Musings

No answers, only opinions

@Snowden: This is not a drill > @matthewdgreen: Reminder to Silicon Valley: there’s an even chance that many governments in the world will be run by authoritarian movements in the future. Your window to deploy surveillance-resistant systems is running out.

Source

Big Brother

The ad networks. The interlinked data exchange. Where you've been, what you've seen, what you've clicked, what you like, what you don't like.

Or a dosier on how to socially engineer a target.

MAMA G

When big brother steps out of line, they need to answer to someone. Microsoft, Amazon, Meta, Apple, Google. They run the networks. People love these networks for the services they provide.

All five answer to the market. Legally, they cannot protect the data mines, sometimes referred to as human souls, at the expense of the prospectors.

Papa VC

Money comes from somewhere and it doesn't come for free. Money is expected to be lost along the way, but that's made up for ten-fold when oil is struck.

That oil is diverted into two pipelines.

1. Aggregated data

En masse, data is used to infer information about a given population. Conclusions drawn include: war is justified, genocide is necessary, slavery is compassion.

2. Discrete data

This typically results in dead journalists that never get to finish telling their sto

2004 I built my first computer. In a classroom. With disassembled parts from other computers.

I discovered alt-tab to validate my answers before submitting my online Cisco course quizes.

A few of us were hand selected super nerds that were really into computers.

I wanted to build computers one day. I was advised software might be the more prudent career path.

That was great advice.

The three of us were granted access to a back room with shelves and shelves of old computers.

Our job was to install Linux.

I don't remember which distro and which machine. If I had to guess, it was Red Hat and a Compaq.

We certainly named it Steven.

We named them all Steven.

I don't even know what we did with them besides install Linux on them.

We were so conditioned to Windows.

We were so powerful. We didn't know what to do with the power.

We just knew we had it.

I nurtured it. I became even more powerful.

Funding public software is complicated. Usually.

Bypassing an entire debate, it should be less complicated when a project finds usage.

Faker.js is a popular project.

Over the course of 2021, weekly downloads increased from 1.75 million downloads per week to 2.88 million downloads. The project was recently taken offline.

While the overall situation is unclear at this time, we do have some facts.

Given those three claims, this seems like a financial problem.

If Marak got one cent per download, the current funding would have doubled the week of February 26th to March 4th.

Something is broken in funding public software. Maybe if we could log4j all the things, we might be able to find out how much a banana costs.

Given: Pandemic

V and I don't have kids or many other responsibilities. I love the web. The internet, the promise of connection and social benefit through sharing. Potlatch.

I threw myself into my work. In practice, I opted-out of contributing to technology that is not available in the commons.

I began the pandemic with the anxiety of https://netflix.com going down during peak streaming wars while I was on-call. At current, I am on-call for the Covid-related intelligence map that our studio uses to keep cast and crew members as safe as practical during these times.

Between both, I feel a bit like a super-hero on the inside. On two different fronts, my contributions to technology in society has helped save lives these past couple years.

However

On the outside, I've struggled a bit. I've written about those things here, in detail, so we don't need to rehash that.

To summarize though: Everyone deserves better than the current state of technology, not just those with access to high quality data. Businesses have little incentive to improve quality of life where there is no money. This devolves society. Instead of a rising tide raising all ships, the absolute maximum is reduced to the lowest common denominator.

To put that another way: I would love to work with you to improve the current state of technology. I am just one person. You are just one person. There are so many layers of other people between us right now.

My Internet Service Provider and lobbyists. Your Internet Service Provider and lobbyists. My device manufacturer and supply chain. Your device manufacturer and supply chain. My favorite recreational digital experiences. Your favorite recreational digital experiences.

The truth is, digital experiences are really difficult to share with that many people involved. In the worst case, someone is really greedy and hoards all the intellectual property AND distribution networks for themselves. In the best case, they're actively trying to improve security for the normies. My inability to enjoy life with you digitally is a casualty of cyberwarfare regardless.

Where does that leave us?

Well, we need to find some common ground. I failed a startup between August 2020 and April 2021 with a couple friends trying to find it.

I think I've found it now: The Web. Not Web3 or even Web2.0.

