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12 minutes ago, karaddin said:

Hey my countries immigration policies are pretty fucking foul too. I think we even beta test some of the awful shit for the US and the UK. 


The Masters (of my lands) could have Tricked, Trained, or Teached (whichever you prefer) the ugly masses into demanding more humanity from our electeds with a wave of their hands. The literal stroke of a key

Instead they profited from divisions and called themselves Humanist 

It's a funny world we live in

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17 hours ago, DanteGabriel said:

This puts me in mind of footage showing Vladimir Putin playing hockey, blowing by and scoring against people who were obviously letting the big man have his way.

I know power corrupts, but it also apparently makes you an insecure little brat.

There’s a famous bitter comment by George Bush the senior that it’s amazing how many people beat you at golf now that you’re no longer the president. 

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"Letting the expert online recruiters Patriotic Alternative back on the platform isn’t a win for free speech but for fascism"




At the end of last year, the British far-right group Patriotic Alternative (PA) was allowed back on Twitter after a ban of nearly two years for an unknown transgression. Far-right groups immediately urged Elon Musk to “be a hero” and also reinstate the account of the group’s leader, Mark Collett. Three weeks later, they rejoiced as Collett’s account was returned.

The reinstatements appear to be part of Musk’s commitment to free speech. But if he knew anything at all about PA, he would realise that he has placed a target on the back of every disenfranchised and politically lost young man on Twitter, many of whom are recruited to the far right via the platform.

Consider the cases of two young men who recently began lengthy prison sentences for far-right terrorism offences. Daniel Harris, 19, is a far-right extremist now serving 11 years for creating videos that inspired mass shooters in the US. Luca Benincasa, 20, who recently started a nine-year sentence, was a member of the proscribed neo-Nazi group Feuerkrieg Division.

Both men should be held to account for their behaviour, but their actions did not happen in a vacuum. They did not hatch from a swastika-stamped egg at 17 years old, determined to wreak havoc on the world. Their actions, and the beliefs that drove them, are the end product of years of indoctrination by online extremists. ....



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Perhaps, with the acceleration in Big Media Tech change making news everyday -- not just the twit or AI (which is now being implemented to chose which employees to lay off) -- we should have a thread that is just Big Tech.  Here is this now, which does have a relationship to what the Twit dough boy is about:

Facebook Parent Plans to Sell ‘Meta Verified’ Accounts
Meta announced that it would begin charging $11.99 a month for a blue badge on Facebook and Instagram.




Meta — the parent company of Facebook and Instagram — wants power users to start paying for some of its sites’ features, taking a page out of Twitter’s playbook in charging for verified blue check marks.

A new subscription service called Meta Verified will become available this week in Australia and New Zealand and will soon be expanded to other countries, Mark Zuckerberg, Meta’s chief executive, said Sunday in posts on Facebook and Instagram. For $11.99 a month (or $14.99 if purchased on Apple’s operating system, iOS), users will get a blue badge and direct access to customer support. The company described the effort as a “gradual test.”

“This new feature is about increasing authenticity and security across our services,” Mr. Zuckerberg wrote. To become eligible for Meta Verified, users will have to submit a government ID to prove their identity, and subscribers will be allowed to use only their legal names on their profile pages, the company said. Subscribers will receive “extra impersonation protection against accounts claiming to be you,” Mr. Zuckerberg said.

The service will be expanded to the United States in the next few weeks, a Meta spokeswoman said. She declined to name other countries in which Meta Verified will become available. Facebook and Instagram accounts must be enrolled separately in Meta Verified — meaning that those who want blue badges on both sites must pay at least $24 a month — but Meta plans to eventually offer bundled subscriptions, she said. ....



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Facebook’s new $12 fee is straight out of Don Corleone’s playbook
Big Tech’s new business model is making you pay for security and basic customer service when you get hacked. That’s called a protection racket when mobsters do it.




.... Zuckerberg isn’t alone in putting your security up for sale. In an even-more-egregious money grab, Elon Musk’s Twitter recently said it will start charging for a basic security feature that used to be free. Going forward, Twitter says that two-factor text-message authentication will only be available to people who subscribe to its $8 Blue service. (Everyone who doesn’t pay either gets less security or needs to change their settings ASAP — read here for instructions.)

