It seems in many ways dumb devices are better than smart devices:
Why? Security, privacy, and quality.
Anything with a network connection can be hacked: smart TV’s, cars, streaming boxes, appliances, routers and every other smart device, or IoT device, have all been hacked.
Anything that gets a software update can get hacked. That’s called a backdoor.
Then there’s the fact that most smart devices track how you use them, and many of them upload and sell that information to 3rd parties. There is money to be made in tracking the habits of their users, and companies exist to make money.
Think about it. Look around your life. Think about what you need to do, and if that needs to be trackable, hackable, and exploitable.
Things we used to do without smart technology:
Watch TV or Listen to music
Read a book
Play a game
Talk to a friend
1. Insert needle into groove. 2. Enjoy!
Nowadays, most people use connected devices to accomplish these tasks. The underbelly of the convenience they promise is the tracking and exploitation these devices offer their manufacturers.
Is the world better after knowing everything you’ve watched, listened to, read, googled, browsed, and seen? I’d argue no.
The only thing improved is the bottom line of the company selling this data, and their ability to get the device to keep you using it longer than you would have naturally.
I always feel like somebody’s watching me!
The lack of security and privacy in their software is covered up with perpetual updates.
Overall, the whole situation doesn’t feel very smart to me.
Tribalism based on opinion and politics. It’s inevitable.
It could abolish the economy. It could crush the democracy. It could trample on the constitution and bill of rights.
30 years ago I was fascinated by the internet and what it could bring. A new age of enlightenment. I studied and dreamed.
20 years ago I was in the middle of it, working at a dotcom advertising agency, building the groundwork for it.
About 10 years ago I decided I didn’t want to keep playing this game with my personal profile. I’ve been online all day and most nights for 20+ years now, so I figured if my actual name was posting things about all of my interests both work and privately, well, my privacy had no way of surviving. Anyone in the future could search and learn every single thing about me without ever meeting me. This was unsettling, so even though I continued to use services I had to, I try to use aliases and anonymous services when possible, and still have never had a Facebook account.
For the last 10 years I’ve been watching Facebook, Instagram, Google, Xbox, even Apple gobble up every single datapoint they can about their users. They get plenty from me even after efforts to minimize it.
So where’s it all going?
Analytics. Refined data at our fingertips. All to be an informed consumer, right? How much will you pay for that information?
This is big data + the cloud + commercial interests + human vanity and fear. This is our future.
Who just posted a comment? Who just read my post? Who are they? What do they like? What do they own? — We’re here already, especially if you are in advertising or know how to dig.
Next step – I want to buy something. Show me the stores nearby. Now filter to the stores locally owned. Or only certain types of neighborhoods. Or with ownership of a certain ethnicity.
Next step — [after filter to local owned] – none found. OK show corporate stores nearby that donate to a certain political cause or party.
Next step — I need a contractor. Search by political affiliation and ethnicity.
This is why people don’t put their Facebook name on Craigslist.
The logical end of this tech, once the weak privacy and fairness laws are obliterated, is total knowledge of all affiliations, history, likes and dislikes of every single person and corporate entity you encounter in your day.
Unless we are all batshit crazy before then and never make it….
If a President Trump decides we need to “close up the internet in some way” like Candidate Trump wishes, is it even possible?
[Someone not to ask is Sarah Palin. She’s gotta be steaming mad that Trump stole her act.]
Ask the nerds of Slashdot.
Deport millions of illegals? Determine visitation based on religion? Build a 500 mile wall across the desert for free? Call China and ask for our money back? All are recent proposals of the yuuuge-brained Donald.
Which way to Mexico?
But close the internet?
This one has silly and serious details and made a great poll at Slashdot:
Snip undersea fiber optic cables
C4 or thermite on every BGP router
Bulldoze, bulldoze, bulldoze!
Steer all communication satellites into the Pacific
Re-open the office of censorship
Make unauthorized encryption a felony
Ban figurative speech and nicknames
Require Facebook login for everything
As of this writing, #8 was at 47%!
