20411

Remember back in the day when cartoon villains used to go on tv and say something like: I will only talk directly to the president. Now Presidents hear about terrorist acts on the fucking news like erebody else. These days villains go online and say stuff like: I wanna talk directly to the world!

Advertisements

CISPA Is The Tip, Everything Else Is The Iceberg

UH OH. America’s internet userbase has a new threat in the horizon, CISPA!
People are worried that their info and their online doings are gonna be a matter of public knowledge, like what they have now is a nice and secure network…

For fucks sake people, ITS ALL PUBLIC!

My facebook account setting is always public because I never want to suffer an illusion of privacy while going about my business online. Also because I wouldnt want Big brother to get the impression that we are exclusive.
E’rebody gets access to mine!

The thing is people, that button you push to restrict who gets access to your account is a virtual placebo. Like those crosswalk buttons in New York only even more pointless. If your government treats you like a criminal by spying on you then you had better start acting like one and cover your tracks online. Dont say anything you wouldnt be comfortable shouting from a rooftop!

So assume you’re ALWAYS broadcasting on an open channel when you’re online.
Coz trust me, the monster has got your cookies, your passwords and with social networking data, like 70% of your personality and 99% of your contacts.

Its not a matter of IF they’ve got access but of when they will feel it worth their while to dissect you!
ūüôā

A billion strong

 I have facebook friends from virtually every continent. And they all seem to find the website to be the best use of their time. Some are wallowing in spring, some are dancing in the sun, yet they all hobble onto this weird blue website to hear each other complain about everything! 

How is it that of all the content online, (I mean porn duh!) facebook is what most people find desirable? Its insane. I mean if it were youtube Id be like, hey, thats youtube! But status updates and photos?

I bet that right now someone is lying on a magnificent beach, hanging out with some awesome people and all they can think about doing is updating the blue stuff! Its a drug I tell you. I dunno if it raises dopamine in our systems or dopamine receptors… but this is some supernatural craving.

And why is it blue?

 

Serendipity On the Web

ImageSerendipity to me means always new. Because one day none of it will be new. Having an article pending wont be new. Doing a hundred pushups wont be new. Knowing what I want to pursue wont be new. Neither hope nor disappointment can maintain their novelty. What you know has to ultimately become old. Only what you don’t know can always be new. Maybe the strongest argument yet for the existence of God is the discovery that only uncertainty is certain in this Universe.¬†It is a great gift to a curious race of humans from a little sun called sol, to be presented on the dawn of its civilization with a Universe as full of serendipity as it is infinite. This is the gift of the gods as deists would unfailingly announce.

If there is a miracle out there it is serendipity. If there is hope it is the hope that you will be surprised. Pleasantly surprised. As some look to ever increasing knowledge about reality to be a source of control and the ability to predict, I look to the same path-finding scientific research with the hope that I will be surprised by what they find. I think we need it. The strangeness that is.

We absolutely must, from time to time, recover that feeling of uncharted depth. Maybe that’s why explorers set off from the old world and discovered the new. Maybe that is how we humans, before the advent of modern ships had managed to spread onto 6 continents, with only the intolerable Antarctica¬† barring our way. What could these first humans and those 15th century Spanish explorers have had in common other than an undying thirst for the unknown?

Serendipity is an old word. The phenomenon itself is as old as mankind. But the online world has breathed new life into the term. We click on a strange new pop up icon on our desktop for the same reason that our ancestors hopped onto wooden vessels and floated off to near certain doom. We hate boredom just a little more than we fear the unknown.

Serendipity feeds hope. It’s the voice that says, “there is always a chance this wont suck!” A great example is the ballooning growth of the world wide web. In a few decades its population of users has grown by billions. I mean it was only invented in 1990. I was born a mere two years later and it has been an indelible part of my education and entertainment. The sheer wealth which this tool has generated is truly incredible. Millions of online jobs now exist where mere decades ago there were none. Companies like Apple have a new lease on life because of the possibilities which the interconnected medium of the web affords.

