Yesterday the Guardian revealed that the US National Security Agency draws huge volumes of telecommunications metadata from Verizon. Now the Washington Post is reporting that a project called PRISM -- allegedly operated in conjunction with Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook, Skype, and others* -- collects and mines communications data for the NSA and FBI. Representatives from some of the companies (such as Facebook) are currently denying involvement.
* In an NSA slideshow brief, Dropbox cooperation is billed as "coming soon." Because what's a panopticon without Dropbox support?
Life of a Coder
A biography in totally unrelated links.
In my youth, I was brash and full of vigor. I taught myself to code in eight weeks, with free resources like Zed Shaw's great Learn to Code the Hard Way, Udacity, and MIT's free courses. My path was pretty Python/Django-centric, but it seemed like a solid syllabus-by-the-bootstraps.
Midway through my life's journey, self-doubt set in. I wondered: Are coders worth it? Is there value in what I do? With answers less than forthcoming, I defined my worth by my pay.
As I grew into old age and greater wisdom, I realized that I'd alienated myself from the natural world. I quit my job, retreated to the wilderness, and became The Coder Who Lives in the Forest. In the forest I would stay, at least until my startup took off.
Tools and Tips
A high-performance fork of Google's LevelDB with improved parallelism and compaction.
Text Adventure vs. MUD vs. Roguelike vs. Dwarf Fortress
You want to build a relatively simple game, but you're not sure where to start. Invent with Python weighs the histories, mechanics, and appeals of text adventures, MUDs, roguelikes, and dwarf fortresses.
John Gruber, Dave Wiskus, and Brent Simmons surprise-released an iOS notetaking app today that looks more or less like what you'd expect given the folks involved: beautiful and minimalistic to a fault. At this point it lacks sync or import/export, so whether or not you want to drop five bucks may depend on how you weigh those features against a sense of craftsmanship. (Myself, I'm a fan of the dead minimalistic but Dropbox-compatible PlainText.)
Levitation by iPhone
Feed your inner bored band kid with Levitagram, which lets you create the illusion of levitation with the iPhone camera.