Big Brother's blind spot

Big Brother's blind spot
Netflix believes, algorithmically at least, that I am the kind of person who likes to watch "Dark TV Shows Featuring a Strong Female Lead." This picksome genre is never one that I that seek out intentionally, and I'm not sure it even represents my viewing habits. (Maybe I fell asleep watching The Killing one night?) It is an image of me that Netfli...
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Ramsey Campbell: It never dies

Ramsey Campbell: It never dies
Horror never dies, however many funerals it's given. It may be declared disreputable, but this only lends it the appeal of the forbidden. The British ban that uncut horror videos suffered in the 1980s simply rendered them collectible and created a clandestine market for them. Soon enough even these became acceptable, and nearly all the banned title...
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Broadcasters: if you want to challenge Netflix, then the answer is staring you in the face

Broadcasters: if you want to challenge Netflix, then the answer is staring you in the face
I seem to have more and more reasons not to appreciate the BBC. Its over-reliance on well-tried entertainment formats, and not having the courage to end them before they are run into the ground . Its supine news coverage, with journalists around the world broadcasting nothing of any depth or with any gravitas. A complete disorganised mess...
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Art will drive up Ethereum price, claims agency head

Art will drive up Ethereum price, claims agency head
1 ETH currently equates to around $200 USD. An "art-tech agency" believes that the art world will be responsible for pushing Ethereum's value by the end of 2018 to more than double. Ian Mcleod of Thomas Crown Art is, in our view, being rather ambitious. Nothing wrong in that, of course, but for a currency to more than double its value in eight week...
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Why can’t Instagram get anybody to care about IGTV?

Why can’t Instagram get anybody to care about IGTV?
Instagram pulled out all the stops when it announced IGTV to the world in June. Though the platform's hub for longform video content — think YouTube, but with intentionally vertically-oriented video — was anything but a surprise given all the leaks leading up to its launch, Instagram threw celebrations around the world to introduce people to its ne...
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“Visual Music Masters”: a whistle-stop tour around the sonic and visual arts

“Visual Music Masters”: a whistle-stop tour around the sonic and visual arts
Adriano Abbado’s new book Visual Music Masters examines the many connections between abstract images and sound, with the work absolutely chock full of references. The first chapter impressively examines the history of music and vision’s inter-relationship. From Plato and Aristotle through Ernst Chladni’s Sound Patterns of 1787, through the syn...
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Instagram has a massive harassment problem

Instagram has a massive harassment problem Anthony Quintano, CC licence https://www.flickr.com/photos/quintanomedia/34066749252
When Brandon Farbstein first joined Instagram in 2014, he was 14 and optimistic. Farbstein was born with a rare form of dwarfism, and he wanted to use the photo-sharing site to educate people about his condition—to, as he told me, "show people a glimpse into my life and inspire people." Soon enough, though, the hateful messages started coming: deat...
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The 27-year-old guy who tweets for Steak-Umm is millennial angst personified

The 27-year-old guy who tweets for Steak-Umm is millennial angst personified
Nathan Allebach doesn't consult a formula, research keywords or track online trends before he hits "send" on one of his tweets. That would, in a lot of ways, defeat the point of his abstract craft. Sometimes, he bolts awake in the middle of the night with a genius idea for a truly dumb shitpost . Other times, he lets loose his views on the world wh...
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John Battelle: This is how Amazon loses

John Battelle: This is how Amazon loses Fabian Hurnaus
Yesterday, I lost it over a hangnail and a two-dollar bottle of hydrogen peroxide. You know when a hangnail gets angry, and a tiny red ball of pain settles in for a party on the side of your finger? Well, yeah. That was me last night. My usual solution is to stick said finger into a bottle of peroxide for a good long soak. But we were out of the st...
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E-commerce towns, and why Bezos needs to be the next Baťa

E-commerce towns, and why Bezos needs to be the next Baťa Bata shoe factory, East Tilbury. David Anstiss, CC licence
Spend an hour or two on pretty much any motorway in the world and you will inevitably drive past an e-commerce distribution centre. Sometimes they are branded in accordance with the contracting logistics company; sometimes they are branded by the e-commerce company itself; and sometimes they are branded by the landlord. Whoever owns and brands them...
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Dieter Rams wants Silicon Valley to stop

