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  • Geebo 10:30 am on December 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , honesty, Patreon   

    Patreon’s admission of error is refreshing 

    Patreon's admission of error is refreshing

    For those of you who may not know, Patreon is a crowd-funding platform that many content creators use so they can be funded by their fans. It’s used by everyone from bloggers, to YouTubers, to musicians and artists. Creators are able to ask for pledges by month or per episode, depending on the type of content they create. Patreon takes a small percentage of the pledges as their fee. Recently, Patreon announced a new payment procedure where patrons would be charged a processing fee of 2.9% along with $0.35 per pledge.

    The problem with the new payment procedures is that the majority of Patreon pledges were made up of $1 pledges. A number of people make multiple $1 pledges to several different creators. So if someone pledges ten $1 pledges to ten separate creators, the patron would be charged $3.50 extra altogether for their pledges. This caused many $1 patrons to withdraw their pledges causing content creators to lose a lot of money. Many content creators complained about the new payment structure and Patreon listened. Patreon CEO Jack Conte, reversed the previous decision in a blog post titled “We Messed Up”.

    While content creators may still be out of money and Patreon’s reputation may still be damaged, it’s refreshing to a tech company listen to its uses and admit they made a mistake. While companies like Facebook and Backpage are appearing before Congress using legalese to try to avoid any admission of wrongdoing, Patreon stepped up and said they were wrong and are trying to move on to repair their relationship with their users. If only more platforms were this honest with their users.

  • Geebo 9:56 am on December 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Chamath Palihapitiya, ,   

    Facebook denies it’s ‘ripping society apart’ 

    Facebook denies it's 'ripping society apart'

    Former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya recently addressed a Stanford Graduate School of Business last month that social media is destroying how society works. This got reported by many media outlets as Mr. Palihapitiya said ‘Facebook is ripping society apart’ due to his former connection with Facebook. However, his point was more nuanced than that.

    But that’s not the story here. The story is that Facebook actually took time to descend from their ivory tower to address the masses about this latest round of negative press.

    Chamath has not been at Facebook for over [six] years. When Chamath was at Facebook we were focused on building new social media experiences and growing Facebook around the world. Facebook was a very different company back then, and as we have grown, we have realized how our responsibilities have grown too. We take our role very seriously and we are working hard to improve. We’ve done a lot of work and research with outside experts and academics to understand the effects of our service on well-being, and we’re using it to inform our product development. We are also making significant investments more in people, technology and processes, and — as Mark Zuckerberg said on the last earnings call — we are willing to reduce our profitability to make sure the right investments are made.

    Facebook has definitely grown exponentially since Mr. Palihapitiya was at Facebook, but it’s highly debatable that they’ve realized their responsibilities have grown too. If anything, Facebook has grown out of its own control. From the dissemination of flagrant falsehoods to accusations that their ads can be tailored to focus on or void certain ethnic groups, Facebook appears to have become the faceless corporation of dystopian fiction that only cares about the bottom line. Instead of growing uncontrollably like an amorphous blob that increases in size as it consumes, maybe they should dial things back until the company is in control again instead of being at the whim of bad actors.

  • Geebo 10:00 am on December 12, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , wallets   

    Beware of fake cryptocurrency wallet apps 

    Beware of fake cryptocurrency wallet apps

    Cryptocurrenices like Bitcoin have been in the news a lot lately. From its volatile increase in value, to people becoming Bitcoin billionaires, to millions being lost in hacks and theft, to people mortgaging their homes in order to buy into Bitcoin have been hogging the headlines for the past few weeks. With cryptocurrency popularity at an all time high, it should come as no surprise that some people are looking to make money off of the cryptocurrency craze in some not so legitimate ways.

    Much like real currency, or analog currency if you will, cryptocurrency needs a place where it can be stored safely and securely. These exchanges or clients are often referred to as wallets.

    Recently, some people have been listing phony wallet apps on the various app stores that appear to be connected to certain cryptocurrencies, but are not official apps. These apps could compromise your personal information including the private keys to your wallet which could result in the loss of your cryptocurrency.

    If you’re looking for a crpytocurrency wallet app don’t go to the app store first. Instead go to the official website of the cryptocurrency exchange of your choice. There, they should have a link to their official app where you then can download it. This goes for many banking and financial apps as well. Don’t trust the app stores to provide the official apps when so many knock off apps exist.

