Riccardo sez, "Snake is an end-to-end encrypted social network running in a browser (standard Web page or plugin) or as a mobile application.
A name has been given to an evil that plagues independent bookstores, a practice that was blamed largely for the demise of the Borders bookstore chain: showrooming. This practice, which affects mom-and-pop retailers across possibly every industry but especially the bookselling profession, occurs when consumers enter a local physical retail shop in order to find [...]
via Good E-Reader – eBook and Digital Publishing News http://goodereader.com/blog/e-book-news/consumers-warned-against-showrooming?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=consumers-warned-against-showrooming
It may be a brand new year, but if scammers can continue to make money through old tricks why should they change their methods?
As more of consumers’ lives depend on mobile devices, the chances they have something on their phones they want private has become very high. According to research, about four in five US smartphone users have private files on their devices—and the share is even higher among the youngest adults.
via eMarketer Articles and Newsroom Posts http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?id=1010506
Michelle Gomez is a genius at finding people who want to stay lost. But she’d never gone after anyone like Ryan Eugene Mullen before.
It is a very scary time to be a piece of sensitive data. If rogue hackers don’t find you, then perhaps the hackers at the NSA will. As we head toward a future in which required coding classes for high-schoolers is a possibility, it remains infinitely better to be one of those tasked with finding such pieces of data. Those with a genius for numbers and finding patterns are in high demand by the government–who would apparently rather give them jobs than risk losing them to the dark side, if such a side can even be determined at this point.
Recently, The Daily Mail teamed up with the Cyber Security Challenge and Blackberry to create a code-breaking challenge for aspiring master-hackers. This challenge involves finding hidden codes in four separate images in what may end up being a job interview. The results will also be seen by organizations such as British intelligence agency GCHQ and Sophos, who are looking for a few good decryptors.
Users must save each of the four images to their desktops, and then manipulate them in various ways, with the goal of uncovering a hidden numerical or alphabetical code inside. Some of these images might require altering color and contrast to reveal the code; others, photo-editing software tricks.
Although the hidden codes will be revealed by the Cyber Security Challenge soon, have a look through the images above and see how you fare.
Freedom. The open road. The ability to pick up and just drive. This is the promise of the automobile, and the problem with the electric version: Even when what we actually do behind the wheel is sit in traffic on our way to the office, the thought of running out of batteries kills the fantasy.
But Jean-Baptiste Segard believes he has a solution, which he has discussed with Renault and plans on pitching to BMW, Volkswagen, and Ford Europe. "I will drive from Paris to Munich," he says, "and I’ll say: ‘If you want to see an electric vehicle costing 15,000 euro which can drive a thousand kilometers, here it is!’"
The vehicle in this case would be a Renault Zoe, but the invention that makes a trip from Paris to Munich–a distance of roughly 500 miles–possible in a car with a range of closer to 60 miles is called the EP Tender. It is, essentially, a car engine on a trailer,that provides extra electricity for long drives. Segard’s plan is to rent them to electric car owners for the occasional long trip at a very low rate.
"It’s not new," says John O’Dell, green car analyst at Edmunds.com. In fact, the first range-extending trailers for electric cars date back at least since the early 1990s. AC Propulsion’s tzero–a precursor to the General Motors EV1 whose rise and fall is documented in the film Who Killed The Electric Car?–was making cross-country trips with the assistance of a gas-powered trailer in the 1990s.
Like the electric car itself, these early efforts failed to take off, and today the fate of the EP Tender is clearly linked to that of the EV market as a whole. "You need more than 10 EVs in a community to make much of a business case for it," notes O’Dell. Segard himself is, if possible, less optimistic. "At the moment the market is zero," he says.
It’s another version of the chicken-and-egg problem that electric cars face in general with fueling: It doesn’t make sense to build a national infrastructure for recharging (or a national rental business for EP Tenders) until more people drive electric cars, but one thing that holds back the electric cars is a better infrastructure for fueling (or a convenient way to occasionally extend the range of your electric car).
"I’m hopeful that, at the end of the day, [the car companies] will say market research demonstrates we could sell more car if we allow these cars to use EP Tender," says Segard.
