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Hacking Facebook and surviving a job at Amazon: top stories you should read

Believe it or not, there was apparently a time when online advertising was useful, at least in the minds of the people who were there at the very beginning. If that sounds crazy, then you’ll want to lock us up for suggesting that emoticons will soon cease to be just those frivolous things you use in your instant messaging client when you’re feeling lazy. Yup, emoticons are fast becoming an important part of the messaging business. No matter how serious the emoticon business becomes though, it probably won’t be as serious as the blisters on an Amazon warehouse employee’s feet at the end of an average day, in which they could walk 24km.

Those are just a few of the things we’ve found to pique your interest from our weekly scouring of the web’s best articles. If those don’t float your boat however, you can always find out how Monster lost its stake in the Dr Dre Beats headphone brand that it brought to market or how Facebook preps its security team for massive hacking attacks.

Amazon unpacked

With the boom in ecommerce comes a lesser-discussed impact on employment: online shoppers need to get their order, and someone needs to get their delivery from a giant warehouse to the customer. Using the UK town of Rugeley as a case study of these new ‘tech’ jobs, the Financial Times explores what it means to work in one of the online giant’s mega compounds. It’s a boost to the economy, but are they the jobs people want? This piece details an environment where workers walk 11 to 24 kilometres in an eight hour shift to pack and ship stock, worry about job security as permanent positions become scarce and are driven to achieve perfect levels of productivity for just above minimum wage.

Beat by Dre: the exclusive inside story of how Monster lost the world

From the headphones sported by rappers to the tiny red logo on the back of the latest HTC phones, Beats by Dr Dre is a brand vying for a chunk of the elite over-priced-but-damn-aren’t-they-pretty audio tech market. But its beginnings are largely unknown: it started out as a project by Monster, which partnered with Interscope Records and made itself a lot of cash. As Gizmodo paints it, it was Monster’s biggest moment — and the beginning of the oversights that lead it to be pushed out of creating the range of headphones it birthed.

At Facebook, zero-day exploits and backdoor code bring a war games drill to life

What do you do when you’re in charge of fortifying the systems and information used by millions every day? You schedule a little test to make sure your security team is up for the challenge if your site is ever hit by a hacker attack. Ars Technica details Facebook’s plans to test their team’s response to malicious hacks, why the drills are so important and why they may need to go even deeper in simulating security crises in the future.

Stop selling ads and do something useful

Ah, banner ads. While most digital natives are gradually developing a chronic case of banner blindness, advertisers are just as interested in securing clicks. One of the creators of the first banner ads explains the ad format’s hopeful beginnings, how the medium was dumbed down to become the annoying flickering mess that can be seen today, and explains why the future of online advertising will be meaningful and mobile.

How Facebook, a Pixar artist, and Charles Darwin are reinventing the emoticon

You’ll never think about those little smiley faces the same way again. Facebook, as part of its push into messaging, seems to be taking the emoticon very seriously — at least, serious enough to ask former Wallace and Gromit storyboard artist Matt Jones to help them in designing a new range of faces so its billion-plus users can share their feelings. But how do you go about effectively expressing complex emotions like admiration and gratitude on a little circular blob of pixels?

Author | Lauren Granger

Lauren Granger
While studying towards her Bachelor of Journalism degree at Rhodes University, Lauren gave into her fascination with everything digital. As she was more interested in creeping tech sites and Twitter than she was in picking up one of those printed things called 'newspapers', she decided to specialise in... More

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