@Linus Torvalds released #Linux 3.17-rc2 today in commemoration of the #23rd anniversary of the original kernel announcement.
(Source: funny-programming, via keepcalmandprogram)
(Source: andyhin, via keepcalmandprogram)
Remove new "superprotect" status; and permit Wikipedia communities to enact (current) software decisions uninhibited. -
Say no to “super protect”, keep Wikipedia Free & Democratic. Please read and sign the petition.
Dear Jimmy Wales,
Alienating Wikipedians (the volunteer community) is never a good option. Please don’t let that happen.
How Facebook and Twitter control what you see about Ferguson -
Social media is controlled by algorithms – a mathematical formula that dictates what you see and when. In the past week, people have noticed something curious about the way these algorithms have filtered news about protests in Ferguson, Mo., over the fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown.
The fundamental differences between the two platforms help explain the disparity.
“Because of its brevity, and the ease with which updates can be shared, Twitter is a much more rapid-fire experience than Facebook, and that makes it well suited for quick blasts of information during a breaking-news event like Ferguson,” Mathew Ingram of Gigaom pointed out. The non-newsy content that clutters the platform also makes it ill-suited for following breaking news, he added.
Another huge difference? Algorithms. Your Twitter feed isn’t controlled by an algorithm. You see the tweets of people you follow in real time. But Facebook uses a complicated algorithm to determine what ends up in your news feed. They won’t reveal exactly how it works, but the company has said it ranks the content based in part on what you’ve liked, clicked or shared in the past.
Ars Technica’s Casey Johnson suggested Facebook’s algorithm also weeds out controversial content — racially charged protests, perhaps? — from users’ news feeds: “There is a reason that the content users see tends to be agreeable to a general audience: sites like [BuzzFeed, Elite Daily, Upworthy, and their ilk] are constantly honing their ability to surface stuff with universal appeal. Content that causes dissension and tension can provide short-term rewards to Facebook in the form of heated debates, but content that creates accord and harmony is what keeps people coming back.”
Johnson backed up her theory with a Georgia Institute of Technology study of how political content affects users’ perceptions of Facebook. She summed up the findings: “The study found that, because Facebook friend networks are often composed of ‘weak ties’ where the threshold for friending someone is low, users were often negatively surprised to see their acquaintances express political opinions different from their own. This felt alienating and, overall, made everyone less likely to speak up on political matters (and therefore, create content for Facebook).”
For University of North Carolina sociologist Zeynep Tufekci, this sort of “algorithmic filtering” is more than a matter of technical differences. Last Wednesday, when there was rioting in Ferguson and journalists were being arrested, the events in Ferguson unfolded in real time on her Twitter feed. But on Facebook, where she follows a similar composition of friends, posts about Ferguson didn’t appear in her feed until the next morning. “Would Ferguson be buried in algorithmic censorship?” she wrote on Medium..
If so, that’s bad. “How the internet is run, governed and filtered is a human rights issue,” she wrote.
(Source: Washington Post, via notational)
Ten years of OpenStreetMap -
Next to GPS, the most significant development in the Open Geo Data movement is OpenStreetMap (OSM), a community-driven mapping project whose goal is to create the most detailed, correct,…
Tyler Bell takes a look at a small project which has come a long way.
Surveillance, ICANN transition dominate Internet governance meeting -
… The two-day Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance, also called NETmundial, was largely influenced by disclosures by former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden since June last year of large-scale surveillance of the Internet by the agency and spying on foreign leaders, including Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff.
Nnenna Nwakanma, Africa Regional Coordinator of the World Wide Web Foundation, thanked Snowden in her speech during the opening ceremony Wednesday. She reminded the audience that Rousseff had said at the U.N. General Assembly in September last year that “in the absence of the right to privacy, there can be no true freedom of expression and opinion and there is no effective democracy.”
In the event, a new paragraph was added in the final statement that asked that the “procedures, practices and legislation regarding the surveillance of communications, their interception and collection of personal data, including mass surveillance, interception and collection, should be reviewed, with a view to upholding the right to privacy by ensuring the full and effective implementation of all obligations under international human rights law.”…
Countries don't own their Internet names says ICANN -
… the domains aren’t property and don’t belong to the countries they point to, ICANN said. Instead, they’re more like postal codes, “simply the provision of routing and administrative services for the domain names registered within that ccTLD,” which are what let users go to websites and send to email addresses under those domains, ICANN wrote. If ICANN stepped in and reassigned the domains on its own, that would disrupt everyone who uses a domain name that ends in those codes, including individuals, businesses and charitable organizations, the group said.
Pondering Amazon -
While we are in the middle of a massive secular shift from owned data centers to outsourced data centers and hardware, anyone who remembers the emergence of outsourced data centers, shared web hosting, dedicated web hosting, co-location, and application service providers will recognize many of the dynamics going on. Predictably in the tech industry, what’s old is new again as all the infrastructure players roll out their public clouds and all the scaled companies start exploring ways to move off of AWS (and other cloud services) into much more cost effective configurations.
Variations on Brad Feld’s enumerated list of four observations about Amazon’s cloud business, AWS, are increasingly frequently heard amongst those following or commentating on the cloud business. Indeed his fourth point (about it being time to move once you’re spending $200k on Amazon each month) is usually attached to numbers half or a quarter of that…
Brad offers some useful thoughts here, and I broadly share most of his perspectives. But a nagging doubt at the back of my mind wonders if these four assertions are taking on a life of their own; are they - increasingly - becoming ‘Truth,’ almost regardless of the facts?
The danger of computers becoming like humans is not nearly as great as that of humans becoming like computers.
— Konrad Zuse (1910-1995),
inventor of the Z3, the first fully-programmable computer (via leadingtone)
Such are the perverse rewards we reap when we permit tech culture to become our culture. The profits and power flow to the platform owners and their political sponsors. We get the surveillance, the data mining, the soaring inequality, and the canned pep talks from bosses who have been upsold on analytics software. Without Gchat, Twitter, and Facebook—the great release valves of workaday ennui—the roofs of metropolitan skyscrapers would surely be filled with pallid young faces, wondering about the quickest way down. — World Processor (via azspot)