markhurst's recent activity

  1. Comment on A vast majority of people in the US and Canada suspect their smart speakers can eavesdrop on their conversations, and just over two-thirds think they’ve gotten ads based on that snooping in ~tech

    markhurst
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    One aspect that hasn't been discussed is the normalization of voice surveillance. Whether a spy-device is actually listening at any given moment - and there are plenty of news stories of Big Tech...

    One aspect that hasn't been discussed is the normalization of voice surveillance. Whether a spy-device is actually listening at any given moment - and there are plenty of news stories of Big Tech companies listening in without users' knowledge or consent - the device could be listening. Knowing this, if we keep using the device anyway, we'll gradually habituate ourselves to the possibility of constant audio surveillance. This will allow the companies to gradually make the surveillance more frequent and intrusive without people raising much of a protest.

    A good book that gets into voice surveillance is The Voice Catchers by Joe Turow, who's a professor an the Annenberg School at UPenn. (I interviewed him on Techtonic awhile back - you can stream the interview or see the show notes.)

    BTW one of the many examples I've seen of Big Tech listening in is from this Wall Street Journal article - Google Contractors Listen to Recordings of People Using Virtual Assistant from July 2019 - which came about after a Dutch reporter at VRT NWS, a Belgian broadcaster, published leaked recordings from Google devices.

    3 votes
  2. Comment on ProPublica reporting on the newly released congressional report about COVID origins in ~health.coronavirus

    markhurst
    Link Parent
    The UK had a much more recent lab leak than the 70s. From Where did the coronavirus come from? (Op-ed by Zeynep Tufekci in NYT, June 25, 2021): More resources on the lab-leak hypothesis at my...

    The UK had a much more recent lab leak than the 70s. From Where did the coronavirus come from? (Op-ed by Zeynep Tufekci in NYT, June 25, 2021):

    Nearly every SARS case since the original epidemic has been due to lab leaks . . . In 2007, foot-and-mouth disease, which can devastate livestock and caused a massive crisis in Britain in 2001, escaped from a drainage pipe leak at an English lab with the highest biosafety rating, BSL-4.

    More resources on the lab-leak hypothesis at my Media Diet page on Covid: Corona, Year 1.

    3 votes
  3. Comment on Rishi Sunak to become first British Asian PM as Penny Mordaunt bows out in ~news

    markhurst
    Link
    See also A Former Goldman Sachs/Hedge Fund Guy Is the New U.K. Prime Minister (Wall Street on Parade, Oct 25, 2022):

    See also A Former Goldman Sachs/Hedge Fund Guy Is the New U.K. Prime Minister (Wall Street on Parade, Oct 25, 2022):

    Sunak worked as a junior analyst at Goldman Sachs from 2001 to 2004, where part of his research involved railways. He left Goldman to obtain his MBA at Stanford University, following which he joined TCI hedge fund in 2006 as a partner and worked there until 2009, when he left to co-found the hedge fund, Theleme Partners with Patrick Degorce. Sunak worked at Theleme Partners until 2014, when he moved into conservative politics in the U.K. That’s a total of 13 years involvement in financial markets that Sunak wants to obliterate from his work history.

    Those 13 years in finance include a number of controversial events. . . .

    3 votes
  4. Comment on Requesting resources for de-googling in ~tech

    markhurst
    Link
    My Good Reports site lists dozens of alternatives to Google products - including email platforms (Fastmail is an excellent option), password managers (Bitwarden is my pick), alternate search...

    My Good Reports site lists dozens of alternatives to Google products - including email platforms (Fastmail is an excellent option), password managers (Bitwarden is my pick), alternate search engines (Duck Duck Go and others), and so on. (Tildes itself is mentioned on the social networks page.)

    And I agree that getting your own email domain opens up a lot of possibilities.

    2 votes
  5. Comment on These caves shouldn't exist. Or, at the very least, we can't yet explain them. in ~humanities

    markhurst
    Link Parent
    Well said. I feel the same way.

    Well said. I feel the same way.

    1 vote
  6. Comment on Apple introduces expanded protections for children, including on-device scanning of images to detect child abuse imagery in ~tech

    markhurst
    Link
    From Jonathan Mayer: Matthew Green quoted in a Vice article: Interesting that when a new tech launches with built-in risks, what's invoked is "hope."

