Frequent Boing Boing contributor Clive Thompson (previously) has a great short piece in this month's Wired about platform cooperativism: replacing parasitical Silicon Valley companies that sit between workers and their customers with worker-owned co-ops that take the smallest commission possible in order to maintain the apps that customers and workers use to find each other.
Thompson tells the story of Up & Go, a worker-owned co-op for house cleaners where the average worker earns $22.25/hour. The Up & Go app does all the things that other gig economy apps do: makes it easy for workers and customers to find each other, contract for services and pay for them -- but because "there's no venture capitalist demanding hockey-stick growth or profits," the workers get to keep all the money.
Platform cooperativism has been popularized by the New School's Trebor Scholz, who leads a team writing free/open source code that groups of workers can set up and run in the field.
The lesson here? If we want better gig labor, the hard part isn't the code. It's the social stuff—getting workers together to form a co-op and setting up rules for selling their labor and resolving disagreements. An app can help things along, but it's humans who really change the world.
When Workers Control the Code [Clive Thompson/Wired]
Since 2014, open source hackers have been perfecting the OpenAPS, an "open artificial pancreas" made by modifying the firmware of discontinued Medtronic insulin pumps, which were discontinued due to the very security flaw that makes them user modifiable (that flaw also leaves them vulnerable to malicious modifications).
Ola Bini is a Swedish free/open source software developer who lives in Quito, Ecudaor; as he prepared to depart for a long-planned (and previously publicly announced) vacation in Japan, he was seized by Ecuadorean police, who claimed he was fleeing the country after the arrest of Julian Assange; authorities had a warrant for a "Russian […]
Public Sans is a free, open font (available in weights from 100-900, download here) from the federal United States Web Design System with a Github project that you can contribute to: it's billed as "A strong, neutral typeface for text or display." (via Four Short Links)
Heads up: The clock is winding down on a free-entry contest to win not only one of the best smartphones on the market but a handy pair of earbuds. A simple sign-up is all you need to be eligible to win a 256 GB iPhone XS Max, along with AirPods. And while “free” is tough […]
Kudos to those of us who have chosen a less wasteful third option to “paper or plastic” at the supermarket or club stores. Tote bags are reusable, but they can be a pain to tote around. Here’s an upgrade to that planet-saving measure. The Club Cart Lotus Trolley Bag is that rare tote you’ll want […]
Looking for a career in IT, gaming or software development? In the ever-changing world of the internet, versatility is your biggest asset. In other words, mastering Java might not cut it in an interview if you don’t know C#. However, there’s a bundle that covers the essentials in most any language. The Legendary Learn to […]