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Comment: backdoor versus sidedoor. (Score 1) 53 53

Discussing this as a "backdoor" conflates this with the usual hidden backdoor which is a bad thing. Putting in a backdoor that is freely accessible and leaves no trace of its accession is ill advised. But I fail to see why there are no technological means to secure keys for multiple parties. you can even have crypto so multiple parties must agree so for example like my safe deposit box the bank and I both have to agree that I am me.

Now that's a different question of whether
1) I might encrypt the data on my own or use a thrird party client that uses googles services but keeps things encrypted in passage. That defeats the abililty to side door googles encryption.

2) I might off shore my data to someplace outside such laws (do I trust them is another matter).

3) the dent this might cause in googles popularity outside the US--I actually doubt this since de facto it has been the case in the past that the NSA had free range of google and no one cared deeply. But Will china also demand that google also let it have side door access as a condition of doing bussiness there? Still while a mess it's not technologically difficult.

4) an even stickier issue might be who all has to agree to unlock the data. Google+NSA. Google+China. those are doable. but Google+NSA+China is a problem. China might not want the NSA peeking at chinese national accounts without it's permission. Nor perhaps North Korean or any number of disputed places the NSA is interested in.

So there's a political mess here and some ways consumers can defeat it, but I fail to see why someone like Bruce Schneir would say there's no technical means to do this at the level of google or apple or major sites when there plainly is.

Comment: Re: UI shouldn't be restricted to web / software (Score 2) 233 233

I'm in a similar situation and it will surprise he hell out of you how little design choices or sudden small changes just wreck a senior persons ability to use a device. When Google moved the reply compose window from new page to an inline division at the bottom of the page seniors I know were unable to adjust. What seems to be lost is the cognitive clue of the new page load or Pop up window that one is changing context. The subtle sliding open of a new field at the end if the message window that you may need to scroll to proved almost unlearnable. Sure it's better Ajax than a new page load but it's not good for intuition. Things that are modal rather than expose on mouse over are much better for arthritic or less attentive mouse users. Likewise all those genie effects and skeimorphic interfaces and 3d pulsating buttons apple seems to be running away from are exactly the clues seniors need.

When it comes to physical appliances having rotary switches that change menus but have no absolute rotation position are death to people with macular degeneration or arthritis. The worst are the dials on washing machines which free rotate when pulled out loosing the correlation of clock positional orientation and function. You can't buy a washer with just one big red button that says just wish my fucking clothes instead you have to finely rotate a knob past the permeate press setting to the normal settings beginning of cycle. But don't go too far or you miss the wash portion and just skip to the spin cycle. Behold needs this control? Why does apple or dishwasher makers think it's a good idea to make all buttons the same size shape and in one row? These thing just don't work for partly sighted or people with atheist is or motor impairments. Stroke victims can just give up. Making buttons different and putting some space between them would help

The floating ad bars at the bottom of slash dot for mobile users are impossible for non nimble fingers to dismiss , they are deliberately misleading appearing to be controls, and make the real buttons on the page unreachable.

Comment: i switched back from chrome to safari (Score 3, Interesting) 311 311

For a while chrome was better than safari but not any more. Safari consumes much less resources than chrome and it handles multiple tab loads much better on my boxen. The final straw was when chrome deleted every single bookmark during a synch. Lost everything and no way to recover it. I tried restoring a backup but chrome just resynched and erased it again . With safari time machine works beautifully.

My faborite browser is Firefox but that's only because it has the zotero plug in.

This article is total rubbish

Comment: Exactly (Score 1) 37 37

Yep that's the problem. Drilling down on this one sees how slippery this greased pig is. Example. Company zflix offers consumers a swell deal: they will pay the consumers bill for anything over their current data cap up to the number of bytes they stream from zflix. This if the consumer has a low end 1gb data cap and streams 4gb from zflix then zflix pays the differential to the consumer (at some winky wink preferred bulk rate to Comcast). The net effect is the same as if Comcast had ransomed zflix but that would be barred by the net neutral ruled while the scheme above would not.

Since consumers already can purchase different data caps and different late cues and different up down symmetries none of that shenanigans is disallowed. The only thing that saves our collective asses is possible competition for ISPs.

