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15 Feb 2012 15:23


Tech: Apple affirms that Path violated their terms, issues iOS update fix

  • Apps that collect or transmit a user’s contact data without their prior permission are in violation of our guidelines. We’re working to make this even better for our customers, and as we have done with location services, any app wishing to access contact data will require explicit user approval in a future software release.
  • Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr • In a statement about Apple’s privacy policies, as pertaining to the iPhone. This statement came hot on the heels of the revelation that two Democratic congressman (G.K. Butterfield and Henry A. Waxman) had sent a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook, requesting information about privacy permissions. The inciting incident here was the iPhone app Path, which was revealed to be uploading users’ address books to their company servers without asking permission, or offering any notification. Path tried to curb the controversy by apologizing and offering an opt-out, but  the damage to their credibility (and, by association, Apple’s) had already hit. And amidst word that a number of widely-used apps — most notably Twitterdid the same thing, Apple has affirmed that what Path did was a violation of their privacy practices, and has released an update for iOS that allows users to delete the database by switching off location services. source

13 Feb 2012 15:26


Culture: Having too many Facebook friends can make you depressed

  • 354Facebook friends ought to be your limit source
  • » There’s nothing wrong with denying that friend request: A recent study presented at the annual Society for Personality and Social Psychology meeting asked a group of participants to check their friend’s status updates. After doing so, they rated their lives as “much less satisfying” than a group that didn’t check their news feed. They looked at how many friends the users had, and found that 354 friends was roughly the point at which reading status updates started making them sad. The theory is that status updates often paint a disproportionately positive picture of peoples’ lives. Readers of said updates compare their own lives to those represented in status updates, and figure that they’re having a lot less fun than everybody else. The solution, then, is to either clean up your friends list, or befriend a bunch of depressed misanthropes.

29 Jan 2012 13:30


Tech: Study: Teens flocking to Twitter more than they did two years ago

  • 8% of young people ages 12-17 had Twitter accounts in 2009, according to a Pew study
  • 16% of young people ages 12-17 had Twitter accounts in 2011, according to an updated study source
  • » Not so square anymore? Two years ago, Twitter had a bit of a reputation as the social network of choice for slightly older professionals, while many young teens were giving it a pass. The study appeared to be showing an interesting trend among teens, who preferred to stick with Facebook or other services. Things appear to have changed since then. “I love twitter, it’s the only thing I have to myself … cause my parents don’t have one,” noted 17-year-old Britteny Praznik. One major difference? Rather than self-promotion, the goal seems to merely be social in nature. Wow, who would’ve thought? A social network for social networking? Be still our hearts.

27 Jan 2012 18:10


Tech: Twitter responds to controversy over new country-based censorship

  • cause On Thursday, while evoking a post the company wrote during the Arab Spring, Twitter discussed a new policy for allowing countries to censor tweets, arguing it would allow the company to go more places.
  • reaction While many reacted to the news negatively, Twitter was not without its defenders, most notably UNC professor Zeynep Tufekci, an expert on the intersection of social media and global politics.
  • response A day later, Twitter updated the post with a FAQ, saying the overall goal is transparency: “We have users all over the world and wanted to find a way to deal with requests in the least restrictive way.” source

17 Jan 2012 23:05


Tech: Russian “Koobface” cyber-hackers gave themselves away

  • “Koobface” sounds like the cyberbully cousin of Scooby Doo. You might have been a victim of the Koobface gang. This Russian cybergang is responsible for viruses that spread through Facebook and other social network sites. Technically, none of the members are under investigation by law enforcement; it’s hard to prosecture people that you can’t find. Recently, the group has been “checking in” on Foursquare, completing their location with coordinates and pictures. With more and more information being leaked about the group, perhaps citizens, companies and governments will band together to help shut this group down — but even if they finally do, don’t click on anything you don’t trust. source

26 Dec 2011 18:57


Tech: Tweet drama: Company sues former employee over Twitter followers

  • $340k the amount the tech company PhoneDog sued a former employee for after he held onto a Twitter account post-employment
  • 17k the number of followers Noah Kravitz built up; after he left the job, he promised to continue tweeting about the company
  • $2.50 the cost per follower per month the company sued Kravitz for after the fact; they claimed he was holding onto a customer list source
  • » A precedent-setting case? For many startups, Twitter followers are starting to become the lingua franca of customer service. So, it’s fascinating to see how cases like this could set an example as things go forward. “This will establish precedent in the online world, as it relates to ownership of social media accounts,” noted NYC intellectual property lawyer Henry J. Cittone. “We’ve actually been waiting to see such a case as many of our clients are concerned about the ownership of social media accounts vis-á-vis their branding.” Which way should the courts decide in this case, anyway?

23 Dec 2011 08:59


Tech: Scientists used math on Twitter to tell us we’re sad… which makes us even sadder.

  • Happiness is trending downward. Great.  After studying the Twitter accounts of 63 million users for 33 months, science tells us that we’re not using as many happiness keywords. Users seem to reach their peak happiness on and around holidays and the weekends; happiness “plummets” on Mondays and Tuesdays. All in all, people shouldn’t be using Twitter as their go-to source of human emotions; do they even count Sockington?  source

25 Oct 2011 20:07


Politics: SF + M.C. Hammer + Brian Wilson + + Ed Lee = Insane ad

  • San Francisco’s mayor gets uh, diverse support: M.C. Hammer’s music isn’t exactly setting the charts ablaze anymore (he’s moved on to search engines), but it works well in political ads, apparently, as this bizarre concoction above proves. Ed Lee, the current mayor of the city, was appointed after Gavin Newsom took over as California’s lieutenant governor, but the tech-friendly Lee hopes to get a full term. So do all the folks in this clip, ranging from top brass at Google to Twitter co-founders to insane pitcher Brian Wilson to M.C. FREAKING HAMMER, donning the parachute pants again to offer his support to the mayor. Gotta give the funders of this ad (tech entrepreneurs Ron Conway and Justin Timberlake Sean Parker) credit — it’s 2 Legit 2 Quit. source

11 Oct 2011 10:22


World: Twitter trolls try to control the conversation on Bahrain

  • They start working and finish all together. Which means, it’s like a job. They talk about Iran, sectarian warfare — they use common words and they never discuss. They just come to fight.
  • London-based Bahrain blogger Hussain Yousif • Describing the trolls that have come up on Twitter around Bahrain-related topics; trolls which seem to work on a 9-5 schedule. We’ve noticed a bit of signal-jamming in our day as well — there were a lot of pro-Libya protesters on both Twitter and YouTube who tried to cloud the information actually coming out about Libya, for example — so we totally believe this. Have you guys, especially the ones closely following the news in the Middle East, run into anything like this? source

04 Oct 2011 00:32


Culture: Andy Rooney: sad to see him go, love to watch him tweet

  • sad news Andy Rooney’s retirement might come as a relief to some people who think he might be too hard on chocolate chip cookies, but you can’t deny the man’s media presence. He’s written many books in addition to appearing in 1,000 “60 Minutes” segments.
  • consolation  There are two really hilarious fake Twitter accounts for Rooney. A sample of their selection? “My great grandson is coming over tomorrow to attach my Twitter to my phone. Luckily, we recently got rid of our rotary and got a touchtone.” source