50 Matching Annotations
  1. Last 7 days
    1. a way to transparently discover related blogs that avoids hidden algorithms

      Bristly pop cultural misuse of the term "algorithm" notwithstanding, a better solution that I haven't come across anyone else mention: make them explicit, not hidden.

      When it look like Dat might've had enough steam to take off (ca. 2017–2018), I wrote a draft straw proposal for how to solve the "discovery problem" with e.g. Fritter—i.e. the problem that because you only "receive" replies and other messages by checking the feeds of the people you're following, you'll be unable to reply engage with strangers who appear (or have a stranger engage with you in their thread) unless something happens like a mutual acquaintance alerting you out of band ("hey, did you see @foo's reply dat://foo.example.net/posts/ukifxdgbh.json?").

      The idea is that there is a special kind of feed operated by some service provider that specializes in doing exactly that. If you find Facebook valuable, for example, then you are free to opt in and subscribe to the Facebook analog that pays attention to all feeds and works to surface interesting content for you. Under this model, unlike the Facebook regime, "leaving" is as simple as unsubscribing to that feed (and going with a different provider if you want).

  2. Sep 2021
    1. My father has been exploring brain chemistry and neural connections since the 70s in his medical practice as a paediatrician. His children have been his experimental laboratory. A conversation with my father is an adventure down the rabbit hole.

      This is what he was sharing with me this past weekend. I must have learned my love of books and magazines from my father.

      My father’s interest in Lewis Carroll is related to migraine headaches, which is what my father was treating in adult patients, as he was exploration a correlation between diet and brain chemistry.

    1. My father has been exploring brain chemistry and neural connections since the 70s in his medical practice as a paediatrician. His children have been his experimental laboratory. A conversation with my father is an adventure down the rabbit hole.

      This is what he was sharing with me this past weekend. I must have learned my love of books and magazines from my father.

      My father’s interest in Lewis Carroll is related to migraine headaches, which is what my father was treating in adult patients, as he was exploration a correlation between diet and brain chemistry.

    1. “Decentralization is the transfer of control of an activity or organization to several local offices or authorities rather than one single one.”

      — Oxford Dictionary

    1. One is to assume that such remodeling rests on a theoretical fantasy about how social movements work in practice. Another is to concede that, whereas some such decentralization might be feasible, absolutely nothing guarantees that, as far as efficacy is concerned, decentralization beats centralization.The first view—that social movements will never be able to transcend hierarchies and replace them with horizontal networks—was cogently expressed by Jo Freeman in 1972 in her landmark essay “The Tyranny of Structurelessness.” Freeman argued that hierarchies are bound to emerge anyway, and that pretending that they do not exist simply lets unacknowledged leaders escape accountability. The Internet has not fundamentally altered these dynamics. If anything, it has only complicated them, as the number of communication channels that elite factions can exploit has exploded. Consider how a participant in the Occupy protests put it in a provocative post for The Daily Kos:One of the consequences of just how difficult and time consuming participating in the movement became is that key players stopped showing up. Well not exactly; they still showed up, but mostly for side conversations, informal gatherings, and the meetings that planned what would happen at the public meetings. Using social media ... they formed an invisible guiding hand that simultaneously got shit done, avoided accountability, and engaged in factional battles with each other ... you know what's worse than regular same-old elites? An [sic] barely visible elite that denies it is an elite and can't ever be called to account.But these elites never provided the kind of efficient centralizing machinery that Occupy Wall Street needed to convert millions of people curious about its cause into card-carrying members of the movement. This failure can be partly ascribed to the absence of coherent demands, but it must also be blamed on the movement’s proud lack of organization, which is how decentralization often ends. So, while Occupy Wall Street may have had plenty of unacknowledged leaders, it had no intermediate structures for scaling up; those—unlike shadow elites—do not just emerge on their own. Another participant in the protests put it this way:Systems did emerge to engage newcomers. But those systems.... were not nearly as effective as the moment demanded ... some of the email addresses floated around as a primary point of contact were left unchecked, accumulating more than 11,000 unanswered emails.... Meetings would be announced at a particular location and then held somewhere else. Newcomers would show up for working group meetings, add their name to a list passed around for future contact, and never hear from anyone again. It's nearly four months since the occupation and there still isn't a clearly labeled sign up page. Hell, there isn't even an official public facing website that represents OWS.

