“…trolling used to be pretty funny and almost entirely harmless. Trolling, despite the modern usage, does not mean “the act of pissing somebody off and laughing about their anger.” It is “the act of pissing somebody off BASED ON SOMETHING COMPLETELY MEANINGLESS and laughing about their MISPLACED anger.” It isn’t considered trolling to leave a comment full of racial epithets and laugh when people “don’t get it.” It is trolling if you leave a comment insisting on the wrong information about something irrelevant – how many runes are on a Stargate, for example (everybody knows its 12) – and wait for the ONE guy that just can’t let the transgression pass. If you start a fake fight with Prof. Stargate, dragging him deeper and deeper until hopefully, finally, even he has to stop and think “wait a minute, this is ridiculous,” that is trolling. That’s the difference: No actual harm is caused, and even the victim can eventually get in on the joke. “Trolling” isn’t referring to hiding behind a fortification and trying to hurt people like the mythical creature. It’s referring to the style of fishing – you drag bait across the bottom hoping to get a rare bite. It’s not ‘bait’ if you’re earnestly spouting your misogynistic beliefs and somebody gets upset. There’s nothing funny about entirely justified anger.”—Robert Brockway, http://www.robertbrockway.net/2013/07/18/its-not-a-game-if-you-cant-lose/ (via albinwonderland)
This thing will still be this thing in a few weeks, and then maybe I’ll have more to say. But. Here are some brief thoughts about the whole thing.
PronunciationBook was fun to watch. The videos were surprising, and the themes/stories were coherent enough to be intriguing and incoherent enough to keep me from just passing right by.
Horse_ebooks was marginally interesting, but for a much shorter time. The idea was interesting enough that I noticed it when it first started being a thing. But then it stopped being interesting.
Most stories about this whole thing start from the position that it’s a tragedy that Horse_ebooks was run by a person and was not a real spambot. This reveal is the only thing that makes Horse_ebooks interesting to me once again. It says a lot about the interaction between humans and bots, how language works when used by data-crunchers vs. humans, and how different (or not that different) those two might look.
There is a larger thing going on, which is about commerce and technology and spam and all sorts of stuff. It will continue with Bear Stearns Bravo.
Bear Stearns Bravo is a lot more accessible than Pronunciationbook was, and it will be made by the same people. So that’s great news, not bad news.
Susan Orlean, of Adaptation (sort of) fame, scooped everyone on this. I think that’s interesting.
It appears that the ultimate narrative of PronunciationBook is that the automated pronunciation guide grew self-aware and fell in love with a spam-bot Twitter account called Horse_ebooks. I love this.
io9 takes an interesting approach: our fear of bots means we hope the stranger on the internet we have fallen in love with is not a computer program. Yet we are so unhappy to discover the computer program on the internet we have fallen in love with is a person.
Of all the places covering this thing, the AV Club posted the most useless story, which is basically one joke (a somewhat mean-spirited and not very funny one) told 20 different ways, somehow ignoring the fact that the AV Club’s job might be to cover the thing as ART, not to just snark all over the place.
A couple of weeks ago, I was scheduled to take a trip from New York (JFK) to Los Angeles on JetBlue. Every year, my family goes on a one-week pilgrimage, where we put our work on hold and spend time visiting temples, praying, and spending time with family and friends. To my Jewish friends, I often…
This story should be in high school civics textbooks.
Hi. I’m Darius Kazemi. Recently I’ve been making a bunch of weird stuff that randomly generates things. For example, there’s the Twitter account @metaphorminute, which tweets a random metaphor every couple minutes. There’s also OutSlide, which generates a slide deck from an outline that you…
Obviously a great story: Darius Kazemi created a bot that randomly purchased items below a certain budget from Amazon and shipped them to him. Go check out the rest of the blog to see how the bot did!
“7. Most websites treat “I like it” and “This is good” as the same thing, leading to most people on the Internet refusing to distinguish between “I don’t like it” and “It’s not good”.”—10 Rules of Internet - Anil Dash.
