Author Topic: After Facebook  (Read 116953 times)

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Offline GnyHwy

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #25 on: September 19, 2012, 07:11:42 »
I'm no investor, but it seems pretty simplistic to me that the original shareholders will not open shares to the public until it has plateaued and there is no more significant profits to be gained.  Once that happens they sell in order to share the risk, which they were clearly smart in doing.

I guess the next plan for insider traders is to let them drop, buy them back for significantly cheaper than they sold them, introduce the next great thing, and watch them climb to the next plateau, only to be sold again to the next bunch of suckers.
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Offline Thucydides

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #26 on: September 19, 2012, 19:00:34 »
But the investors will just eat the Mac'n'cheese.... ;D ;D ;D
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #27 on: October 19, 2012, 00:28:42 »
Version 2.0 of this will have your laptop or tablet deliver an electric shock when you log into these sites. Army.ca is productive time, however....

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/facebook/9616910/Man-slapped-when-he-looks-at-Facebook-to-increase-productivity.html

Quote
Man slapped when he looks at Facebook 'to increase productivity'
A computer programmer claims he increased his productivity at work by hiring a woman to slap him every time she catches him looking at Facebook.

Man slapped when he looks at Facebook 'to increase productivity' Photo: Alamy
By Stewart Maclean 10:02AM BST 18 Oct 20129 Comments
Maneesh Sethi placed an advert on the classified website Craigslist to recruit someone willing to monitor what he was looking at on his laptop.

The computer expert and writer, from San Francisco, now pays a female employee $8 (£5) an hour to strike him in the face if she spots him wasting time on social media.

Mr Seethi claims the unusual motivational system has helped him boost his productivity from just 35 per cent to around 98 per cent during the working day.

Writing on his blog, he said he felt embarrassed after calculating he wasted around 19 hours every week looking at Facebook or other social media websites.

He wrote: "Humans are social animals – we aren't designed to live and work alone."

"Having worked mostly alone, on my computer, I found that the majority of my time is spent unproductively."
He added: "Nothing makes me more embarrassed than seeing the amount of hours I spend wasted on Reddit and Facebook chat.
"I figured 'This is stupid, why am I wasting this time doing nothing? When I have a boss, or someone of authority watching me, I always get my work done. How can I simulate the authority figure?'

"Naturally, I believe that an authority figure should have real authority.

"So I went on Craigslist, put up an advertisement, and waited to see if anyone would bite."

Mr Seethi published details on his blog of his Craigslist advert, which was entitled '(Domestic gigs) Slap me if I get off task'.
In it he wrote: "I'm looking for someone who can work next to me at a defined location (my house or a café) and will make sure to watch what is happening on my screen.

"When I am wasting time, you'll have to yell at me or if need be, slap me.
"You can do your own work at the same time. Looking for help asap.
"Compensation: $8 / hour, and you can do your own work from your computer at the same time."

Mr Seethi said he was inundated with offers from potential slappers and quickly hired a volunteer he names only as Kara.

He wrote: "Within minutes, my in-box began blowing up.

"I received 20 emails in less than an hour from people who loved the idea. I read through them, found one that stood out, and hired her to meet me at a café the day after.

"The next day, at 9am, I found Kara sitting and waiting for me.

"Pulling up a seat, I gave her the basic instructions – she would monitor me for the next few hours, and make sure that I was staying on task.

"I gave her a list of action items that I needed to accomplish, and made her promise to force me to stay on task."

A video on YouTube shows Mr Seethi working in a café alongside his new employee.
Kara can be seen slapping him firming around the head when she spots him wasting time online.
The computer programmer claimed the ever-present threat of a physical assault helped him to radically boost his output by staying focused on his work.

He wrote: "The Slap Challenge added a playful, silly element to working.

"It gave me a non-conventional reminder of what I was supposed to be doing – and it ended up being something I didn't want to happen again."
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #28 on: January 13, 2013, 10:46:06 »
A web developer in Canada is working on Web 3.0. Not sure I am clear on the benefits of this (but then again, most of what I actually do on computers or the Internet could be handled by mid 90's vintage machines anyway). Something to keep an eye on:

http://business.financialpost.com/2013/01/13/prince-of-pop-up-picks-canada-to-build-the-next-web/

Quote
Prince of Pop-up picks Canada to build the next Web

Rick Spence | Jan 13, 2013 7:00 AM ET | Last Updated: Jan 11, 2013 2:35 PM ET
More from Rick Spence | @rickspence

He’s been called a Web pioneer, the Prince of Pop-ups, and “the most hated man on the Internet.” In the 1990s, Brian Shuster developed such innovations as sub-domains, pop-up ads and click-tracking. Love him or hate him, Shuster helped create the Web we know today — and now he’s building the next Web.

Born in Montreal, Shuster’s family moved to Fresno, Calif., when he was seven years old. After studying business and communications at UCLA, he got in on the ground floor of the Internet, hiring software talent from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to develop Web-hosting and online advertising systems that became industry standards. He was a brilliant, but polarizing figure who sought patents for many innovations and then tried to claim a piece of the action from major companies using sub-domains or pop-up ads. Shuster was ahead of his time; when he sought venture capital, he says Silicon Valley VCs turned him down, because they thought the Web was a fad that wouldn’t last.

Related

    Rick Spence’s 10 best lessons in business from 2012
    Canadian CEO shares his time-management expertise
    From Skid Row to High Street: CEO uses past experiences to become business success, help others

    Silicon Valley VCs turned him down, because they thought the Web was a fad that wouldn’t last

Wonder why you’ve never heard of Shuster? He says it’s his “invisibility cloak” — media tend to steer clear from covering business people who have been involved in porn. When he couldn’t finance his activities through intellectual property or venture capital, Shuster and a partner created one of the Web’s first pornography networks, Xpics Publishing, which later boasted two million paying members and revenue of $10-million a month. Shuster avoided the tech meltdown by selling his hosting company, WebJump, for $12-million in 1999. But his porn empire expired in 2000 after conflicts with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and credit-card companies over Xpics’ practice of charging clients before their month-long free trials were up.

Hero or villain? History will judge Shuster on the success of Utherverse, the immersive new platform he’s been developing since before moving to Canada in 2006. Between Utherverse and his IP holding company, Ideaflood, he employs 60 people in Vancouver and will soon receive his 90th patent.

If you are dreaming of moving to Silicon Valley, Shuster says Canada, and particularly Vancouver, is the place to change the world. He cites four reasons why:

    Silicon Valley knowledge workers use companies as transitional stepping stones. To recruit someone from another firm, you have to give them a better job title, he says. As soon as they get that title, he says, they update their resumés and start looking for another employer.
   
 The customer experience is better in Canada. Shuster says he has found a higher service ethic in his Vancouver workforce than in the U.S. “Here, people want to help,” he says. “It seems to be a natural Canadian trait.”
   
 High-tech talent is just as strong in British Columbia as in California, if not stronger. When it comes to 3D gaming, Shuster says, “the talent pool is the best in North America, and maybe the best in the world.”
   