      Good examples of how horizontardism impedes effectiveness and does not prevent power structures developing (it just hides them ...)

    2. But Johnson is completely blind to the virtues of centralization. In discussing 311, he lauds the fact that tipsters calling the hotline help to create a better macro-level view of city problems. But this is a trivial insight compared with the main reason why 311 works: Mayor Bloomberg’s decision to centralize—not decentralize—previous models of reporting tips. Here is how Accenture, the firm that assisted New York in its switch to the 311 system, describes the origins of that project: “[Before 311], customers looking for government assistance were confronted with more than 4,000 entries on 14 pages of the NYC telephone book, and more than 40 resource-intensive call centers were required to direct inquiries to the right city offices. The Mayor’s vision was that of a high-performance, centralized, all-purpose call facility, accessible through the simple-to-remember 3-1-1 phone number.”Johnson’s internet-centric worldview is so biased toward all things decentralized, horizontal, and emancipatory that he completely misses the highly centralized nature of 311. The same criticism applies to his treatment of the Internet. Had Johnson chosen to look closer at any of the projects he is celebrating, he would find plenty of centralization efforts at work.7 Consider Google: when it comes to user data, today Google runs a much more centralized operation than five years ago. Back in 2008, my Google searches were not in any way connected to my favorite YouTube videos or to events on my Google Calendar. Thanks to Google’s new privacy policy, today they are all connected—and Google, having centralized its previously disparate data reservoirs, can show me more precise ads as a result. But don’t count on Internet-centrists to include this trend under that mystical category of “Internet logic.”

      Great example.

  3. Jun 2021
    1. I wrote this out frustration with the decentralized nature of crypto and blockchain apps, everyone is supposed to keep multiple "wallet" apps on their phones which does not make it easier to manage everything. If you forget to make a backup of your key or lose your phone there is a high change you will loose everything.

    1. New Trusted Third Parties Can Be Tempting Many are the reasons why organizations may come to favor costly TTP based security over more efficient and effective security that minimizes the use of TTPs: Limitations of imagination, effort, knowledge, or time amongst protocol designers – it is far easier to design security protocols that rely on TTPs than those that do not (i.e. to fob off the problem rather than solve it). Naturally design costs are an important factor limiting progress towards minimizing TTPs in security protocols. A bigger factor is lack of awareness of the importance of the problem among many security architects, especially the corporate architects who draft Internet and wireless security standards. The temptation to claim the "high ground" as a TTP of choice are great. The ambition to become the next Visa or Verisign is a power trip that's hard to refuse. The barriers to actually building a successful TTP business are, however, often severe – the startup costs are substantial, ongoing costs remain high, liability risks are great, and unless there is a substantial "first mover" advantage barriers to entry for competitors are few. Still, if nobody solves the TTP problems in the protocol this can be a lucrative business, and it's easy to envy big winners like Verisign rather than remembering all the now obscure companies that tried but lost. It's also easy to imagine oneself as the successful TTP, and come to advocate the security protocol that requires the TTP, rather than trying harder to actually solve the security problem. Entrenched interests. Large numbers of articulate professionals make their living using the skills necessary in TTP organizations. For example, the legions of auditors and lawyers who create and operate traditional control structures and legal protections. They naturally favor security models that assume they must step in and implement the real security. In new areas like e-commerce they favor new business models based on TTPs (e.g. Application Service Providers) rather than taking the time to learn new practices that may threaten their old skills. Mental transaction costs. Trust, like taste, is a subjective judgment. Making such judgement requires mental effort. A third party with a good reputation, and that is actually trustworthy, can save its customers from having to do so much research or bear other costs associated with making these judgments. However, entities that claim to be trusted but end up not being trustworthy impose costs not only of a direct nature, when they breach the trust, but increase the general cost of trying to choose between trustworthy and treacherous trusted third parties.

