ENTRIES TAGGED "ethics"
Bitcoin Banks, Journo Ethics, Android and iOS, and Clever Algorithms
- Dan Kaminsky on Bitcoin (Slideshare) — short version: banks are an emergent property as it scales.
- Unethical Ventures (All Things D) — astonishing slam on the new venture fund that Michael Arrington (founder of TechCrunch) will be running while still writing for TechCrunch. This could have been a lot cleaner, of course, by Arrington simply resigning from TechCrunch, becoming a VC and perhaps starting a new blog where his agenda is much clearer, from which he could huff and puff away as he does with much entertaining gusto at real and (mostly) imagined slights. There is certainly precedent for VCs blogging, including Fred Wilson, Brad Feld and Ben Horowitz. And, despite my criticisms about ethics, it is clear that Arrington is a talented writer whose unique voice would be even stronger if it was truly seen as separate from what has become a news organization. But because of his obvious need to be the center of attention — requiring the ermine kingmaker mantle and foisting his patented I’m-here-to-tell-it-like-it-is attitude on us all — that appears to be impossible.
- An iOS Developer Takes on Android — a very easy to follow comparison of the two platforms from a developer who worked on both and who is carefully not partisan. I hadn’t realized before what an advantage OpenGL confers to the iOS devices. It’s not just for 3D games any more (he says, catching up with 2008).
- Clever Algorithms — book of 45 nature-inspired algorithms, code in Ruby.
China Snaffling Facebook Stock, DNS Douchebaggery, Corporate Whores, and Comic Relief
- China Wants to Buy Facebook (Forbes) — Beijing approached a fund that buys stock from former Facebook employees to see if it could assemble a stake large enough “to matter.” This has implications for Facebook entering China. Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg is reportedly “wary about the compromises Facebook would have to make to do business there.” If she loses her argument with Zuckerberg and Facebook enters China, the company will eventually be subject to demands to censor its sites, those both inside and outside China. That’s apparently why the Chinese want to own a big stake in Facebook. They are, in short, looking for control in the long run. No other explanation is consistent with the Party’s other media and “educational” initiatives. Again the world’s most desirable emerging market is fraught for those who would enter it.
- Cisco Helping China Build Surveillance (WSJ, subscription probably needed) — Western companies including Cisco Systems Inc. are poised to help build an ambitious new surveillance project in China—a citywide network of as many as 500,000 cameras that officials say will prevent crime but that human-rights advocates warn could target political dissent. Check out the mealy-mouthed weasel from HP: “We take them at their word as to the usage.” He added, “It’s not my job to really understand what they’re going to use it for. Our job is to respond to the bid that they’ve made.” (a) buyers don’t bid, vendors bid; (b) you’re a piss-poor vendor if you don’t understand what the client hopes to achieve; (c) really, maintaining plausible denial is the best way to preserve your brand’s integrity? Hewlett and Packard are turning in their graves, the heat given off from which could be detected by sensors, routed through Cisco boxes and displayed on HP terminals.
- US Claims .net and .com In Their Jurisdiction — The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) wants to take down web sites that use the .com and .net top level domains (TLD) regardless of whether their servers are based in the US. Not only do DNS interventions like this not stop the copying, they’re the thin end of the political wedge into yet another piece of critical Internet infrastructure. Who woke up this morning and thought, “I want a copyright rentacop to decide which websites I can see”? The generative power of the Internet is eroded with every misguided meddling such as this.
- SVK Launches — BERG London finally launch their excellent comic. “Comic?” you ask. Noted science future awesome Warren Ellis wrote it, and it features some clever augmented reality hardware. I have one, and I am happy. You can be too, for only ten pounds plus shipping.
