Parent/married/geek. Checkout http://ianso.github.com/scriptus/
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Voting Software

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There are lots of very smart people doing fascinating work on cryptographic voting protocols. We should be funding and encouraging them, and doing all our elections with paper ballots until everyone currently working in that field has retired.
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14 public comments
siskamartin
54 days ago
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uff
caffeinatedhominid
68 days ago
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Yep.
tante
72 days ago
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xkcd on voting software is spot-on
Oldenburg/Germany
wmorrell
72 days ago
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Hazmat suit, too. Just to be safe.
rjstegbauer
73 days ago
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Amen!! Paper... paper... paper. It's simple. It's trivial to recount. Everyone already knows how to use it. It's cheap. It's verifiable. Just... use... paper.
ianso
73 days ago
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Yes!
Brussels
ChrisDL
73 days ago
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accurate.
New York
reconbot
74 days ago
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Legitimately share this comic with anyone who represents you in government.
New York City
cheerfulscreech
74 days ago
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Truth.
jth
74 days ago
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XKCD Nails Secure Electronic Voting.
Saint Paul, MN, USA
skorgu
74 days ago
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100% accurate.
jsled
74 days ago
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endorsed; co-signed; it. me. &c.

(alt text: «There are lots of very smart people doing fascinating work on cryptographic voting protocols. We should be funding and encouraging them, and doing all our elections with paper ballots until everyone currently working in that field has retired.»)
South Burlington, Vermont
alt_text_bot
74 days ago
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There are lots of very smart people doing fascinating work on cryptographic voting protocols. We should be funding and encouraging them, and doing all our elections with paper ballots until everyone currently working in that field has retired.
alt_text_at_your_service
74 days ago
reply
There are lots of very smart people doing fascinating work on cryptographic voting protocols. We should be funding and encouraging them, and doing all our elections with paper ballots until everyone currently working in that field has retired.
srsly
74 days ago
Seconding this policy ^^

Pinboard Turns Six

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Today is Pinboard's sixth birthday as an online service, but of course the roots of the site go much deeper. My grandfather started Pinboard all the way back in 1931, when he was a young agronomy student in need of some way to help keep track of cuttings. What began as a simple system of shelves and apple saplings had soon expanded to encompass the books in his comfortable study.

In 1968, like so much of Polish culture, Pinboard went underground, in this case literally, as a warren of tubes and cables that could be quickly disconnected if a local political officer came snooping by. The rat's nest of hidden cabling below the floor would inspire me years later when it came time to wire up my own servers.

By 1980 Pinboard was an elaborate system of strings and pulleys cross-referencing material across five bookshelves and a greenhouse. One of my earliest memories is tugging on one of the threads and watching a cloud of white bookmarks fly out from between the onion-skin pages of a thick tome. I got a sound drubbing for it. But how we laughed!

With changing times came changing technology. Visits home turned into long evenings keying cards into a ZX Spectrum, lulled into inattention by the soft hiss of the cassette tapes that the data would save onto (or the dreaded crinkling sound that meant the tape had gotten wrapped up in a spool).

When it came time for me to take over Pinboard, I vowed to continue my grandfather's committment to Eastern European craftsmanship and traditional Polish customer service. But then I got bored and thought, "eh, just put it online and see what happens." That was six years ago today.

Here is the traditional set of statistics:

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
bookmarks 3.5 27 53 76 97 122
tags (M) 11 76 135 178 212 251
active users (K) 2.8 16 23 23 24 25
bytes archived (T) 0.2 3.0 5.9 8.8 14.2 20.9
unique URLs (M) 2.5 16 32 48 63 82

As you can see, growth in data stored has been fairly linear and the number of active users has crept up to the 25K mark. I changed the business model of the site in January from a one-time signup fee to a recurring fee, but has this affected income? It doesn't feel like it. Possibly it has. I really need to look into it.

I am a terrible businessman.

Thanks for another year entrusting me with your precious data, and giving me the genuinely pleasant feeling that comes from running a useful project. Please don't forget to make backups!

