MEK Studios tag:www.mekstudios.com,2013-02-10:/notional/20130210055031443 Critical thinking to start your day.<br>A blog of ideas, thoughts, and concepts for consideration. Copyright (c) 2013 Michael E. Kirkpatrick 2019-07-20T18:54:37-07:00 Michael E. Kirkpatrick http://www.mekstudios.com michael@mekstudios.com The New Wilderness tag:mekstudios.com,2019-07-20:/2019/07/the-new-wilderness 2019-07-20T18:54:37-07:00 2019-07-20T18:54:37-07:00 Maciej Cegłowski <p>A tremendous post from June that could not recommend more. Read it this weekend if you haven&#8217;t already.</p> <blockquote> <p>In the eyes of regulators, privacy still means what it did in the eighteenth century—protecting specific categories of personal data, or communications between individuals, from unauthorized disclosure. Third parties that are given access to our personal data have a duty to protect it, and to the extent that they discharge this duty, they are respecting our privacy&#8230;</p> <p>This requires us to talk about a different kind of privacy, one that we haven’t needed to give a name to before. For the purposes of this essay, I’ll call it ‘ambient privacy’—the understanding that there is value in having our everyday interactions with one another remain outside the reach of monitoring, and that the small details of our daily lives should pass by unremembered. What we do at home, work, church, school, or in our leisure time does not belong in a permanent record. Not every conversation needs to be a deposition.</p> <p>Until recently, ambient privacy was a simple fact of life. Recording something for posterity required making special arrangements, and most of our shared experience of the past was filtered through the attenuating haze of human memory. Even police states like East Germany, where one in seven citizens was an informer, were not able to keep tabs on their entire population. Today computers have given us that power. Authoritarian states like China and Saudi Arabia are using this newfound capacity as a tool of social control. Here in the United States, we’re using it to show ads. But the infrastructure of total surveillance is everywhere the same, and everywhere being deployed at scale.</p> <p>Ambient privacy is not a property of people, or of their data, but of the world around us. Just like you can’t drop out of the oil economy by refusing to drive a car, you can’t opt out of the surveillance economy by forswearing technology (and for many people, that choice is not an option). While there may be worthy reasons to take your life off the grid, the infrastructure will go up around you whether you use it or not.</p> <p>Because our laws frame privacy as an individual right, we don’t have a mechanism for deciding whether we want to live in a surveillance society. Congress has remained silent on the matter, with both parties content to watch Silicon Valley make up its own rules. The large tech companies point to our willing use of their services as proof that people don’t really care about their privacy. But this is like arguing that inmates are happy to be in jail because they use the prison library. Confronted with the reality of a monitored world, people make the rational decision to make the best of it.</p> <p>That is not consent.</p> </blockquote> <p>A tremendous essay, start to finish.</p> Shopify and the Power of Platforms tag:mekstudios.com,2019-07-20:/2019/07/shopify-and-the-power-of-platforms 2019-07-20T17:50:12-07:00 2019-07-20T17:50:12-07:00 Ben Thompson <p>Another good article by Ben Thompson, this time looking at Shopify and how it differs and competes fundamentally differently than Amazon. Here&#8217;s how Ben sets it up:</p> <p>&#8220;This is ultimately the most important distinction between platforms and Aggregators: platforms are powerful because they facilitate a relationship between 3rd-party suppliers and end users; Aggregators, on the other hand, intermediate and control it.&#8221;</p> Facebook, Libra, and the Long Game tag:mekstudios.com,2019-07-05:/2019/07/facebook-libra-and-the-long-game 2019-07-05T18:48:20-07:00 2019-07-05T18:48:20-07:00 Ben Thompson <p>I don’t yet have a good grasp of Libra, the Facebook led cryptocurrency. Ben Thompson gives a good primer on it in broad strokes. He also adds some color in light of his <a href="https://stratechery.com/aggregation-theory/">Aggregation Theory</a>. I found this bit intriguing:</p> <blockquote> <p>The second use case will be using Libra to transact with merchants, who stand to benefit both from reduced fees relative to credit cards as well as larger addressable markets (i.e. potential users who don’t have credit cards). Note that none of Libra’s Founding Members are banks, which impose the largest percentage of credit card fees; Visa and Mastercard, on the other hand, are, like PayPal, happy to sit on top of Libra.