As the latest model in the Kindle Paperwhite line, this edition is the lightest and thinnest yet at just 6.4 ounces and 0.3 inches thick. Its six-inch glare-free screen is easy on the eyes with a display that reads like paper.
As non-fungible tokens (NFTs) continue to sell for tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in cryptocurrency, those passionate about the digital tokens would very much like critics to know one thing: the scores of trolls copy-pasting their pricey JPEGs is only helping their cause. Or, so the extremely annoyed NFT owners insist.
It’s a scene that plays out daily across Twitter, as the members of breakout NFT communities like CryptoPunks and the Bored Ape Yacht Club share their latest scores — along with the mind-boggling prices paid — only to immediately be ridiculed by right-click savers swarming their mentions.
The term, as you might expect, refers to the ability of anyone to right-click and save a public image associated with an NFT. For the unfamiliar, when it comes to artwork, an NFT is often not the art itself, but rather, as one expert put it, like “directions to the museum” where the art is being held.
Here’s how the latest crypto culture battle typically plays out: As soon as someone announces a particularly pricey NFT purchase, the right-click savers pounce — tweeting the copied CryptoPunk or Ape back at its proud owner.
After one NFT enthusiast, RookieXBT, claimed to have purchased CryptoPunk 3794 for $157,069 (a sale price confirmed by CryptoPunks’ creator Larva Labs), the right-click savers wasted no time in doing their thing.
We reached out to confirm that RookieXBT does in fact own the CryptoPunks in question, but received no immediate response. However, as of the time of this writing, the same account owns several CryptoPunks, which RookieXBT has tweetedaboutpurchasing.
Arguments about copy-pasted NFTs pop up all over Twitter. In one such instance, a self-described “NFT Investor” takes another Twitter account to task for supposedly right-click saving their Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) NFT and using it as an avatar.
“I am asking you to change your profile picture as I own the IP and paid 50 Eth for it,” reads the request from CapetainTrippy. 50 Eth, incidentally, is about $150,000. “I understand you may be new and would love to have you in #bayc but you need to use a different ape.”
Owning that IP, or something. Credit: screenshot / twitter
While RookieXBT and CapetainTrippy may be openly stressed about getting right-click saved, other NFT fans want the world to know that the right-click savers are actually owning themselves.
“When you save the image and use it / share it you are making the underlying token more valuable,” wrote one. “Kinda ironic how the right click save crowd is actually doing free marketing for nft holders”
So who’s right? The NFT owners spending, and sometimes making, untold riches as they buy and sell digital tokens referencing supposedly rare JPEGs? Or the scores of critics sitting on the sidelines, right-click saving while shaking their heads at people who they believe clearly have too much money?
In some ways, both groups are.
NFTs are separate from whatever art they represent. Most often, they’re an Ethereum token consisting of metadata describing the artwork in question. Although, there are some cases where the NFT also actually contains the art. As of Aug. 18, CryptoPunks just so happens to be an example of the latter. Larva Labs announced that, as of Wednesday, the 24-by-24 pixel CryptoPunk artwork is now stored on the blockchain.
It’s true that owning an NFT does grant the ability to do things that right-click saving an image doesn’t (questions of copyright transferremain complex). But as those things involve cryptographically proving ownership of the NFT along with the ability to sell it, it’s all a bit circular.
Either way, as the NFT crowd correctly argues, right-clicking saving a JPEG tied to an NFT doesn’t mean you now own the associated NFT.
At the same time, however, the right-click save crowd has successfully highlighted what is perhaps the core reason NFTs have, at least as of yet, struggled to go mainstream: many people consider the idea behind NFTs to be a big dumb joke.
And if the internet loves anything more than owning those it views as dumb, it’s debating who is, in fact, getting owned.
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Learn more from this unboxing video:
The TWS SoundLiberty 80 Headphones typically retail for $76. But for a limited time, you can slash an additional 14% off and take these home for just $65.99.
