I recently read “Algorithms of Oppression” by Safiya Umoja Noble and it taught me a lot of hard hitting truths. For example, I learned how search engines work. Prior to reading this book I thought that the search algorithm was some sort of mathematical correlation of what people often search for. Now I understand that the algorithm sorts sites based on two criteria: how much the search engine wants it to be at the top, and how many other sites have a link to it. This means that the information that is handed out by search engines can be easily…


Traditional software has been accidentally designed to cater to a specific type of user; for those people software is easy and intuitive, but for everyone else it is a major pain. This poor design is a gender bug (also known as a personality bug) of the system. People have a threshold of tolerance for issues in software and personality bugs can cause such a hassle for some users that they often aren’t able to do what they need. They no longer have any curiosity of how software works because they are so frustrated at using it in the first place…


When I don’t know exactly what I want to say I find my best writing comes by starting out with a shitty first draft. By shitty first draft I don’t mean subpar writing, I mean something terrible enough that I feel like I am throwing up words out of my hands. If the first draft is alright then I end up not making it as good in the end, because I am too afraid I’ll mess up what I have while editing; but to improve your writing you can’t be afraid. The first step is to not erase anything, just…


Software can be considered intellectual property through either patents or copyright, but patents have many issues. The world of software is a rapidly changing one whereas the process of gaining a patent is a long and tedious journey. This means that for many developers the process of seeking a patent isn’t worth the payoff; their idea may become entirely useless by the time the patent is granted. For a large corporation this isn’t as big of a problem because the more patents they create, the more likely one will pay off big. Furthermore, if a patent covers a now well…


When interviewing for a software development position companies want to see your experience and contributions, but having worked at another company is not sufficient enough to prove that you are qualified. Most other career pathways don’t act this way. For example, in medicine you might be required to stay up to date on certain topics, but there is no expectation for you to contribute more to the field outside of working hours. No other field that I am aware of requires interviewees to prove their knowledge in the same way the computer science does. If the interviewee has the certification…


Social media sites have been designed to keep people on the site because the longer someone is online the more ads can be shown and more money is made. Anything that arouses an emotion is given top priority because it will cause people to stay online. People are able to find others that share their opinions, no matter what the opinion is, which causes people to feel validated in their opinions and begin to treat them as fact. Social media then shows the individual more and more of whatever that opinion is which digs them deeper and deeper into the belief that they have found truth. The less you question your opinions and beliefs the harder it is to be open-minded when someone suggests that you might be incorrect. This has divided us as a society into factions that are no longer tolerant toward others.


Who contributes to open source? To discover the answer to that we must dig into why people contribute to open source. Young software engineers are encouraged to participate in open source projects to improve their resumes; older software engineers are encouraged to participate in order to keep their skill sets up to date. There are some people that only want to code for their job and, sadly, the industry sees them as unsuccessful and unmotivated. Many other people have their own ideas of projects that they want to work on in their free time, and a lot of the industry…


Security is both really interesting and really boring. When you watch a movie with computer hackers there tends to be a tense action scene of them hacking into a system and then someone reverse hacking them to find their location. Reality paints a starkly different picture. A hacker will likely create a script and then let it run on its own, once the script no longer works as an attack they alter the script and run it again. As for a company being attacked by a hacker, they may or may not even know they are being targeted. If they…


Should anyone be cancelled? If so, who? What kinds of people for what kinds of actions? Our society has evolved to a point where what is socially acceptable is changing and if an individual doesn’t change with it fast enough they will potentially be punished for it for the rest of their life. In some ways this can be a good thing. For far too long persons in power have been invited to change their ways by society but since there was no real way to hold them accountable they were allowed to continue. Cancelling is not holding people accountable…


The world of cybersecurity has drastically changed since the 1980’s. Back then a hacker was most likely someone that worked hard to find solutions to problems, not an evil actor out to get your information, and even if it did have the latter connotation it didn’t much matter; information was supposed to be free anyway. Now, information is nearly currency; if there is any type of data or secrets leak companies will shut down development operations for as long as it takes to fix and secure, whether or not there is a even a whisper of a hacker. In the…

Contemplations of Computers and Ethics

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