Security is necessary for one's own protection, both offline (to protect one's physical safety and possessions) and online (protecting identity, money and, as the our digital and real lives become more integrated, even physical possessions). Our own behaviours and security systems need to work together to be effective. It's no good having the latest burglar alarm, strong locks on your doors and a security gate if one leaves the door wide open. Similarly, it's great to lock the door each time one goes out - but if that door is secured solely by a latch, it won't be effective. As I've given some basic guidelines on how to stay safe online, I'm now comparing how furry sites are helping their users stay safe.
Update (Jan 28): All Weasyl servers now receive an A grade, however the server configuration is still not consistent.
One must wonder whether it's time Dragoneer stepped down as head of Fur Affinity, as he continues to make poor leadership decisions. Earlier this year, he stirred controversy by announcing Zaush, who'd been accused of rape, as development lead for Project Phoenix. This time he has made sure there are no lingering doubts over the suitability of his appointments by choosing a fur with a history of maladministration.
StarryKitten was recently announced as the new head of the FA tech team, tasked in part with “bringing more transparency” to FA. Some noticed that StarryKitten had only joined FA about a week before the announcement was made. As it transpires, StarryKitten was an alternate account created by the infamous Zidonuke, the real head of the FA tech team.
With the concept of irony easily going right over Dragoneer's head, it was further revealed that the tech lead with a puppet account has been a secret member of staff since 2013:
The cost of printing and distribution combined with minimal or non-existent sales always made fanzines a marginal proposition. But the format, if not the medium, is still popular with those seeking to try their paws at publishing.
Tag by Felix Greypaw and Hashiko Whitepaw offers an example of what you can do in just a few days; the first – so far only – issue was published May 16, including in-depth (and, alas, uncredited) articles about Dust: An Elysian Tail, Furcadia, and Wolf's Rain from Wikipedia, as well as furry-themed horoscopes and art.
Furry N' Fuzzy Magazine has made it to two issues, although it's overdue for the third. Featuring artists, t-shirt reviews, interviews, personal histories, the syndicated column Ask Papabear, photos of things that look furry, and copious ads, there's something for everyone.
How would you like to appear as a red panda character on Skype, Twitch, or other services that use a web cam? That’s the idea behind FaceRig, a new program under development at Holotech Studios which allows anyone with a web cam to appear as an animated character. In addition to the red panda, the current characters available include a leathery demon, an anime girl, and a beefy human soldier — but they have plans to add more characters as the program is developed further. It all works through cutting-edge face-tracking technology that the developers have created. Check out the demo video over on YouTube. Meanwhile the developers have an IndieGoGo campaign started up to help them get the venture capital they need to bring this program out on the market.
At the 2013 XOXO Festival, Mike Rugnetta of the YouTube/PBS Idea Channel delivered a really interesting talk about the Internet, specifically how it's helped us develop new ways of constructing our self-identities, due to the discovery of new ideas and interacting socially online, amongst other things. He hops from topic to topic very rapidly, and doesn't really get started until about two minutes into the video.
Interestingly - if you jump to the 10:15 mark - he discusses fandoms. Good fandoms have lots of opportunities for interaction, sharing creativity, and finding ways for the fans to relate to one another. In fact, the fans may relate to each other more than they might relate to the original theme that caused them to gather in the first place! What matters is the energy within the fan community, the bonds between fans. (This reminded me of Anthrocon 2007's guest of honor Mark Evanier, who noted that furries seemed to be "fans of each other".)
Mike asks his audience if there's a fandom without canonical media for fans to gather around? A fandom which would instead subsist mainly by the interaction of the fans, without devotion to a specific TV show, movie, or comic book series? Yup! Furry!
Hopefully, all Internet users have, by now, heard about the United State's widespread spying programme which has recorded huge volumes of data passing through America. Just as concerning is the looming, default porn block in the UK which will not only block porn by default but also violence, alcohol, smoking and Internet forums, among other things. These programmes should be of major concern to all Internet users. They are also a perfect opportunity to talk about online security.
32 days before the mayoral election in Xalapa, capital of the Mexican state of Veracruz, a feline candidate is making a mockery of the ruling coalition's politicians on social networks.
"Candigato Morris" has his own iconic posters and other campaign materials, and has captured the public fancy with such slogans as "no more rats in Xalapa" and "in Xalapa it suits you to vote for another animal; vote for Morris".
