Bruce Schneier on the state of the web

Bruce Schneier on the state of the internet. Schneier is one of the smartest people on information security and the implications of how systems change

Key takeaways:

  • The internet has been changed by a change in the elites involved in running it. In the early commercial internet through to the mid-noughties their was a libertarian post-hippy element at the centre of it. You had engineers and bodies with a somewhat countercultural outlook. This is no longer the case
  • The technological models haven’t changed that much: time-sharing –> client server model –> managed services –> cloud computing
  • Locked down end points are interesting because the consumer has much less control: Apple’s app store, Kindle store etc –> new model of security; someone else takes care of it. Users have to trust vendors from iOS devices to GMail and Yahoo! Mail – what he calls feudal security. It reminds me a lot of the power of the chaebols in Korea
  • Cloud platform companies are starting to look like banks where consumer trust is being compromised. NSAgate is just a minor part of that.
  • The internet magnifies power, consumers tend to have power when technological change first comes along, existing powerful bodies take a while to get up to speed but are more effective.

Four classes of internet tools of power:

  • Content filtering / data loss prevention
  • Use control
  • Marketing
  • Surveillance – personal data collection

Facebook is changing social norms, affecting what people is normal and regular for profit. Allignment of corporate and government power: Facebook is NSA’s wet dream

  • Ubiquitous data collection is the ‘end of pre-history’ where some things were recorded to where everything is recorded.
  • Cyber-nationalism with ITU looking to wrest control of the internet from the US to local governments
  • We are a forgetting species so the technology will transform both personal and societal relationships. Second order social consequences make all this unpredictable

The nature of power is changing from hard to soft power; the nature of social control has changed dramatically. Making privacy salient makes consumers aware and less likely to adopt a service.

No part of the internet commons, but a collection of privately-owned public spaces, which affects legality and control.


Links of the day | 在网上找到

The Best Superhero Comic of the Year Is About a Crime-Solving Dog Who Loves Pizza | Underwire |

Microsoft exec on the Valley’s bias against Azure: It’s ‘running out of excuses’ | VentureBeat

What Is Needed For Top Positions In The App Stores? | Distimo

Instant 90’s Music – The 90’s button – just for fun

Grindr – Lisa Page – HyperIsland – really interesting insights on LBS design

China’s Youku Tudou collaborates with Qualcomm to boost quality of videos on mobile platforms – The Next Web

Five for Friday | 五日(星期五)

Things that caught my eye this week:

The soundtrack of the week was M.I.A’s Bring The Noize which felt curiously like the imagery of an early 90s rave music video, complete with a modded Mark II Ford Fiesta XR2 and projections reminiscent of early Rhythm King record sleeves:

But the ADD-influenced backing track is the sound of now.

Every cloud supposedly has a silver lining and in the case of NSAgate it was Sang Mun’s beautifully designed ZXX fonts designed to improve privacy by making life very difficult for optical character recognition (OCR) systems. More information and download here.

Sennheiser USA put together this comparison video with theirs and competitor offerings for noise cancelling headphones. The product speaks for itself.

My old colleague Paul Armstrong (aka @themediaisdying) has branched out with his own agency and to market it is putting together a regular newsletter on all things digital.

I got to see some old friends in Hong Kong this week, when I moderated a panel for Digital Cream Hong Kong and caught up with friends from Econsultancy London.

Links of the day | 在网上找到

Coke’s first name campaign hits difficulties in China | The Drum due to the variety of names

Alibaba Internal Memo Bans All Third-Party Communication Software

Sony: Gamers don’t want to buy digital | T3 – not terribly surprised due to secondhand market for games and the collectable nature of them

Grindr, Skout, Scruff, Shazam most-used apps at Cannes Lions 2013 – no confirming to stereotype at all then for creatives

China’s next chapter: Tech, manufacturing, and innovation | McKinsey & Company

Qualcomm finally completes $120m investment in Sharp, now its third-largest investor with 3.5% stake – The Next Web

China’s liquidity crunch, and what it means for everyone | FT Alphaville – (paywall)

I, Cringely Snowden and the NSA reflect a millennial climate change – I, Cringely – interesting essay on how millennial values clash with authority

From $99 and up, audio component manufacturing is returning to the U.S. | The Audiophiliac – CNET News

As CDs Spin On in Japan, Tower Records Rocks On – Japan Real Time – WSJ

RBS M&IB – Why RMB will be a global currency by 2015

Reader rapture: what will be your salvation during Google shutdown?

We have reached the end times for Google Reader and a mass of activity has been whipped up to provide people with alternatives to consume RSS feeds through.

My personal favourite is Newsblur. For people who only follow a few feeds Newsblur might be overkill. It has a number of features that make it ideal for my needs:

  • Migrating in is easy, Google Reader allows people to easily migrate. From other readers there is a standard format of file called OPML that allows you to move your feeds across in just one or two clicks
  • Feeds can be viewed in the reader in one of three formats that also allow you to see what the original page design is like. This is particularly handy from a PR perspective where position on the page can give a bit more context to coverage
  • Coverage can be shared via the Blurblog function and Newsblur supports
  • Newsblur has decent mobile clients
  • It is a paid-for model which isn’t reliant on advertising, if Google can’t flog advertising on an RSS reader product who can
  • It polls feeds much faster than other products that I have tried
  • Newsblur’s training feature helps filter out irrelevant content and highlight pertinent content, which is invaluable for PROs
  • Newsblur’s code is open source

Veteran Mac RSS reader NetNewsWire has been resurrected by Black Pixel and version four has a back-end that is independent of Google Reader. This was the first RSS reader that I used. I personally prefer Newsblur now, but it is good to see some of the innovation that has come out in the current open beta.

Feedly saw a surge in users when the news about Google Reader was initially announced. The media love its minimal look, but it can be too clever for its own good and hard to use. I personally found this didn’t work for the way I read and bookmark content. I have a similar view of Flipboard.

The Old Reader was designed by people who liked Google Reader just the way it was. Newsvibe has an even cleaner look than the old reader if that kind of thing floats your boat.

The wild card in the mix for me is AOL Reader. No that isn’t a typo, AOL: ‘You’ve got mail’ and the people who provided my Mum and Dad with the CDs that they hang from their apple trees to scare away birds from attacking the fruit has launched a decent looking RSS reader. It is web based but mobile and tablet friendly. Probably one of the biggest challenges would be finding a memorable AOL ID to use.

More information
The Old Reader
AOL Reader
Online Journalism list of RSS readers