While the details are different, both companies’ moves remind me of the protection rackets run by mobsters: force people to make regular payments in exchange for “security.” We need to draw a line in the sand. Security, privacy and basic account service should be included for everyone, not just those who pay more. ....



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18 minutes ago, Zorral said:

Facebook’s new $12 fee is straight out of Don Corleone’s playbook
Big Tech’s new business model is making you pay for security and basic customer service when you get hacked. That’s called a protection racket when mobsters do it.



I lost access to the forum's fantasy football program because I wouldn't pay Yahoo's ransom when my password expired or something and needed reset. 


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A Brief History of Elon Musk’s Master Plans




... it’s with his second Master Plan where Musk really gets out of the realm of straightforward corporate strategizing and into something wildly larger. At the very end of Master Plan 1, he hints that an EV is only as efficient as its power source, so in order to make a truly zero-emission car, he’s going to start offering rooftop solar panels by his family’s firm, SolarCity. “If you travel less than 350 miles per week,” Musk writes, “you will therefore be ‘energy positive’ with respect to your personal transportation.” By the time we get to Master Plan, Part Deux, we’ve gone from an “energy positive” car to an entirely new idea of turning the home into a power plant: making not just panels but entire solar roofs, and, even more critically, integrating them with batteries for the home, which allows Tesla to scale battery production of all types. It was, at the time, a fresh way of thinking, far ahead of any other automaker’s, at least as far as the public could see. And then Musk dives into the business of decarbonizing society. “Given that we must get off fossil fuels anyway and that virtually all scientists agree that dramatically increasing atmospheric and oceanic carbon levels is insane, the faster we achieve sustainability, the better,” he writes. “Here is what we plan to do to make that day come sooner.” He emphasizes the importance of electrified public transit and goods movement, saying he’s making a bus and a semitruck. And then, to increase the capacity of personal EVs, Musk says he’s building autonomous features into Teslas so drivers can let their parked vehicles wander off and operate remotely, giving rides to other people when they’re not using them. We’re no longer talking about just self-driving cars — this is a global, roving fleet of zero-emission robotaxis.

Of course, not much of that has happened. (And global carbon emissions have gone up.) Master Plan, Part Deux, represents both a visionary worldview and Musk’s point of public departure from reality. In 2016, he had just cracked the list of the world’s 100 wealthiest people; five years later, he was regularly jockeying with Jeff Bezos for the No. 1 spot. As he morphed from quirky nerd upending the electric-car market with bad supervillain jokes to actual supervillain, he began to forgo fanciful yet feasible solutions in favor of a darker, more dangerous brand of technofuturism. His assertions that Tesla was “deploying partial autonomy now” and that “as the technology matures, all Tesla vehicles will have the hardware necessary to be fully self-driving with fail-operational capability” came just weeks after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened its first investigation into a death of someone using the existing partial-autonomy tool, an event acknowledged solemnly by Musk, who promised improvements. Yet just a few months later, we saw a demo video of Tesla’s supposed “full self-driving” capabilities — later revealed to be faked — and an “unflinching” push to get the new system onto cars even though it was not safe yet. Also in 2016, he announced his tunneling venture, the Boring Company, as a way to “solve traffic.” As he championed that ludicrously expensive “one Tesla at a time through a neon-lit hole” concept, he was either ignoring or forgetting his own Master Plan sustainable-transportation blueprint. The Tesla Semi was eventually delivered (three years late, with dubious real-world abilities); where is the Tesla Bus?  ....



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"Meta and Twitter have said out loud something that is usually kept secret from you: It costs you more money to buy those companies’ digital subscriptions in their app."




Let me explain Meta and Twitter’s tiny cracks in app secrecy and why there’s so much app information that is hidden.

The money-saving deals Apple and Google are hiding from you

You can’t buy a Netflix subscription in the app. Audible is cheaper if you don’t buy in the app. Why is this a secret?

Meta and Twitter have said out loud something that is usually kept secret from you: It costs you more money to buy those companies’ digital subscriptions in their apps.
And you can pay less if you buy the same thing on Twitter’s or Facebook’s website.