In November 2020, WhatsApp introduced a much needed privacy setting: disappearing messages. Oddly, the feature only had one default setting that made new messages disappear from chats after seven days, which may not be optimal for some.
Now, WhatsApp is working on making the feature more useful with some additional options. According to WABetaInfo, the latest beta version of WhatsApp now has three additional options for the period after messages disappear: 24 hours, seven days, or 90 days.
While this is still not as granular as you get on Signal, where you can set messages to disappear after 30 seconds, five minutes, one hour, eight hours, a day, a week, or a month, but it’s an improvement. It may look small, but it’s the type of feature that really needs at least a couple of options to accommodate for the different needs of different users.
I asked Facebook (which owns WhatsApp) about the lack of granularity for this feature after it launched, and a spokesperson told me that seven days “strikes a balance between the benefits of ephemerality and the utility of being able to remember what you’re talking about as you’re having a conversation.” It appears that Facebook is slowly figuring out that this balance is a little different for everyone.
Now for the bad news: The fact that these options are showing up in the WhatsApp beta doesn’t mean it’ll appear in the final version anytime soon. In fact, the 24-hour option first appeared in a WhatsApp beta back in April, while the 90-day option showed up in a beta released on Wednesday. The new options are still probably going to show up in WhatsApp one day, just don’t expect it to necessarily happen very soon.
Technology designer Joselyn McDonald creates bus passes, thumb drives, and green screens on her fingernails. She also strategically applies makeup to combat facial recognition software.
Based in North Carolina,McDonald is the co-founder of Blink Blink Creative Circuit Kits, which makes gender inclusive STEM education products, and previously served as creative technologist in residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Media Lab.
An anti-facial recognition makeup look by McDonald.
Credit: Joselyn McDonald
Nail art by McDonald featuring digital screens.
Credit: Joselyn McDonald
Mashable talked to McDonald about her 3D-printed nails, anti-facial recognition workshops, and hopes for the future of the tech industry.
Mashable: How did you come to focus on beauty and women’s interests in your tech innovation work?
Joselyn McDonald: I think my origin story is that I’ve always been really interested in technical work. But for a variety of reasons, like growing up in a semi-rural part of North Carolina and the resources that my community had, I feel like a lot of the attempts that I made to try and enter into tech spaces, I felt really othered or shy about it even. I think the barriers for women in tech can be really confrontational. You’re not in the space, and you’re getting made fun of, and it’s just not a welcoming or inclusive space.
So later, when I found my way back to tech, I just felt so drawn to try and examine gender and technology. And when you think about the kinds of projects that you get introduced to in the tech space, there’s sort of a thematic category, like robot projects, or certain kinds of coding projects, building a game, or building a physics simulator. And there’s nothing against that, and that works for a lot of people as sort of introductory exercises in the tech space.
But I’ve just been interested in like, exploding that out and thinking about a whole wide variety of entry points for people into tech that’s more about an identity that they’re interested in. And for me, I’m really interested in beauty and art, and boundary pushing, and women’s health, and I’m really interested in humor. Those are the kinds of spaces within tech design that hook my attention. But there’s so many different kinds of starting points for people, so a lot of my work is really about me positioning what I’m interested in, and then the entry points for other people as well.
Talk to me about you Mother Protect Me anti-facial recognition series. Where did that idea come from?
I was in grad school at Carnegie Mellon, and I was focusing on human computer interaction. And I remember there being a day where everyone was like, abuzz because this thing on Reddit had taken off where some developers in facial recognition were positioning that their software tool could be used to identify whether their girlfriends had ever been in pornography. And obviously, that’s a really complicated thing that I feel inherently, completely against. I’m completely in support of sex work. But I’m against people developing a tool and using it to find dirt on women, and out them or embarrass them, or have some sort of control over them.
