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Jonathan Brier
Works at University of Maryland, College Park
Attends University of Maryland
Lives in Hyattsville, MD
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Jonathan Brier

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Beware cheap cables: Some issues found put your devices at risk. Make sure to check out his reviews, they may save your device.

I'm very happy to see people out there verifying and rating cables. This comes at the right time, days before my first USB C device arrives.

If you find or have verified his findings it would be of value to comment on those products. #devicesafty   #designtospec  
My team at Google has been very big proponents and innovators of USB Type-C. I've worked on two Pixel products now that use the connector and its related technologies (Power Delivery, Alternate Mode, USB 3.1). It really is an amazing little connector.

However, now that there are more and more Type C products rolling out from Nexus, One+, Nokia, and more, this I have found painfully true : USB Type-C will only be as good as its ecosystem, and more specifically, the worst of its ecosystem.

I have started reviewing USB cables on Amazon because I have gotten fed up with the early cables from 3rd party vendors that so blatantly flaunt the specification and I want to hold them to task.

You may not just get weird behavior from your devices with these bad cables... What some these vendors are doing is downright dangerous.

I've been contemplating setting up a blog where I document bad cables and perhaps give some insights into USB Type C as well.

#USB   #TypeC ,
#Nexus   #ChromebookPixel   #PixelC  

 Edit : Want to help check your questionable cables, and have a Pixel 2015?
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Jonathan Brier

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A reason why buying original manufacturer cables are a safer bet in USB C... some are not building to the standards and making big messes. These cables handle more power thus the impact can kill your device!
Here are some pictures of the torn down SurjTech 3M cable that fried my Pixel.

This is a follow up to my review here :

Visual observations :
1. Red wire to G. Black wire to V. So wrong.
2. Missing SuperSpeed wires on the back of the connector. Only 4 wires in total. This cable was advertised as a USB 3.1 SuperSpeed cable but is entirely missing the TX/RX
3. Generally a poor job with the soldering of the wires.

Other observations using a multimeter : 
1) 10 kΩ resistor instead of 56 kΩ resistor used.
2) resistor hooked up as a Pull-down instead of a pull-up

#USB   #TypeC   #USBC  
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Star Trek has inspired multiple generations including myself and this articles provides 10 points which are critical to good Star Trek. Action and explosions are is not necessary for good Scifi.
This year is the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, and even after five decades there has never been another series like Gene Roddenberry’s brainchild. We’ve had plenty of spaceship shows since 1966, but some things about Trek remained unique. Here are 10 Star Trek achievements that nobody else managed to pull off.
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Hands down I found my favorite TED talk of 2016 (filmed Dec 2015) - must watch how it ends. Doing it more than for the lolz. #timetotroll
Suspicious emails: unclaimed insurance bonds, diamond-encrusted safe deposit boxes, close friends marooned in a foreign country. They pop up in our inboxes, and standard procedure is to delete on sight. But what happens when you reply? Follow along as writer and comedian James Veitch narrates a hilarious, weeks-long exchange with a spammer who offered to cut him in on a hot deal.
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Silly humans can't react as fast. The transition time is the most difficult, maybe we just put a student driver sign on top until autonomous cars are the majority as it marks that you need to be ready for anything from them.
Interaction with self-driving cars is actually complicated. 
The self-driving car, that cutting-edge creation that’s supposed to lead to a world without accidents, is achieving the exact opposite right now: The vehicles have racked up a crash rate double that of those with human drivers.
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OpenAI will be an interesting project to track and may be onto something. Lets hope it learns well and we are cautious and ready for anything.   #AI  
OpenAI is a non-profit artificial intelligence group.
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Nice exploration tool from the +Union of Concerned Scientists  on vehicle emissions comparisons. While they cover the standard categories using regional averages as explained at

I would be interested to see what different subscription levels to various Green-e certified renewables would do to the plug-in hybrid and battery electric. This tool would be a be good point to show the current level of renewable on average in a region, the current planned level they are trying to achieve versus opting to subscribe to an alternative provider who provides a higher percent renewable and how that impacts your emission profile now and in the coming year, five, and decade.
Climate pollution from electric cars varies between regions and car models. Use this tool to look at the numbers in YOUR area.
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Given the talent behind this new animated movie of the classic Dragon's Lair video game I am super excited. Some movies you may recognise The Land Before Time, An American Tale, All Dogs Go to Heaven, and Titan A.E among other big hits.

Their crowdfunding met their goal and are going for the stretch goal in the next eight hours if you want to support this even further. #indiegogo
Don Bluth & Gary Goldman come together to bring the classic game Dragon's Lair to the big screen. | Crowdfunding is a democratic way to support the fundraising needs of your community. Make a contribution today!
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#alphabear is a creative word puzzle game.
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PrivacyCon will be held Thursday and there is a webcast (link will appear at the top of this page) on Jan 14. The event is open to the public and something to keep an eye on. The presentations Agenda is worth a once over. #privacy
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Something to consider about your next drink purchase. Where does its container go after you're done. #recycle
Plastic-pouch food packaging is showing up everywhere—except at recycling facilities.
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Another shining example of Star Trek's impact and a person I admire.

