Thanks for that transcript. It seems to clarify some things (the questions you were asking and the answers) but raises others. Such as why the desperate push to move to an entirely new infrastructure that's apparently incompatible with the old, requires Firefox Accounts and introduces "recoverable" keys (in the hands of Mozilla) alongside the current non-recoverable keys that only the client has. The rather vague answer was the 'recoverable' keys were for some nebulous future service of benefit to the user (Mozilla can recover their data for them), but my tinfoil hat tells me it also allows Mozilla to recover user data for another party like the NSA. It smells a bit too much like a back door, because we can't have user-only encryptable and decryptable data in the cloud now, can we? They claim that it doesn't touch the data encrypted with the non-recoverable key, but that's just a claim.
I'm not optimistic about an addon to maintain current sync functionality (at the current breakneck pace Mozilla is moving it would be difficult to maintain), so perhaps they will release their new server code as open source. We'll see.
I switched over from Chromium to Firefox mainly because of how Firefox Sync worked back then - in the way that it encrypted your sync data with a secret that Mozilla would never know. Now, with the new sync that just requires a tuple of email address and password, I wonder what - if anything - they use to encrypt the data so they cannot know what I store there (which is a strict requirement for me to even consider any kind of "cloud"-y offering). Given that email/password is used for authentication and authorization only (I'm pretty certain they'll have a routine for users to "reset" their password...), I'm worried they'd left out the one thing that made Firefox Sync usable for folk concerned with privacy...
I have the same general concerns you did but am less trusting, so I set up my own sync server. Check out Run your own Sync Server at mozilla.com.
If you're technically inclined, familiar with general LAMP server management and have a personal linux server handy, it isn't that hard. There's a time investment up front, but once I got it running, it's been working flawlessly across several platforms and multiple browser profiles. I hope they deprecate the old sync behavior but keep it in place for awhile to give time to migrate to the new sync behavior. It's been working so well it's been "set it (up) and forget it" since I first got it running, so it will take a little time just to remember the details so I can migrate to the new server code (assuming there is even a viable migration pathway).
That said, the old sync that required the code to add new browser instances (ie. Firefox on another device or OS) was a little cumbersome, so making that a little simpler would be welcome. That would make it easier for other members of the household to manage their own devices without requiring me to set up and manage it for them.
Not to defend him by any means, but in this instance his statement is no more stupid than invoking 1984 or other dystopian works of fiction as the reason the Snooper's Charter is to be avoided. Fiction they may be, but these works portray possibilities that inform how things might turn out in reality given a course of action, even if the actual outcome resembles the fictional scenario only in kind, not in actual detail. The ability to gain insight into ourselves is one of the many reasons we find works of art valuable in the first place. The key is not to confuse fiction with reality which admittedly many do.
Here's another timeline that's even more interesting because it interleaves the NWS advisories with the actions of various government/municipal entities and school officials:
you fucking shut your city down when the forecast calls for 2 inches
"We don't want to be accused of crying wolf," said Gov. Nathan Deal, who pointed out that the storm had been forecast to just brush the south side of the city.
That was part of the problem. The forecast didn't call for 2 inches, it predicted that the ice/snow would miss Atlanta, though not by much.
Not true. *Early* forecasts suggested that, but subsequent updates by the National Weather Service *did* call for several inches of snow, and *did* include metro Atlanta in the impacted area, well in advance of the actual storm (by early Monday morning). There was plenty of time to prepare, had officials been paying more attention to the forecasts and less to the political impact of "crying wolf".
From The Weather Channel (emphasis mine):
Sunday 3:12 p.m.
First winter storm watch issued for Tuesday morning through Wednesday afternoon.
Includes south metro Atlanta counties Fayette, Coweta, Clayton, Henry, Rockdale into central Georgia.
Impacts: Snow accumulations of two or more inches. Sleet accumulations of a half inch or more.
Monday 4:54 a.m.
Winter storm watch now includes much of north and south metro Atlanta for Tuesday morning through Wednesday afternoon.
Impacts: Snow accumulations of 1/2 to 2 inches. Snow-covered roads could make travel difficult.
Monday 3:22 p.m.
Winter storm watch upgraded to a winter storm warning for south metro Atlanta into central Georgia. Winter storm watch remains posted for north metro Atlanta for Tuesday morning through Wednesday afternoon.
Impacts: Snow accumulations of 1 to 2 inches with locally higher amounts. Sleet accumulations around a half inch. Snow and ice covered roads will make travel difficult or impossible.
Monday 9:36 p.m.
Winter storm watch changed to a winter weather advisory for north metro Atlanta for Tuesday morning through Wednesday morning.
National weather service notes: Please understand that even a slight shift in the moisture could result in significant differences in snow amounts and may require an upgrade to warning.
Tuesday 3:38 a.m.
All metro Atlanta under a winter storm warning starting 9 a.m. Tuesday
Impacts: 1 to 2 inches of snow. Snow expected to begin mid-morning and last into Tuesday night. Snow-covered roads will make for hazardous driving conditions through Wednesday morning.
What did the fox say?
What do you possibly have in your house that it's worth somebody's time to hack your thermostat?
The concern isn't necessarily about what's in the house (though putting the pets at risk due to extreme heat/cold could result from a hack). It's the information gathered by the thermostat(s) that has value. There's the usual metadata that can be added to your "profile" for purposes of advertisement. The Nest and similar devices can also reveal information about your habits, like when you are present/absent from the house, how long, time spent in each room (the Nest has a motion sensor). That could be useful for thieves, govt or law enforcement officials interested in knowing when the house is unoccupied or where you are likely to be should they wish to find you.
You have to get out of orbit...you need to get to the moon....you need to get into lunar orbit and then land....successfully. Read the history of the Ranger Program to see how much work this took the US, and they were crashing onto the moon, not trying to land a working Rover. Getting the insertions correct is not easy. China has done something difficult and laudable.
While I'm sure they had the full data from the US program, and the USSR program, making this happen is still a great achievement.
I have noticed how the US media is paying little attention to this......
Just as I was reading this (8:10am Eastern time, 12/16/13), the chinese rover was prominently mentioned on the Today show (NBC). They discussed the rover, made a quick reference to the manned moon landings of the US and finished with a summary of the future plans of the chinese for the moon. The segment ended with a round of "that's cool" from all the hosts. So it's certainly not being ignored and the achievement does seem to be acknowledged for what it is, not belittled or downplayed.