Keeping a Journal – Xach Holmon

Xach Holmon has a new blog entry Keeping a Journal. It’s a good read, encourages journalling privately as a memory aid and refresh that may allow you to make new connections later.  It could be an interesting approach to the new social I was mentioning. Start as a journalling app, private, with lot of tagging and meta data options (Xach mentions geo tagging especially for photos). Then add on some good search, and charge for use. Then start layering on top some options to share some posts, evolve posts from private rough drafts to public forms, keep live notes/etc going and volia, a potential privacy focused social network/life blog.

Also, Charlie Stross’s and his character Manfred Macx’s use of blogging in the first chapter of Accelerando has always fascinated me.  Again, one platform with solid private/semi-public/public features.  It really seems to be the future solution.


Reading: Cibola Burn

New Tech to Learn

There is a lot of new tech I want to learn this year. To that end I’ve started MongoDB University’s M202: MongoDB Advanced Deployment and Operations which Trulioo is sponsoring me to do in that I can spend sometime at work studying, which is awesome! Other things in no particular order I want to learn about and use before year’s end include:

  • C# – This language is seeing a lot of growth in popularity, and is on all platforms (thanks to Mono and Xamarin) and is used by the game industry a lot (mono + unity) and also a lot in server space (.net and Windows). I’ve heard some amazing things about productivity in it and feel it’s past time to take a better look.
  • Vagrant – I generally want to play more with VMs and VM managment in general and this tool caught my eye
  • Docker - Docker is blowing up in the devops space so it’s again past time I familiarize myself with it
  • MongoDB – I have the chance at work to really bring my skills up with Mongo so I’d be a fool not to take full advantage of it and learn to master it (as I’m starting to)
  • Go lang – Same. My game is much up wrt it already from work but I can still get better and learn more
  • Cluster and devops theory – I’m already helping to run a small cluster of servers but there’s a lot more I can learn and do to make things go smooth and to heklp making scaling up to the next level easier.
  • Haskell – I did a little in school, want to give it another more in depth go


Reading: Cibola Burn

Failure of Social networks and the future of devices

I’ve been raving about Peter Watt’s IAPP presentation The Scorched Earth Society all week.  It’s dense and seems to tie in to a bunch of other stuff in tech, like social networks and Google Glass, to name a few that have come up.

On Social Networks, I think the current generation (Facebook and GooglePlus) are coming to the end of running their course. Not saying they will go anywhere soon, but they have peak, and the evidence is around. Google Plus just gave up their 3 year fight on real names, as the try and beg people to use their platform and they noticed that was the most easily remedied of the reasons people aren’t.  As for Facebook, I have more and more friends not using it because it’s now over full. They have co-workers, and worse often, family on it, and they don’t want those people seeing how they live their social life and even though Facebook has made token attempts to make security a bit better, it’s no where near the level that people need it to be so they just stay off, and more hilariously, ask their friends to not take their photos and absolutely not post those to social networks. Also even with the current set up it is a house of cards, one good Facebook security shake up and again all your settings are reset to what they want and until you notice, data is leaking again.

The solution isn’t obviously forth coming yet, but we can guess a bit at it’s shape. When asked what a more private social network would even be like, “It is adding a lot of difficult code that limits the amount of information that can be shared…. sharing is the life blood ads value of a social network.” it become a bit more clear. That’s only one function of them. Both Google (gmail actually) and Facebook have released emotional hit you at home ads about documenting your entire life on their services and using it as a rich digital scrap book.  That is actually an entire service that can be done fairly easily privately.  Very little sharing actually needed there. The next big service they provide me is communication, quick messages and real time chat, and light event organizing, again, privacy isn’t a hindrance but a requirement of this service. I think the last decade can stand as  a very long case study in the argument that the “all your personal and social information should be public” hypothesis is very fundamentally wrong and naive.  We need a new social network that is privacy focused with option to share some information. As for monetization? Again, the future’s problem but off the top of my head? I already pay for dropbox for storage, so $ for space seems like one venue. Companies pay for communication tools. Anyway, like I said, rough sketch of what might come down the line in the next decade.

As for Google Glass? From a discussion earlier with a friend as well, “hypothesis: if we did tests with random people, the further a camera was away from eye mounted the less creeped out random people report being. test with google glass, some neck mounted one, a wrist mounted one, regular cellphone and a cam corder (both hand “mounted”). I’d say possibly google glass’s biggest ‘sin’ is it’s just ‘rude’”.  After watching a video of people using Google Glass he even reported having a bit of a hard time making eye contact with them. And more and more reports pour in of “Glassholes” and everyone else’s terrible reaction to people wearing glass. I think it ties into some pretty deep brain stuff. Mammals and other animals have a long evolutionary history of eye based communication and culture, and now dropping a new digital third eye infront of yours, people being less able to tell when you are paying attention, and the fact it could be always recording and dumping to google (and therefore, legally, the US government) viscerally and deeply creeps people the shit out.  And I think a bunch of Geeks just yelling from the Google mountaintop that society will have to change to suit their needs… well good luck. I think the final solution to wearable computing will look a bit different.

Me? I’m liking gloves for input (Imogen Heap’s Mimu are a step in that direction) and possible neck/shoulder mounted devices (like some MP3 players already).  We can definitely keep the audio commands, and get audio feed back if we want. Tie in bluetooth gloves for richer input (sorely lacking with glass). The big gap still is rich output, which Glass awkwardly provides. That is a little less obvious. Se we will see.

Anyway, I (again) want to get back into blogging more, this was meant to be a quick brain dump (of many) but it grew a bit (dumping the week). See you again soon hopefully.

Reading: Abaddon’s Gate