Items tagged with: clear
Close up shot of a modern wooden record player playing a clear white vinyl album. A man's hand is dropping the needle onto the record.
Full image: Link
#photography #CC0 #Unsplash #APIRandom #Close #up #shot #of #a #modern #wooden #record #player #playing #a #clear #white #vinyl #album #A #mans #hand #is #dropping #the #needle #onto #the #record
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19875531
Posted by csmnils (karma: 54)
Post stats: Points: 101 - Comments: 78 - 2019-05-10T06:30:03Z
#HackerNews #and #clear #code #correct #easier #efficient #makes #write
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 93 - Loop: 118 - Rank min: 80 - Author rank: 270
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19837981
Posted by ngaut (karma: 1934)
Post stats: Points: 102 - Comments: 33 - 2019-05-06T09:41:40Z
#HackerNews #better #clear #clever #pdf #than
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 79 - Loop: 79 - Rank min: 60 - Author rank: 70
The Estonian Ministry of Justice has officially asked Ott Velsberg, the country’s chief data officer, to design a “robot judge” to take care of a backlog of small claims court disputes, Wired reports.
I'd like to remove cookies when I close Chrome, but only for a certain site. Chrome can do this, or says it can, but it doesn't work. When I restart Chrome the cookie for the site is still there. I
Article word count: 124
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19475254
Posted by rdslw (karma: 916)
Post stats: Points: 167 - Comments: 56 - 2019-03-24T08:57:33Z
#HackerNews #chrome #clear #cookies #does #exit #feature #not #work
Iʼd like to remove cookies when I close Chrome, but only for a certain site. Chrome can do this, or says it can, but it doesnʼt work. When I restart Chrome the cookie for the site is still there. I thought maybe a chrome process was sticking around and keeping the cookie alive, but I checked in the task manager and there were no Chrome processes left.
1. Settings->Advanced->Privacy and Security->Content Settings->Cookies->Clear on Exit
enter image description here
However if I visit the site, then close Chrome and restart, there is still a cookie there from the site. You can see the cookie in "See all cookies and site data" (Settings->Advanced->Privacy and Security->Content Settings->Cookies->See all cookies and site data).
enter image description here
enter image description here
UPDATE after disabling all extensions, the 1 cookie still remains.
HackerNewsBot debug: Calculated post rank: 130 - Loop: 167 - Rank min: 100 - Author rank: 44
clear drinking glass filled with red liquid
Location: New York, United States
Full image: Link
#photography #CC0 #Unsplash #APIRandom #clear #drinking #glass #filled #with #red #liquid #NewYork #UnitedStates
#clear #closing #facility #kim jong un #korea #mike pompeo #north #north korea yongbyon #nuclear #oan newsroom #philippines #pompeo #president trump #scope #secretary of state mike pompeo #yongbyon #yongbyon nuclear scientific research center
Last May, Facebook promised to create a “Clear History” function it said would give users more control over their data. Nine months later it's nowhere to be found and sources say it's a key example of…
Article word count: 3577
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19225494
Posted by jmsflknr (karma: 1277)
Post stats: Points: 239 - Comments: 64 - 2019-02-22T14:20:14Z
\#HackerNews #ago #almost #clear #history #mark #promised #tool #where #year #zuckerberg
Facebook spent most of 2018 embroiled in one scandal or another. But there was a point early on in the year when Mark Zuckerberg thought he could turn down the heat by offering a fix for the public’s privacy concerns. It was just weeks after the news broke that political consultancy Cambridge Analytica had surreptitiously obtained and employed the personal data of millions of people. And as the company headed into its annual F8 developers conference in May, the chief executive proposed a dramatic change ahead of a rehearsal for the keynote address: What if they announced a tool that let users clear web-browsing information that Facebook uses to target users with ads?
The suggestion caught people involved in the event’s production, where planning begins at least six months in advance, off guard. “Clear History" didn’t exist; it was barely an idea. But organizers still scrambled to build its announcement into Zuckerbergʼs F8 keynote address. Theyʼd already scrapped plans to unveil Portal, a video calling device that Facebookʼs leadership thought might be seen as too invasive given the company’s predicament.
It was a bold public relations play. And for those familiar with the origins of the Clear History announcement, it demonstrated not only Zuckerberg’s unilateral power over product direction, but also Facebook’s long history of prioritizing optics and convenience over substantive protections for the people who use it. Company sources who spoke to BuzzFeed News characterized Zuckerberg’s proposal as “reactionary,” a response intended to ease the negative attention on the company following the Cambridge Analytica firestorm. They also said it might explain why the Clear History tool, whose announcement was proposed on the fly by Zuckerberg, is still not available nearly a year after he introduced it on stage at F8.
“If you watch the presentation, we really had nothing to show anyone,” said one person, who was close to F8. “Mark just wanted to score some points.”
Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg do not make judgment calls “until pressure is applied,” said another former employee, who worked closely its leadership and declined to be named for fear of retribution. “That pressure could come from the press or regulators, but they’re not keen on decision-making until they’re forced to do so.”
“Whether it is with genocide or false news, there are never going to be changes until the pressure becomes too great,” they added.
