pipes, we hardly knew ye


Have been getting incoming links from Yahoo! Pipes for several years without really knowing what it was, and now it's leaving us. Another discarded internet dream.
Via dump.fm user Bamboo I learned this about Yahoo! Pipes:

11:41 AM Sat 7/25 -- by bamboo
pipes was this weird early graphical thing where you could connect together different RSS feeds
11:41 AM Sat 7/25 -- by bamboo
and manipulate them
11:41 AM Sat 7/25 -- by bamboo
in kind of a max/msp type environment
11:43 AM Sat 7/25 -- by bamboo
YUI was their javascript library circa 2007
11:45 AM Sat 7/25 -- by bamboo
...you could take RSS feeds from [e.g.] boing boing techdirt and slashdot and then pipe them together filtering for posts mentioning "microsoft" and then dump them into their own rss thing
11:45 AM Sat 7/25 -- by bamboo
posts mentioning "ruby on rails" circa 2007

The DIY aesthetic this represents ("assemble your own news feeds, your way!") was gradually replaced by "apps" and complete reliance on developers to come up with an "app" that fit your newsgathering needs. Also a kind of general laziness of people using Facebook and Twitter for news. Pipes had a nice graphic, though:


Update: Just noticed, scrolling back through old Nasty Nets posts, that Peter Baldes posted about Yahoo! Pipes in early 2007.

around the web (more computer stupidity tidbits)

1. Lauren Weinstein, Sadly, How Windows 10 Reveals Microsoft's Ethics Armageddon.

By burying significant new data collection practices in the Windows 10 privacy policy that most people never read, by rigging update procedures to push users into switching browsers by default, by not bothering to ask users ahead of time if they were willing to share their Internet bandwidth for Microsoft's commercial use -- in these ways Microsoft failed the obvious ethics tests in a dramatic fashion.

MS seems to be failing at ethics even in some of the more minor areas -- with word that the popular old Solitaire game from Windows 7 and earlier has been replaced on Windows 10 with a version that forces you to sit through video advertisements unless you're willing to pay Microsoft $10 per year to shut them off.

$10 for Solitaire? The final straw.

2. Mic Wright, Windows 10: Here are some privacy issues you should know about. More on the "significant new data collection practices" Weinstein mentions. The W10 privacy policy is so loosely written it essentially gives Microsoft the ability to go snooping around folders and files on your hard drive for any "good faith" reason:

We will access, disclose and preserve personal data, including your content (such as the content of your emails, other private communications or files in private folders), when we have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary to protect our customers or enforce the terms governing the use of the services.

Time to start inquiring about a Linux PC. Perhaps, based on the above, you were planning to hang onto W7 indefinitely. Unfortunately Microsoft doesn't think you are capable of making adult decisions and is sneaking W10 "nagware" onto your desktop, an .exe file disguised as a non-optional security update. A popup appears on your taskbar telling you at regular intervals to "upgrade to Windows 10." I got rid of this (for now) by uninstalling update KB2990214, which "enables you to upgrade from W7 to a later version of Windows." (Other tech websites were recommending uninstalling KB3035583 but that one may be for Windows 8 only -- it wasn't in my "installed updates.")

3. Roy Poses, MD, A $6.6 Million CEO Dreams of a "Doctor-Less" Future.

Big data now seems to be the latest rage in business schools and among the high-tech crowd, never mind the failures of fancy statistical modeling based on big data that helped lead to the global financial collapse of 2008. Similarly, despite at least 30 years of research, multivariate prediction and diagnostic modeling in medicine has never lived up to its expectations. Few models have been demonstrated to be better than mediocre predictors when tested in real-life clinical settings. Finally, there are numerous concerns about privacy and data security when patients' data is being avidly traded back and forth.