Skip to main content

Benjamin Oakes

Photo of Ben Oakes

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, ICRuby, OpenHack Iowa City, and previously organized NewHaven.rb. I have an amazing wife named Danielle Oakes.

CenturyLink charges data overage fees, may disconnect “excessive” users

by Ben

Users over 300GB a month can be charged extra $50—or even lose their service.

Source: CenturyLink charges data overage fees, may disconnect “excessive” users

Broadband internet as a public utility – Jason T. Lewis for Supervisor

by Ben

Broadband Internet connectivity is expensive and in Johnson county there is little to no competition and just a couple companies hold a virtual monopoly on access. Compared to other areas our size, the options and speeds are no competitive. Broadband Internet access drives economic growth. It’s time for Johnson County to lead. We need to partner with our community stakeholders and find a solution that will give everyone in Johnson County access to free or low-cost broadband Internet access.

Source: Broadband internet as a public utility – Jason T. Lewis for Supervisor

Millions of Facebook users have no idea they’re using the internet

by Ben

Millions of Facebook users have no idea they’re using the internet – Quartz.

Indonesians surveyed by Galpaya told her that they didn’t use the internet. But in focus groups, they would talk enthusiastically about how much time they spent on Facebook. Galpaya, a researcher (and now CEO) with LIRNEasia, a think tank, called Rohan Samarajiva, her boss at the time, to tell him what she had discovered. “It seemed that in their minds, the Internet did not exist; only Facebook,” he concluded.

This is scary stuff… but to be honest, it sounds a lot like AOL before everyone realized they were actually using the Internet.

Code Rush, a documentary about Netscape circa 2000

by Ben

I happened upon Code Rush today, which is a documentary about Netscape becoming Mozilla. It’s freely available on the Internet Archive and YouTube (Creative Commons-licensed, CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 US).

From the Wikipedia article:

Code Rush is a 2000 documentary following the lives of a group of Netscape engineers in Silicon Valley. It covers Netscape’s last year as an independent company, from their announcement of the Mozilla open source project until their acquisition by AOL. It particularly focuses on the last minute rush to make the Mozilla source code ready for release by the deadline of March 31, 1998, and the impact on the engineers’ lives and families as they attempt to save the company from ruin.

It’s interesting to see this in retrospect. The web wouldn’t be what it is today if it weren’t for Netscape open sourcing their browser. It’s also interesting to see how little has changed in the startup community. However, I was surprised to find a good chunk of the film is dedicated to the Netscape developers trying to pay down their technical debt (fixing bugs). If memory serves me though, Mozilla was pretty rough when it was first released.

In any case, it’s free, only about an hour long, and documents some important history of the web, so it’s worth a look.

The Evolution of the Web

by Ben

The Evolution of the Web.

A graphical timeline of the growth of the web (web browsers and related tech), and the Internet. The data stops in mid 2012, but it’s really interesting to see the speed of updates and new features starting around 2009.