One of the world wide web’s most consistent growth sources is in fact serendipity. Through hyperlinks, strangers are connected to what will eventually become familiar content to them. That’s how once upstarts come to dominate an industry such as search and old legends like Netscape are bought up and recycled by the survivors. Hyperlinks are one of the most significant part of the web. they are a force of egalitarianism the likes of which both Marx and Engels could never have dreamed of. Through hyperlinks, titans such as coca cola and an average blog from the web have the same weight if you measure the connectivity of their url. Information is indeed a primary function and product of the web. But it is the unexpected kind that is the most interesting.

The advertising value of exploiting online serendipity has been achieved by search engines such as Google. Their use of sponsored ads which match with a user’s search term tends to exploit the power¬† of serendipity. These sponsored links maintain their unexpectedness while realizing very expected returns for the search company. We stumble upon so much online that it is almost a rule that the greatest value the web has to offer is serendipity.

Almost every significant website in my life, I have happened to find accidentally. I discovered Wikipedia though Google and I discovered Google through its infamy as a search leader. My cherished file sharing(stealing) sites like 4shared came into my life accidentally through a web search. They were just there. When I needed them the most they were just there. Like a part of my fate or something.

This is the effect I speak of when I say serendipity. I speak of moments when the entire web just aligns to make your day. Like a super-funny video you run into on YouTube. Lolcats, anesthetized kids, Gagnem style are just a few examples of the cool stuff I’ve bumped into whilst surfing.

The web is such an interesting and useful cluster of infomedia that practically guarantees you that moments such as these will occur. It’s a different place. Online, you’re only bored if you so choose to be. There are too many interesting people out there doing amazing things to leave you out of a worthwhile online experience. It’s a web. Don’t judge it, surf it!

Ownership on the web

ImageNewspapers like The New York Times just don’t respect the internet anymore. It’s that simple. They weren’t born here and they treat the web kike a rental. They might even have it in their heads that this WWW thing is just another fad. Id like to remind these hard copy dinosaurs that other titans have previously denigrated the new god and pretty soon there after filed for bankruptcy.

The particular issue that I’m decrying here is a new policy by The New York Times’ online edition to reduce the maximum number of articles one can view gratis on their site from 20 per month to 10. As a site that had previously lost its lead as the most viewed online news vendor to The Huffington post, this was the wrong move.

For your love of money NYT, you have opened the doors to all the evils resulting from antagonizing Netizens. We have the privilege of being a mere Google search away from viewing similar if not better content from one of your many competitors. The prospect of having to put on a coat and go to the newsstand to pick up a newspaper is no more. Your insult to us is just as swiftly rebuffed. The only difference is that unlike you, we have mobility. We demand our right as Netizens. Our right to content!

How can they justify making it harder for those who still consume their content, at a time when the tide against them is rising. It’s simply alienating to what remaining loyalists they have. It’s these types of “real world” power trips that have probably caused some of the paper’s current ebbing support. The web is too fluid a medium for anyone to think that they can build a wall that will isolate content successfully.

The New York Times’ declining sales have been attributed to the rise of alternative media including competition from social media. This is kind of obvious since The New York Times has the exact opposite strategy regarding content as does social media. The paper seeks to restrict and maintain a hold on content, how its consumed and by whom. Social media, specifically sites like Facebook have very open policies regarding content. The worst it can get on one of these sites is that its specific users can restrict access to their own contributions. Maybe this stark difference in how these organizations, organize content is the reason why The New York Times is in decline and social media is on the rise.

Social media grew up with the web. It doesn’t exist without it. That is why sites like Facebook and twitter teat their users like MVPs and not like annoying hobos who want free content. The problem with The New York Times is that it acts as if there is any future scenario where it exists without the web. It’s looking longingly at a time when squares were named after it and balls dropped in its honor. Reality check NYT, it’s not 1851 anymore. You’re no longer the toast of the world.

Hundreds of millions of people log on to Facebook daily. You’re just lucky if you can get a measly 30 million. The web is like a brand new country club. You see in the old world you may have been considered as something. But here, online, there are millionaires, and there are centimillionaires!

My advice to “the Old Gray Lady” , adapt or die.

