November 3, 2013
r00tz Asylum Honor Code

r00tz Asylum is a nonprofit dedicated to teaching kids around the world how to love being white-hat hackers. A white-hat hacker is someone who enjoys thinking of innovative new ways to make, break and use anything to create a better world.

Hacking gives you super-human powers. You can travel time and space. It is your responsibility to use these powers for good and only good. Below is an set of core values and rules defining the proper conduct for r00tzr00tz kids are expected to live by this honor code at all times.

PHILOSOPHY

Ask yourself, how can you most contribute to this world? What are you best at? What could you become best at? Why are you here? What is the most good you can do?

PRINCIPLES

r00tz DEFCON Kids focuses on these fundamental truths about the universe:
- The world is one. We are all connected.
- These connections are growing stronger and faster everyday.
- Chaos controls the connections.
- Focus controls the chaos.
- You control the focus.

VALUES

Please remember these values in everything you do:
- Only do good
- Always do your best
- Constantly improve
- Innovate
- Think long-term
- Be positive
- Visualize it
- Have fun
- Inspire others
- Go big

RULES

The Internet is a small place. Word gets around, fast. Follow these rules at all times:
- Only hack things you own
- Do not hack anything you rely on
- Respect the rights of others
- Know the law and the possible risk and consequences for breaking it
- Find a safe playground

What a great Honor Code.

http://www.r00tz.org/

July 21, 2012
"In one deft move, Facebook has purged itself of petabytes of stale marketing schlock (the equivalent of so many flashy neon signs), obliged companies to engage more earnestly and intimately with their audiences and reinvigorated its brand Pages. In short, it has privileged the kind of content that social media was made for — authentic, timely and useful exchanges between human beings — over glitz, expensive graphics and tired self-promotion."

The Facebook tweak that killed a billion-dollar industry - Fortune Tech (via amyjokim)

Wow, a really interesting article about how, when you’re Facebook, functional changes can change industries! Note that it’s written by the CEO of Hootsuite.

(via amyjokim)

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Filed under: facebook technology 
April 26, 2012
ICES: Regional Measures of Diabetes Burden in Ontario - LHIN 7 & 8 (Toronto Central & Central)

The Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences just published a report titled Regional Measures of Diabetes Burden in Ontario (title link), which ended up on the front page of The Toronto Star’s GTA section.

The report shows shows the correlation between Diabetes and demographic location, which is thus related to the ethnic populations in that region (this is also quite thoroughly discussed in the Toronto Star article).

First, looking at the Ontario-wide breakdown we see increased Diabetes throughout Northern Ontario, which speaks to the unfortunate difficulties that our native population is having with their health. Note that Diabetes (type 2, which accounts for 95% of cases) is strongly correlated with obesity and poor lifestyle habits. 

Then, if we look at the Toronto and GTA breakdown (sections 7 & 8 respectively), we see vast differences in diabetes incidences by ‘region’. It is well known that although Toronto is extremely diverse as a whole, there are strong ethnic groupings by region, particularly in the GTA. High diabetes ratings can often be related to the ethnic background of the population within that region. Medically, some ethnicities are more ‘gentically pre-disposed’ to being affected by Diabetes, based on the body’s tendency to store fat, etc. Personally, I think the large cultral differences associated with the ethnic breakdowns in regions are much more interesting. Culture affects lifestyle, which affects habits and choices, which affects health, which affects Diabetes.

As someone interested in applying technology to solve problems like this (chronic disease pandemics), these maps are a good reminder of the complexity of large-scale consumer health solutions. Cultural and genetic differences in people can completely invalidate solutions that work for the people right next door. Solutions must be able to adapt to these factors that fundamentally affect how and why people live, and provide the appropriate tools that accommodate these pre-dispositions. Only when this happens will a solution be able to deliver effective health awareness and habit change on a scale large enough to help slow the chronic disease pandemic we are currently seeing.

December 24, 2011
Crackberry Rehab

I found this article on Hackernews: Volkswagon has adopted a company policy which prevent employees from accessing their company emails on their mobile devices from half an hour after work until half an hour before work the next day. And by this, I’m sure they mean they won’t PUSH emails to company phones during this time. The motivation is that many people find themselves addicted to their phones, and there are obviously mental affects from being unable to separate yourself from your work environment: I think it’s safe to say that worry-free time from work is necesary for a healthy lifestyle. As an employee, however, I’d say it’s hard to tell your boss ‘hey man, I’m not going to acknowledge my company phone off hours, I need some ‘me’ time, you know?” Well, without getting fired at least. That’s why it’s cool to see it come directly from the employer, which I think is the only really way it would actually have an impact, due to the reaon stated above. Although I’m sure this is pushed by a union or some sort of representational body, the fact that Volkswagon is on-board is huge: they’re not only being a great example for other companies, but are also taking the first step in healing a lot of their employees. Not everyone who owns a company blackberry is ‘chained to it against their will’, there are a lot of people who need to be told ‘no, go take some time away.’ This is not a bad thing: there are people who are committed to their job. But really, it’s a good thing.

I also like how this fits into my vague, yet persistent view that work mentality in Europe is more mature and balanced than over here in Canada, and this step towards a healthier work relationship could only come from the Volkswagon in Germany: it’s hard to get any more European.

But I think that comes with a price: productivity and speed. At the cost of sanity and a ‘health balance’, it seems like we get a lot more done around here, and it’s hard to say crackberries didn’t help it get that way. Imagine a CEO, VP, or even just anyone who manages people in a tech company around here, going without their Blackberry out of the 9-5. 

Upon trying to think of places where it would be inappropriate to restrict off-hour connectivity, I stumbled upon start-ups, and got stuck. If I’m working at a start-up tech company, say in Waterloo, NY, or the Valley, am I always available via blackberry? I mean, considering usually tight deadlines, life or death decisions/work done on a daily basis, and my probable involvement in every aspect of the company? Or do I take the (very little time) I have away from work as my sanctuary?

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Filed under: Mobile Technology Europe 
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