Does This Spark USB Joy?

I recently did an audit of what spare USB and other cables I had. It turned out I had a lot of extra cables, most of them for items that I’d disposed of years ago (to recycling, of course.) In the end, I kept one of each cable that matched one I’m currently using with a peripheral attached to my computer, and took the rest down to the local recycling centre.

The worst part of all that excess? I was terrible at putting cables back into the box where they were supposed to go, so they ended up in odd corners getting in the way.

The Other Art History: The Forgotten Cyberfeminists of ’90s Net Art

Loney Abrams:

In 1991 the Internet was born. That same year, the term ‘Cyberfeminism’ was coined simultaneously by British philosopher Sadie Plant and by the Australian art collective VNS Matrix. Just as the tech bros of the dot-com boom optimistically believed the internet would change the world for the better, Cyberfeminists had techno-utopian aspirations for radical feminism. Cyberfeminists saw the virtual world as an opportunity to abandon the sexist social conditions of meatspace and rebuild equitable social relations in cyberspace. They found theoretical grounding in the works of theorist Donna Haraway—who wrote The Cyborg Manifesto that rejects the rigid boundaries that separate binaries like human/animal, man/woman, and natural/artificial—and Octavia Butler—a science fiction writer who described futuristic and extraterrestrial worlds that similarly espoused essentializing distinctions and rigid boundaries.

I was running my iMac display at scaled-up resolution for a few month. (For those who don’t know, you can do that via System Preferences > Displays, switching Resolution over to Scaled, then picking an option to the right of Default.)

While the extra real-estate was great for some application, I’ve now decided that it just wasn’t a good deal for my eyeballs.

(My eyesight has changed sufficiently in the last few years that I cannot wear my regular glasses when I’m sat at the computer, and in fact one eye is focussing slightly further than the other, which creates more issue. Eventually, I will need to get a pair of glasses just for computer work and reading. Long-term, I’m looking at varifocals.)

#DeleteFacebook? #DeleteTwitter? #FatLotOfGood that will do you

Lisa Vass, at Sophos’s Naked Security blog:

A study published on Monday found that when it comes to protecting our privacy, it isn’t quite that simple. In fact, we don’t have to actually have a social media profile in order to be known, thanks to the fact that all our predictable friends and colleagues can fill in the blanks.

Jim Bagrow, a mathematician at the University of Vermont who led the research, said in a statement that he and his team used statistical models to analyze data from more than 30 million publicly available Twitter posts from 13,905 accounts. Using that data, they used machine learning to accurately predict what a person would post based on what their contacts have posted.

What’s true for Twitter goes for Facebook, too, the researchers say: Even if you’ve never posted to either platform, it just takes between eight and nine of your friends to build a profile of your likes, interests and personality on social media.

A statement from Bagrow:

You alone don’t control your privacy on social media platforms. Your friends have a say too.

I still intend to #DeleteFacebook but I know that at best that will only deprive them of the information I’ve given them directly.

Jersey’s illegal Senators and Deputies

[ FYI: This is Jersey the Channel Island, not Jersey the US State ]

Richard Murphy:

The scandal became apparent broke on 4th January 2019 when two Jersey Deputies (Scott Wickenden and Hugh Raymond) and one unsuccessful candidate, Bernie Manning, appeared in the Magistrates Court charged by HM Attorney General for Jersey under Article 6(6) of the Law for not returning the required form. Wickenden said he filed his on 28th July 2018 because he said he had shingles. Raymond did not so until December 2018 whilst Manning saaid he “put it in the post”.

The story was broken in a video blog on Friday 11th January 2018. The Jersey media did nothing to report the revelations, but with over 600 hits on the video, it has been watched by many.

Not until HM Attorney General for Jersey Robert MacRae issued a Statement in the evening of Wednesday 16th January did the media report the matter and only then took verbatim without question his version of the facts.

What happened then was that the Jersey Attorney General (AG) decided to stop the prosecution of the three candidates. They appeared in the Magistrates Court on the morning of Friday 18th January but the AG stated that he would not prosecute other errant States Members or candidates on grounds of public policy and because he did not wish them to have criminal records. These three were not awarded their costs.

