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Thrones traffic straining Dragonstone filming location

If you’ve had the opportunity to work on an app or website with a big push on TV then you’ve probably had the fun of dealing with the resulting traffic surge. Good planning, a focus on availability and scaling in your platform, and a responsive hosting provider can help a team cope with that type of visibility. But what if instead of an app or a website, the sudden traffic growth is at a small 10th century church on an islet in Spain?

The Basque islet of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe’s chapel in Bermeo, Bizkai which serves as the filming location for Game of Throne’s Dragonstone castle has seen a dramatic and possibly overwhelming increase in tourists this past summer. According to EL PAÍS at least 75,000 tourists visited the site in July, averaging out to 2,419 people per day that scaled the long slender stairs to reach the top. Local officials are dealing with plans on how to handle the increase in visitors while supporting their tourism economy, preserving the historical significance of the site, and maintaining the unique biotope that extends from Bakio to Cape Matxitxako.

This isn’t a new problem for the TV and film industry though. Other fan favorite locations such as Luke Skywalker’s island from the end of The Force Awakens or the Walsh family house that almost got sold off for a country club expansion have drawn similar attention.

Here Lies iPod Nano and Shuffle

After more than 400 million products sold, Apple has pulled the iPod Nano and Shuffle off its website. The iPod Touch can still be found online however its more similar to an iPhone than its standalone music playing cousin. RIP to a generation of click wheel whirring and waiting for iTunes to sync. I think we can all remember the rise of the iPod, correlating with sites such as Napster and LimeWire, because we well know no one had that kind of money to download several hundred songs. No one will argue its convenient size and ability to create playlists that I usually ended up skipping 10 songs at a time to find the one I was in the mood for. This beginning definitely helped urge in numerous streaming services and algorithms that we all use now that have left the iPod to the curb. The remaining iPods will be sold in stores at least for a little bit longer for those of us who want to relive the glory days.

Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality

Today has been dubbed a “Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality“.  Several of the world’s largest tech companies (including Google and Amazon) are staging elaborate (but worthy) stunts to mess with the internet to prove how important Net Neutrality is. Net neutrality means that internet service providers (oddly enough, AT&T came out in support of Net Neutrality today) have to serve all websites and services with the same speed. They are not permitted to make deals to speed up and slow down traffic to premium sites. Currently there is a FCC rules change that could destroy that neutrality.

“Websites, Internet users, and online communities will come together to sound the alarm about the FCC’s attack on net neutrality. We’ll provide tools for everyone to make it super easy for your followers / visitors to take action. From the SOPA blackout to the Internet Slowdown, we’ve shown time and time again that when the Internet comes together, we can stop censorship and corruption. Now, we have to do it again!” source

Here is a video explaining more about net neutrality:

 

If you would like to voice your support in favor of net neutrality, you may do so on the FCC website.

What Kind of Idiot Gets Phished?

One of my favorite podcasts, Reply All has been doing a series of stories on internet security after their founder and president, Alex Bloomberg’s Uber account got hacked. The story that caught my attention was this piece about how easy it is for someone, even smart, internet savvy people to get phished.  Also how things 2-step authentication do not protect you in this case. These phishers are able to mimic the entire google experience in a seamless way that you would never know you’re giving away your information including your 2-step code. It makes me feel a little bit better about all the horror stories you hear with political campaigns and major corporations getting hacked.  It can happen to anyone so just be suspicious and careful out there on the world wide web!

Listen to the story here and I highly recommend subscribing to all of Gimlet’s podcasts.

Open Sourcing Mental Illness

Starting in 2013 as a speaking series by Ed Finkler, Open Sourcing Mental Illness is the largest 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to mental health in tech. They help to help shine a light on problems that have too long been a taboo discussion topic in the workplace. Since its inception Ed has given over 50 talks at conferences, meetups and corporate events spreading the message of OSMI. In addition to the talks, OSMI conducts research by polling the tech community to help gauge the attitudes towards mental health in the workplace and produces documentation to improve the workplace for those that suffer from mental health disorders.

