your money and your data, please

If you are ever considering buying cryptocurrency, perhaps because techno-libertarians are always harping on its privacy and superiority to the man's "fiat money," consider this:
In order to make your initial purchase of crypto, you are going to need a place to buy it with your stinkin' fiat money. There are a handful of exchanges that are considered reputable (even considering the small amount of time they've been in existence). They will let you use a bank card or wire transfer but they insist that you give them: (a) scan of photo ID, (b) a "selfie," (c) tax ID, and possibly other onerous requirements. At least one exchange -- Changelly -- uses some hideous product called Google Authenticator to "protect" your account, unless you want to opt out of 2-factor identification.
It's one thing to open a bank account and have them photocopy your ID and put it into a paper file somewhere. Scanning it, however, makes it easily transferable and hack-friendly. Ditto a self-made photo -- more fodder for some government recognition database. Should this even need to be said?
If you have any moolah and/or libertarian inclinations, stick to small banks, put it in a shoebox, become a goldbug -- avoid crypto.

lecturing the help desk (sigh)

[see update below -- this is still rant-worthy]

Nowadays corporations -- especially tech ones -- don't like to admit they can't do something. Perhaps it was always thus but the snow jobs seem to be getting worse.
Vimeo arranges user uploads in reverse chron order. Fine, it's nice to have an accurate record but what if you had several videos made at the same time and wanted to play around with the order? The support page has no answer. You can create a "profile" which pins several videos to the top of the page, and you can change the order of those, but that's not the same thing.
So here's a classic help desk interaction:

User: I don't want to create a profile. Is it possible to change the order of videos I have previously uploaded or will they always appear in reverse chronological order?

Help: Thank you for reaching out!
You can edit the order in which your videos appear by pinning them to your profile page. Basic accounts can pin up to ten videos, and Plus, PRO, Business, and Premium accounts can pin unlimited videos. You'll be able to pin videos and change their order by clicking the blue "Edit" button at the top right of your profile page, and then choosing "Profile videos." From there, pin videos and drag and drop them to change their order. Any unpinned videos will appear in the order in which they were uploaded, with newest at the top.
By default the first video on your profile page will be a featured video. If you’d like to edit or remove the featured video, visit the “Work” section of your profile settings (link).
Here is another good article that may help you adjust your page: (link)
You can also present and distribute videos in a specific order by adding them to a Showcase. You can learn more about using showcases in our Help Center: (link)
In addition, if you don't want to have certain videos or any videos on your public profile, please check out this article as well: (link)
Let us know if you have any further questions!

User: I'm fine with the way my Vimeo page looks now but I am planning to upload six new videos and might need to change the order. As I said (!), I don't want to create a profile, and I don't want to create a showcase. So, it sounds like the answer to my question is, No, I can't change the order of the videos (if I don't want to use these two features).

Help: Yes, you are correct. Those options in the links I sent are the ways in which you can customize the ordering of your videos.
Otherwise, they will be presented in reverse chronological order, chronological order or by date modified.
You can also choose which video will remain at the top of the page with using those features.
I do apologize for that lack of a feature and I will be happy to pass the feedback along.

User: Yes please pass along the feedback. Also, it would good if your "help" pages just bluntly stated that it's not possible without using these features so people wouldn't be left guessing. I realize it's very "corporate" to always accentuate the positive but sometimes honesty is good, too. People trust you more!

Update: I've been assuming that a "profile" in Vimeospeak means a separate page, a box, or some other graphic means of setting off, or differentiating, the "profiled" videos from the non-profiled ones. I performed an experiment, "pinning" all 29 of my vids to the profile box that is visible in "edit" mode, then saving them in that pinned state in the same order they were before pinning. Turns out the public-facing page of videos still looks exactly as it did before -- that is, without any box, enclosure, or separate page. So I can then drag the pinned vids around behind the scenes to play with the order. Vimeo, instead of just letting me drag icons, creates the extra step of making me a create a profile first, to accomplish exactly what I was asking. This was all clear as mud from the support page and the help desk responses above. Also, someone with 290 videos might not want to use this Rube Goldberg method.

Update 2: Ugh, that doesn't really work. Let's say in your "profile" you order videos 7-6-5-4-3-2-1-10-9-8 (effectively burying 10, 9, and 8, the most recently uploaded vids, at the bottom of the page). When a site visitor clicks one of the videos, a different view appears: a large horizontal black band with the vids arranged left to right. In this view 10, 9, and 8 are still "first" (meaning at the far left). This confuses any attempt to prioritize.