Finally, he says, the Valley’s get-rich-quick mentality impedes longer-term success. High-tech workers in California want to develop an app for a year and then sell out, he says; Canadians are more willing to tackle bigger projects. “If you want to change the world, you have to commit to it for a decade.”

Courtesy of UtherverseWith VWW, Shuster says, the boundaries between gaming, education, shopping and social media will fade.

That’s what Shuster is doing: Working on the future architecture of the Web. Today’s “flat web,” he says, is fine for search or e-commerce. His VWW (Virtual World Web) is immersive and interactive, with users moving through game-like virtual environments rather than reading static Web pages. With VWW, he says, the boundaries between gaming, education, shopping and social media will fade. Imagine online conventions with trade-show booths, panels, networking breaks and gift bags. Looking for a new home? There’ll be no more 360-degree photo collages of the kitchen; you’ll be a character in a 3D-style rendering, “walking” between rooms to experience the flow of the house.

Shuster says Utherverse is business-friendly. More than 100,000 companies already have virtual presences on the VWW, and developers will find it easy to create 3-D games and applications. His current offerings include Virtual Vancouver, an immersive re-creation of the city for users to explore, as well as Red Light Center (RLC), a not-safe-for-work adult pleasure park based on Amsterdam’s red-light district. In RLC, your customized character can chat, flirt, drink and dance with other people’s avatars, or just head to a private room. Shuster says RLC has more than a million members, along with 10 paying “franchisees” that run RLC sites for other countries or cultures.

In February, Utherverse will release its third-generation VWW platform. Clients intending to leverage the technology already include a university, a major California real estate company, and a big online dating service. As the technology becomes more mainstream, Shuster says conventional browsers will be obsolete by 2015: “It’s inevitable that we will move toward a holodeck, like on Star Trek.”

While he doesn’t know if his platform will become the industry standard (other firms such as IBM and Google have worked on 3-D environments) he is confident Utherverse will become a big player in the new Web. Then maybe Shuster — and Canada — will get more respect.

Rick Spence is a writer, consultant and speaker specializing in entrepreneurship. His column appears weekly in the Financial Post. He can be reached at rick@rickspence.ca
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #29 on: January 26, 2013, 22:08:52 »
Google is up to something, although what exactly is not clear at this time. If they are experimenting with alternatives to conventional cellular service (especially in conjunction with the Android OS and their own suite of services), then what may be under wraps is a much more powerful version of a smartphone or tablet. IF it is a useful screen size like some of the Galaxy phones, that will be very good for people like me who find an iPhone screen hard to read:

http://www.technologyreview.com/view/510341/googles-private-cell-phone-network/

Quote
Google’s Private Cell Phone Network

 A small cell network over the company’s HQ could herald new competition for established carriers.

Filings made with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission reveal that Google wants to start operating its own, very small cell phone network on its Mountain View campus. It’s the latest in a series of hints in recent years that Google is unsatisfied with the way that mobile networks control the mobile Internet.

Google tells the FCC it wants to install up to 50 mobile base stations in buildings on the Western edge of Google’s Mountain View campus, just a block or so away from its main Android building. Up to 200 mobile devices will be used on that “experimental” network and the area covered will be small, with indoor base stations reaching only up to 200 meters, and any outdoors ones reaching no further than a kilometer. The WSJ reports that the frequencies used belong to ClearWire, and aren’t compatible with any U.S. mobile device. They are in use in China, Brazil, and India, though.

Google might just be experimenting with devices for those parts of the world. Or it might be trying something more radical. The search and ad giant has been rumored to be exploring the idea of working with TV provider Dish to launch a wireless Internet service, has already got into the business of providing broadband (see “Google’s Internet Service Might Bring the U.S. Up to Speed”), and has a history of showing interest in ideas that would loosen the grip of cellular providers on mobile devices and what people can do with them.

Google lobbied U.S. regulators to encourage them to open up unused TV spectrum into so-called “white spaces,” as they did in 2009, allowing that portion of the airwaves to be used by any company or device rather than being  licensed exclusively to one company (see “Super Wi-Fi”). In 2008, the company filed a patent for an idea that would appall mobile networks—having mobile devices automatically hop to the cheapest cell network in an area rather than being locked to just one provider at all times.

Google’s biggest strike against the way wireless networks work today came in 2010 and was something of a flop. The company tried to break the U.S. convention of new mobile phones being tied to carrier contracts, only offering the flagship Nexus One smartphone online and unlocked. That experiment lasted only about six months, after Google struggled to cope with customer service requests and learned that U.S. consumers are apparently happier paying a significant markup for a device over two years than a smaller sum upfront.

Google has since played more nicely with cellular networks. Yet the relationships are still fraught, with fallings out over Google’s contactless payments system (blocked on Verizon handsets) and Android’s tethering function (also blocked by some carriers). It’s too early to know whether Google’s private cell phone network in Mountain View will add to that drama, but mobile networks are surely watching closely.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #30 on: January 30, 2013, 21:58:43 »
OOPs. I'm sure there are furious investor calls happening right about now.....

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/01/this-is-how-much-facebook-made-per-user-last-month-2-pennies/272708/

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This Is How Much Facebook Made Per User Last Month: 2 Pennies
By Alexis C. Madrigal

Jan 30 2013, 5:12 PM ET6

For all its ubiquity and $1.59 billion in revenue, the company's net income was $64 million in its last quarter.
 
Every month, a billion people offer their two cents to Facebook, literally. That's roughly how much income the company generated per user per month over its last quarter.

Add it all up and the company made just $64 million on revenue of $1.59 billion. That means the company is generating about half a buck a month of revenue per user, and just $0.02 a month in income. Facebook says that a run-up in R&D hurt their profitability for the quarter.

Nonetheless, compared with the other tech giants (save Amazon, which has its own profitability problems), Facebook is not much of a money machine. It isn't even within an order of magnitude of old-school companies like Microsoft or Oracle, let alone Apple.

 But hey, it's young. And detailed data on all of our lives has got to be worth something, right? Right? And the good news is that for the full year 2012, Facebook generated $13.58 in revenue per user in its most developed markets, the US and Canada. That's up more than $2 over 2011 and $4 over 2010.

Update: Facebook would also probably like me to note that if you don't follow the GAAP method and use Facebook's own accounting, they made $426 million for the quarter, which is considerably more money than $64 million. Then again, there's a reason they're called Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline cupper

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #31 on: February 17, 2013, 18:41:43 »
Half of Facebook parents joined to spy on kids?
You think half those adults on Facebook are there because they love Facebook? No, no. These are merely parents engaged in covert operations.


http://news.cnet.com/8301-17852_3-57569806-71/half-of-facebook-parents-joined-to-spy-on-kids/

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I had always imagined that adults entered the world of Facebook because they wanted to re-enact their teenage years, find a new lover, or "connect" with long-lost relatives whom they never really liked.

Yet a new piece of research has proved mind-altering.

My failure to regularly read the Education Database Online has been mitigated by Mashable and has led me to a new appreciation of the adult world.

For these vital statistics reveal that American parents aren't trying to imitate children so much as spy on them.

It's perfectly well-known that children can be trusted about as much as news stories in Pravda during the Brezhnev era.

