Boing Boing 

Sending Terry Pratchett home with HTTP headers

In Terry Pratchett's novel Going Postal, an allegory about the creation of an Internet-like telegraph system called "the clacks," workers who die in the line of duty have their names "sent home," by being transmitted up and down the line in the system's signalling layer ("A man is not dead while his name is still spoken").

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Social graph of mysterious twitterbots


Terence Eden has mined the social graphs of thousands of mysterious, spammy twitterbots, which may or may not be the same larval spambots I wrote about.

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Is a reputation economy really an economy?


Kevin Simler's 2013 essay on the economics of social status is a great, enduring Sunday sort of longread that should be required of anyone contemplating using the phrase "reputation economy" in polite society.

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Imaginary ISIS attack on Louisiana and the twitterbots who loved it


Gilad Lotan has spotted some pretty sophisticated fake-news generation, possibly from Russia, and possibly related to my weird, larval twitterbots, aimed at convincing you that ISIS had blown up a Louisiana chemical factory.

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An online community that deletes itself once it's indexed by Google


Unindexed is an online community that anyone can contribute to; it runs a back-end process that continuously scours Google for signs that it has been indexed, and securely erases itself once it discovers evidence of same.

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Matt Haughey retires from Metafilter


After 16 years behind the wheel of Metafilter, Matt Haughey is stepping down.

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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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Kathy Sierra's BADASS: how to make your users into successes


Kathy Sierra, the brilliant and storied user experience expert, has a new book, Badass: Making Users Awesome, which is aimed at teaching you to "craft a strategy for creating successful users."

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Internet-fired elections and the politics of business as usual


I've got a new Guardian column, Internet-era politics means safe seats are a thing of the past, which analyzes the trajectory of Internet-fuelled election campaigning since Howard Dean, and takes hope in the launch of I'll Vote Green If You Do.

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Personal technology is political


Dan Gillmor, who was the San Jose Mercury News's leading tech columnist during the dotcom years, and was one of the first reporters to go Mac, has switched over to using all free/open source software: Ubuntu GNU/Linux on a Thinkpad, Cyanogenmod on an Android phone.

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I'll Vote Green If You Do: electoral kickstarter for minority parties

The UK Green Party has built a version of the kickstarter for elections I proposed last year: they're signing up people who promise to vote Green if enough of their neighbours will do the same.

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Facebook tells Native Americans that their names aren't "real"


Facebook's "real names" policy means that from time to time, it arbitrarily decides what its users are allowed to call themselves, which sucks if your name is something like Dana Lone Hill or Robin Kills The Enemy or Shane Creepingbear.

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Use Facebook while in South Carolina jail, go to solitary for 37 years


Prisons have a legitimate interest in controlling contraband, but in South Carolina, using social media from behind bars is a Class I offense, carrying stiffer penalties than murder, escape and hostage-taking.

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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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Fun with promoted Tweets


Andy Baio's been playing with Twitter's "promoted tweet" targeted ads, sending out tweets that are only seen by Twitter staff (hey, verify me already!), politicians (make better laws!), and, in one bizarre case, no one (a process Twitter calls "nullcasting").

Canarywatch: fine-grained, high-alert system to detect and reveal secret government snooping


In the age of secret government snooping warrants -- which come with gag orders prohibiting their recipients from revealing their existence -- "warrant canaries" have emerged as the best way to keep an eye on out-of-control, unaccountable spying, and now they've gotten better.

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Canada's spies surveil the whole world's downloads


A newly released Snowden leak jointly published by the CBC and The Intercept documents Canada's Communications Security Establishment's LEVITATION program, which spies on 15 million downloads from P2P, file lockers, and popular file distribution sites.

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