      There are strong incentives to stick with trusted third parties

      1. It's more difficult to design protocols that work without a TTP
      2. It's tempting to imagine oneself as a successful TTP
      3. Entrenched interests — many professions depend on the TTP status quo (e.g. lawyers, auditors)
      4. Mental transaction costs — It can be mentally easier to trust a third party, rather than figuring out who to trust.
    2. The high costs of implementing a TTP come about mainly because traditional security solutions, which must be invoked where the protocol itself leaves off, involve high personnel costs. For more information on the necessity and security benefits of these traditional security solutions, especially personnel controls, when implementing TTP organizations, see this author's essay on group controls. The risks and costs borne by protocol users also come to be dominated by the unreliability of the TTP – the DNS and certificate authorities being two quite commom sources of unreliability and frustration with the Internet and PKIs respectively.

      The high costs of TTPs have to do with the high personnel costs that are involved in the centralized solutions.

  4. Mar 2021
  5. Nov 2020
    1. We convene the Decentralized Web Summit, dedicated to creating the Web we want and the Web we deserve. A Web that is private, safe and locked open for good.
    1. I increasingly don’t care for the world of centralized software. Software interacts with my data, on my computers. Its about time my software reflected that relationship. I want my laptop and my phone to share my files over my wifi. Not by uploading all my data to servers in another country. Especially if those servers are financed by advertisers bidding for my eyeballs.
    1. So while it’s nice that I’m able to host my own email, that’s also the reason why my email isn’t end-to-end encrypted, and probably never will be. By contrast, WhatsApp was able to introduce end-to-end encryption to over a billion users with a single software update.

      Although the option to host your own email offers you freedom, it's precisely this freedom that makes change more difficult and the reason why email isn't yet end-to-end encrypted.

      Centralized architectures, like whatsapp, allow you to roll out end-to-end encryption to the entire network with 1 software update.

    2. That has taken us pretty far, but it’s undeniable that once you federate your protocol, it becomes very difficult to make changes. And right now, at the application level, things that stand still don’t fare very well in a world where the ecosystem is moving.

      Because the ecosystem around software application is quickly evolving, you need to be able to adapt in order to be competitive.

      Once you federate your technology, however, you lose this ability to adapt quickly, as is evidenced by the relative stagnation of federated standards such as IP, SMTP, IRC, DNS etc.

    3. This reduced user friction has begun to extend the implicit threat that used to come with federated services into centralized services as well. Where as before you could switch hosts, or even decide to run your own server, now users are simply switching entire networks.

      The implicit threat of federated architectures is also emerging in centralized services. It emerges there because the core of the social network, the address book, is saved locally (i.e. federated). This makes it easy for users to switch networks, and this ease keeps the providers honest.

    4. Federation gives us more collective control over what changes we accept, but that comes with an unacceptable inability to adapt.

      A federated model requires some type of consensus to form to accept changes. This is great to promote consensus, but reaching consensus takes time and results in an inability to adapt quickly.

  6. Oct 2020
  7. Aug 2020
    1. Then there’s the need to check voter eligibility, a critical piece of global verifiability. No matter what technology we use, we need a clear list of eligible voters, and each voter should get to vote only once. Ultimately, the list of eligible voters is set in a centralized way: it’s produced by the State. There’s nothing distributed about voter eligibility. Even when there is federation / delegation to individual counties, like in the US, there is a centralized effort to cross-check that a voter isn’t registered in multiple counties.

      The list of eligible voters is, in the modern nation state, inherently centralized. There's nothing distributed about it.

  8. Jul 2020
  9. May 2020
  10. Apr 2020
  11. Feb 2020
    1. Capitalism is an economic system that can combine centralization with decentralization.

      How can we analogize this with the decentralization of the web and its economy?

