The Argument Machine

Where will we go when we all tire of getting yelled at on Twitter? What would a tool designed to create a harmonious exchange of interests and ideas even look like? I’m confident we’ll find out eventually, but I seriously doubt its logo will be a little blue bird.

Stealth Infrastructure

This is a complicated post and maybe a bit difficult to summarise, but the best part was seeing a picture of a tree/phone tower I can actually see from my window on a blog post I found by circuitous means. Small world.

Cities are sensors.

Their being microphones is certainly useful for their main purpose, since many shooters will say their own or the victim’s name right before or after the crime. The applications outside of this purpose, like the ability to record private conversations, are more troublesome.

Everything is Broken

Once upon a time, a friend of mine accidentally took over thousands of computers. He had found a vulnerability in a piece of software and started playing with it. In the process, he figured out how to get total administration access over a network.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Review

Part of a great set of reviews of her childhood games.

I was a wreck as soon as Chemical Plant Zone appeared on the screen. I begged my mother to turn off the console, and she obliged. She never asked me about it again. I wonder if things might have been different, between us or between my brother and I, if I had asked her to be Tails.

William Gibson Writes the Future

Gibson was 7 or 8, he doesn’t remember exactly. He and his mother moved back to her childhood home of Wytheville, Virginia, a tiny town where the modern world scarcely existed. He read science fiction and fantasized about leaving; finally his mother sent him to boarding school in Arizona.

Then she died, too.

An Imaginary Town Becomes Real, Then Not

A true story of a trap-town on a map becoming a real place, for a little while.

In the 1930s (I learned from Frank Jacobs’ excellent blog, Strange Maps), there was no town on that stretch between Rockland and nearby Beaverkill — just a dirt road. This wasn’t an important or often visited place, which made it a perfect spot for what’s called a “paper town,” or a map “trap.”

Calm Technology

Amplify the best of technology and the best of humanity. Design for people first. Machines shouldn’t act like humans. Humans shouldn’t act like machines. Amplify the best part of each.

Unethical Twitter

A discussion on the ethics of using public Twitter data. Just because you can, should you?

Machines for Making Books

I’ve long been interested in automating the creation of books in multiple formats. I like to dream about a kind of black box, where you put your plain text book in one end, and out the other end comes a web version, a PDF, a Kindle or ePub version, or even a physical paperback edition — all from a single source text or data store.

Asymmetric encryption systems based on a peer-to-peer public-key infrastructure … require the user to authenticate public keys through a secure channel. … However, users are frequently too busy or not knowledgeable enough to make this decision. These users will dismiss dialog boxes with a guess or with whichever answer allows them to continue working.



View story at



View story at

I Hacked Myself

My goal is to bypass this file’s security by brute-force cracking its password, testing millions of possible combinations before I find the right one. Normally, this mission would be deep into black-hat territory. But I’m not in any danger of breaking laws or attracting the Feds, because the file I’m trying to hack belongs to a younger version of me.

Dear Daughter, Your Mom

When she met a crossroads in her strategic pursuit of a life that nurtured rather than poisoned, she’d ask herself, What would I want for my daughter? As in, what would she advise you to do? When your mom imagined you, even during her own childhood, translucent neck hairs stood up in wonder.

The Dads of Tech

Whereas programming gained esteem as an antisocial task, selecting for lone and far-seeing geniuses, the architects of the legacy technology of telephone switching denigrated their brand of service work as the opposite: an inherently social undertaking and thus more a labor of love than the hard job it actually was. It was, in short, “naturally” women’s work.

How to Build Your Very Own Keyboard Firmware

This is a tutorial about building your own custom firmware with Hasu’s keyboard firmware.

Everyone wants to do that at some point, right?