    From Jonathan Mayer:

    Unfortunately, while Apple has posted lots of detail on the crypto, there’s little on the computer vision—and no evaluation of predictive performance. That’s essential for evaluating privacy impact.

    Matthew Green quoted in a Vice article:

    It shows that Apple is willing to build and deploy this technology. I hope that they will never be asked to use it for other purposes.

    Interesting that when a new tech launches with built-in risks, what's invoked is "hope."

    7 votes
  7. Comment on FOSS and UX (twitter thread) in ~comp

    markhurst
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    I appreciate the thread and would welcome any development for more FOSS alternatives to Word and Google products. All good. Having said that, just one aspect to the thread I have to push back on:...

    I appreciate the thread and would welcome any development for more FOSS alternatives to Word and Google products. All good.

    Having said that, just one aspect to the thread I have to push back on:

    Who's our target audience? ...
    I want you to take some time to picture your average Microsoft Word user in your head. Take your time. ...
    You're probably imagining some kind of student or office worker or even your parents.
    With them in mind, let's go ahead and flesh this out a bit more.
    Answer these questions:
    When they use word, what are they trying to accomplish?
    ... [and so on through several questions] ...
    Congrats, what you've done is create what's known as an Empathy Map. Do an internet search if you want to find nice templates to write this down in.
    The actual process used by pro designers is of course more complicated/would have actual field research, but that's the basics.
    It's an obvious tool in hindsight, but extremely powerful, as it lays bare exactly what your target user is and thus every decision you make when designing your thing can be evaluated directly against the empathy map, so you have a solid foundation to create a design direction.

    OK, let's review: we're supposed to imagine what the user wants, and then write that down into an "Empathy Map." This is one of the most dangerous (and most common) misconceptions in digital design - that simply by imagining our users, simply by feeling the best of intentions toward empathy, we will have actually listened to customers.

    I wrote an entire book on this misconception - but the TLDR is that this lack of real inclusion creates the conditions for huge mistakes. All the time. Billions of dollars wasted, and worse - lives harmed or lost. All because, very consistently, product teams design and deploy systems that are based on the flimsiest foundation: "well, we imagined what our users wanted, and we wrote it all down in a fancy Empathy Map."

    I don't mean to come down too hard on this thread, which is written in favor of - as I said - something I support enthusiastically. So I hope it leads to some good outcomes. I just wish that designers and developers would, at long last, abandon these dangerous - and all too common - illusions about imaginary users and the mental application of "empathy."

    13 votes
  8. Comment on Joe Rogan spread anti-vaccine misinformation. Spotify's CEO redirects and refuses to address problematic behavior. in ~tech

  9. Comment on Why Lichess will always be free in ~games

    markhurst
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    Glad to learn about Lichess's statement of integrity. Just listed it on Good Reports.

    Glad to learn about Lichess's statement of integrity. Just listed it on Good Reports.

    1 vote
  10. Comment on What's a noteworthy game that you never see mentioned anywhere? in ~games

    markhurst
    Link Parent
    What's the difference between freeware and free software?

    What's the difference between freeware and free software?

    3 votes
  11. Comment on What's a noteworthy game that you never see mentioned anywhere? in ~games

    markhurst
    Link
    Not enough people talk about nethack, freeware roguelike still going strong (and being updated) since the mid-1980s. http://www.nethack.org

    Not enough people talk about nethack, freeware roguelike still going strong (and being updated) since the mid-1980s.
    http://www.nethack.org

    9 votes
  12. Comment on Announcing Good Reports, a new review site with recommendations for "non-toxic" online tools available as alternatives to Big Tech services in ~tech

    markhurst
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    Hi all, thanks for the constructive criticisms on Good Reports. Definitely lots of improvements and expansions still to make - yesterday's launch was, of course, just a start to what I hope will...
    • Exemplary

    Hi all, thanks for the constructive criticisms on Good Reports. Definitely lots of improvements and expansions still to make - yesterday's launch was, of course, just a start to what I hope will become a full-fledged resource for users who are seeking alternatives to Big Tech. As I make improvements, I'll keep an eye on the comments to this post... thanks!

    18 votes