So parents feel forced to take the radical step of joining them so that they can beat them. In a psychological sense, you understand.

Indeed, this study suggests that half of all parents sign up with Facebook at least partly in order to see what drugs their kids are taking, who they are consorting with and what they really think about, well, their parents.

An excitable 43 percent of parents admit that they check their kids' Facebook pages every day.

Some 92 percent of them make it so easy for themselves by openly becoming Facebook friends with their kids.

Some might reach the inevitable conclusion that American parents aren't very bright.

If they are making it so obvious they are snooping on their kids by friending them, might they not imagine that the kids, in turn, will not express themselves fully on Facebook, instead choosing to go to Tumblr, Instagram, or some other relatively recondite place?

Might that be one reason why several recent studies suggested that kids think Facebook is old?

The Education Database Online figures offer that a third of kids would defriend their parents "if they could."

I, though, am left fascinated as to how much adults are exposing themselves.

Surely the kids -- just, you know, for fits and giggles -- trawl around their parents' Facebook pages and speculate as to which of their Facebook friends are former (or even current) lovers.

Surely the kids take a look at these people's profile pictures and pray that they never, ever end up as wizened and alcohol-sodden as some of them appear.

Given that the kids are far, far more tech savvy than their parents will ever be, might they be far better spies than their parents?

While the adults think they're being clever in following the kids, I suspect it's the kids who get more information out of this social-networking exchange -- information that they'll choose to use just when they need it.

Blackmail never goes out of style.

It's hard to win an argument against a smart person, it's damned near impossible against a stupid person.

There is no God, and life is just a myth.

"He who drinks, sleeps. He who sleeps, does not sin. He who does not sin, is holy. Therefore he who drinks, is holy."

Let's Go CAPS!

Offline Thucydides

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #32 on: August 01, 2013, 21:50:37 »
Why indeed? Facebook and social media in general meet the ultimate disintermediation:

http://www.technologyreview.com/news/517356/if-facebook-can-profit-from-your-data-why-cant-you/

Quote
If Facebook Can Profit from Your Data, Why Can’t You?
Reputation.com says it’s ready to unveil a place where people can offer personal information to marketers in return for discounts and other perks.

By Tom Simonite on July 30, 2013
WHY IT MATTERS

People have little idea how much personal data they have provided, how it is used, and what it is worth.


It has become the Internet’s defining business model: free online services make their money by feeding on all the personal data generated by their users. Think Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn, and how they serve targeted ads based on your preferences and interests, or make deals to share collected data with other companies (see “What Facebook Knows”).

Before the end of this year, Web users should be able to take a more active role in monetizing their personal data. Michael Fertik, cofounder and CEO of startup Reputation.com, says his company will launch a feature that lets users share certain personal information with other companies in return for discounts or other perks. Allowing airlines access to information about your income, for example, might lead to offers of loyalty points or an upgrade on your next flight.

The idea that individuals might personally take charge of extracting value from their own data has been discussed for years, with Fertik a leading voice, but it hasn’t yet been put to the test. Proponents say it makes sense to empower users this way because details of what information is collected, how it is used, and what it is worth are unjustly murky, even if the general terms of the relationship with data-supported companies such as Facebook is clear.

“The basic business model of the Internet today is that we’re going to take your data without your knowledge and permission and give it to people that you can’t identify for purposes you’ll never know,” says Fertik.

Fertik says he has spoken with a range of large companies and their marketers who are interested in his impending “consumer data vault,” as the new feature is called. He won’t yet give specifics about what data people will be able to trade, or what for, but he did tell MIT Technology Review that major airlines like the idea. “All of the airlines we talked to would like to be able to extend provisional platinum status to certain types of fliers to get some kind of loyalty,” he says. “It’s very hard for airlines to gain a sense of who is worth [it] today.”

Reputation.com was founded in 2006 and has received $67 million in investment funding. It currently offers products that help individuals and companies find information about themselves on the Internet and in various proprietary databases. For a fee, the company will also try to remove records or information, a service enabled in part by deals that Fertik has struck with some data-holding companies.

Fertik says those existing products, which have around one million users, mean that many people already have data in Reputation.com’s service that they could trade with other companies in return for special offers. That data can include home and family addresses, buying habits, professional histories, and salary and income information.

Reputation.com has far fewer users than Facebook, of course, but Fertik says the data people have given his company can be more valuable to marketers than clicks on a like button. Reputation.com has also filed patents on data-mining techniques intended to identify valuable insights in people’s data vaults.

Peter Fader, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, who specializes in the use of data analysis to help marketing, is skeptical that Reputation.com’s approach offers enough to tempt either consumers or companies.

“Despite the ways that companies delude themselves, demographics and other personal descriptors are rarely useful,” he says. Data that captures customer behavior is much more important, says Fader, and many companies already have plenty of that flowing in from the various ways they interact with customers.

As for consumers, Fader predicts that, even as companies like Facebook expand how they share and leverage information gathered from users, relatively few will be motivated to actively manage and trade a portfolio of their own data. “The effort required to manage your personal data will be seen as greater than the benefits that arise from doing so,” he says.

Shane Green, CEO and cofounder of startup Personal, which provides a website and apps for people to store personal data, disagrees. His company currently has less than a million users, and he says the growing prominence of privacy issues in the media shows that many people do care about what happens to their data.

Green once spoke of launching a service similar to the one planned by Reputation.com (see “A Dollar for Your Data”) but now has different plans. Still, he says that Fertik’s vision makes sense. “I think there will actually be a lot of those marketplaces,” he says. “Marketing will shift toward more permission-based opportunities.”

Green cites the date that a person’s car lease expires as an example of a piece of personal data with an established value that people control themselves. “There’ll only be one car company that knows that,” he says. “But companies will pay hundreds of dollars, if you are seriously going to buy a car, to incent you to do that.”

Personal, based in Washington, D.C., and founded in 2009, has raised $15.7 million in investments and debt financing. The site currently focuses on helping people collate and reuse data—for example, for completing applications for college and loans.

Green says that he intends to develop infrastructure so people can selectively share data with another company, perhaps in return for discounts or other benefits. Similar to how a person might use a Facebook or Google account to log into a website, he might use a Personal account to connect with a company. He could then control exactly what data that company could access, and for how long. An early iteration of this idea can be seen on the website Car and Driver, where its already possible to log in with a Personal account. Doing so leads to a permissions screen where the site requests access to details including the make, model, and year of a person’s vehicle. “[Data] marketplaces are going to be incredibly valuable, but we’re focused on portability,” says Green.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Cbbmtt

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #33 on: August 02, 2013, 11:49:30 »
I have family across the world and honestly it's the best method to keep up to date with my family. Some of the games on there are fun, I won't deny that it's fun beating your friends at bejeweled to pass some time in the morning with your morning coffee.

There are more negatives than I can count, but I'm going to list a few that I find;

1. People wanting to be your friend because you went to school with them. You didn't talk to them in the 5 years of high school, why the F#$% would I want you to see pictures of my life?
2. People that use their phones in public while hanging out with other people to check their facecrack.
3. People posting pictures on their facebook of me at a party getting hammered????????? That's just stupid.
4. People not getting jobs because of facebook profiles.
5. People having fights with each other over message boards.
6. My mother spending money on fake play chips for a gambling game where you can't win money playing poker on a facebook app.........
Another day in paradise.

