Incredibly detailed technical guide to camgirling is a mix of advanced retail psychology and advice on performing emotional labor [Cory Doctorow/Boing Boing]

“Aella,” a (former?) camgirl, writes a practical guide to how to succeed in the business of selling intimacy to men.

So many retail businesses nowadays are now trying to sell emotional connections.

When I stay in a hotel, the desk clerk is not my family. When I phone the bank, I don’t care how friendly and chipper the customer service rep is.

I just want to do my business in minimal time for minimal hassle and then move on.

This is why customer satisfaction surveys make me nuts.

I have had the pleasure of having dinner at the homes of Italian-American families; it is nothing like eating at Olive Garden.

The Story of Lenny, the Internet’s Favorite Telemarketing Troll [Motherboard]

“Lenny” is a chatbot designed to waste telemarketers’ time – brilliantly simple, he sounds like a chatty old man with an Australian accent who leads telemarketers on and never gets to the point.

According to a Reddit post by the person who claims to be the voice and creator of the Lenny chatbot, he sought to create a “telemarketer’s worst nightmare.” This, he decided, would be “a lonely old man who is up for a chat, proud of his family, and can’t focus on the telemarketer’s goal.”

The final result was a chatbot that consists of 16 stock phrases played in order. The first four phrases are scripted so as to encourage the telemarketers to begin their sales pitch and the last 12 phrases are played in a loop until the telemarketer hangs up. Lenny is powered by an interactive voice script, a software program that listens for one-and-a-half second pauses in the conversation so that it knows when to say the next phrase in the loop.

To those in the know, Lenny’s persona is hilarious. He has a thick Australian accent, a bit of a lisp, and talks excruciatingly slow. When a telemarketer calls, users can forward the call to Lenny, who answers the phone and eagerly assents to whatever the telemarketer is calling about. As the conversation progresses, however, Lenny’s responses get increasingly off topic. At one point he begins telling the telemarketer how proud he is of his family and then later he has to get off the line to go silence some ducks that can be heard quacking in the background.

After nearly a decade of existence, Lenny has garnered something of a cult following. Lenny is available on a public server so anyone can forward their telemarketing calls to the chatbot. There’s a dedicated subreddit chronicling Lenny’s interactions with telemarketers, and hundreds of audio recordings of Lenny have been uploaded to YouTube, often attracting hundreds of thousands of views.

How to Delete Facebook [Brian X. Chen/The New York Times]

If you’ve been very active on Facebook, deleting your account isn’t easy.

I have avoided using Facebook — or Google, Twitter, or anybody else — to log in to other sites. Bad idea to trust my logins to a third party. It’s not hard to create a separate login for each site and use a password manager (I use 1Password) to track them all.

Microsoft Putting Edge on Chromium Will Fundamentally Change the Web [Owen Williams/Motherboard]

Microsoft putting Edge on Chromium isn’t just about the browser. It’s about making Web apps that do a better job integrating with the operating system — like Electron apps, or MacOS Marzipan apps, but better.

Interesting. Until reading this article I thought Edge on Chromium was a yawner, because I don’t see any reason to switch to Edge. But this puts a new face on it.

Huawei CFO Wanzhou Meng Arrest Threatens Trump-Xi Trade Truce [Bloomberg]

While the U.S. routinely asks allies to extradite drug lords, arms dealers and other criminals, arresting a major Chinese executive like this is rare — if not unprecedented.

“The timing and manner of this is shocking,” Andrew Gilholm, director of North Asia analysis at Control Risks Group, said by phone. “It’s not often the phrase OMG appears in our internal email discussions. ”


How Tumblr went from being the most porn-friendly social media site to banning porn [The Verge]

Tumblr once pushed porn as a feature of its platform. Now, under Verizon ownership, it’s banning porn.

Earlier I said Verizon’s recent decision is bullshit because banning porn leads to banning content about LGBTQ rights and lactation. It also leads to blocking content about contraception, sex education, sex worker advocacy, trans rights and other issues.

But the porn ban is also bullshit because we don’t need, or want, Verizon protecting us from porn. Nope. We can avoid porn on our own if we want, and if we want to look at porn, it’s none of Verizon’s business.

The decision doesn’t even make sense from a business standpoint. Porn filters could solve whatever problem Verizon is looking to solve.

I enjoy sharing midcentury ads and photos, particularly from the 70s. These are entirely G-rated and wholesome (maybe the occasional PG-rated image for the 70s. The entire decade of the 70s was PG at best.) I get a lot of them from Tumblr blogs. And two of my favorite Tumblr blogs for those things also run porn. I hope those guys don’t disappear because of Tumblr’s decision.