Boing Boing 

The book thieves of 1990s London


In the 1990s, London was home to notorious book-thieves who stole to order for the shops of Charing Cross road, who paid a fraction of cover-price for them -- meaning that each thief would have to steal £50,000/year worth of books (and often stole more).

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VPNs: which ones value your privacy?

Torrentfreak has published its annual survey of privacy-oriented VPN services, digging into each one's technical, legal and business practices to see how seriously they take the business of protecting your privacy.

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Ad-hoc museums of a failing utopia

Photographer David Hlynsky took more than 8,000 street photos in the Eastern Bloc, documenting the last days of ideological anti-consumer shopping before the end of the USSR

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Companies should never try to intercept their users' encrypted traffic

Lenovo's disgraceful use of Superfish to compromise its users' security is just the tip of the iceberg: everywhere we look, companies have decided that it's a good idea to sneakily subvert their users' encryption.

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Emma Thompson on tax-strike until HSBC tax evaders are jailed


The actor and her husband, Greg Wise, have vowed to withhold their tax until the UK tax authorities begin to imprison the tax-cheats who were revealed to be using HSBC's Swiss money-laundry, even if it means going to jail themselves.

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Grim meathook future, Singapore style


Charlie Stross's "Different Cluetrain" is a set of theses describing the future we live in, where capitalism not only doesn't need democracy -- it actually works better where democracy is set aside in favor of a kind of authoritarian, investor-friendly state.

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HSBC boss used tax havens to keep underlings from discovering his outrageous pay


HSBC CEO Stuart Gulliver admitted that he used two secretive banks -- one in Switzerland, the other in Panama -- not just to avoid taxes, but to hide his amazing compensation package from other HSBC bankers, lest they wax jealous.

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EFF: Here's how to fix patents in America

Two years in the making, Defend Innovation is a whitepaper by Electronic Frontier Foundation attorneys, setting out a program for fixing America's horribly busted patent system.

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Martin Luther playset is the best-selling toy of all time


Playmobil's German "Little Luther" toy sold 34,000 pieces in 72 hours.

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If dishwashers were Iphones


My latest Guardian column is design fiction in the form of an open letter from a dishwasher company whose kitchenware marketplace and Dish Rights Management system is under fire.

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Nathan Barley: old comedy turned out to be a documentary about our future

When Charlie "Black Mirror" Brooker came up with his trustafarian new media parody Nathan Barley for TV Go Home, no one suspected the character would last this long -- or be so relevant.

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Crowdfunding Toronto restaurant expansion for Fonda Lola

Our own sysadmin Ken Snider writes, "Toronto Mexican Restaurant Fonda Lola, in an attempt to both raise capital for bulk purchases (to lower costs) as well as create a War Chest to open a second location, has decided to issue 1000 public shares at $75 each, via Indiegogo."

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Necromantic lawyers say George Patton can't appear in video games


California's insane publicity rights regime mean that the general -- who's been dead for 69 years -- can't be a video-game character because people might mistakenly think he endorses the game.

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GOP senator: abolish hand-washing regulations in restaurants

Instead of mandating that restaurant employees wash their hands between wiping their asses and making your food, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) says the state should only require them to advise the public of any handwashing policies in place.

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RIP, Borderlands Books


San Francisco's outstanding, world-beating science fiction bookstore, Borderlands, will shut no later than March 31.

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2600 won't settle with the distributor that screwed it and all the other indie mags

2600 Magazine's Emmanuel Goldstein writes, "2600 Magazine (The Hacker Quarterly) has found itself embroiled in a bitter dispute over the bankruptcy declaration of one of the largest magazine distributors in the United States."

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Google fought gag order over Wikileaks emails

The company says that it fought the warrants and their gag orders, and the reason they weren't able to follow Twitter's suit by disclosing the warrants' existence was that prosecutors were furious over the public backlash when Twitter got to disclose.

