Category Archives: Internet

“Private Search Engines” and Their Deals With Oppressive Trackers

Private Search Engines

The “privacy” model has become a default business strategy for new search engines. Why? Because it sells. Given the typically inferior quality of their results, and their often uninspiring user-experience, “private search engines” routinely over-achieve in terms of growth. So unless they have a revolutionary new concept, anyone entering today’s search market is almost compelled to trade on privacy.

They’re all at it. Barely a week goes by without a new “private search” brand coming up in the #privacy tags on Twitter. Some are just a front for affliate marketers to peddle overpriced rubbish. Others, such as Search Encrypt – taken seriously by a lot of people – are listed as malware. Some, despite billing themselves as privacy protectors on Twitter, have no SSL and literally no privacy policy whatsoever. “Private search” has become a joke. It’s that same old bunch of shady chancers using the gimmick of the moment in the hope of becoming billionaires. But what about the few brands that manage to attract continuous applause? Have we not noticed that they’re in bed with the enemy?… Continue reading “Private Search Engines” and Their Deals With Oppressive Trackers

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The Truth About “Link Tax” and “Censorship Machines”

Link Tax My Arse

We’re here again. The censorship card is at the top of the deck, as the internet’s freedom to steal content faces one of its stiffest challenges yet. Just from the collection of manipulative voices spouting highly-charged phrases like “link tax” and “censorship machines”, we know there’s a copyright-related bill in motion. That bill, is the revised European Union Copyright Directive, and the reaction it’s whipped up is almost surreal in its level of distortion.

Whilst I’m discussing the new Directive in this post, I really want to send out a general counter-protest against the cyber giants’ relentless playing of a censorship card, every time the internet’s freedom to steal comes under threat. It happened with SOPA, it happened with Net Neutrality. And it’ll keep happening as long as we’re stupid enough to accept that policing Silicon Valley’s behaviour somehow equates to censorship. Continue reading The Truth About “Link Tax” and “Censorship Machines”

How To Opt Out Of WordPress.com’s Internal Analytics Tracking

WordPress internal analytics opt-out

Don’t you just love the way GDPR has forced the data mining giants of cyberspace to begrudgingly provide us with more detailed privacy disclosures and a little “Get Lost Peeping Tom!” button? A handy means for us to reclaim at least some of our privacy and limit the amount of our personal data the companies can collect or preseve?

Of course, most businesses are only telling us as much as the law says they have to tell us, and plenty of information about newer tracking technologies is flying under the radar. But GDPR’s tighter data regulation is a step in the right direction, and the general fuss it’s created has prompted a lot of us to pay more attention to web tracking. We’re better understanding our rights as site users and visitors, as well as our responsibilities as site administrators. Continue reading How To Opt Out Of WordPress.com’s Internal Analytics Tracking

Online Intolerables: Men Trying To Look Cute

Men Trying To Look Cute

Have you ever wondered how many of the men who use a smile emoticon at the end of an electronic message were actually smiling when they typed it? If your guess falls somewhere below three percent, join the club.

There are a numerous things I find profoundly annoying on the social web. But the worst of the very worst of them, I would suggest, is men trying to look cute. Not inadvertently just being cute. I’m talking about men who deliberately try to look cute, in a bid to manipulate or self-serve. Before anyone accuses me of sexism, I know that women try to look cute on the Internet too, and I’m not saying I find that particularly attractive. Indeed, women who sing in a deliberately cute, babyish, contrived voice on Soundcloud make me want to cut the plug off my speakers. But there’s something about men trying to be cute that’s just… worse. Continue reading Online Intolerables: Men Trying To Look Cute

The Demonisation of Man

The Demonisation of Man

After my crit observing the ‘manosphere’s distorted vision of women, I thought I should write a searching piece about the ‘manosphere’s arch enemy – just to balance things up.

There’s a perception, among an apparently burgeoning male group, that men are being demonised by women. Excluded, purely on the basis that they were born with a penis. Made to feel that whatever they say or do, it will automatically be bad, because they’re a man, and men are bad. Faced with a choice of either being publicly ashamed of their gender, or being lambasted as “part of the problem”. Victims, of sexism. I decided I was going to explore this issue, and concisely wrap it up in a blog post. Continue reading The Demonisation of Man

Has Medium.com Fixed Broken Publishing?

Has Medium Fixed Broken Publishing

In August 2016 I speculated, in a post about the blogging platform Medium.com, as to what the business’s future might hold.

At the time, I imagined that Medium’s most likely means of financing its existence would be increasingly heavy advertising. But this year, the platform switched to a subscription model in which users pay to read the site’s best content. Well, in theory the best, although that does depend on whether the best writers choose to lock their content behind the site’s optional paywall. If Medium’s best writers opt to keep their feed open to the wider Internet, in practice the best content will still be free. Continue reading Has Medium.com Fixed Broken Publishing?

The Not-So-Advanced World of Online Troll Investigation

As a result of other posts on this blog, I’ve got used to being asked for help in unmasking “trolls”. Most typically, the requests have come from political activists who think they have the right to verbally attack those with whom they don’t agree, but should themselves be immune from any such attacks. Because… well, you know… Because their opinion is right, and everyone else’s is wrong, basically.

Continue reading The Not-So-Advanced World of Online Troll Investigation