Apr 302022
 

So a (semi-) local coding boot camp is going to be trying something that I really hope works out – partnering with a local company to sponsor and ultimately hire the graduates. I love this idea because of the way it shifts the financial risks in training people for future careers, the direct contrast it puts colleges in, and the fact that a set up like this is inherently designed to make the “graduating class” more successful, and not just because a higher percentage of them got their first job quickly.

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 Posted by at 11:45 AM
Mar 312022
 

Something broke with our approach to disagreements. We went from simply arguing with people who were wrong on the Internet to to demands that people be deplatformed because they’re wrong, according to people who seem to be right equally rarely. Thanks to the aggregation of content onto a few major platforms, a few people have the arbitrary ability to make other people vanish from public discourse. At this point, it’s impossible to tell who’s right, who’s wrong, and who’s been disappeared for having views deemed “unacceptable” by people who have no business making that determination. It’s starting to seem like the reason you can’t trust just anything you see online has moved from “anybody can post anything on the Internet” to “because publishing anything too contrarian will get you kicked off.” That’s not good.

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 Posted by at 11:55 AM
Dec 312021
 

I spent some time playing with Hotwire (for HTML Over The Wire) framework, mostly because it promised building a web application with minimal Javascript. As someone who’s largely a back-end developer and general Javascript non-enthusiast, that fact right there made Hotwire very appealing. Hotwire has absolutely delivered on its minimal Javascrip promise – in fact, I think it’s going to be my first choice for front-end development.

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 Posted by at 8:00 AM
Aug 312021
 

A couple of years ago, Automattic (makers of WordPress, which powers this blog), Google, and some news-related organizations announced Newspack, a publishing platform that was supposed to be “WordPress for news organizations” (per their site). The original announcement, like all new product announcements, sounded very promising – a publishing platform that had best practices built right in, a curated list of plugins designed to support news organizations, all built on top of the platform that most of the web already runs on. So how did Newspack seem to peter out, especially when other publishing platforms, like Substack, take off?

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 Posted by at 11:45 AM
Apr 012021
 

Cryptocurrencies changed the game in terms of currencies, bringing money forward into the Internet age. Since its introduction in 2008, Bitcoin has redefined how people buy and sell online. Since Bitcoin’s initial introduction, we’ve seen more cryptocurrencies enter the market, from Ethereum to Dogecoin. And now, I’m pleased to announce a thrilling new cryptocurrency designed for artists and young professionals just starting out…Exposure.

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 Posted by at 8:00 AM
Jan 312021
 

Like a lot of developers, I’ve worked on applications that solve business problems for almost all of my career (there was that brief time I worked for a government contractor). I’ve started to realize that there’s a lot of overlap between charities and businesses in terms of the general types of problems that they need solved. For starters, a lot of charitable organizations employ people to run the operation, so any employment/business management software would apply there. Then there’s the fact that there are certain types of problems that are universal to organizations trying to do something for other people. Businesses want to solve these problems to be better at making money, and charities want to solve them to be better at helping people, but they’re still the same classes of problems, and both of them could use cost-effective solutions to help them.

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 Posted by at 11:45 AM
Oct 242020
 

Election season is upon us yet again, which means it’s just about time for anyone who’s not registered as being affiliated with 1 of the 2 major parties to start hearing about how voting for anyone other than {speaker’s preferred major party candidate} is effectively voting for {candidate from the other major party that the speaker can’t stand}. It’s my biggest pet peeve of the whole process, mostly because the argument is stupid. Vote who you want to vote for, and if they’re not running under a “Big 2” ticket, then vote for them anyways, they’re who you want to vote for.

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 Posted by at 4:04 PM
Jun 292018
 

Almost every time I see a report on how a company’s stock is doing, or why the price did whatever it just did, I become more and more convinced that there’s no actual rational behavior or logic going on in stock trading anymore. Companies will report a great quarter and the price will tank. A company will announce plans to expand as well as what they did to complete that plan, and the stock price will drop because they had a large expense that quarter. It used to be that it was considered good advice to have a lot of your stock portfolio consist of “blue chip” stocks – the price would be largely stable and they paid dividends regularly. Now everyone wants to get in on “unicorns” (startups valued at over $1 billion dollars, which is generally insane to begin with), or focus on high growth stocks, with an insistence that they always be high-growth stocks. More and more I’ve become convinced that the stock market is largely a BS engine driven more by hype than actual economics.

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 Posted by at 11:45 AM
May 252018
 

If you work in any industry that makes use of other people’s data, and odds you’ve been hearing a lot about a new European Union law going into effect called GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation if you’re curious). I’m not going to get into the law’s requirements – if it applies to you then odds are the attorneys working for or retained by your company have already discussed what you need to do to be in compliance, that’s not what interests me here (besides, I’m neck deep in implementing the things my company’s lawyers said need to be implemented to say we’re in compliance). After hearing people say that Facebook’s latest scandal could/should result in GDPR-style regulation in the US, I thought I’d take a closer look at the ideas behind GDPR, and see how well they stack up as well as take a passing look at how good or bad they’re likely going to be.

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 Posted by at 11:45 AM
Apr 272018
 

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but Facebook’s been in the news recently, specifically around the exposure of millions of users’ worth of data to a firm called Cambridge Analytica. Cambridge Analytica allegedly used this to help various Republicans, including Donald Trump, during the 2016 election cycle. And to hear a lot of people talk about it, that’s the last sign before the start of the apocalypse, or something like that. To be honest it’s been hard to find a calm take on the whole thing, which has been part of the problem. People are shocked at how much data Facebook has on them. They can’t believe that Facebook lets people use this data to target ads to others. Or that companies may use this targeting for political advertising to try to swing an election. Or Facebook was “breached” (everyone else’s word, not the correct one) and this data leaked out. The truth is that while there were some problems with Facebook, and some bad actors at play, we’re focusing on the wrong things here, and it’s inspiring us to hysterics instead of reasoned analysis and reasonable responses.

I’m going to pause here and just make a note that I work for an email marketing company that emphasizes segmentation and targeted marketing. I’ve also written a Facebook application to create custom audiences on Facebook and keep them synced with their source mailing list. None of this requires data from Facebook users, so I don’t capture any sort of profile information, and all the opinions I’m writing here are my own, but it’s probably worth bearing in mind that my employment revolves around targeted marketing and I have done work to help marketers sync some of their “targeting” over to Facebook, so clearly I’m not as bothered by the concept of targeted advertising as some people may be.

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 Posted by at 11:45 AM