I believe that Arcade Fire makes a lot of its money from live performances rather than record sales, and in any case they have not become wealthy. This is OK for music — great music can be made without super-profitable record companies…
Maybe I’m reading too much into this, maybe I’m just defensive because I do a lot of work with the band’s label, but the subtext here is the now-common argument about supposedly unfair record deals and unscrupulous record labels.
But here’s the thing: there are different types of record deals. And generally speaking, deals with indie labels are far more fair than the traditional record deals that are used as examples in these debates. (…and as moral justification for illegally downloading music, but I digress…)
The traditional record deal that people harp on about is as unfair and complex as they say. But that’s not the deal Arcade Fire (or other artists on good indie labels) have.
The fact is, the deal with Merge Records (or Touch and Go Records, or Drag City Records, Secretly Canadian, ad infinitum) is a fair one: the artist and label split the expenses and the profits equally. It’s easy to understand as well; if you can balance a checkbook, then you can figure out the indie label profit-split deal.
Soooo… I hacked together this spreadsheet to give you an idea of who actually makes what in each scenario. Aside from the Record Sales figures (taken from Wikipedia), these figures are best-guesses pulled out of thin air. Specific figures are nobody’s business except the band’s and the label’s, but the point is a universal one.
“Googling a very simple phrase led me to a list of “smart homes” that had done something rather stupid. The homes all have an automation system from Insteon that allows remote control of their lights, hot tubs, fans, televisions, water pumps, garage doors, cameras, and other devices, so that their owners can turn these things on and off with a smartphone app or via the Web. The dumb thing? Their systems had been made crawl-able by search engines – meaning they show up in search results — and due to Insteon not requiring user names and passwords by default in a now-discontinued product, I was able to click on the links, giving me the ability to turn these people’s homes into haunted houses, energy-consumption nightmares, or even robbery targets. Opening a garage door could make a house ripe for actual physical intrusion.”—When ‘Smart Homes’ Get Hacked: I Haunted A Complete Stranger’s House Via The Internet - Forbes (via slantback). Great story.
“Taken together, the closures signal that e-mails, even if they are encrypted, can be accessed by government authorities and that the only way to prevent turning over the data is to obliterate the servers that the data sits on. Mike Janke, Silent Circle’s chief executive, said in a telephone interview late Thursday that his company had destroyed its server. “Gone. Can’t get it back. Nobody can,” he said. “We thought it was better to take flak from customers than be forced to turn it over.”—
The article talks about people asking the company to restore their servers so that people can get their data out. That’s not going to be possible, because, according to the company, they had to DESTROY everything, not just turn it off for a while. I’ve mentioned before that it’s important to remember that our internet services are not permanent and we have no right to their continued operation. See also Google Reader.
Stalking content creators is something that really needs to be addressed after what happened last weekend with Jack and Finn’s room.
VidCon is an event that lets us get together with our friends and meet our favorite content creators, but there are boundaries people have to respect when meeting…
I am completely shocked. I didn’t hear about this until I got home. But I have my own story to tell.
On Sunday evening, I was all alone and my hotel didn’t have Wi-Fi, so I went to the lobby of the Hilton to grab Starbucks and use their Wi-Fi. Not even 20 feet from me sat almost every single British YouTuber that attended VidCon with their bags ready to leave and waiting for their rides.
Now, I am a huge fan and supporter of all of them, but I could tell that they were ready to go and they needed some rest. I left them alone and worked on answering some emails. I was there for about 45 minutes, and the whole time, other VidCon attendees (i.e. fans) kept going up to them and asking for pictures. All of the YouTubers seemed OK for a bit and were extremely courteous to their fans, but I could tell that they were really hoping their ride would show up soon. Not to say they were mean, but they did turn some away as they were trying to get their stuff together to leave.
