Hexbyte  Tech News  Wired 2019’s Top Contenders for the Song of Summer

Hexbyte Tech News Wired 2019’s Top Contenders for the Song of Summer

Hexbyte Tech News Wired

Who will come out on top as summer winds to a close? We’ll know soon enough.

Elena Lacey; Getty Images

We have entered that restless season of pop maximalism, the post–Memorial Day sprint to chart ubiquity—what will reign as 2019’s Song of Summer? Today, even as the music industry moves beyond its decaying center—the result of ferocious, enterprising work from artists like Tierra Whack, Solange, and Bad Bunny—summer remains a period of deep singularity. It is a time that provokes predictability: The songs are titanic in their ambition even if they are only with us for a fleeting few weeks of sunshine and abandon. It is perhaps the last remaining season that welcomes all genres equally, but just as demandingly skews to order. Just as we do, it seeks consensus. It covets audience unity. The contenders are many but there can be only one definitive anthem.

What’s especially striking about 2019, a year wherein music has never felt more confident and emotionally awake in its thematic divergence, is how this summer seems prime for both traditional ballads (“Sucker,” by The Jonas Brothers; “Never Really Over,” by Katy Perry) and sneaky pop curios (“Nightmare,” by Halsey; Jai Paul’s supremely fantastic “Do You Love Her Now”). That is, in part, one of upswings of the streaming era: the full body democratization of music. Fall no longer heralds the most attention-seizing feats of mastery. This crumbling of industry-wide borders has allowed for a messier, more relentless deluge of music, but its outcome has given rise to one of the most promising and artistically nourishing epochs in recent memory. (I’m still dizzy from the amount of incredible and incredibly complex music released in May alone—Flying Lotus! Jamila Woods! Kishi Bashi! YG! Vampire Weekend! Megan Thee Stallion! Mozzy! DJ Khaled! Lizzo! Tyler, the Creator!)

The calculus of pop power continues to drastically shift, but the framework of the summer anthem has remained an inflexible proposition. These are songs that don’t precisely gesture at a given genre’s next evolutionary step—they are consumed solely with the present moment—but they do suggest just how the instincts of the industry have, creatively and commercially speaking, adjusted across the years. The song of the summer is a greedy thing. It only wants for now.

One unforeseen factor already is the permanence of Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road.” The Billy Ray Cyrus–assisted supernova—creeping into its ninth straight week atop the Billboard Hot 100—refuses to abdicate its chart placement (even the combined #sadboy sheen of Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber’s “I Don’t Care” failed to dethrone it), although I doubt it can hold all summer. The promise of the season is everlasting: There’s always the surprise of what is to come, the unexpected luster and allure of a new track waiting to jockey radio play, streams, conversation.

Last summer’s contenders did just that—the Nola bounce and annular trance of “In My Feelings”; the tasty, villainous bravado of Nicki Minaj’s “Barbie Dreams”; the hip-rattling perfection of “I Like It,” by Cardi B, J Balvin, and Bad Bunny; the inextinguishable soar of Sweetener—and this year’s prospects, rich and surprising in scope, jolt with a shared euphoria of the season. Below, seven bright prospects for Song of the Summer.

‘Earfquake,’ by Tyler, the Creator

On IGOR, his fifth and best album, Tyler’s ditched the dark interior of his early catalog for lush production and lucid intimacy. Over a bed of plush keys and lightsaber synths, and with assists from veteran soul crooner Charlie Wilson and rap ascendant Playboi Carti, the rapper delicately navigates the fissures of love. “I just needed some confirmation on how you feel,” he raps. “You don’t want no complication, no/I don’t want on sovereign nation.”

‘Simon Says,’ by Megan Thee Stallion

The most exciting rapper of the year hails from Houston’s South Park neighborhood and is pure velocity. Produced by and featuring Juicy J, the 24-year-old born Megan Pete flips a classic childhood pastime into a thumping, combustible twerk instructional. Its gravitational pull is inescapable. Call it feminism 4.0.

‘Higher,’ by DJ Khaled, John Legend, and Nipsey Hussle

“Higher” is an elegy, a love letter to a place and a people, a goodbye delivered too soon. The track’s centerpiece, LA rapper Nipsey Hussle, was killed on March 31, and on it he reflects on hardship and self-fortitude, on, ultimately, what it takes to succeed.
“They’d rather see me down, put my soul in the fire,” John Legend sings on the hook. “But we keep goin’ higher.”

