Heather Zheng and Ben Zhao, computer science professors at the University of Chicago created a wearable that jams microphones. I immediately thought of Alexa/Echo/Google Home type things, but their demo video reminded me that we may be surrounded by devices that are listening to everything all the time.
This is a just a proof of concept, but with a smaller form factor, I could see people using this. I wonder if it might be more fashionable as a necklace or hat, so long as it doesn’t reduce its ability to jam microphones.
It reminds me a of the infrared privacy glasses that we saw a few years ago. I could see these used together to help insure some privacy in our increasingly surveilled world.
California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez introduced legislation to protect restaurants from delivery companies’ shady business practices. I’ve love to see a similar bill in New York.
In this talk, Mitch Altman asks some tough questions about technology and how it is applied in the cultural context. His thoughts about hacking and community really hit home.
via Hack a day
Eater looks at how big food delivery services operate against local restaurants’ wishes. Apparently, services like Doordash and Postmates have operated without some restaurant’s permission for years. Now it seems to have gotten worse.
To me, the most egregious practice is Grubhub’s registration of over 23,000 web domains that are similar to local restaurant names. This is an attempt to insert themselves between the restaurant and their customers without the of awareness of either party. Restaurants that don’t want to offer delivery, or control it themselves should be allowed to do so. They shouldn’t have their online presence or phone number hijacked by another company.
While I’m upset to hear of such shitty business practices, I can’t say I’m shocked. Cities don’t need, nor can they sustain 5 or more delivery services. While each one is angling for market share, apparently ethics take a back seat.
In response, I’ve deleted my Seamless app; deleting my account is another story. There is no way to delete accounts on Seamless’ web site, which is another shit business practice. I’ve emailed their customer care people, we’ll see what they come back with. Update 2020-02-09: Seamless customer care deleted my account within a couple days of my request.
I don’t expect my one household boycott to make a dent, but I don’t want to support this sort of behavior. Plus, I look forward to speaking with the woman at the pizzeria next time we get a pie.