Ars Technica
Canada-based University of Waterloo is racing to remove M&M-branded smart vending machines from campus after outraged students discovered the machines were covertly collecting facial-recognition data without their consent.
Surveillance capitalism is going just great. I guess we can thank these developers for not bothering to obfuscate the names of their dystopian programs.

Side note: if the thing you are purchasing has a camera and/or microphone it will likely be used in an unintended way by someone. Always pay more to buy dumber machines if you can.
usesthis.com usesthis.com
There's a lot to unpack here. First, catch up on all 11 years of Uses This if you haven't been reading it. Twice a week people describe the tools they use to get work done and it's always fascinating.

Here's how it usually works. Uses This proprietor, Daniel Bogan, sends an email interview with a few questions and interviewees can answer at their leisure. I know because I was happy to participate in 2014 when I worked at MetaFilter: Uses This: Paul Bausch. He sent me the interview in November, I responded in a couple days, and promptly forgot about it. Then I got a note from Bogan that my answers were on the site in January, hooray!

In this case, Bogan sent the interview questions to Ford in 2011 and I'm guessing they've been sitting in one of his Emacs to-do lists until yesterday: ...I finally finished my Uses This interview.... This is great because Ford is very thoughtful about how we all use technology and you can tell through this article that stems from his thoughtfulness about how he personally uses technology. Letting these questions marinate for nine years has also given this article the long view. (Unlike my short view of what was interesting to me at that time.) He talks about what hasn't changed in his toolbox and his relationship between personal and work technology.

I'm very curious about who else Bogan is waiting to hear from.
om.co om.co
Om Malik tapped into a current of mistrust around smart device features sponsored by the big services after he wrote about his hesitation: Hello HomePod. So Long Sonos & Bose. Even my first generation Sonos speakers attempt to phone home frequently (for use stats?) and I block that with pi-hole. When I wanted to add a speaker recently I purchased a used first gen on eBay because I don’t want yet another always-on microphone in my home. I mean, have you seen the headlines?
fieldnotesbrand.com fieldnotesbrand.com
image from fieldnotesbrand.com
Field Notes really knocked this National Parks edition out of the, um, recreation enclosure. If you don't already have stacks of these nicely designed notebooks this edition would be a good place to start.
image from recomendo.com
The folks who produce Cool Tools have a side hustle (?) newsletter called Recomendo. Each week they send six recommendations of cool stuff. Most of the time it's a product or tool (like Cool Tools) but sometimes it's a tech tip or an article. It's always great. And they recently packaged up 500 of their recommendations into a book: Recomendo: 500 brief reviews of cool stuff. Now we have an answer to the age-old question: who will recommend the recommenders? This guy.
ifixit.org ifixit.org
image from ifixit.org
This is such a great mystery and investigation that I don't want to spoil it with too many details. We try to keep our phones out of water but we should also try to keep them away from "large concentrations of small-molecule gas".
  • Wired's take on the best gadgets. Just in time for gadget season.
  • Application recommendations for iOS and OSX. Just in time for app season.
  • Beautiful giant photo essays. Like Medium for pictures.
  • Jeff Atwood helped design a keyboard. Looks great! I'm not sure I can give up my Realforce, but this looks like a worthy competitor.
  • Mat Honan is experiencing a nightmare cascade failure of interconnected services. This is a good reminder to back things up and make sure your passwords are unique for each service.
  • After I upgraded to Mountain Lion I had a problem with my circa 2009 Mac Pro favoring the internal Bluetooth device over an external D-Link adapter. This shows how to disable internal Bluetooth which did the trick for me. I can use my Magic Mouse again.
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