Internet

On The Media

#34 - The Accidental Outing of Rwanda's Most Powerful Troll

Monday, August 18, 2014

Steve Terrill is a journalist who works in Rwanda until he accidentally got the office of Rwanda's president to implicate itself in a long-running online harassment campaign.
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On The Media

The Rare Viral Internet Photo That Contributes To Understanding

Friday, August 15, 2014

Generally, photos that float around the internet are robbed of context, or hoaxes, or are attributed to events at which they didn't occur. So it's nice to see a photo that went viral, and rather than contribute to misunderstanding, it helped the person who posted it learn more about the world.

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On The Media

So, Yeah, Those Russian Hackers? There Are Reasons To Be Skeptical

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Five reasons not to freak out over the latest reports of a massive personal data breach.

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On The Media

Pope Francis Says: Stop All That Downloadin'!

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Ok, well he didn't exactly say that. Bazooka from GI Joe said that. Still Pope Francis, while calling the internet a "gift from God," said that us younguns waste too much time on it. Via the AP:

"Maybe many young people waste too many hours on futile things," the pope said in a short speech to the altar servers - young people who help the priest during religious services - who had come to Rome on a pilgrimage.

"Our life is made up of time, and time is a gift from God, so it is important that it be used in good and fruitful actions."

...

[he] also cautioned that high-speed world of digital social media needed calm, reflection and tenderness if it was to be "a network not of wires but of people".

He has a point. If I could have all the time back I spent furnishing my house in Animal Crossing or building massive ships in Captain Forever, I might have been able to apply that time to good and fruitful actions. Still, as we attempt to prove again and again on TLDR, the internet's network of wires is frequently utilized to create or strengthen human connections. It's not the network itself, it's how you use it.

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On The Media

eBay Bans Albums By Black Metal Artist Burzum

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

It has been well established throughout the history of TLDR that I am a fan of what one could call "difficult" music. And even for me, Noreweigan Black Metal is a little out there. Not simply because it's totally brutal and unrelenting, it is also infamous for being a culture of Satanism, suicide, and church burning. Varg Vikernes, who records under the name Burzum, is often cited as a poster child for all that is ugly about the genre, having burned several churches and spent 21 years in prison for murdering fellow Black Metal artist Euronymous in the mid 90's. It's all pretty gross. So is that why eBay is making it impossible to purchase his music?

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On The Media

Drawing Pictures With Your Run Mapping App

Monday, August 04, 2014

Look, I run for exercise, but I don't like it. Sure, I love the feeling of accomplishment, but I think my biggest problem with it, aside from the fact that I am not all that athletic, is that it's just boring. I try to spice it up with high energy running mixes and, of course, listening to podcasts, but I just haven't found a way to make it entertaining. I guess that's because I'm not as enterprising as copywriter Claire Wyckoff, whose new blog, "Running Drawing" may have finally come up with a way to make running fun.

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On The Media

A Plugin That Searches OkCupid for Sexual Predators

Monday, August 04, 2014

On last week's episode of TLDR, we spoke to OkCupid President and founder Christian Rudder about the company's recent disclosure that it had been running an ethically questionable experiment on its users

In the experiment, the company took users who the site's algorithm found were bad matches (based on a battery of questions users answer) and told them they were actually good matches, and vice versa. In the interview I took issue with this experiment for a number of reasons. One of those reasons is because buried in the list of questions users get on OkCupid is this question: "Do you feel there are any circumstances in which a person is obligated to have sex with you?" I argued that this could lead to unsafe dating situations, to which Rudder replied "I mean there's also a lot of stuff we don't ask, I mean, y'know, so like, we don't know any of our users. Y'know so like we make no claim to the safety for anyone, and obviously we do everything we can to encourage a safe environment. But like, I think it's disingenuous to suggest that we're setting up people in dangerous situations." 

One enterprising hacker named Meitar Moscovitz (AKA Maymay) has developed a plugin to try and detect potentially dangerous situations before they occur.

