Big Tech Has Become Way Too Powerful

The underlying issue has little to do with whether one prefers the “free market” or government. The real question is how government organizes the market, and who has the most influence over its decisions. We are now in a new gilded age similar to the first Gilded Age, when the nation’s antitrust laws were enacted. As then, those with great power and resources are making the “free market” function on their behalf. Big Tech — along with the drug, insurance, agriculture and financial giants — dominates both our economy and our politics.

From Big Tech Has Become Way Too Powerful -


Apple, Google, and Microsoft are all solving the same problems

Between them, Apple, Google, and Microsoft pretty much set the agenda for the entire consumer electronics industry. They employ a great number of the smartest and most creative technologists in the world and produce the most influential innovations. Whether it’s Windows, the iPhone, or Google’s titular search, these three American giants’ contributions have shaped our social and economic milieux as much as our technological one. Their futures promise to be as different as their pasts, however the present products and services on offer from each company show them to be closer than ever. They all seem to be solving the same problems.

From Apple, Google, and Microsoft are all solving the same problems | The Verge


Technological predictions: 1903 - 1970

Popular Mechanics has been making predictions of technological innovations since it first started publishing in 1903. Greg Benford, a science fiction author, has collated some of them in a short book called The Wonderful Future that Never Was. They’re predictions on the future of cities, of transportation, of home life, and more, presented in short blurbs set with hand-drawn futurist art.

From Technological predictions: 1903 - 1970 | Dan Wang


ECPA reform: The 1986 email privacy law might finally get updated.

federal law protects some of your email from government snooping without a warrant. But it doesn’t protect your email if it’s been left on a server for too long, and, worse, it doesn’t protect your metadata—information that can get you arrested and prosecuted, that can reveal intimate secrets about you, and that would expose the entire network of people you talk to. On Wednesday the Senate Judiciary Committee is set to address the first problem, but reform efforts in both houses of Congress have largely passed over the second issue. In dodging the problem of metadata, legislators have missed the forest for the twigs.

From ECPA reform: The 1986 email privacy law might finally get updated.

The Trouble With Digitizing History

And even if memory institutions clear copyright hurdles—after countless hours of digital transformations and metadata documentation—they still need to make the sound and video clips findable. Their own online channels stand at odds with other online media platforms in engaging the public. YouTube will inevitably reach more eyes than a little-publicized Library of Congress sub-webpage. If going digital comes with so many caveats, is digitizing a country’s entire audiovisual history ultimately more trouble than it’s worth?

From The Trouble With Digitizing History | Fast Company | Business + Innovation


OS4W: Open Source for Women

Open source is the foundation on which the Internet is built. For its continued success, it's critical to incorporate diverse voices and engage people with different experiences, talents, and viewpoints. Otherwise we risk a world of technology created by, and supporting, a non-inclusive and hostile monoculture.

Together we can make things better. OS4W aims to be a resource for connecting all women, including women of color and transgender women, to open source projects that are welcoming, inclusive, and appreciative of diversity in their contributors.

Let's start changing things and making the world of open source a better place for everyone.

From OS4W: Open Source for Women


Electronic Noise Is Drowning Out the Internet of Things

Radio-frequency noise pollution is everywhere. You can’t see, hear, taste, or smell this noise, of course. Nor can you summon it and study it at your leisure, because it comes and goes along with the movements of its sources or its victims.

From Electronic Noise Is Drowning Out the Internet of Things - IEEE Spectrum

We're heading Straight for AOL 2.0

The biggest internet players count users as their users, not users in general. Interoperability is a detriment to such plays for dominancy. So there are clear financial incentives to move away from a more open and decentralized internet to one that is much more centralized. Facebook would like its users to see Facebook as ‘the internet’ and Google wouldn’t mind it if their users did the same thing and so on. It’s their users after all. But users are not to be owned by any one company and the whole power of the internet and the world wide web is that it’s peer to peer, in principle all computers connected to it are each others equals, servers one moment, clients the next.

From We're heading Straight for AOL 2.0 · Jacques Mattheij

The Case for Free Online Books (FOBs): Experiences

Abstract: This article is a short (well, not that short) summary of our experiences in writing a free online text book known as Operating Systems: Three Easy Pieces (OSTEP for short, and sometimes pronounced "oh step"). It has been developed by myself (Remzi Arpaci-Dusseau) and my wife (Andrea Arpaci-Dusseau) over the past many years while teaching CS 537, the undergraduate Operating Systems course at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The chapters of the book have been downloaded over 1/2 million times since 2012, and the web page for the book has been viewed nearly 3 million times in the past year, including a recent burst thanks to Hacker News and Reddit. In discussing our experiences, we make the case for Free Online Books (FOBs) - a now-serious alternative to classic printed textbooks.

From The Case for Free Online Books (FOBs): Experiences with "Operating Systems: Three Easy Pieces" | From A To RemZi

How To Secure Your Library's Social Media Presence

The ALA lost control of its Facebook page over the weekend so this seems like a pretty good time to review IT Security! Any size small or midsized organization is difficult, if not impossible to secure. It's very easy to overlook things and leave ourselves vulnerable to things like this.

Who/Why: That person that did it, it's probably their job. They're most likely professionals, either they get paid by others, or this is the life they've carved out for themselves. If you're lucky enough to have a considerable numbers of followers/friends, you'll be a target eventually. Chances are good it's not personal, it's just business. These people are probably just trying to make money. It may also be you're just a small step in a much larger campaign.

How: Mostly likely one of three ways. One of the people with the login credentials gave it away. Either they had their email account compromised, or maybe one of their devices was hacked. It could be someone used an infected public network and gave it away without knowing it. It could be someone was “spear fished” and replied to an email that looked like it came from someone else. Maybe someone lost a password in another compromise and that same password was reused.

Review Your Settings: Take a look at all the security and privacy settings. Now. And again every few months. Facebook has an especially wide range of settings you can change. Those controls are all there for you to limit risk, control who can see what on your profiles, and make things better for you. There are settings in there to help you recover from a comprimied account as well.

Passwords: Make them LONG, at least 20 characters. Make sure you know who has access and how they are storing those passwords. Every single accounts needs a long, strong, unique, rare password. Better yet, a different email account for every account as well. Change that password monthly. Checkout all the different password managers out there, I use LastPass, but there are many more.

Be suspicious: Funny looking emails or links in social media are DANGEROUS. If you're not 100% sure of the source, either ask or just hit delete.

Stay in control: Know who in the library has access to what. Your library needs to have control over who is posting what. The more people that have logins, the less secure things become. Try HootSuite or other managers and you can give access without giving away the credentials.

Who and what else has access: Check those 3rd party apps that have been authorized and make sure you know what they can do and why. Get rid of everything you don't need.

Know what to do if your account is compromised: Both Twitter ( And Facebook ( have pages devoted to this.


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