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Benjamin Oakes

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Hi, I'm Ben Oakes and this is my geek blog. Currently, I'm a Ruby/JavaScript Developer at Liaison. Previously, I was a Developer at Continuity and Hedgeye, a Research Assistant in the Early Social Cognition Lab at Yale University and a student at the University of Iowa. I also organize TechCorridor.io, ICRuby, OpenHack Iowa City, and previously organized NewHaven.rb. I have an amazing wife named Danielle Oakes.

Filtering for the month December, 2015. Clear

Op-ed: Safari is the new Internet Explorer

by Ben

If devs build a modern Web app ecosystem sans Safari, maybe Apple can move beyond 2010.

Source: Op-ed: Safari is the new Internet Explorer

The 500 Mile Email

by Ben

Here’s a problem that *sounded* impossible… I almost regret posting the story to a wide audience, because it makes a great tale over drinks at a conference. :-) The story is slightly altered in order to protect the guilty, elide over irrelevant and boring details, and generally make the whole thing more entertaining.

I was working in a job running the campus email system some years ago when I got a call from the chairman of the statistics department.

“We’re having a problem sending email out of the department.”

“What’s the problem?” I asked.

“We can’t send mail more than 500 miles,” the chairman explained.

I choked on my latte. “Come again?”

Continue reading: The 500 Mile Email

Choose Firefox Now, Or Later You Won’t Get A Choice

by Ben

I know it’s not the greatest marketing pitch, but it’s the truth.

[…]

So if you want an Internet — which means, in many ways, a world — that isn’t controlled by Google, you must stop using Chrome now and encourage others to do the same. If you don’t, and Google wins, then in years to come you’ll wish you had a choice and have only yourself to blame for spurning it now.

Source: Well, I’m Back: Choose Firefox Now, Or Later You Won’t Get A Choice

Internet Freedom Is Actively Dissolving in America

by Ben

Broadband access is declining, data caps are becoming commonplace, surveillance is increasing, and encryption is under attack.

Source: Internet Freedom Is Actively Dissolving in America

Arguments from Global Warming Skeptics and what the science really says

by Ben

Examines the science and arguments of global warming skepticism. Common objections like ‘global warming is caused by the sun’, ‘temperature has changed naturally in the past’ or ‘other planets are warming too’ are examined to see what the science really says.

Source: Arguments from Global Warming Skeptics and what the science really says

Council Bluffs, Iowa – Data Centers – Google

by Ben

In 2007, we announced plans to construct a data center in Council Bluffs. Then in the spring of 2012, we announced that we would be building a second facility. We’ve established a long-term commitment to the region and state and will have invested over $2.5 billion by 2019. We’ve created over 300 jobs on site so far, and we work hard to support the communities in which our employees live and work.

Source: Council Bluffs, Iowa – Data Centers – Google

4 of the 7 availability zones in the US are in Iowa. Pretty nice!

Macbook charger teardown: The surprising complexity inside Apple’s power adapter

by Ben

Have you ever wondered what’s inside your Macbook’s charger? There’s a lot more circuitry crammed into the compact power adapter than you’d expect, including a microprocessor. This charger teardown looks at the numerous components in the charger and explains how they work together to power your laptop.

Source: Macbook charger teardown: The surprising complexity inside Apple’s power adapter

Big in Israel: Vegan Soldiers

by Ben

The dramatic increase in vegans in Israel has resulted in necessary changes from the Israel Defense Forces.

[…]

Support for reduced-cruelty meal plans appears to go all the way to the top. The Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed support for Israel’s “Meatless Monday” movement, adopting a vegetarian day for his staff, security guards, and family at his residence in Jerusalem each week. According to Haaretz, Netanyahu has been reading up on the topic. “[I] understood that animals are more conscious than we thought, which is bothering me and making me think twice,” he said at a cabinet meeting.

Source: Big in Israel: Vegan Soldiers

Richard Stallman Was Right All Along

by Ben

This is what Stallman has been warning us about all these years – and most of us, including myself, never really took him seriously. However, as the world changes, the importance of the ability to check what the code in your devices is doing – by someone else in case you lack the skills – becomes increasingly apparent. If we lose the ability to check what our own computers are doing, we’re boned.

Source: Richard Stallman Was Right All Along

ampd: a remote-controlled jukebox for your old Android device

by Ben

Fill a MicroSD card with music, install ampd, and hook your old Android to your stereo. Violà, you have an awesome, remote-controlled, energy-efficient jukebox. This is the best use I’ve found for an old Android device, especially one with a mediocre display. 

Pair it with a client like the very high-quality MPDroid on your everyday phone, or another client for your platform of choice.