Wall Street Journal: FTX Collapse Puts Crypto Industry on the Defensive in Congress. “The collapse of FTX has eroded cryptocurrency firms’ standing in Washington, dimming the prospects for industry-backed legislation and raising pressure on regulators to step up enforcement. Since the crypto-trading platform’s November bankruptcy, lawmakers have called for federal regulators such as the Securities and Exchange Commission to police cryptocurrency markets more aggressively.”
WIRED: The Worst Hacks of 2022. “Here’s WIRED’s look back on the year’s worst breaches, leaks, ransomware attacks, state-sponsored hacking campaigns, and digital takeovers. If the first years of the 2020s are any indication, the digital security field in 2023 will be more bizarre and unpredictable than ever. Stay alert, and stay safe out there.”
Techdirt: New Year’s Message: The Opportunity To Build A Better Internet Is Here. Right Now.. “For large parts of this year, I actually wondered if there was really that much to be optimistic about in tech, but over the last few months I have to admit that I’ve been the most optimistic I’ve been in a long time. I previewed just some of my thinking just about a week ago when I noted that I can’t see any reason for anyone to invest time in building up a social graph on yet another centralized social media network, now that we’re seeing how a decentralized one can actually work, and work well.”
Spotted on Twitter: a new Web site housing the January 6 report. There’s a chaptered and searchable version of the report, of course, but there’s also an “Attack Timeline” which provides information about what happened when, mapped out on a 3d model of the Capitol. Impressive.
Polygon: How NFT video games crashed and burned. “Less than 12 months ago, it felt as if 2022 would be the year NFTs took off in the video game world. Companies like EA, Ubisoft, Square Enix, Zynga, Niantic, and Take-Two Interactive all, at one point, said that they were brainstorming ways to add NFTs into their games. The idea being that non-fungible tokens would replace everything from loot boxes to character skins to even characters themselves. But none of that ended up happening.”
The Verge: In 2022, cozy games went from niche to video game fixture. “While open-world games with low stakes and minimal violence have existed for decades, it wasn’t until more recently that they became a genre all of their own, referred to as ‘cozy’ or ‘wholesome’ games. The mechanics and goals in games like Stardew Valley, Ooblets, and Cozy Grove may vary, but they share a common vibe wholly separate from the cis-male, RGB streamer setup that’s become analogous with gaming culture.” Hello from Cozy Rimworld.
The Next Web: EU tech policy predictions: What to expect in 2023. “TNW asked IT experts across the bloc what they predict from the EU’s policies in 2023. All expect significant changes in legislation, with certain technologies particularly prominent in their forecasts.”
PetaPixel: Photographer Reveals How To Spot Photoshopped Celebrity Images. “A photographer has become a TikTok star educating the internet on how to spot if a celebrity image is Photoshopped. Commercial photographer Caroline Ross is teaching ‘digital media literacy skills’ on TikTok — asking viewers if they can spot what is ‘fake’ in a celebrity’s image and revealing exactly how stars edit their photos.”
US Census Bureau: Census Bureau Projects U.S. and World Populations on New Year’s Day. “As the nation prepares to ring in the new year, the U.S. Census Bureau today projected the U.S. population will be 334,233,854 on Jan. 1, 2023. This represents an increase of 1,571,393 (0.47%) from New Year’s Day 2022, and 2,784,573 (0.84%) since Census Day (April 1) 2020.”
Hackaday: Turn A Webpage Into A Desktop App With Gluon. “Electron is software for running web-written apps in the same way as native ones, and has gotten plenty of bad press for its RAM appetite around these parts. But while the execution might leave something to be desired, the concept itself is quite solid — if you’ve already got code written for the web, a quick and easy way to bring it over to the desktop would be very valuable. Which is why [CanadaHonk] is building a framework called Gluon, which aims to turn your web pages into desktop apps with little to no effort.”
Axios: Fidelity slashes Twitter value by 56% . “Fidelity slashed its carrying value of Twitter by 56% during the first month of Elon Musk’s ownership, according to a new disclosure.”
TechXplore: Disguising solar panels as ancient Roman tiles in Pompeii. “Technically called ‘traditional PV tiles’, the invisible solar panels used in Pompeii come from Camisano Vicentino, a little Italian town with slightly more than 10 000 inhabitants, halfway between Padua and Vicenza…. The traditional PV tiles are made from a polymer compound, which allows the sun’s rays to filter through. The photovoltaic cells are then integrated into it by hand and covered with a layer of the polymer compound.”
New York Times: An Architect of Biden’s Antitrust Push Is Leaving the White House. “Tim Wu, a central architect of President Biden’s push to clip the wings of the nation’s largest companies, is leaving the White House…. Mr. Wu is one-third of a troika — along with Lina Khan at the Federal Trade Commission and Jonathan Kanter at the Justice Department — leading Washington’s attempts to more aggressively check corporate giants, including the largest tech companies.”
Search Engine Roundtable: Despite Criticism, Google Says Search Results Are Better & Are More Relevant. “In November, yes, a month ago, there was a lot of criticism across the web that Google Search and the results were declining. We touched on the topic when I covered a poll about SEOs being split on if Google is getting worse or is the web getting worse. Now that it is a slower week, I am digging through some threads I did not cover when I should have, and I spotted Danny Sullivan of Google defending the quality of Google’s search results on Mastodon.”
Washington Post: Cameras struggle with dark skin. Here’s how new smartphones stack up.. “Today, the phones in our pockets can produce images with the kind of fidelity that can rival — and sometimes beat! — dedicated cameras. But even now, [Erika] Young told me, people of color still struggle to feel fully represented in the photos and selfies they take — and that’s partially because our clever phones don’t always know how to handle Black and Brown faces.”