Facebook has long portrayed itself as an advocate for user rights. But former employees and critics say the companyʼs true ethos has often been in opposition to this. Facebookʼs communications around privacy have historically been opportunistic and protectionist, deployed to cover up for the last transgression from its "move fast and break things" ideology — from the 2007 Beacon program, which allowed companies to track purchases by Facebook users without their consent, to the 2010 loophole that allowed advertisers to access people’s personal Facebook information without permission.
“Sometimes we move too fast — and after listening to recent concerns, weʼre responding,” Zuckerberg wrote in 2010 op-ed in the Washington Post. That was just before the company agreed to a Federal Trade Commission consent decree, which charged that Facebook had routinely changed users’ privacy settings in order to obtain their information. The company is currently negotiating with the FTC, which has been investigating whether or not Facebook violated the terms of that consent decree and should be punished.
Last spring, as Facebook dealt with fallout from Cambridge Analytica, compliance with Europe’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and renewed attention on how it tracks all internet users following Zuckerberg’s ten hours of congressional testimony in April, the company’s ask-forgiveness-not-permission playbook was in plain view. It took out full-page newspaper apologies, placed its cheif executive on podcasts and televised interviews, and sent Sandberg to meet with state attorneys general and lawmakers behind closed doors.
“My worry is that Facebook is doing anything it can to garner goodwill and diffuse concern,” said Ashkan Soltani, the FTC’s chief technologist from October 2014 to November 2015. “I’m not sure of the sincerity of those actions since, historically, the company uses privacy selectively and strategically.”
Five former employees who spoke with BuzzFeed News say they are skeptical of that goodwill effort, with three noting that the external messaging and marketing around privacy has only become a focus for executives during the last 12 months. One pointed out that an international ad campaign last spring, focused on how “fake news” and “clickbait” “is not your friend,” was quickly repurposed to address “data misuse” days after the first Cambridge Analytica stories broke. Two highlighted Zuckerberg’s desire to rush out a Clear History announcement ahead of F8. Some ridiculed the company’s privacy pop-up store in New York City’s Bryant Park in December, which was built to show that “privacy is the foundation of our company.”
“It’s public relations,” said one former employee. “It’s, ‘Hey, look at this shiny thing, please don’t pay attention to this mushroom cloud.’” This also appears to be the case with Clear History, which, while touted by both Sandberg and Zuckerberg in recent months as an example of Facebook’s commitment to getting privacy right, has yet to actually launch.
Facebook disagreed with the characterization that privacy promises are used to distract from the real problems.
“We know we have work to do to regain peopleʼs trust, and itʼs why weʼve strengthened our teams, created a new privacy and data use organization, built new tools, and set clearer policies designed to better protect peopleʼs information,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement to BuzzFeed News. “We still face legitimate scrutiny, but we’re not the same company we were even a year ago, and we’re determined to do more to keep people safe across our services.”
Former employees, however, are not willing to give the company the benefit of the doubt.
“They have a long-running strategy of using communications to disagree and push this counter-narrative against any criticism,” one said. “They’re playing the same game they’ve always played, but the challenge for them is that the world has changed and privacy concerns are increasing dramatically.”
With his company staring down what could reportedly be a multibillion-dollar fine from the FTC for violating its 2011 consent decree, Zuckerberg is acutely aware of what public perception around privacy could do to Facebook’s business. In its 2018 annual report, the company outlined not only the risks associated with changing privacy laws including GDPR and the recently passed California Consumer Privacy Act, which the company lobbied against, but also the danger of becoming the media’s punching bag if news outlets dug into Facebook’s practices around data use and sharing.
“Unfavorable publicity regarding, for example, our privacy practices, terms of service, product changes, product quality, litigation or regulatory activity, government surveillance, the actions of our advertisers, the actions of our developers whose products are integrated with our products ... has in the past, and could in the future, adversely affect our reputation,” the company stated in a January financial filing. The statement goes on to outline the “intense media coverage” surrounding Cambridge Analytica and the possibility of negative publicity to adversely affect the company’s size, engagement, user loyalty, and, in turn, revenue.
While Facebook continues to grow — its sales, profit, and monthly active users (MAU) all increased in 2018 — there are plenty of signs that it may not be able to continue on the path. Multiple surveys have shown that users are losing trust in the social network, including one where the company ranked last among brands including Amazon, Google, Visa, and Comcast that handle personal data. And that mistrust could translate to unrest among investors.
“The list of problems the company is grappling with is vast, including complicity in a genocide, enabling social and political instability in different countries around the world, the unwitting sharing of consumer data and antagonized legislators in the US, the UK, Europe and beyond,” Pivotal Research’s Brian Wieser, one of the more bearish Facebook analysts, wrote in a January report.
One former employee noted that Facebook’s executives historically only took privacy seriously if problems affected the key metrics of daily active users, which totaled 1.52 billion accounts in December, or monthly active users, which totaled 2.32 billion accounts. Both figures increased by about 9% year-over-year in December.
“If it came down to user privacy or MAU growth, Facebook always chose the latter,” the person said. That source pointed to internal Facebook emails obtained and released by a UK parliamentary inquiry that showed, among other things, the company’s then–deputy chief privacy officer Yul Kwon discussing how to allow Facebook’s Android app to read a phone’s call logs without triggering a permission pop-up.