Finally, they all left. A few of them passed me and I told them to have a safe trip and they said “Thank you!” and were on their way. Where they were all sitting, there were a few half-empty Starbucks drinks. A few groups of girls came up to the table, freaked out, picked up the cups, and started taking sips out of them and took them with them. I AM NOT KIDDING, THIS REALLY HAPPENED. I was so disgusted.
I am guilty from time to time to really freak out when I see something or someone I love (for me, it’s Mickey Mouse), but I would NEVER in my ENTIRE LIFE stalk or make someone feel uncomfortable. This breaks my heart because I know that it really does freak content creators out. I wish people would realize how creepy it is and stop doing it! They literally will scare them away and they won’t ever come to VidCon again. They love their fans, but not if they are threatening their peaceful livelihood! It seriously frustrates me to no end.
I hope that whoever did that to Jack, Finn, Dan, Phil, those Starbucks cups, ANYONE or ANYTHING, feels just a bit of remorse and makes a change in the way they think. That is just not OK.
And I KNOW, VidCon is all about being a place where the YouTube community can come together and finally meet and talk to the people they watch online, and the YouTubers in return can meet their fans, but it is not a place to feel uncomfortable. For anyone, ESPECIALLY the YouTubers.
Let me know if you agree or if I am missing something. These are my thoughts as a VidCon first-timer.
They showed no respect for those guys. That wasn’t even an innocent act to just take sips from a person’s coffee, what if they don’t like to have someone else’s lips on their cups? They have to buy a new one and maybe they can’t.
I’m going to add on my own story. Saturday night before the concert my friends and I were eating pizza in the Lower Lobby because it was less crowded. When I looked up there were two young boys fast walking through the halls. I later realized it was Jack and Finn of Jacksgap but we let me go on their way.
About 2-3 minutes later a HOARD and when I use the word hoard I don’t use it lightly. A Hoard of about 30-50 girls came RUNNING down the stairs, screaming and freaking out. Thinking on our feet my friends and I asked who they were looking for once they had screamed “Jacksgap” we quickly pointed them in the opposite direction.
The obviously believed us because they assumed we wouldn’t lie. Which they were wrong. The two boys were obviously trying to get away for a while and just hang out but these girls would not leave them alone. We saved these boys asses and we didn’t even know them because I can not even imagine how they felt the full weekend.
There were these boys from a channel from Our 2nd Life, my friends and I had never heard of them but they were all around vidcon. I want to say it was Thursday one of the boys were politely signing autographs and taking pictures when we noticed him trying to inch away. At one point he said good bye and started to walk away but EVERY girl continued to follow him.
He took out his phone and called someone and the girls still tried to get his attention and they ignored the fact he was ON THE PHONE. He ended up singing for another full hour. Also the girls surrounding him were in the 12-15 age range and in the pictures were grabbing his face and kissing his cheek and most of them seemed to do it without permission.
Vidcon is an amazing place most of the people are amazing but then, this year mostly, there seems to be more of the crazy stalker fangirls. I am not denying i’m a fangirl I know I am but I would NEVER interrupt someone. That is just plain rude.
Okay i’m glad I got it all out and this post is the only thing i’m going to say on this topic. ALSO Brianna and I will be taking applications to become bodyguards for the big youtubers. That is all.
Im going to reblogging a few more of these stories so we all know that this happens maybe more than we realize. I really believe we can stop this kind of behavior if we get the word out that it’s not right to act this way to YouTubers.
I’ll add my own story as well. Thursday afternoon I ran into Sam Pepper being mobbed by a group of 30ish girls. I stood around to watch/hoping for a picture if the girls backed off. He kept trying to get some space from the circle by exiting out. Instead of staying on one side of him, they just swarmed again. One of the times exiting the circle of girls, I noticed he had a broom in his hand. I thought it was just Sam being Sam, but I later found out he had grabbed it to use to fend off girls. Seriously, it should be unnecessary to have a BROOM to keep girls at bay.
