Posts Tagged ‘tech’

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By @anarchyroll

The golden rule. Only hard to abide when it is an inconvienience to our ego.

The right to privacy is not explicitly stated in the US Constitution. However, Americans have since the country’s inception, have implicitly demanded a right to privacy. If that were not the case, the Quartering Act of 1765 wouldn’t have been a big deal, catalyst for the colonies.

Americans work hard. So whether or not we play hard or not, we seemingly demand to know that if we do play hard that it will remain our business. What is our business? Whatever we do when we are not trading our time for money or services from another person or persons. That time off the clock, that is our personal time, our free time.

Personal and free are two words the vast majority of Americans take to heart regardless of age, creed, color, sex, or status. What we do with our personal/free time is nobodies business but our own as long as no laws are broken.

Is that not the perceived right to privacy? Is that asking too much?

Apparently the ask is too low because it is a right that has been bought and sold in a deal between the Republican controlled Congress and Internet Service Providers. The only thing surprising is how public and unapologetic the entire thing was. The legislation may have been crafted in the smokey backrooms of private Washington D.C establishments, but the sellout was done very much in the public eye.

The legislation was covered both by the internet press and mainstream media. There was plenty of outrage but very little resistance. The parties that will benefit from this have gerrymandered themselves into partisan footholds of the legislative branch. Hardline partisan politcal lines have been made facing consequences for many in Congress as much a part of the past as the personal privacy they just stripped away from everyday Americans.

Privacy may not be good enough for common folks anymore, but those in power still command it. Literally at the same time Congress took away privacy from the public, the White House announced it would no longer make public its visitor list citing “privacy concerns“. This two faced hypocrisy is a poster for why having a title or position of power does NOT make a person a leader.

Taking away from the many and giving more of it to the few. Yep, that is what America was founded on alright. That is definitely the cornerstone of American values. That is what the grand experiment of democracy is all about right? Right?

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by @anarchyroll

Temporary, private multimedia messages exchanged through a smartphone application.

Sharing personal moments. That is what Snapchat is about. That is why it is the social media platform de jour in America, it is THE preferred method of communication to a number of young people that warrants the phrase of a generation.

The early adopters may have used it predominantly for NSFW purposes. But the majority of users these days are using it to share their lives with a limited spectrum of people in their social circle. And of course young people use it to for the inherent ability of the app to prevent parents, relatives, teachers, and bosses from seeing their communications and embarrassing them on another public and achievable medium.

Big business has recently come around to the idea of leveraging Snapchat to build community like loyalty for their products. Snapchat still has an air of being counter culture cool and ahead of the curve. So anyone trying to make money is trying to utilize Snapchat’s young, cool factor.

Is Snapchat cool?

Well it is fun.

The people who use Snapchat have fun doing it. The ability to customize messages in so many ways, then send it out only to people the sender wants seeing it, for a limited amount of time. Snapchat has stood on the shoulders of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and has built a platform that combines the positives of each without the negatives.

Snapchat, like Tinder has an earned reputation for as an medium for the explicit and salacious. To deny that Snapchat is used as an exchange for sexual/sexualized acts and content is to deny reality. However, both Snapchat and Tinder are about much more than people’s naughty bits. Both are very much mainstream and both have a vastly large number of users who use the services for very much on the level, straightforward communication.

The purpose of Snapchat is that it is a temporary, multimedia messaging service and social media combo. The value is that the messages are temporary. In the era of big brother watching, there is an inherent comfort in sending a visual message that will self destruct in a maximum time of ten seconds. Whether the files actually delete themselves is another story and the public has decided is not important. The illusion of self destructing messages is just fine for most people whether they are sending goofy faces and/or nudes.

That comfort and intimacy whether illusionary or authentic is currently being exploited by every company and celebrity A list to Z. The business of Snapchat is on the exclusivity of the people the messages are shared with by the users and by the limited number of companies allowed to be featured in its Discover section. The personal of Snapchat is the fun factor that comes with the variety of ways to customize each message.

