Monthly Archives: April 2024

Roku plans to start showing video ads on your homescreen

Source: The Verge - All Posts

Article note: Enshittification, full speed ahead...
Vector collage of the Roku logo.
Illustration: The Verge

Roku has a plan to boost ad revenue. The company will start showing video ads on your homescreen at some point. Roku CEO Anthony Wood told investors during the company’s earnings call last week that the company will put the video ads in the “premier video app we called the Marquee” where static image ads live now.

It sounds like Wood is referring to the box on the homescreen that sits to the right of your Roku apps, which hopefully means the video ads won’t be full-screened. He said the company is also testing out “other types of video ad units” and looking into other ways to “innovate more video advertising” on the homescreen. The company’s push comes after it performed its third layoff in less than a year last September amid a slower...

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Reddit is full of bots: thread reposted comment by comment, 10 months later

Source: Hacker News

Article note: The web is dying under botspam and directed manipulation. This is a particularly egregious example.
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FCC fines largest wireless carriers for sharing location data

Source: Hacker News

Article note: That fine is small enough to be minor cost-of-doing business. Intentionally mishandling sensitive user data should come with existential-threat fines.
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9FRONT (Plan 9) “Do Not Install” Released

Source: Hacker News

Article note: I'm extremely tickled that they used a unix_surrealism bit as their release name.
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UK votes to dissolve university senate, strips role of helping set school policies

Source: Latest News

Article note: We knew the board was going to rubber stamp it, but it's still repugnant. As best I can make out, the entire premise is "We can't squeeze any more money to support administrative bloat and monument-building construction projects out of the pool of qualified students, so we need to start admitting more unqualified students to pump those numbers." This power grab apparently kicked off because the faculty senate wanted to reinstate test requirements for admission (which our vast pandemic-era forced experiment has demonstrated generally improves the diversity of admitted students, because standardized tests are one of the few good way for students from disadvantage backgrounds to distinguish themselves in a portable way), and the administration didn't want that getting in the way of expanding enrollment into taking a couple semesters of tuition from more students who are grossly unprepared for college.

University of Kentucky faculty and staff attend the board of trustees meeting on April 26, 2024. The board heard from nine people opposed to a proposed change to the university’s governance structure, which would move the university senate to an advisory role.

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Corporate greed from Apple and Google have destroyed the passkey future

Source: OSNews

Article note: This was the only possible outcome in the current environment, and why I've been totally disinterested in passkeys.

William Brown, developer of webauthn-rs, has written a scathing blog post detailing how corporate interests – namely, Apple and Google – have completely and utterly destroyed the concept of passkeys. The basic gist is that Apple and Google were more interested in control and locking in users than in providing a user-friendly passwordless future, and in doing so have made passkeys effectively a worse user experience than just using passwords in a password manager.

Since then Passkeys are now seen as a way to capture users and audiences into a platform. What better way to encourage long term entrapment of users then by locking all their credentials into your platform, and even better, credentials that can’t be extracted or exported in any capacity.

Both Chrome and Safari will try to force you into using either hybrid (caBLE) where you scan a QR code with your phone to authenticate – you have to click through menus to use a security key. caBLE is not even a good experience, taking more than 60 seconds work in most cases. The UI is beyond obnoxious at this point. Sometimes I think the password game has a better ux.

The more egregious offender is Android, which won’t even activate your security key if the website sends the set of options that are needed for Passkeys. This means the IDP gets to choose what device you enroll without your input. And of course, all the developer examples only show you the options to activate “Google Passkeys stored in Google Password Manager”. After all, why would you want to use anything else?

↫ William Brown

The whole post is a sobering read of how a dream of passwordless, and even usernameless, authentication was right within our grasp, usable by everyone, until Apple and Google got involved and enshittified the standards and tools to promote lock-in and their own interests above the user experience. If even someone as knowledgeable about this subject as Brown, who writes actual software to make these things work, is advising against using passkeys, you know something’s gone horribly wrong.

I also looked into possibly using passkeys, including using things like a Yubikey, but the process seems so complex and unpleasant that I, too, concluded just sticking to Bitwarden and my favourite open source TFA application was a far superior user experience.

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FCC restores net neutrality rules that ban blocking and throttling in 3-2 vote

Source: Ars Technica

Article note: Well, that's encouraging news. It's been a ridiculous regulatory ping-pong and I don't know how long it will persist, but ... encouraging.
FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel speaks outside in front of a sign that says

Enlarge / Federal Communication Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, then a commissioner, rallies against repeal of net neutrality rules in December 2017. (credit: Getty Images | Chip Somodevilla)

The Federal Communications Commission voted 3–2 to impose net neutrality rules today, restoring the common-carrier regulatory framework enforced during the Obama era and then abandoned while Trump was president.

The rules prohibit Internet service providers from blocking and throttling lawful content and ban paid prioritization. Cable and telecom companies plan to fight the rules in court, but they lost a similar battle during the Obama era when judges upheld the FCC's ability to regulate ISPs as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act.

"Consumers have made clear to us they do not want their broadband provider cutting sweetheart deals, with fast lanes for some services and slow lanes for others," FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said at today's meeting. "They do not want their providers engaging in blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization. And if they have problems, they expect the nation's expert authority on communications to be able to respond. Because we put national net neutrality rules back on the books, we fix that today."

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Windows 11 now comes with its own adware

Source: Engadget

Article note: Hasn't it been advertising candy crush and xbox live and some other shit in the start menu since early in the windows 10 era?

It used to be that you could pay for a retail version of Windows 11 and expect it to be ad-free, but those days are apparently finito. The latest update to Windows 11 (KB5036980) comes out this week and includes ads for apps in the "recommended" section of the Start Menu, one of the most oft-used parts of the OS.

"The Recommended section of the Start menu will show some Microsoft Store apps," according to the release notes. "These apps come from a small set of curated developers." 

The app suggestions are enabled by default, but you can restore your previously pristine Windows experience if you've installed the update, fortunately. To do so, go into Settings and select Personalization > Start and switch the "Show recommendations for tips, app promotions and more" toggle to "off."

The new "feature" arrives just weeks after it appeared as an Insider beta, showing how quickly Microsoft can implement things when it wants to. It certainly wasn't enough time to receive the kind of user feedback the Insider program is designed for.

The update is bound to rub customers the wrong way, considering that Windows 11 starts at $139 for the Home version. While removing it isn't a huge deal, it may also remind folks of the needless time they spent stripping bloatware from OEM Windows installations. Microsoft previously tested ads in the Windows 11 File Explorer, but ended the experiment shortly afterward.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at
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The man who killed Google Search

Source: OSNews

Article note: Apparently the rot tractably rooted in 2019. Managed, incredibly, by the same individual who destroyed Yahoo's search business.

These emails — which I encourage you to look up — tell a dramatic story about how Google’s finance and advertising teams, led by Raghavan with the blessing of CEO Sundar Pichai, actively worked to make Google worse to make the company more money. This is what I mean when I talk about the Rot Economy — the illogical, product-destroying mindset that turns the products you love into torturous, frustrating quasi-tools that require you to fight the company’s intentions to get the service you want.

↫ Edward Zitron

Quite the read.

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Internet Archive in Court: There’s More to Copyright Than Financial Incentives

Source: Hacker News

Article note: I absolutely agree with the IA position, but copyright has been converted to such an exploitation machine that I suspect the prevailing interpretation has forgotten that it's supposed to support the public interest.
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