DEAR NSA: Fuck Off, Signed Silicon Valley (An Explainer)

Why The Bay hates the NSA…

This is a magazine piece that I wrote in February. For various reasons, none of which had anything to do with the article itself, it never got published. I’m posting it here in an effort to empty my notebook.

The NSA made them out to look like liars.

For at least the past decade, technology companies — specifically Google, LinkedIn, Yahoo and Microsoft — promised hundreds of millions of users that their personal information was safe.

But, after a series of revelations, beginning this past summer, that turned out not to be true.

The U.S. National Security Agency, outed by Edward Snowden in an 8-month-long PR campaign against government snooping, had been routing those efforts all along.

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For Salty Pimp, It’s Square On The Counter

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There are few things that can dull the taste of chocolate soft serve, dripping with dulce de leche, dipped in chocolate and coated with sea salt and served on a cone. At Big Gay Ice Cream, It’s called a Salty Pimp.

And for the owners, perhaps the only cost that could sour the taste might be how much they’re paying for their point of sale system — sometimes as much as $9,000 a machine (you know, the ones that sit on the counter and are attached to a card swiper).

That’s perhaps why this brick and mortar store in the East Village is using Square to accept card and manage cash.

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The iPhone: An Unexpected Mobile Payments Device

It’s the law of unintended consequences — whatever you create, expect it to be used in ways you’ve never imagined.

That’s especially true for the iPhone.

Long before Apple updated its mobile platform to facilitate voice-activated payments through the ticket buying service Fandango, Chris Teso was making purchases using the device’s Siri software.

Apple’s (AAPL) latest update to its mobile platform iOS 6 now allows iPhone users to purchase big screen tickets with the sound of their voices.

That’s because the chief executive of mobile payments start-up Chirpify, Teso, was using the smartphone’s voice recognition software, Siri, to tweet cash through his company’s platform.

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Creative Coding

Programmers are blurring the line between art and code — using C++ instead of paint and easels.

One of the most popular open source libraries for the practice is Cinder

CINDER PROVIDES A POWERFUL, INTUITIVE TOOLBOX for programming graphics, audio, video, networking, image processing and computational geometry. Cinder is cross-platform, and in general the exact same code works under Mac OS X, Windows and a growing list of other platforms — most recently the iPhone and iPad.

Cinder is designed to take advantage of platforms’ native capabilities whenever it’s possible, and relies on a minimum of 3rd party libraries. This makes for much lighter, faster applications, and means Cinder apps get free performance, security and capability upgrades whenever the operating system does.

I’m curious how bankers and marketers are using the technology…