Snapchat has helped me open up more and share more personal moments with the world. For an antisocial who has battled depression and social anxiety for over half his life, that is a very good thing.

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by @anarchyroll
10/15/2014

It turns out Apple is worth more than a lot of things. A lot of things and a lot of other companies.

The company is valued at over half a trillion dollars and at any one time, has around $160 billion of liquid assets on hand.

The US government for instance, has less than 1/3 of that on hand. Although, as the Forbes article linked above makes sure to note, the US Treasury can at any time print more money and invest it into treasury notes.

What does it mean when a company has more than three times the amount of money as the government  of the country it operates in? Does that tremendous gift on incredible wealth come with added responsibility? A responsibility not just to employees and shareholders, but to cities, cultures, and societies?

Apple hoards so much cash, that Carl Ichan, the man who the lead character in the movie Wall Street is based on, thinks Apple is being too greedy with their profits. That takes a whole lotta greed. Ichan is as ruthless of a capitalist as it gets. If someone who makes his living using money to make money thinks Apple owes something to other people, that puts Apple in a different light than the idolatry bestowed upon their founder and products.

Apple already deserves some scorn for their notorious tax dodging/avoidance practices. They dodge taxes and hoard cash from even their own stockholders. What about the societies that have enabled the company to become richer than governments? What about the roads, schools, bridges, farms, poverty, intelligence, and morale of the places and people Apple has made their billions in? Do they owe something? Should they bear more responsibility to the public than slightly newer, slightly modified consumer electronic gadgets a few times per year?

With great power comes great responsibility. Money equals power in the world we live in. No one person, government, or corporation in the world has more money than Apple. Where does responsibility come in?

 

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by @anarchyroll
10/6/2014

The biggest Initial Public Offering (IPO) in the history of the New York Stock Exchange occurred recently.

Have you heard of Alibaba? Had you heard about Alibaba before last month? Have you already forgotten about Alibaba after it didn’t carry over to a fresh news cycle? When someone mentioned it to me last month, all I thought of was the Beastie Boys song.

What is Alibaba?

  • Google, Amazon, PayPal and eBay all rolled into one
  • A wholesale marketplace; Alibaba is the middleman the connects retailers/sellers directly to customers/buyers
  • Alibaba is the top dog in the largest e-commerce market in the world

How did Alibaba become the biggest IPO ever?

  • Capitalizing on the Chinese consumers’ desires to shop online, for cheap, with trustworthy retailers/merchants
  • 80% of China’s e-commerce is done through Alibaba
  • Domination of the world’s largest growing market paired with international expansion has Wall Street drooling

So China’s biggest internet cash cow has gone public on stock market. Yahoo is the biggest American company to directly benefit from Alibaba’s IPO success as the two are very  much in bed together, on the level, and in public NOT under the table. In fact, Yahoo has benefited so much from Alibaba’s success there is talk of them investing in and/or acquiring Snapchat.

What are potential problems with Alibaba?

  • It’s Chinese, the communist government/central bank could throw a monkey wrench into the mix at any time, and already has
  • The stock being bought isn’t actual stock in the company, but in their Cayman Islands shell corporation
  • Is Alibaba-Mania a product of a new Dot Com Bubble? The question is worth asking.

Should you go out and buy as much Alibaba stock as you can afford? Well, if you’re a good investor, you should always asked yourself; what would Warren Buffett do?

As with most IPOs, if you weren’t ahead of the curve or a fan of the band before they were cool, the ship has mostly sailed on this one. What I find personally noteworthy about Alibaba, is everyone I know who invests and is well off because of it, wants nothing to do with Alibaba. Why? They all say the same thing; the Chinese government. How much is the government involved with Alibaba? How much influence do they have? How much transparency is there and how much of that can actually be trusted?

