Announcing the Web 1.0 Conference!

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The Web 1.0 Conference is a celebration of old style static websites. It’s a place where you can trade your unused domain names then develop them the next day!

A conference celebrating the creative, original, static (no backend) web sites, both old and new, that stand the test of time. It’s time to rediscover and bring back the lost art of web site creation. Let’s build some weird, interesting, quirky web sites!

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Location

  • Vadio
  • 919 SW Taylor St.
  • Portland, OR 97205

Website

http://websiteconf.neocities.org/

Description
A conference celebrating the creative, original, static (no backend) web sites, both old and new, that stand the test of time. It’s time to rediscover and bring back the lost art of web site creation. Let’s build some weird, interesting, quirky web sites!

Schedule!

Friday, Nov 6th ,2015

  • 5:30PM Check in
  • 6:00PM Lightning talks begin
  • 7:00PM Real world domain name exchange Have some domain names you own you’ll never do anything with? Bring them to trade with others!
  • 8:30PM Friday closing

Saturday, Nov 7th, 2015

  • 9:00AM Check in, breakfast, 玉露
  • 9:30AM 15-20 minute talks
  • 11:00AM Web site building / hacking begins
  • 12:30PM Lunch is served
  • 3:00PM Afternoon snack
  • 6:00PM Web site hacking ends
  • 6:15PM 2 minute presentations begin. Show everyone your awesome web creation!
  • 7:30PM Closing

Tickets

Registration Tickets are $10, which covers expenses.

  • Don’t have a web provider?
  • New to making websites?
  • Free web hosting will be provided by Neocities!

Keynote Video from Delight 2015!

Delight Conference just posted my latest talk on Designing Calm Technology! Delight was held on October 5-7th, 2015 at the Portland Art Museum and was a great event for user experience designers put on by Portland’s Connective DX.

Talk description: Technology shouldn’t require all of our attention, just some of it, and only when necessary. Calm technology describes a state of technological maturity where a user’s primary task is not computing, but being human. The idea is to have smarter people, not things. This talk covers how to use principles of Calm Technology in product design and how to manage the next generation of connected devices in our human landscape.

Today I’m putting the final touches on the Calm Technology book! It will be available in late December, but you can order it from O’Reilly books now!

Calm Technology on the Radical Therapist Podcast!

Ever since the NPR Ted Talks radio episode came out, I’ve been invited to be on a number of different podcasts. Podcasts are one of my favorite things to do, so I almost always say yet!

Two days ago, I was a guest of Chris Hoff on the The Radical Therapist podcast. The show explores the intersections of collaborative therapy, psychology, philosophy, art, and science & technology.

In this episode, Hoff interviews me about Cyborg Anthropology and the view that most of modern human life is a product of both human and non-human objects, and how we interact with machines and technology in many ways defines who we are.

We also talk about the principles of Calm Technology and the idea that technology should require the smallest amount of our attention.

You can listen to more interviews on the Radical Therapist website!

Why The Internet Needs IPFS Before It’s Too Late

Note: This article was posted to TechCrunch as a guest post.

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IPFS isn’t exactly a well-known technology yet, even among many in the Valley, but it’s quickly spreading by word of mouth among folks in the open-source community. Many are excited by its potential to greatly improve file transfer and streaming speeds across the Internet.

From my personal perspective, however, it’s actually much more important than that. IPFS eliminates the need for websites to have a central origin server, making it perhaps our best chance to entirely re-architect the Internet — before its own internal contradictions unravel it from within.

How, and why? The answer requires a bit of background.

Why We Have A Slow, Fragile And Forgetful Web

IPFS is a new peer-to-peer hypermedia protocol that aims to supplement, or possibly even replace, the Hypertext Transfer Protocol that rules the web now. Here’s the problem with HTTP: When you go to a website today, your browser has to be directly connected to the computers that are serving that website, even if their servers are far away and the transfer process eats up a lot of bandwidth.

Data providers get charged because each network has a peering agreement, while each network hop costs money to the data provider and wastes bandwidth. Worse, HTTP downloads a file from a single computer at a time, instead of getting pieces from multiple computers simultaneously.

Consequently, we have what we’re stuck with now: a slow, expensive Internet, made even more costly by predatory last-mile carriers (in the U.S. at least), and the accelerating growth of connection requests from mobile devices. It’s not just slow and expensive, it’s unreliable. If one link in an HTTP transfer cuts out for whatever reason, the whole transfer breaks. (Whenever a web page or media file is slow to load, a problem with a link in the HTTP chain is among the likeliest culprits.)

