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Alexander Howard
Works at The Huffington Post
Attended Colby College
Lives in Cambridge, MA
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Alexander Howard

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"The power of social media to effect change remains limited in a society lacking political rights. A few officials have been fired after being caught on video behaving badly, but the country is still ruled by an absolute monarch, the 79-year-old King Salman. And powerful clerics run the justice system and oppose social change."

Not quite "freedom," then, on smartphones and social, but some space for free expression.

Odd to see the New York Times not add even more context about spyware targeted at activists:
http://www.hrw.org/…/saudi-arabia-malicious-spyware-app-ide… …or Saudi Arabia's surveillance: https://www.amnesty.org/…/7-ways-saudi-arabia-is-silencing…/ …including flogging a blogger who dared to be critical of the government.

Saudi Arabia may be many things, but free it is not, unless we count a freedom to shop. https://freedomhouse.org/repo…/freedom-net/2014/saudi-arabia
Confronted with an austere version of Islam and strict social codes, they increasingly rely on apps and social media for self-expression and liberation.
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New Google study on passwords http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/22/password-security-questio_n_7414372.html Takeaways: set up multi-factor authentication & don’t choose security questions with public or easily guessable, common answers
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Alexander Howard

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Interesting look in +The Economist​ at India's aspirations for using biometric identity and smartphones in government: http://www.economist.com/news/special-report/21651330-wonders-smart-systems-playing-leapfrog
No more dodgy cooking-gas deals “THE BEST THING about India is we don’t have to replace anything,” says Sachin Bansal. He founded Flipkart, an online...
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Hypothesis: If you organize a platform and publishing strategy around producing high-quality longform writing, you'll likely end up with visitors spending a lot of time reading, or passively consuming those pieces. If you're interested in encouraging more people to sign up, sign in and be actively engaged, the strategy is more likely to focus upon more publishing shorter, more interactive "content." http://www.buzzfeed.com/charliewarzel/whats-going-on-at-medium
The publisher/publishing platform is rejiggering itself as a social network for readers and writers — and reconsidering some of its publications and ideals in the process.
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My usual engagement with Medium has been to learn about interesting articles via Twitter or Google+, then send them to my Kindle to read later. The thought of adding another "social engagement platform" just makes me shrug my shoulders. I don't think it will work, but what the heck. 
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What works to make computer science more inviting to women, increasing gender diversity in computing?
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/22/upshot/making-computer-science-more-inviting-a-look-at-what-works.html

3 big things, according to the University of Washington: outreach to
K-12 teachers and students, enhancements to the introductory
course sequence, and community-building to make
the program more welcoming to all students.

http://lazowska.cs.washington.edu/r3laz.pdf
A new prize aims to recognize colleges that succeed in attracting women into information technology, a field where they remain underrepresented.
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+Dominic Amann exactly, municipality. If Toronto is 2.6 million, it would be #4, but Montreal would be further back, with 1.6M.  The trick is the city boundaries vs the metropolis. Greater Los Angeles is much bigger, like NYC. 
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Alexander Howard

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It's been 20 years since I was trained as a lifeguard. I like to think I know the signs but this is a good refresher. http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/family/2013/06/rescuing_drowning_children_how_to_know_when_someone_is_in_trouble_in_the.html
This Memorial Day weekend marks the start of another—hopefully safe—swimming season. In 2013, Mario Vittone dispelled a popular myth about how to tell when someone is struggling in the water. The original article is reprinted below. The new captain jumped from the deck, fully dressed, and sprinted through the water. A...
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Dear readers, let's start off with some bracing honesty this morning: how many of you still read articles over 500 words? Over 800 words? Over 1500 words? http://www.theguardian.com/media/mind-your-language/2015/may/22/breaking-point-is-the-writing-on-the-wall-for-the-paragraph
If paragraphs continue to shrink at their current rate, they’ll soon cease to exist altogether. Should we care?
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+Scott Wilson Phew. Thanks. And that's an interesting example with context :)
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Even if we're living in an increasingly on-demand world, you still have to be able to pay to play. On Thursday, New York Times columnist Farhad Manjoo questioned whether a new crop of startups providing on-demand services are ever going to make their products affordable enough to appeal to consumers outside of the top tax bracket. It's a worthy question, but in poking the tech industry for narrowly targeting the rich, Manjoo sets up a straw man. 
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/21/on-demand-startups_n_7354834.html

I have little doubt that many consumer-facing startups that have come out of the ferment in Silicon Valley over the last couple of years are "lifestyle apps." They're building apps that connects users to services, many of which closely resembles what a secretary, personal assistant, personal or maid might do. 