When the Head of the FBI goes on 60 Minutes and openly talks about the Chinese military attempting to cyber attack the US economy, one should be very cautious about investing in the Cayman Islands shell company of a Chinese internet marketplace with direct ties to the Chinese government.

mm@C4logo2by @anarchyroll
9/23/2014

Every year that passes, it seems a larger and larger percentage of the population is looking to avoid talking on the phone as much as possible. The explosive popularity of text messages a decade ago was apparently just the beginning. Services like Grub Hub and Uber have become darlings of the sharing economy based on the ability of their service to purchase goods and services via a smart phone without having to speak or even type to any direct person.

Enter Tinder, which takes the zero direct communication paradigm of securing goods and services to the dating/romance aspect of the human experience for those affluent enough to afford a smart phone and data package. You know you’re talking to an old person if they don’t know what Tinder is and/or don’t understand how to use it. Is it real? Is it a game? Yes and kinda are the answers to those questions.

Some excellent pieces on Tinder have been written recently covering Tinder’s effects on marriages and on how the service reveals the hidden nature of mate selection in the modern world.

What is Tinder? It is truly the first online dating service made for the smart phone app era of technology users/consumers. Tinder technically has a website which is just an ad/reminder to download the application. If you have a smart phone and are single, there is no reason to not utilize Tinder, unless you don’t have a Facebook account. A Facebook account is necessary to set up a Tinder profile. This is where the service carved its niche. Tinder farms the aspects of matching out to Facebook. People are matched based on Facebook likes (music, movies, tv shows, fan pages, etc) and/or mutual friends. People can be matched without these commonalities, Facebook is used as a defacto identity verification service.

What is Tinder’s value?

The shallow joke is easy, instant access to a one night stand. Tinder has made its name on facilitating hook ups. The New York Times has written multiple articles on Tinder writing under the assumption the app is strictly or at least predominately THE hook up dating app. Naturally the college kids love them some Tinder.

But in all seriousness, Tinder provides great value to single people. How? It provides instant evidence you are not alone. Whether young or old, in a city or suburb, Tinder will pull up dozens of single people near you. Tinder is empirical proof that there are indeed plenty of fish in the sea.

Tinder is not just for young people who are considering classically or stereotypically attractive. The hook up only aspect of the app has already been faded for almost a full year. Asking if people hook up using Tinder is like asking if the one night stand still exists. Consenting adults will do whatever consenting adults want to do when they are single and attracted to someone they have recently met and have begun spending time with.

Tinder’s purpose is to show you have options. That even in far off suburbs there are lots of single people around you and in cities there are even more. People who don’t like the bar/club scene have a free option of meeting people at their fingertips. People who don’t use gyms, grocery stores, yoga studios, and college campuses at meet markets have a free option to meet people they know are single and have been independently verified to be interested in them. Tinder’s value is in removing the question in one’s head “I wonder if he/she is interested in me or not”. If they’re not, nothing happens, if they are, you’re matched up and you both receive notifications on your phones.

It seems more and more people are becoming increasingly afraid of direct communication and rejection. Tinder kills both of those birds with one app. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to try to pay off a zoo employee to let me take a selfie with a tiger.

 

 

 

by @anarchyroll
9/22/2014

Priorities can be hard to prioritize. In a world where there are multiple wars, Ebola outbreaks, wildfires, droughts, massive political corruption, famine, floods etc; celebrity gossip, cat videos, memes, and ironic gifs rule the media and our attention spans. More people vote for reality television talent competitions than in elections. So it is with the utmost pleasant surprise to find that America has tangibly and measurably decided that the future of net neutrality is more important than a female pop singer exposing her nipple at a football game.

Remember Nipplegate? If you don’t, you’re lucky or young or both. Well up until this month, that issue was the event that the FCC received the most complaints about in their history. Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson decided that a Sunday evening musical performance during halftime at the most watched television event in history (at the time) was a good time to expose one of Jackson’s nipples covered in a silver pasty. Middle America freaked out and a wrath of censorship followed. One of the many side effects of this was Howard Stern moving to satellite radio.

Well move over ten-year old musical performance, because something that actually matters has taken your place at the top of the heap!  The future of net neutrality, which literally will affect every person in America who uses the internet, is now the most commented topic in the history of the Federal Communications Commission.