Their 2017 fundraising campaign recently kicked off and they’re goal is to collect $50,000 to continue and expand their work.

Google’s ‘Noto’: Free and readable in over 800 languages

If you’ve ever digitally communicated with someone in another language and you’ve never heard the term “tofu,” you’ve almost certainly experienced what it describes. “Tofu” is the nickname given to the square blocks that appear in text in place of specific characters that your language doesn’t recognize. Now, with the release of ‘Noto,’ Google and Monotype have set out to eliminate “tofu” from getting in the way: simultaneously unifying a multitude of different typesets and encouraging global communication.

‘Noto’, short for “no tofu,” is the result of five years worth of work on the part of its creators to build a universal typeface that can be translated into over 800 languages, including those that are lesser-used or “dead.” On top of the legibility of the typeface, they also set out to make sure that it was aesthetically pleasing and acceptable for each culture. For example, seeking critique and approval from Buddhist monks for the Tibetan version of the design. After such significant research, the resulting product is clean and crisp and highly accessible.

More information, including download instructions here.

 

Tinder Is Coming To a Desktop Near You

Tinder is trading in its signature swipe left for a send message. The company announced that it will be pushing for more dialogue as opposed to mindless swiping in an efforts of finding potential suiters. Its new desktop app will feature a messaging panel that takes up 1/3 of the screen at all times while the user toggles his/her keys to swipe through pictures and profiles as well. This new “talk more, swipe less” method is a more meaningful way of creating relationships based on dialogue rather than instant gratification. Currently, Tinder operates on a trigger, action, and reward basis; hence boredom becomes a trigger, swipe an action, and reward is your libido’s satisfaction or Tinder match. In the desktop app, the swipe is replaced with a meaningful message that is rewarded with a meaningful replay, rather than another mindless swipe. Less regret, more genuine connection. Now to see if Tinder becomes the new OKCupid or eHarmony of the dating world.

A Fearless Girl on Wall Street

Today is International Women’s Day which means more this year than ever. Women have been particularly defiant and vocal in a treacherous political climate. These acts of defiance have also been seen from our male allies. Which is why I was so excited and touched to see this new statute of the “Fearless Girl” posed right in front of the famous Wall Street Bull, sponsored by a predominantly male State Street Global Advisors. This was their way of saying, we hear you, we’re with you and we’re trying to do better. Although McCann (the agency that executed this idea) did get a permit for the statue, it still feels like a gorilla act.

This statue represents the future. This girl will grow up to be the next Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, or Neil Degrasse Tyson and I love that she is completely unphased, starring the bull in the face.

 

Never Instagram Your Boarding Pass

I try to travel as often as I can and, inevitably, I end up posting on Instagram at some point along the way. Though the warnings and information have been around for some time, it’s easy to forget the silly ways that people can put themselves at risk. I recently stumbled across an article and video lecture showcasing how simple it was to collect someone’s personal information off of a basic photo of a boarding pass and it took me by surprise. The demo was done in real time and within minutes, the presenter had the contact information and flight details of an unsuspecting Instagram user. With a little hacking know-how, that basic information turned into full access to the users personal information.

It was eye opening to watch and a good reminder to be cautious about what you’re sharing on social media.

Can the EPA Report Yet?

Here at Compose[d] we appreciate science and freedom of information. Being that so many of us are technologists, we think that it’s only important and necessary to speak up when science and open information is infringed upon. To that point, lost in the latest news cycle is the fact that our national scientists are still prohibited from posting to the world about factual information on official government channels.

So, at least in regards to the EPA, we’ve put together a quick tool using one of our own products to monitor when they can post again (sadly as of this post it’s now 11 days and counting where an official government agency is censored from posting relevant and factual information on their channels). Let’s hope that we can hear from the agency in charge of keeping our air clean, our water safe, and the all around environmental health of our nation. Because without any of it, none of is would be able to do the things we do for a living, or enjoy this great country in our free time. In the meantime, you can check to see if the EPA can report at http://cantheepa.report