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goodreads is orphaning my books because trans name changes are too hard even though it’s absolutely within their power

Amazon: You wantta change your name? Cool, call us so we know you are real people. Okay, thanks done. 

Goodreads: We reserve the right to deadname you for life because we PRESERVE HISTORY. Fuck you wanting your updated books listed on your account even though it’s just a typo fix at this point. Start over if you want that.

This isn’t a defense of Amazon. Amazon owns goodreads. 

‪Shit like this is why some publishers even refuse to change an trans authors name on their books. Because it “takes to much time to correct.” Which forces authors to wait years for their publishing contacts to expire and then they are forced to re-publish it themselves if they don’t want to deadname themselves when promoting their work. ‬

shit dude

Goodreads librarians then proceeded to call me a liar and removed even more books from my author profile. So yeah if I link to my amazon or my author profile there it’s because goodreads decided to be transphobic trash removing the only one step removed from amazon reader site option I have. 

This is such bullshit I literally asked for a typo correction not “special treatment”. 

They proceeded to delete my comments about how their policy is inconsistent and transphobic when I pointed out I dotted my i’s and crossed my t’s that published books matched the updated name change and then closed the thread claiming “Librarians are allowed to be uncomfortable with name changes.”. Below the cut is a screencap of what I said:

Keep reading

is there any way other goodreads users could contact them to express that we’re unhappy with how your situation was handled?? while at this point not surprising, it is appalling, and as an avid goodreads user, i would hope there’s something i could do to help trans authors

There’s https://www.goodreads.com/about/contact_us for whatever it’s worth. I’ve been tweeting @goodreads because I thought they might be more annoyed at bad PR since this will be the third contact people resquest I’ve done.

If you do it would be worth noting:

1) I followed the name change guidelines. So you are allowed to do this.

2) It’s literally the name on all my books. It’s not me on a whim like I want a new name today, it’s literally how everything is published. What even is there to be uncomfortable with?

#1yrago Vizio exec: we’d have to charge a premium on “dumb” TVs to make up for the money we’ll lose by not spying on you


At CES, the Verge’s Nilay Patel interviewed Vizio CTO Bill Baxter, who told her that when it comes to the surveillance features of his company’s “smart” TVs, “it’s not just about data collection. It’s about post-purchase monetization of the TV…[When it comes to ‘dumb’ TVs,] we’d collect a little bit more margin at retail to offset it.”

The remarks come in the context of the low margins in the TV market, which Baxter gives as 6%, and how companies like his are driven to seek out other revenue streams for their products.

But Baxter also implies that he doesn’t believe there’s a market for dumb TVs, even at a premium. This is certainly what I discovered last year when my family bought a house and went TV shopping: there were no panels large enough for my wife’s satisfaction (she’s a retired pro gamer and wanted a really big screen) unless we were willing to buy a set with several kinds of built-in networking and sensors that would put our home under surveillance.

In theory, you can turn all that stuff off, but then you have to trust that the manufacturer is both honest and competent, both of which seem like needless risks to take, especially in an era when companies face virtually no liability for product defects, routinely cover them up, and threaten whistleblowers who disclose their sneaky data-collection and poor software quality.


Three years after the W3C approved a DRM standard, it’s no longer possible to make a functional indie browser


Back in 2017, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) approved the most controversial standard in its long history: Encrypted Media Extensions, or EME, which enabled Netflix and other big media companies to use DRM despite changes to browsers extensions that eliminated the kinds of deep hooks that DRM requires.

At the time, the Electronic Frontier Foundation warned that, by approving its first non-unanimous standard, the W3C would give control over browser design to the big browser companies, and two years later, that warning has fully proven out.

First, Google – whose proprietary technology must be licensed in most cases if you want to make a new browser – stopped permitting open source browsers to use its DRM technology, effectively requiring all new browsers to be proprietary.

Now, Microsoft and Apple – the remaining two vendors who can also supply the proprietary components that Google won’t license – have effectively stopped answering the phone when small browser creators call. Microsoft might let you license its tools if you pay them $10,000 to submit an application and then $0.35 for every browser you ship.

Samuel Maddock has been trying to create a rival “indie” browser, and has been to each of the EME DRM vendors and has been sent away by all of them.

The W3C’s mission is to create an Open Web Platform“ so that “everyone has the right to implement a software component of the Web without requiring any approvals or waiving license fees.” When EME was approved, we warned that they were effectively ending the Open Web era by putting every future browser developer at the mercy of three giant incumbent browser developers.

And here we are.

Next up: watch for lurking software bugs in EME that compromise user security and privacy to go unreported while they are exploited by criminals and spies. DRM laws like Section 1201 of the DMCA allow software vendors to threaten whistleblowers who disclose bugs without permission with both civil and criminal liability, and the W3C specifically turned down every single proposal to make its members promise not to abuse this power – even when those members signalled that they viewed the power to decide who could criticize their products as a feature of the EME process, and not a bug.

The web is not merely reduced to five giant sites, each filled from screenshots from the other four, it’s also a near-monoculture of browsers, almost all of them controlled by tech giants who have been complicit in both commercial and state surveillance, including surveillance by the world’s most notorious torturing and murdering autocracies.

The W3C’s decision to hand these monopolists perpetual Internet Domination Licenses was the gravest mistake in its history, just when we needed its principled leadership the most. We are living in the aftermath of that decision today and things will get worse long before they get better.

Meanwhile, the W3C’s own page on EME is completely silent on the most controversial standarization process in the organization’s history.