Segard claims his devices solve the most obvious technical problems. He patented a mechanical method that makes backing up a cinch (which you can watch him demonstrate). Electric vehicles can’t typically be charged while driving, but Segard says his devices get around this issue by essentially operating in parallel to the battery, connecting between the battery and the inverter in a way that he says is compatible with all the EVs on the market. "They would fit very nicely on a Tesla Model S or a Nissan Leaf," he says.
The more immediate issue is simply getting electric car owners to install a trailer hitch. "I need to put a Tender next to the dealer that sells the first EV with a hitch," says Segard.
If it works as described, O’Dell thinks it has promise. "On a rental basis, they make sense," he says.
Google Glass could one day enable some pretty incredible augmented reality apps. Its camera might recognize a person’s face, then scour the Internet for information about him or her, beaming that back to you in real time. It’s neat stuff for sure, but as this concept demo from Israeli software developer Infinity AR shows us (completely unintentionally): automatically digging up too much information about someone else can be downright creepy.
Flip ahead to 1:35, and you’ll watch as a hypothetical Glass wearer meets a pretty bartender. Her Facebook profile pops up immediately (unto itself, a pretty reasonable interaction!), but it’s accompanied by a fast fact about her: She’s a Gemini.
"You don’t happen to be a Gemini, do you?" he asks, prompted by the machine.
"…how did you know that," she responds, already smitten.
Then things heat up as the man’s headset goes into full-out voice analyzer mode, measuring her interest in him in real time. Eventually, and not to spoil things, he friends her on Facebook, invites her over to his house, and gives her wine–Sauvignon Blanc, her favorite. You could cut the date rapey tension with a knife.
It’s just an all-around disturbingly conceived, acted, and presented concept video by Infinity AR, but objectively–if you could sidestep the chilling privacy concerns–you could classify it as good design. Each interaction was seamless and automatic, and they enabled the wearer’s end goal, to romance a hot bartender. A lot of us want to romance hot bartenders! And the core experience of Facebook stalking is borderline universal (just admit it). Yet most of us would agree, something is different here, when stalking is so automatic and in real time, rather than a ritual people perform when they get home drunk from the bar after meeting someone they like.
Infinity AR’s mistake–and what makes this ad feel branded more like Dexter than Match.com–is that the interface is too overt. In fact, it’s downright conspiratorial as the Internet serves as this guy’s wingman, digging through a woman’s interest like prey, plunging it into the uncanny valley of big data, when artificial intelligence is too smart and too well-informed, and it can cater to our wants and needs too well for our own comfort.
How could designers intervene, helping us meet, greet, and potentially fall in love with a little bit less of a 10 out of 10 predatory vibe? Let’s consider some possibilities around that moment in the video where the two future lovers meet: The Facebook look up.
I. The software pulls up the bartender’s profile, without the fast fact or voice analysis.
Assumably, if he sees the Facebook profile of everyone he meets, it’s just a 3/10 on the creep scale–baseline human creep. But say this happens only for some people he meets–like those he was likely to find attractive because, historically, other guys matching his demographic had a tendency to Facebook stalk her. It’s a 9/10 on the creep scale. So I’m going to average this one out.
Creep factor: 6/10
II. The software doesn’t display the bartender’s profile, until the guy gets home.
In this scenario, maybe the software notices he’s extra interested in her–the tone of his voice, his elevated heart rate, or his historical dating interest in brunettes–and so when he gets home, and might normally Google her, the system automatically pulls up her information and has it waiting. Huge creep factor, because his intent is just too obvious.
Creep factor: 8/10
III. The software doesn’t display the bartender’s profile, until he gets home…along with four random other people he interacted with that night.
This is what I consider the willfully naive solution, one in which the software has all the knowledge of example two, but designers mask this creepy customization by burying the user’s obvious pick among some relative randoms. In this sense, the software would still offer an easy, one-click shortcut for our protagonist to Facebook stalk his bartender, but a larger presented sample size would hide the computer’s uncanny knowledge of his romantic intentions. Basically, even though algorithms recognize the protagonist’s attraction to this one woman, the computer plays dumb. And by playing dumb, the computer doesn’t tip its hand, revealing that the user’s preferences are predictable or obvious.