Just: The Web.

We all use it everyday. It has a bunch of different stickers and labels on it depending on who sold it to you.

At the core, the web is sharing. I saw something I liked on my device. I want to share it with you to view on your device. However complicated that process becomes is the spectrum of “webiness” between us.

Given my desire to maximize the webiness between me and you, I need to help increase the lowest common denominator of the web itself.

What does that look like?

The web is all around us today. You can feel it, but you cannot see it. It is that thin thread between your favorite creators and you. It is the beat that draws you and your lover closer together when you're a million miles apart.

Culturally, it is a social connection. Technically, it is a protocol.

The web was founded to increase the quality of our social interactions when distance would otherwise be a prohibiting factor. Our devices today all speak the Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP). Most devices are capable of interacting with content sent via HTTP in a web browser, such as Firefox, Explorer, Safari, Chrome, Edge, Opera, Brave.

Our web browsers are the most prevalent mechanism with the most potential for our collective webiness.

Is the web safe?

I have been writing software that runs in web browsers since 2006. The web is a forward compatible medium. Practices I learned then, I still use today.

All the software I wrote that runs in a web browser still works today and will last until the end of the web.

The fiddly bits of the web that have rusted over and fallen off are the physical servers. They're expensive, they break, they need reliable electricity and a high-speed internet connection.

And they need enough people spending their attention on them to keep them going. And if money is involved, well someone is going to pay the bill one way or another. In most cases, the service just shuts down when the balance sheet turns negative.

As a person, that sucks. That just decreases collective webiness.

To be specific though, I'm talking about chat applications. These are the most primitive form of communication and we've all got a dozen of them. Except for the people that only have one and refuse to use anything else.

I digress, the web is safe, but services like your chat application may be insecure.

Why are there so many insecure chat services and applications?

It comes down to data. When you're sleeping, where is your data? Where is your contact list? Where are your messages stored?

Alice cannot communicate with Bob, unless all the people in Alice's supply chain have agreed with all of the people in Bob's supply chain.

You and I can improve this social bottleneck.

How?

Tim, the inventor of the web, has been continuously improving it since inception. The web began with HTTP, but a new protocol is being rolled out on top of it.

If we both speak Socially Linked Data, we'll both be able to communicate seamlessly. Me, with my favorite chat application. You, with your favorite chat application. Easy, when we speak the same protocol. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Any personal content will be able to be stored and accessed and shared with the owner in full control.

As servers rust and degrade. As business rise and fall. As friendships grow and fade. Socially Linked Data will remain portable and accessible.

This technology is not ready to go toe to toe with the tech titans just yet. We are making solid progress though.

What about today?

Knowing this is the future the web is collectively marching towards, I decided to reduce my supply chain in such a way that will hopefully be able to help you ultimately decrease your supply chain. In time, we'll both have an easier transition to the webiest possible future.

Participation on the web is described as 90-9-1.

90% consume 9% curate 1% create

I've been working on a project called TheLanding.Page for the 90%. This project will serve as the front door of the web. My ultimate goal will be able to get you a device that can turn on straight into the web via that link.

In addition, I've been leaving a trail of breadcrumbs for the 1% that want to catch up and be at the forefront of the future.

  1. https://yewtu.be/watch?v=xEDsBOtWD0g
  2. https://thelanding.page/apps/todo
  3. https://forum.solidproject.org/t/idea-launcher-app/3468
  4. https://ncity.executiontime.pub/

My job title changes. But my skillset stays the same.

Cascading Styles are a system for writing design systems.

I've worked on sites written in HTML, JavaScript, Java, Ruby on Rails, PHP, TypeScript, Perl, .NET, Pheonix.

Always on the front-end bits though. The content and the presentation. The language and the design language.

Human perception changes like fashion. Things come in, things go out. Staying in trend is easy with a light coupling.

As languages come and go, grow and fall, the design language lasts eternal while the ephemeral languages fade away.

It is easier to write code, than to read code, as the legends foretold.

Buy a coke. A big red coke from Santa. Cheers a polar bear. Or don't. And just buy any one of Coca-Cola's other products. Or don't. And buy a Pepsi product.

