Google has posted a list of proposed best-practices for Internet software, such as toolbars, which aims at separating spyware from other apps. One of the big problems with the spyware fight is that the legal theories employed (as in the lawsuits against Gator) often have the potential to break the Internet in important ways. For example, the plaintiffs in Gator say that Gator violates their copyright in their webpages by putting new windows onscreen when they're loaded with competitors' info (i.e., you load up www.deliveryservice1.com and a window pops up for deliveryservice2.com). If a court agrees with this theory, it means that the org responsible for the contents of the foremost window in your browser get to control all the other windows
on your screen -- that you violate their copyright if you install, say, a price-comparator that loads Amazon's comparable sell-pages when you bring up a bn.com page so that you can check who's cheapest.
Google's principles seem, to me, to be much more thoughtful and respectful of the Internet and its users. They revolve around key notions in consumer protection: clarity, honesty, and easy opt-out. Not committing fraud, IOW.
Applications that affect or change your user experience should make clear they are the reason for those changes. For example, if an application opens a window, that window should identify the application responsible for it. Applications should not intentionally obscure themselves under multiple or confusing names. You should be given means to control the application in a straightforward manner, such as by clicking on visible elements generated by the application. If an application shows you ads, it should clearly mark them as advertising and inform you that they originate from that application. If an application makes a change designed to affect the user experience of other applications (such as setting your home page) then those changes should be made clear to you.
This gadget does exactly as promised: it looks like a thumbdrive (sort of) and fries the circuitry of any computer it’s plugged into. It’s made from camera flash parts, is charged with a standard AA battery, and delivers a 300V zap of DC destruction to the port for all your USB-murdering needs. Note that this […]
The Cobham catalog, exposed by The Intercept, features countless pages of surveillance gadgets sold to U.S. police to spy on American citizens: tiny black boxes with a big interest in you. In the creepily bland feature lists and nerdy product names is a whisper of a dark future; perhaps darker than anyone can imagine.
This image depicts the most commonly-found stylesheet colors on the web’s top sites—Paul Hebert did an amazing amount of analysis and this is just one of the intriguing visualizations he came up with. Most of these are obvious staples, especially HTML red and blue, though it’s interesting how far the blue “cluster” is from the […]
Holiday shopping is in full swing, and the Striiv Touch is one of the best gift ideas I’ve landed on. Its simple design works for females and males, and its wide range of features makes it suitable for even the non-fitness enthusiasts in your life.Unlike traditional fitness trackers, the Striiv Touch also acts as a smartwatch. It […]
The Pocket Tripod PRO had massive Kickstarter success in 2013, raising almost $85,000 in a single month. But this isn’t just another case of pre-release product hype. This ingenious little device folds out from a credit-card-shaped plastic slab into a sturdy stand with a surprisingly wide range of motion. In portrait orientation, your phone slides […]
Loot Crate is a totally different kind of subscription service that mails subscribers monthly boxes filled with curated geek, pop culture, and gamer paraphernalia. Its cult following awaits a box every month filled with everything from bobble heads to T-shirts to special edition collectibles. But nothing gets Loot Crate fans as excited as the limited […]