Creep factor: 3/10
Whether or not you like these specific alternatives at all–they’re still invasive, the creep is merely swept under the rug–they’re meant to make a point, that in the future, designers will be facing the creep factor of readily available data (be it macro data trends or micro data from sensors on your person), and they will be forced to do one of two things:
And while there is certainly a market for Infinity AR’s hypothetical dating app, there’s no reason that interfaces have to be so overt to coax us into using them, to keep relying on them, and keep feeding them our precious data. In fact, I imagine there will be massive resistance to such invasive augmented reality tools. PG-13 rated movies gross more than the NC-17 films for a reason: We may all be bartender-hungry monsters, but we do love the illusion of our own decency.
[Hat tip: Fwd]
via Technology – Fast Company http://www.fastcodesign.com/3024069/how-to-make-the-future-of-dating-less-creepy?partner=rss
A few weeks ago, the Wall Street Journal profiled Gawker editor Neetzan Zimmerman, whose job is to post content that’s poised to go viral. Zimmerman does his job quite well. His posts generate about 30 million pageviews a month–tops at the site by far, six times what the second-leading staffer generates. Zimmerman’s success is not the result of some computer formula; on the contrary, rather, "he understands the emotions that might compel a human being to click on something online," the Journal‘s Farhad Manjoo writes.
If the traffic numbers don’t already show the wisdom of Zimmerman’s approach, the behavioral evidence certainly does. Recent research suggests that emotions hold the secret to viral web content. Articles, posts, or videos that evoke positive emotions have greater viral potential than something that evokes negative feelings, but both do a better job recruiting clicks than neutral content. The finer details tell a similar story: triggering high-arousal emotions, such as anger or humor, is a surer path to click gold than triggering low-arousal ones, such as contentment or sadness.
Take a recent a study published in the November issue of Computers in Human Behavior. A research team led by Rosanna E. Guadagno of the National Science Foundation showed 256 test participants one video from a collection that spanned the emotional spectrum. Some saw a cute or funny clip that had gone viral on YouTube. Others saw a hit that evoked anger or disgust. Still others saw a neutral video about basket-weaving.
After the viewing, participants were asked whether or not they would share that video with someone else. Those who’d seen the funny or cute video were significantly more likely to say they’d forward it than any of the other test participants. Those who’d seen the video causing anger or disgust were significantly more likely to say the same than those who’d seen the neutral clip. A follow-up test with 163 more participants found the same pattern of viral potential: positive emotions best negative ones, any emotion bests none at all.
Part of what makes emotional content so susceptible to spreading is that emotions themselves are contagious. Researchers have long known that people can "catch" the emotions of someone around them, so to speak, through direct exposure to that person’s expressions and tones and gestures. They also believe this process of emotional contagion can occur indirectly–say, by receiving a forwarded video clip or article.
The physiological arousal produced by certain emotions may also help explain why some web content goes viral and some doesn’t. A few years ago, Wharton behavioral scholars Jonah Berger and Katherine Milkman analyzed roughly 7,000 articles that appeared on the New York Times website to see which ones made the "most emailed" list. After controlling for factors like page prominence and author fame, the researchers found that emotional content indeed went viral more often than non-emotional pieces.
But Berger and Milkman didn’t stop their analysis there. Within the emotional articles, they recognized that content evoking high-arousal emotions (in this case, awe, anger, and anxiety, emotions that tend to whip us into action) went viral more often than articles evoking a low-arousal emotion (sadness, an emotion that often leaves us subdued). The odds that an article would end up on the "most emailed" list increased 34% when it elicited one standard deviation more anger, the equivalent of letting the article spend an extra 3 hours as the lead story on the Times website.
Berger, author of the 2013 book Contagious: Why Things Catch On, extended this finding even further during a separate laboratory study. He asked some test participants to sit still before reading a neutral article, and asked others to jog in place for a minute before reading the same piece. Then he gave both groups the option of emailing the article to someone else. Three-quarters of the joggers forwarded it against only a third of the sitters–a further sign, in Berger’s eyes, that arousal plays a major role in social transmission.