According to a quote in a Stanford Today article Dr. Mae Jemison opened each shift with a salute and "Hailing frequencies open,". (source:
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Jonathan's Collections
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PhD Student and Graduate Research Assistant
Thinking outside the norm, connecting people and ideas, making the world a more connected place
  • University of Maryland, College Park
    Graduate Research Assistant, 2015 - present
    Research assistant to Dr. Andrea Wiggins my PhD advisor where I work in the Open Knowledge Lab on research related to citizen science, online communities, social computing, data management, and group work.
  • SciStarter
    Strategic Advisor, 2013 - present
    Advise on business and social design. Co-develop the information architecture, assess usability usability, improve semantic design and SEO. Co-administer the IT infrastructure and site development. Additional consulting and responsibilities as they arise.
  • Charity Engine
    Support/ Community Manager / Consultant, 2012 - present
  • GridRepublic
    Community Manager / Outreach Coordinator / Support, 2008 - present
  • University of Michigan
    Post Masters Researcher, 2012 - 2015
    Working in the School of Information under supervision of Tom Finholt. Exploring the usability and user experience of the XSEDE supercomputing metrics tool XDMoD. Designed an Android app for evaluating energy consumption in maintaining social networks.
  • Biggs|Gilmore
    User Experience Designer Intern, 2011 - 2011
    Gathered and analyzed client content for the development of information architecture and wireframes. Worked with design and development teams on wireframe and functional design possibility. Delivered wireframes and information architecture design to client. Also conducted usability testing for web based games with children.
  • Oakland County Government
    IT Engineer, 2010 - 2011
  • The City of Portage
    Technical Leader, 2008 - 2008
  • The City of Portage
    Technical Assistant, 2007 - 2007
  • The Image Place, Inc.
    Lab Assistant, 2004 - 2004
    Conducted small and large print mounting and coating. Developed 35 mm and 110 mm films. Performed other misc tasks around the lab.
  • The Adler Planetarium
    Social Media Intern, 2011 - 2011
    Week long internship assisting in website usability analysis, social media strategy development, patron interview and surveys, and designing complex survey logic for future evaluations.
  • University of Michigan
    SI 631/634 Grader, 2012 - 2012
    Graded and answered questions in the Content Management Systems courses with a primary focus on Drupal. SI 631 is a client project course aimed at designing a site according to client requests. SI 634 is a intro course to Drupal configuration.
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Hyattsville, MD
Ann Arbor, Michigan - Portage, Michigan - Weirton, WV - East Lansing, MI - Rochester, MI
Citizen Science Advocate, Environmentally Conscious Geek, Information Addict.
I am a netizen and Eagle Scout who loves to make a difference in the world and champion user's rights.  Social good is core to my life. I focusing the majority of my efforts through the nonprofit GridRepublic.

You might think all I do is make accounts on new websites as seen by the extensive list of accounts on the right, but really I use most of these to study the behaviors within them to help me to better understand interactions, behaviors, and breakdowns in online communities.

My Research
I conduct user experience evaluations and research on the XSEDE supercomputing grid metrics interface which is the successor to the Teragrid.  I am ensuring everyone can get what they need from the system and make the experience as intuitive as possible.  For more on XSEDE watch the video highlight.

My work Interest
My goal is to work on projects that scale for social good.  My main interests are citizen science and volunteer computing.  I want to increase the efficiency of our world by harnessing underutilized resources for productive measures.  

My citizen science interest is in the abilities of mobilizing people to reconnect with the world around them and participate in research projects by helping to analyze, collect, and interpret the data and develop the hypothesis that currently is not possible in a reasonable time frame with current methods.

Similarly with volunteer computing I want to harness the computational resources available all around us. Why buy a computer, tv, phone, etc just to let its processing abilities go to waste when you are not actively using it.  People could let these devices process small parts of information for a cause they care about such as curing a disease or searching for cleaner fuels.

GridRepublic promotes, simplifies use of, and distributes a program for computers which harnesses spare processing power (number crunching) of computers to tackle challenging problems from scientists and other processing projects that the computer owner chooses to support.  

The projects come from universities and researchers from around the world. GridRepublic is powered by BOINC a software developed at the University of California Berkeley and funded by the National Science Foundation

Visit the GridRepublic website, GridRepublic Google+ page, the Progress Thru Processors app or the Gridrepublic page on Facebook to see more.

For a easy way to share GridRepublic with friends and colleges share the one page description pdf.  This pdf can also be found on the advocacy page in the GridRepublic community.

I like #scifi, #technology, and #sustainability... these are the circles I best fit into.