Why should this be a secret? Good question.

The app stores from Apple and Google make it harder for you to be an informed consumer.

You might never know that you can’t buy an e-book in Amazon’s Kindle app. You might not discover that you could be paying less for a Tinder dating subscription on the company’s website instead of paying a higher price in the app.

It shouldn’t be this way, but apps keep you in the dark. This is one reason I’ve written that the app system is broken.

Let me explain Meta and Twitter’s tiny cracks in app secrecy and why there’s so much app information that is hidden.

This week, Facebook’s parent company said it is testing an option for a subscription with added features in Facebook and Instagram. Washington Post technology columnist Geoffrey A. Fowler compared the Meta Verified subscription to a mobster protection racket because the company is charging extra for customer support and security that should be standard. Go read his column!

I zeroed in on a different detail in Meta’s public information: A subscription costs $11.99 a month if you buy it from the Facebook or Instagram websites and $14.99 if you buy from the iPhone and Android apps. (For now, Meta Verified is only available in Australia and New Zealand.)

The higher price in the apps accounts for the fees that companies owe app store owners Apple and Google when you buy something digital in an app like an online subscription, an e-book or a virtual weapon for a mobile game.

Some other apps also charge you more. An audiobook subscription from Amazon's Audible is about $1 more a month if you pay in the app than if you buy on Audible's website. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.) A paid version of email provider Proton Mail costs about $30 less a year if you buy on the web than if you click buy in the app.

I'll let you decide if it's fair for rich companies like Amazon and Meta to make you pay more for the cost of doing business with other rich companies, Apple and Google.

The problem for you is that the in-app price differences are rarely made explicit. I know Audible costs more only because I’m constantly hunting for cost discrepancies in apps.

Apps like Amazon’s Kindle and Netflix that refuse to sell you anything in their apps — they don’t want to hand over fees to Apple and Google — also don’t make it loud and clear how you’re supposed to buy from them if not in the app. In customer reviews for Kindle’s iPhone app, many people were confused or annoyed that they couldn’t buy e-books in the app.

You can’t make smart buying decisions if you don’t have all the facts about buying in an app. And that’s mostly because Apple and Google force apps to keep quiet.

Their rules ban apps from telling you if there is a cheaper purchase option on the app maker’s website. If there’s no option to buy digital items in the app, Apple and Google limit what apps can tell you about where you can make those purchases.

Apple and Google say they make the rules in apps but apps are free to do what they want outside of them.

On app companies’ websites and in their marketing blitzes, I wonder if they could try harder to publicize when you might be better off (or have no choice) buying digital subscriptions anywhere other than an app.

In some written materials about the Twitter Blue subscription, the company discloses that its subscription costs $8 a month if you pay on Twitter.com or $11 in Twitter’s apps. Most people won’t read that blog post.

Would it be more helpful if Twitter had an ALL CAPS pitch on its website encouraging you to pay less for Twitter Blue if you buy the subscription online? Could Amazon’s website have a blaring banner that says you can only buy e-books there and not in Kindle’s apps?

My reading of Google’s app rules is that kind of truth-telling would be allowed. Apple’s rules are more strict about what app developers can tell their customers — even in emails and other communications with you.

If apps didn't keep you in the dark about what it costs to pay for digital subscriptions in apps, you might make different choices.

When the Down Dog yoga app disclosed in its Android app that people could buy a lower-cost subscription on the company’s website instead, about 90 percent of people chose the cheaper price online instead of staying in the app, an executive testified in a 2021 court case.

Google no longer allows apps to tell you about cheaper prices outside the app. To my knowledge, Apple never allowed this.

To be fair, conventional retail stores hide information from you, too. Amazon doesn’t let Tide write in its product listings that its detergent costs less at Target. Walmart doesn’t say that it doesn’t sell your favorite ice cream but that Kroger does.

On the other hand, app stores don’t operate by retail rules. The only place you can download Spotify’s iPhone app is from Apple. You don’t have to buy Tide from Amazon.

There’s not a lot you can do about app secrecy. You gain power just from reading this information about apps’ hidden knowledge.

