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From the language used by adverts, to presumptions about capability with money, financial inequality runs deeper than the pay gap. It’s there when the waiter puts the bill down in front of my dad, even though I’m taking him out for dinner. Or when a magazine presents a ‘money horoscope’ as financial advice. It’s when garages send quotes for women’s cars to the men they live with, or when landlords persist in contacting the male half of a couple. It’s there when I’m asked to talk on a panel for free as if what I do isn’t a job but a hobby. And it’s present in my male colleagues’ faces when I join in a conversation about the growth potential of global share funds. 

There’s a pervasive narrative littered throughout the media, the conversations we have and the financial literature available, that men are better with money. Apparently, they earn, invest and build money, while women ‘just’ spend it. Author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie told a story which brought to life this gap in her now-famous TED Talk We Should All Be Feminists. She was out with a male friend and gave a man a tip. “I opened my bag, brought out my money that I had earned from doing my work, and I gave it to the man,” she said. “He took the money from me, looked across at [my friend] and said, ‘Thank you, sir!’” 

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While we appreciate Ocasio Cortez and Warren’s analysis of Game of Thrones, we also can’t help but see the real world parallels of what they’re talking about.

Sure, there aren’t dragons and White Walkers, but the two women make an excellent point about women coming close to running the world (or the US) and then being dismissed for being “too emotional”.

That is clearly, as the pair address, something that men label women with. For a more nuanced and accurate view of women in politics, we need traditional institutions like, say, television networks and oh, we don’t know, the political elite, to look at things from a feminist angle.

And that’s something we know Ocasio Cortez and Warren can do.

Image: Getty

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A decade ago, Amazon abruptly deleted copies of George Orwell’s 1984 from the Kindles of its American customers. The move instantly evoked the “memory holes” in the novel’s totalitarian dystopia, and it inspired about equal measures of shock, outrage, and jokes. (If a fictional Amazon in a dystopian novel had performed the same mass deletion, critics would have said it was too on the nose.) But in hindsight, Amazon’s action was also a striking harbinger of a shift that has only become more pronounced since then: our wholesale tilt toward becoming a tenant society.

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In that particular case, Amazon said the books had been added to the Kindle Store by a vendor who didn’t actually have the rights to them. “When we were notified of this by the rights holder, we removed the illegal copies from our systems and from customers’ devices, and refunded customers,” said a spokesperson at the time. Amazon quickly apologized and said that in the future it would leave books on people’s devices even if there was an error in how they got there. But one thing the company couldn’t take back was the demonstration of its sheer power. Even the biggest traditional retailer could hardly dream of reaching into people’s houses and taking back what it had sold them.

Today, we may think we own things because we paid for them and brought them home, but as long as they run software or have digital connectivity, the sellers continue to have control over the product. We are renters of our own objects, there by the grace of the true owner.

Of course, “smart,” connected machines do come with plenty of upsides. A modern washing machine doesn’t just agitate the clothes around for a fixed amount of time; it senses water levels and dampness and can adjust how long it spins so your clothes come out at just the right level of dryness. Cars are more fuel-efficient because their computers optimize many aspects of their operation, from fuel injection to braking. All of this is good for the environment and your wallet.

Desperate farmers have taken to hanging out in shady internet forums, looking for software that will get around John Deere’s locks, trying to repair the tractors they ostensibly own.

But that is not all that’s happening. Connectivity and embedded intelligence are being used by large corporations to increase their profits and to exercise as much control as they can get away with. Perhaps the most egregious example involves John Deere tractors—those iconic, bright green giants that rumble across big fields, noisily harvesting wheat, corn, and soy. For generations, farmers have repaired their tractors right on the farmstead. But in its push toward building ever more automated, sensor-packed agricultural equipment, John Deere has put draconian software locks on its tractors, forcing customers to visit the company’s own repair shops. Farmers complain they are charged exorbitant sums for even simple repairs. And they lose crucial time heading out to the shop during the harvest season. Desperate farmers have taken to hanging out in shady internet forums, looking for software that will get around John Deere’s locks, trying to assert their right to repair the tractors they ostensibly own.

Apple, too, has waged a scorched-earth campaign against anyone with the audacity to repair its products or replace its batteries. In 2017 it came to light that the company was secretly throttling iPhones with older batteries, slowing down their performance. Apple said it was doing so only to keep the aging phones from crashing outright. This technical reason for the move made sense; the fact that it was secret did not. And it was hard to ignore the ways the policy might also benefit the company. Users with increasingly slow phones were, in effect, being nudged to purchase a new device, allowing Apple to increase its already hefty profit margins.

