Adi has moved! stuffthought.com lives!

•February 24, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Hi folks. I decided to take the plunge and bought a domain.

stuffthought.com

This blog will live on at a new location:

stuffthought.com/blog/

Pretty intuitive. Be sure to update your homepages and bookmarks and RSS feeds! (I am your homepage, right?)

Re-licensed

•February 22, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I think I’m allowed to do this.

Creative Commons License

I just changed my blog’s license from a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license to a Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

What this means?
Originally, if you wanted to use content from this blog (non-fairly), you (a) had to attribute your use of my work to me, (b) couldn’t use it for commercial purposes without my permission, and (c) had to license your work with the same license. Now, all you have to do is give me attribution.

Why did I do this?
Noncommercial and copyleft seemed too restricting. I’ve been bombarded with millions of arguments against ‘noncommercial,’ and I’m not trying to make money off this blog anyways. Also, if I want my stuff to be spread, I don’t want to force people into licensing in a certain scheme that doesn’t work with their blog or work or business.

If this is a bad idea, let me know. If this is a good idea, let me know.

Google and its endless list of privacy issues

•February 21, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Crossposted from YaleLawTech

“At Google, we make privacy a priority in everything we do.” Except when it comes to rushing to launch a new product.

Not too long ago, Google launched a new product called Buzz, as I’m sure you all know. If Twitter and Flickr and WordPress and maybe even Facebook had a lovechild that was raised by Google (custody issues…), you’d have Buzz. As of now, Buzz is kind of a mess. People have the typical knee-jerk “I’m-going-to-hate-this-because-it’s-new” reaction. Most people who use it are simply having their Twitter posts feed directly into it. People are using it as kind of a public-pseudo-Facebook wall, amassing people who don’t know each other into conversations that are not related to the original post (or the original poster). Eh hem. Case in point. (There are potential privacy issues in that too, although many are brought upon oneself—exposing email addresses, sensitive information in a public setting, etc.)

When Google unveiled this new feature (on everybody at once), they overlooked a pressing privacy issue. Essentially, the service made you automatically follow your most frequent contacts, and vice versa. People had access to your feed and information without your consent. This leads to instances like this one (via Techcrunch):

I use my private Gmail account to email my boyfriend and my mother.

There’s a BIG drop-off between them and my other “most frequent” contacts.

You know who my third most frequent contact is?

My abusive ex-husband.

Which is why it’s SO EXCITING, Google, that you AUTOMATICALLY allowed all my most frequent contacts access to my Reader, including all the comments I’ve made on Reader items, usually shared with my boyfriend, who I had NO REASON to hide my current location or workplace from, and never did.

This privacy breach led to folks being able to determine who their friends, employees, spouses, and more were contacting frequently. As Nicholas Carson of Business Insider discovered, Buzz could expose marital infidelity, anonymous sources, private emails in the workplace, and more. The defaults guessed at who you wanted to expose your information to; Google assumed it knew your friend circle. It was even difficult/impossible to opt out.

Even though Google has fixed most of these issues, it was still a case of awful foresight on their part. Computers are getting smarter and are perhaps decent at choosing who your friends are or who you’re most interested in, but even if this technology is flawless, making these lists public and available to those around you is just stupid. Gmail, which Buzz is loosely connected to, is often what people use for private communication. By tacking on this very public feature, without allowing people to opt in, Google crossed some lines that should not have been crossed.

And now for a loose but related connection:

James Grimmelmann, professor at New York Law School and all-out smart guy, posted an awesome recap/analysis of the Google Books Settlement fairness hearing today, where a bunch of parties presented their cases to the judge either supporting or opposing the settlement. Many of the arguments raised against the settlement (from the EFF and EPIC and other digital rights groups) dealt with privacy. Google Books would in essence have access to a large corpus of data—”It can track not just what books you read, but which pages, and what you scribble in the margins”—that would perhaps allow them to tailor ads or sales to an unheard of degree. This would also bring up questions of law enforcement and how this data would be handled by a single entity.

Privacy issues will always be a concern, especially when it comes to Google, but there is perhaps good reason why it should be a top concern. Hadrian Katz, who spoke for the Internet Archive against the settlement, ended his argument with this: Google claims to have taken privacy into account, but perhaps the recent Buzz fiasco is a good example of how seriously Google actually takes the issue.

Ideas

•February 18, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Good idea:
Card Pool. A website where you can sell gift cards for 90% value, and buy gift cards 5-30% off.

Funny idea:
ShadyURL. Change URLs to make them suspicious/creepy/inappropriate. It’s like bit.ly, but racist.

Bad idea:
Man doesn’t understand permanence. He tattoos ‘football’ players’ names to his body. Nobody told him that players get traded. And people die.