That trend has caused some commentators to refer dismissively to the category as "laundry apps." Those sorts of things are handy for people who want, need or most importantly can exchange their disposable income for time. Wealthy engineers or software executives can do that, along with other upper middle class folks, but many other citizens may not be able to do so on a regular basis. 

As I argue in my post, though, I don't think they're representative of the tech industry as a whole: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/21/on-demand-startups_n_7354834.html

Startups targeted at collaborative consumption of objects or services are positioned differently. Zipcar's model, for instance, lets people use cars when they need to do so, instead of owning them outright. 

There are at least two other relevant questions Manjoo did not explore in the column, from how cities should regulate these new markets for labor — who's liable if an on-demand worker hurts someone or damages property — and whether the such provide sufficient income for workers displaced from other industries. If wages for people working in a growing "on-demand" services economy remain stagnant, MIT research professorAndrew McAfee recommends</a> considering "negative income tax," a system in which the citizens of a country receive a supplemental payment if their income in a given pay period dips below a certain amount. http://blogs.ft.com/andrew-mcafee/2015/04/07/2223/

I doubt, however, that the current Congress is likely to have much appetite for that kind of tax reform any time soon.
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Shutting down post-level analytics could be an indication of further dismantling of Google+ or it could be a sign that it's simplifying the experience.
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At this point next week, I'm going to be acting as the master of ceremonies of the International Open Data Conference in Ottawa, Canada. Who am I going to see up there? http://opendatacon.org/
3rd International Open Data Conference, May 28-29, 2015, in Ottawa, Canada.
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+anita rosas It sure looks like it
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Education
  • Colby College
    1994 - 1998
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Male
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Xander
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Semper scriben
Introduction

I'm a writer and editor, focused upon how shifts in technology are changing journalism, government and society.

From January 2014 to May 2015,  I contributed a weekly column to TechRepublic, a division of CBS Interactive. From August 2013 to May 2014, I was a fellow at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, where I collaborated on research and the past, present and future of data-driven journalism. In 2013, I was also a fellow at the Ash Center for Democratic Innovation and Governance at the Harvard Kennedy School. From 2010 to 2013, I was the Washington Correspondent at O'Reilly Media, where I covered the voices, technologies and issues that are changing government, technology and society. Prior to joining O’Reilly, I was the associate editor of SearchCompliance.com and WhatIs.com at TechTarget, where I wrote about how the laws and regulations that affect information technology are changing, spanning the issues of online identity, data protection, risk management, electronic privacy and cybersecurity. 

Along with my correspondence for the O'Reilly Radar, I have contributed to the National Journal, Forbes, Slate, the Huffington Post, Govfresh, ReadWriteWeb, Mashable, CBS News' What's Trending, Govloop, Governing People, the Association for Computer Manufacturing and the Atlantic, amongst others. I have appeared multiple times as an on-air analyst for Al Jazeera English and a guest on the Kojo Nnamdi Show, along with commentary for NPR's All Things Considered and other public radio shows.

I've been a speaker and moderator at conferences in Washington and beyond, including Harvard University, Stanford University, Columbia University, Alfred University, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), NIST, Club de Madrid, Cato Institute, the New America Foundation, the World Bank, the Social Security Agency, the U.S. National Archives, the Web 2.0 Summit and Expo, Gov 2.0 Summit and Expo, Social Media Week, DC Week, SXSWi, Strata, GOSCON, AMP Summit, Tech@State, CAR/IRE, and the State of the Net, the Open Government Partnership Annual Conference, In 2011, I was visiting faculty at the Poynter Institute.

I'm a native of upstate New York, where I was born on a farm in a county that had more deer than humans. At age 8, I moved to Philadelphia and spent a decade growing up in one of America's great cities, attending Germantown Friends School until 1994. I graduated from Colby College four years later, with a bachelor of arts degree in biology (and a minor in sociology), and then enjoyed living in New England for another decade in Boston, Somerville and Cambridge. 