Offline Duckman54

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #34 on: August 02, 2013, 12:33:29 »
Way back in the day, when this whole Facebook thing was pretty new, I created an account... What the heck, right?  After about 6-8 weeks of, as Cbbmtt said, seeing people I hadn't spoken to or even thought about for the past 10 years, the novelty wore off in a big way.

"Delete Account"
Are you sure?

Where's the "Hell-Yeah!!" button?!?

... That was about 5 years ago, and I've never looked back.

'Greg.

(B'sides, already got my Milnet account history dogging my brand-new Air Force career! Lol)
If you don't know where you're going, any road'll take you there!

Offline Thucydides

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #35 on: August 02, 2013, 13:57:39 »
I have family across the world and honestly it's the best method to keep up to date with my family. Some of the games on there are fun, I won't deny that it's fun beating your friends at bejeweled to pass some time in the morning with your morning coffee.

There are more negatives than I can count, but I'm going to list a few that I find;

1. People wanting to be your friend because you went to school with them. You didn't talk to them in the 5 years of high school, why the F#$% would I want you to see pictures of my life?
2. People that use their phones in public while hanging out with other people to check their facecrack.
3. People posting pictures on their facebook of me at a party getting hammered????????? That's just stupid.
4. People not getting jobs because of facebook profiles.
5. People having fights with each other over message boards.
6. My mother spending money on fake play chips for a gambling game where you can't win money playing poker on a facebook app.........

And that just other users being abusive. Now consider the masses of personal data FaceBook has collected on you, and are manipulating, selling and sharing without your knowledge or consent. Knowing the NSA (and dufusus like Edward Snowdon) have access to all you data makes you feel safer, right?
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #36 on: December 21, 2013, 21:10:11 »
The future is just creepy. I think the best defense might be a personal EMP weapon for women to zap creeps like this and fry their iPhones and Google Glasses. Now to write the business plan.....

http://www.dailydot.com/technology/infinity-augmented-reality-glasses-creep/

Quote
Pick-up artistry in the age of Google Glass

By Audra Schroeder on December 19, 2013 Email
If Google Glass weren’t already annoying people before even being released, there are several competitors on the horizon. Back in August, the ominously-named NYC-based company Infinity Augmented Reality released a “concept” video that explained why their product would run circles around ol’ Google Glass:

“By using Infinity AR's software platform it will enable the use of such applications as facial, voice, and mood recognition. This futuristic phenomenon actually knows what you are doing, what you want, and when you want it based on information received from the connection to your smartphone or other mobile device.”



In the video, a man pads around his loft before getting dressed and unlocking his Porsche with his mind-cam, then driving to a pool hall to challenge a villain from a Bond movie to a game.

The only time a woman is featured in this future hellscape is when the bro-bot approaches the bartender and scans her face to reveal her Facebook info, before ordering a drink. His faceputer also knows her astrological sign, and he uses that info to shift into pickup artist mode. A voice analyzer picks up that she’s “intrigued,” and later, he invites her over to his apartment, where he offers her a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. He already knows it’s her favorite, because of his creep specs, so basically all the hard work of meeting women and having a genuine conversation is gone. Well, if you have enough money.

This isn’t another sequel to American Psycho, but it should be. Augmented reality glasses and wearable tech will be big in 2014, with Google Glass, Infinity AR, and the California company Meta all launching products. The latter is fine-tuning a pair of $3,000 3-D glasses that aim to replace laptops and tablets. We’re already living in a world where anyone with $35,000 can buy an Iron Man suit.

Update: Oh yeah, and Glass now lets you wink to take photos.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #37 on: December 23, 2013, 18:43:59 »
Well, more on the behaviour of Facebook vis a vi their users. Isn't it nice to know you exist to be someone else's cash cow?

http://www.wired.com/business/2007/12/zuckerberg-cave/

Quote
Zuckerberg Caves In, Lets Facebook Users Turn Off Beacon
BY BETSY SCHIFFMAN12.05.0712:26 PM

After weeks of hand wrangling, Facebook has finally granted users the option of turning off Beacon, a controversial new advertising platform that notifies Facebook users’ friends of purchases they may have made on various external sites.

Beacon was immediately lambasted by critics for invading users privacy — the problem was that notifications were sent out about purchases made on third-party sites before users even had a chance to approve them.

In a meekly titled blog post, "Thoughts On Beacon," Zuckerberg apologizes profusely for taking so long to make the requested changes to the system.

The problem with our initial approach of making it an opt-out system instead of opt-in was that if someone forgot to decline to share something, Beacon still went ahead and shared it with their friends. It took us too long after people started contacting us to change the product so that users had to explicitly approve what they wanted to share. Instead of acting quickly, we took too long to decide on the right solution. I’m not proud of the way we’ve handled this situation and I know we can do better . . .

Last week we changed Beacon to be an opt-in system, and today we’re releasing a privacy control to turn off Beacon completely. You can find it here.

If you select that you don’t want to share some Beacon actions or if you turn off Beacon, then Facebook won’t store those actions even when partners send them to Facebook.

But today’s step hasn’t quieted Facebook critics. Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, is still worried about the amount of data Beacon will collect on Facebook users, even if they opt out of the system.

"Mr. Zuckerberg isn’t truly candid with Facebook users. Beacon is just one aspect of a massive data collection and targeting system put in place by Facebook," Chester said in a prepared statement.

Photo: Flickr/goldberg
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #38 on: April 14, 2014, 23:57:21 »
While not Facebook itself, it is very similar to what these companies are doing in the background. The idea that my personal information is available to total strangers is creepy enough, the reaction of people when it happens to them up close and personal rather than through something like targeted advertising on your Gmail page should be interesting. Spearing a person to the ground and screaming"What else do you know?" sounds like a perfectly justifiable and logical response to me....

http://arstechnica.com/staff/2014/04/when-the-restaurant-you-googled-googles-you-back/

Quote
When the restaurant you Googled Googles you back
It's not the thought that counts; unexpected in-person customization feels icky.

by Casey Johnston - Apr 13 2014, 5:11pm EDT
PRIVACY WEB CULTURE

A restaurant with three Michelin stars is now trying to up its customer service game by Googling its customers before they arrive. According to a report from Grub Street, an Eleven Madison Park maitre d' performs Internet recon on every guest in the interest of customizing their experiences.

The maitre d' in question, Justin Roller, says he tries to ascertain things like whether a couple is coming to the restaurant for an anniversary, and if so, which anniversary that is. If it's a birthday, for instance, he wants to wish them "Happy Birthday" when they arrive. He'll scan for photos of the guests in chef's whites or posed with wine glasses, which suggest they might be chefs or sommeliers themselves.

It goes deeper: if a particular guest appears to hail from Montana, Roller will try to pair up the table with a server who is from Montana. "Same goes for guests who own jazz clubs, who can be paired with a sommelier that happens to be into jazz," writes Grub Street.