</p> </blockquote> What I Learned Co-Founding Dribbble tag:mekstudios.com,2019-07-05:/2019/07/what-i-learned-co-founding-dribble 2019-07-05T18:16:52-07:00 2019-07-05T18:16:52-07:00 Dan Cederholm <blockquote> <p>I decided to share 20 things I’ve learned by co-founding Dribbble over the last 10 years. The timing was cosmic, as I’d just made the decision to retire fully from Dribbble, stepping aside to figure out what’s next. More on that in a bit.</p> <p>Reflecting on what I’ve learned from building a community for designers, learning how to run a business, and navigating some tough life years proved both fun and difficult. I thought I’d share those thoughts in hypertext should they be useful. And so here we are.</p> </blockquote> The Essence of Apple’s Decision tag:mekstudios.com,2019-07-05:/2019/07/the-essence-of-apples-decision 2019-07-05T17:03:36-07:00 2019-07-05T17:03:36-07:00 Horace Dediu <blockquote> <p>The fact that we ourselves don’t know how we make decisions has not stopped us from proclaiming, loudly, that we know how everyone else decides. Such proclamations about others’ decisions are especially confident and assured the more important, or highly visible, the decision&#8230;</p> <p>Rather than take the comfortable road and analyzing Apple by the surface that is exposed, the better approach might be to toss the Rational Actor model and think about the Organizational or the Political Models.</p> <p>How does the company process information? How does it generate consensus? How does it deal with motivating employees? How does it allocate resources? How does it evaluate productivity? How does it balance morale and turnover?</p> </blockquote> Jony Ive tag:mekstudios.com,2019-07-05:/2019/07/jony-ive 2019-07-05T16:43:03-07:00 2019-07-05T16:43:03-07:00 John Siracusa <p>A nice reflection on Jony Ive by John Siracusa.</p> <blockquote> <p>According to any reasonable set of quantifiable measures, Jony Ive departs Apple as the greatest product designer that has ever lived. His hit products sold in vast numbers and were fundamentally transformative to both the company he worked for and the world at large. We all know their names: iMac, iPod, iPhone, iPad. Together, these products helped set the direction for the most consequential industry of the last century.</p> </blockquote> Superhuman is Spying on You tag:mekstudios.com,2019-07-04:/2019/07/superhuman-is-spying-on-you 2019-07-04T15:36:29-07:00 2019-07-04T16:56:51-07:00 Mike Davidson <p>A few days after this went viral, but worth nothing nonetheless. The gist of the article is that there’s a new piece of email software out in the world called Superhuman. One of its features, that is on by default, is that all emails you send using Superhuman include a tracking pixel. This tracking pixel allows the sender to know whether someone read the email, when it was read (timestamp), and where they read it (geolocation). This was poorly implemented from a privacy perspective. It’s not opt-in. And time stamps and geolocation are a bad combination of data to give users. An example he gives is about an ex who emails their former partner. The ex then knows when and if the partner reads the message, the number of times they read the message, and where they are reading the message. All without the partner knowing they are being surveilled by the ex. Creepy and a poor design decision.</p> <p>Mike also makes the case for an ethical trajectory for a company: if you make ethically questionable decision now you’re more likely and able to make progressively worse decisions down the line based on precedent.</p> <p>Worth the read.</p> <p><strong>Update:</strong> Yesterday, Rahul Vohra the CEO of Superhuman posted a <a href="https://blog.superhuman.com/read-statuses-bdf0cc34b6a5">response to Mike&#8217;s essay</a>.</p> 7 absolute truths I unlearned as junior developer tag:mekstudios.com,2019-06-16:/2019/06/7-absolute-truths-i-unlearned-as-junior-developer 2019-06-16T14:40:51-07:00 2019-06-16T14:40:51-07:00 Monica Lent <p>Some good tidbits!