I’ve also written about my personal purchasing habits. When I’m buying something digital like an online fitness class or payments to a YouTube star, I take a moment to research whether I could pay less on the web than in the app. I also consider if I’d feel happier if the fitness company didn’t owe a commission from my purchase to Apple or Google.

One big promise of the digital age is that you have all the knowledge to make good choices about which mattress to buy or where to eat the best tacos. But bogus customer reviews, untrustworthy web search results and misleading ads sometimes leave you less informed. Apps that keep you in the dark are part of the problem, too.



One tiny win
Speaking of app stores: Every time there is a cool new thing, you need to keep your eye out for look-alike apps that are not the real deal.



Be aware that the experimental AI chatbot ChatGPT is available only on the web, and it’s free. There is no genuine app version of ChatGPT.

Recently, at least one app that seemed to be ChatGPT (but wasn’t) made its way to Apple’s iPhone app store before it was kicked out. A colleague told me this week about an app called “Chat GBT” — that’s one letter off — in Google’s Android app store.

After I asked Google about the one letter off chat app, it disappeared. But I saw other apps with “ChatGPT” in their name in Google’s app store. Again, these are not the real ChatGPT.

Before you download an app, try skimming the user reviews. There will often be red flags in the reviews if the app is an impostor.

You can try the genuine ChatGPT online here. ChatGPT is sometimes unavailable during peak hours, so you might hit a roadblock and need to try another time.

ChatGPT is also testing a paid version called ChatGPT Plus. That’s probably not what you want if you’re just curious to noodle around.



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Twitter Outages Are on the Rise
Elon Musk’s repeated job cuts are stoking new fears that there aren’t enough people to triage Twitter’s problems




.... In February alone, Twitter experienced at least four widespread outages, compared with nine in all of 2022, according to NetBlocks, an organization that tracks internet outages. That suggests the frequency of service failures is on the rise, NetBlocks said. And bugs that have made Twitter less usable — by preventing people from posting tweets, for instance — have been more noticeable, researchers and users said.

Twitter’s reliability has deteriorated as Mr. Musk has repeatedly slashed the company’s work force. After another round of layoffs on Saturday, Twitter has fewer than 2,000 employees, down from 7,500 when Mr. Musk took over in October. The latest cuts affected dozens of engineers responsible for keeping the site online, three current and former employees said.

The technology challenges add to Mr. Musk’s issues at Twitter. The company is trying to lure back advertisers, even as Mr. Musk has waded into scandals, most recently by defending the “Dilbert” creator Scott Adams after the cartoonist made racist comments. And Twitter is under scrutiny for a rise in hate speech and its treatment of workers.

Twitter is unlikely to go kaput, but its technology operations have become more precarious since November, seven current and former employees said. Mr. Musk has ended operations at one of Twitter’s three main data centers, further slashed the teams that work on the company’s back-end technology such as servers and cloud storage, and gotten rid of leaders overseeing that area.

The moves have exacerbated fears that there are not enough people or institutional knowledge to triage Twitter’s problems, especially if the service one day encounters a problem its remaining workers do not know how to fix, two people with knowledge of the company’s internal operations said. ....



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The errors should already be fixed. More explanation about it here. It's pretty amateur hour, honestly; basic testing and behavior should have caught it.




Twitter's official support account acknowledged the problem before it was fixed. "Some parts of Twitter may not be working as expected right now," Twitter wrote. "We made an internal change that had some unintended consequences. We're working on this now and will share an update when it's fixed."

"This platform is so brittle (sigh). Will be fixed shortly," CEO Elon Musk wrote.

The "current API plan" part of the error message led to widespread speculation that the problem was related to Twitter's decision to charge for API access. "Did Twitter forget to subscribe to their own API?" one user asked. "Twitter's own products are breaking because it ended the free API," The Information tech reporter Paris Martineau wrote.


I am especially amused at the 'platform is so brittle'. That's true of ALL long-running services, and the way you avoid that kind of brittle behavior is to have the infrastructure knowledge and engineering power that he removed. The next thing he'll probably want to encourage is rewriting the entire platform, which of course will break massive amounts of things too in different, exciting ways - especially since most of the people who understand why things are working the way they are are no longer with the company.

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