The Internet: Chopped & Screwed

A few years ago the Internet was introduced as a dial-up service, and it was an irrelevant tool that very few people had access to. Today, the Internet has become a requirement for communication and is accessible on any device in many places around the world. Corporate self-indulgence and the government has allowed the Internet to go from vibrant center of the new economy to burgeoning tool of economic control. Companies such as AT&T and Comcast have announced early this year that they plan to close and control the Internet through additional fees. The Verge expresses four simple ideas as to why the Internet is f**ked: 1) the Internet is a utility, 2) there is no real competition to provide Internet, 3) all Internet providers should be treated equally, and 4) the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) needs to play a more effective role.

The Internet can be considered a utility, just like water and electricity. The difference between an electricity  bill and the Internet is that the Internet offers web-hosting solutions and search screens as evidence that they’re actually providing information. There is no need for fancy words or extra charges, Internet access is a utility that should get faster and cheaper over time for customers. Instead, Comcast customers pay extra against their data caps when streaming video on their Xboxes using Microsoft’s services.

There is no real competition to provide Internet service as it’s either cable broadband from a cable provider or DSL from a telephone provider. Since DSL isn’t nearly as fast as cable, and the cable companies are aggressive in bundling TV and Internet packages together, there’s really only one choice. On the other hand, the uses of cell phones have improved tremendously, because tech companies such as Apple, Google, and Samsung all had to fight it out and make better products in order to profit and build cliental. This is an example of  real competition. Without out any competition of course people will have no choice but to pay for certain fees for satisfactory Internet service. (more…)

The Google smartwatch could be ‘ready within months’

Source: The Verge

Source: The Verge

The rumors of a smartw­atch from Google might not be rumors anymore. An anonymous source from The Wall Street Journal said that the watch could be “ready within months” and will likely “be able to communicate with other devices such as a smartphone.” Although this new smartwatch is said to run Android, I hope it won’t be like the disappointing Samsung Galaxy Gear, which users reported had a poor battery life, substandard performance, and an incompatibility with non-Samsung devices.

The Google smartwatch will focus on the functions of the Google Now personal assistant, which allows quick updates at-a-glance. Such information would include weather updates, travel alerts, and news tailored to you from your email, Internet browsing history, and location. It all sounds great now, but I wonder if Google will address the problems Android had with its smartwatch or push the promotion of its watch in favor of releasing a new product sooner. Regardless, this technology could be less than a year away – are you ready for the smartwatch? Read more about this intriguing technology on The Verge.

‘Tikker’ tells you how many days you have left to live

Do you have a hard time feeling motivated? Is it tough to get out of your bed in the morning? Maybe you should invest in the Tikker. It’s what sci-fi movies have been promising for years: knowing the exact day you’ll die, down to the last second. It’s an approximation of course, but it’s based on whatever health information you provide (so if you lie, you’re only cheating yourself). Although this sounds incredibly morbid, it’s supposed to be extremely motivating. By knowing how much time you have left, you should be able to live more freely and live each day how you want rather than wasting time on what you don’t. On Tikker’s Kickstarter page, the creators say, “If you know that time is ending, you make every second count.”

“It’s not how much time you have, it’s what you do with it.” As you can see, the creators have taken a more positive spin on this chilling concept. By using your time on this earth more productively and fulfilling your own dreams and aspirations, happiness will be well within your grasp. Tikker is exactly what you need to be as productive as you can be! If you need something to kick your butt in gear, there’s nothing more persuasive than a timer strapped to your wrist that’s counting down the seconds left in your life. Oh, and it also tells the time. Check out more about Tikker at The Verge.

How To Turn Your Ear Lobe Into a Speaker


Next time someone sticks a finger into your ear, don’t worry it may not be a wet willy. The Verge introduces Disney Research’s latest concoction Ishin-Den-Shin, which is the “Japanese expression for communicating through an unspoken mutual understanding, the technology turns an audio message into an inaudible signal that is relayed by the human body.” In layman’s terms, transmitting sound through your body. Not much is required; all it takes is a voice-activated microphone, a computer, and a thin wire to experience the Disney magic. Pretty cool! Read more about transmitting sound through touch.