Let’s dissect this a bit.
1 is equivalent to cutting the plug and would be considered an act of war and corporate sabotage.
2 is a direct attack on the primary routers of the internet backbone and could probably be enacted by an agreement of world governments.
3 is funny. Thinking the internet is a building.
4 would be an awesome movie. But too much hardware up there to crash it all when they just put them all into reboot mode at the same time.
5 is right around the corner if/when we elect the next religious conservative. This could also be known as the Apple Store depending on your angle.
6 could be done through the legal system and seems a likely route if things continue on their current path.
7 could also be done through the legal system but I don’t see how they could enforce it since every system manages it’s own user list and people could continue to use aliases.
8 is the practical version of #7 which is why it is winning. BUT based on how much racism and other types of hatred are posted to Facebook every day, I don’t see the public shaming aspect of Facebook enough to control the entire population.
As usual, The Donald is clueless. He said he’d “talk to Bill Gates about this” like that would help!
Hey there sailor, nice DOS.
Just like talk of banning Muslims hurts more than helps, The Donald’s believe that most illegals walk here through the Mexican desert. They don’t fly, drive, float, dig or legally enter their way here, they walk. So that big dumb wall would indeed get in their way. Trump!
Only North Korea can shut down the internet in their country. US Presidents have nowhere near the power of the North Korean dictator. Is that a problem, The Donald Sir Great and All Powerful Ruler Trump? You fucking idiot. Bring it. Tell me I’m nobody. You’re a yuuuuge assss.
Why the hatred of quality music and sound right now? Is it really the machines taking over?
Consumer audio suffers this weird delusion. It seems to be a digital blindness.
It started in the 80’s but was a small segment of the listening population. Simple nerds.
In the 90’s it was distracted by the creation of the internet. They built the infrastructure while the arts flourished (money helps), and the digital babies sprung up everywhere.
[note – I’m one of the early ones. By 1991 I was pretty convinced computers were going to run just about everything by Y2K so I learned them, made a career of them, and continue to this day to be a technology worker, user, and lover.]
Then the iPod hit. “Good enough” took over for a nice ride that I figured would have run it’s course by now. Of course they would get better at playing music! (ok once). Of course digital would figure out how to sound better than a 2001 mp3 on a 2002 iPod (it has).
Even Steve Frickin’ Jobs didn’t think people would stand for the quality of mp3’s.
I don’t know, did 9/11 knock everyone into everything is a matter of life and death, and if my iPod gets better sounding, well that is shallow thinking?
Sound quality is not life and death, it’s about life only.
It’s been 15 years of this downward turn in quality. Even the best artists working now release things that are so loud, so pumped, so faked (in some cases) that no one really even trusts them anymore.
The gods of music are long gone and there are no new ones that aren’t vintage re-do’s. OK very few. I blame the digital machines and our willingness to accept their flaws in quality.
I’m a 1980 TV. I should be good enough quality forever, right? Oh no, I’m not a stereo, haha!
Meanwhile, TV has been upgraded at least 4 times in the USA since the CD shipped.
I sound way better than a phone you downgraded suckers!
Now Jay Z, pushing his Tidal service, is forced to talk sound quality. That’s the only thing Tidal has over competitors – BITRATE. They stream the same stuff, they just stream it at 5x the data rate. CD quality.
If he cracks the code and gets mainstream person to understand that 1400k > 256k EVEN IN AUDIO, and you guessed it, 5800k > 1400k too. See how easy?
One side story to my debates about audio quality is how the mainstream tech press – the people who cover gadgets, phones, TV’s, laptops, etc. – always seem to have their head up their asses when it comes to audio products.
Their ignorance of audio basics is shielded by an arrogance about all things consumer tech. They wrongfully assume expertise and botch their reviews.
The message boards & comments after the review are usually worse, with outright false claims masquerading as fact and characters of all stripes blaring opinions disguised as common-sense fact. I sometimes take up the challenge of straightening these arguments out and of course it usually gets me nowhere – unless the rabbit hole of internet flame battles is really a destination!
