Source: The Internet is for End Users, by Mark Nottingham
RE: RFC8890: The Internet is for End Users | Internet Architecture Board (IAB), by Mark Nottingham
The Internet Architecture Board (IAB) has published RFC8890, The Internet is for End Users, arguing that the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) should ground its decisions in what’s good for people who use the Internet, and that it should take positive steps to achieve that.
The Internet has been with us for almost 40 years and has contributed to profound changes in society. It currently faces serious challenges — issues that require input from policymakers, civil society, ordinary citizens, businesses and technologists.
It’s past time for technologists to both become more involved in discussions about how to meet those challenges, and to consider broader views of how the technology they create fits into society. Without good communication, policymakers are prone to making rules that don’t work with the technology, and technologists are prone to creating technology naïve to its policy implications.
So at its heart, The Internet is for End Users is a call for IETF participants to stop pretending that they can ignore the non-technical consequences of their decisions, a call for broader consultation when making them, and one for continued focus on the end user. Ultimately, end user impact is as least as important as the technical considerations of a proposal, and judging that impact requires a more serious effort to understand and incorporate other non-technical views.
Source: Web by Google (TM), by Alan Gibson
So Google controls the Web’s search and video [and advertising] infrastructure. It can and does dictate standards and media formats. It also controls a huge chunk of the revenues available when publishing and selling on the Web. It even controls the [Android] operating system and [Chrome] browser through which most people interact with it.
Google’s capture of the Web is a fait accompli. Only legislation will keep the World Wide Web from finally becoming Web by Google (TM).
Source: Centralised DoH is bad for privacy, in 2019 and beyond
also: DoH: (Anti-)Competitive and Network Neutrality aspects
DNS is one of four ways in which such meta-data gets transmitted in plaintext. … Because DoH does not encrypt anything that is not also present in plain text, there is nothing to remove from the list [of parties with access to your browsing activity]. Based on this, we can conclude that as it stands, using DoH to a browser-provisioned cloud provider effectively worsens your privacy position.
Additionally, that third party then gets a complete log per device of all DNS queries, in a way that can even be tracked across IP addresses.
Even if further privacy leaks are plugged, DoH to a third party remains at best a partial solution, one that should not be relied upon as a serious security layer, since it will be hard to plug everything, especially if non-CDN content providers survive.
Encrypting DNS is good, but if this could be done without involving additional parties, that would be better.
Source: Computer Files Are Going Extinct | OneZero, by Simon Pitt
I like being able to look at and access my files. But now the systems I use try to stop me from doing so. “No,” they say, “access them through these bespoke, proprietary interfaces.” I just want my file browser back, but now I’m not allowed it. It’s a relic of an earlier era.
Years ago websites were made of files; now they are made of dependencies. … The unit of creation has moved from the file to the database entry.
In some ways, that doesn’t make a huge difference. The data is the same, just stored in a database rather than an HTML document. The URL could even be the same, just behind the scenes it fetches the content from a different type of data store. But the implications are much bigger. The content is dependent on a whole heap of infrastructure, rather than being able to stand on its own.
I miss the universality of files. The fact they can work anywhere, be moved around easily. The file has been replaced with the platform, the service, the ecosystem.
Source: How to Build Good Software | Civil Service College Singapore, by Li Hongyi
How useful a piece of software can be is usually limited by its complexity rather than the amount of resources invested in building it. … Building good software involves alternating cycles of expanding and reducing complexity.
There is no such thing as platonically good engineering: it depends on your needs and the practical problems you encounter.
Software projects rarely fail because they are too small; they fail because they get too big.
A good engineer has a better grasp of existing software they can reuse, thus minimising the parts of the system they have to build from scratch. They have a better grasp of engineering tools, automating away most of the routine aspects of their own job. Automation also means freeing up humans to work on solving unexpected errors, which the best engineers are disproportionately better at. Good engineers themselves design systems that are more robust and easier to understand by others. This has a multiplier effect, letting their colleagues build upon their work much more quickly and reliably. Overall, good engineers are so much more effective not because they produce a lot more code, but because the decisions they make save you from work you did not know could be avoided.