In the spirit of April Fool’s, but also because I think it might actually make me more productive, I’ve made a Google Chrome extension to slow down Facebook’s timeline feature.
Long for the days of 56k? All this high-speed gigaboot Internets nonsense got you frazzled? Just install Slowpoke in Chrome by going to “chrome://extensions/” and dragging the .crx file onto the page. Instantly, your Facebook addiction will be both sated and abated.
(Get it here)
“A man’s true wealth is the good he does in the world.”
When you think of free market economics, undeniably the most championed principle is deregulation. By removing the obstacles that prevent us from economic exchanges, we become wealthier. Letting individuals be in total control of their financial decisions is the path to prosperity, as the thinking goes. Getting the state out of the way increases the number of transactions that will take place.
Inspired particularly by a book called The Rainforest by Victor Hwang and Greg Horowitt, I want to argue that traditional “free” markets are great, but that they’re not the pinnacle of value-creation.
As some of you may know, Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein from California has introduced a bill called the Fisa Improvements Act that she is portraying as a reasonable reform of mass government surveillance. I’ve been skeptical from the beginning, reading headlines like “Stop the NSA ‘Fake Fix’ Bill” from EFF and others. I’ve read through some of the bill, but here’s a list of reasons why this bill should be dumped that don’t even require reading it.
The author of the Patriot Act is sponsoring a more reasonable bill
To my surprise, one author of the USA Patriot Act, Jim Sensenbrenner, is proposing a competing bill with the support of Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy, called the USA Freedom Act (Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ending Eavesdropping, Dragnet-Collection, and Online Monitoring Act). Here’s a summary of what the bill would bring about, including the elimination of the meta-data collection programs often mentioned in the revelations of Edward Snowden this summer, and a closing of the “backdoor” that allowed the NSA to search for data about Americans in collected data that was obtained with non-individualized warrants.
Silicon Valley is revolting in Feinstein’s backyard
Several California tech giants like Google, Facebook, Apple, and others have banded together to call for a reform to government surveillance initiatives to restore trust in the Internet. Crucially, they argue against the provisions in Feinstein’s bill that would continue to allow the meta-data collection programs, in favor of the USA Freedom Act mentioned above. If Feinstein is facing a revolt from the very California companies that she’s supposed to represent, there’s clearly something wrong.
Her donors list shows where her loyalties lie
According to Open Secrets, her biggest donors for the 2009-2014 election cycle include General Atomics, General Dynamics, BAE Systems, and Northrop Grumman, all of which involved in defense contracting. I wouldn’t call it a stretch to say she’s pretty invested in the defense industry, which happens to be the same defense industry the NSA contracts all this mass surveillance work to.
For these reasons, I urge you to write to your Senators to oppose this bill.
You might want to grab a cup of coffee
My last article about the importance of getting started on your programming education is my most-read article on Medium so far. Like anything in my life, my writing is an experiment. When I see as many people getting excited about programming as I have because of this, it excites me too, and tells me I’ve hit a nerve.
I think there’s a little more to the story that I didn’t fully flush out. So here, I want to set you on the path to writing your first line of code as quickly as possible. I don’t want to delude you: there is no getting over the fact that programming is an iterative process. I love this article, describing the process of programming through the allegory of cooking. The author describes the frustration of “just getting started” when there isn’t a clear picture of what “getting started” means. I can’t just yell at you to “GO FORTH AND CODE” without at least helping you understand what you need in order to do that.
Welcome to my blog! I’ll be posting random musings about technology, privacy, entrepreneurship, politics, college, and everything else here. I’m always looking for interesting people with interesting ideas, so get in touch with me if you think you’d make a good fit as a contributor.