25
Mar 19

Cyber Thoughts March

Here is the latest Cyber Thoughts Newsletter.

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14
Feb 19

Cyber Thoughts February

Happy V day. Here is the Cyber Thoughts Newsletter I wrote for February.

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06
Dec 17

NYC Mesh


Given that it looks like Net Neutrality is going to be killed shortly I decided to look into find a non-censored Internet Connection. NYC Mesh is a pretty interesting volunteer project doing just that.

I signed up and one of their team came out and did a site survey. It looks like I’m a bit too far from the Brooklyn Supernode for a direct connection, but hopefully we can find a 1 hop solution in the coming weeks. If you’re interested in having a net connection not controlled by a media conglomerate I suggest you check them out and get involved.


04
Dec 17

I Had a Kid

This really isn’t a personal blog, but this is pretty life changing so here goes.
Milo Young Nelson was born around 12 weeks ago.

I’m finally getting back to a somewhat normal sleep schedule and I’m digging into some fun ideas. More soon.


15
Jun 17

Golem – The Blockchain Supercomputer

tpsdave / Pixabay

Today’s rabbit hole for me is Golem, a group trying to monetize unused processor cycles. Again, this is a throwback to the ideas of, among others, MojoNation. Their alpha will allow Blender users to render CGI in a distributed manner.

The problem with distributing computation across a high latency network like the Internet is that you need problems to be extremely parallel, since almost any amount of communication between nodes is uneconomical. This is fine for things like SETI@home but isn’t great modeling that requires the previous output as input. Two major questions I have: are there enough use cases where someone has the ability to pay for this type of computation where they aren’t worried about have someone see the work they are doing and will the security model be strong enough to get people to run unknown code on their machines.


14
Jun 17

Pitched on Facebook

So this just happened:

What you’re seeing is a Facebook ad for a company looking for investors. I admit, I clicked on it because I was intrigued. Clearly these folks are scrappy and trying something new. 

Have any other investors out there seen anything like this before?


06
Jun 17

Decentralized VPN – Zero Knowledge Systems v2.0

Before there was TOR there was Zero Knowledge Systems, they were a privacy network that let you set the number of hops you’d like to make before exiting as well as a simple system to manage multiple online identities. Sadly, they were not a commercial success, but they were an early cypherpunk company.

There is a now an open source project that hopes to bring a privacy VPN to the market using cryptocurrencies to pay for the solution. Mysterium just did an ICO (initial coin offering) arnd raised over $14M USD for development.

This is interesting for a couple of reasons. First, it is a direct throwback to a late 90’s failed cypherpunk idea. The question is are there now enough privacy conscious people out there willing to pay for such a service? If there are then maybe this time will be different.

The second is that they are going head-to-head with a free service that is trying to provide the same benefits. From their competitive matrix it seems their belief is that by putting an economy behind this they will be able to provide a faster service that TOR.

It is certainly true that TOR is slow, but the question is will be people willing to pay for privacy, especially if it is on metered usage instead of a flat fee. I’d be skeptical since I think the cognitive overhead of micropayments is why they haven’t been adopted and this feels similar to me. Anytime I have to think about whether or not to use a service it creates barriers, this is why most VPN providers have some sort of fixed pricing model, at least for “normal” usage.

This is one of those time I hope to be proven wrong. I’d really love a decentralized VPN to get wide scale adoption. Once I get my new high speed FIOS connection this month I may even try to run a node for a while to get a better feel for the project.

 


06
Jun 17

Back in the Saddle

https://www.flickr.com/photos/ericsurfdude/322217434

Wow, more than a year. A lot has changed. I’m at a new firm: Evolution Equity and I’m expecting a kid in September. I’m super excited about both.

To start the job I’m going to do a couple deep dives to create a new investment thesis. I’ll be focusing on cyber security and dabbling in the block chain.

Finally, I’ve decided to try to blog more. To do so I’m going to write a bit more informally and try to publish faster. No promises. But here we go.


24
Feb 16

Honeymoon Reading

I’m just back from 14 days in Thailand. It was beautiful and relaxing.

2016-02-16 18.11.17 2016-02-16 18.09.31

While we did a whole bunch of amazing things during the trip like visiting temples and eating amazing food. I also had a lot of time to restart my meditation practice and read.

The Girl in the Spiders Web – Fourth book in the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series, but not written by Stieg Larsson. A good book on its own merits, but continuity breaks with the original three made it less enjoyable. I understand what people mean when they say the magic is missing.

On Strange Tides – A really great pirates and voodoo magic novel. I’d never read anything by Tim Powers before, but that’s a mistake I’ll remedy. If you want something that is like Pirates of the Caribbean, only a ton better, grab this.

V for Vendetta – Never saw the movie, but this story of authoritarian regimes spying on society feels extremely relevant today.

The Atrocity Archives – I’ve loved Charlie Stross’s short stories so I finally got one of his novels. Supernatural spies. Fun stuff.

Nothing Like it in the World – The building of the transcontinental railroad is a fascinating story of epic proportions. It is hard to imagine today a project of that scale. Maybe SpaceX comes close.

Having the luxury to unplug and read was great, especially since I feel re-energized and ready to tackle big projects.


21
Jul 15

How to Live in the Future – My 4 Experiments

Jetsons

The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed. – William Gibson

I love that quote so much that I have it inscribed on my wallet; it’s custom work done by Moxie & Oliver.

I want to try an experiment, I want to live in the future. To do that, I’m trying to find those pockets of the future that exist today, and try them for myself. These are things that could be mainstream in 5-10 years but are niche today. I’ve already written a post about the Amazon Echo. I’m also trying the Apple Watch, and some lightbulbs controlled by an App.

Now I’m looking for ideas. What else can I do to live in the future. Here are some that I’ve thought of.

  • 23andMe – Map my genome. Not sure what to do with it, but mapping it will probably be common in the future.
  • Smart home stuff – Philips Hue, Amazon Echo, and maybe a Nest, though they aren’t really practical for apartment living in NYC.
  • Soylent – I am not really a believer in this, but I may give it a try.
  • Tesla – I want to rent one for a road trip and see how the charging stations really work.

What else? Well, I’m hoping you’ll tell me. What other experiments should I be running?