Comment: Private networks, HBO and dsl (Score 2) 37 37

I suspect that for conventional services that the easy to apply rule is that if a competing ISP can deliver a service without exemptions then woe to the ISP trying to claim exemption. It's smart to keep it end-user-pays to keep the com casts from ransoming the net flixes,

Even so it's hard to see how this works automatically even under U.S. Rules. Let's assume that in a neutral world there is some advantage to be had for a better stream. Would not a Netflix competitor want to gain that? And the way they can do that is by offering to pay the consumers bill for a them to get a better connection over a private network backbone.

In a related note I just had a surprising experience with HBO Now. The picture quality and startup buffering time were massively better than I'm used to from amazon or Netflix. I'm puzzled why. In doubtful that HBO has figured out some superior codec all on their own. So this means either they are getting some privileged delivery channel or that what I get from amazon or Netflix is less than the best because they are trying to save money with lower data rates or more overloaded servers.

I should mention I have only a 6mbs Comcast connection. This it's not like Netflix and amazon are trying to serve the lowest common denominator. That connection is the lowest Comcast teir.

Finally I want to dump the odious Comcast and go to DSL but I have to sign up for a year and I'm afraid DSL might suck. Any opinions?

Comment: chrome bookmark fiasco (Score 2) 142 142

Related to chormeos autoupdates are chrome browser updates. A couple of months ago I woke oneday to find that all my bookmarks where gone in chrome when I was logged in as myself on google. Furthermore they did not just vanish but rather they were all merged into my wife's account. So basically both of us had wrecked user accounts in chrome. Considing I had many hundreds of book marks carefully curated for more than 15 years across browser changes and computer systems, this was a staggering loss. I was able to export her book marks so I didn't lose them and re-import them into Safari (that was the last day I used chrome forever.) but now they are all out of order, have lots of her book marks, and have many duplicates with my old safari bookmarks. I'm still slowly organizing it.

I'm still puzzled how that could have happened. The only clear link between these two accounts is that on at least one of 7 computers in the home, one of them we share. So obviously that must be the source. But how this mode of failure happened I'm puzzled. Without knowing that I will never use chrome again.

Comment: Coconut oil in my coffee (Score 1) 244 244

There's a difference between a high fat diet and avoiding fat at all costs. For me, the southbeach diet is a sustainable diet and for all that is written about low carbs, the real secret ingredient is accepting more fats in you diet as caloric replacements for carbs. While some fats seem to be better than others (e.g. Nuts) the simple evidence is fats 1) digest more slowly 2) satiate your appetite more that the equivalent calories in carb or protein and 3) metabolically don't produce more fat. The last factoid is intriguing. When processing carbs, metabolically, some pathways produce lots of triglycerides. Thus paradoxically switching fats for carbs leads to lower triglycerides. Your body is the culprit.

An amazing discovery I made is the wonder of adding a 1/4 teaspoon of virgin coconut oil to my morning coffee. At first it's a little weird since it changes the character of the coffee from being what your mouth feel for coffee is to something new. It's not worse it's just new and after a while it's a superior acquired taste. There's been an effort to commercialize this blend under the name "bulletproof" coffee. (which combines coconut oil, undalted butter, and extra caffiene in a blended mixture). I prefer it without the butter, and while I initially blended it that was too much hassle.

Anyhow the marvel of this is not the flavor but the effect i find. I can skip breakfast and have a later lunch. A lower dose of coffee last longer and I'm less spiked in energy level and there's no low blood sugar crash from the coffee (leading to binging in the lunch line). I'm not sure why. I think the oils play several roles. First caffiene is partially fat soluble so it acts like a time release. And second, the fats shut down your hunger faster. And third, the mixture with a little floating oil on it lends it self to sipping rather than swigging your coffee giving more time for the feeling of satiation to set in, and the urgency of breakfast to go away.

pro tip: virgin unsalted coconut oil ONLY! the expeller pressed (non-virgin) oils have no flavor or aroma. And salted coffee everyone knows is awful.

Anyhow if you try it, keep an open mind-- it's not bad, it's novel.

Bonus: Your lips will feel smooth all day.

Comment: Doesn't matter, so why do it? (Score 0) 233 233

Why do we even bother with this? Why can't we just let noon move a second. Even after a hundred years it won't make any difference. Time zones on average vary in the suns position by a whole hour so a 1 sec variation of the solar zenith makes no difference. Anstronomers will still be able to find there stars.

So why even bother with this non sense?

There must be more to life than having everything. -- Maurice Sendak