‘Playground,’ by Steve Lacy

Lacy’s funk-governed Apollo XXI recalls the heft of genre-resistant forebearers like Prince and Stevie Wonder. Which is to say it’s got room, and registers as one of the more inviting music offerings of 2019. “Playground” is the album’s second single, but a sleeper hit that begs continuous replay (along with “Only If,” “In Lust We Trust,” and “N Side”). To say nothing of his guitar virtuosity, Lacy proves he’s a worthy descendant of the soul tradition.

‘Aute Cuture,’ by Rosalía

In Spanish export Rosalía’s first conventional pop psalm, she largely foregoes the color and depth of her signature flamenco for more traditionally high-octane fare. It’s pulsing, neon, and club-ready—cross-cultural fusion at its most camp, its most fun.

‘Automatically In Love,’ by Carly Rae Jepsen

Jepsen is no stranger to the summer anthem: 2011–12’s infectious “Call Me Maybe” granted her a rare streak of ubiquity. The impressive “Automatically In Love”—a song she says is inspired by Mariah Carey—finds the pop singer on familiar territory: mining affairs of the heart (as it turns out, love and relationships are common themes among almost all of the most affecting 2019 summer anthems). Resplendently, she sings: “Love’s so fast, I can’t go slow / Hold me back, baby boy, oh, hold me close.”

‘Do You Love Her Now,’ by Jai Paul

On Saturday, after seven years of silence, British enigma Jai Paul issued two new tracks (along with a website and a smattering of other digital trinkets). The return marked his first official releases since 2012. The genius of “Do You Love Her Now”—and there is plenty of it to revel in, along with its companion piece, “He”—is in the swell, the wind up, the circularity of Paul’s purring, assuring voice. The production is soft, confident, profuse. It sounds like the perfect summer road trip with friends, daylit and full of wonder waiting to be unlocked.


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Hexbyte  Tech News  Wired Why Software Needs to Escape from San Francisco

Hexbyte Tech News Wired Why Software Needs to Escape from San Francisco

Hexbyte Tech News Wired

Lately I’ve been hearing complaints from my techie friends about San Francisco. Sure, the city is a mecca for anyone who wants to build a startup—with ample capital, helpful angels, and some of the best software talent on the planet.

But it’s becoming a monoculture. “You go to dinner and tech is literally all people talk about: tech, tech, tech,” sighs my friend David Silva, an engineer who lived in San Francisco for five years before decamping for the East Coast. Tech has crowded out other subjects of conversation.

Spreading the creation of software to other parts of the country doesn’t just expand economic opportunity, it also encourages other ideas.

That, I’d argue, is a good reason to break the region’s lock on software development. Different cities have different moods and obsessions. Spreading the creation of software to other parts of the country doesn’t just expand economic opportunity, it also encourages other ideas. As Accel venture capitalist Vas Natarajan puts it to me, “You can think of a city as a platform.” And each new platform opens up the possibility space.

What are, right now, the governing values of the San Francisco (and Silicon Valley) platform? I’d argue that it’s a region enchanted with revving up the metabolism of everyday life, from how we summon rides (Uber) and how we socialize (Facebook) to how we interact at work (Slack). Its engineers are superb at making systems that scale insanely well, emerging seemingly overnight to disrupt entire industries. “There’s a level of ambition here that isn’t in other places,” says Tracy Chou, founder of Block Party and a veteran engineer at Quora and Pinterest.

In contrast, consider my home of New York City. Techwise, it’s an also-ran compared with San Francisco, with less than a third of the venture capital. But it benefits from a greater diversity of influences. This is a city defined, in varying degrees, by publishing, finance, art, advertising, theater, and nightlife. And it produces a different landscape of talent. The tech people may be less likely to crank heads-down on their startups until midnight—because, hey, there’s an Inuit throat-singing ensemble doing a residency in Red Hook!

