nothing

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5921159/facebook-already-killed-its-find-friends-nearby-feature-that-found-people-around-you

Facebook Already Killed Its New 'Find Friends Nearby' Feature That Found People Around YouFacebook was stealth testing a new ‘Find Friends Nearby’ feature over the weekend that would show the Facebook users who were around you—think Find My Friends on iOS or Where You At? on Boost Mobile—but has now pulled the feature completely.

The service was admittedly half-baked, there was no official announcement about the Find Friends Nearby and when we tried playing around with it on our phones, we found nobody near us. Facebook told Wired that Find Friends Nearby wasn’t actually intended to launch. Specifically Facebook said:

“This wasn’t a formal release—this was just something that a few engineers were testing. With all tests, some get released as full products, others don’t. Nothing more to say on this for now, but we’ll communicate to everyone when there is something to say.”

Looks like we’ll have to wait a little bit longer to creep on Facebook users in our vicinity. [Wired]

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Tuesday, June 26th, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5889060/k+cups-not-only-make-bad-coffee-they-make-bad-environments

K-Cups Not Only Make Bad Coffee, They Make Bad EnvironmentsI’m drinking coffee made by a K-Cup machine right now and it sucks. A lot. But alas, I’m too lazy to get a much better cup at the cafe around the corner. That said, after learning that all of those K-Cups are piling up in landfills—and not being recycled—I may have to reconsider.

According to CNBC, the way K-Cups are constructed, they can’t be recycled. Paper and foil are strongly adhered to the plastic capsule making so that sorting facilities can’t separate the materials. So those cups are destined for a single use and nothing more.

So yeah, maybe you hate yourself (like I do), and don’t care what you consume. But maybe you shouldn’t hate the planet more than you hate yourself? [CNBC via Discovery via Treehugger]

Image via Michael Dorausch

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Wednesday, February 29th, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5885321/how-iphone-apps-steal-your-contact-data-and-why-you-cant-stop-it

How iPhone Apps Steal Your Contact Data and Why You Can't Stop ItThe internet is starting to realize something unsettling: our iPhones send information about the people we know to private servers, often without our permission. Some offending apps are fixing themselves. Some aren’t. But the underlying problem is much bigger.

Apple allows any app to access your address book at any time—it’s built into the iPhone’s core software. The idea is to make using these apps more seamless and magical, in that you won’t have dialog boxes popping up in your face all the time, the way Apple zealously guards your location permissions at an OS level—because fewer clicks mean a more graceful experience, right? Maybe, but the consequence is privacy shivved and consent nullified. Your phone makes decisions about what’s okay to share with a company, whose motivation is, ultimately, making money, without consulting you first.

Once you peel back that pretty skin of your phone and observe the software at work—we used a proxy application called Charles—watching the data that jumps between your phone and a remote server is plain. A little too plain. What can we see?

As Paul Haddad, the developer behind the popular Twitter client TapBot pointed out to me, some of App Store’s shiniest celebrities are among those that beam away your contact list in order to make hooking up with other friends who use the app smoother. From Haddad’s own findings:

Foursquare (Email, Phone Numbers no warning)
Path (Pretty much everything after warning)
Instagram (Email, Phone Numbers, First, Last warning)
Facebook (Email, Phone Numbers, First, Last warning)
Twitter for iOS (Email, Phone Numbers, warning)
Voxer (Email, First, Last, Phone numbers, warning)

Foursquare and Instagram have both recently updated to provide a much clearer warning of what you’re about to share. Which every single app should follow, providing clear warnings before they touch your contacts. But plenty of apps aren’t so generous. “A lot of other popular social networking apps send some data,” says Haddad, “mostly names, emails, phone numbers.” Instapaper, for example, transmits your address book’s email listings when you ask it to “search contacts” to connect with other friends using the app. The app never makes it clear that my data (shown up top) is leaving the phone—and once it’s out of your hands and in Instagram’s, all you can do is trust that it’ll be handled responsibly. You know, like not be stored permanently without your knowledge.

