Linkdump for April 27th through May 17th

An automatically generated list of links that caught my eye between April 27th and May 17th.

Sometime between April 27th and May 17th, I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too!

  • The Case of the Stolen Source Code: Last week, for about three days, the macOS video transcoding app HandBrake was compromised. One of the two download servers for HandBrake was serving up a special malware-infested version of the app, that, when launched, would essentially give hackers remote control of your computer. // In a case of extraordinarily bad luck, even for a guy that has a lot of bad computer luck, I happened to download HandBrake in that three day window, and my work Mac got pwned. // Long story short, somebody, somewhere, now has quite a bit of source code to several of our apps.
  • JSON Feed: Announcing JSON Feed: We — Manton Reece and Brent Simmons — have noticed that JSON has become the developers’ choice for APIs, and that developers will often go out of their way to avoid XML. JSON is simpler to read and write, and it’s less prone to bugs. So we developed JSON Feed, a format similar to RSS and Atom but in JSON. It reflects the lessons learned from our years of work reading and publishing feeds.
  • Let’s discuss the Linguistic & Pragmatic use of the [“N-word”]: No matter what your intentions, the word WILL mean something different depending on your relative status. Language is circumstancial.
  • The neural network writes the episode list for next season’s Dr. Who: I’ve trained this open-source neural network framework on a variety of datasets, including recipes, Pokemon, knock-knock jokes, pick up lines, and D&D spells. Now I give you: training a neural network on the complete list of Dr. Who episodes.
  • What we really need is an adaptation of the original 1740 The Beauty and the Beast: So were you aware that the The Beauty and the Beast story we all know is a heavily abridged and rewritten version of a much longer novella by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve?  And that a lot of the plot holes existing in the current versions exist because the 1756 rewrite cut out the second half of the novella, which consisted entirely of the elaborate backstory that explains all the weird shit that happened before?  And that the elaborate backstory is presented in a way that’s kind of boring because the novel had only just been invented in 1740 and no one knew how they worked yet, but contains a bazillion awesome ideas that beg for a modern retelling?  And that you are probably not aware that the modern world needs this story like air but the modern world absolutely needs this story like air?

Facebook ‘Dislike’ Button Suspicion

I just got an invite to a Facebook group titled ‘DISLIKE BUTTON is here – ADD it now!’. After looking this group over, I have _very_ strong suspicious about it, and my first impulse is to recommend that everyone ignore it.

I just got an invite to a Facebook group titled “DISLIKE BUTTON is here – ADD it now!”. After looking this group over, I have very strong suspicious about it, and my first impulse is to recommend that everyone ignore it.

First: Facebook still isn’t adding a ‘dislike’ button. This is a third-party software hack, and has nothing to do with Facebook. Admittedly, the group does admit this on their info tab — but placed so far down the page that most people will never see it. This is shady.

Second: The instructions on how to add the dislike button have very little to do with adding a dislike button, and everything to do with getting as many people as possible to look at the group. Out of five ‘installation’ steps, only one — the last one — has anything to do with installing the button. The other four are just about spamming the group out to everyone on your friends list. This is shady.

Third: The dislike button itself is a Firefox browser add-on, and will not work for anyone using Internet Explorer, Safari, or any other browser. This is not mentioned anywhere on the dislike button group page. This is shady. Also, because they stress that you have to invite all your friends to the group before adding the button, many people will not realize that the button will not work for them until after they’ve already spammed all their friends. This is doubly shady.

Now, I don’t know what the dislike button Firefox add-on actually does or does not do once it’s installed on someone’s computer. However, given that they’re being sneaky about the entire process, and seem more concerned with getting their software on as many computers as possible, this doesn’t look good to me.

If you get an invite to the dislike button group, I strongly suggest ignoring it. if you use Firefox and have already installed the Firefox addon, I strongly suggest removing it. I don’t know that it’s bad, but from what I can see, I strongly doubt that it’s good.