  • Geebo 10:34 am on December 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Gun trade alive and well on Facebook 

    Gun trade alive and well on Facebook

    Did you know that you used to be able to buy guns on Facebook? Not from licensed gun dealers but from individual gun owners who could sell their guns to other users without conducting a background check. That was until early 2016 when under pressure from parents groups when Facebook placed an outright ban on their platform of any kind of gun sale.

    However, if you fast forward to today, the trading and selling of guns is still taking place on Facebook. According to the Columbia Missourian, the trading of firearms continues mostly unabated on the social network. Now this isn’t an argument about the 2nd Amendment. This is an argument about Facebook not being able to enforce its own policies.

    Facebook is a private entity and can ban whatever it wants on its network. However, to say your banning something and actually being able to enforce it are two different matters. This is yet another example of how Facebook’s reach has grown beyond their ability to control it. Even the gun traders admit that sometimes a gun will fall into the wrong hands. Without any kind of real enforcement on Facebook’s part, any kind of ban they declare is one in name only.

  • Geebo 10:19 am on December 8, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Is crytptocurrency the future of classifieds? 

    Is crytptocurrency the future of classifieds?

    Cryptocurrency Bitcoin has been in the news a lot lately. Mostly because since the beginning 2017 it has increased in value from $1,000 to a record high of $17,000 with many people and experts saying that a crash is inevitable. Either way, cryptocurrencies seem like there here to stay. While they haven’t been universally adopted yet as an online payment method one classifieds site has made it easier for their users to accept cryptocurrency.

    Craigslist recently, and quietly, added an option to their ads where sellers can say they’re ok with being paid in cryptocurrency. While many see this as an advance in technology, it can also be seen as yet one more avenue into fraud. Bitcoin exchanges and wallets are susceptible to hacking and there have been several stories in the news where millions of dollars in Bitcoin have been stolen. If these hackers use stolen Bitcoins through craigslist that can almost be seen as a form of money laundering.

    That’s not even taking into account that Bitcoin seems to go against one of craigslist’s core values. Craigslist tries to tout itself as being socially responsible yet the mining of Bitcoins uses so much power that the energy needed to generate one Bitcoin could power nine US homes for a day.

    While it seems craigslist has been bitten by the Bitcoin bug, stick with cash and also use a classifieds site that isn’t filled with a plethora of fraudulent ads.

  • Geebo 10:03 am on December 7, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    San Francisco bans delivery robots 

    San Francisco bans delivery robots

    Previously, we’ve discussed delivery robots not only as a possible way of the future, but also how they could be used to make online classifieds transactions safer. Instead of having to meet someone in public, the robots could be used instead to deliver the goods which could greatly educe the risk to personal harm. While three states have approved legislation for delivery robots one major metropolitan area just terminated their public use.

    San Francisco is a very tech-centric city and has been the home of many start-ups over the years. However, recently they did something very Un-San Francisco like by virtually banning delivery robots. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors just voted to bury these robots in an avalanche of red tape. Now, these delivery start-ups will have to get permits to use their robots, they can only be used in low pedestrian traffic areas, and can only be used for research purposes. While not outright banning them this does effectively cripple the industry. The Board of Supervisors claims that they’re banning the robots over safety concerns, but is that really why?

    Rather than safety issues could the city instead be worried about the potential loss of jobs that these robots could represent? It brings to mind that in two states, Oregon and New Jersey, it is illegal to pump your own gas. These states claim it’s a safety concern while the other 48 states have little to no issues with people pumping their own gas. Instead these bans are used to protect jobs more than to protect consumers from any possible hazards. This seems like a more logical reason for San Francisco to ban these robots than safety issues, but if they were to publicly claim this it could potentially dissuade other start-ups from wanting to make San Francisco their home.

  • Geebo 10:08 am on December 6, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Beware the phony iPhone X 

    Beware the phony iPhone X

    Since the iPhone X has been released it has been touted by some in the Apple ecosystem as the greatest cell phone ever invented, while others have said the iPhone 8 is an upgrade enough. However, if you find yourself in the market for an iPhone X, you should be on the lookout for phony knock off versions of the popular phone being sold online.