Obviously, the restaurant is just trying to be better in tune with the people sitting around eating its food and drinking its wine. But it seems like a reasonable assumption to believe people posting their birthday dates online aren't doing so in the hopes that someone they've never met before will know, as if by telepathy, to wish them the best on their special day.

The case speaks to what seems to be the root cause of privacy transgressions—most people aren't too hesitant to give up their personal information, but when it's used for stuff they aren't expecting, it feels like a violation. Customer service enterprises seem only too excited to "know" the "answers" to what a customer "wants" before they are told, but this feels like something that needs a little more consideration of what is comfortable and what is creepy.

We often write about privacy oversteps that have real-world consequences, like marketers creating complete profiles of would-be customers that end up controlling, for instance, what products they see or predatory loans they get. But a restaurant Googling its customers doesn't need to have consequences or even involve obvious big data correlations to feel a little wrong.

The pairing of servers with interests is another matter entirely—one that's more subtle, more insidious. Per the article, Roller secondarily tries to figure out whether customers will be receptive to him knowing this Google-able stuff or if they would rather to personally, for example, let him know it's their birthday. Speaking personally, this would fail. Roller could absolutely scrounge up plenty of information on me, and being an editor of a technology publication, one might think I'd love the novelty of this new application of the Internet. But on the contrary, I would be more likely to spear him into the ground and demand to know who told him it was my birthday. What else do you know?

I can't be the only person who feels this way, but are there others who would be delighted for their maitre d' to light up when they walked into dinner and start talking to them about their personal lives?
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #39 on: June 30, 2014, 19:46:05 »
While entirely predictable, it is also unsettling that they attempted to do large scale manipulations like this. Imagine if they were to try this in the context of an election? (and of course shutting off people's ability to receive messages, news feeds etc. based on an arbitrary whim or set of criterion has a name already: Censorship. One can imagine other scenarios where Facebook or other social media site manipulates the data the user sees IOT create some sort of desired outcome (but possibly not one desired by you):

http://boingboing.net/2014/06/30/facebooks-massive-psychology.html

Quote
Facebook's massive psychology experiment likely illegal
Cory Doctorow at 6:18 am Mon, Jun 30, 2014

Please read our Terms of Service, Privacy Policy, and Community Guidelines. Except where indicated, Boing Boing is licensed under a Creative Commons License permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution

Researchers from Facebook, Cornell and UCSF published a paper describing a mass-scale experiment in which Facebook users' pages were manipulated to see if this could induce and spread certain emotional states. They say it was legal to do this without consent, because Facebook's terms of service require you to give consent for, basically, anything.

But as legal scholar James Grimmellmann points out, there's a federal law that prohibits universities from conducting this kind of experiment without explicit, separate consent (none of this burying-consent-in-the-fine-print bullshit). Two of the three researchers who worked on this were working for federally funded universities with institutional review boards, and the project received federal funds.

Facebook says that it manipulates feeds all the time, and this was no different, but Facebook is acting as a private company when it does this, not working on a federally funded project, in concert with federally funded researchers. Besides, Grimmelmann further points out that there was real potential for harm in the protocol of the study.

As Grimmelmann says: This is bad, even for Facebook.

Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks [Adam D. I. Kramera, Jamie E. Guillory, and Jeffrey T. Hancock/Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences]

As Flies to Wanton Boys [James Grimmelmann/Labmatorium]
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #40 on: June 30, 2014, 19:55:04 »
We need a wholesale switch back to Myspace :-)

Offline Thucydides

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #41 on: October 26, 2014, 10:00:39 »
One of the few useful services the Internet offers is under threat:

http://www.computerworld.com/article/2838775/why-google-wants-to-replace-gmail.html

Quote
Why Google wants to replace Gmail
Gmail represents a dying class of products that, like Google Reader, puts control in the hands of users, not signal-harvesting algorithms.

By Mike Elgan  FOLLOW
Computerworld | Oct 25, 2014 4:03 AM PT
I'm predicting that Google will end Gmail within the next five years. The company hasn't announced such a move -- nor would it.

But whether we like it or not, and whether even Google knows it or not, Gmail is doomed.

What is email, actually?

Email was created to serve as a "dumb pipe." In mobile network parlance, a "dumb pipe" is when a carrier exists to simply transfer bits to and from the user, without the ability to add services and applications or serve as a "smart" gatekeeper between what the user sees and doesn't see.

Carriers resist becoming "dumb pipes" because there's no money in it. A pipe is a faceless commodity, valued only by reliability and speed. In such a market, margins sink to zero or below zero, and it becomes a horrible business to be in.

"Dumb pipes" are exactly what users want. They want the carriers to provide fast, reliable, cheap mobile data connectivity. Then, they want to get their apps, services and social products from, you know, the Internet.

Email is the "dumb pipe" version of communication technology, which is why it remains popular. The idea behind email is that it's an unmediated communications medium. You send a message to someone. They get the message.

When people send you messages, they stack up in your in-box in reverse-chronological order, with the most recent ones on top.

Compare this with, say, Facebook, where you post a status update to your friends, and some tiny minority of them get it. Or, you send a message to someone on Facebook and the social network drops it into their "Other" folder, which hardly anyone ever checks.

Of course, email isn't entirely unmediated. Spammers ruined that. We rely on Google's "mediation" in determining what's spam and what isn't.

But still, at its core, email is by its very nature an unmediated communications medium, a "dumb pipe." And that's why people like email.

Why email is a problem for Google

You'll notice that Google has made repeated attempts to replace "dumb pipe" Gmail with something smarter. They tried Google Wave. That didn't work out.

They hoped people would use Google+ as a replacement for email. That didn't work, either.

They added prioritization. Then they added tabs, separating important messages from less important ones via separate containers labeled by default "Primary," "Promotions," "Social Messages," "Updates" and "Forums." That was vaguely popular with some users and ignored by others. Plus, it was a weak form of mediation -- merely reshuffling what's already there, but not inviting a fundamentally different way to use email.

This week, Google introduced an invitation-only service called Inbox. Another attempt by the company to mediate your dumb email pipe, Inbox is an alternative interface to your Gmail account, rather than something that requires starting over with a new account.

Instead of tabs, Inbox groups together and labels and color-codes messages according to categories.

One key feature of Inbox is that it performs searches based on the content of your messages and augments your inbox with that additional information. One way to look at this is that, instead of grabbing extraneous relevant data based on the contents of your Gmail messages and slotting it into Google Now, it shows you those Google Now cards immediately, right there in your in-box.

Inbox identifies addresses, phone numbers and items (such as purchases and flights) that have additional information on the other side of a link, then makes those links live so you can take quick action on them.

You can also do mailbox-like "snoozing" to have messages go away and return at some future time.

You can also "pin" messages so they stick around, rather than being buried in the in-box avalanche.

Inbox has many other features.

The bottom line is that it's a more radical mediation between the communication you have with other people and with the companies that provide goods, services and content to you.

The positive spin on this is that it brings way more power and intelligence to your email in-box.

The negative spin is that it takes something user-controlled, predictable, clear and linear and takes control away from the user, making email unpredictable, unclear and nonlinear.

