Category Archives: Technology


One simple change that can fix social media

On Benjamen Walker’s Theory of Everything podcast: Kathy Sierra was bullied off social media twice by vicious death threats, for her opinions about user interface design. (Yes, UI design). Now she proposes one simple change that could fix social media. And Chris discloses the secret origin of Facebook.


October 15, 2016

Dave Winer: On mixing short-form Twitter/Facebook blogging with longer posts.

For me, a big problem is that posting to Facebook or Twitter to share things is far easier than blogging. Blogging is more work. Particularly when posting a short blurt like this one. Particularly when posting from a phone, as I am now. Particularly when sitting on a daybed with a dog who has decided it is time for me to pay attention to her. Maybe that last bit is not a problem for most people, or one that internet technology will solve.


Mobile tech blogger James ‘jkontherun’ Kendrick suffers heart problem, needs bucks

Kendrick’s tagline is that he’s been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and he’s been dispensing expertise all that time, recently from his site jkontherun. Now he needs our help. John Biggs says on TechCrunch:

James was a freelancer and his work recently dried up. To add insult to injury, he’s suffering from a serious heart condition that put him in the hospital for two months and now dumped him into a wheelchair. His site, once privately owned, was bought by Gigaom and died when that site was, in turn, bought.

He’s having trouble getting his freelance career going again, and is running a GoFundMe to accept contributions. I’ve contributed — please do the same yourself if you can afford it.


Dave Winer: Less Facebook is OK

Dave is my blogging spirit animal. I like blogging, and I like sharing on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, and Medium. Of those platforms, I get the most return from Facebook. But blogging AND sharing to Facebook and Google+ are just too much work. So I’m going to start focusing mainly on the blog, and just automatically share links to Google+ and Facebook, until those platforms become easier to deal with in conjunction with a blog.

I’m working on figuring out a way I can share short updates directly to those services and to the blog simultaneously. This will involve automated email and plenty of duck tape.

You’re welcome to leave comments here, or on Facebook or Google+. Or just stop reading, even if you’re a close friend or member of my immediate family. I do not require other people to participate in my peculiar hobby.

I will revisit this decision when it doesn’t seem to be working for me, or when the tools for sharing blog content to social media get easier to work with.

I’ll keep mirroring my posts to Tumblr and Medium because that’s easy.

And I’m still trying to figure out what to do about Twitter.

Vox: Wall Street’s unrealistic expectations created a crisis for Twitter

No sympathy for Twitter here. Twitter chose whether and when to go public. If Wall Street is being mean to Twitter, tough nuts. It should have been no surprise; this is how Wall Street works.

With Disney and Google supposedly bowing out of the negotiations, Apple uninterested and Salesforce tepid at best, perhaps the best option would be for Twitter to go private with owners that are happy with the company as it is now — a middle-sized Internet global media platform, rather than a Facebook-killer. But could such buyers be found? Or would any buyer expect meteoric growth?

(Timothy B. Lee, Vox)


Making it Happen

Benjamen Walker’s Theory of Everything podcast compares American open source maker culture with the Chinese version. America’s version rose up as a reaction to intellectual property law. Meanwhile, in China, open source rose up where there is no tradition of strong intellectual property protection. The Chinese culture of open source hardware is driving China’s thriving Chinese manufacturing culture.

Clones of successful Western products such as the iPhone appear on the Chinese market before the originals, which leads to the question of just which is the clone and which is the original.

For this special installment of the Theory of Everything we explore Maker Culture. Makerbot co-founder Bre Pettis gives us a tour of his new venture: Bold Machines. Plus we go to China to learn what the next generation of Chinese makers have planned for the future.


October 3, 2016

Boarding the plane today the flight attendant announced Galaxy Note 7 phones are NOT ALLOWED. I’m no marketing expert but I guess Samsung has a branding problem.


October 3, 2016

How to fix a bricked Pebble watch

I thought for a while I’d bricked my Pebble Time watch. I was trying to reset the Bluetooth connection and it ended up stuck at the screen for SOS.

