#Love: I’m Single, Therefore I Tinder

 In the game of Tinder, you win or you get bored and give up. That is pretty much standard operating procedure for anyone with a smartphone and a libido.

But what if you’re bad at Tinder?

Naturally, I can’t solve all your problems. But exp…

Google, Eich, Rice: The Evil That Tech Does

 Techies hate politics. Well, no: we hate the idea of politics. Whenever I talk to pretty much anyone in the industry about politics as a sphere of human endeavor, from individual coders to zillionaire VCs, pained expressions cross their faces and…

Hey! You! Get Off Of Our Bandwagon

The Book of Berners-Lee And lo, it did come to pass, as prophesied by the geeks of yore, that in the twenty-fifth year of the Web, the world entire, from Kathmandu to Timbuktu to Zanzibar to New York, began to notice its devouring by the Law of Moore. …

VCs On Inequality, Unemployment, And Our Uncertain Future

home_of_the_futureThe Great Bifurcation is underway. The American economy is polarizing between the minority rich and the majority poor; technology is a major cause of this; and the rest of the world will soon follow, if it hasn’t already. I’ve been writing about this for years, and by now you’re probably sick of my perspective — so I went to tech VCs Steve Jurvetson and John Frankel for theirs.

Make It Sing

blacksmiths2Between you and many of the things you use every day, there is a complicated but elegant feedback loop, a physical dialogue, the topic of which is harmony of operation. The relationship that you build with a device is a self-optimizing relationship. First you make it speak, then you make it sing.

Why does this matter? Because so few of the devices we are adopting today will ever sing like that.

Bootcamp Regulators? Why A “Code Of Conduct” For Coding Academies In California Could Be A Good Thing

Screen Shot 2014-02-04 at 2.21.00 AMThe explosion in both online and offline programming platforms over the last year has made one thing clear: Learning to code is hot. (With two “t’s.”) Well, that and the fact that our traditional education system doesn’t seem to be pulling its weight as far as computer science education is concerned. (See here.) Literally, hundreds of hacker academies and “learn to code” schools have emerged, each promising to teach aspiring developers and engineers to speak the language of programming, and even to get a job. Furthermore, there’s no better indication of the fact that a potentially disruptive model has entered the world — or that these new hacker schools are more than just passing fancy — than when the government steps in with regulation. Last week, that’s exactly what happened in California, as VentureBeat reported that the BPPE, a division within the California Department of Consumer Affairs, had sent cease and desist letters to seven of these hacker academies. The Shock As the story went, these C&D letters essentially threatened the seven schools with $50,000 fines and imminent closure were they not to comply with the BPPE’s list of demands. Naturally, this ignited an uproar within the tech industry (case in point), with that reaction essentially taking the shape of, “How dare the government hinder these fledgling platforms?” It’s not an unfamiliar response from a community focused on tearing down walls, on pushing boundaries, and it wouldn’t be the first time a government body were found acting as a hindrance rather than a help. Confusion and enmity would also be an understandable reaction from the coding schools themselves. For these platforms, there’s a lot at stake in the apparent laundry list of expected compliances: There’s the threat of closure, the $50K fine, and then there are the months it could potentially take for the platforms to meet those regulatory demands, and the implicit possibility of bankruptcy as they wait for government approval. What’s more, the list of expected compliances has been mostly hazy up to this point. Given that the thrust of these regulations stem from the California Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009 — and that the BPPE itself owes its origins to both that legislation and its perceived reputation as a “diploma mill” in the ’80s — one can understand that the headlines up to this point have mostly focused on the impending doom of these platforms and

BuzzFeed Is The Future (Whether It Lives Or Dies)

buzzfeed-videoIt’s time for a little inside baseball! Be still your beating hearts.

But admit it: secretly you want to know about the success/failure of the myriad news sources whose stories flit disconnectedly across your Facebook and Twitter feeds from time to time, if only so you can tell your friends that you already knew who was doomed, on the day that long-fabled Great Shakeout finally comes and half of the world’s journalists find themselves surplus to needs.

Such DFW. Very Orwell. So Doge. Wow.

dfwLet’s talk about doge, but first let’s talk about the late great David Foster Wallace, who thirteen years ago wrote a classic essay about modern English* entitled “Tense Present,” which, realistically, is better than anything I will ever write, so I should maybe just point you at it and end this post here.

But I won’t. Not least because I strongly suspect that if DFW had not taken his own life five years ago, he would already have updated “Tense Present” for the modern era. He almost would have had to.

It is instructive that his essay includes the phrase You don’t (despite withering cultural pressure), have to use a computer, but you can’t escape language. That may have been true, just, in 2001, but it is not true today. You cannot escape computers any more — and that fact has affected language in a way which is, if you ask me, nothing short of revolutionary.