October 13, 2020

Facebook blocks Lebowski quote search engine by mistake

Filed under: Film,IT,Online by Orangemaster @ 3:05 pm

According to British-Canadian journalist and author Cory Doctorow on Twitter, Dutch digital rights activist Hans De Zwart, who used to head up digital rights organisation Bits of freedom in Amsterdam, created the search engine thebiglebow.ski that generates fun quotes from 1998 American cult classic ‘The Big Lebowski’.

Right from the start, the site had the rug pulled out from under it, as it was blocked by Facebook (and Instagram) with the message “Your message couldn’t be sent because it includes content that other people on Facebook have reported as abusive.” De Zwart wanted to complain to Facebook, but without a Facebook account, he couldn’t. As a digital rights activist, he doesn’t use social media, but he joined Facebook just to be able to file a complaint. He was also annoyed at the fact that he couldn’t spell his Dutch last name correctly, de Zwart with a lower case d. He was basically told ‘thanks for the feedback’, which is big tech speak for f*** you.

About a month later, De Zwart bought a five euro Facebook advert in order to be able to communicate with the tech giant. His advert was rejected with “This ad contains or refers to content that has been blocked by our security systems (#1885260)”. This error code means nothing to mortals, so he tried to complain. First, he had to agree to “four sets of legal terms”, after which he was told “Thanks for helping us improve!” He was down five euro and still didn’t have an answer. “It appears that Facebook will only look at problems if they realise that it might cost them too much political or media capital if they continue to ignore them”, he explained.

A few days after the author of the article below presented the case to a Facebook PR person, the problem was magically solved. Nobody had reported thebiglebow.ski for abusive material: it had simply been incorrectly labelled by Facebook’s automated tools as spam.

Now either watch the movie if you have not seen it and pour yourself a White Russian when you do, if that’s your thing.

(Link: medium.com, image thebiglebow.ski)

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October 24, 2019

The Netherlands as represented by emoji

Filed under: Online by Orangemaster @ 2:24 pm

Every once in a while fun stuff, rather than controversial or nasty stuff, does the rounds on Dutch Twitter. One user names Mathieu from the province of Zeeland came up with an emoji map of the The Netherlands.

The mountain is for the Sint-Pietersberg mountain in Limburg, the only mountainous part of the country. The mountain border Belgium and Germany – I ran up them this summer, it’s beautiful.

There’s parasols for coastal resorts and beaches, an airplane for Schiphol, tractors for many farming regions, tulips for Lisse, South Holland and a skate for Heerenveen, Friesland. My guess is that the phone is for Apeldoorn (tax office), microscope for Eindhoven (why not a lightbulb?) and a roller coaster for the Efteling.

Nos.nl tells us that the telescope in Drenthe stands for the big radio telescope in Dwingeloo and the dust bin stands for Almere – someone explain that to us. Feel free to check out Dutch Twitter to see a whole bunch of other versions, including who says ‘patat’ or ‘friet’ (different ways to say ‘fries), sports and politics.

(Link: nos.nl, Image: Twitter)

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July 22, 2016

Unicode accepts rainbow emoji flag petition

Filed under: General,History,Online by Orangemaster @ 1:51 pm

Thanks to lots of people including Amsterdam resident Maurice Beljaars who asked for a rainbow emoji flag, Unicode has approved the request for the flag. It won’t be ready for a while or in time for Amsterdam’s Gay Pride, but then people can use hashtags #EuroPride, #AmsterdamPride and #Joinourfreedom for Gay Pride from Saturday 23 July through 7 August.

According to Emojipedia, the gay pride flag features in the top 30 emoji requests collected on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

(Link: www.parool.nl, Photo of Gay flag by sigmaration, some rights reserved)

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June 28, 2016

Dutchman petitions Unicode for rainbow emoji flag

Filed under: General,History by Orangemaster @ 6:00 am

Amsterdam resident Maurice Beljaars had first petitioned Twitter and then Unicode for a rainbow emoji flag, which would add a nice touch to any LGBTI-related news, instead of just using an ordinary rainbow.