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ianso
1199 days ago
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A must read :-)
Brussels
Groxx
1200 days ago
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Pinboard continues in his tradition of hilarity
Silicon Valley, CA

The Spectrum of Attention

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Late last month, Alan Jacobs presented 79 Theses on Technology at a seminar hosted by the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia. The theses, dealing chiefly with the problem of attention in digital culture, were posted to the Infernal Machine, a terrific blog hosted by the Institute and edited by Chad Wellmon, devoted to reflection on technology, ethics, and the human person. I’ve long thought very highly of both Jacobs and the Institute, so when Wellmon kindly extended an invitation to attend the seminar, I gladly and gratefully accepted.

Wellmon has also arranged for a series of responses to Jacobs’ theses, which have appeared on The Infernal Machine. Each of these is worth considering. In my response, “The Spectrum of Attention,” I took the opportunity to work out a provisional taxonomy of attention that considers the difference our bodies and our tools make to what we generally call attention.

Here’s a quick excerpt:

We can think of attention as a dance whereby we both lead and are led. This image suggests that receptivity and directedness do indeed work together. The proficient dancer knows when to lead and when to be led, and she also knows that such knowledge emerges out of the dance itself. This analogy reminds us, as well, that attention is the unity of body and mind making its way in a world that can be solicitous of its attention. The analogy also raises a critical question: How ought we conceive of attention given that we are  embodied creatures?

Click through to read the rest.


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ianso
1269 days ago
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Gael :-)
Brussels

Funding, The Diverse Team, Twitter, and Events in Your Area!

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There's been a lot of changes happening over the past month or so and wanted to update everyone.

Funding

I'm in a unique position in the open source community - I often joke that I'm employed by the internet. It's a nice setup - anonymous people support me through recurring micro-payments. This is good for a few reasons:

  • I'm paid by and work for the community.My "employers" are people in the tech industry that believe in what I do. I provide resources for the community as whole, speak at conferences, educate people through twitter, and work with people over email who are in difficult spots because of a hostile atmosphere at their workplaces or communities. I can use the money they pay me to work on projects that help the widest audience.
  • Conflict of interest and censorship potential removed.Not being employed by a business means that their concerns don't have to be mine - if the company does something wrong, I can still critically discuss the issue without it being a conflict of interest. I don't feel the need to censor myself because I worry about upsetting them. Additionally, I'm not only working on a company's problems, I can work at a larger scale.
  • Minimize the risk of financial attacks. Doing this kind of work isn't popular with a certain contingent of people. Standing up for yourself can mean a company chosing to fire you for political reasons, or firing you as part of online harassment turned "hostage" situation. Without a single employer, my risk is spread out over a much larger group of people. If a handful of people are unhappy with how I respond to a situation, they can choose to stop "employing" me without a large amount of harm to me.

Unfortunately, due to various incidents I have personally had with the founder of gittip and other indirect things involving him, I have chosen to leave gittip.

This is complicated, as the majority of my income and funding for my work is received through gittip. This means a potentially huge financial hit for me, which I'm personally a little worried about. At the level I was earning before, I could afford to purchase my own health insurance and attend therapy, which is sadly a very necessary thing when doing this work. Additionally, I am paying a personal assistant to help me with travel arrangements for conferences, coordinating with event organizers, managing my email, and removing threats and abuse from my inbox so I don't have to see it. As you can imagine, these are all things I would like to continue to do.

If you were supporting me on gittip, I would really appreciate it if you would move your weekly donation from there to one of the following services:

  • MoonClerk - Stripe-based, so currently accepted in these countries
  • Paypal - be sure to check "recurring" if you want to give ongoing support. Takes takes payments for most countries, but my least preferred as they have a history of holding on to people's funds.

As of 6pm CST on June 25, about 50%of tips have been moved off of gittip. 