Update 3: Not only that, but "unpinned" vids still appear on profile page, down at the bottom, if anyone actually pages to the end. The only thing "pinning" them does is allow you to play around with the order of the "pinned" videos. If you don't want a video to be seen anywhere you must mark it as private.

it was the app

This NBC news story reads like a thriller: Why were the police asking about this man's whereabouts? "I was hit with a really deep fear," the man says. Alert readers have solved the mystery immediately: "exercise app." This hapless soul trusts Silicon Valley [SV] enough to have a phone and load it up with typical, privacy-invading apps and then wonders why he got caught in a police cyber-dragnet -- in this case, a flurry of inquiries to SV about anyone with an app who had been tracked in the vicinity of a burgled home. The article assumes readers have the ability to be shocked when most of them are similarly equipped and don't care as long as they aren't the ones in the crosshairs. Perhaps the writer wants to spur (a) less chumminess between SV and law enforcement (ha!), (b) legislation to stop this kind of cooperation (ha! ha!), or (c) consumer abandonment of smartphones, GPS, and apps (ha! ha! ha!). In the future expect articles like this to read: "When SV contacted Joseph Blow requesting information about his whereabouts on March 2, he was filled with a sudden rush of pleasure to be a citizen helping the authorities to catch bad guys."

another bad idea from the Firefox team

Firefox now enables its "sync" feature by default. Apparently the developers think Google is an innovator and they want Firefox to be just like Chrome.
Formerly a user could copy a Firefox folder with bookmarks, cookies, add-ons and customization from, say, a Linux PC to the "users/joeblow/appdata/roaming" folder on, say, Windows 7.
Now Firefox doesn't recognize that folder and prompts the hapless user to sign into a "Firefox account," the sole purpose of which is to "sync data among devices." You can turn sync off in "about:config" but the folder still isn't recognized. Also, when you try to sign-in to the "account" (e.g., to make sure no data got into the cloud by mistake) the login just hangs, because the Firefox team is trying to suck data off your PC with no sync capabilty.
Also the only way to delete your browsing data is by deleting your entire "Firefox account."
But - hey, it's OK -- all that personal data in the cloud is going to be super-duper encrypted.

net art anthology blues

Have been avoiding looking at's Net Art Anthology because it's always painful to have been deeply involved in a scene and watch the historians get it wrong.
Rhizome is accurate when it describes the purpose of the anthology as


A cynic might say that yes, it's being retold to conform to the sensibilities of curator Michael Connor and his predecessor Lauren Cornell. In their world "Vvork" was an important website, deserving of critical writing, full archiving, and interviews with the founders (some of whom went on to have art world careers, in no small part due to constant plugs by Cornell). The surf club "Nasty Nets," by contrast, is an ugly duckling that still hasn't been treated kindly, as Rhizome acknowledges:


The link goes to the old, error-ridden "Artbase" copy of Nasty Nets, saved in the early '10s by then-conservator Ben Fino-Radin. Apparently his successor has had difficulties cleaning up the saved version, because the launch has been postponed numerous times over the last seven years and is still not completed.

Eventually the Nasty Nets story will be told in depth (in particular its relationship to blogs that came afterward, such as Spirit Surfers) but in the meantime we get some minor blurb writing and flawed archiving from Rhizome.

A small blurry 2007 photo appears of the group, without any caption or other list telling who the members were.


On the main Anthology page the members are given as follows:


By contrast, the Anthology gives a detailed listing of the participants in the Spirit Surfers blog:


This is especially ironic because the premise of Spirit Surfers is a group of spiritual "infomonks" divining wisdom from the web (or something) and its members all use aliases such as "tntet," "states," "INFObeard," "Dtangler," etc.
Whereas Nasty Nets members used their own names, and elsewhere on Rhizome (not linked from the Anthology) can be found a list of the most prolific posters:


Possibly Michael Connor doesn't want his readers to know who the main driving forces behind Nasty Nets were. (In fairness, it's hard to know if this is out of spite or curatorial malpractice.)

Despite subtle favoring of the "Spirit Surfers crowd" over the "Nasty Nets crowd," it can't be said that the former got better archiving treatment.
Rhizome used its "Webrecorder" software to preserve Spirit Surfers (which is still an active website). There is a record of several attempts by someone named lyndsey, but it seems that the most he or she has been able to record is 39 pages. However, the blog itself has 117 pages of posts! Flawed as Nasty Nets' archive may be, at least it goes back to the beginning.

Related: UNAC thoughts

minor edits after posting