POsts by month: December 2015

Join our Xmas challenge: give the gift of online privacy

As 2015 draws to a close, the state of the internet challenges the idea of any of us having meaningful privacy, ever again. That’s where projects like the Tor Anonymous Network come in, making it still possible to use the internet without oversight. As a Christmas gesture and a gift to other writers who live in oppressive countries around the world, we at Ink Tank Media have launched a Tor relay server. Now we challenge other companies to do the same or to make a donation to the Tor Project.

The free Tor software works by bouncing its users’ traffic around the world between relay servers like ours, wrapped with several layers of strong encryption. Tor can be used by anyone: for journalists and political activists under oppressive regimes, it’s a lifesaver. But it is, and will be, handy for every single one of us. With the current state of online privacy, it’s getting impossible to assume that a law-abiding citizen in a Western democracy will never need the privacy provided by Tor. Here’s a video on how Tor works:

 
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A/B testing for Mad Scientists, Part 1: Human test subjects

Years ago, I landed an interview for a sales position at a company. When the company’s CEO wanted to know what I’d like to do in the future I answered avidly: ”Sales and Marketing mathematics”. The CEO was, to say the least, overwhelmed. I thought I’d never get the job, but I did. And now, fifteen years later, I still love both sales and marketing mathematics.

Since I got that job, this whole thing about shopping on the Internet happened. And it turns out that finding and retaining customers in this environment has everything to do with combining sales, marketing and mathematics with user experience design.

One of the ways  to do this is through something called A/B testing. As people in the know would love to tell you, A/B testing has to do with how Internet companies evolve their products. By giving billions of users different buttons to click. Or something.

But you’re not Facebook or Google, so why should you care?

Well, if you sell stuff, the answer involves more money, for you. So please allow me to enlighten you. I love sales, marketing and math, after all.

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How to get karma on Reddit in 10 easy steps

If you’ve spent time on Reddit, then you already know it’s a great place to learn, discuss, and laugh. However, you probably also know that it can be tough to navigate both the etiquette and features of the website.

One such feature that confuses many redditors is karma, imaginary internet points that you can “earn” with good content submissions and comments. If a redditor likes a comment or post, they upvote it, if they dislike, they downvote it. A redditor’s karma score is basically the total upvotes they’ve been granted by other redditors minus the total downvotes they’ve received, with two separate scores for comment karma (comments on links) and link karma (link submissions to articles and images). Yes, karma is meaningless. But we humans tend to crave social acceptance, and it’s incredibly satisfying to rack up thousands of karma points!

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