Medium: Embedly is joining Medium

Medium announced today that it has acquired the embed service, Embedly.

Interesting. This is obviously Medium’s way of supporting oEmbeds in their platform, with the addition of statistics and data added to it.

I’ve used Embedly a bit, and it works well, but their Dashboard really still needs work. Medium will probably be a great boon for that development.


Embedded content overall is a great way to encourage more engagement. When my content is shared on another person’s site, I’m more likely to share it. But how will I know that it was embedded there? Embedly doesn’t currently send notifications like that, but if you are on the Medium platform already, I can imagine getting something like “Embed Alerts” could really be beneficial.

That’s part of the power of a hosted publishing platform like Medium. could easily implement something like that. This is different from the “reblog” tool. has a powerful notification area already, and notifying users of embeds of your article on other blogs would be a great feature.

The self-hosted WordPress platform would have to implement something like that as a plugin, but I’m not sure how that would work except that embeds would ping your local API when a post is published.

As the internet gets more and more complex and there are more and more ways to publish content and share content across platforms, these kinds of data notification tools will become more and more necessary and common place. That’s also why an “Open Web” is vital. But I’m getting clearly off topic now… for another post!


In Defense of Windows 10’s Data Collection

In Defense of Windows 10’s Data Collection

Windows 10 is now running on more than 14 million devices worldwide since the software began rolling out on July 29, saving users’ Bing search information, private email content and the apps they access, along with “your typed and handwritten words”.

Do a casual search for “Windows 10 collecting my data” and you’ll find all kinds of crazy pieces claiming that the sky is falling with Windows 10. Afterall, who in their right mind would give away their operating system for free unless they get something in return?

The first thing that really makes these kinds of claims just sound unjustified is that there are laws in the U.S. against such practices. Specifically the Federal Trade Commission Act which — among other things — “prohibits unfair or deceptive practices and has been applied to offline and online privacy and data security policies” (see more in this great Practical Law article).

But the Telegraph article itself lists exactly what Microsoft is collecting and tells you exactly how to turn it off if you like. Here’s what they collect:

  • Search queries submitted to Bing
  • A voice command to Cortana
  • Private communications including email content
  • Information from a document uploaded to OneDrive
  • Requests to Microsoft for support
  • Error reports
  • Information gathered from cookies
  • Data collected from third parties

I actually think this list is not specific enough. I don’t believe, for example, that they are collecting information “gathered from cookies” generated from the Chrome browser, but rather the new Edge browser. Further, I highly doubt they are collecting “private communications including email content” when those emails are your Gmail account. Instead, I believe they are scanning your email content from Outlook.

All together that means that they are scanning data from services that they provide in order to improve their products.

As a product guy, I know how important information like that is to making the products better. I often say that when it comes to advertising Americans want to have their cake and eat it too. We get upset if Amazon — for example — suggests books or movies that we have absolutely no interest in, but we also complain when they want to collect the data necessary to make better recommendations.

In the case of Windows 10, there are several notes I make personally:

  • They are collecting a lot more information than in previous versions
  • I don’t like that most of it is “opt-in”, they should first get permission before enabling that communication
  • But at the end of the day, the data isn’t to invade your personal life (because really, no one cares), but to improve their products.

So let’s all take a big deep breath and be thankful that there are laws that protect our privacy, trust that giant corporations really don’t care about the intimate details of your life, and be thankful that your computers can run much more reliably and safely because of these efforts.

Source: The Telegraph

Longreads: Best of 2015 in Business & Tech

Wow. This is an amazing list of long-form articles on Business & Tech worth kicking off 2016 with.

I don’t think I read one single article of any of these in 2015. Yet, the very first one I grabbed (Easy DNA Editing) just about blew my mind into space within the first couple paragraphs.

I’d say this is a great list to kick-off 2016 with.

Source: Longreads

The world’s first website went online 25 years ago today

It’s the 25th birthday of the oldest website on the world wide web. Yeah!

Invented by Tim Berners Lee, the first website went live at research lab CERN in 1990

Feeling a little old right about now. To be roughly 13+ years older than the oldest website… hmmm…

Nevertheless, it’s crazy to consider all the change, all the progress that’s been made in this world as a result of the internet.

Say what you want about the proliferation of porn, or the “loss” of privacy. When you consider all the ways in which information is being made public, international and truly global collaboration is made possible, education is made more accessible and easier to communicate, new technologies evolve more rapidly and cheaply, all because of the “Internet” — this is a day to celebrate.


The first plasma: the Wendelstein 7-X fusion device is now in operation

The first plasma in the machine had a duration of one tenth of a second and achieved a temperature of around one million degrees. “We’re very satisfied”, concludes Dr. Hans-Stephan Bosch, whose division is responsible for the operation of the Wendelstein 7-X, at the end of the first day of experimentation. “Everything went according to plan.”

This announcement from Germany is BIG news. They successfully triggered a plasma reaction at roughly 1million degrees. As this machine and this facility continues to develop they will eventually be able to produce nuclear fusion — the power of the sun! Clean and perpetual energy.

This machine is only 52 feet long. It will probably have to be half that size to start being commercially available, but this means that potentially my grandchildren might be able to have all the energy they need and there will be no power lines, or gas combustion machines necessary at all.

Color me excited!