After the scandal, an embarrassed Apple offered cheap replacement batteries. It soon became clear why the company held the line against them for so long. New iPhone sales went down; Tim Cook told shareholders that increased repairs were “a factor” in this trend.

More recently, Apple has reportedly cut a deal with Amazon to remove “unauthorized” refurbishers of Apple products—people who resell repaired machines—from the Amazon marketplace. In return, it will let Amazon sell new Apple products: a win-win for the two giants, but not for consumers. Apple also forces recyclers to shred old iPhones and Macbooks rather than reuse their parts and materials. That’s definitely bad not just for consumers but also for the environment.

But this isn’t merely a fight over prices and profit margins. What happens when you do something with your car, phone, or other object that corporate headquarters really doesn’t like? Our connected devices can simply be bricked on command. Cars have been immobilized, for example, when the ostensible owner fell behind on payments by as little as three days. John Deere tractors with “unauthorized repairs” have been similarly taken out of commission. How long before other devices start behaving as spies and taskmasters in our own home? Will the coffee maker let us have that seventh cup that the doctor advised us against?

It’s true that repairs of complicated gadgets may sometimes need to be done by licensed parties. But rather than more secrecy and exclusive control, companies could expand the base of people capable of doing the work. It’s also true that connectivity is necessary for devices that run software; bugs need to be fixed and software updated. But there is no reason for that to be an unbounded license to brick a device or erase its content.

In March, US senator and Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren called for Congress to pass a national right-to-repair law that “empowers farmers to repair their equipment without going to an authorized agent.” But it’s not just farmers. It’s all of us. We have fewer rights as digital tenants than we do as tenants of real estate, where eviction is subject to due process. If we purchase something, it is ours. We shouldn’t let ownership go down the memory hole.

Zeynep Tufekci (@zeynep) is a WIRED contributor and a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

This article appears in the June issue. Subscribe now.

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I due colossi tecnologici siglano una partnership tra Xbox e Playstation per contrastare i progetti di cloud gaming di nuovi concorrenti

Annual E3 Gaming Conference In Los Angeles

Accordo a sorpresa nel mondo dei videogiochi. Due colossi come Sony e Microsoft hanno deciso di allearsi per creare nuove soluzioni condivise nel mercato dei videogiochi in cloud. Le trattative andrebbero avanti da un anno, stando a quanto riporta The Verge, e hanno colto alla sprovvista persino i dipendenti di Playstation, che non erano stati informati.

In particolare, l’accordo riguarderebbe le rispettive divisioni di Xbox e PlayStation, che vorrebbero concorrere nel mercato dello streaming dei videogame dopo che Google ha lanciato Stadia, il suo servizio di giochi in streaming e una nuova funzione per permettere agli utenti di giocare attraverso la piattaforma Youtube.

Da parte sua, Sony può già contare su un proprio servizio di giochi in streaming come Playstation Now, che però non è stato in grado di innovarsi negli anni. E ora il campo su cui si danno battaglia i colossi come Google e Amazon, anche nel mercato dei videogiochi, è invece quello del cloud, da cui al momento Sony resta esclusa.

È da qui che nasce allora la disponibilità del gruppo giapponese a collaborare con un rivale storico come Microsoft. La compagnia di Bill Gates, tramite il suo servizio di cloud, Azure, sarebbe in grado di garantire stabilità per l’utilizzo dello streaming dei giochi di Playstation. Dal canto suo, nell’alleanza Sony mette sul piatto la competenza nello sviluppo di alcuni dei videogame più apprezzati e diffusi in tutto il mondo.

Ma i due colossi puntano anche a unire le forze per promuovere servizi e contenuti in streaming anche oltre all’ambito dei videogame, si legge nell’annuncio dell’accordo pubblicato settimana scorsa da Microsoft. Inoltre, l’alleanza strategica potrebbe portare anche alla creazione di console di nuova generazione ma piuttosto simili in termini di hardware, rendendo così più facile lo sviluppo di videogiochi da parte delle rispettive divisioni di creatori.

Ma le alleanze e le strategie che si stanno definendo sono soltanto alcuni dei possibili movimenti che preludono alla battaglia sul cloud gaming, e all’orizzonte cominciano già ad affacciarsi anche altri colossi come Nintendo, Ea o Rovio.

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Licenza Creative Commons

This opera is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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Bengala Automotive Design provides unique customization options for high-end luxury vehicles and, for its latest project, the Spain-based company took on the Bentley Bentayga. Bengala gave the Bentayga an even bigger body kit, taking it from a luxury SUV to an all-terrain machine, as well as a host of rally-ready design cues.