  12. Aug 2019
    1. Running a small social network is like hosting a party. It requires social intelligence, empathy, and yes, technical skills.

      Testing out this Hypothesis thing

  13. Jul 2019
    1. In either case, the goal is to allow users to install ASM “closer to home,” either on their own devices or on Web servers they trust.

      Cal Newport's recent article in The New Yorker is highly reminiscent of this statement/paragraph.

      It need not necessarily be the case....

  14. Jun 2019
    1. So this really will be, if we do it right, a decentralized new infrastructure.

      Decentralization was a major theme of the conference.

  15. Feb 2019
    1. In the second post in the series, Simon makes the argument that the killer feature of decentralized systems is rule-breaking: “While a decentralized architecture can be effective at routing around a variety of different failures in a network, the type of decentralization that was achieved by Bittorrent (and by Bitcoin for that matter) has enabled routing around rules.”

      <big>评:</big><br/><br/> 从学术领域的开放获取(Open Access)思潮,到政治生活的匿名化社运,再到经济体系的点对点金融——BitTorrent 就像是一颗沧海遗珠,它卷起的滔天巨浪,曾试图侵袭人类社会所有坚不可摧的巨坝高墙。 <br/><br/> 但这番焕新图景背后所昭示的事实是,这代互联网人奉行的创新精神陷入了「不破不立」的窠臼。为什么我们创造新事物的前提是打破(break)或变革(reform)现有的?“routing around” 的最高境界何尝不是「共荣共存」?

  16. Jan 2019
    1. Grin is easily the most technologically advanced and fascinating cryptocurrency to be released since Bitcoin. It'll be interesting seeing Bitcoin maximalists come up with logic to convince themselves to be OK with shilling it. Personally, I'm a big fan, will be buying lots of it!

      <big>评:</big><br/><br/> 2018 年的冬天对于加密货币市场来说无疑是寒冷的,但仍然阻挡不住投资机构们对新一代隐私币 Grin 的兴趣。没有 ICO,没有预挖,开发团队不接受投资只接受捐赠——所有这些都让这张「咧嘴笑脸」带上了谜一般的独特气质。 <br/><br/> 值得提出的是,在 Grin 最初的挖矿设计中,团队采取的是 Cuckoo Cycle 算法,这是完全抗 ASIC 的算法。团队每 6 个月会调整一次算法参数,来保持抗 ASIC 的特性,并希望凭此做到真正的去中心化挖矿——用团队自己的话来说就是 “specifically designed to be resistant to Bitcoin style hardware arms-races”。 <br/><br/> 看起来很酷吧?更酷的是,这份「螳臂当车式」勇气背后的社会意义。这话听来不免有点末世英雄的悲壮,但对于那些在面对疯狂通胀不惜冒险自行挖矿的委内瑞拉民众来说,何尝不是雪中送炭?Medium 上 @kovalskee 的一篇文章亦呼应了这一点: <br/><br/>

      In the first years it is mass distribution and adoption by merchants and services will be the key over time to realizing Grin’s vision, and over a long time horizon Grin can likely become a store of value. Perhaps that which will drive demand will be a single privacy- or micropayment-focused service “killer app” (the holy grail so highly sought out in the “crypto” space) that will propel usage of Grin. Perhaps it’ll be an array of applications or use-cases focused on privacy. It might be in the developing world, in some authoritarian regime, in emerging markets, or in the West.

      <br/><br/>以为故事说到这儿就完了?并非如此。Cuckoo Cycle 算法的精心设计无法阻止一些公司秘密研究 ASIC,故而仍不能做到完全抵抗中心化的算力聚集。因此 Grin 团队规划了一个限定期,预计之后的新算法将对「抗 ASIC」特性进行改进,从「完全抗 ASIC」逐渐过渡到「对 ASIC 友好」——即在两年的时间里,从最初的「90% GPU + 10% ASIC」转为「100% ASIC」。这样的妥协之举使得算力不会在项目初始阶段过分集中,甚至能让个人 computing devices 也得以参与到挖矿中来。 <br/><br/> 说到底,算力的中心化趋势是任何 PoW 算法区块链都不可避免的问题。在萎靡熊市里半路杀出的 Grin,为这群急需新鲜感的玩家示范了如何在腹背受敌的牢笼里自娱自乐般带着镣铐起舞。而这支舞留给人们的思考,却已然超出了资本博弈的范畴,触及到了更广的社会维度。

