📅 March 04 - March 10 | Projects and craptocurrencies 🤦‍♂️

I had one of those in-between weeks. I would probably be better describing it as a transition week. Some things came to an end, and others started up.

I had some marking to do for the students I teach, I had a bit of admin work to tie up some loose ends, and then I spent a lot of time researching and continuing the course on Internet governance. As a little context, this course spans over ten weeks and at the end of every module, there is a quick knowledge check test. What takes most of the time is the amount of reading to be done, as well as the supplementary videos and talks to listen to. You really need to enjoy the subject and have the fortitude to put in the required hours. I love reading and read fast, so I don’t mind that part. However, I wouldn’t say I like video as a format for learning, and I am aware that I’m going against the grain of how online learning is headed. Thankfully, I have a simple solution that gives me what I need in the format I like. I use various transcript tools to export and then read the text. What I can also do with that is store it in my DEVONthink database for searching and note-taking at a later date. This is much more useful than a link to a YouTube video.


I finished Clément Perarnaud’s (Open Future) paper entitled Finding the path to a more open internet. A new European approach toward internet standards. If you are interested in the open Internet, I would recommend reading it. It provides a good overview of what is happening there.

I know I said I wouldn’t, but I bought a new book to read, but I couldn’t ignore a book called Machine Readable Me by Zara Rahman, which “considers how and why data that is gathered about us is increasingly limiting what we can and can’t do in our lives and, crucially, what the alternatives are.”. I’m looking forward to reading it. It’s a small book, so it shouldn’t take too long.

Of note

All You Face Are Belong To Us

I was happy to learn that Spain has decided to end the operations of World Coin in the country. I can’t think of another project that is as poorly thought out as this one, and I implore anyone thinking of signing up the reflect on the risk of giving intimate biometric data in exchange for a lousy shitcoin that will be worthless when the plug is inevitably pulled.

The currency of destruction

Speaking of shitcoins, Bitcoin hit an all-time high this week, some seem to think, proof that it is a viable currency. Proof (I would say) of this excellent quote from Kurt Vonnegut, “We’ll go down in history as the first society that wouldn’t save itself because it wasn’t cost-effective.”

A New Hope?

From my little corner of the internet, there seems to be a real resurgence in interest in some of the earlier and open standards and protocols. One example is RSS or Really Simple Syndication. I’ve been a fan and a user of it since its beginnings and have never stopped using it. It’s the main way I get much of the news I read.

Have a great week.

Matthew Cowen @matthewcowen