristbands that measure vital signs, domestic appliances like “smart” thermostats, or automobiles that keep track of how, where, and when we drive. Insurance Vultures and the Internet of Things

Criminals are attacking feedly with a distributed denial of service attack (DDoS). The attacker is trying to extort us money to make it stop. We refused to give in and are working with our network providers to mitigate the attack as best as we can. CEO of Feedly, Edwin Khodabakchian

The internet, while inarguably providing innumerable worthy services, perpetuates this type of hyper-efficient, streamlined cleanliness, approaching us from beyond a glassy computer screen and sweeping up only the most direct and clean-cut reflections of the human experience; the meandering messes of pain, trial, and wonder are so often left in the wake. It’s tough, as a result, to resist allowing ourselves to be swept up into this networking funnel for the clean-cut. As Mae, the protagonist of The Circle, discovers, relying on this clean, non-physical entity of the internet lures us to distance ourselves from the realities, both sweet and painful, of the physical world. Were we not molded out of dirt? Were we not given a garden to tend? Were we not given noses to smell the lingering sunscreen in the binding of last summer’s beach books or ears to hear grains of sand slipping between the pages? See the stars in the sky, feel the disciple’s transforming soul. And the Lord said, There will be no simplifying my work. What Do Dave Eggers, Dirty Toes and Shampoo Have in Common?

It should be illegal to collect and permanently store most kinds of behavioral data. In the United States, they warn us the world will end if someone tries to regulate the Internet. But the net itself was born of a fairly good regulatory framework that made sure de facto net neutrality existed for decades, paid for basic research into protocols and software, cleared the way for business use of the internet, and encouraged the growth of the commercial web. It’s good regulation, not lack of regulation, that kept the web healthy. The Internet With A Human Face

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…it’s silly to pretend that keeping mass surveillance in private hands would protect us from abuses by government. The only way to keep user information safe is not to store it. The Internet With A Human Face

It’s romantic to think about cable taps and hacked routers, but history shows us that all an interested government has to do is ask. The word ‘terrorism’ is an open sesame that opens any doors. Look what happened with telecoms under the Bush administration. The NSA asked for permission to tap phone networks, and every American telecom except one said “no problem—let me help you rack those servers”. Their only concern was to make sure they got immunity against lawsuits. The relationship between the intelligence agencies and Silicon Valley has historically been very cozy. The former head of Facebook security now works at NSA. Dropbox just added Condoleeeza Rice, an architect of the Iraq war, to its board of directors. Obama has private fundraisers with the same people who are supposed to champion our privacy. There is not a lot of daylight between the American political Establishment and the Internet establishmeent. Whatever their politics, these people are on the same team. The Internet With A Human Face

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