The Proprietary Ties that Bind: Part I — Instagram, not the last straw

In yesterday’s New York Times, there was an article about people getting angry over changes to Instagram’s privacy policies under Facebook rule. Rebecca Lieb of the Altimeter Group was quoted as saying

There are always Facebook users who say ‘This is the last straw,’ [but] there’s not a lot of portability. Where would you go?”

Continue reading “The Proprietary Ties that Bind: Part I — Instagram, not the last straw”

No more Rob

Maybe she was right; I am obsessed with Rob — I was clicking refresh over and over for this one. But he’s gone, now: Rob Ford removed from office. As you might have noticed, now that the Globe and Mail has gone behind a paywall, I’m reading the Toronto Star for my local news.

The War on Toronto

I’ve been following the current hearing about Mayor Ford and his alleged run-in with the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act (MCIA). Over lunch, I explained to Daniel Levy, one of Steve’s new students, the gist of what is happening. Daniel, hailing most recently from Winnipeg ((Daniel had his bike stolen the week after he arrived and now he gets to hear about our mayor. Welcome to Toronto!)), rightly wondered if the Mayor’s oafishness is due to cherry-picked quotes from the media. Continue reading “The War on Toronto”

Improving by leaps and bionic bounds

One of the most interesting pieces I’ve read all week is about how people that would have been considered “disabled” a century ago are receiving prosthetics of all sorts that are closing or have closed the gap with “normal” individuals. The thing that struck me most was Wilson’s comment that it was not the rich that will benefit at first from physical and mental enhancements but those perceived to be at a disadvantage. This provided some reassurance that the world of Harrison Bergeron will probably not come to be — at least not in terms of handicapping. In that future, all individuals are equal by bringing those that are (more) gifted in some way to the level of the least through a system of handicaps. In a world full of prosthetics such as those mentioned in Wilson’s article, maybe there can be equality for all not by diminishing our abilities but by amplifying them.

Status update: You read it here first

This time, at least it’s an opt-in process. Unlike with Beacon, automatic face-tagging, location tracking, profiles being exposed to search engines, giving Facebook’s partners access to personal details, and so forth, this time, Facebook gives users a chance to say “Sure, you can track/reveal these details about me” rather than assuming you want to share unless you say otherwise. Or, rather, at least Facebook’s business partners are giving you that choice, even if the thing you’re giving consent to is obscured. Continue reading “Status update: You read it here first”

Encyclopaedia Britannica goes out of print

I was going to write a supportive blog about Quebec’s resistance against the crime bill that the government has tried to ram down the province’s gullets, but I’m afraid of being put on some terrorist watch list along with the environmentalists and being tracked down by Mr. Toews. Instead, I will write about an equally timely (if more mundane) topic…

Encyclopædia Britannica is going out of print and will soon be available only in its on-line version. I haven’t even seriously thought about print encylopædias since the late 1990s and the last time I used one was around 2002. While they may become collectible items a few years down the line from now, I certainly won’t miss them.
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