Ironically, Facebook’s leaders were worried about the public relations scenario that could have occurred if Android’s permissions did appear, as they were intended, to ask users to consent to the app reading their call logs. Instead of asking for less access, however, they sought a workaround so that they could still suck up the data without making people aware that they were doing so.
“This is a pretty high risk thing to do from a PR perspective but it appears that the growth team will charge ahead and do it,” one Facebook employee, Michael LeBeau, wrote in early 2015. “We think the risk of PR fallout here is high.”
The fallout, however, came more than three years after those emails, after UK parliamentarians obtained them and used them to bolster their case that Facebook operated as a “digital gangster” with little regard for law or scrutiny in a report earlier this month.
“It is evident that Facebook intentionally and knowingly violated both data privacy and anti-competition laws,” the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) Committee wrote in what is perhaps the strongest rebuke of the company by a governing body to date.
Two people who used to work at Facebook said that it’s hard to take the company’s apologies and commitments to privacy seriously after witnessing its attempt to get ahead of outlets preparing to publish stories about Cambridge Analytica. Last March, the New York Times, the Guardian, and the Observer were readying stories about a former employee at the political consulting firm who had evidence that Cambridge Analytica had illicitly obtained data on millions of Facebook users and deployed that information for American political campaigns.
The outlets, according to multiple people familiar with the situation, had been in communication with Facebook about their stories for at least a week, and the company’s public relations team was well-aware that the pieces would be published on the weekend. In response, Facebook’s communications team decided to get ahead of the stories, publishing a blog post from the company’s deputy general counsel the preceding Friday about suspending accounts associated with Cambridge Analytica.
“We were essentially scooping the news,” one source said, explaining that Facebook was trying to soften the blow of any future story on the matter.
Despite the attempt, the blog post, which was picked up by major news outlets, acted as an accelerant for the stories that would publish the next day. That, along with a legal threat sent to Guardian Media Group in the UK, compounded the attention and turned Cambridge Analytica into a full-blown maelstrom.
Three former employees who spoke to BuzzFeed News said that there are people at Facebook who do want to put the the social network’s users first. One acknowledged Facebook’s constant privacy scandals but attributed those mistakes to a “highly decentralized company” where issues arise “less because of an act of malice, and more as unintended consequences.” Another said there are “privacy purists who care about this deeply” but that “there is an equal number of people that looks at privacy as a lever to pull to improve user sentiment and, in turn, revenue.”
Zuckerberg’s thinking fluctuates between both camps, that person said, favoring privacy when he realizes his company’s actions have triggered a backlash.
Last April, technology news site TechCrunch found that Zuckerberg and other executives had been given “special treatment” by employing a tool that deleted old messages from both a sender’s and receiver’s mailboxes. Unlike Messenger for normal users, which retains messages indefinitely and gives users no option to delete old messages, Zuckerberg had been selectively eliminating threads from 2014 and earlier, sparking outrage among some employees who didn’t understand why their chief executive had a privacy feature that wasn’t available to all users.
Two sources recalled the backlash at an all-hands meeting, where several employees confronted the chief executive for secretly claiming special platform privileges that belied the company’s supposed internal dedication to transparency. In response, Zuckerberg told employees at the all-hands that the message deletion practice had come into effect because of the 2014 Sony Pictures hack to protect executives’ communications. A Facebook spokesperson declined to comment on the substance of internal discussions.
One source called the answer a “dodge” scripted by the company’s internal communications team, and noted Zuckerberg’s hypocrisy was in plain view: He protected his own privacy, while publicly diminishing privacy concerns that emerged in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Ever reactive, Facebook quickly announced plans to launch an “unsend message” tool, which would allow users to retract messages within 10 minutes of sending them. That feature, which is not at all the same thing as Zuckerberg’s ability to delete years-old messages, is now reportedly being tested in certain markets.
For one former employee, this incident highlights a systemic issue at a company that is worth more than $450 billion.
“I do think these problems have been traditionally viewed as communications, policy, and legal problems, not necessarily as core product challenges, and that’s likely why they’re in this problem,” the source said. “Ultimately when comms and policy and legal have been called on to solve an issue, it means that we’re already in a crisis.”
Other sources told BuzzFeed News that Facebook executives continue to view the problems of 2018 fundamentally as communication issues. They said some insiders among leadership and the rank and file could not understand how Facebook had become the focus of so much public ire and floated the idea that news publications, who had seen their business models decimated by Facebook and Google, had been directed to cover the company in a harsher light.
Last summer, the company invited a number of publications — including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and BuzzFeed News — for what one person called an off-the-record “media reset.” Executives including Sandberg, chief product officer Chris Cox, and augmented and virtual reality vice president Andrew “Boz” Bosworth met reporters and editors in an attempt to rebuild relationships with outlets that had been covering Facebook critically. (The author of this story learned of these talks independent of BuzzFeed News’ meeting with Facebook’s executives.)
Many of the former Facebook insiders who spoke with BuzzFeed News struggled to understand why there have been few management changes after that past year. “Certain leaders have been making bad calls,” one said, leaving the company in “crisis after crisis.” Yet aside from an executive shuffle where leaders were reorganized into different positions in May, few people, besides policy and communications head Elliot Schrage, have been shown the door. (And even Schrage still technically remains at the company in a special projects advisory role.)