Dieter Rams wants Silicon Valley to stop
Dieter Rams is done giving interviews, and Gary Hustwit can only poke at his tempeh hash with a laugh here and a sigh there, hoping he did the legend justice. I sit with Hustwit in a chilly Chicago diner before screening the film later that night at its Midwestern premiere. Hustwit cannot know this documentary represents the last time Rams will spe...
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Patents uncovered: turning intellectual property into art

Patents uncovered: turning intellectual property into art
Artist Paolo Cirio has mined public patent repositories to "reveal thousands of technologies that conceal the social control, manipulation, and surveillance at play on the Internet". The work, entitled  ​Sociality ​, aims to expose laws related to the regulation and monitoring of users by tech companies. Many such patents are de...
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From innocent idealism to pragmatic fixes: two decades of internet culture

From innocent idealism to pragmatic fixes: two decades of internet culture
Like many people of the Internet Generation – those of us who became seriously involved online in the mid to late '90s – I was caught up in the wave of idealistic euphoria that surrounded the first communities to come together on the web. It's easy to see why we saw the cyber world through rose-tinted mirror shades. We were a self-selecting group o...
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Facebook launches video chat device

Facebook launches video chat device
Facebook has enjoyed mixed success with hardware. The rumours surrounding a Facebook phone were just that - rumours - and the company only got as far as launching an Android UI. On the upside, though, its acquisition of Oculus, in order to get a foothold in the VR market, has been pretty successful - if only because the Zuckopticon has kept its gru...
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Digital transformation: a cautionary tale from history

Digital transformation: a cautionary tale from history
Many large companies, agencies, consultancies are talking at the moment about “Digital transformation". This is both a theoretical and practical approach to corporate strategy, where the organisation is redesigned in order to compete in a market where both market and consumer demand is “digital first". The public now expects, and assumes, products ...
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Banksy - a help or hindrance to art?

Banksy - a help or hindrance to art?
The now-famous reaction of Banksy to Sotheby‘s auction of his Girl with balloon for £1.4m has gone down like... well... a girl with a lead balloon in some artistic circles. Whether you think that the stunt , where the work shreds itself after being sold, is an appropriate response to the overheated art market or just a crass piece of PR is perhaps ...
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Geocities finally dies in 2019

Geocities finally dies in 2019 Yahoo Geocities Japan
Who knew that Geocities was - in contemporary parlance - still a thing? Yahoo Japan, a business separate to its troubled creator, has announced that Geocities Japan is to be finally put to rest in 2019. Yahoo Japan itself is a very different beast. Originally created in 1995 as a joint venture between Yahoo and SoftBank, the company continued ...
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How to kill your tech industry

How to kill your tech industry Martin Skøtt, CC licence https://www.flickr.com/photos/skoett/4182370780
​ If the incredible rise of computing is one of the biggest stories of the twentieth century, then the failure of the nation that invented the electronic computer to capitalize on it is undoubtedly one of history's most important cautionary tales. In 1944, Britain led the world in electronic computing. The top-secret codebreaking computers that the...
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Regulate social media? It’s a bit more complicated than that

Regulate social media? It’s a bit more complicated than that
Free speech is a key aspect of the internet, but it has become increasingly obvious that many online will push that freedom to extremes, leaving website comment sections, Twitter feeds and Facebook groups awash with racist, sexist, homophobic or otherwise unpalatable opinions and vitriolic views, and obscene or shocking images or videos. The border...
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Burger King gives AI a chance of creativity; fails beautifully

Burger King gives AI a chance of creativity; fails beautifully
Ever one to differentiate, Burger King has unleashed what it calls "high-end computing resources and big data" to write some TV ads. The results are beautifully horrifying. In the ad  ​"Chicken fries beat potato loser" ​, the robotic voiceover says:  "Burger King's new chicken fries are the new potato.  We are not sorry, the potato d...
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