</p> Privacy Preserving Ad Click Attribution For the Web tag:mekstudios.com,2019-06-14:/2019/06/privacy-preserving-ad-click-attribution-for-the-web 2019-06-14T15:11:36-07:00 2019-06-14T15:11:36-07:00 John Wilander <p>Interesting proposal for tracking conversions in a world where today&#8217;s ubiquitous tracking pixel is gone.</p> Swimming tag:mekstudios.com,2019-06-14:/2019/06/swimming 2019-06-14T15:00:04-07:00 2019-06-14T15:00:04-07:00 Randall Munroe <p><img src="https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/swimming.png" title=""You don't know how high above you the sky goes, but you're not freaking out about that." "Well, NOW I am!"" alt="Swimming" srcset="https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/swimming_2x.png 2x" class="img-fluid center-block"></p> The Day the Music Burned tag:mekstudios.com,2019-06-12:/2019/06/the-day-the-music-burned 2019-06-12T17:07:47-07:00 2019-06-12T17:07:47-07:00 Jody Rosen <p>Archiving is likely one of the most undervalued professions we have today. I’ve loved browsing archives large and small — family bookshelves and University special collections. My takeaway from this story is a question of value and importance. How much do we value the old — in this case old audio masters? And how important is it that, or to what extend should, these masters be preserved?</p> <p>The question can easily fold from the world of music to the work you and I live in. How should we preserve old pictures and family relics? How important is the work we’re doing today to the people who will work at our company in 5, 10, or 20 years? Should it be saved, indexed, and searchable? If so, how will that archiving process be managed?</p> AT&T’s Privacy Policy tag:mekstudios.com,2019-05-23:/2019/05/atandts-privacy-policy 2019-05-23T17:36:20-07:00 2019-05-23T17:36:20-07:00 AT&T <p>Information I didn’t know my wireless and home Internet service provider gathers, direct from their privacy policy:</p> <blockquote> <p>Here’s some of the information we collect:</p> <ul> <li><p><em>Account Information</em> includes your name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, service-related details such as payment data, security codes, service history and other information like that;</p></li> <li><p><em>Network Performance &amp; Usage Information</em> tells us how you use our networks, our products and our services, and how well our equipment and networks are performing;</p></li> <li><p><em>Web Browsing &amp; Wireless Application Information</em> tells us about the websites you visit and the mobile applications you use on our networks;</p></li> <li><p><em>Location Information</em> tells us where your wireless device is located, as well as your ZIP-code and street address;</p></li> <li><p><em>TV Viewing Information</em> tells us about which programs you watch and record and similar information about how you use our video services and applications.</p></li> </ul> </blockquote> <p>Bullet points #3, #4, and #5 I find highly intrusive. Bullet #2 makes me uneasy because it’s so vague.</p> <p>As a subscriber I have to agree to this privacy policy, there’s no opt out. My only recourse in the marketplace is to switch providers.</p> <p>My second recourse is to lobby for legislation that restricts these types of intrusive information collection.</p> <p>I believe privacy means that what I do in my home is my own business — that includes how and why I use other utilities like electricity, gas, and water is my own business for which I pay a monthly usage fee (and am very willing to pay). Why should my Internet Service Provider (ISP) get to know which “websites [I] visit” when I’m browsing the Internet from home?</p> Going Critical tag:mekstudios.com,2019-05-21:/2019/05/going-critical 2019-05-21T13:21:13-07:00 2019-05-21T13:21:13-07:00 Kevin Simler <p>An interactive essay by Kevin Simler:</p> <blockquote> <p>If you&#8217;ve spent any time thinking about complex systems, you surely understand the importance of networks.</p> <p>Networks rule our world. From the chemical reaction pathways inside a cell, to the web of relationships in an ecosystem, to the trade and political networks that shape the course of history.</p> <p>&#8230;But as much as I&#8217;ve thought about networks over the years, I didn&#8217;t appreciate (until very recently) the importance of simple diffusion.</p> </blockquote> <p>Diffusion is powerful.</p> The Web Developer’s Guide to DNS tag:mekstudios.com,2019-05-20:/2019/05/the-web-developers-guide-to-dns 2019-05-20T21:41:39-07:00 2019-05-20T21:41:39-07:00 RJ Zaworski <p>Learned a little bit more about DNS from RJ than I already knew. Worth the quick read.</p>