A collection of thoughts, ideas and everything else that doesn't need a lot of words.

GDPR is Great. And Sucks.

Over the last weeks I have learned a lot about the new GDPR regulation and the changes that will come with it. For the most part, I think this is a great and very welcome change and I believe that it will also unveil a lot of the really bad practices that have happened behind the scenes. I’m definitely looking forward to May 25th and the time after. This is all great.

On the flipside, many things about this regulation aren’t very clear and leave a lot of room for interpretation. If you want to be on the safe side, you might have to make some big compromises and that might not leave you too excited. Especially for sites/companies/people who already try to collect as little data as possible and put ethics at the core of their products, a lot of things have to be added to privacy policies that can make everything sound much more scary to end users than it actually is. Getting Colloq GDPR-ready makes for a good example of this. Stay tuned for some more details on our GDPR experience.


GDPR and the Deadline Race

While we’ve been working through and signed quite a few DPA’s with various services to get Colloq fully GDPR compliant, we’ve also come across some services where I’m a little surprised about their feedback, which in more than one case reads somewhat like this:

Thanks for the response! We currently don't have a DPA in place that we can provide as we're still working on this. We should have this all set and ready by May. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask!

The enforcement of the GDPR goes into effect on May 25th, 2018. That means everyone needs to be compliant by that date and in some cases getting compliant can be quite some work. The issue is that you have to wait for these services to be ready to start thinking about how to handle each and every case and what to do with those services.

The main problem here is timing: While some services take their time to be compliant by the effective date (or whichever date “ready by May” refers to…), only a small amount of companies seem to actually care about their customers and how they also need to meet the deadline…


Take Your Stance

The recent interview of Tim Cook with Recode that will air later this week, sounds very interesting and in it, TIm Cook takes a pretty clear stance:

Cook made that point again today: “The truth is, we could make a ton of money if we monetized our customer — if our customer was our product. We’ve elected not to do that.”

Swisher posed a question for Cook: What would he do if he were Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg? His answer: “I wouldn’t be in this situation.”

In today’s world, everyone has to decide who and where they want to be. The side Apple wants to be on makes me feel more positive about the future and will likely make me an even more loyal Apple customer, too. I hope that more and more people will join this side and that together, we can re-shape things for a better.


Instagram & Target Ads

I don’t use Instagram as much anymore as I used to, but sometimes when I post something and it “takes off” with a few more likes than usual. Once in a while I have look what happened and the other day I clicked a link in a new followers’ profile to have look at their shop and what they were selling. I found swimsuits and bikinis. Since then, I keep seeing ads from that shop on many sites I visit, again and again. Happy targeting. And such a waste of money. But most of all, not very targeted after all. I wish it would be something more useful that I liked.


Compressive Images

All of this isn’t to say we should never use compressive images—never is a word that rarely applies in my experience. But it does mean that we should be cautious.

Another very good post by Tim and I very much agree. As with everything, it really depends on when and where to use it. For some cases it might still be a good solution and I have to say I kinda like it. Mostly and especially for displaying multiple images, you are probably better off with the newer techniques, but there's also no rule that wouldn't allow to combine the techniques that work best for you in each case.


Taking Responsibility for the Things You Build and Run

It’s easy to blame third-parties and not taking responsibility for incidents of any kinds. The underlying problem is that it’s possible that it’s you yourself who allowed things to happen by design.

It’s you who designs your service. If you’re an engineer, it’s you who builds the API and the permission model which third-party gets access to which data. If you’re a designer, it’s you who designs the interface to ensure people understand what they’re doing when granting access. If you’re part of the company, it’s you who decides whether the service will work when users block Google Analytics or Crashlytics. It’s you who decides which data the service really needs. If we start with that in mind, it doesn’t matter if I’m working for someone else or myself. I know that I am responsible for what I work on.

Read the complete article by Anselm here.


How Fast Is Amp Really?

Some interesting points and observations on AMP from Tim Kadlec.

AMP’s restrictions mean less stuff. It’s a concession publishers are willing to make in exchange for the enhanced distribution Google provides, but that they hesitate to make for their canonical versions.

Sadly, in the end it's not really about improved performance, but wider reach paired with better performance. Otherwise it would be very easy: Less stuff, better performance.


Happy 29th

Today marks the 29th birthday of what started as “Information Management: A Proposal” and we now know as the Internet. I still remember the feeling when I first saw email and the web in 1998. Since then we’ve come a pretty incredible long way and that’s definitely worth a short post.


Social Media & Society

I‘m not really surprised anymore about such things, but these news seem to be coming more frequently these days. I came across these two articles that kind of confirm what I‘ve been thinking and talking about for quite some time: How social media screws with our brains and alters our society… not in a good way.
I‘m glad to see that there is more stuff like this popping up, it might get people to think about it a little more, since most people probably aren‘t aware or just don‘t care.

Ex-Facebook president Sean Parker: site made to exploit human 'vulnerability'

Former Facebook executive: social media is ripping society apart


A Change is Coming

Recently I have come across quite a few articles that I found very interesting, in a way that they provide somewhat of an optimistic outlook for our future on the web. I’ve been talking about this to a few people before, but articles about the large social media giants like this and this make me believe that people are becoming more aware, that this way might not be sustainable in the long run.

Other stories like this one and this, make me believe that there’s some change coming and show that VC money is not the only way to success.

This is one of the reasons why we at Colloq are trying to do things a little different and approach it from not only a more idealistic point of view, but rather from what we think is the right thing to do to build a sustainable business.

You can find out more about Colloq and what we’re doing in more detail on our blog. Come and join us to find the conferences you like.


For the Open Web

I’ ve been speaking to various people and friends quite a bit about how the web is going in a direction that to me doesn’t seem sustainable in the long run. Data Greed and tracking is getting out of hand and most people still believe this is the holy grail and the way to do things. And I strongly disagree.

Against an Increasingly User-Hostile Web is a great article, highlighting some of the major issues and provides a good overview and explanations to what is happening. It’s a long read, but well worth it.


Tech Reputation

Especially in light of the previous note, I came across this article. I have to admit that I’m a little surprised about the extent of the change in reputation, but somehow I’m not surprised. I think this is likely more extreme in Silicon Valley than elsewhere, but all in all I believe we all have to work on this getting better and not becoming a larger problem.

This article from the Guardian is definitely worth reading: Ashamed to work in Silicon Valley: how techies became the new bankers


Personal Views from Team Colloq

After we have launched Colloq this week, our new platform for conferences, speakers and attendees, everyone from the team posted their personal thoughts. As you can probably find my post rather easy, I want to share the posts of Tobias and Anselm here as well.


Deleting multiple GIT branches

One thing I always came across, but then never really looked into, was deleting multiple GIT branches at once. Usually this has never been a big necessity, since I never had that many branches to delete in the first place. Since we started work on Colloq, the number of branches has increased a lot and it's a good thing to know to keep the local environment clean.
This resource from Marcelo Luz on how to delete multiple GIT branches is a very helpful one.