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August 7, 2013

It’s No Longer OK to Not Know How the Internet Works

Networking ImageLast year, as the debates over SOPA and PIPA raged, Joshua Kopstein at Motherboard wrote a post entitled “Dear Congress, It’s No Longer OK to Not KNow How the Internet Works“. In the post, he blasted Congress for joking about how little they understood about the Internet while, at the same time, attempting to legislate it.

A year later, it’s time to revisit that message, but in a different context.

With the recent NSA scandals, the attack on Tor network (widely suspected to be orchestrated by the U.S. government), and deep concerns about how government and private entities are cooperating to share user data, it’s clear isn’t just the government that needs a primer on how the Internet works.

The everyday user that does as well.

For most people, including many who grew up with the Internet, the Web seems almost magical. They click to visit a site or send an email and they get content or data from half a world away, nearly instantly.

But where most people take the time to understand at least the basics of how their car works, far fewer have taken the time to understand how the Internet works, even as they depend upon it more and more as part of their daily lives.

But like not knowing how a car works, ignorance can be dangerous and, also like a car, a little bit of understanding can go a long, long way. read more

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August 5, 2009

My 48-Hour Power Down

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I’m proud of myself. For 48 consecutive hours I survived without the Internet. It wasn’t easy.

As a product of the hyper-connected digital age, giving up my computer and pocket-sized device for an “extended” period of time, wasn’t an easy decision. But given my recent bout of blogger’s block, and an increasingly alarming inability to stop the simultaneous tape recorders in my head, I knew it was time to power down. And you know what? I have a hunch it was the best 48 hours I’ve spent in quite some time. read more

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February 3, 2009

Is Google Analytics Slooowing Down Your Blog?

Google Analytics LogoIf you use Google Analytics to track visits to your blog, you might be surprised to know that you may be experiencing severely retarded (no pun intended) page load times, at least in Europe. That’s according to a recent study conducted by Royal Pingdom.

The folks at RP found that during peak hours of Web usage in Europe, the Google Analytics Javascript loaded nearly twice as slowly – 97% slower than usual, to be precise – as it did on average in Europe during all hours of use.

in general, GA actually loads slightly faster in Europe than in the US, but it also experiences a much greater percentage rate of slowdown in Europe during peak hours relative to its average performance.

As Royal Pingdom puts it: “[W]hile the European load times are significantly faster on average than the North American ones, the performance is much more uneven over the course of the day.”

The difference between the maximum and minimum load times for North America is 27%, but in Europe the difference is 97%.

See the Royal Pingdom post for several intriguing data graphs supporting their conclusions.

Update: I’ve clarified above that the figures above refer to load time during peak hours relative to average load time, and that GA actually loads slightly faster overall in Europe than in the US.

Do you think Google Analytics is worth the trouble? Why or why not?

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April 9, 2008

Did the Internet Kill Anticipation?

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When the Internet first started to become mainstream, I was at the age when nothing mattered – except girls. Everyday I’d walk down the block to my buddy’s house. We’d boot up his beast of a computer and log on to Prodigy.

Seven letters/numbers stood between Queens, NY and the rest of the world: NCJG34B. My first assigned screen name.

Once logged in, the mission was simple: Find girls of the same age, initiate e-mail contact, exchange pictures through snail mail and eventually meet. Of course, this meeting had to culminate in some sort of ‘action,’ or else it was considered a bust.

If it worked like a charm back in the early 90’s, I can only imagine the number of casual hookups the Internet is responsible for today. It seems TOO easy. But isn’t it always when you’re happily married, sitting on the sidelines.

What’s my point? Here it is: I think anticipation has left the building.

As we move towards an on-demand society, I can’t help but wonder if something is lost with all of this immediate gratification. TV gets paused, albums leak weeks in advance and I can find the value of my home and the picture of an Ex in about eight seconds. This ‘information now’ trend has been spearheaded by constantly-updated blogs.

Information overload is here, and I’m kinda thinking it’s too much. Every good geek worth his or her salt loves data. But is there a downside to having access to too much stuff? Your thoughts please…

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