Category: personal

  • ben@clever

    This week, I joined Clever as VP Engineering. Clever makes K-12 education software vastly more efficient and effective by simplifying how students and teachers log in. It’s this simple: imagine if you could give teachers and students 10-15 minutes back in every single class. That’s 30-40% more time for actual teaching and learning. That’s what […]

  • benadida@square

    In about a month, I’ll be starting at Square as a Tech Lead on a new project. I’m incredibly excited for a few key reasons: team: oodles of amazingly sharp people. The interview process was simply amazing, both in how much it forced me to demonstrate as an engineer and in how much I learned […]

  • benadida@vacation

    Today is my last day at Mozilla. It’s been an amazing ride, and I’m incredibly proud of the Identity Team and of the work we produced together, notably Persona. The team and project are now in the incredibly capable hands of my friend Lloyd Hilaiel. I expect to see continued fantastic work from this team, […]

  • Aaron

    I heard about Aaron Swartz in 2000, when he won the ArsDigita prize. I met him for the first time in early summer 2002, when my little open-source webdev company, OpenForce, joined the Creative Commons team to build the CC web site. That’s also when I met Matt Haughey, whose words helped trigger a bunch […]

  • in praise of hands-on expertise

    (I don’t usually share personal stories in public fora, but in this case, and with my wife’s permission, I’m making an exception.) “Shoulder Dystocia,” said the Obstetrician, as we neared the end of my wife’s otherwise-routine delivery of our son last week. This meant nothing to me. My wife, on the other hand, freaked out. […]

  • BrowserID and me

    A few weeks ago, I became Tech Lead on Identity and User Data at Mozilla. This is an awesome and challenging responsibility, and I’ve been busy. When I took on this new responsibility, BrowserID was already well under way, so we were able to launch it in my second week on the project (early July). […]

  • my 9.11

    Maybe it’s silly to add yet another story to the list of “where I was on 9/11.” I suffered no direct loss, while some people I know did. Many other world events were far, far more awful. But as I did experience 9/11 in person, I feel the need to write down some thoughts, some […]

  • with freedom comes responsibility: open publishing

    As of a few months ago, I’m no longer on a publish-or-perish academic track. Mozilla gives me the freedom to publish, but no pressure. Coincidentally, the publishing world is at a bit of a crossroads. Some organizations, like USENIX, are increasingly open: all papers are published for the world to see, many talks are videotaped […]

  • 2 months in at Mozilla

    It’s been 2 months since I started at Mozilla. I’m working with fantastically talented and friendly people. I’m enjoying myself tremendously and I’m starting to get a sense of what makes Mozilla different from my previous experiences. Put simply, it’s teamwork. In his speech to Harvard Med School graduates last week (stick with me here, […]

  • benadida@mozilla

    In a few days, I’ll be joining Mozilla. What started as a fun lunch with Sid and Alex quickly turned into passionate brainstorming with Mike, Pascal, and Lloyd on the Mozilla Labs team. I told them I wanted to deeply explore a few ideas I’ve written about and prototyped (here and here, for example) and […]

  • a personal update

    Tomorrow (Jan 31st) is my last day on the Research Faculty at Harvard Medical School and Children’s Hospital Boston. It’s been a fantastic ride thanks entirely to the folks with whom I had the pleasure of working, in particular Zak Kohane and Ken Mandl. Ultimately, I finally noticed what was staring me in the face: […]

  • The Accidental Tinkerer, Unexpected Lock-in, and Fatherhood

    Ben Fry recently explained his concerns about the iPad: I want to build software for this thing. I’m really excited about the idea of a touch-screen computing platform that’s available for general use from a known brand who has successfully marketed unfamiliar devices to a wide audience. [..] It represents an incredible opportunity, but I […]

  • Owning Genes

    At some point in the history of patents, something went a little nutty: it became possible to patent genes themselves. Not “a method for extracting” a gene. Not “a method for synthesizing” a gene. But the gene itself. As a result, a number of biotech companies own human genes. If you want to find out […]

  • Does CVS provide a CSV?

    Over the last two years, I’ve spent most of my time on… not elections believe it or not, but rather the personal control of health data over at Children’s Hospital, Boston, with a fantastic crew. And so now it turns out that health data is super cool, what with the Obama recovery plan and the […]

  • Don’t Hash Secrets

    Building secure systems is difficult. It would be nice if we had a bunch of well-designed crypto building blocks that we could assemble in all sorts of ways and be certain that they would, no matter what, yield a secure system overall. There are, in fact, folks working on such things at a theoretical level […]

  • Translation from Rove-speak to Plain English

    [inspired by John Gruber and Mark Pilgrim.] Karl Rove, ex-Senior Advisor to Bush, in today’s Newsweek giving Obama advice. Four months ago, you took the political world by storm in Iowa. The media were agog. They called your words “gorgeous,” your victory “a message to the world.” You “made history” and Americans could “look at […]

  • A Witness to History

    I’ve always wondered what my parents felt when they heard the great political speeches of their generation. Now I know.

  • Hope

    In anticipation of tonight’s results, I was going to try to write something that captures my incredibly hopeful and enthusiastic state of mind, but my good friend Oliver beat me to it: Doesn’t some part of you still believe that there are special moments in the world? Special people who catalyze and give a voice […]

  • Health Records and Me

    This summer, I joined the faculty at Children’s Hospital Informatics Program. My work is focused on security and privacy of health data. One of the projects I’m contributing to was just announced in the press: Dossia was established by major U.S. employers Applied Materials, BP America Inc., Cardinal Health, Intel Corporation, Pitney Bowes Inc. and […]

  • New Things

    So I defended successfully. I have a bit more writing to do, and I have a number of projects to wrap up cleanly here at MIT, but by end of August I’ll be done. It’s a bit crazy, really. My first day at MIT was 12 years ago. Since then, I have, in some way, […]

  • Viva la Defense

    My thesis defense, aka “viva voce”, aka “soutenance” is next Thursday, 9am. It’s open to the public, so if you’re really interested in cryptographic voting systems, you can come on over to the Stata Center. Now back to my slides….

  • Perspective and Pettiness

    I was shocked today to learn that Alan Kotok passed away. I knew Alan a bit from my work with the W3C. I only knew his latest accomplishments, like running W3C operations, including all web sites, repositories, member administration interfaces, and such. So I can’t help but feel like a petty idiot. A couple of […]

  • My Hopeless, Repetitive Talk

    A few weeks ago, I gave a talk on interoperable metadata at the Semantic Technologies conference. I give a number of talks about various technology topics covering web, semantic web, crypto and voting, but this is one of the few times that I actually received formal, written feedback and ratings. Feedback is a fantastically useful […]

  • New Blog Software and URL

    As fantastic as the Berkman Center’s hosting has been, I can’t handle the userland software anymore. The UI doesn’t cut it, and the server is too slow for me to really explore it fully. I looked into WordPress, but it’s not compatible with PostgreSQL, which is, for many reasons, my preferred DB platform. So I’m […]