The ideas platform is broader and weirder. When you think of New York’s mainstream startups, many were founded to solve some problem that’s almost hilariously artsy. There’s Tumblr (fansites for emo teens) and Etsy (sell your bespoke handmade warez) and Kickstarter (get your poetry journal funded, folks!). SF has Patreon, sure, but NYC gave birth to the “check-in,” via Dodgeball and Foursquare. Cofounder Dennis Crowley wanted to use tech partly to make barhopping more fun. “Quirky problems,” as Deb Schultz, a digital innovation expert, put it.

Other cities have their own mindsets. Pittsburgh, once the Steel City, has been reborn as a hotbed of robotics, propelled by the heft of Carnegie Mellon University (itself founded in part by a steel magnate) and catalyzed by rents rendered affordable courtesy of postindustrial decline. Meanwhile, Montreal and Toronto are now centers of AI: The Canadian government funded crucial deep-learning research there, so those towns lure top machine-learning talent from around the world. (Urban Canada is pro-immigrant; about half of all residents in Toronto were born outside the country.)

Or consider the Denver-Boulder corridor, which is seeing a migration of millennials who crave its dynamism and work-life balance. “You get a house with a backyard for your dog,” notes Sue Heilbronner, cofounder of MergeLane, a venture fund that invests in companies with at least one woman in leadership. Meanwhile, Las Vegas is building a blockchain scene aided by Nevada politicians who, in a way perhaps indexed to the state’s history with gambling, passed a law blocking cities and counties from taxing or limiting uses of blockchain. (What happens in crypto stays in crypto, folks.)

The problem is that San Francisco and Silicon Valley have been strikingly successful, so they still get the venture money buffet. Other cities and states have to get creative. Why not copy Pennsylvania, which 36 years ago established its own venture fund and, later, tax breaks for startups? Pouring money into local universities is good too—they’re hubs for innovation—as is preserving walkable downtowns with old architecture and affordable housing. Vibrant cities make for vibrant ideas. And each place has a story to tell.

Source: Getty Images

Clive Thompson (@pomeranian99) is a WIRED contributing editor. Write to him at clive@clivethompson.net.

This article appears in the June issue. Subscribe now.


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Hexbyte  News  Computers An update on last week’s customer shutdown incident

Hexbyte News Computers An update on last week’s customer shutdown incident

Hexbyte News Computers

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Update 0120 UTC 5 June – We want to clarify that all customer details shared in this post have been approved by the customer in advance. We would never share such company information without express permission.

Original post


On May 29, DigitalOcean customer Raisup’s account was locked, and their resources were powered down due to a false positive generated by our anti-fraud and abuse automation system. The follow-up in handling the false positive resulted in a subsequent lock, and a communication of permanent denial of access to the account was sent to the customer. The account owner leveraged Twitter as an avenue to call attention to the mistake. Shortly thereafter, DigitalOcean investigated the issue and the Raisup account was unlocked and powered back on. We’d like to apologize and share more details about exactly what happened.

The Incident

The initial account lock and resource power down resulted from an automated service that monitors for cryptocurrency mining activity (Droplet CPU loads and Droplet create behaviors). These signals, coupled with a number of account-level signals (including payment history and current run rate compared to total payments) are used to determine if automated action is warranted to minimize the impact of potential fraudulent high-cpu-loads on other customers. Before any action is taken against accounts, automated safeties are checked to avoid action on a customer that is in good standing without warning.

Unfortunately in this case, the safeties were insufficient to prevent automated action. Additionally, because the customer was running on credit, they did not have a clear payment history, which meant that one of the primary safeties (payment history) was not triggered. The automated service created a support ticket on behalf of the customer to allow for rapid communication regarding the action.


Upon recognizing his resources had been powered off, and the account locked, the customer replied to the ticket created for communication on the action. An Abuse Operations agent re-enabled the account 12 hours after the initial ticket. However, a mistake occurred and the agent did not flag the account as approved for the CPU-intensive activity that was the cause of the initial flag.

On May 30, the same automated service then acted on the account a second time, due to the absence of a safety flag. Upon a second review by a different Abuse Operations agent (nearly 29 hours after the customer responded to the second flag), the agent failed to recognize this was a false positive, and the agent fully denied access back into the account. This action triggered the final “access denied” communication to the customer. At this point, the customer initiated the series of tweets to gain the attention of DigitalOcean.

