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*ominous harmonica solo*

Follow me so I can guide you
So follow me so join me in sin
You gotta stay to hell with the devil
And me I reached into my crystal cup

The hand of the devil reached out and touched my cheek
And I learned today that I was right and left alone

Dust devil devil devil devil devil
Dust devil devil devil devil devil devil
Sinking in, with the devil in the hallway
Come to me and I will heal your always hurting soul

These lyrics do not exist.

2020-05-20T13:27:26+10:0028th July, 2020|Tags: music, tech|


You choose the web you want. But you have to do the work.

A lot of people are doing the work. You could keep telling them, discouragingly, that what they’re doing is dead. Or you could join in the fun.

Brent Simmons on the web you want.

I’ll note here that “work” might be as simple as “move to an independently run platform” or as complex as “rent a VPS and build a website from the server up”. But the point is the only person who’s going to make the web you want to see is you.

2020-05-12T07:03:18+10:0016th July, 2020|Tags: blogging, tech|


Places exist for purposes, and when those purposes emigrate to new locations they also bring along the specters of their former homes. The bathroom is a place to shower or to cast out human waste. Bring your phone in there, and it’s also an office where you can complete procurement requests in enterprise-resource-management software such as Workday, and a theater where you can watch The Crown on Netflix, and a classroom where you can practice Latvian on Duolingo, and a travel agency where you can book a flight on Delta. And your office isn’t just at home, either: It’s anywhere. At the gym, on the train platform, in the gastropub, behind the wheel.


It’s easy but disorienting, and it makes the home into a very strange space. Until the 20th century, one had to leave the house for almost anything: to work, to eat or shop, to entertain yourself, to see other people. For decades, a family might have a single radio, then a few radios and a single television set. The possibilities available outside the home were far greater than those within its walls. But now, it’s not merely possible to do almost anything from home—it’s also the easiest option. Our forebears’ problem has been inverted: Now home is a prison of convenience that we need special help to escape.

Ian Bogost is unintentionally prescient.

So I added this to my drafts folder months ago, which means it’s kind of surreal to encounter it again now, in late March, right after I’ve spent my first week in serious social distancing/work-from-home mode due to the coronavirus pandemic. And by the time this pops off my scheduled posts queue, sometime in July… where will we be? After spending weeks or months locked into our homes, relying on Xoom and Slack and Citrix and Deliveroo and Amazon? Will our enforced reliance on the non-place have changed our relationship to Outside? And if so, how?

See you in the future, I guess…

2020-03-27T07:36:20+11:006th July, 2020|Tags: covid-19, culture, tech|

Sell all the clicks.

The documents, from a subsidiary of the antivirus giant Avast called Jumpshot, shine new light on the secretive sale and supply chain of peoples’ internet browsing histories. They show that the Avast antivirus program installed on a person’s computer collects data, and that Jumpshot repackages it into various different products that are then sold to many of the largest companies in the world. Some past, present, and potential clients include Google, Yelp, Microsoft, McKinsey, Pepsi, Home Depot, Condé Nast, Intuit, and many others. Some clients paid millions of dollars for products that include a so-called “All Clicks Feed,” which can track user behavior, clicks, and movement across websites in highly precise detail.

Avast claims to have more than 435 million active users per month, and Jumpshot says it has data from 100 million devices. Avast collects data from users that opt-in and then provides that to Jumpshot, but multiple Avast users told Motherboard they were not aware Avast sold browsing data, raising questions about how informed that consent is.

Joseph Cox on shadow markets.

Remember: if you’re not paying, you’re (still) the product…

2020-03-03T08:54:27+11:0030th June, 2020|Tags: privacy, tech|
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