Man fuck all these guys, I want a film about Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes and their path through the world of Jizz music. Was their appearance in the Mos Eisly cantina in Star Wars part of their long coast into obscurity? Was it part of a point in their career where they honed their chops to monofilament-perfection like the Beatles in Hamburg? Was it the turning point where Nalan Cheel got her left thumb shot off in the fracas after one deadbeat shot another deadbeat, and put down the bandfill forever in favor of the hokotaur, developing a distinctive style that would go on to influence a generation? I want a musical biopic with all their greatest hits, all the tunes that left a solid mark on Jizz. I want to know about their pivotal role in the 300th annual Galactivision contest.

Egypt Urnash, My Star Wars pitch. Call me, Disney! (Don’t.)

Om Malik, at the end of a blog post discussing Bandcamp:

This did, of taking a stake in the success of something you believe in, is an excellent way to think about fostering creativity in the future. I mean, why just music? We are all stuck with Instagram as the only place to follow photographers, but we don’t have any tools that put the interest of photographers first. Instead, it is all about the algorithm and how many ads it can push. This new digital idea of patronage — coming from an appreciation of the creator could transcend categories. I understand that people have Patreon, But that isn’t a purpose-built place to encourage a type or genre of art to foster.

I’ve taken advantage of the recent special events where Bandcamp has waived their transaction fees for the first Friday of the month. And I definitely feel more of a connection to the artists that I follow and support on Bandcamp. Plus, in many cases the music I’m purchasing from Bandcamp will never make it onto Spotify, Apple Music or any other streaming service.

This article from Forbes about the ramifications of the improved privacy controls announced by Apple for iOS 14 makes for enlightening — and depressing — reading. Because, as it notes at the end, both of the biggest firms affected by this — Facebook and Google — have the resources to find ways around this.

My advice? Do not put any apps by either company on your device if you want to avoid being tracked by them, and consider using a network-level blocker to stop other apps phoning home to their networks.

Symbian was, for its time, a brilliant OS. It ran 3D games smoothly, had terrific hardware support, a decent ecosystem for developers. And it was bloody annoying for users.

Every few minutes, Symbian would interrupt you to ask “Are you sure you want this app to connect to the Internet?”

On and on it went. And then, with great fanfare, Apple and Google disrupted them.

Apple’s model was “We have a curated store of artisanal apps, each one backed up by a legal entity with a DUNS number. We check them so you don’t have to. Everything on our store is trustworthy.”

Ha!

Google’s model was “We’ll tell you what kind of crap this app will use. Don’t like it? Don’t use it! YOLO!”

That, of course, led to ostensibly harmless apps asking for ridiculously invasive permissions.

Terence Eden, Symbian Won

And now we’re headed back to more permission requests. Because it turns out that ease-of-use isn’t so great when it compromises security and/or privacy.

Richard Kirkendall, CEO of Namecheap:

Is Facebook using US courts to create a GDPR backdoor to your data?

Namecheap has a long history of advocating for and protecting our customers’ privacy. We were early champions for your rights, we embraced the GDPR, and we will continue to go above and beyond in fighting for your privacy rights. We refuse to hand over your private information unless the company requesting it has established a legal right to it. For many companies, this is good news and a standard they practice as well. A small group, however, believe they are entitled to your information just because of who they are and because they ask.

Today, we find ourselves in a battle for your privacy with one such company: Facebook.

In this battle, Facebook is fighting for the blanket right to access your information. Should it persuade a US court that it has this blanket right, it will create a backdoor to the GDPR and to your personal information. We cannot, in good conscience, be silent and allow this to happen. We will fight this fight and want to give you the information you may need to understand how Facebook’s arguments attempt to open a door to your personal information. To understand the significance and breadth of the proposed backdoor, you need some context on the GDPR. You also need a little info on the domain industry and ICANN.

Wow. I was already aware that Facebook regard GDPR and similar laws as irritating obstacles in its quest to Collect All The Data About Everyone. Shortly after GDPR was passed, Facebook opted-in all of their UK users to the US arm of their service and away from Ireland which previously managed all those users.

I’m guess they’re hoping that this court case will go under most folks’ radars, thanks to all the other stuff going on in the world right now.

Also worth noting, ICANN’s response to GDPR says a lot about how they regard the privacy of Internet users. Then again, ICANN’s reputation has never been stellar to start with.

Happy People Dancing on Planet Earth

This video floated back into my consciousness the other day thanks to this post on Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD):

What are these humans doing? Dancing. Many humans on Earth exhibit periods of happiness, and one method of displaying happiness is dancing. Happiness and dancing transcend national boundaries and occur in practically every human society. Above, Matt Harding traveled through many nations on Earth, planned on dancing, and filmed the result. The featured video, one in a series of similar videos, is perhaps a dramatic example that humans from all over planet Earth feel a common bond as part of a single species. Happiness is frequently contagious — few people are able to watch the featured video without smiling.

Sadly, Matt Harding stopped blogging around 2014, which is a great shame.

This video is a timely reminder that all the people of the world enjoy getting together to sing and dance. 🙂

Why does this matter? The problem is that the private equity model of takeover and ownership is akin to inviting termites into your house. The basic model is as follows: private equity acquires a company using loans, usually from banks but also increasingly from pension funds, insurance companies, sovereign wealth funds etc. The old management is replaced, the workforce cut, and assets such as land and buildings are sold, often to an entity registered in an offshore tax haven. The new company must pay interest on the debt, repay the debt over time, pay rent for the premises, management fees to the private equity owners.

Costs will also include payment to linked third-party suppliers, at prices which are not arm’s length. The taxable capacity of the new company is thereby reduced, and tax liabilities are shifted towards capital gains tax away from corporation tax. The company can only be financially viable in a booming market or where revenue streams continue to rise.

In general, private equity does not actually create anything – it engages instead in extracting resources from previously existing assets. Eventually, by excessive extraction of revenue flows, the companies are bound to fail. The termites eat away at the foundations until the house falls down.

Sheila Smith, Termite Capitalism: how private equity is undermining the economy

A very apt metaphor, alas. It is frankly insane that governments and financial institutions not only tolerate these parasites but encourage them.