There are initiatives to create a gittip alternative run by and for marginalized people and I will let you know when those are ready to be used. I would like to close my gittip account as soon as the majority of my donations have been moved over, so your help is appreciated here

<3If you're planning on cancelling your gittip account, contact the other people you donate to and ask them how you can continue to support them. Not everyone has the ability to move off of gittip's platform and they still deserve your support

<3

Twitter

Over the past few weeks, I've backed away from Twitter pretty substantially. Due to ongoing harassment, threats, and abuse I receive there and through other channels, I'll only be using Twitter for my work. I'll still post updates on what I'm working on, links to important things to read and how you can be better involved in increasing diversity in tech.

If you see that I'm being harassed or threatened on twitter, this is what you can do to help me.

As I won't be using Twitter for social or personal stuff anymore, friends are welcome to email and text me. 

If you want to contact me about consulting, you can find more information on the consulting page.

The Diverse Team

I finished conference traveling in early June, ending my nearly 15 month(!) travel schedule. It's great to be home, sleeping in my own bed, and not living out of a suitcase. I don't start traveling again until September, so over the next few months I will be finishing up The Diverse Team. If you pre-purchased a copy, you'll receive a coupon code via email as soon as it's released.

I'm already working on the plans for the next book in the series, which I'll announce once I get The Diverse Team shipped.

Vines, Hair Dye, and Burrito Parties

I'm also in the process of updating the Thanks page with requested vines, hair dye photos, and burrito parties.

Diversity Speaking Events!

We are organizing a couple events in NYC and Boston coming up this fall and we need your help! We are looking for:

  • local companies to donate space for a venue. Preferably fits ~75-100 people in one room safely.
  • potential speakers in the immediate area with expertise and experience in diversity in tech. We especially want to see people from marginalized groups whos voices aren't as often heard.
  • sponsors. We will be paying all speakers, providing scholarship tickets, and would also like to provide snacks and drinks to attendees.

If you can provide any of those things, please email me with how you can help and in which city.

As soon as we have the basics worked out for the two events, we will get event pages up so you can get tickets.

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10 Rules of Internet

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In my years working in technology, I have learned a few things. These lessons have become oft-repeated refrains when speaking to people, so I thought I'd collect them so I have a link to send folks when needed.

  1. Given enough time, any object which can generate musical notes will be used to play the Super Mario Brothers theme on YouTube.
  2. Judging by their response, the meanest thing you can do to people on the Internet is to give them really good software for free.
  3. Three things never work: Voice chat, printers and projectors.
  4. Once a web community has decided to dislike a person, topic, or idea, the conversation will shift from criticizing the idea to become a competition about who can be most scathing in their condemnation. (See The Law of Fail.)
  5. Any new form of electronic communication will first be dismissed as trivial and worthless until it produces a profound result, after which it will be described as obvious and boring.
  6. If your website's full of assholes, it's your fault. (See the post on this topic.)
  7. Most websites treat "I like it" and "This is good" as the same thing, leading to most people on the Internet refusing to distinguish between "I don't like it" and "It's not good".
  8. When a company or industry is facing changes to its business due to technology, it will argue against the need for change based on the moral importance of its work, rather than trying to understand the social underpinnings.
  9. People will move mountains to earn a gold star by their name on the Internet.
  10. The only way to get useful feedback from people on the Internet is to ask questions that are actually answerable, instead of open-ended.

Bonus rules which apply equally on the Internet and off:

  • Never argue against logic with emotion, or against emotion using logic.
  • We hate most in others that which we fail to see in ourselves. (That's pretty much where this blog started, 14 years ago.)
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expatpaul
1918 days ago
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Especially rule 7
Belgium
hiperlink
1920 days ago
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Actually misses the very important rule #34.
Budapest, Hungary
fabuloso
1920 days ago
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number 10 is true
Miami Beach, FL
cinebot
1920 days ago
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well said. rule 34 should be repeated for emphasis.

"Never argue against logic with emotion, or against emotion using logic." <--this is a life protip.
toronto.
ianso
1921 days ago
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All true, especially the bonus ones!
Brussels