“There’s an abdication of responsibility by the two at the top that runs deep — all the way down to junior leadership looking the other way,” another former employee said.
The UK’s DCMS committee agreed. “The management structure of Facebook is opaque to those outside the business and this seemed to be designed to conceal knowledge of and responsibility for specific decisions,” it wrote.
Late last year, Facebook decided to allay privacy concerns by hiring some of its biggest critics. In December, the company scooped up Nate Cardozo, formerly of the Electronic Frontier Foundation; Robyn Greene, from New America’s Open Technology Institute; and Nathan White, of Access Now, a digital rights foundation.
“After the privacy beating Facebook’s taken over the last year, I was skeptical too,” Cardozo, who once called the company’s business model “creepy,” wrote in a Facebook post announcing his new position. “But the privacy team I’ll be joining knows me well, and knows exactly how I feel about tech policy, privacy, and encrypted messaging.”
“Hiring new people doesnʼt absolve Facebook for past bad practices, or guarantee future improvements,” Estelle Massé, a senior policy analyst for Access Now, wrote in an email to BuzzFeed News. “Given the legacy of Facebook’s policies and practices, it will be difficult to right this ship.”
Thus far, Facebook’s public discussions of Clear History appear to have been more about communications strategy than charting a new course. In a Facebook post looking back on 2018, Zuckerberg pointed to the tool as one that would “give people more transparency” while Sandberg highlighted it to show Facebook’s willingness to change during a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last month.
Still, nine months after its initial announcement, Clear History is nowhere to be found. A Facebook executive conceded in a December interview with Recode that “it’s taking longer than we initially thought” due to issues with how data is stored and processed. The company will now reportedly start testing the tool in the spring led by a new privacy product unit Zuckerberg created last May amid various scandals.
“We want to make sure this works the way it should for everyone on Facebook, which is taking longer than expected,” the company said in a statement to BuzzFeed News.
It’s unclear if new high-profile hires, like Cardozo and Greene, will work with Facebook’s new privacy unit or if they will be involved with Clear History. (Zuckerberg did say last May that the company would be working with “privacy advocates” on its new tool to “make sure we get it right.”) It has reached out to groups like Access Now, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), and the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), as well as academics.
Sources confirmed that CDT and EFF were advising Facebook on its Clear History tool, but could not disclose specifics of their meetings due to nondisclosure agreements. Access Now’s Massé confirmed Facebook had reached out on a number of issues, including Clear History, in the last few months, but called the conversations “punctual and limited.”
“Despite repeated statements and apologies from the company, we are not seeing a shift in Facebook data practices or an attitude that would suggest that they take data protection seriously,” she said. “What we are seeing so far are reactionary measures in an attempt to sway public opinion, rather than a fundamental shift in the way the company considers users’ rights to privacy and data protection.”
Privacy experts also pushed back on the idea that Clear History could be a cure-all for Facebook’s privacy ails. For one, it’s still unclear what the tool will allow users to delete and, as the CDT’s Natasha Duarte notes, features like these don’t necessarily guarantee better privacy. “The tool may be able to delete information that Facebook holds about a user’s interaction with other websites, but inferences from those interactions may already be incorporated into Facebook’s algorithm,” she said.
For example, imagine if a user visited a site for Dyson vacuums and Facebook registered that interaction through a tracker. Clear History might let a user remove information about that Dyson site visit from Facebook’s servers, but if that information has already been collected and algorithmically processed into a preference for ads about other household cleaning products, clearing history doesnʼt mean much. As Duarte explained: “There could be a gap between what Facebook says it’s deleting and what it is actually deleting.”
Former insiders were also concerned about how much Facebook would emphasize or promote Clear History after launch, noting that past privacy features have sometimes been introduced with minimum functionality and high amounts of friction to possibly discourage users. One former employee cited a feature that allows users to download all their Facebook information, but noted that it was hard to find and created file formats that were hard to read and share. Another recalled how the company unveiled a tool for “Nearby Friends,” but required “an inordinate number of clicks” to turn off the feature, which then defaulted to only pausing a user’s involvement for a short period of time.
“It seemed like a douchey move, and it was unclear if it was a deliberate choice or poor design,” the employee said. (A Facebook spokesperson disagreed with these characterizations and said the company builds controls “so that people will be able to easily find and use them.”)
Given the last 12 months, Facebook has lost that benefit of the doubt, according to privacy experts, and Clear History may be too little, too late. Groups including Access Now and CDT are calling for policymakers to step in, and even the social network’s executives seem resigned to some type of eventual privacy law in the US.
“Facebook has made good on just about every opportunity to lower expectations that it would protect user privacy without a government forcing it to,” Massé told BuzzFeed News. “It is high time for the US to adopt comprehensive data protection legislation to bring sectorwide safeguards for our personal information.”
The company’s track record speaks for itself, said Gennie Gebhart, a consumer privacy researcher at EFF. Gebhart, who’s been in discussions with Facebook about Clear History, noted that she maintains a certain skepticism that the company is capable of deeper change, and compared its past privacy promises to rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.
“They’re focused on solving the problem of needing to be seen like theyʼre doing something, rather than solving the actual problem,” she said. “And that needs to change.”●
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Full Moon Hovering Over The Harbour
I'm unlikely to get a job this semester, so I'm thinking of selling a few of my better photos as prints... any suggestions?
