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Humanist technologist. Equality and adventures.

I co-founded Elgg and Known, worked on Medium and Latakoo, and now invest in innovative media startups to support a stronger democracy at Matter.

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“In other words, an informed public is a necessary condition of democracy, but not a sufficient one.” https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/fighting-fake-news-is-not-the-solution

 

In 2012, new to the Bay Area, I wrote a short novel about the weird world I found myself in. What if the secret sauce was something more terrible than you could ever imagine? It feels more relevant than ever, so here it is publicly for the first time.

https://medium.com/@benwerd/herebe-569324066e9f

 

I wrote a piece about the decisions I'd make if I founded a startup again.

Knowing what I know now, from the founders I work with, my background in startups, and what I’ve learned from working at a values-based accelerator: if I was to do it all again, what choices would I make?

I'm hopeful it will be useful for anyone who's just embarking on this journey.

https://medium.com/@benwerd/founding-a-startup-just-one-more-time-37f7a4b9b22e

 
 

Those CPU exploits can be used by malicious web content to read private information, too. Mozilla and other browser vendors are working on a fix. https://blog.mozilla.org/security/2018/01/03/mitigations-landing-new-class-timing-attack/

 
 

As states go, California is a pretty great one. I really like most of these changes. http://www.latimes.com/projects/la-pol-ca-new-2018-laws/

 

Instead of posting New Year's resolutions, I've written a list of . What are yours? https://medium.com/@benwerd/my-2018liberations-2f581b8adc0c

 

HAHAHHAHA BURRRRRN 2017

That is all.

 

Happy New Year to all my friends who made it to 2018 already! You’re the advance guard. How does it look?

 
 
 

Idea I’ve been talking about today: what if everyone with the ability could contribute to a central account, with a regular amount that made sense to them, that could then be withdrawn from using a special neighborhood ATM and card by low income and homeless people?

 

The only way to prevent mass surveillance and censorship - and therefore ensure that democracy can continue to function - is to make it systemically impossible.

 

Should academics get involved in social justice issues, even if their research helped uncover the problem in the first place? (Spoiler alert: of course they should.) http://flintwaterstudy.org/2016/10/engineers-shall-hold-paramount-the-safety-health-and-welfare-of-t...

 

This is a super-interesting spreadsheet of tech’s “notable” (here, sizeable) exits in 2017.
http://blog.semilshah.com/2017/12/29/an-imperfect-glance-at-techs-notable-exits-in-2017/

 

This is a great - and a little bit daunting - summary of what happened in front-end web development in 2017. https://blog.logrocket.com/frontend-in-2017-the-important-parts-4548d085977f

 

In just over a week I’ll turn 39. They say that your thirties are like your twenties but better; there’s been some truth to that. But what should I definitely do over the next year to close out this arbitrary decade of my life?

 

This is a technical piece, but summary: letting your web browser remember passwords for you allows websites to track you in ways you don’t expect. Disable that function and use something like 1password instead. https://freedom-to-tinker.com/2017/12/27/no-boundaries-for-user-identities-web-trackers-exploit-brow...

 

Nationalism and exceptionalism divide us far more than Trump’s idiot wall. Everyone is connected. Every person has value and should have the right to live well. Being proud to be an American, or British, or Swiss, or Dutch, is arbitrary. We’re all a global family: proudly human.

 

A powerful story of immigration, empathy, and love in today’s Daily. Real-life parable. https://play.radiopublic.com/the-daily-GMB3yp/ep/s1!9816091c347f86b20a98bad7a09fec5a67a65eb9

 

Roast lamb
Goat cheese soufflé with a filo crust
Tofurkey roast [non-homemade]
Vegetarian stuffing
Roast potatoes and parsnips
Cranberry sauce
Vegetarian + lamb gravies
Mince pies + cream

In our low-key way, with everyone making something, happily chatting in the kitchen. 👍👍

 

“Merry Christmas” was, once upon a time, a drunken snub to the church, while “happy holidays” was the more Christian salutation. Merry Christmas! http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-young-merry-christmas-origins-20171222-story.html

 
 

Meanwhile, over at Modern Farmer, it’s Sheep Week. https://modernfarmer.com/tag/sheep-week/

 

Happy Solstice! It only gets brighter from here.

 
 

In so many cases, "targeting" is really discrimination. The law still applies on the internet. https://www.propublica.org/article/facebook-ads-age-discrimination-targeting

 

The next new software project I create will absolutely, 100% for real, use this versioning syntax. http://drone-ver.org/

 

The subtext here: making money (which is an unfortunate necessity) while staying in line with open web principles is really, really hard if you’re focusing on consumers. https://www.howtogeek.com/336493/despite-firefox-quantums-success-mozilla-has-lost-its-way/