2016

So I know I have failed to blog in the last few months, but I thought I would take this opportunity to round up 2016 for me.

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Recently I have been decluttering my live. I started off where probably everyone does, with the physical. The hope was that by decluttering my surroundings I would be able to focus better when needed, relax easier and generally remove some of the unneeded stress. The ultimate goal been of course to be happier in the long run. One day though I had spend a couple of hours decluttering my night stand, and then went on the computer. Before doing anything productive, I thought I would check my emails, after the Great Notification Cull I don’t get notifications around email anymore so I have to check it. I looked at my tidy surroundings and realised my inbox was a mess. We live so much of our lives online now, I thought that maybe I should be embark on a digital declutter as well. Digital media tends to get overlooked, your not going to be crushed to death by your digital clutter, and its easy to turn off the device and ignore it. This digital clutter can effect your mental state though, in the same way as physical clutter.

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Kickstarter

In recent years, crowdfunding has become mainstream. Mainstream news and media regularly report on Crowdfunding hits and more often misses. I am a great lover and supporter of crowdfunding, having backed 75 projects on Kickstarter to date. I have also backed projects on other platforms including a book and a legal case. The growth in the sector has spawned a large number of crowdfunding platforms, ether general like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo or specialist like Fig (Aimed at video games), Crowdjustice (Aimed at supporting legal action), Unbound (Aimed at book publishing) to name but a few.

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This was going to be a blog post about blogs that I love, like and or follow but I added in some Youtube channels and twitter accounts etc, so now its just Cool Stuff. Inspired by one of my friends that did a similar thing recently, I thought I would steal her idea and do one of my own. Prepare for a voyage through my Internet world, and discover the stuff that inspires and interests me.

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ENCRYPTION

Special Thank You to Adriana who acted as editor on this post.

Encryption has been in the news a lot recently, and for a number of reasons. Mainly wrong ones. So what is encryption? Why is it important, and why shouldn’t we get rid of it?

Encryption is a method for keeping your digital data secure. In the digital world, it acts like a lock. Imagine your house you more than likely have a lock on the door. A lock stops strangers from wandering into your house whenever they want and taking a look at your cool stuff, or worse, stealing your cool stuff. We all have locks on our doors, unless you live somewhere really nice (and if so please let me know in the comments so I can move in.) Your lock actually also performs a secondary function, that you probably don’t think about. It allows you to identify the person entering the house as being known to the household. Say you’re sitting on the sofa watching your favourite TV program, when you hear the key turn in the front door and it open and close. You know by that fact, the person entering had the key, and they are authorised to enter your home. Just like a lock, these are the two basic functions that encryption on the internet provides for us security and identity checking.

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We are as a species living more and more of our lives in the digital world. We interact with the Internet hundreds if not thousands of times a day, not only through our web browsers, but through any apps that connect to real time data sources, allow us to access our data anywhere or allow us to communicate with each other. These apps now also come on a range of devices from our computers , tablets, and smartphones to the connected fridge and smart TV. Ok lets pause here and think how much personal data have you streamed across the internet in the last month, scary isn’t it.

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Special Thank You to Adriana who acted as editor on this post.

So in my first post, I wrote that I am passionate about the Internet. The internet, in my opinion, is the single greatest invention of the 20th Century. Part of what makes the internet so great is the reason why it come into existence in the first place: the internet and the World Wide Web were born out of the desire to freely share information between universities and other academic institutions. These humble beginnings, forged from the desire to share rather than make a profit, is what allowed the internet to take off and what made it what it is today.

Currently, all sites on the internet are treated the same. Reading my blog now, for example, is given the same priority by your local ISP (internet service provider) as your friends looking at your Facebook, or your family watching Netflix. Basically, all sites are given the same priority by the Internet infrastructure. We’ll call this net neutrality- and it is something that also allows the internet to be uncensored. Before I go on to explain why net neutrality is important, let me briefly describe why it’s under threat.

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