The Federated Future

7 minute read Published: 2022-05-03

Look, it's not original thinking to be concerned about the future of social media with a megalomaniacal billionaire threatening to impose regressive policies. Enough ink has already been spilled on what might or might not happen with Twitter as the new owner molds it in his image. The debate rages on about whether Twitter is a town square, whether it ought to be, or whether something that functions as a public service should in fact be driven by profit. But that debate misses the fact that some folks have already created a truly free alternative. It didn't require government intervention. As always in the open source software world, it simply took the conviction, creativity, and hard work of a community.

Or in this case, a federation of communities. This last week, I dove back into the Fediverse by way of Mastodon. Mastodon is a free and open alternative to Twitter—or "the birdsite," as users of Mastodon call it. What I've found has not just made me want to stay, but made me question my assumptions about social media in general.

Let's explore how your entry into the Fediverse might proceed.

On Learning and Fear

5 minute read Published: 2021-12-23

During a recent talk I gave on self-teaching in tech, I shared my 4 "Maxims" for teaching and learning. These were the distillation of a career in education. Of the four, the most important was this: You can't learn if you don't feel safe..

But some folks disagreed vehemently.

Do I Need a Degree to be Successful in Tech?

5 minute read Published: 2021-09-05

Recently on a stream, I was asked whether I thought someone should get a degree in cybersecurity, or straight computer science if they were interested in a career in tech. This question is both nuanced and critical, so I felt it deserved more than an off-the-cuff attempt live on air. I don't pretend to have the answer that makes sense for everyone, but I would like to provide a few points to consider for all who might be facing this exact question.

What a Teacher Wants InfoSec To Know, Pt. 3: Constructing Knowledge

7 minute read Published: 2021-02-21

Stop me if you've heard this one: an okay, not-great, semi-engaged student is called out by teachers by not "working to potential." Except that kid, in their spare time, is doing amazing things in whatever area they have a passion for. Truly incredible output, whether it be music, video, skating, or, yes, technology. But of course, that's not what the classroom gives a crap about, so the school thinks of the student as average.

I was that kid, and I bet more than a few of you were as well.

What A Teacher Wants InfoSec to Know, Pt. 2: The Zone

5 minute read Published: 2021-01-09

Time to drop a little education theory. We're going to start off with Lev Vygotsky, a theorist every licensed teacher learns about in their graduate courses. Lev, like most well-known ed theorists, was primarily focused on childhood development. Nevertheless, his insights into how learning works in the human mind can be valuable for learners of any age.