technology industry

History of Stanford University in the context of Silicon Valley

Get Rich U.

Ken Auletta has written yet another amazing piece for The New Yorker on the history of Stanford University and how it’s President, John Hennessy has built important relationships with the technology industry in the surrounding Silicon Valley. This is worth reading by anyone interested in the tech industry and one possible future of education.

The Federal Trade Commission tackles online tracking

What if There Was a Do-Not-Track List for Online Browsing?

For those who want to abolish the Federal Trade Commission, maybe things like this should make you reconsider.

On Wednesday, [the FTC] turned up the heat on the technology industry – and browser makers specifically – to move more quickly to create simple, universal controls to let people tell advertisers and data brokers that they may not collect information about their Web browsing and buying habits.

It’s complicated but its good to know someone’s looking at it.

It does creep me out when I visit B&H photo and find a rotating ad for a pair of boots I just looked at at Zappos. The cookie that does this is called a “beacon” and its in use all over the place. Easy to disable but just as easy to step into again.

If this topic interests you I highly recommend listening to this: Online Tracking: Creepy Commerce?. This was an excellent show and Julia Angwin of The Wall Street Journal gave a great overview of how all of these behind the scenes technologies work.


Ketan and Joe

Ketan Kothari and Joe Barrus

Ten years ago my friend Bart Pisha loaned me his AlphaSmart keyboard because he thought that both the tool was interesting and that the company was also interesting.

A few years before that, while working at Apple, the two guys above came up with an idea for a simple keyboard. Apple wasn’t interested (they went with the failed Newton) and so these two guys started their own company: Intelligent Peripheral Devices.

I got my first AlphaSmart in the first year the company sold them and was on the phone with Joe (above) to get help in pulling the ROM numerous times to update the firmware.

I’ve since become friends with Ketan, his brother Manish, Joe, and many of the other people at the renamed AlphaSmart, Inc. and when they chose an advisory board (in year 2) I was asked to serve on it which I have since.

I also co-run their online Community Center and have helped with their web site in the past.

Today they may have an IPO which is very exciting news. Mostly because this is the first company I have been involved with from just after “garage” to public offering. It will be an interesting day and rest of week.