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Comment Perfectly legal (Score 1) 151

Illegal & Warrantless Interception

The constitution constrains the government as to requiring warrants. It does not constrain the citizen or the corporate pseudo-person in like manner. Something similar (probably still not requiring warrants) requires specific legislation. There isn't much of that at present, either.

But keep yelling. I like it and agree in spirit.

Comment Re:There's an easy fix (Score 1) 151

The Firestick (and Fire) both include Alexa; which is voice-to-cloud and thence to...

Of course, you have to press a button so that it will obey your commands. There's no particular reason to assume you have to press a button for it to listen to you without pressing a button.

Other than... Amazon says no. Amazon is a corporation that has chosen many times over the years to do the thing that earns them money instead of the right thing. They're right up there with Google for being extremely disingenuous with the consumers that interact with them and their products. So you might want to take that "no" with at least one grain of salt. Also keeping in mind that what they do today with their hardware does not in any way predict the future employment of said hardware.

Comment Let me project a bit (Score 1) 151

Projectors are still in the running. Perhaps not for much longer, but I have a recent one that produces a stupendous image and has no provision for "connectivity" at all (I say that as an obscenity, btw.) Plus, I pretty much run in the front of the pack in the "big TV war." Not a lot of 204" displays out there... :)

Comment Stopping "smart devices" (Score 1) 151

set the tv's gateway to a false value

When your IP is, it's not exactly challenging to find the gateway...

Perhaps a firewall between the device and the network that won't let the device anywhere BUT the NAS. Might require a secondary WiFi network, if WiFi is involved.

Of course, then you might see something like the following on the display:

"Sorry, presently unable to establish a connection to the net. Please correct the problem in order to continue using this device. Click here to retry connecting."

Comment George... the optimist (Score 5, Insightful) 151

Two things:

First Orwell was an optimist

Secondly, the specific concern alluded to in TFS is why one of the most important things the tech community today could accomplish is to achieve a solid voice-input capability that runs entirely locally (and is not user specific or require particular training out of the box or out of the compiler.)

Alexa, Amazon's commercial voice savant, sends very word you speak "to the cloud" which is, of course a "third party" (and potentially, a 4th, 5th... Nth party.)

Mycroft, the "open" voice savant, holding so much promise because it doesn't use Amazon's excreble model of "you must provide anticipated result phrases for everything you want to do, and set up and maintain (and probably buy) a secure server", wraps that promise in... you guessed it. Sends everything you say to "the cloud."

Both suffer from "if the net is down, I become a deaf idiot" syndrome as a side effect of the cloudy thinking that went into their design.

The day I get a real "can listen and produce cleartext locally" application (or device) is the day my home (and car, and boat) gain significant automation.

I know this issue doesn't concern a lot of people, particularly young people. The net is "always there" and privacy "WTF is privacy?"... but I think that's a function of them being young and not really understanding either the depths that some people will sink to, or the relative fragility of the network. After they've been stepped on enough, and lost their connections enough, I suspect they'll modify their stances somewhat.

Comment Re:How is a captive portal site different from AOL (Score 2) 85

How about:
(1) AOL was founded in 1983
AOL didn't offer Internet access until 1993, a couple of months after it started to offer Usenet access It spent a decade as a captive portal.
AOL was just like Prodigy, CompuServe, GEnie, and other services of it's day: You connected to a service through the public telephone network, and it was a subset of the information available, compared to what you'd get from an ISP, and advertisers had to pay for keywords.,

That is a bit of a revisionist history summary there... AOL was not an internet service provider or even "AOL" in 1983, it was platform attempting to sell a select set of products. And it did not call itself "the internet", for all intents and purposes "the internet" didn;t really exist before the very late 80's/early 90's outside of a very small community.

To quote Wikipedia:
AOL began in 1983, as a short-lived venture called Control Video Corporation (or CVC)... Its sole product was an online service called GameLine for the Atari 2600 video game console, after von Meister's idea of buying music on demand was rejected by Warner Bros... In May 1983... [CVC] was near bankruptcy.
On May 24, 1985, Quantum Computer Services... was founded by Jim Kimsey from the remnants of Control Video.... The service was unique from other online services as it used the computing power of the Commodore 64 and the Apple II rather than just a "dumb" terminal....From the beginning, AOL included online games in its mix of products; many classic and casual games were included in the original PlayNet software system. In the early years of AOL the company introduced many innovative online interactive titles and games October 1989, Quantum changed the service's name to America Online.