Needs its own category:
Selleck Waterfall Sandwich. Tom Selleck, Waterfalls, and Sandwiches.

Sometimes I’m thankful to mailing lists and twitter for exposing me to great stuff on the internet. Sometimes, however, I can’t help but wonder what the hell certain people are on.

Adi’s Blogging Again, and More Narcissism

•February 18, 2010 • 1 Comment

So, I’ve decided to blog on here some more. I tried using Tumblr, which I thought was nice, but a kind of a weird quasi-combo of Twitter and WordPress and such. Used it for a bit—that didn’t last. I’ve been tweeting quite a bit, though. It’s a good community I’m following. I’ve also been blogging over at the Open Video Alliance. So essentially, I haven’t stopped blogging… I’ve just stopped here.

Anyways, a few press-y updates. (This is the more narcissistic part of this post.) I was just interviewed by BBC Radio 5 Live about Yale’s pending transition to Google Apps for Education and Gmail. Essentially, there was an article in the Yale Daily News “announcing” the switch. Christian Csar, eloquent speaker and overall brilliant guy, offered for me to contribute to an op-ed about the issue, and I agreed to help. This was our response. I guess someone at the BBC caught wind of this and messaged me ON FACEBOOK (hooray social networking?) about setting up an interview, so I called, things were planned, and I spoke on “Up All Night” with Rhod Sharp. This was about 9:45pm Eastern time… which means it was about 2:45am in the UK, so for all of you night-owls in London, I’m hoping my voice was steady and that I made a point. (If I didn’t, read the op-ed!)

UPDATE: The clip is available (for a week?) on the Up All Night website. Luckily, thanks to a nice thing known as the analog hole, I was able to (crappily) record an mp3 of the clip:

Adi talks Gmail on ‘Up All Night’ .mp3

UPDATE 2: The almighty Brad Rosen uploaded a much cleaner mp3 of the interview. Check it out by clicking on these words dot mp3.

fcx

Also, last weekend was Free Culture X, the conference for the larger Students for Free Culture group. Yale had relatively solid representation down there—Paul Ramirez, who is the reason Yale Students for Free Culture is running so smoothly this year, and I travelled together; Daniel Ayele and Andrew Gu headed down too. Overall, the conference was awesome—great people, great speakers, great workshops, great bowling, etc. (Hopefully I blog about it sometime in the future.) While down there, though, Marc Parry of the Chronicle of Higher Education joined my buddy Parker and me to lunch and asked us a few questions for an article he was writing. Lo and behold. Overall, the article’s pretty good—though I’m hoping that first quote of mine isn’t taken out of context🙂

Anyways, since my mother told me she reads my blog (and since I always have trouble finding time to call home), I’ll hopefully be updating this more often. Be sure to check out our Yale Students for Free Culture blog too—It’s still in the works, but once we start posting to it, it should be great!

New Mix: At Last

•February 16, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Enjoy! (30ish minute mix, created with the intent of being used at a floating dance party)

At Last Mix .mp3

Featuring appearances by…
Etta James “At Last”
Boys Noize “& Down”
Lady Gaga vs Eurythmics “Dance Dreams (Divide & Kreate mix)”
Will Smith “Fresh Prince of Bel Air (Mustard Pimp remix)”
(cameo: Barack Obama)
Tupac “California Love (Deadmau5 edit)”
(cameo: Phantom Planet “California”)
Fatboy Slim “Kalifornia”
Radiohead “Everything in its Right Place (Gigamesh / DiscoTech remix)
Britney Spears “Circus (Villains remix)”
David Guetta “Memories (ft. Kid Cudi)”
Deadmau5 “Ghosts N Stuff (ft. Rob Swire)”
Ke$ha “Tik Tok (Skeet Skeet remix VIP)”
Justice vs Simian “We Are Your Friends (The Disco Villains remix)”
David Guetta “When Love Takes Over (ft. Kelly Rowland)”
Akon “So Damn Beautiful (VIKING remix)”
CSS “Music Is My Hot Hot Sex (KILL THE NOISE remix)”
Major Lazer “Pon De Floor (Chewy Chocolate Cookies remix)”
The Bloody Beetroots “Warp 1.9 (ft. Steve Aoki)”
Passion Pit “The Reeling (Calvin Harris remix)”
Junior Senior “Move Your Feet”
Pitbull “I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)”
David Guetta vs The Egg “Love Don’t Let Me Go (Walking Away)”
Etta James “At Last”

Things on my mind

•December 13, 2009 • Leave a Comment
  • A “dislike” button on Facebook seems negative and silly.
  • People should hold shift when adjusting the volume on their Macs during presentations or performances, or just in general. The blip-blip-blips get a teensy bit annoying.
  • I’m trying out tumblr. Not sure if this is going to replace wordpress, but it seems to have a lot of features that I like/want.

That’s all.