The people have spoken, the 99% wants the open internet to remain as is. It is positively refreshing to see so many people speak up and speak out about something of such grave importance. Remember just because many people use the internet to fuel procrastination, narcissism, and vices doesn’t mean those are the only uses for the internet. The open internet is vitally important to the present and future of our society and culture.

What will the FCC do now that the people of spoken? Comcast, Time Warner, and Verizon are hoping to use lobbying based leverage to gain complete control over the world wide web. This issue is a true litmus test between who has more power in the world going forward; the 1% or the 99%. Whichever way the FCC ends up going, whether people know it or not, we all have a horse in this race.

by @anarchyroll
9/3/2014

The war for the future of the internet is being waged now, in real-time by lobbyists of the big US Telcom companies.

If this were a court case, then apparently the people who don’t work for Comcast, Time Warner, and Verizon would be represented by Netflix.

Now of course Netflix is publicly and privately battling the nation’s broadband providers for their own personal gain as well. There is no such thing as a free lunch after all, especially when millions, upon billions of dollars are involved.

However, Netflix has now officially earned some benefit of the doubt for reasons other than how good House of Cards and Orange is the New Black are. Netflix has taken three public steps that directly help the consumers:

  1. Opposing the proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner
  2. Lobbying to maintain Net Neutrality
  3. Campaigning for Municipal Broadband

Netflix may be looking out for its own bottom line. But each stance that they have publicly come out in favor of or against directly benefits working class people who use the internet. Coming out against the proposed merger which would create a broadband monopoly, is a good thing for consumers. Drawing attention to net neutrality is good for consumers. Encouraging the development of municipal broadband is good for consumers.

In the fight against the billion dollar companies who want complete control of the internet, the common people need someone with deep pockets in our corner. Netflix has repeatedly stepped up to the plate publicly this year alone. They’re not a non-profit or NGO. But when billion dollar corporations are doing everything they can to reduce choice and increase cost to access the information superhighway, we the consumers will take help anywhere we can get it. I for one, will take the million dollar company that brought Arrested Development back, in my corner any day of the week.

by @anarchyroll
8/9/2014

Have you noticed more news on data breaches, password stealing, and hacking as a tool for war in the news recently? It’s not just you, and it’s not just sensationalism.

It turns out the internet being referred to as the information superhighway is an apt metaphor. As it has been recently revealed that the highway is more potholes than road.

In addition to have more holes than concrete, stretches of solid road that exist are seemingly ruled by Mad Max/Road Warrior style gangs in the form of international hacker mafias. No information on the open internet is secure. That was one of the lessons that should have come from the Edward Snowden NSA Leaks last year. But that fact took a distant second to the US government having a full-fledged Orwellian domestic spying program active, in place, and recording everyone’s emails, text messages, phone calls, and data placed on social media.

Not only is our personal, private information not safe from our government but our stock markets aren’t safe from international hackers either. The NASDAQ got straight up hacked into by Russian hackers in 2010. The hack and investigation into it were recently declassified and chronicled in a great article by Bloomberg Businessweek. After the FBI, CIA, NSA, and Secret Service each took turns looking into the matter, it is still unknown exactly how the hackers got in, what they took, and/or what they left behind. Essentially the only thing they know is that the hackers were Russian.

In related news, Russian hackers just this week stole more than 1 billion passwords and half a billion emails in the largest data theft in the history of the internet.

In the spirit of a stock market being hacked, it turns out professional hackers have their own exchange market. A recent article in TIME magazine revealed that hackers sell software bugs to the highest bidder to both governments and private companies.

The last year and a half will be remembered as the golden age for conspiracy theorists. Before you know it there’ll be a video released showing big foot, shooting Kennedy, from the studio where it staged the moon landing.

Learning that the information super highway is more potholes than roads in the long run, is good for us. We must be less trusting of faceless corporations. I know we’d all like to think Mark Zuckerberg is our friend, but he’s just another CEO trying to make money off of his customers. Not only are social media companies selling our information first hand through data brokers, but the information is so unsecure that all social media services are serving as enablers for identity thieves.

