Joho the Blog » 2012 » January

January 30, 2012

The Lick

(Hat tip to Chris Lydon.)

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Why I hate Verizon, Reason #254

How much do I owe Verizon this month for a connection at a summer cottage I share with my siblings? $38.04. For not having service.

That breaks down to $12.70 for a suspended phone line, $9.99 for a suspended Internet connection, $5.50 for having them turn off our long distance service, and taxes. (They didn’t record my initial request in early October to turn off the Internet, rather than suspend it, but go argue.)

I’m only surprised Verizon isn’t charging me more per month for not having a higher level of service.

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[2b2k] Big Data remakes Big Energy

Katie Fehrenbacher at GigaOm lists tne ways Big Data is reshaping energy.

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January 29, 2012

After 61 years, I learn how to make french fries

For all of my adult life, I’ve been making french fries (maybe once every couple of months) by cutting up the potatoes, putting them on a baking sheet, putting a couple of tablespoons (I’m guessing) of oil over them, mixing them up by hand, and popping them into a 425 degree oven,

For all of my adult life, I then go back 15 minutes later and use a spatula to try to flip them without separating their delicious crusty outsides from their fleshy insides. And failing. Their best parts stay stuck to the frying pan, the bastards. I’e tried aluminum and steel sheets, non-stick sheets, and sheets lined with aluminum foil.

Yesterday I coated the little darlings with oil in a bowl before putting than on the baking sheet. Bingo! Fried heaven!

(Note that this tip is independent of other tips, such as soaking them in cold water for an hour, double frying them, or not eating them because they’re bad for you.)

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[2b2k] Big data, big apps

From Gigaom, five apps that could change Big Data.

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January 28, 2012

Berkman Buzz

This week’s Berkman Buzz

  • Jonathan Zittrain hosts Computers Gone Wild [link]

  • Yochai Benkler discusses the Megaupload indictment [link]

  • Zeynep Tufekci argues that Twitter’s new tweet blocking policy is good for free speech [link]

  • Wayne Marshall explores nationalism and tradition in Congolese hip-hop [link]

  • Ethan Zuckerman liveblogs the launch of David Weinberger’s “Too Big To Know” [link]

  • Weekly Global Voices: Serbia: The Media War Against Angelina Jolie [link]

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EFF explains Twitter’s new take-down policy

There’s a good explainer by Eva Galperin of Twitter’s new policy on censoring tweets within countries that demand it, At BoingBoing, Xeni Jardin points to one particularly relevant fact: this applies to countries whwere Twitter is establishing physical offices.

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January 26, 2012

European Parliament has official look into ACTA. He then resigns in disgust.

From Techdirt:

Kader Arif, the “rapporteur” for ACTA, has quit that role in disgust over the process behind getting the EU to sign onto ACTA. A rapporteur is a person “appointed by a deliberative body to investigate an issue.” However, it appears his investigation of ACTA didn’t make him very pleased:

I want to denounce in the strongest possible manner the entire process that led to the signature of this agreement: no inclusion of civil society organisations, a lack of transparency from the start of the negotiations, repeated postponing of the signature of the text without an explanation being ever given, exclusion of the EU Parliament’s demands that were expressed on several occasions in our assembly.

As rapporteur of this text, I have faced never-before-seen manoeuvres from the right wing of this Parliament to impose a rushed calendar before public opinion could be alerted, thus depriving the Parliament of its right to expression and of the tools at its disposal to convey citizens’ legitimate demands.” …

ACTA is what SOPA would be if you believed in global conspiracies writing secret agreements to do roughly the same thing. Except ACTA is real. This is not one of the issues where the Obama administration, which I overall enthusiastically support, is making me real happy.

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Wanna be President of the Internets?

Well, only kind of. The World Wide Web Foundation is looking for a CEO. Susan Crawford, got some free time? Al Gore, are you busy? Randall Munroe, after all how long does it take you to draw stick figures? Maybe (perish the thought) someone who isn’t American?

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January 25, 2012

[2b2k] 13 ways the Net is making us smarter

HuffingtonPost has done a very nice job turning a piece I wrote for them (“13 ways the Net is making us smarter”) into a photo-illustrated slide show.

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