My latest attempt at education got me banned from Ars Technica, a site about technology that asked me to leave their community for claiming that MP3 is less than perfect for music. Oh the horror! I’ve had similar luck and been told to scram from other tech sites, too.
Banning is the nerd response to having their worldview challenged. I’m trying to help these dolts. They are like the flat-earthers of the audio world. I was online when most of these chaps were in diapers!
Such a strange time warp: these ultra-modern people holding onto ancient mp3 files while their games, TVs, monitors, cameras, watches, GPS, cars, and every other digital devicein their lives continues to increase in resolution, and thus r e a l i s m.
Yet they wrongly think they can’t hear – and no one else can hear either – any increase in quality, ever! Snake oil! Monster cables! Rich rock stars!
Even if you are a master musician like Tom Petty, a legendary producer like Bruce Botnick, a professional recording engineer, a classical musician, or some other heavyweight in the field of professional audio, you are called a scam artist and/or deaf by these gadget loving fools!
The world of good enough rules certain people. They profess fashion over substance and know that now must be the best. A classic case of experts being drowned out by idiots.
They equate recognizing music with loving, knowing, feeling, and creating music.
If you bring up the inner ear on these tech sites, they ban you. Actual bitrate, they ban you. Known psychological issues with ABX testing of music, they ban you. I have an entire list of topics that immediately get me downvoted or banned on consumer tech sites when discussing audio products.
Oh well, tell you what Ars Technica – fuck off. I’m tired of fighting. I’ve participated and read your site for over 15 years now and you ban me for stating something so obvious about a 20 year old tech compromise? Sad. I suppose much of it was time wasted since your message board is overrun by assholes that share that belief.
Ars claims to cover every advancement in the tech-gadget world yet you shit on audio products and audio professionals. Why is that? Perhaps jealousy. Gadgets come and go but music lasts forever.
I was told by some greybeards in music production decades ago to never trust the technology world “because they have no idea when it comes to audio”. I suppose this aligns with that. Techies don’t want a debate or to be educated, they want to ban those that expose their ignorance, and they love using terms they don’t even understand in practical use. Lots of keyboard jockeys.
Modern ignorance is thinking this thing can’t play music that sounds as good or better than an iPhone.
Hopefully this trend changes soon, since these people are so influential over mainstream music purchases. They argue their day away about whether 320k sounds better than 256k, and then ban people who say 1400k, or 5700k, sounds better. Their math doesn’t line up.
They can quote statistics showing you something is less or the same as something else. They can reference ridiculous studies attempting to capture sound quality differences with no understanding of – or concern for – musical enjoyment. So many of these people link back to xiph dot org – they are like an army of quality denialists.
But ask them to prove that something sounds better than something else. They cannot do that because their science isn’t science at all.
It amounts to a pile of garbage. Trust your own ears. Seek higher quality and you shall find it.
It makes sense that it would be the gadget fans first in line to explain their perceived limitations with the human body.
These are people that often look to technology to do things that they could in fact do better themselves with just a little bit of training and effort.
Recently Taylor Swift made news by pulling her latest album from Spotify and other streaming music services. Her statement calls these new services “a grand experiment” and said she doesn’t feel comfortable putting her music into that system as it’s currently set up.
I agree with her. Taylor is smart to negotiate with her record being a hot commodity right now. I believe this comes down to royalty rates, not a full retreat from streaming pop music.
Before streaming/mp3 – Old Way– you heard a new song/artist either from a friend, browsing, or on the radio. If you decided you must hear it on-demand, you bought a copy for yourself. You’d pay $10-20 for a hard copy complete with artwork and case and take it home.
How did this system sustain for 50+ years? Old Way
1 – Radio payed royalties for every track they played, based on their total listenership. The radio earned their money from advertisers based on listenership/ratings.