    1. According to Capital, customers can purchase Bitcoin for the sums of 50, 100 or 250 euros. The tobacco shop then provides a ticket with an alphanumeric code and a QR code, which can then be used to obtain the purchased bitcoins via Keplerk’s website. The magazine adds that Keplerk collects a 7 percent fee on each payment, 1.25 of which then goes to the tobacco shop.

      <big>评:</big><br/><br/> 大众获得加密货币的渠道越来越广,这是件好事吗?抛开「万事都有好坏两面」的哲学论断不谈,我们似乎没有理由认为这是件坏事——加密货币愈加普及和流行,愈加深入日常生活,从而间接影响到人们的思维观念。但值得关注的是,在这五花八门的渠道里,有多少被中心化的力量操控着?当比特币像烟草一样成为专营专卖的「商品」和重要的财政收入来源,当大头交易所托管了市面上流通的绝大部分数字资产,「去中心化」的理想可能又将化为一纸空谈。届时人们关心的不是「怎样构筑新的价值体系」,而是「怎样挣更多的钱抽更好的『烟』」。

  17. Nov 2018
    1. The challenge that entrepreneurs undertake should be less a matter of How can I decentralize everything? than How can I make everything more accountable?

      accountability rather than decentralization

    2. We should care less about whether something is centralized or decentralized than whether it is accountable. An accountable system is responsive to both the common good for participants and the needs of minorities; it sets consistent rules and can change them when they don’t meet users’ needs.

      make centralization accountable

    3. People enter into networks with diverse access to resources and skills. Recentralization often occurs because of imbalances of power that operate outside the given network.

      Recentralization of decentralized processes thanks to varying resources/skills of participants.

    4. Another approach might be to regard decentralization as a process, never a static state of being — to stick to active verbs like “decentralize” rather than the perfect-tense “decentralized,” which suggests the process is over and done, or that it ever could be.

      For decentralization as a process rather than a state.

    5. Blockchains, for instance, enable permissionless entry, data storage, and computing, but with a propensity to concentration with respect to interfaces, governance, and wealth.

      How blockchain is decentralized and not.

    6. Rather than embracing decentralization as a cure-all, policymakers can seek context-sensitive, appropriate institutional reforms according to the problem at hand. For instance, he makes a case for centralizing taxation alongside more distributed decisions about expenditures. Some forms of infrastructure lend themselves well to local or private control, while others require more centralized institutions.

      being more specific about what is centralized and what is decentralized

    7. When centralization arises elsewhere in an apparently decentralized system, it comes as a surprise or simply goes ignored.Here are some traces of the persistent pattern that I’m talking about:

      Examples of centralization within decentralized systems.

    8. Decentralization is the new disruption

      Exploring decentralization today.

  18. Jul 2018
    1. Social media networks provided immediate solutions to a few problems with those early blogging networks: they relieved the moderately heavy lift in getting started and they created the possibility of connections that were immediate, dense, and growing. But as those networks expanded, they both pulled authors away from their own domains — so much quicker to tweet than to blog, and with a much speedier potential response — and they privatized and scattered conversations.

      Exactly the use case that annotation is hoping to solve! Enabling the connection between different sites.