The reworked luxury vehicle was developed in association with an unnamed “Spanish off-road rally champion and his team” and is dubbed the Bengala Bentayga². The behemoth will be limited to just 15 pieces, each of which can be tailored to the customer’s exact likings and specifications and come fitted with a custom revised suspension, off-road tires, wide fenders and an overall body rework, such as dual under-door exhaust pipes. Other new features include a redesigned front featuring a combat-like bumper and a roof-top light strip. Take a closer look at the custom Bengala Bentayga² above.

For more limited-edition motors, check out Aston Martin’s DBS Superleggera homage to a classic James Bond film.



Don’t get low

A post shared by Bengala Automotive Design SL. (@bengalaautodesign) on Nov 16, 2017 at 12:11pm PST

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It happened again: Google announced today that it’s the latest tech giant to have accidentally stored user passwords unprotected in plaintext. G Suite users, pay attention.

Google says that the bug affected “a small percentage of G Suite users,” meaning it does not impact individual consumer accounts, but does affect some business and corporate accounts, which have their own risks and sensitivities. The company typically stores passwords on its servers in a cryptographically scrambled state known as a hash. But a bug in G Suite’s password recovery feature for administrators caused unprotected passwords to be stored in the infrastructure of a control panel, called the admin console. Google has disabled the features that contained the bug.

Before it did so, the passwords would have been accessible to authorized Google personnel or malicious interlopers. Each organization’s administrator could have also accessed the plaintext passwords for the account holders within their group.

“The fact that this was around since 2005 and wasn’t caught is disconcerting.”

David Kennedy, TrustedSec

Twitter and Facebook have dealt with plaintext password bugs of their own in the past 18 months. But where those two companies both concluded that it was unnecessary to auto-reset user passwords, Google is taking the step “out of an abundance of caution.” At the time, Twitter would not comment on how long it had been storing users’ passwords in plaintext. Facebook’s bug dated back to 2012.

Google’s bug, meanwhile, has existed since 2005—a year before “Google For Work” even became an official offering. And while the company emphasizes that it has no evidence that the plaintext passwords were ever accessed or abused, 14 years is a long time for sensitive data to hang around unnoticed.

“Our authentication systems operate with many layers of defense beyond the password, and we deploy numerous automatic systems that block malicious sign-in attempts even when the attacker knows the password,” Google vice president of engineering Suzanne Frey wrote in a blog post. “In addition, we provide G Suite administrators with numerous two-step verification (2SV) options. … We take the security of our enterprise customers extremely seriously, and pride ourselves in advancing the industry’s best practices for account security. Here we did not live up to our own standards.”

Google is in the process of notifying G Suite administrators, and says that it will also automatically reset any impacted passwords that haven’t already been changed. The company discovered the bug in April, and an additional plaintext password bug in May during the course of its investigation. The latter accidentally stored plaintext passwords for new G Suite customers as they completed their sign-up. That bug only went into effect in January 2019, and those unhashed passwords were only stored for a maximum of 14 days. Google says that it has fixed both the main admin console plaintext bug and the more recent sign-up flow issue.

“Google typically has a decent track record of catching bugs fast and remediating them, so the fact that this was around since 2005 and wasn’t caught is disconcerting,” says David Kennedy, CEO of the enterprise penetration testing firm TrustedSec. “We have seen this with Twitter, Facebook, and multiple other organizations where legacy processes or applications cause clear text passwords to be exposed internally. And even if it’s only internal it still creates a substantial privacy and security concern.”

Since all impacted passwords that haven’t already been changed will be auto-reset by Google, you should focus on adding two-factor authentication to your G Suite account if you don’t already have it—and maybe cross your fingers that these passwords went unnoticed for 14 years.

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Every time we bring up the topic of ’90s style, it’s not long before someone drops Jennifer Aniston’s name. Her style is so synonymous with ’90s fashion that it’d be hard not to give her a mention. These days, we’re mentioned the decade quite a bit since its über-minimalistic aesthetic has continued to hold an influence on fashion two decades (and counting) later.

Pluck out any of the biggest 2019 trends at random—strappy sandals, cargo pants, baby tees, I could go on—and chances are Jennifer Aniston wore the trend first and better. From her days playing Rachel Green on-screen to her red carpet appearances, Jennifer Aniston’s 1990s outfits are a treasure trove of throwback style that feels just as nostalgic as it does cool right now. To prove it, I went ahead and used current pieces to re-create her most iconic style moments from the decade to show you how timeless those looks really are. Keep reading to fill up on inspiration from our friend Jen and then shop pieces to get her looks for yourself.