According to his Facebook profile, Morris, who was born in Xalapa, "promises no more than the other candidates" and "sleeps a lot, which is the ideal profile for a mayoral candidate."
It's yet to be seen whether the candigato's weakness for "quilts, sheets, pollows, couches, and clothing in general" will be his undoing. Still, given his charisma (and the fact that his campaign page has over 18,000 'likes'), the PAN and PRD coalition candidates may be in serious trouble come July 7.
Pirate 101 (from Kings Isle, the same creators as Wizard 101) is an on-line multi-player role-playing system of pirate adventure and battle — in the sky, no less. Yep, flying pirate ships. It’s a decidedly family-friendly game throughout, though it has “adult” and “child” areas as part of it. The interesting thing is this: As you can see from the preview trailer, and in the picture below, there are plenty of anthropomorphic player characters to be had and played, as well as the more traditional human sort. Visit www.pirate101.com to find out how to get started with the game.
Some say there's no money in porn. But furry porn? That's a different story.
Crowdfunding has proven very popular, funding projects from digital aardvarks, roleplaying rats and space-abducted foxes, to fluffy ears, Furcadia's 'Second Dreaming' and seemingly every other work by M.C.A. Hogarth. Twokinds raised enough to buy a good-sized house.
Furotica is largely a no-go for industry leaders Kickstarter and Indiegogo. But it's become a lifeline for Ben Tao, Eric Lai, and Barry C, whose adult crowdfunding site Offbeatr (covered in August) lists five successful projects to date — all furry. [tip: Ripner Cabbit/EarthFurst]
So how can you raise $4000 (or $40,000) for your dream project? We asked those who've done it, while taking a closer look at this new funding platform and talking to its CEO.
A new ten-minute survey has been released, aimed at furry fans 18 and older.
The survey, which contains "items on personality, personal life, and basic demographics", was created to support research at University College Cork in Ireland, and is intended to "gather data on the kinds of people that make up the furry community":
The use of the internet to support a shared interest and activity is very interesting to me, and I also am curious about the more sexual side to the fandom.
My study will attempt to determine two things - 1) Who are the furries? (assessed by simple demographics) and 2) What is the place of the Furry fandom in the context of the existing literature on internet behaviours?
It was initially distributed on Inkbunny, where a researcher has been answering questions.
Maru may be the biggest star in all the interwebz. The Scottish Fold has previously been voted the internet's favourite cat, and cats may just be the Internet's favourite meme. To quote Katie Milner, a student at the London School of Economics and Political Science who recently submitted a thesis entitled "Srsly Phenomenal: An Investigation into the Appeal of LOLCats":
LOLCats are often considered to be the archetypal Internet meme, a piece of often entertaining cultural currency that spreads rapidly through social networks and media platforms. However, unlike most Internet memes whose potency tends to wane after a short period of time, LOLCats have remained relevant and popular for the better half of a decade, inspiring a devoted following.
This necessity of cats to the Internet has been recognised in cartoons, such as Maslow's Hierarchy of Internet Needs, but now seems poised to break out of the box.
At the end of August, Minneapolis in the USA will play host to the first Internet Cat Video Film Festival. The phenomenon, once constrained to YouTube, is about to about to extend its claws into the real world.
A recently-reported bug in Fur Affinity and its subsequent exploitation has led to several user accounts being banned for periods from a few days to a few months. The bug allowed a user to modify an image file and then upload a giant avatar, unconstrained by usual FA limits.
The bug seems to have originally been found by Scott J. Fox, who posted about it on Twitter and made an FA journal which was later deleted. Around 10 hours later he was suspended from the site for three months (now seven days). Dragoneer maintained that the suspension was appropriate, saying that:
Promoting people to exploit an issue with "Enjoy breaking FA!" made your intent quite clear.
Also involved in the giant avatar episode was Benchilla, who served as an FA forum moderator for seven months in 2010. Initially he was suspended for two weeks, subsequently calling the episode "harmless fun" and the bans an overreaction. Less than an hour later, his two week suspension became a permanent suspension, and his forum account was soon banned as well. Dragoneer clarified that the two week ban was for the avatar, and it was extended because of his "previous history of hijinks" with the site.
Fur Affinity has just released a new thumbnail system and promised further updates for the site over the coming week. As I've criticised FA for not providing updates, I can't very well ignore this development. So, first off, congratulations to FA for doing basic site maintenance. However, the promised updates appear little more than a coat of paint to distract from the real problems.