Nick Heer on web hosting and user data

These are all concerning avenues for users. Adding advertising tends to mean user privacy is compromised, as ads become increasingly targeted by the day; shutting a company down means all user data gets removed, and it’s up to each user to find a new product or service to fill the hole. Rinse and repeat.

Arguably worse is when the company and all attached user data is acquired. There’s very little control any user has over that decision: they may like the original product, but are uncomfortable with the new owner. These decisions are impossible to foresee: if you signed up for Flickr ten years ago, or Tumblr five years ago, would you be expecting your photos and blog posts to end up in the hands of Verizon today?

Source: Don’t Cry for Yahoo — Pixel Envy

We see the same thing in education. Hopefully, a vendor is successful and things go smoothly. But, corporate (or open source) failures, acquisitions, or changes of terms will all impact what happens to student data.

We need to make sure we own our data, or at the very least have workable backups and/or exports that can be quickly spun up if things go south.

consolidating phd notes

I started a new blog site, running the fantastic Known blogging platform on a fresh subdomain running on my webspace at Reclaim Hosting. The intention was to give a place to think out loud about stuff I’m working on or thinking about for my PhD program. I started publishing some stuff, and then realized that having a separate site for that was awkward. There was no real need to separate and disconnect that content from the Day Job™ content from the-rest-of-my-life content.

So. I just imported the 8 whole posts I’d published over there, into my blog here. They’re now in a separate category called, creatively enough, phdnotes. Yeah. I added a navigation link to the theme, and there’s an RSS feed just for those posts (does anyone else still do RSS?). I’ll be posting stuff there as my program starts up (officially kicks off in September) and I start to get ideas about what I’d like to work on.

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I’ve been frustrated by how much time I burn away fidgeting with social media. Lately, it’s been essentially a form of self-regulation or soothing as it feels like civilization is melting down. Trump stumbles to pronounce a 5-letter acronym fed to him on a teleprompter? Ugh. To Twitter! etc.

The world isn’t melting down. I need to snap out of the pattern of just pissing away time on social media. So, I’ve deleted the Twitter and Facebook apps from my phone and iPad. And I’ve added a handy /etc/hosts file to my Mac that will block everything (even MySpace and Orkut! Thank Jebus!)

Anyway. I’m not deleting any accounts. I’m not disappearing. I’m (hopefully) just snapping out of this pattern of fidgetting with social media rather than doing literally anything else that is more interesting and productive and relevant to anything – even nothing. Life is too short for that kind of bullshit.

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