Friday I was sitting outside the expo hall by the escalators and I saw two people run through. It looked like Sam again, but I can’t be sure. Not a minute later, a group of girls bust through the door and head in the same direction, obviously chasing the YouTuber. People like these girls are going to ruin some of the fun of VidCon for everyone by making it more difficult to meet YouTubers because they’re going to be scared of us all.
This is simply what happens to celebrities. YouTube is a young medium, so its stars don’t realize yet that they are basically normal celebrities and might need to start acting as such. Celebrity is generally pretty ugly, I think, and it’s my guess that it isn’t going to be any less ugly in this new medium.
It’s cool to watch the development of a new mass medium in real-time.
The U.S. government may not print Bitcoin, or regulate it, but apparently the feds can still seize it.
Earlier this week, the federal Drug Enforcement Agency reported that it had seized 11.02 bitcoins—roughly $814—from a South Carolina man attempting to buy illegal substances with the world’s leading digital currency. It’s the first known seizure of Bitcoin by the U.S. government, signaling just how seriously the feds take Bitcoin and the online black markets it fuels.
A report from the DEA notes that the money was netted in April. Little detail is provided about the seizure, which appears on the third-to-the-last page of a 128-page document. Its not even clear what substance the suspect was trying to buy. But for Bitcoin experts, the particulars of this case are less important than the apparent fact that the U.S. government is performing sting operations on Bitcoin sites.
“If the government is spying on our phone calls, it can’t then claim in the same breath that it won’t provide those calls when it helps the defense. What’s good for the goose, is good for the gander," said David Oscar Markus, a defense lawyer who blogs about the federal justice system in South Florida and first wrote about the unusual request.”—
Of which this is just one example. But I’m curious: I think JD would pretty readily say that Coca Cola’s line of advertisements isn’t their “body of work,” but their brand. But I’d be curious how he’d define the difference. Does it have to do with motive? Is it an “artistic” motivation that turns something into work and not brand?
I tend to disagree with JD in some respects, in that I think that even great novelists are operating as brands, in a purely descriptive sense, and thinking about how an artist’s body of work fits together and is perceived can be very useful when framed by words traditionally reserved for “brands.” I do agree with JD, though, that fully giving in to that set of language is essentially an ideological (or maybe political) decision.
The bottom line is that I think even The Mountain Goats is a brand, in much the same way as The Extra Lens is a brand, and there is nothing inherently wrong with that. The trouble sets in when the brand (and selling the brand) becomes more important than the work that it unifies, which has NEVER EVER been the case with anything JD has ever been involved with.
I have a ton to say about this, and I don’t know that I can convey it in a tumblr post, but this should at least scrape the very top layer of my thoughts.
We must concede that though we can maintain the paths of URIs over the lifetime of a service, most domain names are inevitably ephemeral. A two year registration to host a joke, a fifteen year registration to build a company. All will be resold.
What to do? We need to not fight the fragility. We need to look at the very heart of the web, the directory that connects the names of our services to the servers they run on, and we need to apply the concept of the Wayback Machine to it. We need temporal DNS, maintainable by librarians to keep the domains of the past connected to their archived futures. Your DNS provider as Time Lord*; rather than searching for what Geocities was like, picking a date at the DNS level could route all of your internet traffic through 1998.
“[W]hen we launch in a territory the Bittorrent traffic drops as the Netflix traffic grows. So I think people do want a great experience and they want access – people are mostly honest. The best way to combat piracy isn’t legislatively or criminally but by giving good options. One of the side effects of growth of content is an expectation to have access to it. You can’t use the internet as a marketing vehicle and then not as a delivery vehicle.”—Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer at Netflix (via laliberty)
“We’re committed to broadcast, but we need to be fairly compensated from people who redistribute our signal… The dual revenue system is essential,” Carey said. “We will pursue our legal rights and we want to be clear that if we can’t defend our rights, we will take our network and make it a subscription service… We’re not going to sit idly by and let someone steal our signal.”—
All I can say is, Fox should DO this. They’ll see how much worse things are for them once they’re a cable channel and they aren’t getting all of the freebies and privileges that come from being a broadcast network. Good luck, Fox!
