This week, of course, provided a glorious example of how technology companies have normalized being indifferent to consent: Apple ‘gifting’ each user with a U2 album downloaded into iTunes. At least one of my friends reported that he had wireless synching of his phone disabled; Apple overrode his express preferences in order to add the album to his music collection. The expected 'surprise and delight' was really more like 'surprise and delete'. I suspect that the strong negative response (in some quarters, at least) had less to do with a dislike of U2 and everything to do with the album as a metonym for this widespread culture of nonconsensual behaviour in technology.
Deb Chachra talks about the age of non-consensual technology
. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse
on Sep 16, 2014 -
"It irritates me because it seems such a self-conscious way to live. But, to be fair, it’s almost always completely unselfconsciously done.
It’s people like me, carping at the camcordsters, who are overthinking how life should be experienced. We’re the ones who are trying to impose our opinion of how things should be enjoyed. 'Why can’t you just look at a view!?' we fume, but we never ask ourselves: 'Why can’t you just let people enjoy the view in the way they want!?' Exasperated by people staring at their phones instead of the world around them, we end up staring at people staring at their phones, miss the sunset, fireworks display or penguin feeding time, and don’t even walk away with a video to watch later." (SLGuardian)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome
on Sep 14, 2014 -
A father finds pornographic websites in his 9-year-old son's browser history in a surprisingly charming and amusing first-person essay
: “I know you were looking at porn.” A silence hung in the air between us as I tried to figure out where to go from there. He looked at me, eyebrows up and eyes wide open, on alert for whatever would come next. The past winter had torn up the road, and his still baby-fatted cheeks bounced along with the car as we headed back towards our house. The anticipation of my response was clearly getting to him. “Are you gonna say anything else?” “To be honest, I hadn’t really thought this far ahead,” I told him. “I only planned as far as this, telling you I knew.” [more inside]
posted by Eyebrows McGee
on Aug 26, 2014 -
On April 8, 2013, I received an envelope in the mail from a nonexistent return address in Toledo, Ohio. Inside was a blank thank-you note and an Ohio state driver’s license. The ID belonged to a 28-year-old man called Aaron Brown—6 feet tall and 160 pounds with a round face, scruffy brown hair, a thin beard, and green eyes. His most defining feature, however, was that he didn’t exist.
I know that because I created him.
posted by spock
on Jul 28, 2014 -
On a bright April morning in Menlo Park, California, I became an Internet spy.
This was easier than it sounds because I had a willing target. I had partnered with National Public Radio (NPR) tech correspondent Steve Henn for an experiment in Internet surveillance. For one week, while Henn researched a story, he allowed himself to be watched—acting as a stand-in, in effect, for everyone who uses Internet-connected devices. How much of our lives do we really reveal simply by going online?
Ars tests Internet surveillance—by spying on an NPR reporter.
posted by Johnny Wallflower
on Jun 16, 2014 -
is a Youtube video aggregator that shows you videos with 50 views or less. [possibly NSFW results]
posted by Taft
on Jun 7, 2014 -
"Advertising is not well.
Though companies supported by advertising still dominate the landscape and capture the popular imagination, cracks are beginning to show in the very financial foundations of the web. Despite the best efforts of an industry, advertising is becoming less and less effective online. The once reliable fuel that powered a generation of innovations on the web is slowly, but perceptibly beginning to falter. Consider the long-term trend: when the first banner advertisement
emerged online in 1994, it reported a (now) staggering clickthrough rate of 78%. By 2011, the average Facebook advertisement
clickthrough rate sat dramatically lower at 0.05%. Even if only a rough proxy, something underlies such a dramatic change in the ability for an advertisement to pique the interest of users online. What underlies this decline, and what does it mean for the Internet at large? This short [PDF] paper puts forth the argument for peak advertising
—the argument that an overall slowing in online advertising will eventually force a significant (and potentially painful) shift in the structure of business online. Like the theory of Peak Oil
that it references, the goal is not to look to the immediate upcoming quarter, but to think on the decade-long scale
about the business models that sustain the Internet." [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Jun 3, 2014 -
In 2003, Andy "waxpancake" Baio created Upcoming
, "a collaborative event calendar focused on interesting arts and tech events around the world, curated by its community. It surfaced weird and wonderful events that usually fell under the radar of traditional event listings from newspapers and local weeklies." In 2005, it was acquired by Yahoo!, who killed the site last April with little warning, and no way to back up events
. Fortunately, the complete site was saved
by the Internet Archive
. But Upcoming isn't dead yet! Two months ago, Yahoo! offered to sell the domain back to Baio. And now, with a fully-funded kickstarter
, he's planning on "rebuilding it for the modern era using tools and platforms that weren't available when it was first designed." Welcome to the brilliant life, stupid death, and improbable return of Upcoming.org. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Jun 3, 2014 -
How Russia’s Troll Army Hit America. The documents show instructions provided to the commenters that detail the workload expected of them. On an average working day, the Russians are to post on news articles 50 times. Each blogger is to maintain six Facebook accounts publishing at least three posts a day and discussing the news in groups at least twice a day. By the end of the first month, they are expected to have won 500 subscribers and get at least five posts on each item a day. On Twitter, the bloggers are expected to manage 10 accounts with up to 2,000 followers and tweet 50 times a day.
posted by shivohum
on Jun 2, 2014 -
The Federal Communications Commission has announced
that they would propose new rules allowing content providers to pay ISPs for priority "fast lanes," reversing their earlier position and effectively rejecting the principle of net neutrality
held since the earliest days of the internet. The full set of proposed rules will be announced on May 15. [more inside]
posted by theodolite
on Apr 24, 2014 -
is "a comedic satirical sci-fi pop-musical based on the theories of Ray Kurzweil and other futurists. It’s the story of two Miami girls and how they deal with the technological singularity, as told through as series of cinematic tweets." [more inside]
posted by mysticreferee
on Apr 20, 2014 -
How I got here in the end.
Picture this: you're a former drug dealer who has turned to hacking for a living. You're crashing in an apartment a bit older than Texas, surrounded by about seventeen computers, sleeping on a futon with a girlfriend with metre-long purple dreadlocks, and planning your defection from one net-based futuristic corporation to another over Korean take-away food. [more inside]
posted by bitmage
on Apr 18, 2014 -