Some of these links have collected a little dust over the past few weeks. Things have been quiet around here whole I dealt with the little matter of moving from one island to another. If you enjoy the quips, read on. If you only came for the potentially useful links, I’m sure you can find them. Enjoy.
How Not to be Seen
Salon to Ad Blockers: Can We Use Your Browser to Mine Cryptocurrency? | Ars Technica — Salon might think this is clever, but I doubt they think it’s honest. Nor do I think they care. What stands out to me, other than litany of other implications, is yet more massaging of meaning. Salon claims it will take advantage of ‘unused computing power’, then clocks the CPU to ridiculous levels. But the real kicker is clause of ‘one browser session’. People simply don’t close their browsers anymore, so this could go on for a lot longer than what unsuspecting users think it will. In short, not a fan.
Hey Alexa, Is It True a TV Advert Made Amazon Echo Order Cat Food? | Technology | the Guardian — If nothing else, this illustrates what should already be clear. These devices have one function, buy stuff.
Key iPhone Source Code Gets Posted Online in ‘Biggest Leak in History' – Motherboard — I was listening to a popular ‘tech’ podcast a few days ago and heard another proclamation that Apple is more focused on security than anybody ever. Sure, all the evidence supports that. Oh wait, no it doesn’t.
Facial Recognition Software Is Coming to Industries Like Fast Food and Luxury Shopping. | Slate — Sadly, this is now inevitable. It’s still creepy, bordering on terrifying.
Objective-See | Mac Malware 2017 — If you’re still under the illusion there is no such thing on macOS
Chinese Police Are Using Facial Recognition Sunglasses to Track Citizens | the Verge — Say what you like, this is happening
Idle at Work
Numbers | Becky Hansmeyer – If you haven’t yet seen the app, check out Snapthread. This is an interesting insight into the difficulties facing independent developers. It is not unlike running an independent blog.
The Light Entertainment War
Can an App That Rewards You for Avoiding Facebook Help Beat Smartphone Addiction? | Technology | the Guardian Or, just stay off Facebook
Facebook personal data use and privacy settings ruled illegal by German court | Technology | The Guardian
Heiko Duenkel, litigation policy officer at the VZBV, said: “Facebook hides default settings that are not privacy friendly in its privacy centre and does not provide sufficient information about it when users register. This does not meet the requirement for informed consent.”
The court also ruled eight clauses in Facebook’s terms of service to be invalid, including terms that allow Facebook to transmit data to the US and use personal data for commercial purposes. The company’s “authentic name” policy – a revision of a rule that once required users to use their “real names” on the site, but which now allows them to use any names they are widely known by – was also ruled unlawful.
Early Facebook and Google Employees Form Coalition to Fight What They Built | The New York Times — Doing anything evenly vaguely related to tech can be disheartening at times. If you can see through all the bullshit, let alone have a desire to present a balance against some of the more disturbing trends, you might find some hope in this project.
The effect of technology, especially on younger minds, has become hotly debated in recent months. In January, two big Wall Street investors asked Apple to study the health effects of its products and to make it easier to limit children’s use of iPhones and iPads. Pediatric and mental health experts called on Facebook last week to abandon a messaging service the company had introduced for children as young as 6. Parenting groups have also sounded the alarm about YouTube Kids, a product aimed at children that sometimes features disturbing content.
The new group also plans to begin lobbying for laws to curtail the power of big tech companies. It will initially focus on two pieces of legislation: a bill being introduced by Senator Edward J. Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, that would commission research on technology’s impact on children’s health, and a bill in California by State Senator Bob Hertzberg, a Democrat, which would prohibit the use of digital bots without identification.
The Idiot in Society
You Don't Understand Bitcoin, but You Understand Free Money — I’m not posting his for what it shares, but for the utterly moronic sentiment in its title. This so-called free money has an economic underpinning, whether people like this idiot want to believe it or not. We could go all the way back to the labour if you like, but let’s talk about energy consumption instead. Bitcoin alone is currently using more than 1m transatlantic flights worth of carbon per year. If we really want to make something of the revolutionary technology that makes bitcoin possible, we'll have to deal with all the snake oil salesmen, and sociopaths first.
Bitcoin’s energy sage is huge – we can't afford to ignore it | The Guardian — Thought I was making up that figure? If you know anything about economics, you know value has to come from somewhere. The next time you hear some idiot banging on about Bitcoin being decoupled from politics, remind them… actually, forget it, who knows what those people are high on.
Could be, Might be useful
Markdown Converter | OU Libraries Tools — A tool like this can help enable an iOS only workflow if you work with Markdown.
10 Hidden Tricks That'll Make Life With Your iPhone X so Much Easier | BGR — If you have one, this is actually useful.
Left by Rekka — If you’re looking for a simple, plain text writing app.
Setting Up GitHub Pages HTTPS Custom Domains Using CloudFront and Lamda@Edge — A while ago I posted a reminder of what education users can get through Github. If you’re already on that train, here is a tutorial for adding ssl to GitHub pages (check)
Tweak Spotify's Recommendation Tech to Create Custom Playlists | Engadget — Yet more fun with the Spotify API
And now, for Something Completely Different
Solo, a Star Wars Story | Kottke — I’m with Kottke, my ongoing love and obsession with Star Wars is embarrassing and irrational. I’m an outlier, in that I feel like the Last Jedi all but redeemed the crimes of Abrams. Not that I really cared in the end, when it comes to a galaxy far far away, I inevitably give in to childish joy. Whatever this ends up being, I intend to enjoy it
Gorgeous 50-Megapixel Panoramas Shot on an iPhone at 20,000 Feet — It’s these capabilities that trap us in the double bind. What you can do with an iPhone now is amazing, especially in photography. Consider these pictures were taken with a phone, and therefore camera, that is already 2 generations old.
Kids Use Data From Space to Make Cool Basslines With a Modular Synthesizer | Synthtopia — Ah space music.
Photo by Daniel Cheung on Unsplash