The Refrigerator Unexpectedly Showed Dick Doodles and Streaming Porn to a Visitor

In the Internet of Shit, Grosseries Department, a colleague and friend of this reporter who requested anonymity for themselves and their client relayed a story of a Samsung fridge that had a distinct odor about it — not of rotten food, but of a subverted Internet-connected Family Hub.

Samsung envisioned this $3,200 refrigerator as a kind of dashboard for families — even though every individual might have their own devices — that could share information, calendars, notes, and drawings, and surf the Web. This is part of the practice of turning a family into a kind of little corporation.

What Samsung may not have thought of is how to advise people setting up the Family Hub in a shared area. In which many unrelated people pass through. At different times of the day. Without anyone else being there.

My friend, who dealt with the clean-up, says that it might have been construction workers or other folks who were responsible, but somebody — somebody! — drew dicks all over virtual sticky notes across all the swipe-through screens. This was discovered when the organization’s head toured a visitor through the office, and wanted to show off a streaming feature on the Samsung fridge. My friend writes:

dicks swipes dicks. swipes dicks

The head finally gets past the dicks, brings up the browser, and it starts streaming high-definition porn from a Web site.

My colleague didn’t see the dicks, which were deleted by the time they arrived, but they did see the porn history. Read the rest

The twisted history of the Happy Birthday song—and the copyright shenanigans that keep it profitable

I've obtained the 1922 book that demonstrates this classic song should rest in the public domain.

Twitter adds the most awkward version of blocklist sharing you could imagine

It's the equivalent of coming to a dessert party with stale celery sticks.

Twitter's got a new troll stick

New policies at Twitter for reporting, automatic message muting, and enforcement could turn the noise way down for users subject to harassment.

Think you have the right to demand police identify themselves? Look closer.

Police officers are required to display and provide their identification on request—except when they aren't.

"Stranger Danger" to children vastly overstated

Oft-cited stats about child abduction puts kidnappers behind every bush. But the numbers are old and frequently mangled, distorting our understanding of genuine risks to children.

Marriott plans to block personal wifi hotspots

The hotel chain petitioned the FCC for changes that could let venues shut down personal networks. Microsoft, Google, and the cell industry are opposed.

Busting Sex Workers' Clients Increases Demand

Economist Charles Hill argues attempting to reduce the demand for sex services will backfire, increasing its supply and harming sex workers, free agents and coerced alike.

Amazon mails conveyor belt roller instead of gift

Glenn Fleishman reports that a goat dairy farmer was not expecting to receive a mysterious green cylinder.

Twitter takes aim at trolls—and promises more

Glenn Fleishman explains Twitter's blocking system and its freshly-fortified abuse-reporting tools.

Serial offenders plague Twitter

Glenn Fleishman reports on how the platform could fix its harassment problem.

iOS's first major malware challenge

Glenn Fleishman reports on a hack in the wild that may trick users into installing malicious apps. But don't panic! Though potent, the malware has significant real-world limitations.

FCC fines Marriott $600,000 for jamming hotel Wi-Fi

A Nashville convention center figured out how to boost its revenue from selling Internet service: it illegally jammed guests' and exhibitors' Wi-Fi networks. Glenn Fleishman explains the technical scam and why it earned a six-figure smackdown.

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.

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.

The narrative lottery at XOXO

Glenn Fleishman reports from Portland's beloved arts and technology festival, where a darker sense of mission and meaning took hold in the event's third year.

An algorithm to figure out your gender

Twitter claims a 90 percent accuracy rate for the clever techniques it uses to learn the gender of any given user. Glenn Fleishman reports on the company's disconcerting new analytics tools, the research behind them, and how large a pinch of salt they come with.

More posts