Houston 2600

Computer security, hacking, coding and mayhem

Interview with Francis Irving of Redecentralize.org

If you have noticed over the past decade, the net has become far less diverse. Far less anarchistic. Far more concentrated, with a few sites like Google, YouTube, Wikipedia, Facebook and other big media ventures concentrating most of the traffic. Even worse, they provide their own pages for what were once independent offerings. Facebook has a page for every place, author, brand, etc. Wikipedia offers a dumbed-down summary of any.. Read More

The hacker approach to education

Education gets talked up a lot. People are freaked out because we have too many college graduates, with too many loans, and a college education doesn’t magically open doors as much as it once did. Even more, it seems like graduates lack actual job skills. One of the things we’ve seen from all our data crunching is that G.P.A.’s are worthless as a criteria for hiring, and test scores are.. Read More

Is the internet a niche audience?

The original idea behind the internet was that it would be a place for everyone to interact. Sort of like society, but in a virtual world where distance was no barrier. However, that’s not what happened. More evidence suggests that online audiences reflect exactly zero of what’s going on in the world, and instead reflects the interests of a special audience that has gathered on the internet much as daytime.. Read More

The closing of the internet

Entropy is a fact of life. As soon as rules and standards are established, their meaning begins to erode and is replaced by new things. As these new things increase possibilities, a tendency toward the safety of a mean takes over. Soon normalization occurs, and with that, heat death. Such is the case of the internet. Once a frontier — the most sacred of all American myths — it has.. Read More

When Google attacks

A year or so ago, Google was promoting schema.org, one attempt to make the semantic web real. Now they’re not. It’s not even integrated into Chrome. Why the change? Well, for one thing… The Semantic Web will make search engines unimportant. Search engines exist for one purpose only, which is to guess at which web pages have the content you want. With semantic markup, there’s no longer guessing. If the.. Read More

RSS ain’t dead yet

I was sorry to read that Google is dismantling their RSS reader. It really was the best on the market. But, given how Google has been behaving lately, this is another aggressive move to force us the user-sheep to migrate to Google Plus and Google Now. However, I think this is a shame. When the internet started out, it was diverse, vibrant and non-standard. It was anarchic and full of.. Read More

Why Linux failed to take over desktop computing

The Linux community is abuzz with lamentations about why it has failed to penetrate the desktop market. A historical shift has occurred. The prices of computers have fallen, which means that the price of the operating system is no longer an impediment. As a result, many Linux devs have moved over to using OS X machines and most of the consumer world has moved to Windows 7, which fixes the.. Read More

Open Source Software, Inc.

Remember when the promise of open source software was that it was an alternative to the coercive corporate software that always tried to game the user to fit into its plan? Me too. But it seems those days have ended. The above is Mozilla adopting a page from Microsoft and Apple and trying to confuse and trick the user into upgrading to the “new” 8.0-series browser, when the user seems.. Read More