Category

Technology

The Price of Free is Actually Too High

I loved this quote by Tristan Harris in the New York Magazine article The Internet Apologizes … “We cannot afford the advertising business model. The price of free is actually too high. It is literally destroying our society, because it incentivizes automated systems that have these inherent flaws. Cambridge Analytica is the easiest way of explaining…

Facebook As The Ultimate Surveillance Machine

Whenever someone tells me about the progress humans have made, I remind them that since the beginning of humans, man has been trying to kill his neighbor to take over his backyard. And yes, as Amy likes to regularly remind me, it’s often men doing the killing. Simultaneously, governments around the world have spent zillions…

Privacy and Facebook – The Non-Surprise

In 2008, I gave a talk at my 20th-year reunion at MIT Sloan. The title of the talk was something like “Privacy is Dead” and my assertion, in 2008, was that there was no longer any data privacy, anywhere, for anyone. I’ve been living my life under that assumption since then. The current Facebook scandal…

ICO Advertising On Google

Google just banned ICO and cryptocurrency-related advertising. For the official policy, see Financial Services: New restricted financial products policy (June 2018). Oh – and happy Pi Day. And MIT Admission Notification Day. And Einstein’s birthday. And Amy’s half birthday. And the day that Stephen Hawking transitioned to the next quantum energy level. I never understood why…

Why Biohacking and Bodyhacking Are The Wrong Words

We (the tech industry) like to label everything. I attribute the source of this desire and need to Regis McKenna although he may have just been the genius that amplified it. The labels I dealt with early in my professional career (the 1980s) included micro computers, mini-computers, artificial intelligence, expert systems, neural networks, middleware, super computers,…

Tax and Bitcoin (and other Cryptocurrencies)

Did you sell any bitcoin (or other cryptocurrencies) in 2017? If you did, do you know how to pay taxes on the transaction(s)? I’m going to guess that a lot of people in the US that fit in the category of having sold some bitcoin in 2017 haven’t spent a millisecond thinking about what tax…

Did Tech Companies Ever Have Our Best Interests At Heart?

An adapted essay from Noam Cohen new book The Know-It-Alls: The Rise of Silicon Valley as a Political Powerhouse and Social Wrecking Ball showed up several weeks in the New York Times in the article Silicon Valley Is Not Your Friend. It’s an important one to read slowly and carefully as there are several key points in it….

Apple Platform Layer Bugs

The word “platform” used to mean something in the technology industry. Like many other words, it has been applied to so many different things to almost be meaningless. Yesterday, when I started seeing stuff about the MacOS High Sierra blank root password bug, I took a deep breath and clicked on the first link I…

Digital Security Is Not Working Very Well

We live in a digital world with a false sense of security. While watching Blade Runner 2049 I smiled during a scene near the end where Deckard says to K, “What Have You Done?!?!?” I expect that this false sense of security will still exist in 2049 if humans manage to still be around. The first big…

RIP AOL AIM

Among all the distressing news of the world, I heard today that AOL Instant Messenger is shutting down on 12/15/17. AIM was the first instant messenger I used. My AOL account handle was bfeld, which stuck and is generally my handle for all things (like Twitter) unless someone else grabbed it, in which case it’s…