I cannot ignore this. What it shows is that the rule of law does not apply in Jersey. The law has been randomly disapplied to politcians even though the majority of them should now be excluded from office. In effect, last year’s Jersey general election result was basically null and void. But rather than face that inconvenience the powers that be have swept the matter under the carpet.

What else would one expect from a tax haven but such ‘flexibility’ for an elite who serve the interest of finance? And what else can one conclude but that the “Jersey Way” is in action?

Hello (Again) Ello

Om Malik:

It is the antithesis of the likes-fueled, influencer-juiced world of Instagram and its algorithmic overlordship of creativity. If Instagram is the machine and crowd-powered enemy of creativity for the sake of creativity, Ello is just a place where there are fewer judgments about the art. It is not just about photos. There is art, fashion, music, design, architecture — and it feels like the East Village long before the faux-pubs, condos and the Whole Foods turned it into urban-suburbia.

There is a little current running through the network. There are no adverts because the company founders hated web advertising. I am not sure how they are doing as a business. But they are still around and have not raised new investment capital since their early days. They seem to be attracting new artists and creators.

It is weird, funky and fun — much like Tumblr was for most of its life before the puritans of New Jersey asphyxiated it. Ello lives in the shadow of the platform-controlled Internet doing its own thing. I have personally share one thing — just one message so far, but god, it is so much fun to waste a few minutes of my week looking at such beautiful art.

I had a look at Ello a while back, but couldn’t really find a compelling reason to stick around. Maybe time to take another gander…

Upcoming Version of Google Chrome Will Make It Harder to Block Ads

Upcoming Version of Google Chrome Will Make It Harder to Block Ads

On the one hand, there have been some very sketchy browser extensions (and a few reputable ones that either got taken over or hacked) found and purges from the Chrome App Store of late. On the other hand, the optics of this proposed change look really bad when you consider Google’s main business these days is advertising.

(Another reason why I switched over to Firefox, and won’t be going back anytime soon.)

I’m Marie Fucking Kondo and You Can Keep All Your Fucking Books, You Ingrates

Felipe Torres Medina, writing for Points in Case:

I know you guys are not used to listening to a small-framed Asian woman speak with authority, but I’m going to say this once and for all: You can keep all your fucking books, you ungrateful motherfuckers. All I wanted was to spark a little joy in your fucking miserable lives, which you’ve tried to make fulfilling by purchasing fucking stuff. But fuck me, I guess, for mentioning that I like to have only 30 books in my house.

If you don’t want to read, listen to the dramatic reading by Creatrix Tiara. Funny as f*ck.

The army sent my child a 66-page recruitment magazine and it’s utterly vomit inducing

Emily Apple:

But this isn’t the point. In a parallel universe, he could be ideal cannon fodder for today’s army. He’s grown up in a rural town. Escaping to university is now a costly business, and it’s easy to see how glossy pages promising adventure and gaming offer a convenient way out.

Then add into the mix the fact that, as in so many schools, armed services recruitment talks are a regular classroom feature at my son’s, and the military becomes a normalised career path.

No-one should join the army without the full knowledge of what they’re signing up for. Military recruitment preys on poor and disadvantaged people, promising adventure and escape rather than killing, out-of-date equipment and lack of care for veterans.

Our children are not cannon fodder. 16-year-old kids should not be allowed to enlist at all. And this latest glossy advertorial is nothing but vomit-inducing propaganda.

An Important Message from “Google” about Google+ !

Lauren Weinstein:

We know that many of you have built major parts of your lives around Google+, beginning back in 2011. Over the years since, we have encouraged you to share your experiences and photos, to build Communities and Collections. We know that large numbers of you have spent hours every day on G+, and have built up networks of friends with whom you communicate every day on G+.

And we know that in our rush to maximize G+ participation and engagement, we made some pretty poor decisions, like that period where we integrated YouTube comments and G+ posts, requiring YouTube commenters to create G+ accounts — managing to upset both communities in the process. But you know the motto — move fast and break things!

Now we just want to get out from under Google+. And you’re going to be the collateral damage. Please understand that it’s nothing personal. It’s just business.