culture

Zoom and Prostitution

Zoom really made a splash during the pandemic and I think overall it improved people’s lives during a hard time. But, it also proved to be dishonest and pretty gross. Now they are finally paying a tiny amount as a penalty. But this line from Bruce Schneier really caught my attention: …for lying to users about end-to-end encryption, and for giving user data to Facebook and Google without consent.

Forced Social Engagement

Am I the only one that’s noticed a rise in app developers pushing customers into mandated relationships through Discord and Slack as “support” channels? It feels like a trend and I am not onboard with this investment in other people’s business. Sure, I love a good user forum, but Slack and Discord are garbage user forums. Not to mention that Discord is a privacy disaster. It feels lazy and opportunistic and I don’t like being cattle for developers.

The Video Game Crash of 1983

Some really interesting stuff in this Wikipedia article. It’s easy to forget how complex the market is and how unintended consequences lurk behind every decision. For example, how a smaller coin in Japan meant a bigger impact from home game consoles. The U.S. game industry lobbied in Washington, D.C. for a smaller $1 coin, closer to the size of a quarter, arguing that inflation (which had reduced the quarter’s spending power by a third in the early 1980s) was making it difficult to prosper.

You Get What You Get

Stay with me. This isn’t my typical link-post. It’s also long so if you don’t care about the web or independent writing, here’s a nice article about genealogy and statistics. Two recent articles by Jason Kottke mesh nicely with something that has been weighing on me for the past couple of years. Let’s set the context though. I think kottke.org is a wonderful site and I read every article he publishes on his RSS feed.

Internet Hate Machine

A series of articles on CNet last week really caught my attention.1 The flagship article sets the stage. You can’t miss the rise of hate, racism and the neo-Nazi movement on the internet. But somehow, The New York Times did. A Saturday profile of a Nazi sympathizer drew widespread criticism for giving Tony Hovater, 29, an unchallenged platform for sharing his views. Here’s the Brutal Reality of Online Hate

Malcolm Gladwell's Pseudo-Profundity Link

Steven Poole over at The New Republic: Gladwell is a brilliant salesman for a certain kind of cognitive drug. He tells his readers that everything they thought they knew about a subject is wrong, and then delivers what is presented as a counterintuitive discovery but is actually a bromide of familiar clichés. The reader is thus led on a pleasant quasi-intellectual tour, to be reassured at the end that a flavour of folksy wisdom was right all along.

Felony Charges for a Same Sex Relationship in High School Link

Still a long way to go for equal rights. Sad, really. Also, move the fuck out of Florida and stop spending money there! This relationship occurred when they were both minors, and my daughter’s girlfriend’s parents waited until she turned 18 to arrest her.

The Hawkeye Initiative IRL Link

From The Hawkeye Initiative: Our CEO loves this picture. It is to all appearances his favorite piece of comic art for the game. He had it blown up poster-sized, framed, and displayed on the out-facing wall of his office. There, it looms over the front room like a ship’s figurehead. It is the first thing workers and visitors see when they enter the building and the last thing they see when they leave.

Why Did Jodon Romero Kill Himself On Live Television? Link

Jessica Testa has a lengthy article on BuzzFeed this week. The piece focuses on the televised suicide of a carjacker. It’s a great piece of journalism from an unexpected source, BuzzFeed. I don’t normally read BuzzFeed. That’s not a knock against BuzzFeed. They have section titles like “LOL”, “fail”, “wtf”, and “trashy” which tells me they are self-aware. Their articles typically do not appeal to me but this one article restored their position in my RSS feed reader.

Whores Are People Too Link

A great Kickstarter from Zach Braff. Just sit and watch the money pour in. It went up by $60K in just the few minutes it took me to watch the video. Oh, that video. It’s good. I grabbed one of the $100 backer spots. There’s 30 days left and it’s 1/3 funded, so I guess I will be headed to NY in 2014 for a special advance screening. And yes, I used the most link-bait title I could find from the Kickstarter video.