The Internet Is Great, If You Can Get It

Low-Income Americans Face Internet Access That Is Slow, at Risk of Disruption:

The good news is that the vast majority of Americans, even low-income ones, now have some access to the Internet. The bad news is that many are “under-connected,” with mobile-only access that is subject to data caps or interruption due to payment issues.

A new study of lower-income parents found that 94 percent had some kind of Internet connection, but more than half said their connections were slow and almost a quarter rely solely on a mobile device. One in five said their Internet was cut off some time in the last year due to inability to pay. The study, conducted by Sesame Workshop’s Joan Ganz Cooney Center and Rutgers University, also found disparities based on ethnicities.

Remember when the Internet was talked about as being “the great democratizer”? Good times.

Compared with other countries, Americans still pay the most for the slowest service.

“people that disagree with them are not stupid or evil”

On top of this knowledge, a liberal education should make certain habits of rationality second nature. Educated people should be able to express complex ideas in clear writing and speech. They should appreciate that objective knowledge is a precious commodity, and know how to distinguish vetted fact from superstition, rumor, and unexamined conventional wisdom. They should know how to reason logically and statistically, avoiding the fallacies and biases to which the untutored human mind is vulnerable. They should think causally rather than magically, and know what it takes to distinguish causation from correlation and coincidence. They should be acutely aware of human fallibility, most notably their own, and appreciate that people who disagree with them are not stupid or evil. Accordingly, they should appreciate the value of trying to change minds by persuasion rather than intimidation or demagoguery.

I believe (and believe I can persuade you) that the more deeply a society cultivates this knowledge and mindset, the more it will flourish.

—Steven Pinker

via Twitter

Google Wants All Websites To Be Encrypted

Google wants everything on the web to be travelling over a secure channel. That’s why in the future your Chrome browser will flag unencrypted websites as insecure, displaying a red “x” over a padlock in the URL bar.

With this upcoming change in Chrome, Google makes it clear that the web of the future should all be encrypted, and all sites should be served over HTTPS, which is essentially a secure layer on top of the usual HTTP web protocol. Several companies and organizations have been pushing for more encrypted sites as part of a campaign to “Encrypt All The Things,” which consists of promoting more websites to abandon the traditional, less secure HTTP protocol and adopt HTTPS.

Why, you ask?

The rationale is that on every website served over HTTP the data exchanged between the site’s server and the user is in the clear, meaning anyone with the ability to snoop on the connection, be it a hacker at a coffee shop or a repressive government, could steal passwords, private messages, or other sensitive information.

But HTTPS doesn’t just protect user data, it also ensures that the user is really connecting to the right site and not an imposter one. This is important because setting up a fake version of a website users normally trust is a favorite tactic of hackers and malicious actors. HTTPS also ensures that a malicious third party can’t hijack the connection and insert malware or censor information.

It’ll be interesting how quickly HTTPS gets adopted. I wonder if it will be like the migration from standard definition to high definition in TV broadcasting.

Link Drop – Feb 2

Study Finds Social Media Leads To Sleep Disturbance – stay the fuck off Facebook and you’ll feel better // Video: Apollo Robbins, professional pickpocket on the art of misdirection (via Open Culture) // Seth Godin on how famous colleges and in the industrial-education process are not preparing students with practical skills // Frank Chimero tells the story of how he discovered the caption that works on every New Yorker cartoon // Antoher Kickstarter hardware project burns through their money: Jolla announces that it is unable to fulfill all Jolla Tablet crowdfunding perks // So, what exactly is branding? // “Who you are is defined by the values you are willing to struggle for” (via swiss miss)

Über Shitty

Uber drivers are protesting Uber again:

Drivers wielding megaphones stood atop giant piles of dirty snow in Queens this morning, railing against Uber’s recent decision to cut fares by 15 percent. “Shame on Uber,” chanted hundreds of New York City-based drivers, in between the airing of grievances. As the crowd occasionally got too close, Uber’s private security guards would emerge to shoo protesters away — only to be met with a chorus of boos. They all want to get paid.