2 – The $10-20 you paid for the album/cd/cassette was split up amongst the various parties that got that music to you: about $5 to the store, $5 to the record label, $3 to the distributor/warehouse, and maybe $1 made it back to the artist. This changed based on the deal the artist had, but no artist earned below $.25 per album sale.
3 – This gave us a functioning network of music stores, music distributors, music labels, and popular recording artists that could earn a decent living from their succesful recorded work.
The streaming system works very differently: New Way
1 – Radio is still around and paying royalties, but listenership has declined steadily for 20+ years, reducing ad rates and royalty payments.
2 – If you add Taylor Swift to your streaming favorites and can hear her songs whenever you want, Spotify pays royalties at the level of $.0005 per song streamed. Let’s use this to project some earnings. Taylor Swift now needs 100,000 streamed plays to earn the same as selling 1 single CD. New Way
Out of 10k fans, if half buy the new album that earns her $5000 Old Way. To earn that from streaming she would need 10 million plays from those 10k fans, or 1ooo plays per person (20 per week) all year. 5k fans that would have bought the CD would need to stream her song 40 times a week for a year to equal the same earnings from the CD years. New Way
3 – It’s not just Miss Swift’s bank account – think of how many other jobs are removed in this model — the music store (most are long gone), the music distributor (also going extinct), the music label (down to 2 majors left), the professional music studios (paid for by the labels), all the artwork and packaging, truck drivers, etc. and on top of that artists can no longer earn the same streaming hits to people. That’s a lot of jobs wiped out by online distribution of music.
I agree that streaming won’t go away any time soon, so the major artists will continue to negotiate over rates. I don’t buy any of the crying from the streaming companies about how expensive it is to license songs. You are launching an entire business on the art/content of others and you should have to pay a rate that allows your content creators to not just survive, but thrive.
I have legally streamed my music to at least hundreds of thousands of people and I have earned < $1 in all that time. It is not a sustainable model, convenient or not.
Hahahahah too funny. Apple is showing off their new stuff, they stream through their servers, we all tune in, and guess what ….. hang, crash, wtf about 1 minute in. Posting this now as I’m getting nothing from my browser.
I’m still probably buying an iPhone 6. Good to know it can still crash the internet.
Google has finally reversed their “real names only” policy they were pushing for Google+, which was affecting people’s Youtube and even Gmail usage.
I’m sure they will still make it confusing as hell to understand, and of course, as long as they can track you and sell it to someone they can do it without your legal name. The more you post the more they can earn off you, so anything stopping you from posting cuts into their bottom line.
They are now allowing multiple “nickname” accounts so you just might see Ezzy over there. I still hate and try to avoid all of the general social media sites – facebook, twitter, instagram, vine, tinder, etc…. I keep my online socializing to specific places, such as SoundCloud, Reverbnation, and random message boards like Gearslutz, TapeOp, Slashdot, ArsTechnica. And of course wordpress and Disqus for snarking ;-).
Anyone who wants to know what I’m thinking about can check WFNK.com, after all I’m paying the server bill and no advertisers or tracking here!
Internet snark has become a major annoyance. I often long for the days when only nerds were on the internet. If you haven’t heard it before, snark is the term used for sarcastic, asshole responses in the comments at the bottom of every story and in every thread you are interested in following.
Snark, when done right, is a quick bit of ignorance or obviousness to lighten up the discussion. It’s the typed version of a quick dumb joke. It is often targeted at a poster who is ranting, repeating, or working with false assumptions. Good snark is the elephant in the room.
When the nerds had the internet all to themselves snark was often technical and sometimes obscure, and the effect was often endearing because it represented a frustrated nerd cracking wise. Nowadays with every member of the general public posting daily, their little Facebook faces crowding up the entire web, snark has become the standard language of the internet, and the way it is practiced these days is downright unfunny if not horrible in it’s completeness.
