tech

/Tag: tech

Big Google.

Okay, so… on the one hand this is a decent look at the extent of Google’s creepy data profiling business. Which… sweet.

On the other, it starts with this:

When lazy journalists are pessimistic about Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home, they say stuff like: “Even Orwell couldn’t have predicted that we’d willingly bring Big Brother into our own homes.”

And I’m not sure exactly how ironic this is supposed to be because, um actually? Orwell did predict that. Like, he literally predicted that; it tends to get missed in most of the pop culture understanding of 1984, but the telescreen is a consumer good. That is, Party members buy them and voluntarily install them in their homes. Remember the antiques store guy whose house Winston camps at has an offhand comment about how he doesn’t own one because he never bought one, and it’s mentioned in the book that most proles (non-Party members) don’t have them at all? Like, it’s not the most obvious detail and people tend to elide it because of the whole “BIG BROTHER = COMMUNISM!!!” angle—which is also a bad take,1 incidentally—but it totally is there.

So… yeah. Orwell: Still Even More Relevant Than You Think (2019 Edition).

  1. Oceania is ostensibly a socialist state and it does treat “the capitalist” as its ultimate class enemy. But Orwell was a disillusioned socialist himself, and he was more writing about how elite class interests subvert the ideology for their own power than making a critique of socialism per se. In other words, Oceania’s economy is supposed to look more like the one of Franco’s Spain or Hitler’s Germany, i.e. fascist, than anything that would make Marx nod in approval.
2019-06-07T14:36:36+10:007th June, 2019|Tags: books, pop culture, tech|

Activist investors.

So, like. You know how the point of being a shareholder is that you, theoretically, have something of a say about how a company is run?

Wait. You… didn’t know that? Because, yeah. It’s true. Think of it like a democracy you can buy into. That’s how a “public” company works.

So, like. Also. You know how tech types are often paid in company shares? Yeah. You ever wondered why they don’t, like. Do more with that? You ever wondered what would happen if they did?

Yeah.

2019-01-20T21:39:06+10:005th June, 2019|Tags: tech|

The oldene dayes.

*dons flat cap* In my day, you knew a site was hacked because you’d be greeted with green-on-black text stating the site was “0wned” by the “hackersaurus” and their “l33t crew”. You’d also get a few animated GIFs of skulls, and if you were really lucky, a picture of a big ol’ arse. But now… now it’s all stealthy crypto bullshit.

Jake Archibald on hacking.

This entire article is about what happens when packages (y’know, those bits of other people’s code you include in your code) go bad, which is also an interesting topic asides from the quote above that made me lol.

It’s called a supply chain attack, incidentally, and they’re getting more and more common. I mean, why hack one thousand apps when instead you can hack just one and get auto-updated into the thousand that use it as a dependency?

2019-01-17T08:37:09+10:001st June, 2019|Tags: infosec, tech|

Deepfake diving.

Interesting primer on how to recognize GAN-generated faces. (Mild warning for body horror, in the sense that some of the “early generation” GAN images are… ugh. Creepy.)

Incidentally, there’s a link to a short “quiz” at the end of the article, and I absolutely smashed it once I knew what to look for (mostly backgrounds and hair, plus the occasional lopsided earring). Which was… honestly, unexpected.

2019-01-07T14:15:40+10:0021st May, 2019|Tags: tech|

Turing complete(ish).

Interesting look at whether CSS can be considered Turing complete and thus, despite all conventional wisdom, an actual programming language.

Apparently in the last decade or so when I wasn’t really paying attention, it became Cool™ to shit on CSS. Which, as someone who grew up doing things like radically transforming my profile page in Gaia Online with the power of CSS alone, I find really—

Okay, I was going to say “odd” here but it’s not “odd” at all, is it? It’s frustrating. Because people shit in CSS because it’s, a) associated with girls doing things like modifying their Gaia Online profiles, and thus b) feminized and scorned.

Same as it ever was, I guess…

2019-01-07T08:24:59+10:0017th May, 2019|Tags: css, culture, tech|

Blockchain is still garbage, film at 11.

So… okay. I will freely admit to being a Blockchain Skeptic™… but not even I would’ve predicted a 0.00% success rate in a survey of blockchain technologies. Yikes.1

Note also that this is specifically blockchain, not cryptocurrency, which is an implementation of blockchain. And even the most diehard crypto-detractor (i.e. yours truly) would probably have to concede cryptocurrencies are “successful”, for a given definition thereof, so I assume they were specifically excluded from the above-linked survey.

  1. But also: lol.
2019-01-07T08:12:10+10:0015th May, 2019|Tags: blockchain, cryptocurrency, tech|