Yes, it’s web scraping

Web scraping is the automated practice of extracting data from websites. Most often, it’s associated with personal information, including names and contact details, with the intent of benefiting in some way from them.

Do curiosity and critical thinking matter?

We all have a natural tendency to assess the abilities of others through tangible, easily identifiable skills. They define your precise capabilities, and are explicitly documented in a resume and a job posting.

Here’s an insightful interview with John Carreyrou, the reporter who thoroughly investigated – and ultimately laid bare – the massive scandal at healthcare lab testing startup Theranos.

Carreyrou, whose book on the scandal was just published (and is being adapted into a major motion picture), brought up the possibility of fraudulent startup activity as an indirect consequence of central backing activity:

Should we be surprised that Theranos happened, or surprised that it doesn’t happen more?

I don’t think we should be surprised given what’s gone on in Silicon Valley in the past 10 years with this gigantic flow of money into the Valley in large part triggered by the fact that the Fed kept interest rates so low and investors looked for new places to get returns. With that amount of money flowing in and founders being able to pick and choose who funds them and to turn down investors who do too much due diligence, you have the ingredients for excess and for wrongdoing.

Crypto thefts: no big deal?

It continues to amaze me that cryptocurrency investors, by and large have been incredibly forgiving to the frequent occurrences of crypto theft due to exchange platforms being hacked.

With all that’s so good with tech companies these days, sometimes a little dose of reality is in order. Not all are destined for success. Tintri, a once-promising flash storage provider, is on the verge of collapse after a luckluster IPO and continual inability to sustain its business fundamentals. The company has laid off 80% of its staff and is running low on cash. Bankruptcy looks to be very much on the horizon.

I recently made the decision to quit Facebook Messenger after finding out that autoplay video ads are on the horizon. No thanks to seeing ads in private conversations with my wife. So I thought, “let’s use WhatsApp instead.” Well, the reporting of fake WhatsApp messages leading to homicides in India is totally unacceptable to me. So, it’s back to good old texting.

At last, I’m moving away from Chrome and adopting Firefox as my go-to browser. I’ve long been irked by the invasive online tracking, creepy ads based on my search activity, and my laptop being transformed into a mini-heater. I’ve contemplated making this move for a while, but reading this NY Times article finally made me pull the trigger.

It’s quite fascinating that podcasting, a tech mainstay since the early 2000s, is getting quite a bit of attention as of late. Advertising for podcasts increased dramatically in 2017 (albeit still a tiny fraction compared to other mediums). And VC investments into podcast-relevant companies spiked in 2017 as well. Unlike so many of the technologies we’ve been hyping the past few years, podcasting is a rarity for its enduring popularity.

Many open-source advocates are viewing Microsoft’s purchase of GitHub with concern. However, Microsoft is a champion of open source and itself a major user of GitHub, and has stated that GitHub will remain an openly accessible, independently functioning platform.

As noted by The Verge, there’s potentially a longer-term benefit associated with GitHub becoming a Microsoft property:

In bigger enterprises and slower moving businesses, the fact Microsoft has acquired GitHub will make it more trusted to use for projects and source control, simply because Microsoft is already trusted across many software and services by these companies.