Facebook Likes

Image“Likes” as a feedback tool were developed by Facebook back in 2007 but were only introduced on its site in February 2008. There is some controversy regarding who between Facebook and Friendfeed arrived at the tool first. Even though Friendfeed had launched their button by late 2007, Facebook sources comment that this event was not on their radar. According to them, they were developing a tool with the prototype name “Awesome” that in 2007 Zuckerberg baptized into “like.” What an awesome coincidence, don’t you, like agree. Facebook’s help page states, “the “like” button is a way to give positive feedback or to connect with things you care about on Facebook.” But if you googled the term “Facebook likes” , it’s more likely that you would get pages and pages of links to websites purporting to sell this online commodity. Whatever it once was, the “like” is presently just another easily automated advertising gimmick. It has become Mark Zuckerberg’s weak response to Google search. The touted “positive feedback” tool is a pitiful botnet tool, used to substitute for opinion on the web.

Image

It’s marketed as feedback but functions more like astroturf. An easily consumed social approval sticker that exports life’s fascination with high school-esque popularity contests onto the online sphere. Board members love data, but this type of gimmick inflates the misinformation balloon, not the relevant data balloon.

Netizens on Facebook, who I assume have more than the dual “like” or ignore reaction to the average Facebook post, are forced into this situation where they have to settle for a very limited voice. Facebook and other sites that only have a “like” button do their users a disservice by not including more options. Youtube is a notable exception to this flaw as it includes both “like” and “dislike” options in its content feedback tools.

Maybe the reason why Facebook wont add a “dislike” button is because they think the first thing we’ll do with it is “dislike” all those ads they send us. The problem with Facebook is its coupling of the “like” feedback mechanism with its advertising interests. To them these are not mere “likes”, but reasons to justify their advertising costs to their clientele. They’re trying too hard to “own” the tone and output of their user-base. I strongly believe that this is a mistake in their strategy. Having too much value concentrated on this one tool restricts the company’s ability to play with and even evolve its feedback options. The money it has tied into the like button acts like inertia by preventing the company from evolving. As a social network, Facebook should be more driven towards achieving harmony with its users, who are its primary asset than with impressing corporations who are only interested in Facebook’s users to begin with. Without a billion of us happily clicking away and spending all of our time online there would be no Facebook.

Facebook needs to change the way it treats our opinions. Their policy of not offering a “dislike” option is outright dictatorial. They are like a despot who acts of his own free will without regard for what you “the people” want and at the end of the day expects you to blindly “like” him. What I’d like to know is the name of the social scientist that ever approved of this way of treating people. It’s downright¬† offensive that this website thinks we are all reducible to this one opinion. That by their assessment of us, we are the idiots that “like” all the garbage they drag through our news-feeds every day.

According to a New York Times article, Facebook has its “like” button integrated in over 9 million other web sites worldwide. This further distribution of its only feedback button is a further attempt by the company to not so subtly manipulate us into liking what we may otherwise detest.

This is a further instance of Facebook’s incapacity to tolerate alternate viewpoints in its expanding user base. How can Facebook’s operators honestly expect all of these different sites to present content that a user’s response to would always only be “liking” it? It is seriously impractical for a company of its size to have such a naive assessment of its user’s opinions.

As a user on Facebook viewing pages of content daily, I ask them; where is the way to give negative feedback? Where do I click if I “dislike”this.

How are the various companies that employ these feedback tools on their own websites going to improve if they have no room for criticism. And how presumptuous and arrogant can Facebook’s management be to allow this “yes man” only attitude to persist. Their attitude towards anything they perceive as “negative” is in direct contrast to what experience shows. Very often it’s the negative feedback that is the most important to an organization. This is the kind of feedback a company can learn from. It is well known that people and organizations learn mainly from their failures. By withholding this negative feedback option from its user base and also its advertising clientele , Facebook is robbing the former of its voice and the latter of its opportunity to become better. My advice to Facebook is this: Take a chance on negativity. Not everything you guys do is right, so why not give us an opportunity to tell you when you’re screwing up.

Netizens!

If you can access this with no fear of persecution and under no threat of bodily harm,then you are one of the lucky ones. Here are some of the not so lucky ones:

1. In Bahrain, the moderator of an online forum died in police custody in April 2011.

2.In Jordan, a blogger was stabbed in the stomach.

3. In Sri Lanka and Uzbekistan, those who criticized the government online have “disappeared under mysterious circumstances.”

4.In Mexico, bloggers who had written about organized crime were murdered, with notes that referred explicitly to the victims’ postings online.

http://www.bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/25/estonia-gets-highest-marks-for-internet-freedom/