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Friday News: Adobe supposedly fixes ADE 4, Joan Didion Kickstarter campaign, corporate commentary on Gamergate, and a former slave bests his “master”

Friday News: Adobe supposedly fixes ADE 4, Joan Didion Kickstarter campaign,...

Update: I’ve heard from another tester who identified that Adobe was using SSL, and that it didn’t appear to be sending any data at all (for DRM-free ebooks). But if you activate a DRMed ebook Adobe does send a lot of encrypted information. Removing that DRMed ebook stopped the app from sending info. Thanks, Michael!

Second Update: I have an independent confirmation that Adobe only uploads data after a DRMed ebook has been activated. –The Digital Reader

I don’t know – how is this any worse than auctioning off Queen Elizabeth’s knickers on eBay?

Didion is one of the greatest living writers, but her legacy at times seems at risk of being subsumed by her lifestyle brand—thin, chic, Californian. “They were my aunt and uncle but they were also probably the hippest people on earth,” Griffin Dunne says about Didion and her husband, the writer John Gregory Dunne, in a video about the project. It’s hard to imagine that Dunne, with all his connections (he’s been producing/directing/acting for over two decades, and his father was the Vanity Fair writer Dominick Dunne) had no other way to get this film made than by hawking his aunt’s fingernail clippings. –New Republic

I was originally going to post the story about Felicia Day, but when I was Googling to see what else was going on around that story, this Breitbart link came up, and while it contains a lot of extreme rhetoric, I think it’s also important to see the kinds of opinions Breitbart has allegedly solicited from some corporate executives, like the Intel VP who insisted that Gamergate is “‘doing great work.’” I’m definitely starting to agree with the arguments being made that this is part of the new culture wars, but I think we also need to recognize that it’s all of a piece with anti-choice initiatives, persistent discrimination against women and minorities in the workplace, and other mainstream expressions of misogyny and fear of women and gender (and racial) equality.

How do I know? Because I’ve spent the last fortnight quietly soliciting the opinions not only of senior executives at AAA video game publishers, but also at some of the companies linked to GamerGate’s boycotts and activism, such as Intel, Mercedes and BMW.

Perhaps it won’t surprise you to learn that microchip manufacturers and car companies are pretty sympathetic to the concerns of male consumers. But some of the things said to me–all, sadly, on condition of anonymity–have been nothing short of remarkable. . . .

Then consider the product manager, who was happy to be identified as “senior management at a German car manufacturer”, who told me that, “the violence against women is unacceptable and we cannot support it, but we will not financially support people who insult our customers either”. –Breitbart

You wish to be remembered to King and Jack. I am pleased, sir, to inform you that they are both here, well, and doing well. They are both living in Canada West. They are now the owners of better farms than the men are who once owned them.

You may perhaps think hard of us for running away from slavery, but as to myself, I have but one apology to make for it, which is this: I have only to regret that I did not start at an earlier period. I might have been free long before I was. But you had it in your power to have kept me there much longer than you did. I think it is very probable that I should have been a toiling slave on your plantation today, if you had treated me differently. –Futility Closet

Friday News: Wireless ISP allegedly blocks email encryption; Whisper v. Guardian on privacy; diversity in publishing; and 33 free Philip K. Dick stories

Friday News: Wireless ISP allegedly blocks email encryption; Whisper v. Guardian...

In the second instance, Golden Frog shows that a wireless broadband Internet access provider is interfering with its users’ ability to encrypt their SMTP email traffic. This broadband provider is overwriting the content of users’ communications and actively blocking STARTTLS encryption. This is a man-in-the-middle attack that prevents customers from using the applications of their choosing and directly prevents users from protecting their privacy.

This is scary. If ISPs are actively trying to block the use of encryption, it shows how they might seek to block the use of VPNs and other important security protection measures, leaving all of us less safe. Golden Frog provides more details of what’s happening in this case. . . –Tech Dirt

Among other things, Whisper Editor-in-Chief Neetzan Zimmerman says:

Whisper does not collect nor store any personally identifiable information (PII) from users and is anonymous. To be clear, Whisper does not collect nor store: name, physical address, phone number, email address, or any other form of PII. The privacy of our users is not violated in any of the circumstances suggested in the Guardian story. The Guardian staff, including its CEO and multiple members of the US editorial team, have met with, partnered, and worked with Whisper since February 2014 and published multiple stories utilizing Whispers, with full understanding of our guidelines. The Guardian’s assumptions that Whisper is gathering information about users and violating user’s privacy are false.

The Guardian insists:

The company behind Whisper, the social media app that promises users anonymity and claims to be the “the safest place on the internet”, is tracking the location of its users, including some who have specifically asked not to be followed.

The practice of monitoring the whereabouts of Whisper users – including those who have expressly opted out of geolocation services – will alarm users, who are encouraged to disclose intimate details about their private and professional lives.

Whisper is also sharing information with the US Department of Defense gleaned from smartphones it knows are used from military bases, and developing a version of its app to conform with Chinese censorship laws. –The Guardian

Let’s go back to some of those stats that Chris was throwing out. Do publishers just not think there’s an audience for work by writers of color?

[Chris] Jackson: No, I don’t think that’s true. I would say what’s happening in some of the larger publishing companies is that they’re publishing fewer books generally than they have in the past, and so they’re trying to publish those to audiences that they think they have mastered, they’ve already identified. And there’s a lot of data now in the way there wasn’t in the past, which can cut two ways. The olden days of “gut feelings” is passing away, and that’s not such a bad thing—gut feelings are often laced with implicit and untested biases. But my fear about more data-driven publishing is that it leads to companies engineered to sell books to people they’ve already identified.

And that means that it’s almost like, if you got on the boat already, you’re in. But if you’re not on the boat already…then the boat’s gone, and you’re not getting in. So lots of audiences that haven’t been as identifiable or easy to reach, or whatever, I think you have a lot more trouble with those kinds of books.

The good thing is that there are a lot of writers who are finding ways to get themselves out there without needing a publishing machine the way that they did in the past. –Scratch Magazine

If you’re not intimately familiar with his novels, then you assuredly know major films based on Dick’s work – Blade Runner, Total Recall, A Scanner Darkly and Minority Report. Today, we bring you another way to get acquainted with his writing. We’re presenting a selection of Dick’s stories available for free on the web. Below we have culled together 33 short stories from our two collections, 600 Free eBooks for iPad, Kindle & Other Devices and 550 Free Audio Books: Download Great Books for Free. The stories, it appears, are all in the public domain. –Open Culture