The shape of the Internet (according to patent drawings)


The stylized art of patent drawings is instantly recognizable. Before the information age, the drawings were drafter's jewelboxes, designed to make the workings of new mechanical inventions legible to other inventors (and patent examiners). Read the rest

These tech giants just asked US government for more surveillance; call Congress now!


Evan from Fight for the Future writes, "Apple, Microsoft, Adobe, IBM, Salesforce / Heroku, and a handful of other tech companies just betrayed billions of people's trust. They signed a letter endorsing CISA, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act." Read the rest

How to save online advertising


My latest Guardian column, How to save online advertising, looks at the writing on the wall for ad-blockers and ad-supported publishing, and suggests one way to keep ads viable. Read the rest

It's surprisingly easy to set up a convincing, highly regarded fake online business


Kashmir Hill invented a totally imaginary business -- "Freakin’ Awesome Karaoke Express" or FAKE -- and paid people on Fiverr to follow it on Twitter with thousands of fake accounts, and to flood Yelp and Facebook with positive reviews. Before long, people were calling her and asking her to take their money in exchange for a nonexistent karaoke truck. Read the rest

VW con produced as much extra air pollution as all UK power generation, industry, ag & vehicles


Volkswagen's intentional fraud resulted in an extra 1,000,000 metric tons of air pollution being spewed into the skies over America; if they'd extended the con to Europe (where there are far more diesels), it would have been orders of magnitude worse. Read the rest

Yet another pre-installed spyware app discovered on Lenovo computers


A factory refurbished Thinkpad shipped with Windows 7 and a scheduler app that ran once a day, collecting usage data about what you do with your computer and exfiltrating it to an analytics company. Read the rest

Litigation Finance predators: champerty loves company


Litigation Finance involves loaning people money in return for the right to finance a lawsuit in their names. On its face, there's lots to love about this: it's a financial jiu-jitsu that turns every abusive act from a giant company into a target for an investor. The bigger the bully -- the deeper its pockets -- the more financiers there'll be waiting to sue it on your behalf when it screws you over. Read the rest

Cyber-arms dealer offers $1M for weaponizable Iphone bugs


Zerodium, a new firm started by the founder of notorious French arms dealers Vupen, have put out the $1M bounty for unpublished vulnerabilities in the Iphone; they plan on keeping these vulns a secret so that they can be turned into cyberweapons and sold to repressive governments who want to use them to spy on their citizens using their own phone cameras, mics, and keyboards. Read the rest

Ian McDonald's "Luna: New Moon" - the moon is a much, much harsher mistress

We've projected our political and spiritual longings on the Moon since antiquity, and it's been a talismanic home to science fiction's most ambitious dreams for generations. But no one writes like Ian McDonald, and no one's Moon is nearly so beautiful and terrible as Luna: New Moon.

Kickstarter re-incorporates as a "public benefit corporation"


By reforming as a special purpose company, they are able to escape the cult of fiduciary duty that insists that management must screw people over whenever it will enhance shareholder value; they are legally able to put people before profits. Read the rest

How to send email like a non-metaphorical boss


When Enron collapsed and got hit with a lawsuit requesting discovery on its internal email, its top bosses decided that they'd skip spending money on pricey lawyers to go through the archive and remove immaterial messages -- instead, the dumped the entire corpus of internal mail, including their employees' personal messages. Read the rest

European court orders airlines to pay compensation for delays from mechanical failures


For years, airlines operating in Europe have had to pay compensation to delayed passengers, unless the delay was an "extraordinary circumstance." Airlines have characterized mechanical failures as extraordinary circumstances, and refused to pay out when their planes weren't working properly. Read the rest

Symantec caught issuing rogue certificates


Your browser trusts SSL certificates from hundreds of "Certificate Authorities," each of which is supposed to exercise the utmost caution before issuing them -- a rogue cert would allow a criminal or a government to act as a man-in-the-middle between you and your bank, email provider, or employer, undetectably intercepting communications that you believed to be secure. Read the rest

Tell-all free-to-play-game dev's confessions


An anonymous developer for a free-to-play game explains how his company stalked its most prolific players, creating fake sexy-lady Facebook accounts to friend them in order to gain insight into their proclivities so that super-expensive, one-off virtual goods could be made and targeted to them. Read the rest

The antique tech shortage that hurts the vinyl boom

As the vinyl record resurgence continues, the problem is that there simply aren't enough record pressing plants to meet the demand. Indie labels get pushed to the back of the line when the majors place a big order. Read the rest

Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future

Economist Paul Mason's blockbuster manifesto Postcapitalism suggests that markets just can't organize products whose major input isn't labor or material, but information, and that means that, for the first time in history, it's conceivable that we can have a society based on abundance.

Collapsible silicone pots would be amazing in small, urban kitchens

Camp-gear company Sea to Summit makes a line of collapsible silicone cook-pots with anodized aluminum bases. Read the rest

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