So again.. AOL in the early years was never an ISP, it was a service (gaming, not network) provider. AOL wasn't even AOL until 1989. Yes it was then a vendor platform, but it did not call itself the internet or claim to link the world, only to sell a select set of games. I remember first learning about "Hyper Text Linking" in about 1991 on Mac computers... it was this new thing to link documents on your local network. Almost no one then really had an understanding of the internet. If you wanted to communicate with someone across the country or the other side of the world, you dialed into your BBS and downloaded Usenet/mail.

In September 1993, AOL added USENET access to its features....AOL quickly surpassed GEnie, and by the mid-1990s, it passed Prodigy and CompuServe. By 1993, AOL was able to provide public Internet access for its Windows client users.

So AOL started providing "the internet" in 1993. I did not even have an ISP or "the internet" until around 1995. The early 1990s were when BBSes started to disappear/transform into actual internet service providers. The internet, a global set of services as we know it, simply didn't exist before that time. Again, Facebook is claiming to provide "the internet" with its India initiative, when it is really providing "select Facebook".

Comment Re:How is a captive portal site different from AOL (Score 4, Interesting) 85

How is a captive portal site different from AOL?

Because AOL was never a captive portal site. AOL was a portal site and used/sold "Keywords" on the portal page as a type of search engine to direct users to prefered endpoints. But there is/was nothing that prevented users from using Yahoo, AltaVista, Jeeves, or any other search engine, or typing destinations URLs in directly.

Facebook's India initiative is a captive portal. Useers can only use select Facebook services, or services approved/advertised by Facebook. Users can not go to any service/website or transmit any data to anything not approved by Facebook. Facebook's system is more analagous to the dial-up vendor/insular BBSes of the 80's which could only be accessed from terminals locked to particullar dial-up numbers and only allowed information within the same network. Yet Facebook claims to call their servicce "the internet".

Submission + - US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia Has Died (

chill writes: Title says it all. How quickly can the Republicans turn this into a campaign issue? The opportunity to appoint a TRUE conservative to the court can't be left to Democrats.

He died on a hunting trip in Texas. No word yet on whether Dick Cheney was involved.

Comment Re:Neglecting to care (Score 1) 72

For people whom I know but don't have an email address for (or their address might have changed)
To rediscover people I know but forgot about (plenty of those). I could ask for and save businesscards from every person I meet but LinkedIn is just that much handier.
To keep track of people; I don't have contact with every single person in my network on a regular basis, and it's handy to know if they change jobs or switch companies. That's one of the good things of social networks: you don't have to keep your contact list up to date, your contacts will do that for you.

Comment Re:Neglecting to care (Score 1) 72

In my last position I needed to find certain professionals in other companies from time to time, and "cold call" them (no, nothing to do with marketing or recruitment). LinkedIn actually made that very easy, certainly easier than going in through the front door and the receptionist, and no one minded being contacted in that way. Sometimes I found a mutual connection to introduce me to the other person. Similarly, several people from ther businesses found and contacted me through LinkedIn. It's a good tool for business networking if you treat it as a service for just that, and limit your connections to people whom you actually know.

I have the same mixed feelings about LinkedIn as I have for Apple: I don't like their corporate policy but I do use their products because I find them very useful. As for them selling on the data: all of my data on their service is a matter of public record anyway. And that's how you should treat any social network: everything you put on there and (not unimportantly) what you do in there is public, mined and/or sold.

Comment Re:testing frameworks (Score 1) 72

Meh. Some endorsements I got on LinkedIn make sense, others don't. The more useful ones are from people who took the trouble to write a short recommendation for me instead of treating endorsements as "like" buttons. And this has been my experience with my yearly appraisals as well, back when I was an employee. Most managers just tick a few boxes while only a few of them take it seriously.

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