That users will judge this and future mediated alternatives to email and label them either good or bad is irrelevant.

The fact is that Google, and companies like Google, hate unmediated anything.

The reason is that Google is in the algorithm business, using user-activity "signals" to customize and personalize the online experience and the ads that are served up as a result of those signals.

Google exists to mediate the unmediated. That's what it does.

That's what the company's search tool does: It mediates our relationship with the Internet.

That's why Google killed Google Reader, for example. Subscribing to an RSS feed and having an RSS reader deliver 100% of what the user signed up for in an orderly, linear and predictable and reliable fashion is a pointless business for Google.

It's also why I believe Google will kill Gmail as soon as it comes up with a mediated alternative everyone loves. Of course, Google may offer an antiquated "Gmail view" as a semi-obscure alternative to the default "Inbox"-like mediated experience.

But the bottom line is that dumb-pipe email is unmediated, and therefore it's a business that Google wants to get out of as soon as it can.

Say goodbye to the unmediated world of RSS, email and manual Web surfing. It was nice while it lasted. But there's just no money in it.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #42 on: November 05, 2014, 09:38:03 »
I have no doubt that Canadian carriers like Telus, Rogers and Bell are also experimenting with something like this. Any savvy super geeks out there know how to defeat this threat to privacy?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/verizon-atandt-tracking-their-users-with-super-cookies/2014/11/03/7bbbf382-6395-11e4-bb14-4cfea1e742d5_story.html

Quote
Verizon, AT&T tracking their users with ‘supercookies’
 
By Craig Timberg November 3 

Verizon and AT&T have been quietly tracking the Internet activity of more than 100 million cellular customers with what critics have dubbed “supercookies” — markers so powerful that it’s difficult for even savvy users to escape them.
 
The technology has allowed the companies to monitor which sites their customers visit, cataloging their tastes and interests. Consumers cannot erase these supercookies or evade them by using browser settings, such as the “private” or “incognito” modes that are popular among users wary of corporate or government surveillance.
 
Verizon and AT&T say they have taken steps to alert their customers to the tracking and to protect customer privacy as the companies develop programs intended to help advertisers hone their pitches based on individual Internet behavior. But as word has spread about the supercookies in recent days, privacy advocates have reacted with alarm, saying the tracking could expose user Internet behavior to a wide range of outsiders — including intelligence services — and may also violate federal telecommunications and wiretapping laws.
 
One civil liberties group, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, says it has raised its concerns with the Federal Communications Commission and is contemplating formal legal action to block Verizon. AT&T’s program is not as advanced and, according to the company, is still in testing.
 
The stakes are particularly high, privacy advocates say, because Verizon’s experimentation with supercookies is almost certain to spur copycats eager to compete for a larger share of the multibillion-dollar advertising profits won by Google, Facebook and others.
 
Those companies track their users and sell targeted advertising based on what they learn. Supercookies could allow cellular carriers and other Internet providers to do the same, potentially encircling ordinary users in a Web of tracking far more extensive than experienced today.
 
“You’re making it very difficult for people who want privacy to find it on the Internet,” said Paul Ohm, a former Federal Trade Commission official who teaches at the University of Colorado Law School.
 
Verizon began tracking its 106 million “retail” customers — meaning those who don’t have business or government contracts — in November 2012, the company said. The company excluded all government and some business customers, though it would not say how many. Verizon said it sent notifications to customers and offered a way for them to opt out of the program, but it declined to say how many did.
 
Privacy advocates, who typically favor systems in which customers must choose to participate by opting in, have long maintained that such company notices are ineffective; the few who read them struggle to express their preferences. Even those who did opt out of the Verizon program still have a unique identifying code attached to all of their Web traffic, the company said, but that information is not used to build behavioral profiles that are sold to advertisers.
 
A company spokeswoman, Adria Tomaszewski, said the super­cookie — a unique combination of letters and numbers — is changed regularly to prevent others from tracking Verizon customers, but she declined to say how often. Tomaszewski also said that those who are not part of the Verizon advertising program called Precision Market Insights are not able to use the supercookie to track Verizon customers.
 
“The way it’s built, it wouldn’t be able to be used for that,” Tomaszewski said.
 
Independent researchers dispute that claim. Unique codes — such as device ID numbers, Internet protocol addresses and cookies — get shared among Web sites, advertisers and data brokers, allowing them all to gather so much information on individual users that it’s easy to derive a name or other identifying data, experts say. The process is called “de-anonymizing” a user.
 
One security researcher, Stanford’s Jonathan Mayer, said, “I don’t know any computer scientist who takes that ‘It’s anonymous’ argument seriously. It’s been so thoroughly debunked in so many ways.”
 
Critics also say the supercookies, especially if more widely deployed, will be extremely valuable to intelligence agencies that monitor Internet behavior. The National Security Agency has used cookies — an older and more easily erased tracking code that is stored on a browser — to pinpoint Internet users worldwide for hacking attacks, The Washington Post reported last year.
 
AT&T declined to say how long it has been tracking its customers’ Internet behavior but said the program remains in testing and has not yet been used to target advertising. “We are considering such a program, and any program we would offer would maintain our fundamental commitment to customer privacy,” spokeswoman Emily J. Edmonds said in an e-mail.
 
The AT&T supercookie changes every 24 hours in an effort to protect privacy, Edmonds said.

AT&T’s program, unlike Verizon’s, would not attach an identifying code to its customers’ Internet traffic once they opt out.
 
There was surprise among security researchers and privacy activists in the days after the Electronic Frontier Foundation, based in San Francisco, first tweeted about the practice on Oct. 22, calling it “terrible” and citing an article in Advertising Age from May. Several news organizations have since reported the news.
 
Jacob Hoffman-Andrews, a senior staff technologist for the foundation, said he was surprised by the intensity of the reaction generated by the tweet, which was sent from his account. “Everybody was like, ‘Wow, that’s really appalling,’ ” he said.
 
The potential legal issues, experts say, stem in part from the Communications Act, which prohibits carriers from revealing identifying information about their customers or helping others to do so. That is at the heart of complaints by the foundation, which is contemplating a lawsuit or other action to stop Verizon, said one of the group’s lawyers, Nate Cardozo.
 
Also potentially at issue is the federal Wiretap Act, which prohibits altering personal communications during transmission without consent or a court order. Ohm, the law professor, said the companies could be vulnerable if a court found that the notification efforts by Verizon and AT&T were not adequate. Officials from both companies told a Senate committee in 2008 that they wouldn’t begin tracking their customers without seeking explicit permission first.
 
Privacy advocates say that without legal action, in court or by a regulatory agency such as the FCC or FTC, the shift toward supercookies will be impossible to stop. Only encryption can keep a supercookie from tracking a user.Other new tracking technologies are probably coming soon, advocates say.

“There’s a stampede by the cable companies and wireless carriers to expand data collection,” said Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, a Washington-based advocacy group. “They all want to outdo Google.”
 
Follow The Post’s tech blog, The Switch, where technology and policy connect.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Colin P

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #43 on: November 05, 2014, 10:22:52 »
I have family spread all over as well and friends, Facebook is a great way to keep tabs on them and it reminds me about birthdays, which has been the bane of my life to remember.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #44 on: November 06, 2014, 11:16:41 »
I certainly have no objection to services which allow you to remember and connect to people. My solution is calendaring software and email, but YMMV.