Component Costs, Streaming Server, RC Parts, and MySQL SSD Goodness
- Conflict Minerals and Blood Tech (Joey Devilla) — electronic components have a human and environmental cost. I remember Saul Griffith asking me, “do you want to kill gorillas or dolphins?” for one component. Now we can add child militias and horrific rape to the list. (via Simon Willison)
- Meteor — an open source HTTP server that serves streaming data feeds (for apps that need Comet-style persistent connections). (via gianouts on Delicious)
- Hobby King RC Store — online source for remote control goodness, as recommended by Dan Shapiro at Foo.
- RethinkDB — MySQL storage engine optimised for SSD drives. See also TechCrunch article.
WikiLeaks Ethics, Education Business Opportunities, Corewar Updated, Watch Google IO
- Wikileaks Launched on Stolen Documents (Wired) — Wired claims the first set of documents was obtained by running a Tor node that users connected to (“exit node”) and saving the plaintext that was sent to the users, without their knowledge. Reminds me of the adage that nothing big in Silicon Valley starts without being some degree of evil first: YouTube turning a blind eye to copyright infringement, Facebook games and spam, etc.
- VC Investments in Education — Cleantech investors are chasing a 3x larger market than Education and yet are putting 50-60x the money to work chasing those returns.
- Cells: A Massively Multi-Agent Python Programming Game — a sweet-looking update on the old Core War game.
- Google IO 2010 Session Videos Online — I’m keen to learn more about BigData and Prediction APIs, which seem to me an eminently sensible move by Google to play to their strengths.
Ethics, Regulation, TCP/IP, and Time Travel
- Ethics and Economics — This paper looks at the evidence that suggests that ethical behaviour is good for the economy.
- FCC to Regulate Broadband — Two FCC officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski will announce Thursday that the commission considers broadband service a hybrid between an information service and a utility and that it has sufficient power to regulate Internet traffic under existing law.
- TCP/IP and IMS Sequence Diagrams — watch SYN, ACK, payload, etc. packets to and fro to understand what really happens each time you fetch mail or surf the web. This is what Velocity-type devops performance folks care about.
- How to Build a Time Machine (Daily Mail) — extremely readable article by Stephen Hawking about the possibilities of time travel.
8-Bit HTML5 Games, Cloud Morality, Global Data, Geo-tagged Notes
- Google Government Requests Tool –moving services into the cloud loses you control and privacy (see my presentation on the subject), and one way is by making your mail/browser history/etc. easier for law enforcement to get their hands on. There’s new moral ground here for service providers in what services they build, how they design their systems, and how they let people make informed choices. Google is one of the few companies around that are taking actions based on an analysis of what’s right, and whether or not they fall short of your moral conclusions on the subject, you have to give them credit for responding to the moral challenge. Compare to Facebook whose moral response has been to reduce user control over the use of their data.
- World Bank Data — the World Bank has released a huge amount of data about countries and economies, under an Open Knowledge Definition-compliant license. (via Open Knowledge Foundation)
- Moes Notes — note-taking iPhone app that includes GPS reference, so you can associate a text/audio/photo/video note with time, date, or place. (via Rich Gibson)
Ethics, Parallel Matrices, Browser Math, and Open Source EtherPad
- In Character — a journal that addresses a different virtue each quarter. I’ve been thinking of practical philosophy a lot, lately, as we see ever-more-dodgy behaviour. (via bengebre on Delicious)
- Lessons from Parallelizing Matrix Multiplication — a reminder why low-level knowledge of your platform matters, and why motivating examples should be carefully chosen.
- MathJax — MathJax is an open source, Ajax-based math display solution designed with a goal of consolidating advances in many web technologies in a single definitive math-on-the-web platform supporting all major browsers. (via Hacker News)
- EtherPad Source — released as part of their Google acquisition. The announcement says: Our goal with this release is to let the world run their own etherpad servers so that the functionality can live on even after we shut down etherpad.com. This is the resolution to the bad reception of the news that EtherPad would close in March with no plan B for users. The cult of entrepreneurship worshipped the customers only as a vehicle to an exit, but I don’t believe that it’s moral to do well personally but leave your customers high and dry. This is a message that the EtherPad founders seem to have got loud and clear.