July 23rd, 2014

RatItsAPity

And Speaking Of Ivory Towers....

You learn about people by how they treat those they don't need.  The guy at the register.  The people down the street.  Poor people.

I mention this because a New York apartment building is being built with a separate entrance for poor people.

No.  This is not a joke.

The building is designed by the Extell Development Company.  It will be located at 40 Riverside Boulevard, be 33 stories tall, and have 219 units.  Extell realized last year that they could get some pretty nice tax breaks if they made some of the apartments for low-income people, and designated 55 of them for that.

The catch -- access to the low-income apartments isn't possible through the main entrances.  That part of the building is accessed by an entrance in the back alley.  Naturally, people were upset.  David Von Spreckelsen is the senior vice president at Toll Brothers, who helped design the building and the separate entrances, said at the time, "No one ever said that the goal was full integration of these populations.  So now you have politicians talking about that, saying how horrible those back doors are.  I think it's unfair to expect very high-income homeowners who paid a fortune to live in their building to have to be in the same boat as low-income renters, who are very fortunate to live in a new building in a great neighborhood."

This was still the planning stages.  Certainly, Noo Yawk wouldn't let something like this really happen, would it?  Well, it would.  NYC's Department Of Housing Preservation And Development granted approval this week.

Thank God the government is protecting the rights of people to ignore those less fortunate than them.
V For Vendetta

Big Brother Is Still Watching

A new way to track you around the Internet has surfaced.  A way that all your precious AdBlock tools cannot stop.

It's called "canvas fingerprinting." It started being tested earlier this year, and it was discovered by Princeton University and KU Leuven University in Belgium.  And it's being used by sites ranging from WhiteHouse.gov to YouPorn.

It works like this -- web sites, instead of giving your browser a cookie to track you around the Internet with, will instead create a hidden, unique image (hence the term "canvas fingerprinting") that can be tracked around the web to deliver better targeted ads or worse (you just know the black hats are going to have a field day with this).  AdBlock Plus is ineffective, as are incognito modes on your browser.

The program was developed by AddThis.  They claim the data so far has only been used internally.  Yeah, we'll see how long that lasts.  AddThis offers an "opt-out" cookie, and we know how well those things work.  YouPorn discovered it had been included by AddThis to their site without their permission.  YouPorn has dumped any and all AddThis tech from their site.

To fight this thing, you're going to have to jump through some hoops and live with some inconveniences.  Gizmodo is suggesting using Tor, my personal favorite Firefox add-on NoScript (which you may remember from the FireSheep debacle), use the Chameleon browser, or just block scripting all together.  This will limit your web experience somewhat, but there's nothing else that can be done.

Yet.

This is in a paper published by two prestigious universities.  The black hats have already gotten a hold of it.

But the white hats have, too.

I expect the best minds in Open Source to begin working on this little situation, and I'm sure they'll come up with something.  Until then, stay frosty, people.