And then similarly, there was a Russian app that came out called FindFace. They also marketed their app as being like, you could go out to a coffee shop and you see a beautiful woman, then you can take a picture of her and it shows you all of her social media information. So those two events, they both completely left out women’s perspectives and they just reinforce all the worst social dynamics, like misogyny, and stalking, and terrible power dynamics. So that’s where facial recognition started to really get in my mind as being a kind of technology that’s like a Pandora’s box, that I think could be used in so many ways to harm women.
So how did you go from like, “Wow, facial recognition sucks,” to “I’m gonna fight it with makeup application?”
What I thought would be a useful approach was to learn a whole lot about facial recognition, because I don’t develop facial recognition in any of my research, but I want to understand essentially how this works. And then I would like to be able to communicate that to people.
There’s this piece called CV Dazzle which used punk makeup to undermine an older version of facial detection, [but] that was just not my kind of style. But when I got reoriented to caring about this issue in a big way, I wanted to make my own aesthetic approach to undermining it.
Credit: Joselyn McDonald
Credit: Joselyn McDonald
Basically, when you add information that the algorithm isn’t expecting, it’s really helpful. So by adding flowers, that’s like an additional layer where the algorithm gets super confused about what it’s looking at.
And as an artist, as a designer, I’m really interested in thematic approaches to problems. So one of the things that I’ve been thinking a lot about is as humanity, our run towards technology, especially over the last few decades, was sort of this abandonment of our concern of the natural world. And so I thought that there was some interesting themes to leverage in terms of applying natural elements to my face to undermine what I think is one of the worst technologies that we could develop.
What does being in one of your workshops typically look like?
I hold a ton of workshops where I explain at a pretty high level how the tech works, why it has problems, what it’s looking for. And then I hold a workshop with people to make their own looks that are representative of their own identity. And they can use the flora like I do, but they also could use whatever sort of things that they have around the house, or things that they’re really interested in exploring. And I’ve seen so many really interesting makeup looks that people have put together.
How do you want Mother Protect Me to affect facial recognition tech?
What I think will help humanity is regulation, and public conversation about our civil liberties and what we want our relationship between public and private information to be. But what I can do, as someone that’s just really interested in this space and in education, is I can try and break this down into digestible bits and then explain that back to people.
It’s kind of a meditative practice, of iteratively building your anti-facial recognition look and testing it in real time to see if it’s working. It seems to bring people into the conversation in not a super threatening way. My hope is to bring a positive sort of agency for people into the space, but this is not the scalable solution, to put these masks on every day.
Let’s also talk about your Digits project. Where did the inspiration for that come from?
I have always thought acrylic nails, especially, are so fascinating and so beautiful. And also partially because I’ve always been tech oriented, and a maker person and a tinkerer, I can’t really have long nails for a lot of my work. So I’ve just been super envious my whole life of people that have long nails. But I also love that they’re these sort of windows into people’s identity, and a way for people to express themselves.
One of McDonald’s nail and tech innovations. Credit: Joselyn McDonald
Why combine acrylic nails and technology? What made you take the jump from just admiring the beauty aspect of nail art to using it?
I have been thinking for a long time about how certain areas of practice, if they are associated with women, can be seen as not technical work. Like, completely not falling within a technical category.
So I started to think about how nail art and the creation of nails is actually a really technical space. Think about the tools that are used to do it, the control that you have to have, the chemical science that is required to cure properly. And we see nail artists really pushing the boundaries of chemical science work in order to create really sculptural, fascinating, boundary pushing art.
And I’ve been thinking about how it falls into this category of very technical, but because it’s associated with beauty and women, not categorized or theorized from that technical lens. So I just wanted to explore that space myself as someone who’s directly a tech designer. I want to directly apply tech design processes to how I explore that space.
What’s the process like for creating your nail looks?
So what I’ve done is more of like a breadth approach. I’ve done 3D printed nails. I’ve done a plastic curing process around nails. I’ve created 3D printer molds where I can put in material to cure. And then I’ve also explored digital nails, so using little screens that I can program that communicate information on the nails as well.
