In an near-perfect re-enactment of Milkshake Duck, the CEO of iRobot has announced that cute vacuuming robot Roomba has, in fact, been mapping your home.
SURPRISE CURIOS! Yes, that's right, despite having spent the better part of the past week in a somewhat parlous state and certainly very far away from the web, I have still managed to find enough webspaff to fill the strangely-shaped receptacle that is this blog/newsletter/mess. Aren't I clever - or, more to the point, isn't it nice of all of the rest of the web to keep making interesting stuff which I can lazily dismiss and make fun of in tediously nihilistic prose?
Anyway, Holland is lovely, I saw friends and a godchild and basically ate no vegetables for a week, and now have the slight fear that I have no career and am going to die in solitary, penurous misery as my body decays along with what remains of my mind; but that's pretty par for the course after a few days with Fat Bob, who I know will hate himself for smiling when he reads that.
ANYWAY, you're not here for tedious self-referential lines about my 'friends' - you're not really sure why you're here at all, frankly, particularly not this week when you were probably looking forward to not having to guiltily delete this from your inbox, unread. Still, I am here, and so's all this internet, and seeing as I went to all the trouble of gathering it up and laying it here at your feet and staring up at you expectantly like some sort of ugly, malnourished puppy you know you ought to pet but which you are equally sure has fleas and ringworm and whose eyes you don't quite trust, then the least you could do is fcuking well READ some of it.
Yeah, yeah, Web Curios, wevs.
After conducting a major review into the subject, the UK's Advertising Standards Authortity has published a report on gender stereotypes in advertising, entitled Depictions, Perceptions and Harm.
We have all seen funny quips in T&Cs, either of the "If you have got this far, you're obviously bored" or the "You consent to have your soul owned by Satan" variety. Public wifi provider Purple has taken it one step further; it buried degrading tasks in its terms, which over 22,000 people subsequently agreed to.
Burying intricate added content into popular music has been with us at least since Sgt. Pepper. Radiohead's 20th anniversary release of OK Computer goes one further, offering a program running on classic 8-bit computer, the Sinclair ZX Spectrum.
A bot has gone somewhat off the rails in Amazon's Marketplace. Entitled My-handy-design, it is offering hundreds (thousands?) of mobile phone cases, with the picture on each case seemingly made from a scraped image search query.
I overslept this morning, not that you care, and as such this has all been a HUGE RUSH. Apologies, therefore, for any perceptible drop in quality of what follows; rest assured that despite appearances I have poured exactly as much love, care and attention into this as I always do (you may speculate as to exactly how much that actually is).
Anyhow, this is the last Curios for a couple of weeks; next Friday I will be in Amsterdam with Fat Bob preparing to go to some terrifying-sounding techno festival, and the following week I will either be dead or, less excitingly, at a meeting in Chippenham. Take care of yourselves in my absence, kids, and don’t, whatever you do, attempt to roll your own Curios in my absence; you’ll never get the dosage right, and you really don’t want to know what an incorrectly-calibrated shot of webspaff does to a person - it’s UGLY. Until next time, then, assume the position and brace yourselves; IT’S WEB CURIOS!
A father finds out his daughter is pregnant after algorithms identify tell-tale patterns in the family’s store card data. Police charge suspects in two separate murder cases based on evidence taken from a Fitbit tracker and a smart water meter. A man sues Uber for revealing his affair to his wife.
Stories such as these have been appearing in ever greater numbers recently, as the technologies involved become ever more integrated into our lives. They form part of the Internet of Things (IoT), the embedding of sensors and internet connections into the fabric of the world around us. Over the last year, these technologies, led by Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Home, have begun to make their presence felt in our domestic lives, in the form of smart home devices that allow us to control everything in the house just by speaking.
Curios in successive weeks - truly, you are BLESSED. Thanks one and all for the overwhelming reaction to our return last week (there obviously wasn't one, but my Mum reads this so it's nice to occasionally give her the illusion that she's not the only one); it's so good to be back!
Anyway, it's been another largely dreadful week leavened only by everyone's HILARIOUS jokes about magic money trees. I spent Tuesday morning in a ping pong club, helping executives from a multinational corporation write down inspirational facts about their job on carboard ping pong bats. Frankly my mood never really recovered, and I've largely been tearily catatonic since; you're lucky I managed to rouse myself from my torpor long enough to spaff this out, frankly.
So, as we limp to the end of yet another seven days of disappointment and prepare to dull the pain with the usual combination of poisons - and those of you who don't, who are healthy and sober, how do you do it? I really mean it; how do you make all the noise and the shouting stop? - get ready for your informational pre-loading, shots of pure content delivered via the eyeballs! Lads! Bantz! WEB CURIOS!
(oh, and apologies to those of you who didn't get the newsletter last week - a few teething difficulties with the new mailer, but hopefully this should all be working fine now).
(although if you're not reading this then it isn't).