Seemingly every discussion on the internet (okay about 75% in my experience) has someone posting garbage insults, opinions, and false information. It’s like the ignorance of mankind on full display. We are treated to people who can type but not spell, people who must not have made it through 6th grade grammar, people who’s hatred drives them to post horrible things under their own name, often times with a picture of them and their unfortunate offspring. Making fun of people’s appearance is something the nerds never bothered with, that was against the rules.
I shudder to think how much snark has affected people’s psyche. The early internet featured nerds having nerdy discussions, so snarky comments just added to your nerdy battles. People weren’t discussing nearly as much emotional content back then.
The fact that the modern internet includes insulting snarks in the comment section of stories about death, disease, and tragedies makes it a pretty horrible place. So much ignorance and insensitivity being posted to this amazing resource known collectively as the internet. Someone posts something nice, someone else posts that they have bad teeth and seeing their teeth was so horrible that it has altered their worldview. Original poster has to deal with that.
Are you guilty? If you log into a single service (like facebook) and cruise around the web posting short, opinionated slams on people or the subject at hand, you are probably snarking. If your posts aren’t funny and could hurt people’s feelings you should know you are pooping in the hallway and you need to get some manners.
Stop insulting people online and move it offline. Have fun sitting at the bar telling people their flaws to their faces. The cute baby in your photo won’t help then.
Hand is not ball! Our little site here is currently under attack from Russian hack-bots so I’ve started to take defensive measures. I’ve had to wipe out all user accounts and some of the various redirects that have built up over the years. You will need to make new accounts and bear with me through this crap. Fucking hackers, they are the worst.
If you imagine hackbots as fembots the day goes better
Don’t worry – none of this can affect you, your computer, or anything. It’s just a take-down on my site that redirects you to other servers for their profit exploitation. If you get through and are on WFNK.com then you are fine. It’s not a spoof or anything like that.
I’m seeing the hack when I try to access from a mobile browser – it was redirecting to .ru (russia) and then to abc.go.com. As of now it’s fixed but these things can be really hard to remove completely.
The idea isn’t to steal his girlfriend for the night but to confuse the hell out of facebook and all the other digital surveillance programs running around us. His mask has been tested with facial recognition software, and the goal of his project is to test, poke, and otherwise undermine the creepy future predicted in Minority Report:
He insists all products will be sold at cost, with no profit made and all proceeds going to sustain the effort to keep surveillance in the public discourse.
“To be clear, I am not anti-surveillance. What I am pushing for is increasing the amount of public discourse about surveillance and how it affects our behavior in public space. When we are watched we are fundamentally changed. We perform rather than be.”
The group is also working on open-source facial-encryption software that replaces faces in video with the artists is currently in the prototype stage and will eventually become available as a free download from the URME website.
“I operate under the principle that my computer is owned by at least three governments” – Costin Raiu
That’s it, folks, the party is over. The internet is owned, as in it is fully compromised. The NSA, it’s competition, and rogue hackers have won over the freedom lovers.
The faster we understand this and react accordingly, the quicker we can move to the next phase of digital communications. If you assume everything (yes everything!) you do on this internet thing is being monitored, analyzed, and perhaps exploited somewhere around the globe, well that’s not the same as the internet we originally had.
Maybe we get rid of passwords now? Just a false sense of security there.
I got on the thing not yet called the internet around 1987. It grew into one if not the most amazing human developed resources ever. But like so many other greats, it didn’t make it past 27 years old.
I know a couple tings about releasing software and web apps and this one is a huge system with even larger demand. But still, I would think they would have poured enough money on it to get tested before October 1. I’m sure there will be some tell-all IT tales published from this massive project.
Our government at work, and I’m not really using that as a slam. No company is big enough to build a web service this large, so it’s interesting watching the feds try.
BTW coverage isn’t set to begin until 1/1/14 and the deadline for that was set to 12/15/13, so this shouldn’t be more than a small bump in the launch.
Recently Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s first website was discovered in a cache somewhere. It was from the late 90’s and little Mark was in 9th grade and learned how to make a HTML page and post to some defunct blogging service. My first page went up about 1996 so I found this fascinating.
