Tuesday, June 24, 2014 Monday, June 9, 2014
Just saw this on the E train. PayPal is battling itself. In response to the viral sensation of Venmo’s “Lucas” campaign in NYC subways, PayPal is now using the same channel to market the same value proposition for an app that competes with itself. (PayPal and Venmo are both owned by eBay).

Just saw this on the E train. PayPal is battling itself. In response to the viral sensation of Venmo’s “Lucas” campaign in NYC subways, PayPal is now using the same channel to market the same value proposition for an app that competes with itself. (PayPal and Venmo are both owned by eBay).

Friday, June 6, 2014
staff:


Maybe you’ve just started to pursue a higher education. Maybe you’ve spent your adult life paying off debt from school. Either way, you’ve probably got questions about why college costs so much, what can be done about it, and if it’s even worth doing in the first place.
You should ask those questions to the President of the United States.
On Tuesday, June 10, our Founder/CEO, David, will head down to Washington to host a live conversation about education with President Obama. David will ask your questions. The President will answer them, out of his mouth, in front of the world.
(The White House will also be picking out a few question-askers to join us in person. If having the President’s ear isn’t enough, maybe standing on his carpet is.)
Submit your questions by midnight on Sunday, June 8. Then tune in to the White House Tumblr on Tuesday, June 10. See you in DC!


This is really cool. David Karp is going to ask our questions to the President. The subject matter is going to be higher education and student debt.

Here’s the question I just submitted:

"How would you advise David Karp (or others like him today) on his decision to drop out of high school to work in tech?"

staff:

Maybe you’ve just started to pursue a higher education. Maybe you’ve spent your adult life paying off debt from school. Either way, you’ve probably got questions about why college costs so much, what can be done about it, and if it’s even worth doing in the first place.

You should ask those questions to the President of the United States.

On Tuesday, June 10, our Founder/CEO, David, will head down to Washington to host a live conversation about education with President Obama. David will ask your questions. The President will answer them, out of his mouth, in front of the world.

(The White House will also be picking out a few question-askers to join us in person. If having the President’s ear isn’t enough, maybe standing on his carpet is.)

Submit your questions by midnight on Sunday, June 8. Then tune in to the White House Tumblr on Tuesday, June 10. See you in DC!

This is really cool. David Karp is going to ask our questions to the President. The subject matter is going to be higher education and student debt.

Here’s the question I just submitted:

"How would you advise David Karp (or others like him today) on his decision to drop out of high school to work in tech?"

Monday, June 2, 2014
A snap from my walk to work.

A snap from my walk to work.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Nexus Review

I was on vacation last week and took some of the time on flights to read Nexus by Ramez Naam.  It’s a sci-fi book that explores the intersection of computers and the brain and how they could meld together in the future.  

I typically only review books on this blog that I emphatically endorse.  I generally don’t think there’s any point in blogging about a book that I didn’t like; it doesn’t help anyone to do so. I’m blogging about Nexus because I definitely recommend it for a particular person/audience, but it’s not for everyone. And I personally enjoyed it quite a bit.

First, the good: it’s a compelling vision of the day-after-tomorrow in bio-hacking. Today, as wearable computing continues to increase in popularity, it’s very intuitive to see how the devices that currently sit on our body will eventually start to be embedded into our bodies. Naam takes this through process to its logical conclusion, as the brain becomes the silicon-replacement medium for computation. Since the brain already has the ability to process information, the key insight that Naam explores is the I/O necessary to read/write info to/from the brain. Once that scientific piece is unlocked, many of Naam’s fictional explorations in this book ooze the essential verrisimilitude that makes sci-fi sing with familiarity.

The bad: this book is not well-written. It’s not all bad: the writing is at its best in the scientific accuracy and the action scenes’ detail. I really like the parts where Naam describes what it’s like to research and explore a new frontier, with all the dead ends and promising threads. The problems emerge in things like cliche characters, predictable metaphor usage, and one particularly bad sex scene. Just don’t read this book after reading any of the “greats” of contemporary fiction like Chabon or Franzen. They make this book look like the material of a college fiction seminar.

So, if you’re excited by the ideas of what hacking your own body could become, I highly recommend Nexus.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Positioning

What’s the difference between sushi and cold dead fish? Positioning.

I am generally pretty bad at using positioning effectively.  It’s something I am continually working to improve. I often find myself thinking there is one objective truth, and any form of spin on that truth is incorrect and unethical. I think this stems from my overly logical recovering programmer frame of reference.

Every time I detect spin in some article designed to pursuade my opinion, I think of Joe Friday retorting “Just the facts, ma’am.” (which apparently never happened)

But that black and white line of thinking is exactly why I’m not great at positioning. “Sushi” and “cold dead fish” are both the objective truth, one is simply positioned more attractively than the other.  

Friday, May 16, 2014
Pull media has quickly been replaced by push media, as the Times report makes clear in so many words. Information—status updates, photos of your friends, videos of Solange, and sometimes even news articles—come at you; they find you. And media that don’t are hardly found at all.

For years now, when people ask me, “How do you consume your news?” my answer has consistently been, “Twitter reads the news to me.”

The homepage is dead, and the social web has won—even at the New York Times (via johnborthwick)

Who Will Fight for Your Digital Rights

EFF did a great summary of all the major web services and their policies regarding fighting for your digital rights.  It’s filled with great “did you know” tidbits. For example, did you know that if the government requests your Amazon purchase history, Amazon will not notify you about the request? (!)

I’d love to see a modern-day SiteAdvisor that helps me navigate my digital rights.  SiteAdvisor was a service founded by Chris Dixon that was a browser extension that told you whether or not you were about to visit a dangerous site (this is back before Chrome and FF baked this functionality directly into their browsers… in fact, Chrome didn’t even exist at the time).  While I appreciate the protection from malware, I feel like data privacy is an equally pressing problem.  I wish that my web browser would warn me before trusting a service with my data, if that service is likely to sell me out down the road.

For now, simply being armed with this knowledge is good… but if I knew this information at the moment that it matters most (when I’m considering signing up for a service) that would be even better.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

An ex-politician seeking re-election has asked to have links to an article about his behaviour in office removed.

A man convicted of possessing child abuse images has requested links to pages about his conviction to be wiped.

As a follow-up to my blog post today, here is two examples of the “forget me” requests Google has received thus far. There is no doubt to me that Google is being asked to make its product worse for end-consumers.

Politician and paedophile ask Google to ‘be forgotten’