#UX Designer. #HCI. @BerkeleyISchool Alum. @TheLinuxologist. G33K. #Juventus. Hejaz || #NorthKorea || Dystopia
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Internet of Things as Applied Demonology

jwz
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The price of the Internet of Things will be a vague dread of a malicious world

Volkswagen didn't make a faulty car: they programmed it to cheat intelligently. The difference isn't semantics, it's game-theoretical (and it borders on applied demonology).

[...] Test the energy efficiency of a lamp, and you'll get an honest response from it. Objects fail, and sometimes behave unpredictably, but they aren't strategic, they don't choose their behavior dynamically in order to fool you. Matter isn't evil.

But that was before. Things now have software in them, and software encodes game-theoretical strategies as well as it encodes any other form of applied mathematics, and the temptation to teach products to lie strategically will be as impossible to resist for companies in the near future as it has been to VW, steep as their punishment seems to be. As it has always happened (and always will) in the area of financial fraud, they'll just find ways to do it better. [...]

So the fact is that our experience of the world will increasingly come to reflect our experience of our computers and of the internet itself (not surprisingly, as it'll be infused with both). Just as any user feels their computer to be a fairly unpredictable device full of programs they've never installed doing unknown things to which they've never agreed to benefit companies they've never heard of, inefficiently at best and actively malignant at worst (but how would you know?), cars, street lights, and even buildings will behave in the same vaguely suspicious way. Is your self-driving car deliberately slowing down to give priority to the higher-priced models? Is your green A/C really less efficient with a thermostat from a different company, or it's just not trying as hard? And your tv is supposed to only use its camera to follow your gestural commands, but it's a bit suspicious how it always offers Disney downloads when your children are sitting in front of it.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

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rtaibah
2505 days ago
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Jeddah, Hejaz
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dukeofwulf
2506 days ago
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The clever and dishonest are everywhere, and every new technology offers new ways to rip us off. This process is accelerating.
jimwise
2507 days ago
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This.
satadru
2507 days ago
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Applied Demonology is a fairly popular graduate engineering program these days...
New York, NY
[deleted]
2507 days ago
Charlie Stross for Leader of the World.

Nanoparticle Temporarily Violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics

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rtaibah
3055 days ago
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Jeddah, Hejaz
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Charts

4 Comments and 9 Shares

Charts

A pie for Pi Day!

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rtaibah
3058 days ago
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Jeddah, Hejaz
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3072 days ago
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xbai
3073 days ago
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It was pie day yesterday :)
kleer001
3074 days ago
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More charts!!!
tedgould
3074 days ago
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Yeah! Infographics!
Texas, USA
kimmo
3074 days ago
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Yummy charts.
Espoo, Finland

03/19/14 PHD comic: 'Cosmic Inflation Explained'

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Piled Higher & Deeperby Jorge Cham
www.phdcomics.com
Click on the title below to read the comic
title: "Cosmic Inflation Explained" - originally published 3/19/2014

For the latest news in PHD Comics, CLICK HERE!

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rtaibah
3058 days ago
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Jeddah, Hejaz
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3065 days ago
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amijangos
3063 days ago
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Intersting "Let there be light" was first :)
Columbus, Indiana
grammargirl
3063 days ago
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So well done.
Brooklyn, NY
icepotato
3065 days ago
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PhD comics explains cosmic inflation!
Seattle WA
shhQuiet
3065 days ago
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Describes what confirmation of the inflation theory implies...
iaravps
3065 days ago
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I actually felt goosebumps by the end... "We were light once"
Rio de Janeiro, Brasil

The 11 Memes That Define Oculus Riftbook (NSFW)

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Now that the dust has settled, it’s time to have a little fun.

Virtual reality itself used to be a punchline. Now, Facebook and its latest purchase of Oculus Rift is the joke. But can Facebook raise and nurture Oculus Rift into the virtual reality device of the future? As the following memes show, not everyone trusts Zuckerberg and team to raise and nurture Oculus VR into the chosen one.

Proceed with caution.

7rcjo

7rrh5

It will be like Second Life but with more ads.

It will be like Second Life but with more ads.

Gross.

Gross.

Scumbag-Steve-Oculus

Facebook. For your face.

Facebook. For your face.

