If adblocking is dead, the future is brandblocking--and less appetizing things, too

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Facebook is at war with users who block ads, and battle proceeds apace. Just two days after boasting that it could serve ads that were undetectable by adblockers, Facebook got a rude awakening in the form of updates to AdBlock that detected them just fine. But it isn't giving up, and has already adjusted its code to once again circumvent the blocks.

A source close to Facebook tells me that today, possibly within hours, the company will push an update to its site’s code that will nullify Adblock Plus’ workaround. Apparently it took two days for Adblock Plus to come up with the workaround, and only a fraction of that time for Facebook to disable it.

Update: A source says Facebook is now rolling out the code update that will disable Adblock Plus’ workaround. It should reach all users soon.]

Still, the cat-and-mouse game is sure to rage on.

AdBlock is at a disadvantage due to Facebook's engineering resources and ability to update its site on-the-fly. That said, Facebook loses more money from each lost ad than AdBlock pays to remove it, which creates an asymmetrical fight. AdBlock is, of course, not a noble venture—it dominates the ad blocking market and whitelists ads from publishers that pay it protection money.

Adblockers generally distinguish ads from content by looking at how web pages are structured and where they come from. To those unfamiliar with HTML, web pages are a nest of boxes, each tagged as a <paragraph or a <division or an <articleor what-have-you, with each identified or classified so that other code can decide what it looks like, where it goes, or what content gets pasted into it as the page renders. Read the rest

See a coffee maker rebuilt into a "bionic" hand

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Maker Evan Booth transformed a Keurig K350 coffeemaker into a "bionic" hand. As William Gibson once wrote, "the street finds its own uses for things."

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The “Emergency Mode” Every Smartphone Should Have

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Most phones already come equipped with an Airplane Mode for flights, a Do Not Disturb mode for watching movies or ignoring people, and a Low Power mode for when your battery is about to die. But what happens when you’re in an emergency? Read the rest

Meet one of the last jukebox repairmen

Perry Rosen turned his passion for jukeboxes into a career. This man knows from motors, vacuum tubes, and turntables. If I had a jukebox, I'd ask Rosen if he could mod it to play with a punch to the chassis, Fonz style. Read the rest

Wireless charger that levitates your mobile phone

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Yes, it's a gimmick, and we've all seen it before on speakers, clocks, etc., but levitation is still magical to behold. The OvRcharge combines magnetic levitation with induction charging for your mobile device. It's available for pre-order via Kickstarter.

To achieve altitude and be able to charge wirelessly, phone requires a special case. that consists of two main parts, electricity receiver from the base and a Magnet to hold its position mid air. so we design ultra thin case to not only protects your investment but to go some levels and also powers it up all at same time. This case has a magnet that will help it to levitate & it also has induction receiver for charging without cables.

OVRcharge (Kickstarter)

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TV Dreamland

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This week on HOME: Stories From L.A.:

When TV producer Phil Savenick started collecting vintage TVs and TV memorabilia, he didn’t anticipate that he’d end up with what he now calls a “dreamland of televisions” in the living room of his West Los Angeles home — or that he’d end up helping the family of the man who invented TV heal some old wounds.

HOME is a member of the Boing Boing Podcast Network. If you like the show, take a minute to drop by the iTunes Store and give it a rating and/or review. 

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The coolest portable record players in the world

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Fumihito Taguchi's fantastic collection of vintage portable record players, including the wonderful specimens seen here, will be on display at Tokyo's Lifestyle Design Center from July 30 to August 28. See more at this Fashion Press post and in Taguchi's book "Japanese Portable Record Player Catalog," available in the US from my favorite vinyl soulslingers Dusty Groove. (via #vinyloftheday)

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How floppy discs worked

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The 8-Bit Guy's 15-minute explainer on floppy discs is a great potted history of 80s- and 90s-era storage media (it follows his segment on tape-drives) and the way that competitors learned from each others' mistakes and dead-ends, and engineered clever solutions to one of computing's most serious challenges. (via Motherboard) Read the rest

Beautiful artwork plays the UNIX timestamp on cymbals

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Mexico City-based artist Pablo Dávila's "Living in time believing in the timeless" is a beautiful, compelling installation in which the UNIX timestamp triggers drumsticks, via an Arduino and custom code, to ping crotales (aka antique cymbals). It makes the ephemeral (and digital) visceral. The work is simultaneously jarring and meditative, a rather odd and provocative state to maintain.

"As each second of UNIX code is inherently unique, the drumming pattern of 'Living in time believing in the timeless' never repeats," Dávila says. "The UNIX timestamp will end on the year 2038, and the sculpture will die with it – a conflation of past-future time."

Dávila's work -- from light installations to kinetic sculpture -- lies at the intersection of science, technology, and wonder. You can experience his first solo exhibition in the United States, including "Living in time...," at San Francisco's CULT Gallery through next week. The show, curated by Aimee Friberg and featuring Dávila's magnificent works inspired by the thinking of Marshall McLuhan, Tibetan Buddhist/yogi Milrepa, and minimalist composer Steve Reich, is titled "Ladies & Gentlemen, We Are Floating In Space."

"Light rays manifest themselves in a way in which our brain must process what is captured by our eyes for us to comprehend what we are seeing," Dávila says. "I believe we are disoriented in our comprehension and perception of time and space, I am attracted to particular objects that confront this deception and speak to me to me with distinct speeds, aesthetics and spaces."