"More arousing content should be more likely to spread quickly on the Internet and should be more likely to capture public attention," he concluded in Psychological Science.
Knowing that emotional arousal contributes to digital contagion should help designers and other creative types craft catchier content (if that’s their goal). Public officials might take note, too, especially as they try to distribute information through service announcements that tend to be dry by nature. A public health spot that evokes sadness, for instance, may be less likely to make the rounds than something that causes angst or indignation–though both should be more effective than something safe.
Then again, many factors influence whether or not something goes viral. Interesting content is a must, and catching the eye of a major Twitter personality can’t hurt. A heavy marketing push can also boost a video’s exposure; (in fact, one of Neetzan Zimmerman’s biggest fears, according to the Journal, is that advertisers will co-opt viral news). And, of course, there’s the difficulty in evoking strong feelings in the first place. It’s one thing to understand the emotions that compel a person to click. It’s another thing entirely to produce them.
Direct-to-consumer DNA testing company 23andMe faced another round of criticism last week–this time the scrutiny was familiar. The New York Times ran a story by a writer who submitted her genetic material to several testing companies, including Anne Wojcicki’s Google-funded service, and got wildly varying results.
Back in 2010 government officials from the Government Accountability Office pulled the same routine. Their stinging report was brought before a congressional committee questioning the accuracy and legitimacy of genetics testing companies like 23andMe who operated without FDA approval. The GAO report revealed that one DNA sample was sent to 23andMe and three other genetics testing companies and each provided a different assessment of the fictitious consumer’s risk for prostate cancer.
"We all tested for slightly different markers so we included seven genetic data points and other people included like 10 genetic data points," Wojcicki explained to me over the summer when I asked about accuracy. "Because we were looking at different data we got different numbers. But there was nothing wrong with the accuracy."
Independent genetic counselor Laura Hercher added, "I think on science, 23andMe is very strong. It’s accurate. But my exception is, okay … take an example like diabetes. They say you have this and this genetic variant, and therefore your risk of diabetes is increased 10% over the general population." But a 10% risk over the general population is useless, Hercher says, since factors such as lifestyle, diet, exercise, and weight play a much higher relative role. "It’s like if you had a hundred stocks, and you looked at three of them and said these three went up 10%, so you’re up 10% for the year. Well, yeah, except for the other 97 stocks."
But Wojcicki agreed that our understanding of genetics is rudimentary and growing. Unless one gets her entire DNA sequenced–a costly test that looks at all 3 billion of an individual’s nucleotides–any interpretation of results is somewhat theoretical. Genomic testing like 23andMe examines but a fraction of our DNA segments. "Nobody can quantify for you what’s the impact of eating fiber every day, for instance," says Wojcicki. "We can say we think it’s good. But some people might say ‘Oh, it reduces your risk of colon cancer by 20%, some people might say it reduces your risk by 25%.’ We just don’t know yet. We’re still getting data to understand exactly what the risk means for certain genetic variants in your DNA. For something like prostrate cancer, understanding exactly what each A, C, G, and T means is still being understood." (It should be noted that 23andMe does test for more gene-predictive conditions such as Parkinson’s, BRCA1 and 2 mutations, and Alzheimer’s as well.)
What eats at Wojcicki, though, is any public skepticism that wants to write off her company as practicing bunk science. But she says the results they come up with are 99.9% reproducible. "There’s almost no other tests that are out there that are going to give you that kind of reproducibility. There’s still a lot of work to do on all the interpretation but that’s part of what’s evolving. And that’s part of the reason why we’re a different kind of test, why we keep in touch with our customers, and we update you every time we know something new. Because we realize that the data is evolving."
What now remains to be seen is how Wojcicki, who didn’t comment for this latest piece, will weather recent blows to 23andMe’s public image. Or how in 2014 23andMe’s mission and business model will have to evolve to keep growing, let alone surviving. Most importantly: Do consumers see the kind of results 23andMe offers as definitive enough to trust?