Gaming's #MeToo moment: male fragility versus women's fundamental rights

The latest turn in the Gamergate sage: Zoe Quinn (previously) outed their former partner, game dev Alec Holowka as a sexual and emotional abuser, which prompted others to come forward with their own stories of abuse at Holowka's hands, which led to Holowka being kicked out of his Night in the Woods game project -- and shortly thereafter, Holowka committed suicide. Read the rest

Google releases a free/open differential privacy library

"Differential privacy" (previously) is a promising, complicated statistical method for analyzing data while preventing reidentification attacks that de-anonymize people in aggregated data-sets. Read the rest

Amazon's plan for traffic deaths from same-day delivery: deflect blame to anonymous subcontractors

Amazon's got a tried-and-true way to deal with the negative consequences of high-speed ecommerce logistics: use subcontractors who can absorb the blame for the human toll wrought by the machine-like pace it demands of its workers. Read the rest

Amazon breaks embargo on Margaret Atwood's Handmaid's Tale sequel

Bookstores don't have it on sale yet, but Amazon is already shipping out Margaret Atwood's The Testaments, her long-awaited sequel to The Handmaid's Tale. The impromptu exclusive—apparently Amazon breaking a publisher's embargo—has enraged and terrified booksellers.

The Guardian:

A number of angry independent booksellers have taken to social media to vent about the fact that Amazon violated the embargo set by Penguin Random House; the publisher instructed retailers to withhold the book from customers until its September 10 on-sale-date.

On Tuesday night, Astoria Bookshop (Queens, N.Y.) owner Lexi Beach posted on Twitter that some consumers had already received their pre-ordered copies of The Testaments from Amazon, while booksellers, like herself, were still abiding by the embargo.

Instagram user @JAMNPP posted that he had pre-ordered The Testaments “months ago” from Amazon, and received it in the mail yesterday. “I just figured they’d changed the date but now I checked! I don’t know how I got it a week early,” he wrote. Another Amazon customer, @LateBloomer, shared on Twitter that they had received the book, adding that they were “discouraged that Amazon would fail to abide by the release date, to the detriment of our beloved indie booksellers.” This comment earned a sharp rebuke from Beach, who responded, “If you’re that concerned, why did you order from Amazon?”

Hit up your local independent bookstore and pick up a copy with your own two hands. Read the rest

They told us DRM would give us more for less, but they lied

My latest Locus Magazine column is DRM Broke Its Promise, which recalls the days when digital rights management was pitched to us as a way to enable exciting new markets where we'd all save big by only buying the rights we needed (like the low-cost right to read a book for an hour-long plane ride), but instead (unsurprisingly) everything got more expensive and less capable. Read the rest

US to require air travelers to show 'gold star' at airports in order to fly

Starting next year you won't be able to board a plane without REAL ID.

Trump and Tim Cook had dinner, Trump says Apple CEO made 'very compelling argument' to help Apple get richer

Illegitimate, popular vote losing, and manifestly unfit United States President Donald Trump said on Monday that at a recent dinner with Tim Cook -- what, you didn't think they hung out and shared meals? -- the Apple CEO made a “very compelling argument” that Apple may lose its competitive edge to Samsung because of Trump's tariffs on goods from China. Read the rest

The guy who figured out Bernie Madoff's scam now says GE is about to go bankrupt

Well before the collapse of Bernie Madoff's ponzi scheme -- the largest in world history! -- accounting investigator Harry Markopolos had publicly accused Madoff of running a scam; now he says that General Electric is "one recession away" from bankruptcy, with a "balance sheet in tatters." Read the rest

Amazon pays happy warehouse workers to tweet about how happy they are whenever someone complains about warehouse conditions

Nelsie writes, "Twitter user tweeting about inhuman conditions at Amazon warehouses gets brigaded by tag-team of warehouse workers who are paid to tweet about working at Amazon warehouses two days of the week." Read the rest

Wework loses $5200/customer, lost $1.3B in H1/2019

Financial disclosures from Wework in support of its IPO reveal that the company loses almost $5,200/customer, and that it hemorrhaged $1.3B in the first half of 2019. Read the rest

Googlers circulate petition demanding a moratorium on contracts with US border agencies

Despite the departure of its most prominent leaders amid claims of harassment and retaliation, the Googler Uprising lives on, with Google employees circulating an internal petition demanding that the company not contract with US border agencies to provide any kind of services, on the grounds that US immigration authorities are notorious abusers of human rights. Read the rest

Ohio State University files for a trademark on "THE"

"The Ohio State University" is apparently the full name of Ohio State, and to remind everyone of it, they're selling a line of clothing emblazoned with the stark word "THE," and so they've asked the US Patent and Trademark Office to give them the exclusive right to sell t-shirts, baseball hats and hats with the word "THE" on them. This is stupidly generic and unlikely to survive a challenge or even examination. Doesn't THE university have a law-school that could prevent this kind of public embarrassment? Read the rest

As Uber's stock craters amid billions in unanticipated losses, a hiring freeze on engineers

Uber -- a bezzle -- projected $8b in losses this year; but it lost more than $5b in a single quarter, and despite an initial stock price rise (dead cat bounce?) the company's shares have tumbled by more than 10% since, hitting an all-time low. Engineers who were scheduled to interview at Uber have had those interviews canceled by the company's HR department, who told them the company now has a tech-worker hiring freeze. (Image: Tarcil, CC BY-SA, modified) (via Naked Capitalism) Read the rest

WordPress is buying Tumblr

Automattic (beloved parent company of WordPress) is buying Tumblr from Verizon (loathesome parent company of Oath, a division named because its users are generally angry enough to swear at it), at a price "well below" $20m (which is well below the $1.1b Yahoo paid in 2013). No word as to whether Automattic will get rid of Tumblr's world-beatingly-terrible pornography filter. (via Bruce Sterling's Tumblr) Read the rest

New York City raised minimum wage to $15, and its restaurants outperformed the nation

After NYC raised its minimum wage from $7.25/h to $15/h this year -- the largest pay hike for low-waged workers in half a century -- the city's restaurants boomed, posting the highest growth levels in the country. Read the rest

Uber projected $8b in losses for 2019, but it just booked $5.2b in losses in a single quarter

Uber says it can be profitable someday: all it needs to do is corner the "total addressable market" for all transportation and food delivery, which will give it $12t in annual revenue, which is 15% of all global transactions. Read the rest

Barnes and Noble's new boss is James Daunt, who rescued the UK's Waterstones

James Daunt gave up a brief career in banking and opened a small, family-owned chain of London bookstores bearing the family name (the original store, in Marylebone High Street, is literally the most beautiful English-language bookstore I've ever set foot in); in 2011, he took over management of Waterstones, the UK's last, foundering bookstore chain, and effected a miraculous turnaround by devolving purchasing to the managers who knew local tastes best, ending the practice of soliciting "co-op" payments from publishers to order in and stock massive piles of their frontlist titles, most of which would end up being returned. Read the rest

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