As the cool kids say, don't hate the player...

As the cool kids say, don’t hate the player…

Somewhere, deep within Zynga, you know a team of engineers are working on the revival of FarmVille.

Somewhere, deep within Zynga, you know a team of engineers are working on the revival of FarmVille.

sSyRE7B

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rtaibah
3058 days ago
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Jeddah, Hejaz
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fxer
3059 days ago
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"Give Hitler a blowjob"
Bend, Oregon

Google Reader announced its shutdown exactly a year ago

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In this industry, you gotta be tough.

I’m just kidding. We’re a bunch of literates who enjoy reading so much that we built our own news readers. But when a behemoth like Google makes a call that places you at the business end of 100,000 frantic power users, reminding yourself how tough you are is one way of dealing with the madness.

Google announced Reader’s sunset at 4pm on March 13th, 2013. At that point I had spent three and a half years building my vision of a better news reader. I clearly wasn’t doing it for the money, since my paltry salary didn’t even cover my market rate rent in San Francisco. RSS was a decidedly stupid technology to piggyback off of to try and cover that financial disconnect.

Take a look at this graph. It shows NewsBlur’s income versus its expenses for the past 16 months. Just look at those few months before the Google Reader shutdown announcement in March 2013.

It was never hard to justify to others why I worked on a news reader for three-some years, partially because I’d been justifying it to myself for so long. I had the delusion that it would all work itself out in the end, so long as I kept pushing my hardest and shipping features users wanted. And, at the time, with 1,000 paying subscribers, it certainly felt like I was getting somewhere.

If you’re curious about why expenses are so high, think about what it takes to run a modern and popular news reader. This graph breaks down expenses for an average month from the past year.

Why spend all that money on subcontractors and new tools? Because I’m investing in building an even better news reader.

Fast forward a year and let hindsight tell you what’s what. I was irrational to think that I could make it on my own in a decaying market, what with all the air sucked out by Google. But that three year hallucination kept me persevering to build a better product, which positioned NewsBlur well as a strong candidate for a Reader replacement. When the sunset announcement dropped, it didn’t take long to fortify the servers and handle all the traffic. NewsBlur permanently ballooned up to 20X the number of paid users. People flocked to NewsBlur because it was among the furthest along in creating real competition. As we say on NewsBlur, the people have spoken.

The post-Google Reader landscape

I run a very opinionated news reader. If you think somewhat like I do, you couldn’t be more pleased with the direction NewsBlur goes. But this is still a power tool, and in a world of casual readers who don’t care where their news is coming from so long as it’s in their interests and matches their biases, NewsBlur is the coffee equivalent of the AeroPress. Most people want drip coffee and they don’t bother wasting mental energy on caring about the difference in taste or quality. It’s a binary to them: coffee or no coffee. There’s nothing wrong with that, they just choose to focus on other things more important to them than the sourcing or control they have of their coffee.

Many competing news readers are visual and offer a similar experience. When you want to give up control in exchange for the digested output of sophisticated and heartless algorithms, they’re your best bet. When you want to exert control and know what you want and from which sources, NewsBlur is the only option. No other reader gives you training, statistics, and sharing in one multi-platform app. Nobody else cares so much about RSS as to work on a news reader when it was still a financial inevitability of failure.

Future work on NewsBlur

If the past is any indication, NewsBlur is going to continue to see many more improvements. This graph of contributions from the past 365 days shows my level of unwavering dedication.

One way people speak is by committing code to NewsBlur’s GitHub repo. Try developing your own pet feature. I’ll even do some of the hard work for you, so long as you give it a good try and submit a pull request.

Meanwhile, I’m using the windfall to develop a secret project that will complement NewsBlur in a way that hasn’t been tried before with any reader. And if that fails, I’ll find an even better way to make my users happy with their purchase. If you thought I was relentless before March 13th, 2013, just wait until you see what I’m capable of with the finances to build all the big ticket features I’ve been imagining for years.

And while you’re here, do me a favor and tweet about NewsBlur. Tell your followers, who are probably looking for a better way to read news, about how much you rely on NewsBlur. Reading positive tweets about NewsBlur every morning (and afternoon and evening and before bed) make this the best job I’ve ever had.

