Saturday, October 4, 2014

Boot up: YouTube's rising money, the Fappener, 3D eases lockpicking

Home Depot company Home Depot: site of a credit card data breach. Photograph: VIEW press/Demotix/Corbis

A burst of 9 links for you to chew over, as picked by the Technology team

The biggest YouTube star is Felix Kjellberg, a 24-year-old Swede known as PewDiePie to his 29 million subscribers, whom he delights with daily videos in which he simply plays videogames while cracking jokes. Kjellberg recently revealed that his channel grossed $4m in ad revenue in 2013.

"The biggest stars in the space aren't making the same type of money that traditional celebrities are," said Brent Weinstein, head of digital media at UTA. "But they're catching up."

Moreover, there is a "long tail of digital creators" who make higher incomes than the rank-and-file of traditional actors, Weinstein said. According to YouTube, several thousand channel partners earn six-figure incomes through the vidsite.

WME digital agent Avi Gandhi said he's seeing an increasing number of online stars making seven figures a year, with some approaching eight. As the ad business — which has had 70 years of buying on TV — starts figuring out that the Internet is a missed opportunity, even more dollars will pour into the ecosystem. "These digital stars, a lot of them, have online audiences bigger than TV shows," Gandhi noted.

Amazon has finally (finally!) brought its Prime Instant Video service to Android devices with an Instant Video app available through its own app store.
The news comes as part of an update to version 5.0 of Amazon's own app in the Play Store, which sees a broader content shift - the new Amazon app allows users to access Amazon's entire digital catalog, meaning that - besides instant video content - users can shop for (and install) apps from Amazon's app store. This ostensibly makes the Amazon App Store app obsolete, though the old app will still need to hang around on your device to verify apps that use Amazon's optional DRM system. Whether this will change in the future is unclear.

According to the results of a survey published by investment firm Piper Jaffray in June, 31% of the respondents would be willing to pay between $100 and $200 for the rumoured iWatch, and only 15% would be willing to pay more than $300. Considering that the respondents in Piper Jaffray's survey skew affluent with an average household income of $130,000, the willingness to pay in the general population is probably even lower.

Price of Apple Watch: $349. Let's see how this pans out.

Caitlin Dewey:

We've known for a long time that Reddit is something of a feeding ground for the Internet media — it is, as I put it in May, the "plankton of the digital information ecosystem," the stuff on which the rest of the internet feeds. But even within Reddit, there are hierarchies that include individuals who, like [Fappening subreddit creator] John, have enormous control over the flow of information. Because we never know most mods' names, and because Reddit's moderation policy is militantly hands-off, they rarely face the type of scrutiny common in other, traditional media structures.

Many would argue that's a good thing. Reddit is, after all, a longtime corporate advocate of free speech and the open Internet, a platform founded on the principle that Internet users should be able to say and read and gawk at whatever the hell they want. Perhaps [Jennifer] Lawrence and the other victims of "The Fappening" feel differently.

In either case, John's social footprint seems to indicate a guy who falls on the radical transparency side of the spectrum — who believes in making personal information public, no matter how intimate or embarrassing it turns out to be.

Andy Greenberg:

One of the hairier unintended consequences of cheap 3-D printing is that any troublemaker can duplicate a key without setting foot in a hardware store. But clever lockpickers like Jos Weyers and Christian Holler already are taking that DIY key-making trick a step further: They can 3-D print a slice of plastic or metal that opens even high-security locks in seconds, without even seeing the original key.

Weyers and Holler's trick is to 3-D print a "bump" key, which resembles a normal key but can open millions of locks with a carefully practiced rap on its head with a hammer.

I'm pretty sure it's me.
1. Ben Discoe, Google [x] UI programmer.
2. October 2011-November 2012 (13 months).
3. Main reasons: I had a house payment (on my farm in Hawaii) and alimony to pay. No money left for South Bay rental prices.  I got a 1990 GMC Vandura custom conversion van for $1800 (blue velour, wood paneling, previously tricked out by a burner) and that (roughly speaking) was my entire rent for the 13 months.
Interestingly, many parallels to Brandon Oxendine: twin mattress from IKEA, curtains on the windows, and eventually ended up in the SF Mission.
There is a page on the (old, internal) Google wiki called "Living at Google" which unfortunately can't be shared, but it's really funny, and I added useful tips to it.
Policies to prevent (or encourage!) this: Not really. It is very likely technically in violation of some obscure code or city ordinance. Google Security came by very early on, but once they determined that the guy in the mysteriously parked white van was just an eccentric Googler and not the Unabomber, they never came by again.

Anyone read The Circle by Dave Eggers?

Last Tuesday, September 2, we disclosed that we were investigating a possible breach of our payment data systems. We want you to know that we have now confirmed that those systems have in fact been breached, which could potentially impact any customer that has used their payment card at our US and Canadian stores, from April forward. We do not have any evidence that the breach has impacted stores in Mexico or customers who shopped online at
We apologize for the frustration and anxiety this causes our customers.
We also want to emphasize that you will not be responsible for any fraudulent charges to your accounts, and we're offering free identity protection services, including credit monitoring, to any customer who has shopped at a Home Depot store in 2014, from April on.

The actual title of the page on which this appears is "Statement 1". These breakins are wonderful for the identity protection services in the US.

Here's more: anyone who paid using NFC (card or phone) won't have to worry. As Dave Birch explained in 2010:

If you scan my Barclays debit card, the data that you get from the contactless interface is not sufficient to create a cloned EMV card (contact or contactless) because it's a DDA (dynamic data authentication) card and you need the private key to forge it. The data isn't sufficient to create a cloned magnetic stripe card because it gives up the ICVV and not the CVV. The data isn't sufficient to use the card online because it doesn't give up the CV2. So all you can get, even if I don't notice you waving a POS terminal an inch from my arse, is the name, card number and expiry date (none of which are secret).

Looking at these (191 at the time of tagging), and the spread of marks (almost equal between 5-star and 1-star; lower but almost equal between the others, to give an average of 3.1) shows that Amazon is quite some way outside its comfort zone.

Tom Warren:

Microsoft launched its own price assault on Chromebooks earlier this year, promising a $199 HP Stream PC and cheaper windows tablets in general. While Asus has managed to create its own $199 Windows laptop, HP's latest Stream laptop will debut for $299 instead of $199, despite Microsoft COO Kevin Turner promising otherwise.


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