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Sci/Tech

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Daring Fireball: Only Apple

Great article. There’s a lot of words, but it’s very well written and moves along at a good clip.

The article contrasts of the Apple today vs. where it was years ago, largely with the help of Tim Cook’s strengths as CEO.

Ars: Tracking goes offline

Why online tracking is getting creepier. Great, short article about an important topic.

“Email?” “No, thanks”

The long and the short from this article is that you should not give retailers or most any company your email address, if you can help it.

It used to be common practice to ask if you wanted to share your email address. The new pattern is to just ask for your address outright, as if it’s required.

In most any case you can just say “no, thank you,” and be on your way. You get all the perks, perhaps tinged with a slight moment of social awkwardness as you deviate from the standard script.

Global Opt-out

There are a number of good links, though these two are likely worth visiting ASAP: DMA Choice and LiveRamp Opt-Out. You can have these companies that gather addresses take you off their list, if only for a few years at a time.

Squarepusher on SciFri

Squarepusher Rocks with Bots. Great interview. Tom pushes heavily on the idea that music by humans is characterized largely by our limitations. He talks a lot about our perception of what is “natural” or that which has soul.

Snapchat.. Chat

Putting the Chat into Snapchat. I’m still not entirely sure I get Snapchat, mostly because I don’t know enough people who use it all that much.

This is one hell of a pivot, though, and I’m quite impressed at the increase in scope, while maintaining the design principals that makes it unique.

The option to go to live video rather instantly is rather wild, and there are a lot of interesting new UI patterns that I have a feeling will pop up in other contexts.

Facebook: Anonymous?

Have to hand it to them; Anonymous Login is a genius name for their new service. Anonymous is the new black, and while this does have it, it also is logging into a service using Facebook.

Said another way, Facebook knows exactly what you’re doing; it’s just the apps that don’t.

This reminds me a bit of the GPL, in that it’s an open system which paradoxically grants rather more rights to the original creator than anyone else. In a similar way, Facebook still has the data, even if the target app doesn’t.

In the end, this is mostly about trying to allow for Facebook to enter into more arenas, and being an even larger point of control.

Truthfully, I find Anonymous Logins useful: there are a variety of services which I’d like to test drive, but I don’t because of the amount of information about me that they would get in the process.

In any case, this move is brilliant, and it defines a new standard for how to pitch data gathering services to people in today’s culture.

Skype: Free Group Video Calling

Skype Loves Bringing Groups Together. Well, that’s a big deal. It definitely seems to be in response to Google’s Hangouts, which has had this for a while.

It still will not have it for mobile clients, yet. I’ve done a multi-video Hangout on my phone, though, and it certainly taxes the system rather heavily, so I can see why.

I know a lot more people with Google accounts than I do on Skype, though I do think the latter is generally better software. If anyone wants to add me, go for it.

BitTorrent: We Need a Better Deal

Net Neutrality: We Need a Better Deal. Good post. The recent happenings re: Net Neutrality are scary, and I don’t see the FCC getting a better perspective any time soon.

I do think that BitTorrent has a legitimate play for fixing part of the problems with current networks. Its image is still a bit tarnished from its reputation for illegal downloads, so for some that is a hurdle. In any case, it will be interesting to see what happens for future networks and what we’ll do to compensate — other than paying more for Netflix, etc.