Uber says that since the fare reduction went into effect, driver earnings have gone up 20 percent, compared to the prior two weekends before the fare cut. “That’s a lie,” Diallo said, shaking his head. “It doesn’t take a math degree to know that less does not mean more.”

Back in December of last year it was reported that Uber was raising funding giving it a valuation of $62.5 billion.

Seems there’s not enough money to go around to all the drivers.

Oh, and remember, having pesky humans driving is only a stop gap before Uber deploys their driverless cars.

“polishing them until they work”

Seth Godin on software (and everything else in life):

The reason it’s so difficult to test and improve is that it requires you to acknowledge that your original plan wasn’t perfect. And to have the humility and care to go ahead and fix it.

Making shit work is the easy part.

Making sure it doesn’t break is the hard part.

Leafs by Snoop

Pentagram’s Emily Oberman brands Snoop Dogg’s new line of weed products:

Pentagram partner Emily Oberman has crafted the identity for Snoop Dogg’s new line of cannabis-based products called Leafs by Snoop. Adopting a “laid-back California cool” aesthetic for the rapper and ganja lover’s range, a leaf motif features throughout. A mix of pastel gold colours and imagery like palm trees, fish, birds and cloudy skies completes the sunny identity.

You know you’re mainstream when Pentagram does your product branding for you.

I love the deliberately incorrect spelling of the product.

Some Fresh Microsoft Schadenfreude to Start 2016

Paul Thurrott on the problems with Microsoft’s Surface tablets:

Microsoft is having its iPhone 4 “Antennagate” moment, thanks to rampant reliability issues with its Surface Book and Surface Pro 4 devices. But rather than publicly face the problems head-on, the software giant has retreated behind a veil of silence. This is a huge mistake, and it is undermining the credibility and viability of its hardware offerings.

I’ve offered this advice privately, to no avail. Allow me to now make it publicly.

Microsoft, you’re f@#$ing up. Big time.

If Microsoft wants to play with the big boys and big girls in the hardware game, it’s gotta man up and address these problems head-on.

intolerance is prejudice, don’t let fear win

I just saw Ty Segall and the Muggers Monday night at The Filmore here in San Francisco. Great show.

And Ty’s new album, Emotional Mugger is also great.

Here’s a piece from Pitchfork’s review:

When Segall rolled out the album by mailing VHS copies to writers, he shared a clinical definition of “emotional mugging,” explaining, “The over-communication relayed in cell based technology and content driven media further detaches passengers of our modern society from deep emotional understanding.” Put more simply: The Internet makes everything and anything immediately available, and that’s probably fucking up how people interact and have their desires addressed. It’s a relevant subject without question—one he addresses on the album with varying degrees of success. Maybe its diciest moments can be chalked up to the album’s inherent feeling of uneasiness, but Emotional Mugger still feels transitional—either the moment before he tucks in and gets way weirder or another stepping stone before he switches gears all over again.

Ty is weird and awesome and gritty.

Link Drop – 21 Jan

Quartz says traditional home pages are obselete // Apple Watch Scooped Up Over Half The Smartwatch Market In 2015 // The new Google Ventures logo is nice and gestalt-y // “Resilience is a skill, one that’s probably more valuable than most.”Seth Godin // The Allegory of the Cave, Monty Python styley (via Open Culture) // only in 2016 does Android get forced icon size consistency (it’s about time, guys) // boredom helps creativity (agreed! don’t be afraid of it) // Snapchat Explained… Using Snapchat (video) // Shot: home for fingers over lenses, severed limbs, missing heads, misfires, bad crops, oddly lit, badly composed, inadvertent close-ups and all photographs so bad they can only be described as Shot (via Coudal) // The less you hear about a relationship, the better it’s going.