Internet

John Oliver on Net Neutrality (again)

Another brilliant commentary by John Oliver on net neutrality

John Oliver first commented on net neutrality in 2014 here and it was one of the first really popular youTube posts he made.

If you’re confused about what Net neutrality is, browse this: Net neutrality on wikipedia.

The Trump administration has appointed a new chairman for the FCC, Ajit Pai, who is considering changing the rules put in place during the Obama administration to prevent unfair competition on the internet.

Here’s the link John talked about to make logging into the FCC to comment on this easier: http://gofccyourself.com.

[via Steve Splonskowski]

John Oliver on online harassment

Another amazing rant from John Oliver, this time on revenge porn, online harassment of women, and more.

The larger issue of cyberbullying is a huge problem and it will be interesting to watch what companies like Facebook and Twitter do about it over time, not to mention what individual states and the US government does about it, if anything.

Word Crimes

Weird Al Yankovic is on fire. Great stuff. Both my wife and I thought it was a tad fast but in fact, it’s the right speed for its intended audience.

You should never write words using numbers, unless you’re 7 or your name is Prince.

Listen up when I tell you this: I hope you never use quotation marks for ’emphasis.’

Ubiquitous Facebook

Facebook’s plan to find its next billion users: convince them the internet and Facebook are the same

This is the story of Facebook’s rapidly unfolding plan to take over the world, or at least the world wide web. It’s a tale that’s been hiding in plain sight for years, and it begins with an explanation of how Facebook has reached almost a billion users. It continues with a roadmap for how the seeds of Facebook’s future growth – to two billion and beyond – have already been planted. In both cases, what matters is emerging markets in Asia, Africa, and Latin America: the striving, proto-middle class “next billion” whose first impression of the internet is often that it seems to consist entirely of a site called Facebook.

I’ve always thought Facebook would come out with a device (phone or communicator) that only ran Facebook but in fact, Facebook for SIM, Facebook Zero and various Facebook apps are better and more generic gateways to the Facebook community. Had AOL done this type of thing in the old days they might have lived a bit longer.

Through a series of canny partnerships, acquisitions, and roll-outs, Facebook has made its service usable for anyone, whether they’re using the latest iPhone or a five year old gray-market Nokia with a black and white screen. In many cases, users don’t even have to have a data plan.

And the key to Facebook’s strategy is that no matter where users start on the ladder of mobile technology, from the most basic device to the newest smartphone, Facebook becomes better and more fun to use as they upgrade. And this is also why carriers are so eager to partner with Facebook, because the next billion to come onto the internet will do it through a mobile device, on which every megabyte that they use in connecting with their friends can be measured and billed.

This piece is worth reading carefully and while I’m no fan of Facebook, this is a brilliant idea.

[via The Verge]

Reset the Web

Reset the Web

View more presentations from yiibu

Midway through a project, a client of ours recently said “One thing I’m learning is that it’s ok to give up on the desktop experience once it stops making sense”. This wasn’t an isolated incident. In fact, i’m beginning to think desktop web sites stopped making sense quite a while ago. We’ve just had nothing viable to replace them with. Mobile apps have given us a glimpse, but I think they’re merely a glimpse into something bigger.

Mobile isn’t merely a new stage in the evolution of the web, it’s not even merely a new context, it’s the very early stages of an entirely new system. A system that has already started to shape our environment, affect the way we live, how we choose to connect with others, and how we’re able to spend our time. A system that is also slowly unravelling our assumptions and causing us to question the very reason we build web sites, why people visit them, and where the true value of the web actually lies.

This is an excellent presentation done by Stephanie Rieger at Breaking Development in Orlando, Florida on April 17, 2012.

[via Michaela Hackner]

On cloud and other dependencies

Just like the rest of the Internet, cloud computing — services run on remote servers and deliver files and computing power over the Internet — are vulnerable to the whims of regulators and governments. Residents of Egypt learned that lesson the hard way when the government abruptly shut off most Internet service providers in a frantic attempt to gain control of its rioting populace after rising unrest.

Yes, fascinating and scary and a useful kick in the pants to consider one’s dependencies.

When we lose power here in rural Connecticut my wife and I always look at each other (while lighting candles and turning on flashlights) as we realize how dependent we are on electricity. Not just lighting but our well pump, our furnace and of course, our local area network and eventually, our laptop computers (as they run out of charge). Yes, we have a lot of saved water to flush toilets in a power outage and we heat with wood and can cook on our wood stove but we do really rely on electricity for a lot. Our big freezer will last a while without power as long as we don’t open it but we have a lot of food that would need to be moved outside (where it’s freezing) so as not to spoil if we lost power for more than a few days.

While not wanting to go down the bomb shelter-survivalist path we have considered purchasing a generator to get us through power outages and may yet but we also like the idea of simply hunkering down and riding it out rather than attempting to provide enough infrastructure to normalize our lives at every moment. A generator will keep our local “cloud” up and running but not the cloud running on servers elsewhere.

