Today, someone or something sent a "test" email to NHS staff. Unfortunately to rather a lot of NHS staff - between 850,000 and 1.2 million. A few of whom sent reply-all responses. Chaos ensued, though it is unclear whether bananas were involved.
Several days after the 2016 US election, president-elect Donald Trump is holding meetings, interviews and starting to build his administration team. His positions on issues such as mass deportation, tax and foreign policy are the cause of speculation; election positions on the ACA are possibly partially rolled back, but against bleak forecasts environmental positions seem to stay as they were, to the concern of scientists. Elsewhere there is discussion of why Hillary lost to Donald, such as James Comey's involvement, rural voting patterns, swing state perceptions or voter rights and suppression, while the Democratic Party consider who should lead them forwards. Meanwhile, protests occur in several US cities, there is speculation about Trump being impeached, the electoral college is under further scrutiny, and Kate McKinnon and Dave Chappelle on SNL. [more inside]
Eleven days to go. Since last time, Donald announced his first 100 days of actions, but still dislikes Jeb and John, while Hillary considers Texas and (post-birthday) speaks with Michelle (post title from speech) in North Carolina, early voting is happening, and Barack has nice approval ratings (though not everywhere). In the polls, 538 reckons Donald needs a sweep of swing states, GOP "insiders" think there are secret Trump voters, another release shows ties in Georgia and Iowa, and in perhaps less reliable data, Donald has a huge lead. While social media rages and schools have concerns about being polling stations, Wikileaks continues to drip-feed mundane emails, the FBI writes a vague letter about other emails (rebuttal), Colin Powell declares for Hillary, a 'Victory Bus' tours (gallery), Evan and Mindy continue to draw support across Utah, and therapists and patients describe election stress. [more inside]
Yahoo last year secretly built a custom software program to search all of its customers’ incoming emails for specific information provided by US intelligence officials, sources have told Reuters. The company complied with a classified US government directive, scanning hundreds of millions of Yahoo Mail accounts at the behest of the National Security Agency (NSA) or FBI, said two former employees and a third person who knew about the programme. [more inside]
I Want Your Email Address. Don’t think about it. Just enter your email address into any of the places I’ve provided for you. Then, you can be on your way. I made it extremely easy for you to join my mailing list, and yet you think this is a game. This is not a game. I want your email address! And I want it NOW!
The Company That Bribed The World - It was the company with jet-set style and dirty hands. From the tiny principality of Monaco, Unaoil reached across the globe to pay multi-million dollar bribes in oil rich states. The beneficiaries? Some of the biggest companies in England, Europe, America and Australia.
From a suburban British house in 1984, Julian (password: 1234) demonstrates a modem while Pat (seemingly not allowed to touch the keyboard) lists her uses of the "communal" BBC Micro. Turn on your recorders as this TV clip ends with a data transmission! But how, in bygone online times, have modems been used... [more inside]
The Washington Post has updated its style guide: "e-mail" is now "email", "Web sites" are now "websites", and perhaps most significantly, "they/them/their" will now be used as gender-neutral third-person singular personal pronouns, instead of defaulting to "he/him/his" or recasting to make a sentence plural (e.g. "Readers will have their own opinions" will now be the more precise "Each reader will have their own opinion."). Post copy editor (and proprietor of The Slot) Bill Walsh notes "I suspect that the singular they will go largely unnoticed even by those who oppose it on principle. We’ve used it before, if inadvertently, and I’ve never heard a complaint."