Contact & Following:
Bragging rights
Eagle Scout, Google+ beta user, Cr-48 beta user, Attended the #NASASocial at JPL for the Curiosity Rover Landing on Mars
Collections Jonathan is following
  • University of Maryland
    Information Studies - PhD, 2015 - present
    Focused work on citizen science and social computing activities with Dr. Andrea Wiggins as my advisor.
  • University of Michigan School of Information
    Masters of Science in Information - Social Computing, 2010 - 2012
    I attended graduate school at the University of Michigan for a Master of Science in Information and specialized in Social Computing and dabbled in Human Computer Interaction. My courses covered usability testing and research, recommender and reputation systems, ecommunities, game theory, and social conscious business design (Ross Business School cognate course).
  • Michigan State University College of Communication Arts and Sciences
    Bachelors of Science in Media and Communication Technology with a specialization in Information Technology, 2005 - 2010
    I graduated in May 2010 with a B.S. in Media and Communication Technology with an Information Technology Specialization at Michigan State University. The focus of my degree was Social Computing, Information Technology Projects, and Telecommunication Systems. The business courses included accounting and supply chain management. The telecom courses included project design, management, proposal and project development, and study of the various levels of Internet infrastructure and operations. All of these on top of the core courses for undergraduates and some engineering courses where I started my college career.
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Other names
Jon Brier, wolfgang8741, brierjon
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Jonathan Brier's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
The Martian - Movies & TV on Google Play

From legendary director Ridley Scott (Alien, Prometheus) comes a gripping tale of human strength and the will to survive. During a mission t

Physics paper sets record with more than 5,000 authors

Detector teams at the Large Hadron Collider collaborated for a more precise estimate of the size of the Higgs boson.

A simple guide to Facebook’s complicated problem in India - The Washingt...

Seven questions that explain why India is suspicious of Facebook's Free Basics program.

Tracking Anonymous Web Users - Schneier on Security

Abstract: Targeting individual consumers has become a hallmark of direct and digital marketing, particularly as it has become easier to iden

The problem with BPA-free: Alternatives are just as troubling | Ars Tech...

More data shows that BPS and other BPA replacements also disrupt hormones.

Mysterious spike in WordPress hacks silently delivers ransomware to visi...

Researchers still aren't sure how the sites are getting compromised.

New Hampshire Now Least Religious State in U.S.

New Hampshire is the least religious state in the U.S., edging out Vermont in Gallup's 2015 state-by-state analysis. Mississippi has extende

Energy-friendly chip can perform powerful artificial-intelligence tasks

Advance could enable mobile devices to implement “neural networks” modeled on the human brain.

USB Type-C tester's Pixel laptop was destroyed by a bad cable

Benson Leung, the Googler who went on a crusade against bad USB Type-C cables, now finds himself as a martyr: a bad cable finally fried one

5-star Open Data

Information around Tim Berners-Lee's 5-star Open Data Plan

strongly connected component

strongly connected component Number of edges in the largest

Advocacy at EFF – Rainey Reitman • Namecheap Blog

At Namecheap, we are proud supporters of Internet freedom. We have aligned with the Electronic Frontier Foundation for almost five years now


The organization Crossing Boarders launched Twee-Q, a thought-provoking, interactive self-assessment tool to measure equality on Twitter in

NSA Hacker Chief Explains How to Keep Him Out of Your System | WIRED

The nation's hacker-in-chief took up the ironic task at the Enigma Conference in San Francisco.

Consumers are increasingly concerned about privacy and they're acting on it

More Americans are concerned about not knowing how the personal information collected about them online is used than losing their principal - serving the community

An initiative by StreamComputing. OpenCL training. Free training with a catch. Want to learn OpenCL for free? We want to offer cheap OpenCL

Recognizing correct code

Automatic bug-repair system fixes 10 times as many errors as its predecessors.

Apps and the Web | February 2016 | Communications of the ACM

There are trade-offs to be found between a native mode implementation of an application and a browser-based implementation.

Great place for brunch as it sits on the second floor and up with views into the street below. The food is flavorful and well portioned and no more expensive than other restaurants in the area.
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Not the most interesting airport, but a great location to travel from due to the Metro stop at the station makes getting to and from easy.
Public - in the last week
reviewed in the last week
Public - in the last week
reviewed in the last week
The best place for a sandwich near College Park. Well proportioned for feeding all levels of hunger. I recommend any variation of the Reuben.
Public - in the last week
reviewed in the last week
368 reviews
I highly recommend stopping by at night to enjoy the views from the ground. Also laying down on the ground with your feet at the base of the monument looking up in the dark is a fun way to look at the sky.
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reviewed in the last week
Not the best Chipotle in the world, but nowhere near the worst. Line length varies, but not unreasonable unless it's the lunch rush.
Public - in the last week
reviewed in the last week
Public - in the last week
reviewed in the last week