The primary reason to object to Facebook and other social and psudo social media is the ability to agregate your data and use it to spy on you and manipulate or attempt to manipulate you without your knowledge or consent. Sometimes it creates funny situations (once in Petawawa, I started watching Bollywood movies for something to do. After I looked up a few things on Google to understand what I was watching, targetted ads for Indian food, sarees and dating Indian women started appearing in the sidebar of by gmail inbox). Sometimes it creates true areas fo concern (the founder of Facebook is famous for his open fiscal and personal support for the Democrat party. Facebook did illegal experiments in manipulating the opinions of users. Put the two together and you now have the ability to manipulate a large fraction of the population for the benefit of one political party; outside of normal campaign laws and regulations).

I would certainly like either the ability of the user to control the information being collected and used, or (an exception of my usual preference) tight regulatory controls over the collection and use of user data by Social Media sites.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Colin P

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #45 on: November 06, 2014, 15:17:48 »
those creep glasses might have a problem, some site profiles I have listed myself as a 85 year old black lesbian in a wheelchair. People may put in "telltales" that will allow you to gauge where someone is getting info.

All in all I don't mind FB making some money off of me, it's an exchange of services basically. I have seen some people consider social media as a "right" but it is a business and it has lots of associated costs to keep it running.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #46 on: November 10, 2014, 22:17:43 »
As long as the business you are dealing with is ethical and transparent, then you should have no issues.

Sadly, many of these sites have the morals of fly by night used car dealers. You get what you pay for.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #47 on: November 11, 2014, 08:10:47 »
.... once in Petawawa, I started watching Bollywood movies for something to do. After I looked up a few things on Google to understand what I was watching, targetted ads for Indian food, sarees and dating Indian women started appearing in the sidebar of by gmail inbox) ....
One solution to the specific problem of search engines saving your info:  duckduckgo.com, "The search engine that doesn't track you".
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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #48 on: February 23, 2015, 16:16:47 »
Even computer manufacturers are in the act now; Leveno has installed malware on their new computers, and other similar malware now exists to crack the secure layer of internet transactions (HTTPS). So far I have not seen a countermeasure or antivirus solution, hopefully this is coming soon (as well as hardened software that instantiates the secure layer on the Internet to begin with):

http://arstechnica.com/security/2015/02/ssl-busting-code-that-threatened-lenovo-users-found-in-a-dozen-more-apps/

Quote
SSL-busting code that threatened Lenovo users found in a dozen more apps
"What all these applications have in common is that they make people less secure."

by Dan Goodin - Feb 22, 2015 3:45pm EST
 
The list of software known to use the same HTTPS-breaking technology recently found preinstalled on Lenovo laptops has risen dramatically with the discovery of at least 12 new titles, including one that's categorized as a malicious trojan by a major antivirus provider.

“SSL HIJACKER” BEHIND SUPERFISH DEBACLE IMPERILS LARGE NUMBER OF USERS
Lenovo wasn't the only one using SSL certs that unlock every SSL site on the Internet.
Trojan.Nurjax, a malicious program Symantec discovered in December, hijacks the Web browsers of compromised computers and may download additional threats. According to a blog post published Friday by a security researcher from Facebook, Nurjax is one such example of newly found software that incorporates HTTPS-defeating code from an Israeli company called Komodia. Combined with the Superfish ad-injecting software preinstalled on some Lenovo computers and three additional applications that came to light shortly after that revelation, there are now 14 known apps that use Komodia technology.

"What all these applications have in common is that they make people less secure through their use of an easily obtained root CA [certificate authority], they provide little information about the risks of the technology, and in some cases they are difficult to remove," Matt Richard, a threats researcher on the Facebook security team, wrote in Friday's post. "Furthermore, it is likely that these intercepting SSL proxies won't keep up with the HTTPS features in browsers (e.g., certificate pinning and forward secrecy), meaning they could potentially expose private data to network attackers. Some of these deficiencies can be detected by antivirus products as malware or adware, though from our research, detection successes are sporadic."

Komodia, a company that brazenly calls one of its software development kits as an "SSL hijacker," is able to bypass secure sockets layer protections by modifying the network stack of computers that run its underlying code. Specifically, Komodia installs a self-signed root CA certificate that allows the library to intercept encrypted connections from any HTTPS-protected website on the Internet. This behavior is by no means unique to Komodia, Superfish, or the other programs that use the SSL-breaking certificates. Antivirus apps and other security-related wares often install similar root certificates. What sets Komodia apart from so many others is its reuse of the same digital certificate across many different computers.

Researchers have already documented that the password protecting most or all of the Komodia certificates is none other than "komodia". It took Errata Security CEO and whitehat hacker Rob Graham only three hours to crack this woefully weak password. From there, he used the underlying private key in the Komodia certificate to create fake HTTPS-enabled websites for Bank of America and Google that were fully trusted by Lenovo computers. Despite the seriousness of Graham's discovery and the ease other security researchers had in reproducing his results, Superfish CEO Adi Pinhas issued a statement on Friday saying Superfish software posed no security risk.

According to Facebook's Richard, more than a dozen software applications other than Superfish use Komodia code. Besides Trojan.Nurjax, the programs named included:

CartCrunch Israel LTD
WiredTools LTD
Say Media Group LTD
Over the Rainbow Tech
System Alerts
ArcadeGiant
Objectify Media Inc
Catalytix Web Services
OptimizerMonitor
A security researcher who goes by the Twitter handle @TheWack0lian said an additional piece of software known as SecureTeen also installed Komodia-enabled certificates. Over the weekend, the researcher also published findings documenting rootkit technology in Komodia code that allows it to remain hidden from key operating system functions.

Web searches for many of these titles uncover forum posts in which computer users complain that some of these applications are hard to remove once they're installed. Richard noted that he was unable to find documentation from any of the publishers explaining what effect Komodia software had on end-user PCs such as its ability to sniff passwords and other sensitive data from encrypted Web sessions.

LENOVO PCS SHIP WITH MAN-IN-THE-MIDDLE ADWARE THAT BREAKS HTTPS CONNECTIONS [UPDATED]
Superfish may make it trivial for attackers to spoof any HTTPS website.
Richard went on to publish the SHA1 cryptographic hashes he used to identify software that contained the Komodia code libraries. He invited fellow researchers to use the hashes to identify still more potentially dangerous software circulating online.

"We're publishing this analysis to raise awareness about the scope of local SSL MITM software so that the community can also help protect people and their computers," he wrote. "We think that shining the light on these practices will help the ecosystem better analyze and respond to similar situations as they occur."

Well that was quick: a way to clear Superfish from your PC:

http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/security/a14194/how-do-i-delete-superfish-lenovo/

Quote
How To Clear Your Lenovo Computer of Superfish Adware
Lenovo has been installing a dangerous piece of software that makes its machines vulnerable to hackers. Find out if your computer has it and how to delete it.
By Rachel Z. Arndt
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Lenovo, the world's largest PC manufacturer, has been installing a dangerous piece of adware on its consumer laptops. The software, called Superfish, leaves computers vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks in which hackers steal data as its sent from a user's computer to a supposedly secure server.

