NBC: Nextdoor gave me neighborhood paranoia. The only cure was meeting my neighbors in real life instead of online.

NBC: Nextdoor gave me neighborhood paranoia. The only cure was meeting my neighbors in real life instead of online.. “I joined the website Nextdoor.com this past spring, after a friend said it was better than Craigslist for buying used furniture. Having been a ‘neighbor’ on Nextdoor for the last six months, I will add that it’s also a great place to find a catsitter and an effective way to convince yourself that you live in a lawless hellscape, where you will repeatedly be victimized by violent teens, shameless thieves, and shady contractors.” Nextdoor is great for helping lost pets find their way home, I will say. Also for coyote sightings.

MIT Technology Review: Seven New Year’s resolutions for Big Tech in 2019

MIT Technology Review: Seven New Year’s resolutions for Big Tech in 2019. “Every January, Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, likes to go public with a resolution for the year ahead. His 2018 one to ‘fix Facebook’ has clearly been an epic fail, given the stream of privacy scandals that have dogged the social-media behemoth over the past 12 months. Other high-profile tech companies, including Twitter and Google, have also found themselves under fire again this year.”

Ars Technica: Feds won’t build license plate database—they just want access to one

Ars Technica: Feds won’t build license plate database—they just want access to one. “Just over a year ago, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) sought a contractor to build and operate a national license plate reader database. After some controversy, that plan was eventually pulled. According to a new ad posted Thursday, the agency now wants to ‘obtain query-based access to a commercially available License Plate Reader (LPR) database.’”

Slate: Art From 1923 Is About to Enter the Public Domain. According to Critics From 1923, Here’s the Worst of It

Slate: Art From 1923 Is About to Enter the Public Domain. According to Critics From 1923, Here’s the Worst of It. “The vast majority of art created in 1923 was terrible, just like any other year, and some of it should probably be left right where it is. To find out which newly-public-domain works from 1923 will benefit the public the least, we consulted with the people who know the art of 1923 best: Critics from 1923.”

Ars Technica: Book tells the inside story of how Reddit came to be the Internet’s “id”

Ars Technica: Book tells the inside story of how Reddit came to be the Internet’s “id”. “Entrepreneurs Alexis Ohanian and Steve Huffman famously founded Reddit as college roommates in 2005. Tech journalist Christine Lagorio-Chafkin’s recent book, We Are the Nerds: The Birth and Tumultuous Life of Reddit, the Internet’s Culture Laboratory, follows their sometimes rocky relationship as Reddit grew from a simple, user-directed front page for the Internet, to a scandal-rocked dominating force in online culture.”

New York Times: Facebook Data Scandals Stoke Criticism That a Privacy Watchdog Too Rarely Bites

New York Times: Facebook Data Scandals Stoke Criticism That a Privacy Watchdog Too Rarely Bites. “Last spring, soon after Facebook acknowledged that the data of tens of millions of its users had improperly been obtained by the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, a top enforcement official at the Federal Trade Commission drafted a memo about the prospect of disciplining the social network. Lawmakers, consumer advocates and even former commission officials were clamoring for tough action against Facebook, arguing that it had violated an earlier F.T.C. consent decree barring it from misleading users about how their information was shared. But the enforcement official, James A. Kohm, took a different view.”

Mashable: 4 free sites for creating your own comics

Mashable: 4 free sites for creating your own comics. “In the days of cold, hard newsprint, only people who could draw were successful comic strip authors. In some cases, this resulted in comic strips that had very nice pictures, but weren’t all that funny (cough, Blondie). Thankfully, the internet has taught us not to accept an inferior form of comic artistry, but a more flexible one.”

MakeTechEasier: Five Ways to Easily Convert Audio Files to Text

MakeTechEasier: Five Ways to Easily Convert Audio Files to Text. “There are so many uses out there for text-to-speech software as well as speech-to-text software. Whether you want to narrate stories, give dictation or use voice search, these apps help you do a good job. However, there are times when you need to convert an audio file to text. For example, it could be about documenting text notes of an interview or transcribing a video for uploading on YouTube. Here are a few options to help you achieve audio-to-text conversion in quick and easy steps.”

Engadget: Bangladesh shuts off mobile internet ahead of election

Engadget: Bangladesh shuts off mobile internet ahead of election. “The Bangladeshi government isn’t just counting on Facebook and Twitter crackdowns to protect its December 30th parliamentary election. The country’s Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has shut down 3G and 4G mobile data to ‘prevent rumors and propaganda’ from skewing the vote. The measure took effect immediately and was poised to last through the end of election day.”

Washington Post: 2018 was the year of online hate. Meet the people whose lives it changed.

Washington Post: 2018 was the year of online hate. Meet the people whose lives it changed . “It cost a school-shooting victim the safety of home. It cost an athlete the joy of a victory. It cost the family of a gay teen a battle with their community. In 2018, online hate spiraled into an unavoidable force in American life. A staggering wave of threats, bigotry and rage came out of the dark and onto the apps and websites we use every day. It transformed the Internet’s great power to connect into a weapon.”

Going Dumb: My Year With a Flip Phone (Wired)

Wired: Going Dumb: My Year With a Flip Phone. “We are the first generation of cyborgs, and our soft, slack bodies are rejecting the foreign technology. You can feel the invasion, a monstrous new lifeforce-leeching limb—the glass plus silicon multiplied by cloudmagic that equals the thousand-dollar device sitting pretty in your pocket. Everything else, even the internet, is subservient; the smartphone is the augmentation, the transformation. At this point, so integrated into our consciousness, can it even be hacked off? We can numb ourselves and self-medicate, ‘go offline’ for a time, but can we, like a trapped adventurer, self-amputate? I woke up one clear Saturday morning in January and thought: Well, can’t hurt to try.”