Inside the Great Firewall

The Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China (read: China’s Ministry of Truth) is well-known for its successful monitoring and censorship of Chinese media and internet.

China Digital Times, a California-based website managed by a UC Berkeley professor, maintains a list of leaked ‘censorship instructions’ issued by Minitrue. If you spend some time browsing the links, you’ll find recent examples such as “Delete All Content Related to Panama Papers” and “Don’t Hype, Speculate, or Comment on Brexit.” State run newspapers and media outlets that want to survive  within China obediently follow Minitrue’s directives. For those companies such as Facebook, Google, or NYT, CNN, the Economist etc., that keep servers outside of China’s sovereign borders, China employs the most effective filtering and censorship apparatus to date. Packets traveling both into and out of the country must pass through routers along the border that constantly filter out keywords related to the June 4th Incident or Ai Wei Wei. At times, entire websites accessible to the rest of the world simply do not load within China’s borders. Here stands the Great Firewall.

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Facebook: What I did.

This summer, I interned as a Software Engineer (SWE) at Facebook in Menlo Park, California. In this other blog-post, I’ve detailed my personal life at Facebook and its various foods and housing and  explicitly drawn similarities to Disney Land.

People have often asked what I worked on. In short, it’s confidential, and if I told you, you’d no longer be allowed to trade in Facebook stock or in any tech-company for that matter. So, that is all, who wants a Facebook T-shirt? I now have 7.

Just kidding. I’ll give you the run-down here.

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Java Monkey Does Open-Mics On Sunday

At 7:30pm on January 4, I arrived at a local coffeshop in Decatur, GA called Java Monkey. At around this time each Sunday, the host, Kodac Harrison, puts out a sign-up sheet and sets up a microphone and a single music-stand. Closed off by a tarp but usually extending out into a small patio in the summer, the room is everything you’d expect from a coffeeshop open mic: an acoustically-convenient brick-wall, a scattering of chairs, benches, and tables across a stone-tiled floor, and a dimness of light that makes you a little less self-conscious of the blemishes on your skin but just enough brightness so you can interface with your newfound bohemian comrades. The terminology is worthy to note. Whether the subject is rap, an essay, or a spoken-word poem, the regulars called each performance a “reading.” When a burly, tattooed man named Joe Peacock walked into the room, a kid sitting off to the side approached, gave him one of those cool hand-shakes, and asked: “Yo, you reading today?” Continue reading

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LiveRamp: Hackweek XXIX

My last week at LiveRamp also happened to be a hackweek. These weeks happen at the end of every 9-week development cycle, and the goal is to do something relevant to LiveRamp, but not your day-to-day work.

Some examples of things people have done:

  • Write a parser for LinkedIn to speed up recruiting
  • Create a scheduler (which you will use if you apply for any job position at LiveRamp)
  • Jack: Converts Ruby ActiveRecord Models into Java Models
  • Oh…and LIveRamp’s biggest product: Data-Onboarding

HeatMaps:

My final week at LiveRamp was a hackweek, which means I could work on a cool project! Woohoo!

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Liveramp: What I did.

I worked on several projects and op-dev issues/tickets during my summer. Here’s a rough breakdown of some of the stuff I did:

60%: Ruby on Rails / Backbone, front-end
20%: Java, backend (e.g. some automation things)
10%: Hadoop / Cascading, hackweek project
10%: Packer / Vagrant / Sys-admin things, hackweek project

LiveRamp believes that the best way to grow people is to give them work that actually needs to get done. As an intern, I go through all the trainings and do the same work as a new hire; the only difference is that new hires have the ability to deploy to production on day one (most people don’t use this immediately of course).

This philosophy hopes to challenge smart, hard-working people and to hold them accountable. LiveRamp’s philosophy has some positives and some negatives; here’s two possible alternatives and their implications:

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LiveRamp: What it do?

I worked for LiveRamp this summer in San Francisco and a lot of people have asked me what it does. While I know they’re working to resolve this problem, as of today, LiveRamp.com is sort of cryptic. It tosses around some words related to data and onboarding and partners and advertising, but it’s kind of unclear what they actually do.

In this post I will try to simplistically explain what LiveRamp does.

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