“As an example, the Michigan Tech paper describes an item known as a “parametric automated filter wheel changer.” The item would cost about $2,500 from a commercial vendor but could be made with a 3-D printer for less than $100. It’s essentially a plastic wheel that holds colored filters in place as they rotate, testing the effects of the varying colors on the number of electrons that are emitted for each photon fired into a solar cell, Mr. Pearce said. “It was $2,500,” he said, “and all it does is move the filter around.”—
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — When Denise Dallaire was arrested at age 26 on charges of selling a few ounces of crack cocaine here a decade ago, she was sentenced to prison for more than 15 years. Last month, shackled inside the same court and facing the same judge, she received an apology and was set free.
The reversal by Judge Ronald R. Lagueux highlights how mandatory sentencing guidelines, though struck down by the Supreme Court eight years ago, continue to keep hundreds of small-time offenders behind bars for longer than many today consider appropriate.
Ms. Dallaire was lucky enough to get herself noticed and for a technical flaw in her case to have surfaced. The result was a moment of courtroom drama and human redemption led by an 81-year-old judge eager to make amends for a decision he had long regretted.
“I felt bound by those mandatory guidelines and I hated them,” Judge Lagueux (pronounced la-GUEUR) said from the bench as Ms. Dallaire sobbed quietly and the room froze with amazement. “I’m sorry I sent you away for 15 years.” He urged her to get home quickly to her ill mother but not to run down the court steps as people do in the movies. “Those steps are dangerous,” he told her.
I love this story. I have only once in my job as a public defender ever read a transcript of a sentencing proceeding in which a judge showed remorse for giving out a very long sentence. Often, at least in Ohio drug law, these kinds of long sentences are, in fact, mandatory and cannot be reduced by a judge. Federal guideline sentencing is a little more complicated. But this story is really great.
“Elevating the experience of these boys above the experience of their victim is not okay. But, you know what is okay? Also feeling sorry for these boys. Not in the way that CNN did it. Not at the expense of the girl who was raped by these boys. But including these boys in our feelings of sadness is okay. I, unlike many people reacting to today’s verdict, am not just thrilled to death that two 16-year-old boys are going to jail. What they did was terrible. There is no excuse. They have to be two seriously fucked-up kids to have done what they did. But what I know for damn sure is that jail does not fix broken people. It only breaks them harder.”
This is a fantastic article. Mia draws attention to a very difficult issue in a gentle and thoughtful way that would be hard for the most narrowly focused victims’ rights advocate to ignore.
CNN has done so much fucking damage here. There is no doubt that the way they have framed the accused youth as young superstars fallen victim to their own misguided values was really shitty. Highlighting their promise adds salt to the very real wounds of victims who do not hear their voices reflected in our legal system.
Whats worse is that, in framing Ma’Lik and Trent in this way, they have made it near impossible to speak to the rights that these kids have and deserve in the system. The value of respecting and supporting offenders and their rights is hard enough as it is, but is certainly in all of our best interests. We don’t support capital punishment which means these kids will get out of jail eventually, and, given that they are so young, when they are released they will still have years of life to live in the community.
Who do we want them to be? Do we want to abuse and shame them into angry men with the issues they already face compounded by the stigma of this horrible act, or do we want them to feel like we value their lives enough to invest in the supports necessary to have them live out their lives among us in a healthy way? Either way, be clear, they will eventually be living among us.
I face challenge in my position as an offender rights advocate on the daily, without adding CNN’s fuel to that fire, and I will continue to do so. I hope you will too… in the mean time, fuck you CNN.
This is important. I haven’t had a chance to write anything about this, and I’m saddened to see friends that are otherwise critical thinkers being so vitriolic about this whole thing. This is a great response to that tendency, and it’s what I wish I’d written. Instead, this person did. Nice work.