Trust is all we’ve got, and that’s not good. “Once the data is out of your device there’s no way to tell what happens to it,” explains Haddad. Companies might do the decent thing and delete your data immediately. Like Foursquare, which says it doesn’t store your data at all after matching your friends, and never has. Twitter keeps your address book data for 18 months “to make it easy for you and your contacts to discover each other on Twitter after you’ve signed up,” but can delete the data at any time with a link at the bottom of this page. Or a company might do the Path thing, storing that information indefinitely until they’re publicly shamed into doing otherwise. Or worse.

We need a solution, and goodwill on the part of app devs is going to cut it. All the ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT TO DO THIS? dialog boxes in the world won’t absolve Apple’s decision to hand out our address books on a pearly platter. iOS is the biggest threat to iOS—and nothing short of a major revision to the way Apple allows apps to run through your contacts should be acceptable. But is that even enough? Maybe not.

Jay Freeman, developer behind the massively popular jailbroken-iPhone program Cydia, doesn’t think Apple’s hand is enough to definitively state who gets your address book, and when:

“Neither Apple nor the application developer is in a good position to decide that ahead of time, and due to this neither Apple’s model of ‘any app can access the address book, no app can access your recent calls’, nor Google’s method of ‘developer claims they need X, take it or leave it’ is sufficient.”

Freeman’s solution? Cydia’s “one-off modifications to the underlying operating system” that we deal in, nicely transfers this control back to the user.” In other words, we can’t trust Apple or the people that make apps—so let’s just trust ourselves to control how iOS works.

Freeman left us with one, final, disquieting note. Shrewd devs and others with the knowhow have been able to dig through app traffic to find out of they’re shoveling around your address book. But there’s no easy way to do this—and if a dev really wants to sneak your data through the door, there’s technically nothing we can do to stop him: “There are tons of complex tricks that can be used to smuggle both information in network traffic and computation itself.” It’s a problem fundamental to computer science—once the data’s in a dev’s hands, he can conjure it away, too small to be noticed by App Store oversight in churning sea of other apps.

Unless Apple keeps him from getting that information in the first place by letting us all make informed decisions with our phone and the private life poured into it. Your move, iOS.

Photo: Motorolka/Shutterstock

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Wednesday, February 15th, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

I Read 21 Books About The Financial Crisis And They Explained Nothing

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/andrew-lo-21-books-financial-crisis-2012-2


andrew lo

Ever thought you would have to read 21 books to get to the bottom of what caused the financial crisis?

Andrew Lo, an economist at MIT, has some bad news: it’s going to take at least 22.

Lo, a leading expert on hedge funds and financial engineering, has written a paper (h/t NPR) for the Journal of Economic Literature describing his experience reading 21 books on the crisis — nine by journalists, 11 by academics and one by a former Treasury Secretary.

His conclusion: In a field that prides itself on its scientific rigor (however dismal), the books reveal that alarmingly few facts about the crisis have been agreed upon. Was there too little or too much regulation? How much of a factor were low interest rates? No one’s been able to say conclusively.

“After each book, I felt like I knew less,” Lo told NPR’s Planet Money.

Economics, he says, has fallen well short of that standard when it comes to understanding the crisis:

“Many of us like to think of financial economics as a science, but complex events like the financial crisis suggest that this conceit may be more wishful thinking than reality.”

Read Andrew Lo’s Reading About the Financial Crisis: A 21-Book Review >

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The social bookmarking site Delicious is back. Those who loved saving their favorite links to a public (or private) profile page will find that experience unchanged. But there’s a new central focus to Delicious. It’s called Stacks.

Stacks is a quick and easy way for users to compile a focused list of links to share. While there’s no limitations to what your list can contain, the idea is that people will pick a theme/topic and run with it. You supply the links, Delicious takes care of the formatting and presentation for you. They believe that navigating through stacks, as opposed to navigating through personal profile, will make exploration and discovery on the internet much more meaningful.

