Category Archives: Technology

November 4, 2017

America Fights Back: 1 Million Cord-Cutters Freak Out Cable Industry

The only way patriotic Americans can forever destroy the likes of CNN, MSNBC, ESPN, and a whole herd of left-wing entertainment corporations is to cut the cord, meaning cancel your cable or satellite package. Thankfully, that message appears to be gaining steam; last quarter, a whopping one million patriots cut the cable cord.

As BGR reports, “Cord-cutting, or at least the speed at which people are ditching pay TV, is on track to be the biggest upset of the year.”

The reason all of this wonderful news is an “upset” is because for the longest time, some of these multinational entertainment companies were out there claiming that cord-cutting had peaked; the worst was behind them.

At the time, and for two reasons, this was patent nonsense.

1) Streaming TV is exploding. On top of Netflix, Amazon, Hulu — all three of which you can subscribe to for about one-third of the price of the average cable bill — there is an endless supply of free streaming channels that offer 24/7 news, movies, and television shows.

A couple of weeks ago, I found Pluto TV, which offers a ton of streaming live networks and works just like your cable package. Oh, and it is free.

For the price of a $50 Roku player (I have one on every TV), a whole new world of free TV opens up, endless choices. Of course, there are also subscriptions services available that are not only infinitely cheaper than cable, but unlike cable, you are not assaulted with 20 minutes of commercials every hour.

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October 6, 2017

‘Our minds can be hijacked’: the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia

Google, Twitter and Facebook workers who helped make technology so addictive are disconnecting themselves from the internet. Paul Lewis reports on the Silicon Valley refuseniks alarmed by a race for human attention.

Justin Rosenstein had tweaked his laptop’s operating system to block Reddit, banned himself from Snapchat, which he compares to heroin, and imposed limits on his use of Facebook. But even that wasn’t enough. In August, the 34-year-old tech executive took a more radical step to restrict his use of social media and other addictive technologies.

Rosenstein purchased a new iPhone and instructed his assistant to set up a parental-control feature to prevent him from downloading any apps.

He was particularly aware of the allure of Facebook “likes”, which he describes as “bright dings of pseudo-pleasure” that can be as hollow as they are seductive. And Rosenstein should know: he was the Facebook engineer who created the “like” button in the first place.

A decade after he stayed up all night coding a prototype of what was then called an “awesome” button, Rosenstein belongs to a small but growing band of Silicon Valley heretics who complain about the rise of the so-called “attention economy”: an internet shaped around the demands of an advertising economy.

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August 21, 2017

Ex-Google employee says Silicon Valley blacklists conservatives (Video)

Damore gained national notoriety when an internal memo that he penned faulting Google for its diversity policies went viral.

Google and other companies based in Silicon Valley “blacklist conservatives”, according to a former Google employee who was fired after sending a company-wide memo criticizing the internet giant.

“If someone shows that they’re a conservative, they’ll be blacklisted between different companies and different teams … And that really needs to change,” James Damore, the fired Google engineer, told FOX Business’ Stuart Varney on “Varney & Co.”

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“It was sort of forbidden knowledge at Google,” he said. “But it’s common sense to many.”

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August 15, 2017

Silicon Valley Tightens Its Grip on Free Speech

Alliance between progressives and tech is killing the unfettered exchange of ideas.

Political totalitarianism is coming to America, and it is being ushered in not by government thugs in jackboots but by progressive activists and their allies in Silicon Valley.

In a chilling oped published in The New York Times on July 14, Lisa Feldman Barrett, a professor of psychology at Northeastern University, argued that so-called “hate speech” is the same thing as physical violence because it may possibly cause emotionally fragile individuals stress — and should be made illegal.

Thankfully, the First Amendment prohibits the federal government from following such advice, but online companies are taking it upon themselves to stamp-out so-called “hate speech,” strangling free speech and the free exchange of ideas in the process.

A number of troubling actions by internet companies — Google most prominent among them — are making it increasingly clear that some in Silicon Valley have proclaimed themselves defenders of the progressive, politically correct faith, and that those firms will silence any and all heretics who challenge those beliefs.

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July 14, 2017

Torching the Modern-Day Library of Alexandria

“Somewhere at Google there is a database containing 25 million books and nobody is allowed to read them.”

You were going to get one-click access to the full text of nearly every book that’s ever been published. Books still in print you’d have to pay for, but everything else—a collection slated to grow larger than the holdings at the Library of Congress, Harvard, the University of Michigan, at any of the great national libraries of Europe—would have been available for free at terminals that were going to be placed in every local library that wanted one.

At the terminal you were going to be able to search tens of millions of books and read every page of any book you found. You’d be able to highlight passages and make annotations and share them; for the first time, you’d be able to pinpoint an idea somewhere inside the vastness of the printed record, and send somebody straight to it with a link. Books would become as instantly available, searchable, copy-pasteable—as alive in the digital world—as web pages.

It was to be the realization of a long-held dream. “The universal library has been talked about for millennia,” Richard Ovenden, the head of Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries, has said. “It was possible to think in the Renaissance that you might be able to amass the whole of published knowledge in a single room or a single institution.” In the spring of 2011, it seemed we’d amassed it in a terminal small enough to fit on a desk.

“This is a watershed event and can serve as a catalyst for the reinvention of education, research, and intellectual life,” one eager observer wrote at the time.

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May 21, 2017

REVEALED: Barack Obama Talked Directly with Mark Zuckerberg About Facebook Concerns

Former president Barack Obama spoke directly with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg during the latter’s drafting of a 5,700-word manifesto outlining the company’s future goals.