PABLO DÁVILA, Ad libitum (piano phase), 2016, Print on cotton paper, aluminum frame, LED’s, 35 x 158 x 6 cm, 13.75 x 62 x 2.5 in (Triptych), Edition of 2 + 1 AP:

PABLO DÁVILA, Constant (phase), 2016, Video projection on canvas, 175 x 175 x 5 cm, 69 x 69 x 2 in, Edition of 2 + 1 AP:

PABLO DÁVILA, Living in time believing in the timeless, 2016, Drumsticks and custom electronics, 85 x 147 x 13 cm, 33.25 x 58 x 5 in:

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What if school was out, forever?

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Today a future without schools. Instead of gathering students into a room and teaching them, everybody learns on their own time, on tablets and guided by artificial intelligence.

Flash Forward: RSS | iTunes | Twitter | Facebook | Web | Patreon | Reddit

In this episode we talk to a computer scientist who developed an artificially intelligent TA, folks who build learning apps, and critics who wonder if all the promises being made are too good to be true. What do we gain when we let students choose their own paths? What do we lose when we get rid of schools?

Illustration by Matt Lubchansky.

▹▹ Full show notes Read the rest

This tiny camera can be injected with a syringe

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University of Stuttgart researchers used 3D printing to fabricate a tiny three-lens camera that fits on the end of an optical fiber no wider than two human hairs. Eventually, the technology could lead to a new kind of very thin endoscope for looking inside the human body. According to the researchers, the camera delivered "high optical performances and tremendous compactness." From Phys.org:

(The camera) can focus on images from a distance of 3.0 mm, and relay them over the length of a 1.7-metre (5.6-foot) optical fibre to which it is attached.

The "imaging system" fits comfortably inside a standard syringe needle, said the team, allowing for delivery into a human organ, or even the brain.

"Endoscopic applications will allow for non-invasive and non-destructive examination of small objects in the medical as well as the industrial sector," they wrote (in their scientific paper).

Below, the lens (blue) was fabricated directly on the optical fiber (red). The fiber and camera are emerging from a hollow, 27 gauge syringe needle:

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White House issues report on President Obama's impact on science and tech

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In 2009, President Obama pledged to "restore science to its rightful place." He said, "We will not just meet, but we will exceed the level achieved at the height of the space race, through policies that invest in basic and applied research, create new incentives for private innovation, promote breakthroughs in energy and medicine, and improve education in math and science."

Today, the White House released an Impact Report listing 100 things that Obama has made happen with the support of many people across research, policy, education, and, yes, maker culture. Here's the full Impact Report. A few examples from the list:

• Prioritized and encouraged broad participation in STEM education. The President’s Educate to Innovate campaign, launched in November 2009, has resulted in more than $1 billion in private investment to improve K-12 STEM education. The Nation is on track to meet the President’s January 2011 State of the Union goal to put 100,000 additional excellent STEM teachers in America’s classrooms by 2021. The President has helped showcase to students—including through events such as the White House Science Fair—that science, math, engineering, and computer programming are deeply compelling subjects that can help solve problems locally and globally.

• Fostered a nation of makers. The President hosted the first-ever White House Maker Faire; highlighted the growing importance of additive manufacturing by being the first President to be 3D scanned for his Presidential bust; and led a call to action resulting in commitments to create more than 1,000 maker spaces around the country.

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These bizarre vintage hair-dryers will blow your mind, and your tresses

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When I was little, my mother had a 1960s sit-under hair dryer with a huge translucent plastic hood that I'd imagine was a variation on a Star Trek Transporter. But that hulking machine had nothing on these vintage hair dryers from the first part of the 20th century. These would have provided me with years of science fiction fantasies and nightmares. See more at Dangerous Minds.

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Pentagon's nuclear missile system is run on 1970s floppy disk tech

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In a new report, the U.S. Government Accountability Office reveals that the "Department of Defense uses 8- inch floppy disks in a legacy system that coordinates the operational functions of the nation’s nuclear forces." That floppy format was developed in the late 1960s and was obsolete by the 1980s. I wonder if the DoD saves a few bucks by using a hole punch to make them double sided.

According to the GAO report, "The agency plans to update its data storage solutions, port expansion processors, portable terminals, and desktop terminals by the end of fiscal year 2017."

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY: Federal Agencies Need to Address Aging Legacy Systems (PDF) Read the rest

Technology's "culture of compliance" must be beaten back in the name of justice

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In 1989, Canadian activist, engineer and thinker Ursula Franklin gave a series of extraordinary lectures on the politics of technology design and deployment called "The Real World of Technology." Read the rest

Time Warner Cable CEO Rob Marcus gets $92 million severance after 2.5 years on the job

Robert Marcus, outgoing Time Warner Cable CEO [Reuters]
The sale of Time Warner Cable to Charter Communications is completed today, and former TWC customers (including me) can probably look forward to a whole new era of crappy service, Netflix throttling, and horrible customer service experiences under our new broadband overlords.

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How much is your ISP ripping you off? New Netflix speed test tool can answer that.

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Streaming video service Netflix today launched Fast.com, which shows you your internet connections in megabits per second. You can use it on your mobile or over your home broadband connection, and it doesn't require a Netflix account.

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