#1yrago America’s Fiber Future: Susan Crawford on how America’s wired future is slipping away


No one in America explains the importance of good network policy than Susan Crawford (previously), a one-woman good sense factory when it comes to Network Neutrality, municipal fiber, and reining in the excesses of the goddamned ISP industry. Her latest book is Fiber: The Coming Tech Revolution―and Why America Might Miss It, a timely and urgent look at how America is sacrificing its digital future, productivity, connectivity, social mobility, entrepreneurial growth, education, and every other public good, thanks to rapacious telcos, scumbag lobbyists, and negligent, cash-hungry politicians. Crawford and her publisher, Yale University Press, were kind enough to give us an excerpt (below) so you can get a sense of why you should be reading this.

Fiber optic, as a category, is both old and new. The cables running under the oceans and among the major cities of the world began to be upgraded to fiber thirty years ago. And once a fiber optic cable is in the ground, it lasts for forty or fifty years; it is essentially future proof, because its information-carrying capacity can be almost infinitely upgraded without digging up the cable, merely by swapping out the electronics that encode and power the pulses of light that travel within its walls. Most people in non-fiber countries (including the United States) can’t even buy what in fibered countries counts as a standard, modern internet connection. About 11 million American households, out of 126 million total, are connected to last-mile fiber, and that service is usually available only at very high prices from a single unregulated provider. Meanwhile, South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore have virtually 100 percent fiber adoption at low prices, and often scores of competitors.

This is a big problem.

Here’s why: Those hair-thin fiber strands, capable of carrying billions of phone calls simultaneously, plus advanced wireless communications that depend on that fiber extending into the last mile, will make possible virtually unlimited, cheap communications capacity wherever you are—which in turn will give rise to new businesses, new transport capabilities, new ways of managing our use of energy, new forms of education and health care, new ways of earning a living, and new forms of human connectedness. For these things to happen, both fiber and advanced wireless technologies need to be widely and competitively available. Without these basic pieces of open infrastructure in place, your country will be missing out on the future being lived and built elsewhere.

Much of the world gets this. China is installing twenty thousand last-mile fiber optic connections every single day. In June 2017, the South China Morning Post reported “China set to build the planet’s largest 5G mobile network for US $180b.” Listen to that: the “planet’s largest.”

Fiber plus advanced wireless capability is as central to the next phase of human existence as electricity was a hundred years ago. Just as countries that quickly ensured cheap access to electricity revolutionized their economies and provided dramatically improved quality of life for their citizens, countries that figure out how to get fiber to everyone will have ever-increasing advantages over those that do it slowly.

Take the 2018 Olympics in South Korea: Korea Telecom was smart to focus on sports—and the Olympics in particular—in demonstrating its prowess. Sports grab humans in real-time emotional ways, and the Olympics mark the global pinnacle of inspiring athletic achievement. KT got the world’s attention in 2018.

But KT’s display of its 5G fireworks is far more significant than any Olympic event could possibly be. Korea is going through a phase change in digital communications that has implications for almost every occupation and source of economic power of which we’re aware today.

In the crowded city of Seoul, for example, I met many twentysomethings who did not distinguish between online life and “real” life; for them, these are simply layers of life as a whole. This generation is so accustomed to cheap, unlimited connectivity everywhere that they have forgotten its existence—just as people in other countries forget the existence of electricity until it is suddenly not there. South Koreans are impatient. For them, going to almost any city in the United States is a little like going off the grid.

In Seoul, I met Yeon Sung Choi, a professional e-sports player who is as famous in his sport as Lionel Messi, the best goal-scorer in the world, is in soccer. Yeon Sung, who now works as a coach for the SK Telecom T1 Starcraft II team (telecommunications companies are major investors in the e-sports industry in Korea), told me he’d lived through the transformation of Korea that took place following the installation of high-capacity networks that permitted any number of people to play games simultaneously. At age twenty, he realized he could beat just about anyone. The essential factor in connectivity, he says, is latency, or response time; any delay makes it very difficult to play. Some players say latency starts to become obvious when there is a gap of 150 milliseconds or even less between pressing a button and a visual response. Fiber connections generally have lower latency than cable or copper wires. “In Korea the response time is really short,” he said, laughing. He sees a bright future for the gaming industry in Korea, but there is much more than gaming. The same technology will revolutionize business, medicine, education, manufacturing, energy use, and real-time translation functions between spoken languages.

Fiber is also revolutionizing cities themselves. Because the city of Seoul years ago installed fiber optic last-mile connections throughout the city and its subway system, it can provide free Wi-Fi, which means the private sector can experiment with Internet of Things (IoT) services that will improve its citizens’ lives. On the same trip that had me clambering around the empty ice arena in Pyeongchang, I visited the city’s IoT testbed office. Taejin Kim, director of the testbed, told me that the city is testing its ability to provide personalized services to elders, to provide data from road surfaces and public transit so that navigation systems function well, and in general to “solve urban problems, wherever they are.” The conference room next to the mayor’s office houses an enormous dashboard that, fed by public data, allows the mayor to see the site of an accident or fire, talk in real time to public officials at the site, visually understand traffic congestion, and manage the city’s budget. Because fiber is everywhere, this enormous amount of data can be shipped whenever and wherever it is needed.

The next wave of applications making use of fiber and advanced wireless services is likely to be in health care, education, or other fundamental areas than has been seen so far in Korea and Japan. I am confident that innovative American businesses will come up with services that use much more significant amounts of bandwidth when there is a critical mass of users with capacity. If and when the United States becomes a last-mile fiber sandbox for this inventiveness, the huge market here will drive those developments. We will also support our commitment to genuine liberal democracy: the rising tide of cheap, ubiquitous, unlimited connectivity needs to reach everyone in order for the country as a whole to thrive.

Fiber: The Coming Tech Revolution—And Why America Might Miss It [Susan Crawford/Yale University Press]