From The Verge: “What your Instagram uploads say about the city you live in”

Chances are you’ve taken an Instagram photo recently. Maybe it was this morning or last night or maybe you took one a few minutes ago. It was probably of your delicious lunch or the beautiful, generic sunset you witnessed or of you and your BFF all dolled up before going out. I won’t judge. We’ve all done it. But let’s stop and think – how many people do you think have taken a picture just like that? Say on the Fourth of July you snap a shot of some patriotic fireworks and upload it with a cool filter – oh wait, there’s already five more just like them on your feed!

Recently, research has shown that there’s a correlation between the type of photos uploaded on Instagram and the place you live. When we think about national holidays, this makes sense. For example, in Tel Aviv, researchers were able to determine cultural differences between users based on their pictures during three national holidays. However, this discovery can really be illustrated when it comes to unplanned events such as Hurricane Sandy. Looking at the photos taken during the hurricane, researchers could clearly distinguish the time before and after the power went out in New York. Separating pictures according to hue, brightness, and line orientation, they were able to create the image below.

So, before you take that next Instagram, ask yourself, has the world seen enough of that? Read more about Instagram cities on The Verge.

Source: The Verge

Source: The Verge

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Censorship tells the wrong story

Source: Reporters Without Borders

Censorship. Dead air, loud bleeps, horrible pixelation, and my personal favorite: PG overdubs.

“I’m gettin’ a little tired of these monkey-fightin’ snakes, on this Monday thru Friday plane!”

The rights laid out by the first amendment seem strikingly clear, giving us freedom of speech and freedom of press (among other freedoms). Yet somehow the lines have ended up a bit blurred, with “obscenity, indecency, and profanity” being regulated by organizations like the FCC.

The FCC manages to walk that thin line through a little known technicality: they can only act on complaints from citizens. And what’s more, the modes of censorship we see most today leave almost all of the meaning intact. Has anyone actually ever missed the sentiment behind a “f[BLEEP]ing”?

So the censors really only serve to point out that thin line. They serve as glaring reminders to us all – we are the ones who ultimately decide what is “proper”. And we are the ones who get to fill in the blanks. And the beeps. And those fuzzy chunks of pixels.

If you’re still curious, head on over to The Verge and check out the gorgeous article that inspired this post.

The Type of Horror

He Knows You're Alone typography

Modern horror movie posters seem to follow a formula: take a dramatically lit photo of the lead or big bad person, crop it in super close, and throw an all caps, simple, sans-serif font on it for the title. Or maybe a very thin serif in all caps, if you wanna get crazy. (Seriously though, just look at these: The Purge, The Last Exorcism, Carrie)

But it wasn’t always this way – there was a time when horror movies got the first class treatment with beautiful custom logotypes. In the 80′s the genre enjoyed a boom in popularity, and movies like The Evil Dead and The Fog led the way with beautiful distinct type. Take a closer look at The Verge.

The Internet Changed Music, but We Still Don’t Know How

CDs will soon disappear like cassette tapes. The new trend is to plug in an auxiliary cord and let your music playlist flow or shuffle through Pandora and other music services. The Verge recently referred readers to an interview in The New Yorker between Sasha Frere-Jones and Dave Allen of UK punk band Gang of Four, which includes a brief discussion with Damon Krukowski a pop/folk-rock musician. In this interview they discuss how to consider “the internet” as a complex and unpredictable factor that affects artists and listeners across the world, instead of reducing it to American users of iTunes, Pandora, and The Pirate Bay.” It has always been a struggle for musicians to make a profit. With the Internet the hustle just got real. Allen points out, “there are plenty of people out there who fully support music and musicians and who will happily pay to see them perform, buy their T-shirts, their downloads.”


image from The Oatmeal

On the other hand, there’s the tactile generation. Allen describes these fans as a group, “which doesn’t see the Internet as a replacement for books or vinyl records.” Despite the Internet changing music, it’s unclear how. The illegal sharing of music has become an epidemic. It’s important for music companies to be creative and find new innovations to promote their artist. Krukowski mentions that the goal of music isn’t to reach everyone, but to reach its audience. There’s no going backward to gain what’s lost. The Internet has thrown the music industries lemons, so they need to grab a juicer and make Mike’s Hard Lemonade. How will musicians survive, there’s no telling where music will be in the next century.