I'd describe myself as a geeky outdoorsman, cyclist, angler and photographer. I'm an unabashed fan of great science fiction and fantasy books, movies and games. I currently live in Capitol Hill in the District of Columbia with my wife, daughter and a growing number of pots, pans and houseplants. When I'm not working or parenting, I enjoy exploring the great outdoors, ambitious cooking and good books. 

You can find me online at E Pluribus Unum | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Linkedin | Wordpress | YouTube 

Bragging rights
I make a good crème brûlée.
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Writer
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Reading, writing and arithmetic.
Employment
  • The Huffington Post
    Senior Editor, Technology and Society, 2015 - present
  • TechRepublic, CBS Interactive
    Columnist, 2014 - 2015
  • Columbia University
    Fellow, 2013 - 2014
    Collaborated on research into data-driven journalism at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at the Columbia Journalism School.
  • Harvard University
    Research Fellow, 2013 - 2013
    Collaborated on research at the Transparency Policy Project of the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation.
  • O'Reilly Media
    Washington Correspondent, 2010 - 2013
  • TechTarget
    Associate Editor
  • Bain & Company
    Knowledge Broker
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    Operations Support
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    Web Designer
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Cambridge, MA
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Washington, DC - Born in upstate NY, raised in Philly. - Bar Harbor, Maine - Boston, MA - Somerville, MA - Baltimore, MD - Star Island, NH
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Alexander Howard's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
The Navy's New Robot Looks and Swims Just Like a Shark | WIRED
www.wired.com

The Navy’s new underwater drone is designed to look and swim like a real fish.

The Laborers Who Keep Dick Pics and Beheadings Out of Your Facebook Feed...
www.wired.com

Inside the soul-crushing world of content moderation, where low-wage laborers soak up the worst of humanity, and keep it off your Facebook f

Federal Agencies Are Flooded by Comments on New Rules
online.wsj.com

Record numbers of online comments are flooding agencies at a time when Congress is stuck in gridlock and the Obama administration has turned

Daimler Acquires Uber Rival RideScout
online.wsj.com

Daimler is making a bet on the ride-sharing economy, a day after Germany slapped a country-wide ban on Uber Technologies.

The 'right to record' is not a question of technology, but rather power ...
www.techrepublic.com

The "right to record" will gain even more attention as smartphones, wearables, and social media usage increases. Alex Howard believes this w

The Internet's Original Sin
www.theatlantic.com

It's not too late to ditch the ad-based business model we have and build the web we want.

How Google Map Hackers Can Destroy a Business at Will | Business | WIRED
www.wired.com

Beneath its slick interface and crystal clear GPS-enabled vision of the world, Google Maps roils with local rivalries, score-settling, and d

YouTube Parody as Politics: How The World Made Pharrell Cry
www.theatlantic.com

Remixes from around the world show that what brings us together is more important than what divides us.

OpenID Connect may usher in a new era of federated online identity
www.techrepublic.com

OpenID Connect is designed to replace username/password authentication. The protocol, in use by Google and others, may solve governments' ne

Supreme Court to rule on warrantless searches of electronic devices
arstechnica.com

Cops want access, without warrants, to electronic devices of everybody arrested.

Data journalism only matters when it's transparent
www.motherjones.com

Data journalism only matters when it's transparent.

Publishers Can Afford Data Journalism, Says ProPublica's Scott Klein
mediagazer.com

This story, by Alexander Howard / Tow Center …, appeared on Mediagazer.

Earth Day Pioneer Denis Hayes’ New Challenge: Greenest Commercial Buildi...
energyblog.nationalgeographic.com

Forty-four years ago today, Denis Hayes convened the very first Earth Day, an event that drew millions to events across the United States an

Did CIA Violate the Constitution's Speech or Debate Clause? - Secrecy News
blogs.fas.org

The Central Intelligence Agency may have violated the Speech or Debate clause of the U.S. Constitution by performing an unauthorized search

Extremely critical crypto flaw in iOS may also affect fully patched Macs
arstechnica.com

Coding blunder that exposed sensitive data may still be putting users at risk.