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rtaibah
3058 days ago
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Jeddah, Hejaz
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nb_test
3054 days ago
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Good story
windexx
3058 days ago
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Great newsreader. I haven't even touched all the features yet much less incorporate them into daily use. But it's nice to know they are there.
Bedford, Virginia
jantdm
3066 days ago
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Go NewsBlur!
Munich, Germany
rosskarchner
3070 days ago
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I'm glad to see that Newsblur seems to be on a sustainable path. Go, Samuel!

(I'm also testing out using iffft .com to turn my newsblur shares into blog posts)
DC-ish
kerray
3070 days ago
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This is how you do it :)
Brno, CZ
kyounger
3071 days ago
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Love this product.
tomm74
3071 days ago
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Newsblur is something worth paying for - I'm very much in the camp of "if you're not paying for it, you're the product" - and I for one prefer to pay for my services directly, rather than by having my data sold.

I like NB so much, I've been developing my own Windows 8 Metro UI for it!
Cardiff
romkyns
3071 days ago
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Well, it looks like renewals are about to start rolling in, right? So you're fine? I hope you are :)
redheadedfemme
3072 days ago
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I love NewsBlur. I'm happy to be a paying customer. It's a worthy replacement for Google Reader.
amaiman
3073 days ago
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Have been using @NewsBlur ever since and haven't looked back.
New Jersey
p4ul
3074 days ago
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Keep up the awesome work!
Wellington, New Zealand
zelig2
3074 days ago
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I was oblivious of other readers when I used Google but I'm honestly glad they shut down their service as I really enjoy NewsBlur.
BiG_E_DuB
3074 days ago
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Great post
Charlotte, NC, USA
boltonm
3074 days ago
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Very happy to have paid for the last year of Newsblur - Google Reader first replaced and since superseded. iOS app continues to improve. Looking forward to more great value in the coming year.
London, UK
alliepape
3074 days ago
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I came to NewsBlur for odd reasons, but I now use it every day and it makes my life actively better. It also allows me to share the writing that's important to me. Thanks, Sam.
San Francisco, CA
Eldaria
3074 days ago
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I switched to Newsblur from Google, and I'm certainly renewing my subscription. I will also head over to twitter and tell about you.
kimmo
3074 days ago
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I’m going to renew my subscription to NewsBlur in 11 days.
Espoo, Finland
acdha
3074 days ago
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I hope that there will be a corresponding spike as people renew those annual memberships which are all about to expire
Washington, DC
koffie
3074 days ago
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Gladly pay for this great RSS reader! Only hope it's healthy financially speaking, the graph does cause some concern...
Belgium
Brstrk
3074 days ago
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With the google reader apocalypse, I was infuriated, because most solutions, both online and offline, always lacked the general usability I needed, especially when it comes to having many feeds. Them Reddit suggested some replacement alternatives. Newsblur was among them. I'm glad I paid attention back them.
chriskayto
3074 days ago
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Just tweeted my support of NewsBlur! Thanks for creating such a great product.
Toronto
leilers
3074 days ago
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Very happy with my decision to move to NewsBlur, even though it was forced upon me by Google pulling Reader. Definitely worth the investment. #newsblur
Northern Virginia
jcherfas
3074 days ago
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I STILL like Newsblur. And I don't even use it on iOS.
tante
3074 days ago
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"NewsBlur is the coffee equivalent of the AeroPress"
Berlin/Germany
stsquad
3074 days ago
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happy to pay for this service.
Cambridge, UK
chrisrosa
3075 days ago
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For RSS "@NewsBlur is the coffee equivalent of the AeroPress." Great quote. Even better product.
San Francisco, CA
musictubes
3075 days ago
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Gotta say, Newsblur is my most used app on my iPad and iPhone. Happy to pay for it:)
Falls Church, Virginia
taglia
3075 days ago
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Since I found NewsBlur I have never once looked for another newsreader. Can't say this for many other services!

Also, I am kind of in awe when I see what a single person can do!
Singapore
lasombra
3074 days ago
Same here. There's no other newsreader that satisfy my needs so neatly.
leiter420
3075 days ago
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I love this news reader. It's so much better than Google Reader ever was, and that's saying something.
jimwise
3075 days ago
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Neat. There's this great rss reader called... Ok, you're using it.