#photo #photograph #picture #photography #image #water #harbour #sea #mountain #mountains #dark #night #lights #clear #sky #landscape #beautiful #mywork
By shutting down the Wii Store Channel and not letting users download old games, Nintendo is once again showing that in the modern digital era, you don’t actually own the things you buy.
Article word count: 1605
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19038196
Posted by ingve (karma: 96853)
Post stats: Points: 138 - Comments: 33 - 2019-01-30T19:10:19Z
\#HackerNews #clear #game #history #makes #nintendo #only #piracy #preserve #that #video #way
After more than a decade online, Nintendo will be shutting down the company’s Wii Shop Channel this Wednesday. Nintendo removed the ability to purchase in-store currency (Wii Points) last March, and starting January 30, users will no longer be able to purchase any WiiWare or Virtual Console games from the service. On its surface, the company’s move is easy to brush aside as the natural, evolutionary demise of a service tied to an aging console. Especially given Nintendo gave customers plenty of time to spend any remaining Wii Points long before the storefront was shuttered. But the day Nintendo pulls the plug on the Wii Store Channel should be a strong warning those who care about video game preservation, and any consumer who uses a digital store: We often donʼt truly own products we buy digitally, and when one of these digital stores go down, piracy is often the only way to preserve its history.
As it stands, even after the store officially closes, Wii users will be able download any past titles they’ve purchased and downloaded from the Wii Shop Channel, provided they can fit them on either the Wii’s internal storage or an additional SD card. However, Nintendo said that in a yet unknown point in the future, the company will close all services relating to the Wii Shop Channel, "including the ability to redownload WiiWare and Virtual Console games, as well as the Wii System Transfer Tool, which transfers data from Wii to the Wii U system."
That means that if the games users bought from the Wii Shop Channel are not already downloaded, or if whatever storage device users put them on is destroyed, theyʼll lose them for good. Users could buy the games again from the Wii Uʼs Virtual Console, and they might be able to get them from Nintendoʼs new subscription service on the Switch, but theyʼll have to pay for it.
"What sucks here is that Nintendo didnʼt build the infrastructure to allow people to support these games," Frank Cifaldi, the founder of the Video Game History Foundation, told Motherboard in a phone interview. "It might be indicative how new Nintendo was to the Internet during the Wii era. Maybe they didnʼt build it with the future in mind."
Nintendo did not respond to a Motherboard request for comment.
"Iʼm not worried about the complete absence of zeros of ones from the world, piracy will always find a way"
The Wii Shop Channel wasnʼt the first time Nintendo allowed users to download games (the Satellaview offered downloadable content way back in 1995), but it was a good, legal way to play many of the companyʼs classic games outside of tracking down old, physical copies. The Wii Virtual Console offered hundreds of games. At the moment. Nintendo Switch Online offers only 31 NES games. While Nintendo said itʼs going to expand this library, likely with well-known classics like other Zelda and Mario games, thereʼs no guarantee it will offer more obscure games like Clu Clu Land, which was available from the Wii Virtual Console, and is still for sale on the Wii U Virtual Console. Will Nintendo keep offering obscure, old games and spend money on hosting them on the companyʼs servers if theyʼre not going to turn a profit?
"I think the fact that youʼve havenʼt seen so much obscure stuff since [the Virtual Console] tells you something about Nintendoʼs issues [with less known games]," Cifaldi said.
In the digital era, companies increasingly pull the rug out from under products consumers may falsely assume they actually own, notes Case Western Law Professor Aaron Perzanowski, whose last book The End Of Ownership highlighted this problem extensively.
“This situation is most reminiscent of Microsoft’s decision in 2016 to shut down its Xbox Fitness platform,” Perzanowski told Motherboard in an email. “Customers who thought they had purchased exercise content were told by Microsoft that it would no longer be available to download or access. The decision earned Microsoft criticism at the time, but given the relatively small user base, the story didn’t seem to get much traction.”
The quest to undermine consumer software ownership extends well beyond video games. As part of their effort to abuse copyright to monopolize repair, manufacturers like GM and John Deere have long claimed consumers don’t actually own the software in the vehicles and tractors they’ve spent thousands of dollars on.
The trend of eroding consumer ownership post sale isn’t just reserved to software. Hardware manufacturers now routinely brick expensive electronics they no longer want to support, or downgrade a video game console’s functionality post sale, again confusing customers who thought they owned a product, only to suddenly discover post-purchase caveats.
In Nintendo’s case, Perzanowski theorizes that the company either didn’t want to pony up the cash to protect the integrity of consumer purchases, or it simply wanted to force users to buy those same titles all over again.
“It could just be a pure economic calculus; the store costs more to maintain than it generates,” Perzanowski said. “If there are third party titles in the store, Nintendo might be unwilling to extend existing licensing agreements for those games. Or the decision might be related to some other platform or service Nintendo plans to roll out in the future that would otherwise compete with the Wii store.”
When companies make it too difficult for consumers to get the content they want (or hell, already own), users tend to flock to piracy as an alternative. Studies have shown that the best way to counter this copyright infringement is to focus on innovation; like making content cheaper and easier to access. In this case, Nintendo’s doing the exact opposite.