After further investigation the Droplets were powered back on, access was regranted to the account, and the appropriate safeties were flagged. DigitalOcean leadership initiated communication with the customer to extend apologies, offer credit, and fully explain what happened to resolve the issue.

Timeline of Events

2019-05-29 16:43 UTC – Customer creates a batch of 10 Droplets rapidly creating ~100% CPU load across all new worker Droplets.

2019-05-29 18:24 UTC – Cryptocurrency mining mitigation detects suspicious behavior, including very high CPU utilization on an account with no payment history, which results in an account lock. As a part of this lock a support ticket is automatically created on the customer’s behalf.

2019-05-29 18:37 UTC – Customer replies back to the ticket with a request to unlock.

2019-05-30 06:43 UTC – Action is taken due to the customer reaching out on social media and Support. Support routes the issue to the Abuse Ops. Account is unlocked by responding Abuse Ops agent and a reply is sent in email, 12 hours after customer responded. The Allow High Cpu Usage flag is not set as part of the unlock.

2019-05-30 09:49 UTC – Account is locked and powered down by the cryptocurrency mitigation three hours after the customer powers their Droplets back on when the CPU usage on the same worker Droplets spikes back to 100%. Customer replies back to the new Verification support ticket within 20 minutes.

2019-05-31 15:32 UTC – 29 hours after the customer’s response, the account is denied reactivation. Abuse Ops agent (different from initial agent) cites the link to an older account, connected through a shared SSH key, as additional justification for making the decision to deny access.

2019-05-31 19:21 UTC – Social escalation leads to the account being unlocked/powered back on.

2019-05-31 – Communication across multiple channels (Twitter, HackerNews, other media outlets) occurs to provide apologies and clarity on the situation. Customer is directly contacted by DO staff to offer apologies, situational insight, and credit.

2019-06-01 – Customer responds to direct contact, acknowledging the apology.

Key Findings and Concerns

This situation involved failures across people, process, and technology:

Technology

The safeties intended to prevent fraud and abuse algorithms from taking automated action on a healthy, non-abusive customer were inadequate for a customer lacking payment history.

Process

  • Response timeframes to the customer of 12 hours, then 29 hours, for subsequent locks were far too long.
  • Responses to account locks were not prioritized differently from a ticket management standpoint to be above less severe tickets.
  • The initial DigitalOcean response on Twitter failed to recognize the potential harm that had been caused, and did not show compassion to the customer situation.
  • The communication regarding denial of access to the account creates a sense of helplessness; the finality without explanation requires correcting.

People

  • Process for adding the Allow High CPU Utilization safety flag was not followed.
  • Guidelines for judgment on a reported false positive were not clear, resulting in the denial of access.

Future Measures

There were a number of issues and missteps that contributed to the incident. To prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future, we are considering the following measures:

  • Peer review of account terminations. For any account appealing a lock, two agents will be required to review the submission prior to issuing a final deny.
  • The template used for response in account denial will be removed entirely. If account access is denied during an appeal, which often is the case as most appeals are true bad actors, the agent must create a reasoned response.
  • Services that result in the power down of resources will no longer automatically take action on any account, regardless of lack of payment history, for accounts that were engaged more than 90 days prior. These cases will be escalated for manual review.
  • We will revisit how communications around fraud and abuse related issues are handled on Twitter.
    When an agent manually chooses to unlock an account, that account will have a safety applied to ignore automated security, fraud and abuse services for a designated period of time (timeframe TBD).
  • To address the extended delay on the account lock appeal, Support and Security Operations leadership will create new workflows to allow abuse-related events to leverage the 24/7 structure of Support.
  • Additional hiring has been approved for both Support and AbuseOps to reduce ticket queue wait times.
  • Service is already under development for centralizing safeties for anti-fraud and abuse automation.
  • Finally, we will be reviewing how we share information about accounts within our internal systems and services to better contextualize an account for expected versus unexpected behaviors.

In Conclusion

We wanted to share the specific details around this incident as accurately and quickly as possible to give the community insight into what happened and how we handled it. We recognize the impact this had on a customer, and how this represented a breach of trust for the community, and for that we are deeply sorry. We have a number of takeaways to improve the technical, process, and people missteps that led to this failure. The entire team at DigitalOcean values and remains committed to the global community of developers.

Barry Cooks


Chief Technical Officer