Internet Use/New Technologies

08 October 2015

IS exploits Telegram mobile app to spread propaganda BBC News

So-called Islamic State group (IS) has shifted its propaganda distribution to the secure mobile messaging app Telegram from Twitter, where its accounts have been repeatedly shut down over the past year.

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06 October 2015

The future of the internet is flow by David Gelernter and Eric Freeman Business Spectator

People ask where the ewb is going; it's going nowhere. The web was a brilliant first shot at making the internet usable, but it backed the wrong horse. It chose space over time. The conventional website is "space-organised," like a patterned beach towel -- pineapples upper left, mermaids lower right. Instead it might have been "time-organised," like a parade -- first this band, three minutes later this float, 40 seconds later that band.

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How Race Influences Social-Media Sharing: Just about everyone is participating in online discussions. But a new poll shows that what people talk about can vary greatly. The Atlantic

When Stephanie Williams saw that Western High School in her town of Shively, Kentucky, was on lockdown after reports of an active shooter, she quickly shared the news on Facebook. Williams -- a 42-year-old registered nurse -- has several friends with children at the school and wanted to make sure they knew about the situation. Outside of emergencies, she posts weekly, typically about topics related to her community, or medical articles connected to her work. "If it's useful to me, it's definitely useful to someone else," she says.

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The Cost of Mobile Ads on 50 News Websites New York Times

Ad blockers, which Apple first allowed on the iPhone in September, promise to conserve data and make websites load faster. But how much of your mobile data comes from advertising?

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Bitcoins are a waste of energy - literally ABC News

Vast amounts of electricity go into feeding the Bitcoin delusion. Fortunately, it's unlikely that the digital currency will survive long enough to generate the environmental disaster that would arise if it became a major part of the financial system, writes John Quiggin.

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02 October 2015

How our love affair with ad-blocking risks giving Internet providers even more power Washington Post

Apple recently began allowing customers to download and install ad-blocking apps on their iPhones, sparking a big debate about the future of the Internet and the ethics of blocking online advertisements. Although ads support everything from social networks to search engines and newspapers, they can also be annoying, intrusive and a drain on your device.

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01 October 2015

No, Facebook isn't going to charge to keep people's posts private The Guardian

Facebook is not planning to make its users pay £5.99 [or $5.99 for US users] to keep their status updates private. Is this news? It may be to the people who've been sharing a hoax claiming the opposite.

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How Many Websites Are There? The Atlantic

Most webpages die after a couple of months. The average lifespan is something like 100 days. That's longer than it used to be. In the late 1990s, the typical webpage lasted for around 44 days.

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30 September 2015

How ad-blocking software could revolutionise disabled people's lives The Guardian

We've all been there: we want to shop online, find a new recipe for supper, catch up on the latest news or watch a video - only to be dazzled by a moving, blinking or flashing advert. These "autoplaying" ads are annoying for most internet users, but for those with disabilities or long-term conditions, they make those websites largely inaccessible.

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28 September 2015

Free pornography is ever more plentiful online. The right response involves better sex education The Economist

In the 1990s, when the internet was for nerds, as many as half of all web searches were for sexually explicit material. That share has fallen -- but only because everything from home-buying to job-hunting has moved online. Pornography still accounts for more than a tenth of all searches. The number of porn pages is estimated at 700m-800m; one of the biggest sites claims to get 80 billion video views a year.

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The rise of ad-blocking could herald the end of the free internet The Observer

There is, alas, no such thing as a free lunch. What's even more depressing is that there is no such thing as a free internet service. Most people nowadays probably understand that in relation to, say, social networking services, if the service is "free" then the users (or, more precisely, their personal data) are the product. But this also applies to stuff that you haven't signed up for - websites that you browse, for example. The site may be free to view, but there's often a hidden cost.

