Links: Tuesday, October 7th

October 7, 2014 Links 1

A whit man in a black and white button-down shirt leans on the steel pillar on  the platform of the Christopher Street stop on the NYC subway. A pale flesh colored dildo sits on a steel been on the ceiling behind him.

Subtle Dildo: Like “Where’s Waldo?” But with a dildo.

Today’s Links:

  • Adobe is Spying on Users, Collecting Data on Their eBook Libraries – If you’re using the most recent version of Adobe Digital Editions – ADE4 – you should read this post about how it’s collecting your data.

    Adobe is gathering data on the ebooks that have been opened, which pages were read, and in what order. All of this data, including the title, publisher, and other metadata for the book is being sent to Adobe’s server in clear text.

    I am not joking; Adobe is not only logging what users are doing, they’re also sending those logs to their servers in such a way that anyone running one of the servers in between can listen in and know everything,

    But wait, there’s more.

    Adobe isn’t just tracking what users are doing in DE4; this app was also scanning my computer, gathering the metadata from all of the ebooks sitting on my hard disk, and uploading that data to Adobe’s servers.

    In. Plain. Text.

    And just to be clear, this includes not just ebooks I opened in DE4, but also ebooks I store in calibre and every Epub ebook I happen to have sitting on my hard disk.

  • Nickelodeon’s Diversity “Problem” Is That It Likes Diversity – Mathew Klickstein, a D-list actor you’ve probably never heard of, wrote a book about Nickelodeon in the 90s. The interview he gave for it was, uh, pretty fucked up.

    Throughout the interview, Klickstein continuously champions The Adventures of Pete & Pete, a show that I never watched because it was about two little white boys. It wasn’t for me! So I can’t speak to whether or not it earned its popularity, but I will tell you that even from a young age I avoided programming that didn’t include me because I thought that I wasn’t worthy of being a part of that conversation. I just twiddled my thumbs until Rugrats came on and I could appreciate Susie Carmichael. This is not to say I only enjoyed programs that included a diverse set of people; if that were the case, my television consumption would’ve been limited to five minutes a day, maybe less if Hey Arnold! had an Helga-centric storyline. But as rare as they were, I still sought them out and I relished the sight of a little black girl on my TV.

  • You’re Not Stupid; Ello Is Badly Designed – I see this a lot, honestly, and it makes me sad. You’re not an idiot, most likely, and I hate that you’d think you were because you can’t read a website’s mind.

    Men speak over women in pretty much every arena of life. None of this is, on its own, unique. But I was reminded of these incidents, and many others, yesterday, when about 20 people that I follow on Twitter all attempted to talk to one another on Ello over the course of about 3 hours.

    One by one, the reactions from my female friends rolled in: I can’t change my user icon. I can’t figure out how to reply to people. Why are the time stamps wrong? What’s up with the threading? So on, and so forth. Privately, I emailed my girlfriend to point out some problems with Ello. We’re both developers, we’ve both worked extensively on web applications, and we both came to the conclusion that it wasn’t ready for a public beta – there were too many prominent bugs and usability problems. But when I looked at the conclusion on Twitter, there was a theme that wasn’t present in my own high handed criticism: a bunch of highly educated, internet-savvy women were asking each other, “Am I stupid, or is Ello not working?”

    I ended up yelling (in all caps, at 10 at night, with my girlfriend lying beside me) “NO, YOU’RE NOT STUPID. BLAME THE WEBSITE. BOYS DO.”

  • Why I’m Not Celebrating Marriage Equality – Aaminah Khan, who you might know as @jaythenerdkid on Twitter, writes about how marriage equality is only the very tip of the iceberg in the struggle for LGBT rights.

    As a queer woman of colour, I am far more likely to be the target of hate crimes due to my sexual orientation than, say Neil Patrick Harris. This is not to say that I don’t support the general thrust of activist efforts for marriage equality, but when I look at my life and the issues I struggle with daily, being able to marry a woman isn’t even in the top five. Bi erasure and hate crimes against queer people of colour are far more pressing issues in my life. The endless barrage of hatred I get from people who think being Muslim and queer is some kind of betrayal bothers me far more than discrimination in marriage legislation does. That is not to say that I don’t think marriage laws should be permissive and inclusive – I do! But in my own life, and in the lives of many of my friends, there are many more pressing issues to consider.

  • 'Thug Kitchen' Is the Latest Iteration of Digital Blackface – Cultural appropriation is never a good idea. My fellow white people: we need to do better.

    Earlier this week, a hard-hitting investigation by Epicurious revealed that the food blog (and upcoming cookbook) Thug Kitchen—a brand that got popular by writing recipes in a tone reminiscent of African American Vernacular English—is run by two WASPy white people from California, Michelle Davis and Matt Holloway, whom Epicurious refers to as “masterminds.”

    For the uninitiated, Thug Kitchen’s recipes are sold with phrases like “Don’t fuck around with some sorry-ass ten-dollar takeout,” and “This holiday season bake a batch of these spiced sons of bitches.” The tone has led many people to deride the “Thugs,” as Davis and Holloway wish to be called, as “deceptive” and “a lot like the latest iteration of nouveau blackface.” Others criticized the title of Thug Kitchen for its use of the word thug, something that has been deemed a code word—that is, a “polite way to say ‘nigger’ in mixed company.”

  • #FergusonFridays: Not all of the Black freedom fighters are men: An Interview with Black Women on the Front line in Ferguson – Feminist Wire posted a great interview with a few of the women who are leading the fight in Ferguson. You should read it.

    Since the moment Michael Brown was murdered on August 9, women in Ferguson have played a critical role in mobilizing their communities to convict officer Darren Wilson. Like the women of the Civil Rights movement, their strategies, passion and relentless pursuit for justice had not stopped. In fact, it is only getting stronger and more focused, as seen through the recent development of Millennial Activists United. Run by a majority of women, the group remains at the forefront of protests outside of the Ferguson Police Department, city council meetings and Twitter updates. They are recording a part of American history and fighting against a system that has often overlooked young people and Black women in particular. They feed, they clothe, they organize, and they rally. Because of them, there is a tangible movement occurring in Ferguson, one that may one day make the cover of Time magazine too late or never at all. But still, they fight. This is a movement of young people willing to risk their jobs, their degrees and even their lives in the name of freedom. Here are some voices of the women who have been on the ground since day one.

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An ice hockey fan from north of Boston and the genre's most beloved troll, Ridley enjoys reading contemporary and historical romance, as well as the odd erotica novel. As someone who uses a wheelchair, she takes a particular interest in disability themes.

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One Response to “Links: Tuesday, October 7th”

  1. cleo

    I read The Design of Everyday Things by Donald Norman in an intro to design class in the mid-90s and it was so eye-opening – and so, so freeing. It applies to more than web design – bad design in general makes people feel dumb, but it’s not their fault. Frex, if I can’t figure out if I should push or pull a door to open it, it doesn’t mean that I’m dumb, it often means that the design is unclear.