Archive for the ‘Internet’ Category

Free College for the Rich

December 7, 2013

Free College for the Rich

“Most people taking free online courses worldwide are among the best-educated and wealthiest of the population, casting doubt on the idea that the classes will benefit the disenfranchised, a survey showed.

More than half of those taking massive open online courses, or MOOCs, were men and the majority were already employed, according to Ezekiel Emanuel, vice provost for Global Initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania and one of the authors of the correspondence piece in today’s journal Nature.”

– “Survey: Rich kids reap benefits of online courses,” Nicole Ostrow, Bloomberg via Salon [link added]

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The Stalker Economy

December 4, 2013

The Stalker Economy

“Surveillance is the business model of the Internet ….”

– “‘Stalker economy’ here to stay,” Bruce Schneier, CNN

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Short link: http://wp.me/p6sb6-hUx

Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Health Care Website Gets a Second Opinion

October 25, 2013

Health Care Website Gets a Second Opinion

In a generous effort to help beleaguered Republicans regain face, President Obama handed them a punchline. He’s having the Obamacare website fixed by the guy who overhauled Cash for Clunkers.

 More:

“Who is Jeffrey Zients, and how is he qualified to fix HealthCare.gov?” Josh Hicks, Washington Post blog

“Meet Jeff Zients: The Man Charged With Fixing Obamacare’s Broken Site,” Abby D. Phillip, ABC News

Who is Jeffrey Zients? Ask his mom,” Jayne O’Donnell, USA Today

Related:

“Could Obama’s Campaign Tech Gurus Fix Healthcare.gov? Let’s Ask ‘Em!” Tim Murphy, Mother Jones

“Here’s the Obama administration’s plan to fix HealthCare.gov,” Sarah Kliff, Washington Post blog

“QSSI, contractor chosen to fix HealthCare.gov, faced questions from lawmakers last year,” Jia Lynn Yang, Washiongton Post

“Why We Need a Healthcare.gov Witch Hunt,”  John Dickerson, Slate

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Image (“ACA Website Fix, after Andreas Vesalius”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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Instagram Gun Deals

October 23, 2013

Instagram Gun Deals

Firearms enthusiasts like shooting snapshots of their guns almost as much as shooting the guns themselves. And a cell phone photo is worth a thousand tweets … and a thousand bucks to an illegal gun dealer. Brian Ries explains:

“Users of Instagram, which has no explicit policy prohibiting the sale of firearms, can easily find a chrome-plated antique Colt, a custom MK12-inspired AR-15 tricked-out with ‘all best of the best parts possible,’ and an HK416D .22LR rifle by simply combining terms like #rifle or #ar15 with #forsale. These are handguns, shotguns, assault rifles, and everything in between being sold in an open, pseudo-anonymous online marketplace. With no federal law banning online sales and differing, loophole-ridden state laws, many gun control advocates are concerned about the public safety consequences of this unregulated market.”

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Stop Spying!

October 21, 2013

Stop Spying!
More than 570,000 people have signed the StopWatching.Us petition demanding that Congress probe the NSA’s Internet spying programs and reform the USA PATRIOT Act and the FISA< Amendments Act that allow it.

StopWatching.Us is broad bipartisan coalition of organizations including the ACLU, American Library Association,  the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Fight for the Future, Free Press, Freedom Works, the Libertarian Party, Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition, MoveOn.org, Mozilla, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, PEN American Center, RootsAction.org, Women in Media & News, World Wide Web Foundation, Writers Guild of America West, and many others. They’re all gathering in Washington DC on Saturday, October 26th to protest against mass surveillance. Participants will gather at Columbus Circle in front of Union Station at Noon and march to the Capitol Reflecting Pool. More here.

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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Et Tu, Skype? Yipe.

October 16, 2013

Et Tu, Skype? Yipe.

“Skype is being investigated by Luxembourg’s data protection commissioner over concerns about its secret involvement with the US National Security Agency (NSA) spy programme Prism, the Guardian has learned.

The Microsoft-owned internet chat company could potentially face criminal and administrative sanctions, including a ban on passing users’ communications covertly to the US signals Intelligence agency.

Skype itself is headquartered in the European country, and could also be fined if an investigation concludes that the data sharing is found in violation of the country’s data-protection laws.”

– “Skype under investigation in Luxembourg over link to NSA,” Ryan Gallagher The Guardian

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Short link: http://wp.me/p6sb6-hzH

Image (“The Miracle of Skype, after Stan Galli”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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Obamacare Website Needs Therapy

October 5, 2013

Obamacare Website Needs Therapy

Many people trying to access HealthCare.gov and state health insurance websites encountered technical difficulties. This happens with all new software roll-outs, explain Administration officials. “Give us the same slack you give Apple,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Software geeks scoff at the site’s buggy and badly-written code.

“But the Obama administration doesn’t have a basically working product that would be improved by a software update. They have a Web site that almost nobody has been able to successfully use. If Apple launched a major new product that functioned as badly as Obamacare’s online insurance marketplace, the tech world would be calling for Tim Cook’s head.

The good news for Obamacare is that lots of people want to sign up. Lots and lots of people. Many more, in fact, than anyone expected. The bad news is that the Obama administration’s online insurance marketplace — which serves 34 states — can’t handle the success.”

– “Obamacare’s Web site is really bad,” Ezra Klein and Evan Soltas, Washington Post blog

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Death By Redesign?

May 23, 2013

Death By Redesign

Yahoo celebrity CEO Marissa Mayer headlined a Broadway revival of “How to Succeed in Business” the other day, tap-dancing through a Times Square presser marking the $1 Billion acquisition of Tumblr and a new Yahoo NYC HQ. As an afterthought, Ms. Mayer unveiled the evisceration of Flickr, a formerly functional photo sharing platform. Yahoo acquired Flickr eight years ago and then ignored it, but since Yahoo has been an acquisition graveyard, that benign neglect may account for Flickr’s survival. Until now. The new “improvements” may kill it off.

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Feline Spies

May 20, 2013

Feline Spies

“Domestic house cats, it seems, may be alien sentinels—sent to spy on us and report their findings back to the mother ship. Or, as some theorists have put it, they’re like alien camcorders tracking our every move.”

– “Are Cats Spies Sent by Aliens? A Deep Examination of One of the Internet’s Best Conspiracy Theories,” Austin Considine, Motherboard

Related:

“Why Rational People Buy Into Conspiracy Theories,” Maggie Koerth-Baker, New York Times Magazine

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Short link: http://wp.me/p6sb6-gHg

Image (“The Blogger and His Cat, After Edward Penfield”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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MOOC: Mock Education

April 29, 2013

MOOC Mock Education

“The online education utopians ignore the fact that free learning has existed for decades in the form of the public library and despite that availability, every kid within bicycling distance to his local branch didn’t turn into a self taught entrepreneur. Suggesting that online courses are the cure-all for our educational needs is like saying all you have to do to teach kids in the ghetto is give away textbooks on the corner.”

– “Why online education is mostly a fantasy,” Francisco Dao, PandoDaily

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