According to AllThingsD, YouTube creators (and former bosses), Chad Hurley and Steve Chen favor human curation over the quasi-random, algorithm-driven presentation of links. And while Stacks is what they’ve decided to focus on right now, they say more features are coming (I hope that will include the ability to embed stacks on other sites). For now, Delicious looks like a good way to get lost in the internet for while when you have nothing better to do. [Delicious via AllThingsD]

Delicious Returns From the Dead With Some New Bookmarking Features in Tow
Delicious Returns From the Dead With Some New Bookmarking Features in Tow
Delicious Returns From the Dead With Some New Bookmarking Features in Tow


drag2share – drag and drop RSS news items on your email contacts to share (click SEE DEMO)

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Tuesday, September 27th, 2011 news No Comments

Blockbuster’s Last Gasp to Occur in 2011 [Rip]

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5584255/analyst-blockbusters-last-gasp-to-occur-in-2011

Analyst: Blockbuster's Last Gasp to Occur in 2011Blockbuster? We knew it was dying, courtesy Redbox, Netflix and the changing ways people consume their entertainment, but when will it finally expire? Probably next year, according to one analyst and the company’s own balance sheet. Updated.

It’s a balance sheet that’s continually losing money, with the latest blow coming last quarter, when Blockbuster bled $65 million, reported 24/7 Wall St analyst Douglas A. McIntyre. Life’s become so dire, in fact, that Blockbuster is mulling Chapter 11 to eliminate debt.

While the remaining 6,000 stores is nothing to sneeze at (my late hometown one not amongst them), there is precedence for massive, simultaneous closures in rival Movie Gallery. That company had 2,400 stores, you see, and it shuttered them all back in February.

Ending on a positive note, the company could have a Redbox/Netflix hybrid future with its existing supermarket kiosks and mail service. So here’s hoping that happens, some people can keep their jobs, and Blockbuster’s predicted “demise” in 2011 is merely a metamorphosis into something a bit leaner and meaner. Competition is good, and all that.

Update: Reader Josh writes in with an additional bit of depressing news for Blockbuster:

[W]hen considering the future of Blockbuster kiosks, Blockbuster doesn’t actually own any of kiosks. NCR owns and operates all of them. Blockbuster just gets a small licensing royalty for them. So, Blockbuster definitely doesn’t have a chance at sustaining itself on those kiosks.

Ho hum. [Yahoo via Neatorama]

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Monday, July 12th, 2010 news No Comments

Facebook’s Oversized Economy Visualized

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5578544/facebooks-oversized-economy-visualized

Facebook's Oversized Economy VisualizedWhat if Facebook were a country, and all its apps and fan pages were its fiefdoms? It would look a little something like this. Oh, and it would be filthy, filthy rich.

Because Facebook’s a private company, it’s impossible to know how much the site itself makes. But the value of fan pages alone is staggering, to say nothing of app giants like Zynga and CrowdStar.

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Friday, July 2nd, 2010 news No Comments

Vapor4 May Be the First Bumper Worthy of the iPhone 4

The ecosystem for the iPhone4 has begun in earnest.

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5576923/vapor4-may-be-the-first-bumper-worthy-of-the-iphone-4

Vapor4 May Be the First Bumper Worthy of the iPhone 4The iPhone 4 shatters easily, and its tiny plastic bezel offers no protection. On top of that, touching its metal rim causes interferences. The Vapor4 bumper—made of aluminum—may solve most of these design problems. And it looks great:

Of course, nothing looks as cool as the iPhone 4 on its own, but if you want to avoid the antenna problems and the shattering, you are going to need one of these. They are made of aluminum, and they have an interior liner that separates the metal from the antenna, insulating it. The manufacturer—the same who makes the beautiful Joule iPad stand—told me that their tests showed no interference whatsoever across all models of iPhone:

We basically wrapped it in an inch thick of anodized aluminum all around with our special secret liner inside, nothing impacted the reception.

We will have to test this, but it definitely is the first bumper that actually looks cool. Especially the way you put it together, with those hex screws.

Vapor4 May Be the First Bumper Worthy of the iPhone 4

The Vapor4 is not cheap, although not as expensive as the beautiful exotic wood back replacement: The Vapor4 is $80. For $100 you also get the V4Carbon, a carbon fiber back plate that will further protect the iPhone 4 fragile glass back. [Elementcase]

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Thursday, July 1st, 2010 news No Comments

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