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Cyberculture roundup: GNU turned 30 years old, Free Software still important… Pew report: 15% of American adults ages 18 and older do not use the internet or email…

In Uncategorized on September 29, 2013 at 00:23

Why Free Software Is More Important Now Than Ever Before

GNU just turned 30 years old. But much has changed since the beginning of the free software movement; now there’s SaaS and more. Malware is common in proprietary software products since users don’t have control over them. Why does this control matter? Because freedom means having control over your own life.

Who’s Not Online and Why

As of May 2013, 15% of American adults ages 18 and older do not use the internet or email.

Asked why they do not use the internet:

  • 34% of non-internet users think the internet is just not relevant to them, saying they are not interested, do not want to use it, or have no need for it.

  • 32% of non-internet users cite reasons tied to their sense that the internet is not very easy to use. These non-users say it is difficult or frustrating to go online, they are physically unable, or they are worried about other issues such as spam, spyware, and hackers. This figure is considerably higher than in earlier surveys.

  • 19% of non-internet users cite the expense of owning a computer or paying for an internet connection.

  • 7% of non-users cited a physical lack of availability or access to the internet.

Report: Cell Internet Use 2013

63% of adult cell owners now use their phones to go online, a figure that has doubled since we first started tracking internet usage on cell phones in 2009. In addition, 34% of these cell internet users say that they mostly go online using their cell phone. That means that 21% of all adult cell owners now do most of their online browsing using their mobile phone—and not some other device such as a desktop or laptop computer.

Report: Cell Phone Activities 2013

Fully 91% of American adults own a cell phone and many use the devices for much more than phone calls. In our most recent nationally representative survey, we checked in on some of the most popular activities people perform on their cell phones and found:

  • 81% of cell phone owners send or receive text messages

  • 60% of cell phone owners access the internet

  • 52% send or receive email

  • 50% download apps

  • 49% get directions, recommendations, or other location-based information

  • 48% listen to music

  • 21% participate in a video call or video chat

  • 8% “check in” or share their location

From Anonymous to Bitcoin, The Good Wife Is the Most Tech-Savvy Show on TV

Fictive depictions of tech are influential. In most shows, technology is painted as either implausibly superpowered (‘Wait?enhance that image!’) or alarmingly dangerous. The Good Wife avoids this Manichaean trap.

Facebook Tweaks News Feed Ads Algorithm To Factor In User Feedback

Facebook announced another tweak to the algorithm that determines which ads appear in users’ News Feeds, giving more weight to the feedback it receives on ads, particularly how often they are hidden or reported.

Istanbul’s Kadıköy offers free Wi-Fi on streets

Istanbul’s Asian side district of Kadıköy will be hosting free, limitless Wi-Fi for internet users

Google turns 15: Here are 10 milestones that have shaped its search program

There’s something special about September 27, at least as it relates to one of the technology industry’s biggest players. It marks the 15th anniversary of Google’s founding* and the company has highlighted the occasion by revealing several updates to its search algorithm. But how has search, the cornerstone of all things Google, changed over the past decade and a half?

Microsoft Wants Google to Censor Its Wikipedia PageDay in and day out copyright holders send hundreds of thousands of DMCA takedown notices to Google, hoping to make pirated movies and music harder to find.

Attention v. relationship economy

Oddly, Google chief economist Hal Varian analyzes newspapers‘ problems and prescribes solutions strictly from an old-media perspective — based on attention to marketing messages — rather than an internet (namely, Google) perspective of relevance and relationships.

12 True Tales of Creepy NSA Cyberstalking

The NSA has released some details of 12 incidents in which analysts used their access to America’s high-tech surveillance infrastructure to spy on girlfriends, boyfriends, and random people they met in social settings. It’s a fascinating look at what happens when the impulse that drives average netizens to look up long-ago ex-lovers on Facebook is mated with the power to fire up a wiretap with a few keystrokes.

NSA has, as the paranoids warned us, been studying the social ties of Americans through our data


Gen. Keith Alexander, National Security Agency director, testifying Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

NSA Is Building Social Graphs of Americans’ Data: Report

Nsa-swear-in1

The U.SNational Security Agency has been using phone and email records to build visual graphs of Americans’ social connections
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