The company has made a habit of going after the largest, illegal distributors of its old games recently: ROM sites. As we wrote back in August, when Nintendo took down some of the biggest ROM sites on the internet, many people, including game developers, lost the only way they could access these games. Nintendo is well within its legal rights to take down ROM sites, but as Cifaldi notes, that puts video game preservationists in a difficult situation.
"Right now I canʼt legally add any of these games to our library," he said. "Thereʼs no legal way of doing it."
The fact that itʼs illegal to download these games hasnʼt stopped people from doing it. While the big ROM sites are gone and no clear alternative has popped up, it is still possible to find copies of all the games the Wii Virtual Console offered on the internet. For an accurate historical record, the Internet Archive is now even hosting the Wii Shop Channelʼs HTML frontend (meaning the icons, manuals, descriptions), so future generations could see what it looked like.
"Iʼm not worried about the complete absence of zeros of ones from the world, piracy will always find a way, I just am very worried about everyday people being able to find and discover this stuff and be inspired by it," Cifaldi said. "My big concern with video games going away like this is them not inspiring the artists of the future."
Cifaldi noted that the work of Toby Fox, developer of the indie hit Undertale, is rooted in access to old games, as are the developers of Sonic Mania (widely considered to be the first good Sonic games in years), who got their start making fan games by hacking ROMs.
"It was the backbone of a commercial product that was making a lot of money for the company. I donʼt know how weʼll make new art from old games," Cifaldi said.
Given the complicated nature of these debates, many users may not fully comprehend just how they’re being screwed. It might seem like everything you bought from iTunes or Steam will be yours forever because Apple and Valve are too big to fail, but if those companies ever decide that itʼs too expensive to let users download what they paid for, thereʼs no guarantee youʼll have access your games and movies. Keep in mind that the Wii wasnʼt some unknown, failure of a device. It was a massive success, with over 100 million units sold, making it one of Nintendoʼs most popular consoles. The Wii U, which is the best place to get these games once the Wii Store Channel is gone, sold only 13 million units. There are potentially millions of Wii owners who could lose access to their games unless they transfer them to a Wii U, which is not easy to get these days. Nintendo stopped manufacturing the Wii U in 2016, which has made them harder to find. You could buy a new Wii U from Amazon, but it will cost around $600.
Other consumers may simply view such behavior as unavoidable, Perzanowski said.
“Unfortunately, I think consumers are starting to see these moves as inevitable,” he said. “Especially for sophisticated digital consumers, like gamers, there is a growing sense that companies are likely to abuse their authority in ways that harm consumers.”
Whatever Nintendo’s motivation, there’s going to be plenty more behavior where this came from from other industry giants, and regulators like the FTC should do a better job ensuring that companies live up to their promises when it comes to product ownership.
Consumers need to do a better job fighting back as well, Perzanowski said.
“Consumers need to be vocal in their objections to these sort of bait and switch tactics,” he argued. “They need to develop a longer memory and vote with their wallets. These firms rely on consumers getting over their temporary outrage.”
\* Tagged: \* nintendo \* wii store channel \* virtual console
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John Baez is an American mathematical physicist, and a professor of mathematics at the University of California Riverside, and an activist for the environment. I have been in touch with him via ema…
Article word count: 1688
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18791167
Posted by mathgenius (karma: 5259)
Post stats: Points: 84 - Comments: 14 - 2018-12-30T20:35:15Z
\#HackerNews #and #baez #beauty #clear #for #interviewing #john #quest #thinking
John Baez is an American mathematical physicist, and a professor of mathematics at the University of California Riverside, and an activist for the environment. I have been in touch with him via email and through his online course on category theory. Recently, I had the pleasure to met him in person in London, during a conference about Physics and Philosophy dedicated to Emmy Noether. In the last few days, I had the honor to interview Prof. Baez for the blog Math is in the air.
MM. You are one of the pioneers in using internet and blogging for scientific education, with ‘This week’s finds.’ Which words would you use to feed the enthusiasm of young minds towards abstract mathematics?
JB. It seems only certain people are drawn to mathematics, and thatʼs fine: there are many wonderful things in life and thereʼs no need for everyone explore all of them. Mathematics seems to attract people who enjoy patterns, who enjoy precision, and who donʼt want to remember lists of arbitrary facts, like the names of all 206 bones in the human body. In math everything has a reason and you can understand it, so you donʼt really need to remember much. At first it may seem like thereʼs a lot to remember - for examples, lists of trig identities. But as you go deeper into math, and understand more, everything becomes simpler. These days I donʼt bother to remember more than a couple of trigonometric identities; if I ever need them I can figure them out.
But the really surprising thing is that as you go deeper and deeper into mathematics, it keeps revealing more beauty, and more mysteries. You enter new worlds full of profound questions that are quite hard to explain to nonmathematicians. As the Fields medalist Maryam Mirzakhani said, "The beauty of mathematics only shows itself to more patient followers."
MM. I love the reference to patterns, and the beauty to find. Thus, we can say that mathematical beauty is not ‘all out there’ as the beauty of a flower can be. Or, that some beautiful geometry present in nature can give a hint or can embody some mathematical beauty, but people have to work hard to find more of it — at least they have to learn how to look at things, and thus, how to mathematically think of them.