Choice is an illusion. Cascading Styles are illusions. Extremely perceptiple, palpable illusions. Just like a little carbonated sugar.

Sonder

The profound feeling of realizing that everyone, including strangers passing in the street, has a life as complex as one's own, which they are constantly living despite one's personal lack of awareness of it.


In fact, with the right amount of curation, I've found other lives are far more complex than my own. With a little elbow grease and a touch of serendipity, you might discover a world far more vibrant than you would have ever allowed yourself to experience before.

At least, that was true for me whenever I put down the megaphone and stopped yelling at strangers.

A response to The Web Is Fucked.

My blog here started in entire agreement. In fact, I started with 100 days to offload. I was using fosstodon regularly. I ventured into an entire subculture I was never going to kick it with under the guidance of MAMA G.

And that's just it.

I've had a great time since leaving MAMA G by the wayside. MAMA G is not the web. MAMA G is the “compassionate” welcoming committee to the web. MAMA G doesn't want to own the web, but operate it.

MAMA G can only operate the web with attention.

I've been starving MAMA G and I've stopped suckling at her teat.

I've grown up. I've moved out of the house.

I did this all with an enormous amount of help from the web.

Just yesterday, I filed an issue on my linux distro and with a little friendly communication, it was fixed on my machine with a standard update in seconds. That fix also resolved someone else's on-going issue that was stagnant.

That was pretty neat.

The cool thing about the web now is that it is SO BIG. That makes it so there is more bad stuff every year. But there's also more good stuff than there ever was.

And the cool thing about the web is that it lasts forever. Sometimes things decay and die and go away, but those things were never the web. They were the last throes of imperialism.

I've used the web as therapy this past year. My biggest piece of advice is that the internet is a very, very, very, very simple formula.

vibes in equals vibes out

Like, you reap what you sow. You get back what you put in.

If everything is fucked, you'll only see fucked things.

Sure, things are broken and we can't fix them, but those things were never ours to fix. Maybe we should focus our collective attention on the things we can change.

There's enough of us now to make some really cool things happen if we let them.

The web is pretty okay.

Cyberpunk 2077 0-Day Exploit: boot2web4you

In the video game Cyberpunk 2077, there is an network with various websites. One of those is: netdir://ncity.executiontime.pub

I have taken ownership of this website in the year 2021.

https://ncity.executiontime.pub/

boot2web4you is a plea for equality and compassion, which is the antithesis of the website in the year 2077.

We're just getting started, but I believe the Right to Repair includes software.

Let's talk specifics. Extrapolate later.

I have a Google Pixel. It was my main phone for a time. Before the ball dropped on that last night of 2020, I deleted my Google account.

Maps and YouTube stopped working. No account, no service.

This made me wonder— When purchasing a $1,000 phone, is my money or my data the currency for an application?

I moved on.

Imagine trying to call an emergency line (e.g. 911 in US).

Imagine it not going through.

Should it matter what software is or is not installed on a phone?

Should it matter whether any application is “logged in”?

Well, there is currently a bug, where if you have the Microsoft Teams app installed on your Android phone and it is not logged in, 911 emergency calls will not go through.

This isn't software malice, but it is software malpractice. Sadly, that is not a valid reason the doctor can leave under “cause of death”.

When is a phone a phone?

I got called a “Recovering Christian” the other day.

No single two words have ever cut me so deep.

My aunt texted me the other day and quoted a verse from Revelations at me in what I assume was good faith and encouragement.

The context to me was anything but.

I left the church after realizing I was complicit in manipulation and abuse; as a leader.

My friends left the church after standing alone when choosing peace over power; betrayed.

The remainder that stayed did so for personal gain or out of desparation; shame and sorrow, respectively.

I was always at the bottom. I was supposed to stay at the bottom.

I never knew my place down there.

Do I believe the premiere message of Jesus is that The State and The Religion will cooperate to oppress and crush the outliers of society and the only way to survive it is together with love? Hell yes, count me in.

This “Recovering Christian” and “Come to Jesus” bullshit though. That's textbook othering and I'm not here for it, I never was, and I never will be.

Instead of trying to “win me to your team”, come help me change the world.

We're all just squids in a game here.

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