What is Superfish?
Superfish is supposedly meant to give users "better" ads. (Better for advertisers, that is, and more insidious for consumers). It does this is by tracking all web browsing on computers where Superfish is installed and using that data to insert ads on sites you visit. Targeted ads are just another insufferable part of modern digital life, but it gets worse. Superfish can do this on secure sites too, as the software replaces an encrypted site's certificate with its own. That's not good.

ALL A HACKER NEEDS TO GAIN ACCESS TO TONS AND TONS OF SECURE DATA IS FIND A SINGLE KEY
Usually when you visit an encrypted site—say, Bank of America's—your web browser uses a certificate to confirm that you are in fact visiting the real Bank of America site. That certificate is signed by whichever certificate company the website owner contracted with; in Bank of America's case, it's Verisign. On a computer with Superfish installed, however, the certificate from the Bank of America site comes back signed not by Verisign but by Superfish. And your computer has been brainwashed to treat the certificate as legitimate, thereby routing your encrypted data not through the proper and secure certificate, but through Superfish's.


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To make matters worse, the encryption key is the same for all Superfish certificates, so all a hacker needs to do to gain access to tons and tons of secure data is find a single key—which, according to Errata Security's Robert David Graham, is pretty easy.

Lenovo says it stopped putting Superfish on computers in January, but to make sure your computer is safe, you can check here.

How to clear and protect your computer
First, Microsoft is doing what it can to root out the software. Its Windows Defender anti-virus software began removing Superfish this morning by resetting the certificates that Superfish messed with.

To make sure Windows Defender does its job, update it immediately. Go to Windows Update or open Microsoft Security Software, select the Update tab, and click the Update button.

If you'd rather remove Superfish yourself, do the following:

Uninstall "Superfish Inc VisualDiscovery."
You Also Need To Remove All Superfish Certificates: You Can Do This By Searching For And Launching Certmgr.msc From The Start Menu
Click On Trusted Root Certification Authorities, And Then Certificates
Delete All Certificates With "Superfish Inc" In Their Names.
Or, as Slate advises:

If you have a Lenovo laptop that has Superfish on it ... I would advise nothing short of wiping the entire machine and installing vanilla Windows—not Lenovo's Windows. Then change all of your passwords.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: After Facebook
« Reply #49 on: February 20, 2016, 14:34:14 »
Twitter becomes an Orwellian operation modelled after the "Ministry of Truth". How sad that so many people see 1984 as a how to guide rather than a warning:

https://reason.com/blog/2016/02/20/did-twitters-orwellian-trust-and-safety

Quote
Did Twitter's Orwellian 'Trust and Safety' Council Get Robert Stacy McCain Banned?
Prominent GamerGate figure clashed with council member Anita Sarkeesian. Now he's gone.
Robby Soave|Feb. 20, 2016 1:00 pm

Remember a few days ago, when Twitter elevated anti-GamerGate leader Anita Sarkeesian to its “Trust and Safety Council,” an imperious-sounding committee with Robespierre-esque powers to police discussion on the social media platform? The goal, according to Twitter, was to make it easier for users to express themselves freely and safely.

One user who won’t be expressing himself at all is Robert Stacy McCain: a conservative journalist, blogger, self-described anti-feminist, and prominent GamerGate figure who was banned from Twitter on Friday night. Clicking on his page redirects to this “account suspended” message that encourages users to re-read Twitter’s policies on abusive behavior.

But as with other Twitter suspensions, it’s impossible to tell which specific policy McCain is accused of violating, or which of his tweets were flagged as abusive. McCain is an animated and uncompromising opponent of leftist views. His statements are extreme, and I don’t often agree with them, but I would be reluctant to label them as abusive (at least the ones I’ve seen).

In a response to his banning that is in many ways emblematic of his worldview and behavior, McCain explicitly blamed Sarkeesian and her crew:

This is why you can’t even state FACTS about these people on Twitter without being accused of “harassment.” Facts are harassment and truth is hate and Oceania Has Always Been at War With Eastasia. Sarkesian is anti-freedom because she is anti-truth. She and her little squad of soi-disant “feminists” are just hustlers looking for a free ride, and the only way they can get that ride is to silence anyone who speaks the truth about them and calls them out as the cheap bullshit artists they actually are.

McCain did not immediately respond to a request for comment. He concluded the above post with a statement, “frig ‘social justice’.” He despises leftists and feminists, and doesn’t hold back his hate.

But there’s a difference between using strong language to disagree with people, and abusing them. If McCain has crossed that line, I’m not aware of it.

Twitter is a private company, of course, and if it wants to outlaw strong language, it can. In fact, it’s well within its rights to have one set of rules for Robert Stacy McCain, and another set of rules for everyone else. It’s allowed to ban McCain for no reason other than its bosses don’t like him. If Twitter wants to take a side in the online culture war, it can. It can confiscate Milo Yiannopoulos’s blue checkmark. This is not about the First Amendment.

But if that’s what Twitter is doing, it’s certainly not being honest about it—and its many, many customers who value the ethos of free speech would certainly object. In constructing its Trust and Safety Council, the social media platform explicitly claimed it was trying to strike a balance between allowing free speech and prohibiting harassment and abuse. But its selections for this committee were entirely one-sided—there’s not a single uncompromising anti-censorship figure or group on the list. It looks like Twitter gave control of its harassment policy to a bunch of ideologues, and now their enemies are being excluded from the platform.

Banning McCain wasn’t even Twitter’s only questionable activity last night. It seems that Twitter also suppressed the pro-McCain hashtag subsequently created by his supporters, #FreeStacy. After it started trending, Twitter made it so that the hashtag wouldn’t autocomplete when people typed it. “The #FreeStacy tag would be in the US top 10 now, but Twitter has scrubbed it,” wrote Popehat’s Patrick on Twitter.

Another Popehat author, Ken White, has been skeptical that Twitter’s censorship of certain conservative figures is actually coming from a place of malice. In response to Yiannopoulos getting de-verified, he wrote:

Big companies, even when run by ideologues, tend to make decisions like big companies, not like individuals. The decision-making looks less cinematic and more cynical. The focus tends to be on branding, but mostly on money-making, avoidance of unpleasantness, reduction of cost, and ease of use. Twitter's line employees are almost certainly disproportionately liberal, and by assigning command-and-control of individual account decisions to them, the impact is probably that evaluations of abuse complaints will have a liberal bias. Similarly, if you make a corporate decision to police harassment (or at least pretend to), and the people doing the policing have a bias, then the results will have a bias. But that's not the same as a deliberate decision to take sides; it's a cost-driven, practicality-driven decision.

If Twitter wants to go full-on Ministry of Truth, it can. But its user have the right to raise hell about it—to call out the platform for punishing dissident alt-right figures while empowering their adversaries. I’m not convinced that’s what’s happening, but the exclusion of Robert Stacy McCain—a mere 10 days after the Trust and Safety council came into existence—is cause for concern.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.