Obama was one of the instigators of the “fake news” panic that has put Facebook in the establishment’s CROSSHAIRS following the election of Donald Trump. Obama has repeatedly addressed the issue and even discussed it privately with European leaders prior to leaving office.

According to a major New York Times Magazine feature on the future of Facebook, he is also holding private discussions with Mark Zuckerberg.

Earlier that day, Zuckerberg’s staff had sent me a draft of a 5,700­ word manifesto that, I was told, he spent weeks writing. The document, “Building Global Community,” argued that until now, Facebook’s corporate goal had merely been to connect people. But that was just Step 1. According to the manifesto, Facebook’s “next focus will be developing the social infrastructure for community — for supporting us, for keeping us safe, for informing us, for civic engagement, and for inclusion of all.” If it was a nebulous crusade, it was also vast in its ambition.

According to the piece, Zuckerberg — after a “pause” — admitted that he had been in talks with former president Obama during the drafting of the manifesto.

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May 4, 2017

The Internet’s Endless War to Seize the Memes of Production

Culture warriors even forced the resignation of Yale’s Silliman College head Nicholas Christakis and lecturer Erika Christakis for defending Halloween costumes. Given that this is what “equality politics” consists of, it’s not surprising that most people want no part of it.

In the wake of Donald Trump’s ascension to the highest office in the land, journalists have sought answers for his popularity. Aside from the influence of “fake news,” the betrayal of white women towards the mythical sisterhood (because all women think alike, don’t you know?), and the “ignorance” of the conservative voting bloc, one particular group of politically-active millennial voters is brought up time and time again as a prime reason for Trump’s win at the polls: the anime-loving denizens of 4chan.

Writing for New York Magazine, former Gawker chief Max Read attempts to deconstruct the labyrinthian memeverse that is now the Internet—a social environment riddled with inside jokes and postmodernist hot takes. Referencing 4chan, Read argues that the Internet is now a message board because the “self-proclaimed losers and freaks of 4chan and its ilk had come to great political prominence” upon Trump’s election. After all, he argues, Hillary Clinton waged war against a cartoon frog.

To credit memes for so much of Trump’s success, however, is to bestow power upon the very memes that the progressive left battles daily. Fighting against memes, which are viral by nature, is to infect your audience with an awareness of their existence, which in turn grants them even more power. Were it not for the constant outrage against Pepe the Frog, the “OK” sign as a “white supremacist gesture,” and numerous other spawn of Reddit, Twitter and 4chan, these symbols would hold no meaning outside the bubbles in which they were formed.

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April 24, 2017

Is the Silicon Valley Dynasty Coming to an End?

Ethical lapses at some of the tech industry’s biggest companies suggest a chilling reality of what really matters in the world’s most rollicking economy.

It has been said that Silicon Valley, or the 50 or so square-mile area extending from San Francisco to the base of the peninsula, has overseen the creation of more wealth than any place in the history of mankind. It’s made people richer than the oil industry; it has created more money than the Gold Rush. Silicon chips, lines of code, and rectangular screens have even minted more wealth than religious wars.

Wealthy societies, indeed, have their own complicated incentive structures and mores. But they do often tend, as any technological entrepreneur will be quick to remind you, to distribute value across numerous income levels, in a scaled capacity. The Ford line, for instance, may have eventually minted some serious millionaires in Detroit, but it also made transportation cheaper, helped drive down prices on countless consumer goods, and facilitated new trade routes and commercial opportunities. Smartphones, or any number of inventive modern apps or other software products, are no different. Sure, they throw off a lot of money to the geniuses who came up with them, and the people who got in at the ground floor. But they also make possible innumerable other opportunities, financial and otherwise, for their millions of consumers.

Silicon Valley is, in its own right, a dynasty. Instead of warriors or military heroes, it has nerds and people in half-zip sweaters. But it is becoming increasingly likely that the Valley might go down in history not only for its wealth, but also for creating more tone deaf people than any other ecosystem in the history of the world.

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March 28, 2017

Venezuelans Using ‘Rare Pepes’ and Bitcoin As Currency

Internet users in Venezuela have finally quantified what it truly means to have a rare Pepe, buying and selling Pepe-themed, bitcoin-linked trading cards as a way to escape the economic control of their socialist government.

The idea of images of the popular green frog being “rare” started off as a joke on 4chan, where users would claim that their images of Pepe were rarer and more valuable than everyone else’s. It escalated into people selling their collections of Pepe on eBay, with bids reaching up to almost $100,000 before eBay took it down.

There were never any serious transactions however, with everyone involved enjoying the ironic humour of the situation. More recently, a group of redditors have been “trading” memes of any shape and size on /r/MemeEconomy, attempting to create a stock market in meme popularity. But, it turns out that rare Pepe collecting online is now a serious business.

Sometime last year, an unknown individual began issuing “official” rare Pepe trading cards using the Counterparty platform to link them to bitcoin, in an attempt to poke fun at another online trading game called Spells of Genesis. Today, these cards can be exchanged for the equivalent of thousands of US dollars on Counterparty’s decentralised exchange.

This is due to a creation of artificial scarcity in the cards (as one would expect trading cards to have). Anyone can issue their own rare Pepes, but these are then verified by the official Rare Pepe Foundation, and linked to a certain piece of the bitcoin chain via a practice known as coin colouring. Whomsoever owns that particular bitcoin key address owns the Pepe associated with it. All verified rare Pepes can be viewed in a complete directory of them.

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#AdsenseGate: The Truth About Youtube Demonetization (Video)

Must watch.