I can only imagine how much of my personal information is being packaged and sold on the black market. I’ve signed up and signed away my identity to a plethora of social media providers. But I’m a lower risk target. When I check my bank account online moths fly out of my monitor. But there are plenty more people who have plenty more to lose who have plenty more valuable information floating around online. And what we have definitively learned is that the information is NOT secure, it is floating around, waiting to be snatched by any hacker collective willing to put in the time and money.

There is no going back from the digital revolution. We’re not going back to analog and paper. So what is the solution? I don’t know, I just hope a solution is found before I have enough money to invest online.

 

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by @anarchyroll
7/31/2014

Change is the only constant. It’s true in life, in business, and especially in the world of video games. Isn’t that why a new gaming console comes out every other year? Nintendo has taken turns being ahead of the curve adapting to change (the original NES and Wii) and being in danger of getting left behind ( Virtual Boy, Wii U).

Nintendo posted a $100 million loss for just the first financial quarter of 2014. The Wii U has been a flop which means that Nintendo is looking to the 3Ds and 2Ds to pick up the slack for the company. However, expecting mobile gaming consoles to save the company means that Nintendo is dead already and doesn’t know it.

Why? Because mobile gaming is done on smartphones and tablets now. 2014 is the era of Flappy Bird and Candy Crush not Game Boy and Game Gear. Nintendo may not want to release Mario, Zelda, and Kirby games for IOS and Android, but doing things we don’t want to do in order to survive is part of life. Maybe five years ago it wasn’t necessary for Nintendo to put games on the iPod Touch, iPad, iPhone, Android, and Windows phones/tablets but it is time for the company to shift course and adapt…or die.

TIME magazine recently broke down three ways to save the company before it becomes the gaming equivalent of the Titanic. Staying the course definitely is not an option. I remember when SEGA started making games for Nintendo and thinking it was sacrilege. Ironically, Nintendo moving from a hardware company to a software provider might be the only way to survive. Other proposed ideas that Nintendo hasn’t formally commented on would be a Nintendo version of Netflix, a Nintendo theme park, and reissuing classic games on smartphones and tablets.

Nintendo and video games is like peanut butter and jelly. It would be a shame if they went under, even more of a shame if they went under because they were too stubborn or stupid to transition to a smartphone/tablet game provider. Mario Kart may be an awesome game, but if it’s on a game system people aren’t buying, well insert the tree falling in the woods with no one to hear it analogy. It doesn’t take much creative vision to see groups of pre-teens huddled in masses playing network games of Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros, etc on their iPhones and/or Androids. Not to mention all of the adults who would ditch Farmville and the like in half a second if it meant they could play Zelda at their cubicles.

Nintendo needs to make this paradigm shift before it’s too late. Paradigms die-hard, let’s just hope Nintendo doesn’t as well.

 

bit rot

 

by @anarchyroll
3/19/2014

The concept of Bit Rot grabbed my attention and peaked my curiosity. The fact that it has already had negative and serious affects on NASA’s ability to recall and study past missions/operations kept my focus on the topic.

What is Bit Rot? It is when an information file either digital or analog decays and/or becomes permanently unreadable/irretrievable.

Most people are familiar with Bit Rot and don’t even know it yet. When a floppy disk is damaged, a CD gets heavily scratched, a record melts, a virus wipes out your hard drive.

Why is this a concern? Because with more information being stored digitally, if Bit Rot becomes widespread and isn’t addressed we as a human race could literally lose access to our archives. Like information once written in Sanskrit with tea leaves on rocks, the information could be lost forever with no way to retrieve it and given enough time,  not know it ever existed.

Is there hope? Yes, there is always hope. There is a very good Ars Technica article on emerging technology that can help  minimize bit rot going forward and possibly eliminate it’s concern on a large scale with important information. Remember, we’re not talking IG selfies and Vines. We’re talking the stuff stored in the Library of Congress.

Keep an eye on this issue and address it in terms of your personal/professional files/archives.