Boing Boing 

Zero UI will "change design"

COMPUTER

Zero UI is the new term for "invisible interfaces"—what happens in the future when all the clicking and tapping and typing is history: "If you look at the history of computing, starting with the jacquard loom in 1801, humans have always had to interact with machines in a really abstract, complex way." [Fast Company]

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Twitter chief resigns

Dick Costolo. Photo: Stephen Lam, Reuters


Dick Costolo. Photo: Stephen Lam, Reuters

CEO Dick Costolo will resign, to be replaced in the interim by Jack Dorsey.

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Recode joins Vox Media

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Recode, the tech news site founded last year by former WSJ journalists Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg, is being sold to Vox Media in an all-stock deal.

This is the next big step in our mission to bring you quality tech journalism, because our work will now be amplified and enhanced by Vox Media’s deep and broad skill set. … Re/code will benefit from joining Vox Media by integrating Vox Media’s various capabilities — including marketing, communications, audience development, sales and production. We will also eventually migrate to Vox Media’s beautiful, powerful and flexible proprietary publishing platform, which will give us new ways to present our stories to you.

Growth is the watchword, but it's startling that access to a different content management system is worthy of mention. WordPress just isn't working for publishers, it seems. The Verge, Vox's sprawling gadgets/tech/entertainment hub, will tighten its focus to make way.

Verge Editor Nilay Patel:

…along the way, we made a big decision: The Verge is not a business site. The Verge is for people interested in understanding the exciting and bewildering everyday changes of the future. It's for all of us trying to figure out how we should live and act and behave in this enchanting new world of screens. It's for people wondering what to spend their money on — and for people thinking about how spending that money affects everyone else around them. It's for knowing about trends and ideas across technology and culture first. It's about art and science coming together to spark one of the fastest eras of change in history. The Verge is for understanding life on the cutting edge.

I like The Verge and I like Recode and think it'll work out nicely.

Remixing Taylor Swift to talk about women in tech

Sumana writes, " As Julie Pagano put it: 'So many 'diversity in tech' efforts are about getting young women into the pipeline; ignore the fact that there's a meat grinder at the end.'"

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CTO Megan Smith explains how women in tech are erased from history

Chief Technology Officer of the United States, Megan Smith, stopped by the Charlie Rose show recently and revealed a starting fact

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Help improve diverse accessibility for PDX's Open Source Bridge conference


Sumana writes, "Open Source Bridge is already a leader among tech conferences in diversity-friendliness -- OSB featured a strong code of conduct, accessibility, well-labelled food for all needs, and cheap & free admissions before they became de rigeur, and in 2014 boasted a gender-balanced slate of speakers."

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Arse Elektronika sex/tech conference starts tomorrow in San Francisco


The theme this year is "trans *" and the event features "Talks, machines, games, workshops and performances;" runs from Oct 2-5 at San Francisco's Chez Poulet (3359 Cesar Chavez St).

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Kevin's List

Jason Weisberger imagines a near-future where Google gets a little too eager to please.Read the rest

Online activism and why the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act must die

Courts have appreciated that even distributed denial of service attacks can be legitimate form of public protest. Molly Sauter on the insane U.S. law used to criminalize them and other forms of online activism.Read the rest

Ello, what's all this then? An ad-free social network

A new social micro-blogging network, Ello, is flooded with users during its beta. Ello is predicated on not selling its users out or selling them stuff. Glenn Fleishman suggests it already needs to be held to the fire.Read the rest

Security cruft means every exploit lives forever

Security failures will live on forever, because protocols have no sell-by date. Glenn Fleishman exposes the eternity we face with broken software.Read the rest

Malaysia's tech manufacturing sector based on forced labor

"Hardly a major brand name" doing business in Malaysia is untainted by the use of forced labor from trafficked workers, according to a study backed by the US Department of Labor.

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Meet the anti-Net Neutrality arms dealers who love network discrimination

IBM, Cisco, Intel, and Sandvine make huge bank selling ISPs the networking gear needed to discriminate against online services that haven't paid bribes for access to the "fast lane" -- but it's totally a coincidence that they've told the US government to make sure that the FCC doesn't ban the corrupt practice.

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Digital tools have a mind of their own: yours

Clive Thompson says that there are three principal biases that today's digital tools introduce to human thought. Read the rest

FTC sues Amazon over in-game purchases by children

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Online retailer Amazon is accused of hooking millions of dollars from underage users making unauthorized in-app purchases. The Federal Trade Commission filed a lawsuit Thursday charging that the company willingly allowed kids to set up purchases without the consent of their parents.

Though most were for smaller ammounts, some of the charges ranged as high as $99, and typically were for game weapons, clothes and other virtual bullshit installed on its Kindle Fire gadget.

"Amazon’s in-app system allowed children to incur unlimited charges on their parents’ accounts without permission," FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez wrote in a press release issued by the comission. "Even Amazon's own employees recognized the serious problem its process created. We are seeking refunds for affected parents and a court order to ensure that Amazon gets parents' consent for in-app purchases."

Amazon's in-app purchase system, established in 2011 to help the firm catch up with competitors Apple and Google, was relatively rudimentary and lacked locks or passwords to prevent unuathorized users racking up huge bills. Within a month, internal emails show that Amazon was aware of "problems" that were "clearly causing problems for a large percentage of our customers," according to the FTC's lawsuit.

Amazon only added passwords months later, and did not apply them to purchases of less than $20 for a year. Even then, according to the suit, Amazon did not disclose that doing so once would enable further purchases for more than an hour.

The FTC settled a similar lawsuit with Apple earlier this year, when the company agreed to institute stricter policies and paid $32.5m in restitution. Amazon, informed of the pending lawsuit, said that it had no plans to change its system as Apple had, and would fight the action.

"We have continuously improved our experience since launch, but even at launch, when customers told us their kids had made purchases they didn't want we refunded those purchases," Amazon's associate general counsel wrote in a response to the commission.

Part of the FTC's suit, however, alleges that the refund process itself is intentionally obscure and "rife with deterrents including statements that consumers cannot, in fact, get a refund for in-app charges."

Games aimed at youngsters are at the heart of the controversy, as they are typically free to download and play, only to bombard the user with enticements to pay for the virtual bullshit. The enticements are often clevery designed to "blur the lines between what costs virtual currency and what costs real money," writes the FTC, using visually similar icons and other psychological manipulations to generate unfair and unexpected charges.

Earlier this week, UK regulators ordered Electronic Arts to stop marketing its sleazy mobile game Dungeon Keeper as free-to-play after gamers complained that it was effectively unplayable without in-game paid upgrades.

Jerktech: Silicon Valley's most shameful export

Jerktech is the very apt epithet for the class of "disruptive" startups that sell things that don't belong to them, like parking spots and restaurant reservations, simply raising the prices of them and making access to public resources a factor of your disposable income.

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Google plans to launch 180 internet satellites

The $1bn fleet would "extend Internet access to unwired regions of the globe," reports the Wall Street Journal. [via]