  19. Dec 2016
    1. An open source infrastructure for a centralized network now provides almost the same level of control as federated protocols, without giving up the ability to adapt. If a centralized provider with an open source infrastructure ever makes horrible changes, those that disagree have the software they need to run their own alternative instead. It may not be as beautiful as federation, but at this point it seems that it will have to do. Tweet

      I'm not sure if this comparison is really working: What if I really take the Signal software, because I have reasons to do so. How can I stay upstream compatible, if "upstream" means the master branch of Open Whisper Systems? There soon will be two communities at least for me: the one that I left behind and the one that went with me to the new installation. But how can they communicate with each other? With the installation of the second instance the "Signal" communication has become distributed in a way except for the two instances cannot talk to each other. As moxie0 says above: "When someone recently asked me about federating an unrelated communication platform into the Signal network, I told them that I thought we'd be unlikely to ever federate with clients and servers we don't control."

    2. This reduced user friction has begun to extend the implicit threat that used to come with federated services into centralized services as well. Where as before you could switch hosts, or even decide to run your own server, now users are simply switching entire networks. In many cases that cost is now much lower than the federated switching cost of changing your email address to use a different email provider.

      There it is again: convenience as the main driver for the ecosystem to develop.

      The "cost" mentioned here is the freedom of not having to send my personal social graph to a server that might belong to someone else tomorrow.

      The two things compared do not fit: Switching networks on the basis of a phone number can be compared to switching similar services with the equivalent of an email address. And changing your email provider can be compared to changing your phone company without being able to take your phone number with you.

    3. If anything, protecting meta-data is going to require innovation in new protocols and software. Those changes are only likely to be possible in centralized environments with more control, rather than less. Just as making the changes to consistently deploy end to end encryption in federated protocols like email has proved difficult, we're more likely to see the emergence of enhanced metadata protection in centralized environments with greater control.

      This is just true under the premise of a quickly moving ecosystem and does not need to be necessarily the case in general. A quickly moving ecosystem can be found in the field of social media e.g. But, on the other side, a "moving ecosystem" can also be seen in the global surveillance structures that put a pressure on developers to react quickly. This can also be seen as the competition here.

      What if the protocol is federated, but the development of the app that implements that protocol is centralized?

    4. It creates a climate of uncertainty, never knowing whether things will work or not.

      This is not a technological problem but a social one in the first place. It demands new solutions to reduce uncertainty. The automatic update mechism of Let'sEncrypt! might be a hint to what we should look at.

    5. If XMPP is so extensible, why haven't those extensions quickly brought it up to speed with the modern world?

      Is extensibility the only paradigm for updating protocols alongside the moving ecosystem? Regarding other open source tools like Wordpress the update mechanisms are more convenient (although update happen too often with WP).

    6. A recorded album can be just the same 20 years later, but software has to change.

      Concerning a physical record or tape that's correct. But if you look at the cover versions of songs of the past, it is obvious that there is the desire to reinterpret them, to hear the musical idea of a song in the contemporary cultural context. Thus, "cover protocols" are the reinterpretation and reimplementation of a protocol idea. No one would say, a cover song is an update of the original song. It is a concurrent version, a concurrent implementation of a musical idea and can be understood knowing the original or not. Certainly, music is not software, but if the code is the foundation for software, notes are the foundation for music.

  20. Oct 2016
    1. The resource-based economy goes like this: In the future robots will do all the jobs (including creating new robots and fixing broken one). Now, imagine the world is like a public library, where you can borrow any book you want but never own it. Fresco wants all enterprise like this, whether it’s groceries, new tech, gasoline, or alcohol. He wants everything free and eventually provided to us by robots, software, and automation.

      I think this is achievable, if we emphasize specialized libraries and cooperative models around resources (i.e. tool/tech libraries, food banks/co-ops)

  21. Jun 2015
    1. centralized systems was a less-solved problem (even at far smaller numbers). More importantly, though it was easier due to this setup, we weren’t creating network effects. Though (I believe) we had more people publishing with Blogger than anything else, that didn’t make Blogger better. In fact, it made it worse, because it got slow and harder to add features to.

      a major winning point of why relying on decentralized protocols is ultimately better for eco systems and humanity

  22. Mar 2015
    1. You can expect to pay 50 cents a day. Or try DIY. This is where you will own your content.

      Rent to own?

      There is no ownership while we rent.

      We either own or increase our freedom of movement in and out of rental environments...or both.