Gilbert, when he published his article, noted that being able to identify hierarchy from the text of emails could have practical applications. A company could apply his methods to its own internal communications and discover informal structures of power within its ranks. Maybe a mid-level manager is laying the groundwork for a coup, gaining authority over subordinates on other teams....Or, less cynically, you could identify promising young hires for promotion: “Imagine a study investigating who in an organization disproportionately attracts upward language. Do they move up the ladder faster? [more inside]
Hillary Clinton instructed aides today to give the Justice Department computer equipment that had been used as a private email server while she was Secretary of State. Earlier in the day, the Inspector General for Intelligence stated that two of the 30,000 "work-related" emails that Clinton turned over to the State Department in December were now considered Top Secret (a larger number were earlier deemed to be Classified at a lower level). [more inside]
The IBM Watson Personality Insights service uses linguistic analytics to extract a spectrum of cognitive and social characteristics from the text data that a person generates through blogs, tweets, forum posts, and more. Just enter a chunk of text with at least 100 recognized words and Watson will break down your (or Hitler's or Donald Trump's) personality compared to other participants. [more inside]
"Thousands of Berkeley voters got stuck in an email storm last week after a technical glitch became a viral meme that prompted around 70 residents to hold a potluck picnic Sunday." [more inside]
The New York Times reports today that as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton used her personal e-mail address to conduct all business. In response to a new State Department effort to comply with federal record-keeping practices, Mrs. Clinton’s advisers reviewed tens of thousands of pages of her personal emails and decided which ones to turn over to the State Department. [more inside]
For no particular reason we’ve started sending emails to see who can make the other person experience the most profound sense of dread and panic.
"For many men, beauty, coolness, [and] desirability are gifts they alone can bestow upon women. They get baffled, even aggressive when you show you've known you possess those things all along." (BuzzFeed, trigger warning for hate speech) [more inside]
So What, Who Cares? by Lisa Schmeiser - What is news or pop culture without context? Every day, I'll point out three to five things that you might like to know, explaining why they matter (So what?) and who they affect (Who cares?). Archives here.
"The next day, though, I woke up unnerved and dimly remembered getting badgered by Wesleyan after I graduated in 2001, asking me to do something to save the messages after they were transferred onto a web-based system. I typed in “email.wesleyan.edu” and my old username, just to see what would happen. | It opened up with my first guess at a password. Over four thousand emails —including sent mail, drafts, “_pine_interrupted_mail,” something called “dead letter” and another folder called “postponed_msgs”—stared at me. Who were these people? Who was I?" --Every email is a Ghost Story on the Awl.
Andy Baio has created a YouTube channel of early internet informational videos: The VHS-Era Internet (1984-1995)
The Webpage FX blog compiled a list of 13 internet "firsts," from the first email sent (1971) and the first spam, sent out to 400 people (1978), to the first photo posted online (1992) and much later, the first Instagram photo, (2010).
End the Tyranny of 24/7 Email — THIS Labor Day weekend, odds are you’ll peek at your work email on your “day off” — and then feel guilty about it.
I don't always ignore your emails, but when I do, it's because the answer is on your syllabus. "In my effort to teach students appropriate use of emails, my syllabus policies [had] ballooned to cover every conceivable scenario -- when to email, when not to, how to write the subject line -- and still I spent class time discussing the email policies and logged hours upon hours answering emails that defied the policies. In a fit of self-preservation, I decided: no more." [more inside]
Email is still the best thing on the internet
Getting an email address was once a nerdy right of passage for Gen-Xers arriving on college campuses. Now, the kids are waging a war of indifference on poor old email, culling the weak and infirm old-people technology. One American professor maintained that, to his students, "e-mail was as antiquated as the spellings 'chuse' and 'musick' in the works by Cotton Mather and Jonathan Edwards." The vice-chancellor of Exeter University claimed, "There is no point in emailing students any more." The youth appear to think there are better, faster, more exciting ways to communicate than stupid email.
Yet, despite all the prognosticators predicting it will—choose the violence level of your metaphor—go out of style, be put out to pasture, or taken out back and shot, email grinds on.
This week's Glenn Greenwald revelation is that Britain's GCHQ JTRIG intelligence organization offers its agents and planners tools with abilities to increase the search ranking of chosen web sites, “change outcome of online polls”, “masquerade Facebook Wall Posts for individuals or entire countries”, and accomplish “amplification of a given message, normally video, on popular multimedia websites (Youtube).” [more inside]
Even if you don't have a Gmail account, many of your contacts do. So Google has a lot of your email, even if you have been trying hard to avoid that.