I went to Google and found this post from Jason Quattrone on Google+. Instructions for fix:

  1. Place the watch on the charger.
  2. Press and hold the right bottom button for 10 seconds (this will do a factory reset while you are in recovery mode)
  3. Clear the bluetooth pairing from the phone.
  4. Try reconnecting the watch from the Bluetooth settings menu on your phone.
  5. Finally launch the watch app and continue updating your watch.

And that worked.

The good news is my Pebble Watch is working again, which means I don’t have to replace it, and I probably would have replaced it with an Apple Watch, which would have cost hundreds and hundreds of dollars.

The bad news is I’m not getting an Apple Watch and the process cost me like a half hour.

How to unplug when you should

Do you obsessively fiddle with your phone all the time? Win back some mental space with these tips – Michael Duran, Wired

I see many articles like this. They all recommend similar steps. Don’t put your phone in your pocket, keep it in your desk where you have to make some effort to get it. Go a couple of days without connectivity.

These tips are not helpful. Keeping my phone out of reach would create more problems than it’s worth, because it’s a legitimate inconvenience when my phone is out of reach. The problem is that I fiddle with the phone at times when I should be doing something else. THAT’S what I’m looking to control.

Going a few days without connectivity is like going without electricity. It’s doable. People call that “camping.” And it’s good for you. But it’s kind of a big deal. Not to be entered into casually.

One tip that is helpful: Turn off nearly all your notifications. You do NOT want to be notified when you get new email, a mention or comment on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. You just don’t.


Trump’s attacks on Alicia Machado demonstrate he’s easily controlled – Ezra Klein, Vox

When you’re up against someone with a short temper who brags about never backing down from a fight, you can make that person dance like your little pet monkey. Which is exactly what the Clinton campaign has done.

… imagine that this wasn’t a presidential campaign. Imagine it was the Trump presidency. And imagine it wasn’t Hillary Clinton trying to bait Trump into attacking Alicia Machado, but ISIS trying to bait Trump into attacking Iraq, or Vladimir Putin trying to bait Trump into breaking with NATO, or Angela Merkel trying to bait Trump into isolating the United States before a key vote at the United Nations, or China trying to bait Trump into giving them an excuse to assert their claim over Taiwan.

Cory Doctorow on why science fiction is crap at predicting the future

Predicting the future isn’t what science fiction is for, says Cory. Science fiction reflects the aspirations and anxieties that people have about technology at the moment it was written.

It’s not just technology. It’s also politics and social change. And it applies to fantasy. H.P. Lovecraft in real life was a full-throated bigot who feared invading hordes of filthy mongrel immigrants; he turned that into some of the most powerful horror and fantasy written (enjoyed by legions, including the descendants of those same filthy mongrel immigrants). Star Trek has always been a reflection of whatever was going on in the news at the time the shows and movies aired.

Cory covers a lot of ground in this lively interview with Utah Public Radio’s Access Utah:

In a recent column, Doctorow says that “all the data collected in giant databases today will breach someday, and when it does, it will ruin peoples’ lives. They will have their houses stolen from under them by identity thieves who forge their deeds (this is already happening); they will end up with criminal records because identity thieves will use their personal information to commit crimes (this is already happening); … they will have their devices compromised using passwords and personal data that leaked from old accounts, and the hackers will spy on them through their baby monitors, cars, set-top boxes, and medical implants (this is already hap­pening)…” We’ll talk with Cory Doctorow about technology, privacy, and intellectual property.

Cory Doctorow is the co-editor of popular weblog Boing Boing and a contributor to The Guardian, Publishers Weekly, Wired, and many other newspapers, magazines and websites. He is a special consultant to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit civil liberties group that defends freedom in technology law, policy, standards and treaties. Doctorow is also an award-winning author of numerous novels, including “Little Brother,” “Homeland,” and “In Real Life.”

Segway’s got its own hoverboard


The $798 Segway MiniPRO is a scaled-down version of the full mallcop.

I keep an eye on these personal scooters and hoverboards, because I’m looking for an alternative to the car that’s not too expensive, and also fun, and practical. The alternatives I’ve seen — including this one — fit two of those criteria at best.

A bicycle would be perfect if we lived in another neighborhood, but we have too many hills. An electric bicycle might be a good option, but they’re too expensive.