Beljaars explains that the rainbow flag has been the international symbol of the gay community since the late 1970s. Unicode has already felt it was important to add recent emojis such as the croissant, cowboy and selfie, so why not the rainbow flag? Google employees have also recently made requests for emojis that better represent women in actual jobs rather than in superficial beauty situations and not too long ago many emojis with people in them became available in different skin tones.

(Link: www.nu.nl, Photo of Gay flag by sigmaration, some rights reserved)

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August 21, 2015

Knocking on your phone to exchange your details

Filed under: IT,Technology by Orangemaster @ 3:06 pm

Knock Knock

You meet someone and you want to exchange all your social media details, and that’s a lot of work. Dutch-born David Wyler and his American business partner Ankur Jain, both Silicon Valley entrepreneurs with many accolades, have developed a free mobile app called ‘Knock Knock’ that lets you swap details and instantly follow people. Unfortunately, Google Play won’t let me download it to my Samsung Galaxy to try it out, but y’all go ahead.

The app has received undisclosed investments from British investor Richard Branson, American rapper Will.i.am. and American actor Sophia Bush who can all be seen in the promo video. For reasons unknown – and I have asked – Bush was left out of the Dutch sources of this article as well as Jain, which is very odd.

Knock Knock is apparently the third in a series of similar apps, as Spincard and Bump were first, but are not around anymore. Maybe third time’s the charm.

(Links: techcrunch.com, www.rtlnieuws.nl)

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August 18, 2014

RFID bracelets track festival goers

Filed under: Music,Technology by Branko Collin @ 8:11 pm

waldo-lowlands-2008-gabe-mcintyreHave you ever gone to a music festival but got too drunk to remember which acts you saw?

Yeah, me neither, but apparently now there’s a solution. For the price of whatever was left of their privacy, visitors of the Lowlands festival last weekend could get a ‘free’ wristband that allowed them to keep a diary of sorts.

Every time you held the Nedap-developed wristband against a scanning station, the station would register your ID, time and location in order to be able to present you with a slew of data on the spot or afterwards. The data contained the location of both you and bracelet-wearing friends, the bands that played nearby, photos of you and your friends, ‘spotified’ set lists, and so on.

According to the video below by Face Culture, some people ‘hacked’ the system by trying to get into the top ten of the people that scanned their bracelets the most. Other advantages mentioned were the ability to remember the names of obscure bands you saw and not having to trawl through 20,000 photos online before finding yours. One person complained that she still had a sliver of privacy left: she wanted more scanning stations so that she could also see when she had gone for a burger.

A Campign Flight to Lowlands Paradise (its full name) is an annual festival held near Biddinghuizen in the province of Flevoland.

(Photo of Waldo at Lowlands 2008 by Gabe McIntyre, some rights reserved; if only he had worn an RFID tag, you would have spotted him instantly; link: AD)

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December 6, 2011

KLM lets you choose who sits next to you

Filed under: Aviation by Orangemaster @ 11:46 am
airplane1.JPG

After spying on passengers using Twitter and Foursquare to offer them gifts last holiday season, KLM is planning to let people choose the passengers next to them on flights using social media. They call it ‘social seating’.

The idea is to check Facebook or LinkedIn when you check in to pick where you want to sit according to people’s profiles. KLM believes that would be a good call for business flights and making contacts.

As far as ordinary flights are concerned, I’d be more inclined to eliminate who I wouldn’t want beside me, including any type of person who takes up too much space or makes too much noise, be it tall, big, with small children or a loud mp3 player. Of course, nobody would have to allow this kind of linking to social media, as it could also be used for evil.

What if some strange man who accosts single women during flights sits next to me? He picked me, but I surely didn’t pick him. Or a thief. Just saying.

Great idea for business, but I can foresee a lot of issues for anyone who is tall, big and has small children.

(Link: www.spitsnieuws.nl, Photo of a Lufthansa plane at Schiphol)

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