Remaking The Internet With IPFS

The InterPlanetary File System — a tribute to J.C.R. Licklider’s vision for an “intergalactic” Internet — is the brainchild of Juan Benet, who moved to the U.S. from Mexico as a teen, earned a computer science degree at Stanford, started a company acquired by Yahoo! in 2013 and, last year at Y Combinator, founded Protocol Labs, which now drives the IPFS project and its modest aim of replacing protocols that have seemed like facts of life for the last 20 years.

As a peer-to-peer distributed file system that seeks to connect all computing devices with the same system of files, IPFS seeks to improve on HTTP in several ways. Two, Juan told me in a recent conversation, are key:

“We use content-addressing so content can be decoupled from origin servers, and instead, can be stored permanently. This means content can be stored and served very close to the user, perhaps even from a computer in the same room. Content-addressing allows us to verify the data too, because other hosts may be untrusted. And once the user’s device has the content, it can be cached indefinitely.”

IPFS also addresses security problems that plague our HTTP-based Internet: Content-addressing and content-signing protect IPFS-based sites, making DDoS attacks impossible. And to help mitigate the damage of discontinued websites, IPFS also archives important public-record content, and can easily store important, public-record content.

IPFS would help the Internet grow into the system we’ve always aspired it to be.
IPFS’s final core improvement is decentralized distribution, which makes it possible to access Internet content despite sporadic Internet service or even while offline: “We make websites and web apps have no central origin server,” Juan explained. “They can be distributed just like the Bitcoin network is distributed.” This is actually something that HTTP simply cannot do, and would especially be a boon to networks without top-notch connectivity (i.e., the whole developing world), and for access outside of metropolitan areas.

Released in Alpha last February, IPFS has already started to see a lot of experimentation among early adopters. On September 8, for instance, Neocities became the first major site to implement IPFS, following a call from the Internet Archive for a distributed web. We currently suffer a constant loss of websites as their owners abandon them over the years — a growing crisis to our collective Internet memory — and this is a small but important step toward a more permanent web.

But will websites owned by large corporations follow Neocities’ lead, adopting such an as-yet-untested protocol — especially when the mere mention of “peer to peer” often terrifies them? That takes me to my final point.

Why IPFS Matters For The Future Of Internet Business

As I explain in my upcoming book, we are fast approaching a point where the cost of delivering content will outstrip the benefits — and profits. The major Internet companies are already struggling to stay ahead of our content demands, with armies of engineers at companies like Akamai, Google and Amazon devoted to this one problem.

And they haven’t even seen the worst of it: Thanks to rapid adoption of low-cost smartphones, whole continents of consumers will go online in the coming decade. The Internet of Things promises to only compound this challenge, as billions of devices add their own demands on our rapidly dwindling connectivity.

We are already in desperate need for a hedge against what I call micro-singularities, in which a viral event can suddenly transfix billions of Internet users, threatening to choke the entire system in the process. (A potentially life-threatening outage, when the micro-singularity involves a natural disaster or other emergency.)

Netflix recently started researching large-scale peer-to-peer technology for streaming, an early, hopeful sign that companies of its size and reach are looking for smarter content distribution methods. Netflix, YouTube, all the bandwidth-heavy services we cherish now would thrive on an Internet remade by IPFS, dramatically reducing the cost and time to serve content.

Beyond improved service, IPFS would help the Internet grow into the system we’ve always aspired it to be at our most idealistic, but cannot become with our current protocols: Truly capable of connecting everyone around the world (even offline) to a permanent but constantly evolving expression of who we are, and aspire to be.

View this post on HackerNews.

Early Release of Calm Technology available through O’Reilly Books!

I’m excited to announce that Calm Technology is part of O’Reilly’s Early Release program! What does this mean? It means that you can download the book right now without waiting for the final copy to be published. And when the final copy does come out, you’ll get that version too!

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Book Details

How can we use technology as tools instead of letting our technology use us? This practical book explores the concept of calm technology, a method for smoothly capturing the user’s attention only when necessary, while calmly remaining in the user’s periphery most of the time. You’ll learn how to design products that work well, launch well, are easy to support, easy to use, and don’t get in the way of a user’s life.

Old systems and bad interfaces will plague us if we don’t learn how to design for the long term. By writing code that’s small instead of large, and making simple systems rather than complex ones, we can begin to design technology that gets out of our way.

  • Discover principles that follow the human lifestyle and environment in mind, allowing technology to amplify humanness instead of taking it away
  • Delve into types of alerts, product launch, “calming” technology, and tech that smoothly enters people’s lives
  • Learn from a trained anthropologist and a technology hobbyist who sits on the edge between technology and how people use it
  • This book is ideal for anyone who actively builds or makes decisions about technology, including user experience designers, product designers, managers, creative directors, and developers.

Get your copy of Calm Technology now! and if you’re in Portland, Oregon this week come see my talk at Delight 2015 at the Portland Art Museum!