During their Freedom Hosting investigation and malware attack last year, the FBI unintentionally obtained the entire e-mail database of popular anonymous webmail service Tor Mail. And now, they've used it in an unrelated investigation to bust a Florida man accused of stealing credit card numbers. [more inside]
Pond provides end-to-end encrypted forward-secure asynchronous messaging that uses Tor to resist traffic analysis, i.e. metadata collection (threat model, technical, github). [more inside]
Last post at groklaw ~pj a.k.a. Pamela Jones, the writer behind the law analysis site groklaw, has decided to shut down in the wake of the closure of Lavabit confidential email service. [more inside]
Sometimes, it is hard to resist sending to a customer a link to last year's article What’s so good about email? from Rory Sutherland who, in his day job, is Vice-Chairman, Ogilvy & Mather UK. Elsewhere, Sutherland does not say too much at Twitter, but some links and remarks make him worth a follow. Some Sutherland thinking at TED is fun and provoking.
A series of BBC News Magazine articles on the office as workplace: (i) How the office was invented; (ii) The ancient Chinese exam that inspired modern job recruitment (previously); (iii) The invention of the career ladder; (iv) The arrival of women in the office; (v) Do we still need the telephone?; (vi) Are there too many managers?; (vii) The era of the sexually charged office; (viii) The decline of privacy in open-plan offices; (ix) How the computer changed the office forever and (x) Why did offices become like the home?—by columnist Lucy Kellaway. [more inside]
Yahoo, on June 12, announced that it is releasing inactive IDs. Yahoo says they are "committed and confident," while others think it is a "spectacularly bad idea" and a "dirty trick."
A team of computer researchers analyzed ten million Yahoo! e-mails and noticed a phenomenon: "E-mails tend to flow much more frequently between countries with certain economic and cultural similarities". [more inside]
The credit card processor Stripe has an interesting policy of email transparency within the company (previously).
As Microsoft prepares to retire its unfashionable Hotmail in favor of Outlook.com this summer, let's remember the viral marketing revolution that Hotmail invented. Journey back seventeen years to Hotmail's origins, the birth of the dot.com millionaire, and the boozy optimism of a pre-crash web industry in full-growth mode (Wired, December 1998) .
"The bottom line: Obama’s e-mail fundraising team tested hundreds of grabby subject lines. The most successful—“Hey”— brought in millions of dollars." Inside Obama's chatty e-mail fundraising campaign.
But back in 1996, users of the proto-Web community Usenet got spammed with messages that reached an almost transcendent level of bizarre—a weirdness so precise it implied the influence of a very human intelligence. “Markovian Parallax Denigrate,” read the title of each post, followed by a mountain of seemingly meaningless word spew:Unraveling the Internet’s oldest and weirdest mystery
"snow white and the huntsman is trash. moral garbage. a lot of fuzzy feminist thinking and pandering to creepy hollywood mores produced by metrosexual imbeciles." Michael Calleri, film reviewer for the Niagara Falls Reporter, receives an email from his publisher.
Email stress test: Experiment unplugs workers for 5 days — Slave to your email? Wonder what would happen if you had to do without it?
How Silence Works: Emailed Conversations With Four Trappist Monks
Bored of Gmail? Why don't you try Outlook?
The Mozilla Foundation has announced that they're throwing in the towel on their popular email client Thunderbird, citing a dearth of active contributors and the growing popularity of web-based email. Mozilla remains committed to releasing Thunderbird ESR 17 on 20 Nov 2012 which will be supported with stability and security fixes until 3 Dec 2013. They've also announced a plan to provide infrastructure and support for Thunderbird to live on as a community-driven project.
Why Do Online Scammers Say They Are From Nigeria? A research paper from Microsoft argues it's a method of weeding out the savvy [via Slate]. [more inside]
the listserve is simple: one person a day wins a chance to write to the list of subscribers. The project is an "online social experiment" by a group of graduate students at NYU's ITP program.
Daily Science Fiction: Original Science Fiction and Fantasy every weekday. Welcome to Daily Science Fiction, an online magazine of science fiction short stories. We publish "science fiction" in the broad sense of the word: This includes sci-fi, fantasy, slipstream—whatever you'd likely find in the science fiction section of your local bookstore. Our stories are mostly short short fiction each Monday through Thursday, hopefully the right length to read on a coffee break, over lunch, or as a bedtime tale. Friday's weekend stories are longer.