I had a dream this morning that I was about to be executed. I was in some kind of prison with padded beige walls. Somewhere else in that dream someone was showing me a long list of their e-mails and I was like “wow” I also lost my camera bag and saw big waves.
After I woke up I frantically checked my phone to see if GMail was still down. It was. Then about half an hour later I had 30 unreads in my inbox. It had been almost 24 hours with no-access to my non-work e-mail and I thought I was going to die. I realized that I’ve gone offline for much longer but being online with no e-mail access and being unprepared (no vacation message) is much much worse.
After tweeting (the irony that Twitter was up while Gmail was down was not lost on me) that I was unraveling I received a number of Facebook messages comiserating and suggesting remedies from people whom I haven’t talked to in a while (one was years — like a decade, sudden e-mai loss brings people together.) A suggestion was to setup gmail to forward to a yahoo account. While this wouldn’t have helped in this situation, it’s definitely a good way to do e-mail redundancy backups in the cloud. Maybe I’ll also have that account forward back to a separate Gmail backup. The only single thought that was worse than having to go another hour without e-mail was losing it all.
Why all this fuss about e-mail? Why are you such an egotistical communication nut, Fred? The basic reason is that I find e-mail immensely more enjoyable and reliable than any other communication medium. Despite yesterday’s downtime, my e-mail reliability has actually been quite high compared to my phone or any other medium’s reliability. And I like asynchronicity.
I work for Kickstarter as their data engineer, building products, writing queries for research, and planning our data architecture. You can read more about my setup and technical workflow on The Setup. I’m most interested in creating and researching interesting datasets, small and large, and have spent a lot of time with tools and platforms such as R, elasticsearch, redis, MapReduce and AWS.
I was previously employed as a Creative Commons‘ representative in NYC. I went to ITP and finished in ’08, but also went to NYU for undergrad in philosophy and computer science and started Free Culture @ NYU during my senior year. I’ve taught undergrad and graduate students at NYU in copyright and cyberlaw. I also occasionally contribute to Wired Magazine.
I had a blog a while ago. I’m starting this one because I’ve been finding enough interesting things through Google Reader that I figured I’d try again. Apologies for the minimalist wordpress install. Things will get prettier eventually.