Manhattan DA calls for backdoors in all mobile operating systems


A new report from the Manhattan District Attorney calls for law requiring "any designer of an operating system for a smartphone or tablet manufactured, leased, or sold in the U.S. to ensure that data on its devices is accessible pursuant to a search warrant." Read the rest

The Qwerkywriter: a delightful Bluetooth keyboard based on a manual typewriter


I blogged the announcement of the Qwerkywriter more than a year ago, when the company was retooling from its successful kickstarter to full retail production. I've had one of the production models in my office for a couple of months now and I've been very impressed! (I wrote this review on it). Read the rest

Selfie-stick follies: man had camera reversed for his whole Vegas trip

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Evan Griffin's dad borrowed his Gopro for a Vegas holiday and walked the strip for days with the camera on the end of a selfie-stick -- pointed the wrong way. Read the rest

CEOs are lucky, tall men


A new working paper [PDF] from three Harvard Business School researchers builds on the work of Texas A&M professor Markus Fitza, whose paper in last month's Strategic Management Journal showed that nearly everything about a CEO's performance can be attributed to chance. Read the rest

America's CEOs and hedge funds are starving the nation's corporations to death


Stock buybacks (previously) allow CEOs to drive up the company's share-price by using profits to buy shares back from investors, rather than investing the money in wages, R&D, capital or expansion. Read the rest

EU official: all identified Paris attackers were from the EU


Despite the rumors that tricked more than half the state governors in the USA into enacting racist anti-Syrian policies, there is no evidence that the Paris attackers came from outside the EU. Read the rest

The Web is pretty great with Javascript turned off


Wired's Klint Finley tried turning off Javascript and discovered a better Web, one without interruptors asking you to sign up for mailing list, without infinitely scrolling pages, without ads and without malvertising. Read the rest

Kickstarting pizza wrapping paper


Two design students are hoping to raise $4900 to fund production on archival/acid-free/recycled post-consumer wrapping paper emblazoned with delicious pizza toppings. They bundle the paper with matching pizza boxes to hold your gifts. Read the rest

If the Paris attackers weren't using crypto, the next ones will, and so should you


Lots of law enforcement agencies hate crypto, because the technology that helps us protect our communications from criminals and griefers and stalkers and spies also helps criminals keep secrets from cops. With each terrorist attack there's a fresh round of doom-talk from spooks and cops about the criminals "going dark" -- as though the present situation, in which the names and personal information of everyone who talks to everyone else, all the time, where they are then they talk, where they go and who they talk to next, is somehow less surveillant than the past, when cops could sometimes use analog tape-recorders to wiretap the very few conversations that took place on landlines. Read the rest

Former ISIS hostage: they want us to retaliate


French journalist Nicolas Hénin was held hostage for ten months by ISIS terrorists, chained in an underground cell; his cellmates were later murdered by ISIS. For nearly a year, he lived with ISIS fighters, and learned what makes them tick. Read the rest

There is no record of US mass surveillance ever preventing a large terror attack


CIA Director John Brennan wants you to think the Paris attacks were Snowden's fault -- the "hand wringing" over mass surveillance has ended his agency's ability to "thwart" terrorists attacks "before they're carried out." There's only one problem with that: there's no evidence that the US's mass surveillance programs have ever prevented a major terrorist attack. Read the rest

The final Pratchett: The Shepherd's Crown

I really tried to make this book last. It's the last Discworld novel, written by Terry Pratchett in the last days of his life, as his death from a tragic, unfair, ghastly early onset Alzheimer's stole up on him. But I couldn't help myself. I read it, read it all. I wept. Then I read it again.

Crowdinvesting to expand cocktail startup Shaken


As previously mentioned, the nice folks at Shaken sell subscriptions to monthly cocktail kits, which comprise a selection of rare and delicious ingredients and simple instructions for mixing and varying new and delicious boozy concoctions. Read the rest

Turns out that "unsubscribing" from spam actually works


After my spam hit a point where I couldn't actually download my email faster than it was arriving, I spent a month clicking the unsubscribe links in all the spams in my inbox. Weirdly, it worked. Read the rest

Kickstarting a jewelry-making kit for girls that teaches coding


Robbo writes, "Giapetta's Workshop is a multi-faceted interactive adventure story and hand-crafting jewelry kit, all-in-one, for 8-12 year olds that teaches the fundamentals of coding. They're running a Kickstarter campaign to get everything rolling with the goal of getting 5,000 girls coding in 30 days." Read the rest

Ewok hooded scarf


The hand-wash 55" knit scarf is $25 from Thinkgeek, with faux-fur ears. (via Oh Gizmo) Read the rest

DRM in TIG welders


Some of Miller's TIG welding power supplies come intentionally crippled, locking out many useful functions until you buy a $400 SD card. Read the rest

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