“Bitmessage is an e-mail replacement proposed last year that has been called the “the Bitcoin of online communication.” Instead of talking to a central mail server, Bitmessage distributes messages across a network of peers running the Bitmessage software. Unlike both Bitcoin and e-mail, Bitmessage “addresses” are cryptographically derived sequences that help encrypt a message’s contents automatically. That means that many parties help store and deliver the message, but only the intended recipient can read it. Another option obscures the sender’s identity; an alternate address sends the message on her behalf, similar to the anonymous “re-mailers” that arose from the cypherpunk movement of the nineteen-nineties. Another ambitious project, Namecoin, is a P2P system almost identical to Bitcoin. But instead of currency, it functions as a decentralized replacement for the Internet’s Domain Name System. The D.N.S. is the essential “phone book” that translates a Web site’s typed address (www.newyorker.com) to the corresponding computer’s numerical I.P. address ( The directory is decentralized by design, but it still has central points of authority: domain registrars, which buy and lease Web addresses to site owners, and the U.S.-based Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or I.C.A.N.N., which controls the distribution of domains.”


“The Mission to Decentralize the Internet”

The key to adoption for anything like decentralized and secure communication is simplicity and ubiquity.

We added secure messaging to Outlook in the late 90s. It could be enabled by default. It was pretty easy to set up. The problem was that anyone who used something other than Outlook (and the latest version, only on Windows) would have a really hard time enabling security. We had passed the simplicity test but failed the ubiquity test.

What happened of course was we all sent/received secure email. And then one person couldn’t read the email because he was on a different client for some reason. So we would send another copy in plain text. Which defeats the whole purpose. And soon, no one used secure email and we were reduced to least common denominator.

So something like BitMessage could be wonderful. But it needs to have a fallback and accept that for many recipients, especially at first, there needs to be a backup. Somewhat like how GroupMe or Glympse will fall back to SMS BitMessage (or another secure, decentralized system) needs to understand that falling back to email isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just a temporary step to getting more adoption

Spotify fails at reducing email noise

One of my resolutions for 2014 is reducing the amount of email I get. Part of that goal is simply unsubscribing from email I don’t read.

This morning Spotify sent me a useless note that a playlist I subscribe to had tracks added. Not only do I not care, now I need to delete the email. So I click deactivate. And then need to log in which is difficult since I have a million passwords. Okay, fine, I log in. And am not taken to the page where I can unsubscribe. Now that I am logged in I go back to email, click deactivate and am finally taken to the correct page.

Why is this so hard? Pizza Hut in France has a simple unsubscribe link and it was so easy I didn’t even need to speak French to sort it out. Other sites allow me to click unsubscribe and it just works.

Total failure for Spotify, this isn’t hard, most mailer companies support a simple unsubscribe link.

#fail, #resolution, #resolution2014, #spotify

12 Changes for 2014

12 Changes for 2014

Republicans against evolution – Boing Boing

Republicans against evolution – Boing Boing

Kauai’s historic anti-GMO bill blocked by mayor
Natasha Lennard, salon.com

The mayor found legal problems with the bill, which would regulate GMO disclosure and pesticide use

In mid-October, Kauai’s city coun­cil passed a bill that would tough­en reg­u­la­tions on large agri­cul­tur­al com­pa­nies test­ing genet­i­cal­…

A very interesting thing on Kauai is how common anti-GMO signs are. I don’t recall seeing those 18 months ago when we were here. Good for Kauai if they can eventually get this through. I am not completely opposed to genetics in foodstuffs but I do want to know when they are present and I want farmers to be able to use their own seeds.

#gmo, #kauai

How much is your privacy worth? About five bucks.

How much is your privacy worth? About five bucks.

Amazon’s best-selling holiday items reveal the American id
Roberto A. Ferdman, qz.com

Ama­zon just wrapped up a suc­cess­ful hol­i­day shop­ping sea­son. It sold 36.8 mil­lion items on Cyber Mon­day alone, or 426 items per sec­ond.

The com­pa­ny also revealed the most pop­u­lar hol­i­day pur­chas­es in a range of cat­e­gories. So…

Good to see Fitbit do so well during the holiday season. Could it mean people are going to get healthier this year? Nah, but still good to see fitness gadgets doing well.