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Comcast ghost-wrote politicians' letters in support of Time Warner Cable merger

Letters sent to the FCC in favor of Comcast's proposed Time Warner Cable merger came from Mayor Jere Wood of Roswell, GA; Councilor Todd Wodraska of Jupiter, FL; Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown and many other politicians -- all written in whole or part by Comcast's staffers and lobbyists.

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Google strong-arms indie musicians into accepting brutal, crowdfunding-killing deal for streaming service


Google is launching a new, Youtube-branded streaming music service, with the cooperation of the Big Four labels, who got to negotiate the terms of their participation -- unlike the indie musicians, who have been told that they will be exiled from Youtube altogether unless they make it their most-favored-nation distribution service, without the possibility of holding back tracks for backers on services like Kickstarter or Patreon.

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UPDATED Google handed Wikileaks staffers' email over to US Government, didn't tell anyone


Wikileaks has issued a furious denunciation of Google after it learned that the company turned over its staff email to the US Government in March 2012 without notifying it. Update: Google says it fought to disclose sooner.

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How to fix copyright in two easy steps (and one hard one)

My new Locus column, A New Deal for Copyright, summarizes the argument in my book Information Doesn't Want to Be Free, and proposes a set of policy changes we could make that would help artists make money in the Internet age while decoupling copyright from Internet surveillance and censorship.

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Potemkin rumble: your car's muscular engine noise is an MP3


Car manufacturers admit that they fake the throaty rumble of their products' engines, using tricks like hidden amplifiers or even playing digital soundfiles when you depress the gas pedal.

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Thousands of fish rescued from Bangkok's rotting, derelict mega-mall


Thousands of carp, iridescent sharks, catfish and tilapia have been netted from the flooded remains of the New World Mall in Bangkok, which has been collapsing in legal limbo since 1997, when judges ordered it demolished after finding that the 11-storey mall had been built on the basis of planning permission that only allowed for four storeys.

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Alien overlord: stop blaming me for your city's housing bubble!


Zathbog of Planet Cibwarv wants us to stop blaming him for buying up all the property in your favorite big city, ensuring that even families with solid double incomes can barely afford to rent, and will never own a home of their own; after all, you should see the hardships he endured while building up his immense off-planet fortunes in the the interstellar mining industry.

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G+ Kremlinology: estimating the desolation of Google's social media ghost-town


Google's spent four years frog-marching its users into G+, its faltering social network, even tying company-wide bonuses to G+ performance, thus ensuring that all of Google's offerings did everything they could to cram us into G+ -- but it hasn't worked.

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Life inside a DDOS "booter site"

The internal records of Lizardsquad's Lizardstresser -- a service that would, for money, flood sites with traffic intended to knock them off the Internet -- were dumped to Mega by Doxbin's former operator, providing an unprecedented public look at the internal workings of booter.

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The Knowledge: London cabbies' multi-year, grueling training


If you want to drive a black cab in London -- the only cars that passengers can hail from the kerb -- you have to pass "The Knowledge," an unbelievably tough exam that tests you on your minute knowledge of every street, landmark, hotel, restaurant, hospital, church, stadium, airline office, club, police station, court, and tourist destination within six miles of Charing Cross station.

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Universal wants to take away prisoners' mixtapes


They're suing a group that sends care-packages to prisoners that include mixtapes featuring funk, soul and hiphop artists.

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Rebooted Cluetrain Manifesto

Doc Searls and David Weinberger, two of the original Cluetrain Manifesto authors, have revisited their canonical work of Internet wisdom, publishing a new, remix-friendly document called New Clues; it's funny, sad, humble and inspiring.

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Porn companies carpetbomb Google with sloppy takedowns, remove tons of Github projects

Takedown Piracy is a copyright enforcement outfit that works on behalf of porn companies; they sent thousands of takedown notices to Google demanding the censorship of search-results for links to pages that contained the word "pure," "rebound," "lipstick," and other common words, including several Github pages that had nothing to do with their clients' movies.

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