<span class='p-name'>Too Long; Didn’t Read #183</span>

Too Long; Didn’t Read #183

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Focusing on importance
TL;DR #183 – 2/2/2019

Hi all, welcome to TL;DR. My name is Ian O’Byrne. I research, teach, & write about technology in our lives. I try to synthesize what happened this week in tech…so you can be the expert as well. We’ll have some changes upcoming for this newsletter to help achieve these goals. 🙂

I posted a couple of things this week:


Mark Manson: Here’s How to Stop Caring About Things That Don’t Matter (28:35)

Marie Forleo interviewing Mark Manson to identify the ways to focus on the things that matter in life. Manson is the author of the book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. I just finished reading this book, and it was excellent.

Please be warned…there are some NSFW words in the interview.


The Birth of Tech

For better or worse, the Internet is an element in all of our lives. This retrospective from Erin Overbey and Joshua Rothman in The New Yorker gives a great review of some of the moments in tech that brought us here.

I often have concerns about privacy, security, and our data in these digital spaces. But, this piece filled me with a bit of nostalgia as I consider how far we’ve come in such a short amount of time.

Now that we’ve started on a positive note…

Facebook has been paying teens $20 a month for total access to their phone activity

Since 2016, Facebook has a program where they pay users from 13 to 35 up to $20 a month to install a VPN (virtual private network) on their phones. They use this backdoor to suck up all of the user’s data to study their habits and practices.

Hours after the story broke, Facebook indicated that it would shut down the program. But, before they did anything, Apple blocked the app on iOS devices.

So why does this matter? Facebook is entering a second year of huge data scandals. There is a pattern in which Facebook spies on users, collects data, and sells this off to advertisers…or worse. When they get caught, they obfuscate, block transparency tools, or defer. They cannot be trusted with our data.

Mark Zuckerberg’s Delusion of Consumer Content

When Facebook gets caught, they provide two talking points.

The first of which is that they don’t “steal” or collect your data…you give it to them. This argument is true, yet Facebook also is less than transparent in their terms of use, and letting you know what they’re doing with your data.

The second thing they indicate is that they’re providing you a value for your data in “tailored ads.” They indicate that we’re all going to get ads, so why not get ads for things you actually like. Protection of ad personalization is a common talking point, but do users really want this?

In this opinion, Joseph Turow and Chris Jay Hoofnagle share some research in which users suggest…no…this is not something that we want.

The association between adolescent well-being and digital technology use

A new paper based on a massive sample size of 355,358 adolescents indicates that screentime explains less than 0.4% of depression. The research also shows that previous research in this area is deeply flawed.

This twitter thread by Patrick Markey provides an excellent overview on the publication.

AI in Context: The labor of integrating new technologies

In this new report from Data & Society, researchers Alexandra Mateescu and Madeleine Clare Elish show how automated and AI technologies are reconfiguring work at family-owned farms and grocery stores.

As automation becomes a larger force in our lives (and the lives of our children) we need to be considerate of how to work with the machines.

The authors discuss the “human infrastructures” needed to integrate with these machines. Put simply, future workers will need to think about how to make their work machine legible.


SNL’s Hand-Written Cue Cards Are a Good Hack

This video popped up in my feed earlier this week. It’s a great look at the power of performance and printed text.

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Don’t just sit there. Do something. The answers will follow.

Mark Manson


TL;DR is a summary of all the great stuff from the Internet this week in technology, education, & literacy. Please subscribe to make sure this comes to your inbox each week. You can review archives of the newsletter here.

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16 Comments Too Long; Didn’t Read #183

  1. Sandra Volling

    I just finished reading Manson”s book and found it had many points that made me stop and think. Thanks for the great book recommendation!


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