The news that Facebook had spent years paying teens to install a surveillance kit called "Facebook Research" had a key detail: as part of the program, Facebook had its users install a new "root certificate." Read the rest
The next CHI (computer-human interaction) conference is being held on May 5 in Glasgow, and will include a workshop called CHI4Evil, "Creative Speculation on the Negative Effects of HCI Research," in which scholars, researchers and practitioners are invited to "anticipate and reflect on the potential downsides of our technology design, research, and implementation" through design fiction, speculative design, and other tools. Read the rest
Squared (AKA Gaby) is a French hacker who created edex-ui, a science-fiction inspired desktop "heavily inspired from DEX-UI and the TRON Legacy movie effects," which gives you a terminal and live telemetry from your system; it looks like it would be especially fun on a tablet (though if you really wanna go sci fi, build a homebrew cyberspace deck). Read the rest
Hardware reviews are a big part of how I put bread on the table. In order to do my job properly, I’ve got to be something of a platform agnostic.
While I do most of my writing using Apple devices, I also have to consider other platforms in my coverage: software that works well on a laptop running Windows 10 may be a dog’s breakfast on a MacBook once it’s been ported.
A bluetooth speaker that sound great when paired with my iPhone 7 Plus, for example, might sound like hot garbage when linked to another audio source. So I invest in other hardware that may not be used as part of my day-to-day life, but which I still need to think about when doing my job.
About six months ago, I came to the conclusion that maybe hauling the hardware out when it came time to test something and then throwing it back in a box when I’m done with it wasn’t enough: to really understand whether, say a pair of headphones that comes with an app to control their EQ or noise cancellation, without seeing how it fits into my day-to-day life using a given platform. So, I upped the amount of time that I spend working in Windows 10, I now read books on both Kobo and Amazon e-readers and, in a real shift in how I live my lift, I’ve spent more than half a year using Android-powered smartphones as my daily drivers. In the time since I last used an Android device as my go-to, things have improved so much, I was taken aback. Read the rest
Thousands of Amazon reviews are bought and paid for, and the company has a significant, algorithm-led effort to weed out sellers and scammers who abuse the system. But Amazon itself also rigs the UI to make it hard to leave negative reviews, writes Stephen Eggers:
After spending ~5 to ~10 minutes filling it out I get this message.
This item is only eligble for Amazon Verified Purchase Reviews.
What a waste of my time! I bought the thing, Amazon knows this, so what is this about "Amazon Verified Purchase reviews"
Note that I only got this message AFTER trying to leave a 2 star review. What would have happend if I had left a more positive review? Would that be allowed?
My favorite 'dark pattern' at Amazon was how you couldn't navigate away from the checkout page: the Amazon logo was unlinked and the rest of the usual layout was absent. They changed this recently to make the logo clickable, but they still aren't letting you leave that page without a fight, and there's only one place they wan't you to go back to:
UPDATE: Amazon responds:
Read the rest
"An AVP badge will only appear next to a review when the product was purchased on Amazon at a price that reflects the typical shopping experience. If a customer is receiving the message that we are only accepting AVP reviews, than they did not buy the product on Amazon for a typical price. We never suppress reviews based on star rating or sentiment."
"This web page needs to be interrupted by a lightbox effect and a modal dialog asking me to sign up for a mailing list," said no one ever. Read the rest
Information security's biggest obstacle isn't the mere insecurity of so many of our tools and services: it's the widespread lack of general knowledge about fundamental security concepts, which allows scammers to trick people into turning off or ignoring security red flags. Read the rest
Japan's leading bidet toilet manufacturers (including Toto, Panasonic, and Toshiba) have come together through their industry association, the Japan Sanitary Equipment Industry Association, to agree upon a common set of UI conventions for the meanings of the icons on the buttons on the bidets' control panels, thus ending an era in which you might think you were getting "wash and dry" but actually ended up with "layer-cut and dye-job." Read the rest
Since 2011, the UK's Government Digital Service has radically transformed the way Britons interact with their government, streamlining bureaucratic processes, opening up data, and making APIs available for community groups and commercial players -- alas, the GDS has become a political football in Westminster and has hemorrhaged talent, becoming a sad reminder of a once-glorious dream of government delivered humanely, with the public in mind. Read the rest
Chris Noessel and Nathan Shedroff demonstrated that in movies depicting computers in the future, the screens are mostly blue.
Some interesting exceptions: 1991's Terminator 2 made red popular, and the Matrix Trilogy made green the in thing for a while. But within a couple of years, we were back to blue. And it's been this way since the 60s.
I think that green usually signifies "old" computers, perhaps? The Matrix was clever in that way.
Forgive me if I'm mistaken, but I'm struck by the thought that the first and third Alien movies (which were British haunted house movies, sort of) used green screens, whereas the second one, Aliens (an American action movie) used blue. Google Images isn't entirely helpful.
Guardians of the Galaxy (above) appears, of course, to be both. Read the rest