Sunday, October 22, 2017

Markup Languages are NOT programming languages

What is my favourite Adult swim show? Enter it below
Hint:it'S Pickle R_ _ _, WUBBULUBBADUBDUB

This assignment was to make a simple HTML script and make a blogpost about it. I personally thought it was pretty straight forward and simple. An overall pleasant experience. Can't say much about that in particular. I'll go on a more interesting tangent instead. 
My opinion is that everyone should know how to look at source code at a glance and get a general idea on what its doing. Once you learn how to read one language, you can understand almost any other at a glance because the essential properties of programming don't change. You hardly ever even need to be a programmer. If you know simple algebra you could acquire this skill in a couple days. It's just a mental roadblock people have, nothing more.  The reason I think acknowledging this is important is because of a little story I have.
Some night one of my technologically illiterate friends calls me late at night in a panic. I was just about ready to head to bed but he told me to come over because it was important. He lived close enough so I did. 
He shows me a computer with a google chrome instance running. The computer was lagging so bad you could hardly use it and there was a popup with a warning stating there was a virus install on this computer, and linked a number to an Indian Microsoft support scam company.  He was worried because it was his older sister's computer and told me he'd get in a lot of trouble if she found out he got a virus.
It didn't make sense to me that google chrome would be the one warning the user there was a virus. There's no way chrome itself could know, that's just not how it works. The popup was contained within chrome, else it would've made a separate tab on the desktop taskbar. This meant something was up with google chrome.

I open up the inspector tool for the page he was currently on, and big surprise; there was the culprit.
The culprit was a simple Javascript piece of code that looped itself infinitely. Chrome, not knowing to throttle itself would just keep running that process at full speed, taking up all the resources in the whole computer, making it super slow. All I did was I closed the tab and wabbam! I'm the super 1337 H@XX0r hero. Elliot Alderson, where you at??? 
It doesn't take a genius to use something made by average people, for average people. Just need to overcome yourself thinking that you have to be a Physicist to read some slightly unfriendly text. That is to say, of course you won't be a useful programmer. You need to have a high level of mathematics for that, but at least you wont be like my friend; calling a guy with a heavy Punjabi accent and paying him 100 dollars to get in your computer, only to open and close your command prompt a couple times to make you think he did something. 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Conventional mail vs. Email

The similarities between the US postal office are merely symbolic. The underlying framework of how both systems work are not very similar technologies.

It is true that they can both transfer information. The contents of a physical mail document in your mailbox can contain the same amount of information as an Email received to one’s inbox.

They are similar in this sense but differ in every other. The postal service is obviously less efficient if your only goal is to transfer information. Email has the ability to almost instantaneously do this using the world wide web. It can’t transfer physical objects however, unless its a 3d model.

They both work by having two parties transfer and receive the mail. The transferring party sends it to an intermediary. In email it is the mail-server. For the mail it is the postal service.
The postal service has a network of physical nodes that receive and process packages; not unlike email servers. These then are transferred through transportation like dedicated trucks and air planes. This can be seen as the physical connections between all parties involved in Email transfer to the Internet service provider and it’s own connections. This gives the benefit that one can send and receive these at any time in any place, unlike the postal service.

It is also possible for a person to make their own private mail server. This can’t be done with physical mail for obvious reasons.

This also brings up an interesting relation to privacy.
Third parties can intercept packages in both methods. A curious postal worker can open a package or it can get open by accident. The same way many people involved in the transfer of email can snoop in to one’s packages.

The Internet is interesting though. If one wished, one can prop up their own email server and encrypt the transfer. Many measures can be taken to increase the privacy of this method. It is very cool in that aspect.

Thoughts on Erik Hanberg's talk

First of all, It was interesting to see how Erik was able to jump between a few business ventures given the motivation. I aspire to experiment in business like him, so it was inspiring to see someone pull it off.
My thoughts on the presentation is his situation is a perfect example of the internet having an impact on business. It is especially good since he was in the game right when the internet was beginning to show its practicality to entrepreneurs.
This concept of disintermediation is a very popular subject today. With the advances in deep learning, people are considering their jobs could be unavailable in the future.
Erik's business life was influenced by changes in technology with his ventures as a non-profit manager. He founded a theater that did better with its online presence than its physical presence. He was able to perceive this as a valuable insight rather than a negative and was able to invest time in learning how to exploit this technology.
Another interesting example I would've never considered is the publishing industry.
It seems the entry level for an aspiring author has been leveled and options for distributions of ones work has expanded. One no longer has to invest in buying a bulk of physical copies.
The most important thing I think I took away from this talk is that quote about how a publisher lost money when publishing a book about interesting internet sites a few months before a Yahoo Search became a thing.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

What's the W I R E D got to teach us?

In this class I expect to go over historical points of information I might've otherwise missed or ignored.

I don't believe information like the name of the man who invented Boolean algebra is necessary to know how to program, and knowing where the concept of a virtual network got started is necessary to be a competent systems administrator.

However, I do understand this information to be very useful in a historical context. History does repeat itself, and tech trends and discussions 20 years ago can be used as a reference point to make current decisions. Many of the older issues are still present today even, and haven't been addressed properly. I believe taking time to study these will be very worthwhile.

I am also interested in the current relation between the internet and entities of power like big corporations and governments.
For example I found the scandal with alleged involvement of Russia in the presidential election to be very interesting. Also the whole deal with the terrorist attacker whose IPhone was encrypted where Apple Inc. was going to go into a big legal battle with the FBI to figure out whether law enforcement agencies and government entities could force companies to break their clients' privacy rights.

 I've personally been loosely following developments in this broad area but haven't made the time to extensively research these topics. Many of these like the Apple vs. FBI ordeal could have intense future ramifications. Had the FBI decided to go through with the case and won, it could've set a very dangerous precedent.