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26 September 2015

The internet blew the porn industry's business model apart. Its response holds lessons for other media firms The Economist

It was 2012, and Fabian Thylmann's goal was world domination. The man who had put together Manwin, an emerging online-pornography giant, now controlled most of the top ten porn "tubes" -- aggregators that, like YouTube, contain thousands of videos and are wildly popular, because much of their content is free. If he could get hold of the two biggest, XVideos and XHamster, he could put it all behind a pay barrier and build an online porn empire. If competitors emerged, he would buy them, too. What antitrust authority would rein in a monopolist in a business that upstanding people pretend does not exist?

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23 September 2015

Instagram hits 400 million users Reuters

Instagram now has more than 400 million users, the company announced Tuesday, making it far larger than rival Twitter Inc with 100 million more users.

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The Rise of Ad Blocking Could Be a Complete Loss for Everyone ClickZ

Apple's new operating system includes tools for app developers to block ads on Safari browser for iOS 9. As technology has made it easier to block ads, cutting contextually relevant content could do harm to not only publishers and advertisers, but also consumers in general.

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22 September 2015

Internet growth slows; most people still offline: U.N. Reuters

Growth in the number of people with access to the Internet is slowing, and more than half the world's population is still offline, the United Nations Broadband Commission said on Monday.

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19 September 2015

The Allure of an Ad-Free Internet: Software promises a better experience for readers, but at what cost? The Atlantic

Well, that happened fast. After 36 hours as the No. 1 paid app in the App store, the programmer Marco Arment is pulling his ad-blocker, Peace, from the market.

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16 September 2015

Coming Soon to Facebook: A 'Dislike' Button New York Times

Facebook's famous "like" button, with its silhouette of an upturned thumb, will soon be accompanied by an alternative: a way to "dislike" a post.

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15 September 2015

Intelligent machines: Call for a ban on robots designed as sex toys BBC News

A campaign has been launched calling for a ban on the development of robots that can be used for sex.

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14 September 2015

Internet-addicted South Korean children sent to digital detox boot camp ABC News

The government sees it as a national health crisis and is now taking drastic measures to help the country's 2 million addicts.

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13 September 2015

How eBay built a new world on little more than trust The Observer

Twenty years ago this month, a French-born Iranian-American computer programmer named Pierre Omidyar added an experimental online auction section to his personal website, which at that time focused mainly on the Ebola virus. He called it AuctionWeb because it enabled people to bid to purchase items that other people were advertising for sale. One of the earliest, and most puzzling, sales on the site was of a broken laser pointer, which went for $14.83. The story goes that Omidyar wrote to the buyer asking if he understood that the laser pointer was broken. The guy replied that he was a collector of broken laser pointers. At this point, Omidyar realised he might be on to something.

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Watching porn does not cause negative attitudes toward women, contentious Canadian study finds National Post

The idea that pornography leads to negative attitudes toward women is pervasive, helping shape obscenity laws, fuelling censorship attempts and even spawning a recent Hollywood movie.

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12 September 2015

Google, Twitter and Publishers Seek Faster Web New York Times

In a world where many people read everything on mobile phones, a few seconds of load time can mean the gain or loss of millions of readers and advertising dollars.

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31 August 2015

Woman who claimed she was 'allergic to Wi-Fi' gets disability allowance from French court Daily Telegraph

Marine Richard has managed to score £500 a month in disability allowance from French courts after claiming that she was 'allergic to Wi-Fi'.

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#Blessed: The Internet actually makes us happier, science says Washington Post

According to a strain of trend piece popular in certain circles these days, the Web is some kind of social parasite, eating our decency and confidence and good humor away. It's filled us with FOMO; it's made us fake; it's torpedoed love and intimacy.

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30 August 2015

Marketing in the digital age: As people spend more time on social media, advertisers are following them The Economist

Earlier this year BMW advertised on WeChat, a popular messaging app in China with around 550m monthly users. But its ads were shown only to those whose profiles suggested they were potential buyers of expensive cars. Others were shown ads for more affordable stuff, such as smartphones. The campaign bruised a few egos. Some of those not shown the BMW ad complained, referring to themselves as diao, or (putting it politely) losers.

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