Felix Crux

Technology & Miscellanea

Tags: , , ,

How do you follow your favourite online creators and their blogs, articles, videos, podcasts, comics, or what have you? How do you choose what to read when you have a few minutes to kill on the bus, or when you want to get caught up in the morning with a cup of coffee?

Most people hand this choice over to social media, inviting along the whole associated host of problems like clickbait; outrage amplification; snooping targeted advertising; radicalising rabbit-holes; echo-chambers and filter bubbles; algorithms choosing what to show you based on “engagement” rather than what you’d want for yourself; and on and on.

There’s a better way — and there has been for decades! Amazingly, it seems underused even within tech circles, and almost completely unknown to the general public. It’s super easy to use, actually more convenient than social media apps, and leaves you in complete control of what you see.

I’m talking, of course, about RSS/Atom web feeds, and I contend that they are not only a better alternative, but in fact I’d go so far as to say that a feed reader is the only tolerable and civilised way to read online! The system works really well and more in line with what (I think) most people actually want; it minimizes the use of harmful social media platforms; and it helps foster a more vibrant, independent, creative, and non-commerical Web. So drop your non-chronological algorithmically-obscured sponsored timeline, and let’s have a whirlwind overview of what feeds are and how to use them!

Tags: , , ,

Last year at PyCon I organized a small Open Space event for OpenPGP key signing. Based on the success of that event I'm doing it again this year at PyCon 2015 in Montréal. We'll be in room 512cg at 18:00 on Saturday the 11th.

I wrote up a very short superficial guide that covers what this is all about, how to get started, how key signing happens, and where to go from there; you can read it here.

All are welcome, regardless of level of experience. Even if you don't intend to actively participate, feel free to come out to meet others and learn.

Corrections, additions, and comments on the document would be very welcome; it's just something that I wrote up quickly on the train, and so is bound to be incomplete.

Tags: ,

I know that around this time of year, a lot of people are in a giving mood. And it's not just limited to exchanging gifts, but also donating to charity. In addition to the humanitarian causes that many people support during the holiday season, consider helping out these somewhat geekier groups too.

Tags: , ,

So the W3C has officially ceased work on the next iteration of the XHTML standard, abandoning it in favour of the new and shiny HTML 5. I have some mixed opinions on this, since the simplifying purist in me likes the consistency and rigour provided by XHTML, but HTML 5 appeals to my more pragmatic instincts. HTML 5 also has support for a slew of nice semantic tags, like <section>, <article>, <header> and <footer>, which should make it easier and cleaner to style documents according to their content, and do away with the ubiquitous <div id="blogpost"> constructs that currently make up most sites.

Tags: ,

A few days ago there were reports that Korea, already a leader in telecommunications infrastructure, would be pursuing plans to provide 1 Gbps Internet connectivity across the country by 2012. An excerpt from the Slashdot summary:

The entire country is gearing up to have 1 Gbps service by 2012, or at least that is what the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) is claiming. 'Currently, Koreans can get speeds up to 100 Mbps, which is still nearly double the speed of Charter's new 60 Mbps service. The new plan by the KCC will cost 34.1 trillion ($24.6 billion USD) over the next five years. The central government will put up 1.3 trillion won, with the remainder coming from private telecom operators.

Tags: ,

Really, flying cars are all that's needed now for the future to officially be here, because yesterday I tried a service that obviously represents a major milestone for humanity: I bought groceries over the Internet.

Amazon Fresh is an experimental project that has been running in a limited trial mode for over a year now. It allows you to buy pretty much anything you'd find in a traditional supermarket and have it delivered to your door, usually the same day. You can also elect to have items delivered before dawn the next day, so they're on your doorstep when you wake up. Delivery is free on orders over $30, but currently they will only deliver to a few Seattle-area zip codes. The Amazon offices are of course covered, and so one thing led to another…