    One man in Chandler, Arizona, fell victim to one of these knock offs. He purchased the phone from someone on the OfferUp app. The seller had a good reputation on OfferUp which could possibly lead one to believe that seller reviews on OfferUp could be faked. The box was sealed, the package had a serial number and an IMEI number which was said to have been verified. The man paid under the list price of $1000 which should have been a tip-off. No one is selling an iPhone X at a loss. The scam became obvious when the man fired up the phone and an Android prompt greeted him. Android is the Google made operating system used by most phones that aren’t iPhones, while iPhones use Apple’s iOS. These knock off phones have been around even before the iPhone X was released.

    While OfferUp has removed the alleged seller from their app, what’s stopping them from creating a new account to start the scam all over again? As slick and glitzy as the OfferUp app might be it still seems to have the same old problems like the antiquated craigslist, rampant crime and scams galore. The more things change the more they stay the same.

  • Geebo 10:23 am on December 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Is there a sliver of hope for Net Neutrality? 

    Is there a sliver of hope for Net Neutrality?

    FCC Chairman Ajit Pai

    With the impending repeal of Net neutrality less than two weeks away there are some people in positions of power who are trying to attempt last-minute solutions on at least delaying the FCC’s imminent execution of a free and open internet. However, is it too little too late?

    New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is asking the FCC to delay its December 14th vote on Net Neutrality while Schneiderman’s office investigates the claims that many of the public comments to the FCC in support of repealing Net Neutrality were fraudulent. This is in addition to 27 Senators who have also asked the FCC to delay the vote pending a court ruling on whether or not the Federal Trade Commission has any authority over internet service providers. If the court rules in favor of ISPs there could basically be no protection for consumers from predatory practices by the ISPs.

    Unfortunately, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has publicly stated that he has no intention of delaying the December 14th vote.

    This is just evidence that supporters of heavy-handed Internet regulations are becoming more desperate by the day as their effort to defeat Chairman Pai’s plan to restore Internet freedom has stalled. The vote will proceed as scheduled on December 14.

    It’s ironic that Chairman Pai refers to the death of Net Neutrality as internet freedom as it’s anything but. The fact that he uses the word freedom brings to mind the famous quote by 18th Century writer Samuel Johnson. “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” Ajit Pai is no patriot. He seems more like an enemy of the American people.

  • Geebo 10:33 am on December 4, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Another government wants to investigate Facebook 

    Another government wants to investigate Facebook

    In the wake of the Russian ad scandal, and its fake news problem, many in the US have been calling for federal regulation of companies like Facebook. Now another major world government is set to investigate Facebook for anti-competitive practices. The Australian government has announced their intentions to investigate companies including Facebook and Google believing those companies are harming Australian news media.

    It’s widely believed that between Facebook and Google, the two companies control close to 40% of all media advertising in Australia. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will be investigating the two tech giants along with any other digital platforms that affect the quality of news media in the country.

    Thanks to Facebook’s pervasive influence on our lives, many media outlets have sacrificed quality in order to get clicks and pageviews. They are forced to fight against less than reputable news sources and false memes that are viewed as gospel by some, making true journalism in this and other countries a rare occurrence.

  • Geebo 9:58 am on December 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Avoid the secret shopper scam this holiday season 

    Avoid the secret shopper scam this holiday season

    With the holiday season approaching, many people are turning to seasonal part-time jobs in order to supplement their income in order to provide a better holiday for their family. One of those positions that seems to proliferate during the holiday season is that of the secret shopper or mystery shopper. Many retail outlets hire or outsource people to go shopping at their stores who then report back how the experience was. The main problem with trying to find a secret shopper job is that it’s probably the position that is most connected with job scams.

    This scam can take the form of two other scams, either the fake job scam or the fake check scam. The fake job scam is when the so-called employer asks you for a payment up front for either background check or service materials. With the fake check scam, the scammers will sen you a fake check meant to cover your expenses. They’ll ask you to deposit the check then return whatever part of the money you don’t need. When your bank discovers the check is fake you’ll be on the hook for whatever money is used.

    Of course, you’ll find these phony positions mostly on unmoderated classifieds sites like craigslist. While this scam has been around even before the internet they seem to proliferate mostly on craigslist since they appear to do little or no research into whether or not thee jobs are legitimate. If you’re looking for one of these positions, try to stick to corporate employment websites or those of marketing firms. Always research the company as well before you apply.

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