Articles

A secret network of 20 roadside listening stations across the UK has confirmed that criminals are attempting to jam GPS signals on a regular basis, a conference at the National Physical Laboratory, in London, will hear later today. Set up by the government’s Technology Strategy Board (TSB) and run by Chronos Technology of the Forest of Dean, UK, the Sentinel network has sensed an average of ten jamming incidents per month since September 2011. “Our jamming sensors use very small GPS receivers like those in cellphones. They are installed at locations where our partner companies have experienced unexplained outages to their professional GPS equipment,” says Chronos managing director Charles Curry. “The jammers sweep a signal through the GPS band around 1.5 gigahertz and we log the impact that has on the local GPS signal.” One victim of these GPS outages was Britain’s national mapping agency, Ordnance Survey.

One Per Cent: GPS jamming: a clear and present reality

A future in which national borders are rerouted through the careful recalibration of the cartographer’s GPS signals.

Article also covers potential “GPS vigilantes”, placing jammers around towns which want to keep large satnav-guided trucks away, and the necessity for GPS signal for cell towers and banking systems…

(via new-aesthetic)

Consider some of the things that have bound our nation together:

Universal postal service at a flat rate, whether you live in Santa Monica or Sitka, Alaska. Interstate highways, built with taxpayer funds and free of tolls. Regulated phone and electric service, with lifeline rates for the economically disadvantaged.

These were all based on a social contract honoring the notion that essential infrastructure should be available to all — indeed, that those normally left by the side of the economic road might be most in need.

But you can kiss that notion goodbye, because today’s model of building public infrastructure is to let private companies do it.

Americans are becoming more dependent on privately operated toll roads to get where we’re going, and on private delivery services like FedEx and UPS to carry our parcels. But the greatest shift has occurred in the sector that is most crucial in the information age: communications and data networks.

That brings us to Google — as happens sooner or later with any discussion touching on digital technology. The Mountain View, Calif., behemoth has branched into the Internet service business by introducing a fiber-optic data network for homeowners in Kansas City, Mo., and its neighboring namesake in Kansas.

The service, which is expected to be fully functional by the end of this year, is upending the traditional business and regulatory model for phone, video and data communications. But Google managed to exempt itself from the regulations that typically force cable companies to wire all neighborhoods, rich, poor and in between, for the Internet. The result threatens to leave underprivileged neighborhoods in the digital dust.

Ceding such a crucial service to a private company with minimal regulation is something that happened with virtually no public discussion about its implications for society. […]

It was obvious from the start that the removal of regulatory obstacles would count heavily in the race. The victors promised sedulous cooperation, including a team to provide “on-the-spot” exceptions where rules and regulations threatened delays. The two Kansas Cities even bowed to the demand they “obtain Google’s approval for all public statements” about the project.

Notably, they didn’t insist that Google guarantee service to their most disadvantaged communities. The reason is obvious: They didn’t have any real choice about the terms; it was fiber on Google’s terms, or no fiber at all.

This is a generation of kids that grew up with data science around them — Netflix telling them what movies they should watch, Amazon telling them what books they should read — so this is an academic interest with real-world applications,’ said Chris Wiggins, a professor of applied mathematics at Columbia who is involved in its new Institute for Data Sciences and Engineering. ‘And,’ he added, ‘they know it will make them employable.’

Not long ago, YouTube announced they would be launching associated website annotations. The program has only been in pilot mode for the last few weeks, but now it’s totally here. Partners in good standing who declare their YouTube channels the official representation of their brand can now put annotations on their videos that will link directly to their website. The opportunities presented by these annotations are huge, as your calls-to-action can lead viewers to your website, where you can sell your own stuff, offer exclusive content, and not be inhibited by the rules of YouTube.

I don’t believe in market research. I don’t believe in marketing the way it’s done in America. The American way of marketing is to answer to the wants of the customer instead of answering to the needs of the customer. The purpose of marketing should be to find needs — not to find wants.

People do not know what they want. They barely know what they need, but they definitely do not know what they want. They’re conditioned by the limited imagination of what is possible. … Most of the time, focus groups are built on the pressure of ignorance.

Inspiration is the great con of art. The odds of inspiration hitting at any particular time are about the same as being hit by a meteor while eating a Philly Cheese Steak with Sasquatch. You want inspiration? Work harder the day before so you know where to start today.

Me (via kadrey)

I have spent a good many years since—too many, I think—being ashamed about what I write. I think I was forty before I realized that almost every writer of fiction or poetry who has ever published a line has been accused by someone of wasting his or her God-given talent. If you write (or paint or dance or sculpt or sing, I suppose), someone will try to make you feel lousy about it, that’s all.

On Writing, Stephen King (via expositively)

The nature of the innovation established by Creative Commons, by the Free Software Movement, by Free Culture, which is reflected in the Web in the Wikipedia, in all the Free Software operating systems now running everything, even the insides of all those locked-down vampiric Apple things I see around the room. All of that innovation comes from the simple process of letting the kids play and getting out of the way.

Prizes create a kind of artificial economic system that maintains most of the key advantages of the free market. They create incentives and competition, and they diversify the number of minds working on the problem. But the prizes eliminate wasteful spending, since they are rewarded only when genuine solutions have been achieved. And when combined with limits on patent monopolies, prizes can ensure that those innovations will flow more readily through the society at large.

Steven Johnson on why we beed an X-Prize for drugs. Johnson’s latest book, Future Perfect: The Case For Progress In A Networked Age, is a must-read. (via explore-blog)

But here’s the thing: Increasingly, brands are bringing social marketing in-house. The era of the social media Agency of Record is ending. So brands don’t really care if their social media management tools cut out the agency. They just want to be told what to say. It’s become a bit of a conundrum for brands that have spent the last few years amassing an audience in the form of followers and “likes.” Now what do they say?

You can’t be authentic by proxy, and you can’t be social if you outsource it to an agency. Agencies have a role to play, but “pretend to be the brand” isn’t it. 

Percolate is Solving the One Problem its Social SaaS Competitors Won’t Touch | PandoDaily

Awesome story on Percolate. Those guys are killing it. 

(via rickwebb)