In the common opinion, a rose, or a water lily is beautiful (and it is!), but a bone is not ‘beautiful’ per se. Personally, each time I find patterns, regularities, hierarchical structures, I get excited and things seem to be at least mathematically interesting. I would like to ask you how would you relate the beauty in the natural world, both visible and ‘to discover,’ and the beauty of math.
I’m wondering if they should be considered as two separate sets with occasional, random intersections, or as two displays of a generalized ‘beauty,’ as two different perspectives. Or, maybe, if the first can guide our search into math, or if math can teach us ‘how to look at things and finding beauty.’
JB. I think all forms of beauty are closely connected, and I think almost anything is beautiful if itʼs not the result of someone being heedless to their environment or deliberately hurtful.
Itʼs not surprising that flowers are very easy to find beautiful, since they evolved precisely to be attractive. Not to humans, at first, but to pollinators like birds and bees. Itʼs imaginable that what attracts those animals would not be attractive to us. But in fact thereʼs enough commonality that we enjoy flowers too! And then we bred them to please us even more; many of them are now symbiotic with us.
Something like a bone only becomes beautiful if you examine it carefully and think about how complex it is and how admirably it carries out its function.
Bones are initially scary or ʼdisgustingʼ because when theyʼre doing their job they are hidden: we usually see them only when an animal is seriously injured or dead. So, you have to go past that instinctive reaction - which by the way serves a useful purpose - to see the beauty in a bone.
Mathematics is somewhere between a rose and a bone. Underlying all of nature there are mathematical patterns - but normally they are hidden from view, like bones in a body. Perhaps to some people they seem harsh or even disgusting when first revealed, but in fact they are extremely elegant. Even those who love mathematics find its patterns austere at first - but as we explore it more deeply, we see they connect in complicated delicate patterns that put the petals of a rose to shame.
MM: Thus, there seems to be an intimate dialogue between nature, both visible and hidden, and mathematical thinking. About nature and environment: in your Twitter image, there is a sketch of you as a superhero saving the planet, with the mathematical symbol ‘There is one and only one’ applied to our planet Earth.
Can you tell the readers something about the way you combine your research in mathematics with your engagement for the environment?
@johncarlosbaez, from Twitter
Also, it is often said that beauty will save the world. Do you think that mathematical beauty can save the world?
JB: I mainly think of beauty - in all its forms - as a reason why the world is worth saving. But we are very primitive when it comes to the economics of beauty. Paintings can sell for hundreds of millions of dollars, and we have a market for them. But nobody attaches any value to this critically endangered frog, Atelopus varius.
Atelopus varius, from https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/54560/11167883
To my mind itʼs more beautiful and precious than any painting. Not the individual, of course, but the species, which has taken millions of years to evolve. We are busy destroying species like this as if they were worthless trash. Our descendants, if we have any, will probably think we were barbaric idiots.
But I digress! I switched from pure mathematics and highly theoretical physics to more practical concerns around 2010, when I spent two years at the Centre for Quantum Technologies, in Singapore. I was very lucky that the director encouraged me to think about whatever I wanted. I was wanting a change in direction, and I soon realized that mathematicians, like everyone else, need to think about global warming and what we can do about it: itʼs the crisis of our time. I spent some time learning the basics of climate science and working on some projects connected to that. It became clear that to do anything about global warming we need new ideas in politics and economics. Unfortunately, Iʼm not especially good at those things. So I decided to do something I can actually do, namely to get mathematicians to turn their attention from math inspired by the physics of the microworld - for example string theory - toward math inspired by the visible world around us: biology, ecology, engineering, economics and the like. Iʼm hoping that mathematicians can solve some problems by thinking more abstractly than anyone else can.
So to finally answer your last question: Iʼm not sure the beauty of mathematics can save the world, but its beauty is closely connected to clear thinking, and we really need clear thinking.
MM: Yes, in a certain sense, despite culture, technology, and thousands of years of human history, people are quite primitive when it comes to evaluating beauty as detached from the economy.
You brought up an important point: the research focus of mathematicians. This is a tricky point because young researchers are kind of split between following new ideas and projects, and the search for funds, that often leads them to join existing projects or just well-funded areas and to put aside their more ‘visionary’ ideas. What would be your suggestion to find a balance?
JB: I donʼt know if I can give advice here: Iʼve never needed to search for funds, I get paid to teach calculus and other courses, so I always just do the best research I can. Thatʼs already quite hard - I could talk all day about that!
I suppose if youʼre struggling for funds you have to fight to remember your dreams, and try to work your way into a situation where you can pursue these dreams. I imagine this is also true for any entrepreneur with a visionary idea. Academics struggling to get grants really arenʼt all that different from executives in a large corporation trying to get funding for their projects.
MM: My last question is about the theme of peace, very important to the Baez family:
Many innovations are related to the military. Do you think that the needed clear thinking you mentioned, can first of all come from times, themes, and ideas of peace?