Little Zuck was advertising for his first version of a social network. Even back then he was pushing something that confused the market and relied on an air of inclusion. He actually called his idea “The Web” (no, not the real www-web, but hey who cares about confusing people). Continue reading →
Feels like it. I can’t read a single story about anything current without racist, ignorant comments blaming it on Obama the muslim and his lazy no good supporters.
I think it’s because everyone on facebook…. all these non-tech morons with too much tech and time on their hands… can now comment on articles quickly…. and every article can get comments somehow… and since there are millions just reading and posting online, why not post ridiculous shit?
Sometimes I honestly feel like writing down and posting the name, job, and facebook link of every redneck asshole I find online. But I know that compiling this list makes me no better than the idiots behind the “red scare”. It is the new red scare – red neck republicans posting their nonsensical rants about socialism (which they obviously have no experience or understing of). Rednecks arguing over facts is entertaining but toxic.
I think the tech is coming soon that the second you become aware of someone’s name you will get a report on their politics, likes, dislikes, and other online posting stuff. If so we will have to determine if we ever want to do business with right-wing maniacs anymore.
Happy belated 30th birthday to the modern internet!
In 1982, Vint Cerf and his team at ARPANET had a problem. They had roughly 1,000 servers spread around america trying to network with each other. The addressing and networking protocols they were using were failing at that scale. So they set out (with US Department of Defense funding) to develop a far more robust protocol.
Their new system was called TCP/IP and it’s the core of the internet to this day. They installed it and turned it all on January 1, 1983. Now the network could scale, and it grew quickly through the 80’s.
By 1989 a professor named Tim Berners-Lee was finishing up his design on the http hypertext protocol so he could share his editable research notes with colleagues overseas. This became the www by the early 90’s and we haven’t looked back since.
30 years of internet and look how far we’ve come. Try to imagine the internet in 2043!
I have been observing the growth of Facebook in the social space for years now, and after growing more and more frustrated at the ‘facebook effect’ taking place online I’ve decided to start posting about it. My fear is that facebook will become the defacto internet login ID which will cause your entire online self and your privacy to be tracked and sold to the highest bidder. Continue reading →
Not only can your private information get stolen by unknown 3rd party ‘advertising’ companies (something you probably don’t care about if you are using Facebook in the first place), but from my perspective, it’s much bigger than that. The issue is not about your indivdual Facebook security, it’s about Facebook’s attempt to become the defacto ‘internet ID’ that we all need to use the world’s information networks.
Some of you might be fine using one profile tied directly to your legal name, your family, your job, and your life as you surf around the world wide web, but this is not how the system was designed and not how it grew to such prominence. Anonymity, or at least misdirection, is an important part of information sharing on the internet.
The only way to stop a bandwagon is to jump off it. It might still crash and burn down the road with some riders, but you’ll be safe and sound with just small scratches.
So don’t use your Facebook login to interact with other sites. Doing so will ultimately kill the original purpose of the internet and turn the whole thing into a big, even less secure, Facebook. Not to mention all of your posts, likes, and views during all of your browsing exploits — even that one night where you drank that whole bottle! — will be available for future employers to review. Think about it.
A single internet ID, controlled by anyone (Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft, etc.) ?will kill the internet. Do not kill the internet.
It’s the end of 2011 in America. Some say post-race. I say BS.
Some of us were raised to treat people based on the value of their character, while some use skin color and cultural differences to separate. Don’t believe me? Here’s some names used regularly to describe President Obama and first lady Michelle, pulled at random from the comments on any right-wing web site: Continue reading →
Going way back into the ‘what is the internet?’ file, here’s a great article about the actual first pitch and live demo of the internet (then called by it’s acronym ARPANET).
Yes, it did crash once. Yes, some people left the event convinced the technology was going nowhere. And yes, it was another decade of development before anyone outside of computer science departments heard about it.
I wasn’t even born when that demo took place, and wouldn’t get online for myself until 1986. Hard to believe the net has been in development for 40 years already!