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On The Media

TLDR #32 - An Imperfect Match

Monday, August 04, 2014

Last week, dating site OK Cupid put up a blog post describing experiments it conducted on its users. In one experiment, the site told users who were bad matches for one another that they were actually good matches, and vice versa. Alex and PJ talk to OK Cupid President and co-founder Christian Rudder about the ubiquity of online user experimentation and his defense of potentially sending OK Cupid's users on bad dates.

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On The Media

#32 - An Imperfect Match

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Some users of dating site OkCupid are upset at revelations that it was deliberately experimenting on its users by taking people who were bad matches and telling they were actually good for one another.

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On The Media

The FTC Is Suing Amazon For In-App Purchases By Children

Friday, July 11, 2014

The FTC wants to make it harder for children to make purchases in tablet and smartphone games.

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On The Media

Making Online Art Boring and Static

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Electric Objects, the small company which aims to “put the Internet on your wall” by creating an internet-connected screen with the ability to display a lot of art has launched a Kickstarter campaign.

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On The Media

YouTube is Calling Out ISPs That Are Throttling Traffic

Monday, July 07, 2014

Recently, Netflix royally pissed off Verizon by calling out the ISP for slow streaming video. The two companies went back and forth for a while, with Verizon demanding that Netflix cut it out, and Netflix essentially saying "Ok, fine. But we might bring them back. You should serve your customers better." Now Google is offering an even more granular service called the "Video Quality Report," which will allow users to check out their YouTube streaming quality and compare to other providers in the area.

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On The Media

Don't Let Facebook's Emotional Manipulation Study Make You So Mad

Monday, June 30, 2014

Last week, Facebook announced it had conducted an experiment on some of its users without their knowledge or permission. 

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On The Media

Ok, Ok. We'll Talk About "Yo."

Friday, June 20, 2014

This week, the tech press did backflips over an app called "Yo." It's a messaging app that allows users to text the word "Yo." Nothing else. Just the word "Yo." Let that sink in for a second before we move on.

It was heralded as geniusit was derided as stupid. It was the subject of a conversation about meaning and subtext in online communication. It was given the avant garde treatment it deserved. Disregarding what was written about it, yo has cornered the internet's fickle attention long enough to enter the top 10 in the App store. By any metric, that's a victory.

We didn't write about it. Mostly because we thought there wasn't much to say that hadn't already been said. I think I acknowledged its existence on my twitter feed. Yo.

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On The Media

People Who Get Paid To Edit Wikipedia Articles Now Have to Admit It

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Wikimedia Foundation announced a rule change this week. Anyone who’s been paid to edit a wikipedia page (public relations firms, for instance) is now required to disclose that on the site.

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On The Media

TLDR #29 - Olivia Taters, Robot Teenager

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Rob Dubbin accidentally built a teenage girl named Olivia Taters who lives on the internet. She may not always communicate in complete sentences, but she's convincing enough that teenagers actually converse with her. Also, she's very, very funny. PJ talks to Dubbin about how Olivia came into existence, and what she's been talking about lately.

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On The Media

On the Internet someone will always believe that you’re Rachel Leigh Cook.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Bill Gates, like several billion other people, has kids. His eldest is named Jennifer Katharine Gates, and a chunk of the Internet seems to think that she looks identical to actress Rachel Leigh Cook. The problem with that is that she looks nothing like Cook, people have just been posting images of Cook labeled as photos of Gates for years. A search for her name on Google Image Search yields a wall of photos of Cook, along with one or two of the real Gates.

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On The Media

250 New Emoji Characters Announced

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Unicode Consortium released two hundred fifty new emoji yesterday. The new set doesn't add any racial diversity, although you do get an image of a derelict house. 

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On The Media

Match.Com Uses Facial Recognition Software To Pair Users With People Who Look Like Their Exes

Monday, June 16, 2014

When it comes to dating, people generally have a type. Blonds, brunettes, big noses, little ears, a person often finds an immutable set of physical characteristics attractive. It's just a fact. So enterprising online dating company Match.com is hoping to capitalize on this tendency. Partnering with an LA based company called Three Day Rule that matches people to dates using facial recognition software, users will be asked to send in pictures of their exes, which will be used to determine who they will be matched with on the site. 

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