My caveat is that I fully acknowledge that people who are nail artists professionally are so, so, so, much more technically proficient than I am. There’s no way I can even get close to what they’re able to do. But what I’m interested in doing is applying these technologies I’m familiar with, and then trying to intersect them with nail art as a way to trigger more about that conversation, and then also see if that’s an interesting entry point into tech design for more kinds of people.
Do you have a favorite nail look that you’ve created?
My favorite nails I’ve made are actually the RFID bus pass nails. They aren’t the most beautiful nails I’ve made, but the interaction of using my nail to pay for my bus fare was truly a delightful and thrilling experience.
What kind of real-world application are you hoping your projects may inspire?
With the Mother Protect Me work, through my communication about [facial recognition], I want people to feel like they can understand how the tech works. I want them to feel like they are having a conversation with themselves, and hopefully other people, about how increasing surveillance impacts them and whether they want to continue on this road towards more surveillance apparatuses that can actually impact your behavior and your relationship to the world. I’m hoping that we just get more people feeling like they can understand and access it so that they can, hopefully, talk to their representatives about it.
And for Digits?
In terms of Digits, that’s just been a really personal exploration of creativity. But I do think ideally, that work that I’m doing in that space, would trigger in the minds of some viewers an interest in exploring technology. For people who feel like tech isn’t for them, maybe they don’t have the background in it or they feel othered in that space, [I hope that] because of the beauty angle and the personal expression piece of it, they become interested and they want to participate and play around.
What do you hope to see change in the tech community?
Ultimately, that’s all towards just wanting tech to be a more open space. Tech has become so narrow in terms of who feels like they can participate in it, and that leads to so fewer voices in the rooms making decisions. We need more people feeling like they understand tech so they don’t feel threatened by it. And then I think that moves the needle forward in terms of more diverse people being in those rooms, making those kinds of decisions and feeling equipped to understand what’s happening or to potentially solve an issue in their community.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
According to the company, approximately 7.8 million current T-Mobile postpaid customer records were stolen, as well as “just over 40 million” records of “former or prospective customers who had previously applied for credit with T-Mobile.”
While that may not be as bad as the 100 million stolen records initially reported by Vice, it’s still a massive data breach and an embarrassment for T-Mobile, which apparently shut down the leak on its servers only after finding out about it on an online forum.
According to the company, some of the data stolen include customers’ first and last name, date of birth, Social Security number, and driver’s license or ID information. For postpaid accounts and former and prospective customers, no phone numbers, account numbers, PINs, passwords, or financial information was compromised.
For 850,000 active T-Mobile prepaid customers, it gets worse. T-Mobile says their phone numbers and account PINs were also exposed. T-Mobile says it has already reset all the PINs on the accounts, and it will be notifying them “right away.” It’s worth noting that no Metro by T-Mobile, former Sprint prepaid, or Boost customers had their names or PINs exposed.
T-Mobile says it’s taking immediate steps to help protect the customers affected. These include offering 2 years of free identity protection services with McAfee’s ID Theft Protection Service, recommending all T-Mobile postpaid customers change their PIN, offering postpaid customers extra protection with its Account Takeover Protection feature, and publishing a web page on Wednesday with information related to the data breach.
There’s no two ways about it: This is very, very bad. It’s definitely positive that no financial information or passwords were compromised, but the data breach leaves T-Mobile customers open to identity theft and phishing attempts.
This is far from the first data breach T-Mobile has suffered — though it’s definitely among the worst. The company suffered breaches, albeit on a smaller scale, in 2018, 2019, 2020, and earlier in 2021.
Researchers at the University of California San Francisco developed “speech neuroprosthesis”, a device that enabled a man with paralysis to communicate in a novel way. The tech translates brain signals into words on a monitor in front of the user.
According to Professor Edward Chang, a neurosurgeon and senior author of the study, this is the first successful demonstration of direct decoding of full words from the brain activity of someone who is paralyzed and cannot speak.