While I would never support Senator Lieberman’s “kill switch” for internet services in the United States, I also look at what’s going on in Egypt as an example of how creative people can become when they don’t have what they’re used to. Yes, it’s useful to have the social internet at one’s disposal when one is organizing a revolution but the revolution is happening in Egypt without those tools.

Remember, Radio Free Europe and the BBC end-ran the propaganda broadcasting of many of the European countries that eventually became democracies. These days we have many more tools at our disposal so even in North Korea the writing is on the wall.

Yes, we’ve become dependent on the cloud just like electrical service, cable service, phone services of all kinds and more. I think the best way to respond to this self-knowledge is to back up data locally, know where the vulnerabilities are and if/when the power goes out in a snow storm, break out the snowshoes and enjoy the snow (metaphorically and otherwise).

By the way the application Notational Velocity which I use on my Mac to get at my Simplenote cloud-based notes caches that very text locally so is in fact, a nice bridge from cloud to local.

On cloud and other dependencies

Can We Really Trust the Cloud?

Just like the rest of the Internet, cloud computing — services run on remote servers and deliver files and computing power over the Internet — are vulnerable to the whims of regulators and governments. Residents of Egypt learned that lesson the hard way when the government abruptly shut off most Internet service providers in a frantic attempt to gain control of its rioting populace after rising unrest.

Yes, fascinating and scary and a useful kick in the pants to consider one’s dependencies.

When we lose power here in rural Connecticut my wife and I always look at each other (while lighting candles and turning on flashlights) as we realize how dependent we are on electricity. Not just lighting but our well pump, our furnace and of course, our local area network and eventually, our laptop computers (as they run out of charge). Yes, we have a lot of saved water to flush toilets in a power outage and we heat with wood and can cook on our wood stove but we do really rely on electricity for a lot. Our big freezer will last a while without power as long as we don’t open it but we have a lot of food that would need to be moved outside (where it’s freezing) so as not to spoil if we lost power for more than a few days.

While not wanting to go down the bomb shelter-survivalist path we have considered purchasing a generator to get us through power outages and may yet but we also like the idea of simply hunkering down and riding it out rather than attempting to provide enough infrastructure to normalize our lives at every moment. A generator will keep our local “cloud” up and running but not the cloud running on servers elsewhere.

While I would never support Senator Lieberman’s “kill switch” for internet services in the United States, I also look at what’s going on in Egypt as an example of how creative people can become when they don’t have what they’re used to. Yes, it’s useful to have the social internet at one’s disposal when one is organizing a revolution but the revolution is happening in Egypt without those tools.

Remember, Radio Free Europe and the BBC end-ran the propaganda broadcasting of many of the European countries that eventually became democracies. These days we have many more tools at our disposal so even in North Korea the writing is on the wall.

Yes, we’ve become dependent on the cloud just like electrical service, cable service, phone services of all kinds and more. I think the best way to respond to this self-knowledge is to back up data locally, know where the vulnerabilities are and if/when the power goes out in a snow storm, break out the snowshoes and enjoy the snow (metaphorically and otherwise).

By the way the application Notational Velocity which I use on my Mac to get at my Simplenote cloud-based notes caches that very text locally so is in fact, a nice bridge from cloud to local.

Internet Quarantines

Bruce Schneir has a fascinating piece on Internet Quarantines.

The short of it: If an ISP finds that a computer getting online through its gateway is infected with a virus and is spreading it, that ISP could close down the cable modem of that computer’s home or business network and keep them offline until the problem is solved.

There’s the technical problem–making the quarantine work in the face of malware designed to evade it, and the social problem–ensuring that people don’t have their computers unduly quarantined.

No doubt we’re on the way to quarantining in the background (self-healing?) with operating systems that update themselves and applications that send manufacturers information about the environment they’re running in.

The social problem is the one that interests me and Bruce discusses it:

Who gets to decide which computers to quarantine? A software vendor (Microsoft for example) might want to quarantine all computers not running legal copies of its software.

What if someone uses their cable modem for voice over IP telephone calling and that’s their only means of making and getting calls? Take them offline for a virus and you’ve made for a potential disaster when they can’t call for help when they fall down.

What if someone gets quarantined by mistake? What will their recourse be?

Public health is the right way to look at this problem. This conversation–between the rights of the individual and the rights of society–is a valid one to have, and this solution is a good possibility to consider.

Quarantining is a form of social engineering and as we’ve found out with attempting to change the whole to protect the part (ADA, Affirmative Action, etc.) that things get messy. This doesn’t mean that social engineering is a bad thing to do or that quarantining isn’t something to consider to make for a safer/cleaner internet, just that it might get a bit messy downstream.