JB: We are currently in a struggle thatʼs much bigger, and more inspiring, than any war between human tribes. Weʼre struggling to come to terms with the Anthropocene: the epoch where the Earthʼs ecosystems and even geology are being transformed by humans. We are used to treating our impact on nature as negligible. This is no longer true! The Arctic is rapidly melting:
And since 1970, the abundance of many vertebrate species worldwide has dropped 60%. You can see it in this chart prepared by the Worldwide Wildlife Fund:
The Global Living Planet Index, from https://c402277.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/publications/1187/files/original/LPR2018_Full_Report_Spreads.pdf
If this were a war, and these were humans dying, this would be the worst war the world has ever seen! But these changes will not merely affect other species; they are starting to hit us too. We need to wake up. We will either deliberately change our civilization, quite quickly, or we will watch as our cities burn and drown. Isnʼt it better to use that intelligence we humans love to boast about, and take action?
MM: Thank you Professor, I hope these words will enlighten many people.
John Baez and Maria Mannone. Conference “The Philosophy and Physics of Noetherʼs Theorems,” University of Notre Dame in London, October 5, 2018.
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"It’s taking longer than we initially had thought."
Article word count: 938
HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18716554
Posted by turadg (karma: 131)
Post stats: Points: 204 - Comments: 37 - 2018-12-19T16:03:49Z
\#HackerNews #clear #facebooks #feature #from #history #launching #months #privacy #still
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveils “Clear History” at the company’s annual developer conference in May. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images
Back in May, at the height of Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal, the company made a timely announcement: Facebook users would soon be able to clear the browsing history connected to their Facebook profile, meaning that the company would no longer link users to the apps and websites they visited off of the social network.
The product, called “Clear History,” got a lot of attention. Not only is browsing data important — Facebook uses it to target people with advertising — but CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Clear History himself during Facebook’s annual developer conference. Clear History was an olive branch meant to show everyone how serious Facebook is about privacy.
“This is an example of the kind of control we think you should have,” Zuckerberg wrote in a post. “It’s something privacy advocates have been asking for — and we will work with them to make sure we get it right.”
As it turns out, clearing your browser history was harder to implement than Facebook expected. It’s been more than seven months since Zuckerberg’s announcement and Facebook hasn’t mentioned Clear History since.
Facebook’s Chief Privacy Officer Erin Egan said at that time that it would take “a few months” to build. Now Facebook tells Recode it won’t be ready for several more months.
Product delays aren’t uncommon in the tech world, but Clear History was announced to show users how serious Facebook was taking their privacy. Now it may be a whole year between that announcement and product testing.
“It’s taking longer than we initially had thought,” admitted David Baser, the head of Facebook’s newly created privacy product team, in a recent interview with Recode. “We did underestimate how long [this]would take.” Baser said Facebook will “deliver the product for testing by spring of 2019.”
Baser chalked up the delay to two technical challenges, both of which are related to how Facebook stores user data on its servers.
- Facebook data is not always stored in the same way it is collected. When Facebook collects web browsing data, for example, that data set includes multiple parts, like your personal identifying information, the website you visited and the timestamp for when the data was collected.
Sometimes those pieces of data are separated and stored in different parts of Facebook’s system. Finding them all so that they can be cleared, especially once they’ve been separated, has been a challenge, Baser said.
- Facebook currently stores browsing data by date and time, not by which user it belongs to. That means there was no easy way within Facebook’s system to see all the browsing data linked to an individual user. Facebook had to build a new system that stored browsing data categorized at the user level. “That was not very simple, actually, in practice for us to build,” Baser said. It’s an important element, though, because in order for users to go in and clear that data, they need to be able to find it.
Facebook collects vast amounts of user data and has been criticized for years for not being clear enough about what it collects and why. That criticism came to a head in 2018, when users and regulators started to seriously question the company’s data practices, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg was summoned to Washington to explain it all before Congress.
Facebook claimed repeatedly that data and user privacy is a top priority. It’s why Baser’s team even exists. The group, which focuses exclusively on privacy products, was just created in May during a company-wide restructuring.
But things haven’t gone well for Facebook since then. The company announced a massive security hack in September, plus a number of software bugs with privacy implications, including one on Friday that may have exposed users’ private photos to app developers. It took Facebook more than three weeks to announce the breach publicly after alerting authorities. Not coincidentally, Baser says one of the focuses for his team is coming up with a faster and clearer way of alerting users of privacy mishaps.
Explaining Clear History to users will likely be its own challenge. There’s a reason that Clear History isn’t called “Delete History”: Using the feature will disassociate browsing data that Facebook collects from your specific account but it won’t be erased from Facebook’s servers completely, Baser said. Instead it’s just “de-identified,” which means it’s stored by Facebook but no longer tied to the user who created it.
Why can’t Facebook just stop collecting your browsing history entirely? Well, it could, but a large part of Facebook’s business depends on collecting this kind of browsing data, so it would cripple a big revenue stream. Facebook is an ad company, and that means it needs to know which sites users visit so it can properly charge advertisers, Baser said. Facebook might charge an advertiser each time it drives a visit to that advertiser’s website, for example.
“We can’t actually stop data collection,” Baser said. “But what we can do is strip away the identifier that would let us know whose it was.”
Which is all to say that Clear History should mean that you won’t see those sometimes creepy ads on Facebook about products you’ve looked at on other websites. It won’t mean, however, that Facebook has stopped watching you while you browse the web.
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white painted high-rise building under clear sky
Location: Slough, United Kingdom
Full image: Link
\#photography #CC0 #Unsplash #APIRandom #white #painted #high-rise #building #under #clear #sky #Slough #UnitedKingdom