All posts by spencer

A Tease for the Next Project: Kiwi

I’ve started work on Kiwi kiwiFavico128, an open source (will be Apache license, I think) set of browser extensions (including Safari, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, and Firefox for Android(!)), which will serve internet communities (like HN and Reddit)! They should be done in a few weeks (the Chrome extension is mostly working). To my developer friends: get ready to fork! :D

I’m really excited by the Firefox for iOS project — sign up for their newsletter here (https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/newsletter/ios/). I plan to release Kiwi for FF iOS as soon as it debuts.

For a released project, check out Broccoli [extension link]

Broccoli for ToS;DR

Broccoli for ToS;DR broccoli128 (Terms of Service; Didn’t Read) is a free extension available in the Chrome App Store and GPL-forkable on Github.

Broccoli fetches the latest summaries from ToS;DR (a user rights initiative to rate and label websites’ terms of service & privacy policies).
Broccoli displays these summaries one point at a time, so you can digest the meaning of these agreements at your own pace (there’s also a list-view for a succinct overview).

Features:

  • Nicely formatted, point-by-point descriptions (along with metadata).
  • Option to review a service’s points (Is this fair? yes or no) (and download/export or clear all of your reviews).
  • A succinct list-view that provides a quick-look for all points of a website.
  • If a point is updated by TOS;DR, Broccoli will return it to ‘un-reviewed’ status.
  • Draws information from one of the best sources of summarized terms of service and privacy policies on the net.

“Broccoli” is kind of like terms of service: avoided at all costs, but good for you. ;)

Screenshot #1: Single points are displayed in the extension trey; log your opinions for future reference (your opinions are for your use only):
Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 11.25.01 AM

Screenshot #2: The list view shows an overview of summarized points and your opinions of fairness:
List view

My motivation for making Broccoli was two-fold:

1. By focusing on specific terms (as opposed entire, complex documents) we can more easily share our grievances or praise about a service & spark conversation.
2. Let’s help people form their own opinions about terms.

Get involved with ToS;DR! Here you can update or contribute terms of service summaries. You can also help develop the ToS;DR service. For questions about Broccoli the extension – check out Github repo or tweet to @spencenow

A walk through:

Again with the “National Security” Smokescreen

Note: This was not intended to be a political blog but rather a changelog for extensions/projects I work on.

But this news item from last week received remarkably little press. While several publications covered the initiative to amend the Official Secrets Act on its outset, only a couple wrote about its defeat. Furthermore, the best writeup has been been unavailable with site issues, so I thought I’d log it here on fixpunk.

UK Parliament voted 295 to 233 to block a move that would prevent those who provide evidence to child sex abuse investigations from being prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act.

One must ask: how is protecting whistleblowers who expose child rape rings a partisan issue?

http://www.exaronews.com/articles/5529/ministers-block-move-to-lift-official-secrets-act-for-csa-scandal
(mirror because the site has been up and down: http://i.imgur.com/2i3xBLa.jpg)

The vote came amidst the backdrop of major scandal in the UK. Associated Press: Britain’s Shame: Evidence Mounts of Child-Abuse Cover-Up

And let us not forget last year’s scandal, where the UK advisor to Cameron on the nationwide porn filter was arrested for charges related to child pornagraphy.

From one of the few articles covering the story (from Exaro): “The amendment was defeated by 295 MPs to 233. The move was opposed by 254 Conservatives and 40 Liberal Democrats, suggesting a whipped vote. But Mann’s proposal was supported by 233 MPs in the 9.15pm vote on February 23, including 207 from Labour , as well as 8 Conservatives and 3 Liberal Democrats.”

“Mann said: ‘My amendment would have given immunity from prosecution only in relation to historical incidences of child abuse. It was very clear, targeted and concise.'”

Perhaps this amendment is misguided or a bad idea, but the vote effectively states that the UK legislative body sees protecting its child rapists from prosecution integral to its national security interests. Protecting its children from rape is not as important as reserving the right to prosecute anyone under the OSA.

Remember the “but, think of the children” line, oftentimes used to bolster arguments for overbearing measures taken in the name of national security… It takes on a whole new meaning in this context.

The Public at large must understand that any government is made up of normal people–some with good / others with bad intentions–and, without *reliable* avenue avenues for transparency, injustices will be perpetrated with impunity, ad infinitum.

edit: *reliable avenues*. Redundancy is needed, because any law can be amended (in committee at the 11th hour or after-the-fact with a new vote) or repealed, policy changed with a new administration, or law reinterpreted by a new justice. Multiple avenues for transparency are required for a cultural shift inside the halls of power.

WalkBack for TweetDeck

[ — Disclaimer — this is just a simple extension for habitual users of TweetDeck. It’s not polished or fancy, and I don’t plan on investing much if any time on it moving forward (unless users reach out to me). My my current focus is on more my more recent extensions: Kiwi Conversations and Broccoli for ToS;DR. ]

WalkBack for TweetDeck fixpunk-faded is a free extension available in the Chrome App Store.  Its sole purpose is to allow for faster consumption of tweets from TweetDeck columns.  Users can scroll six columns of Tweetdeck simultaneously – giving an entirely new page of content at the press of a button.

I have found it very useful when I first log on for the day, as it allows me to walk back in time and get a recap of what people were saying (thus the name, WalkBack).  Its privileges are limited to TweetDeck.

You can find the free extension at this link.

For those who have not started using TweetDeck, all it takes is a Twitter account:  web.tweetdeck.com

For fans of technology or internet policy, I suggest these public lists as potential columns:

From the Download page:

This free extension allows for quicker consumption of tweets.

** Super minimalist interface -- no visual alterations to TweetDeck just new hotkeys **

WalkBack let's TweetDeck users scroll many columns simultaneously by pressing hotkeys.  

Scrolls will be one page length, so a "pageUp" or "pageDown" - revealing all new content.

This makes for a super quick way to consume a lot of information! 

Pressing 'i' will "pageDown" the first six columns to reflect new content.
Pressing 'u' will "pageUp" the columns.
Pressing 'o' returns columns to top.
Pressing 'y' returns columns to previous position

The window must be in focus for key bindings to work.
WalkBack for TweetDeck only uses hotkeys ('i','u','o', and 'y'); therefore, there is no additional overlays.  Powerful yet simple!  :)
WalkBack for TweetDeck only uses hotkeys (‘i’,’u’,’o’, and ‘y’); therefore, there is no additional overlays. Powerful yet simple! :)

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