5 y ago in Stuff

The Atlantic: What Happened to Silicon Values?


Lock-in creates dominant players -- witness Google, Facebook, Microsoft. And in this monopoly-driven environment, customers get exploited. Microsoft forces them to upgrade to expensive, overly complex, and bug-ridden software.

Apple controls our virtual landscape, bounded by iTunes to the north, the iPhone to the south, the iPad to the east, and the iPod to the west, giving it increasing power to deprive customers of choice. It exercises that power aggressively. Google appears to have a culture that condones shamelessly violating consumer privacy. How else can you explain a company that bypasses Apple's iPhone privacy settings in a reported attempt to strengthen advertising revenues?

It is hard to believe that Dave Packard or Andy Grove would ever tell a group of entrepreneurs that he did "every horrible thing in the book to just get revenues right away," or brag to trade publications that his company used behavioral psychologists to design "compulsion loops" into products to keep customers engaged. But Mark Pincus, the founder of Internet gaming giant Zynga, has done just that.

When corporate leaders pursue wealth in the winner-take-all Internet environment, companies dance on the edge of acceptable behavior. If they don't take it to the limit, a competitor will. That competitor will become the dominant supplier -- one monopoly will replace another. And when you engage in these activities you get a different set of Valley values: the values of customer exploitation.
  5 y ago in Quotes
As individuals, we need to stop expecting shortcuts. We need to learn to reject rewards we haven’t earned. When someone asks us something we don’t know, we need to be confident enough to say so, and suggest someone who might. Because we all want a meritocracy, and the only way we get one is by being brave enough to believe it can actually happen. If we keep acting like an industry of frauds who would be thrown out were it not for our self-aggrandizement and our politicking, we will have exactly that industry. As individuals, we’ll be better hustlers than we will developers. Fuck that shit.
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  5 y ago in Stuff

That icky feeling

Social networks exist to sell you crap. The icky feeling you get when your friend starts to talk to you about Amway, or when you spot someone passing out business cards at a birthday party, is the entire driving force behind a site like Facebook.

Because their collection methods are kind of primitive, these sites have to coax you into doing as much of your social interaction as possible while logged in, so they can see it. It's as if an ad agency built a nationwide chain of pubs and night clubs in the hopes that people would spend all their time there, rigging the place with microphones and cameras to keep abreast of the latest trends (and staffing it, of course, with that Mormon bartender).

We're used to talking about how disturbing this in the context of privacy, but it's worth pointing out how weirdly unsocial it is, too. How are you supposed to feel at home when you know a place is full of one-way mirrors?

We have a name for the kind of person who collects a detailed, permanent dossier on everyone they interact with, with the intent of using it to manipulate others for personal advantage - we call that person a sociopath. And both Google and Facebook have gone deep into stalker territory with their attempts to track our every action.

  5 y ago



section – Used for grouping together thematically-related content. Sounds like a div element, but its not. The div has no semantic meaning. Before replacing all your div’s with section elements, always ask yourself, “Is all of the content related?”

aside – Used for tangentially related content. Just because some content appears to the left or right of the main content isn’t enough reason to use the aside element. Ask yourself if the content within the aside can be removed without reducing the meaning of the main content. Pullquotes are an example of tangentially related content.

header – There is a crucial difference between the header element and the general accepted usage of header (or masthead). There’s usually only one header or ‘masthead’ in a page. In HTML5 you can have as many as you want. The spec defines it as “a group of introductory or navigational aids”. You can use a header in any section on your site. In fact, you probably should use a header within most of your sections. The spec describes the section element as “a thematic grouping of content, typically with a heading.”

nav – Intended for major navigation information. A group of links grouped together isn’t enough reason to use the nav element. Site-wide navigation, on the other hand belongs in a nav element.

footer – Sounds like its a description of the position, but its not. Footer elements contain information about it’s containing element: who wrote it, copyright, links to related content, etc. Whereas we usually have one footer for an entire document, HTML5 allows us to also have footer within sections.