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Zagg.com Just Provided Me with Great Customer Service

tl;dr: Zagg.com just offered to replace an iPad Mini keyboard that was not clamping on as well as it should have been. Even though the warranty had recently expired, a Zagg tech support person wrote me a detailed email walking me carefully through the process. Now, if the website had been better designed, that email would have been unnecessary, but the help was still welcome. A little over a year…

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5 myths about Facebook’s Messenger app

Real journalism takes a look at that Huffington Post blog warning you that Facebook Messenger will summon intubation associates who will extract up to a pint of six different bodily fluids. And I, for one, welcome our Facebook overlords. One blog from the Huffington Post published in December has gone viral, making the rounds on the social network recently because it claims the app gives Facebook “direct control over your…

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Liking Everything He Saw on Facebook for 24 Hours Turned Him Into a Marketing Machine

I like everything. Or at least I did, for 48 hours. Literally everything Facebook sent my way, I liked—even if I hated it. I decided to embark on a campaign of conscious liking, to see how it would affect what Facebook showed me. I know this sounds like a stunt (and it was) but it was also genuinely just an open-ended experiment. I wasn’t sure how long I’d keep it…

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How Humans Respond to Robots

The play that coined the word “robot,” Karel Capek’s R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots), included violent robots, compassionate robots, and herd robots (who are content to be workers until incited by the violent robot leaders). This article explores a wide range of human responses to robots. Our expectations of robots and our response to their designs varies internationally; the Uncanny Valley curve has a different arc depending where you are. Certainly,…

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Why We Dug Atari

Game collectors have their story, too. For them, the dig provided the extraordinary opportunity to get to the bottom of the “infamous Atari landfill.” Nostalgia had its role, playing upon the remembrances of 40-somethings hoping to reclaim a restorative piece of a childhood that Atari helped define. Searching for them reversed the expectations of a culture that values the past only if it is old and unique. Then there is…

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Why Hoboken is Throwing Away All of its Student Laptops

Untrained teachers. Damage-prone machines. OS bogged down with ineffective security software. The whole town clogged the school’s WiFi. What an expensive disaster! “There is no more determined hacker, so to speak, than a 12-year-old who has a computer,” said Crocamo. All this security software also bogged down the computers. Teachers complained it took 20 minutes for them to boot up, only to crash afterwards. Often, there was too little memory…

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I accidentally started a Wikipedia hoax

Hoaxes roam the Information Superhighway, camouflaged as factoids. Consider this one: “Amelia Bedelia was a maid in Cameroon.” The “Amelia Bedelia was a maid in Cameroon” factoid had been cited in a lesson plan by a Taiwanese English professor. It was cited in a book about Jews and Jesus. It was cited in innumerable blog posts and book reports, as well as a piece by blogger Hanny Hernandez, who speculated that Amelia…