Hi, I'm Steve Gattuso! I'm a New Yorker 🗽 currently living in Miami 🌴. I enjoy writing software 🤓, cycling 🚲, and trying to figure out ways to make humanity more sustainable 🚇. I'm a hackNY '13 alum, Recurser, and currently employed at Amperon 🔌.

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I generally like writing about software, businesses, and any other interesting links I find around the web. If you like what you see here, consider subscribing to my RSS feed or following me on Twitter.

I recently was asked to do some research and give a short summary of an Ethereum scaling technology, Plasma. Since I had a blast writing it I figured I’d throw it onto my website just in case anyone else is looking for a brief, high-level summary of what it does and how it works. Plasma offers a scaling solution which can increase transaction throughput on the Ethereum network by moving transactions off of the ETH blockchain and onto independent child blockchains.

I’ll be honest, it’s a frustrating time to be a citizen of the internet. You’ll probably notice from some of my recent posts that I’ve become a pretty big advocate for moving away from the giant tech companies that have been slowly but steadily killing the open and decentralized web that brought us to where we are today. I believe our best shot at combatting tech companies’ power grab on the internet is to stop giving our content to Facebook, Twitter, Medium, etc.

An interesting statistic I’ve found: according to Digiconomist’s Bitcoin energy consumption page, the average carbon footprint of each transaction made is 162.48kg of CO2.

Based on Carbon Independent’s aviation emissions estimates of 26.6g of CO2 per passenger km, we can come up with a rough estimate of each bitcoin transaction being the equivalent of a 6,108km (3,795mi) flight. This is more or less the distance of a flight from New York City to Copenhagen, Denmark (calculated using DistanceFromTo).

I used to love this sound growing up but, like most people, had 0 clue as to what was going on. If anything you should check out this article just to relive the joys (🤔) of dial-up nternet for a brief 19 seconds.

The title seems cliché but the author goes through a solid set of reasons for leaving and, more interestingly, goes into other facets of your life that you can alter in order to inhibit an addition to technology.

I particularly like the section on controlling his smartphone, as I can obviously relate to having a group of low-value apps that I periodically check when I’m bored. If I can increase the amount I read by moving the Kindle app front and center vs Snapchat that seems like a no-brainer for a low-effort high-impact change.

Anybody who got really excited about programming when they first started learning can probably relate to this. To date, my most god-awful work was a PHP clone of 4chan written in a night and maintained over the course of a few months. If you think you’ve seen bad code in your life wait until you see a PHP/MySQL website written by a 10th grader in 6 hours.

The beauty of this Terraria clone is that it’s a similar type of ordeal, just at such a massive scale that it’s truly a work of art.

This campaign looks awesome, and it got funded! There have been quite a few attempts at these types of phones and operating systems in the past (namely Firefox OS and Ubuntu Mobile), but none have really been successful as far as I’m aware.

We’ll have to wait and see if Purism can be the exception, but I’m rooting for them. I’d love for there to finally be an open-source option in the mobile world, as I don’t think the existing duopoly of Android and iOS is healthy. It’ll always be a niche market (just as desktop Linux is today), but I think that’s just fine. The important thing is having hardware and software built by people who (ideally) have users’ best interests in mind rather than their shareholders’.

Really great article discussing the immense amount of power tech companies have amassed through smartphones and a fun ‘lil touch of psychological manipulation.

Yes, I understand that sentence sounds a bit hypobolic/conspiracy-theoryish, however I agree that tech’s power/abilities have been rapidly growing this decade and is now culminating in the political insanities (eg Brexit/Trump) we’re seeing now.

As always, the EFF does an amazing job of pointing out a major privacy issue, this time with iOS 11’s radios not being fully shut off via the switches in control center. The obvious negatives are a misleading UI and battery usage, however there is another issue that I’m surprised this EFF article doesn’t touch on: passive location tracking of users using their Bluetooth and Wifi radios.

In the last few years retailers have begun implementing in-store analytics in order to track customers as they enter/exit the store using their smartphones’ radios. This technology is essentially the equivilent of a tracking cookie on a website; allowing retailers to see when you’ve visited the store and even where you went within the store during your stay. For the record, I’ve seen one of these systems in action firsthand – it’s like watching the Maurader’s Map from Harry Potter.

Retailers aren’t the only ones tracking you: there’s also the London Underground, Alphabet’s LinkNYC (which even has an ACLU statement regarding its privacy issues), and, if you work for a large enterprise, your office network.

The ability to easily disable your Wifi/Bluetooth radios was users’ first line of defense against this type of tracking. It’s unfortunate Apple chose to jeopardize user privacy by switching to this behavior, as they’re otherwise doing a reasonably good job protecting users’ privacy. Perhaps with enough outcry from customers they’ll offer a way to disable this behavior in a future update.

I totally agree with this article, but I think we should expand this far past education. Anyone who doesn’t own a copy of Microsoft Word knows just how frustrating it is to receive a .docx file from someone. The file opens in some alternative office suite (for me, Pages) and you’re immediately presented with a list of incompatibilities, as your word processor doesn’t support some archaic edge-cases in the docx spec.

Plaintext/Markdown documents make life much simpler. No incompatibilities, no expensive and proprietary software getting in the way, just content in the simplest possible format. It’s future proof and easily accessible to just about any device on the planet. Hell, even .pdf files are better than sending a .docx or .ppt.