I don't think Google will actually kill G+ off any time soon - that would be too embarrassing a retreat - but they've finally stopped shoving it down people's throats as hard as they were before. (Amusingly, I re-connected recently with an old friend from university who is now fairly senior in Google. Where did we connect? Facebook. Says it all, really...) The only place I've seen bits of "Circle" lately is on Twitter, plus a few I've added on Facebook. I took a look on Brewmasters when someone tried to nudge us that way, but didn't take to it; Multiply seemed fine until they pulled the plug, and we seem to have been largely homeless since.
I like Firefox, Opera, Chrome, Safari - all decent browsers in general. I share your misgivings about Opera's new owners, though, and I'm very glad Fastmail (my own email provider) is now independent again; having my email under Chinese control would be quite disturbing.
Amusingly, I find myself teaching courses in both Java and Android development this semester. (I haven't updated my
The mobile app dev is an evening class I teach for the "access course" - people who have been out of education a while but want to come and study for a degree. It's another dimension of "module bingo" crossed off - I've now taught levels 6 through 10 inclusive (7 being university 1st year, 10 is final year), for three of the four Schools (Science Engineering and Technology, Arts Media and Computer Games, Dundee Business School - but not yet Social and Health Sciences). Being completely new to programming, I've got them coding away in MIT's App Inventor for now - clip-together lines of code on screen. Surprisingly good as a starting point I think - and means they don't need to meet any Java yet, too! (It looks like next year's modules drop Java and use C++ instead.)
Good luck in your fights with it, anyway - I'm quite glad to avoid writing Android code directly so far. I'm hoping to cut my teaching load for the fall semester and focus on research, with some new full time teaching staff starting soon, though I've heard ominous developments on that front lately...
...except that google gets to decide which adverts are played and which aren't.
I'm betting Google's own dancing monkeys will be as annoying as ever.
That's my worry - remember, Google already implemented a workaround for their own Flash ads, auto-converting them into a form which conveniently happens to be immune to this filter. Get back to me when they've bundled an ad-blocker. What they have here is basically a rival ad blocker - which really isn't something any of us should cheer, even if it does happen to knock out some irritating ads for the time being. (Equally, of course, the new ad-blocking facility for Mobile Safari in iOS 9 which just happens to push more ad-funded sites into adopting iOS apps as a format because Apple iAds just happen to bypass that filtering is a little concerning too.) "Big company kneecaps competition." Just like when Microsoft "helpfully" gave away IE for free in order to kill off Netscape and grab a stranglehold of the web browser market, this may not be anything to applaud long-term.
They want to control your network. They want to inject advertising into everything you do. They want you to have no choice but to use DNS servers they control.
That was just about my first thought too: "what are the odds this will have/allow something like Privoxy to do ad-filtering?" To be fair, I haven't bothered installing that on my own firewall just yet (relying on ABP and Ghostery for now), but it's on the to-do list - and having seen recent upturns in ad-blocking usage lately, I'm absolutely certain Google will have noticed that upturn too, and strongly suspect it's a factor in any move like this. (It's also interesting to note that Apple have just added support for ad-blocking in Safari without jailbreaking to iOS 9 - probably not something welcomed in Mountain View!)
The future is....digital temperature controls?
I stayed in one of these hotels for a computer security conference last year - and the temperature didn't drop below 27C (80F) even at 6am, making for a lousy two nights given the high humidity. No a/c, only heating, and the window only opened two inches ('for security', the label helpfully explained: being five floors up, presumably this means they're worried about Spiderman incursions.)
So, does "the future" actually include either decent a/c, or at least a window you can open properly to get some air movement? I really don't care about fancy interactive video walls - I want a comfortable night's sleep, otherwise I'll just be using that fancy custom app's "Cancel reservation" button and going somewhere else.
Damn, that's a nice program. Kudos to Brother.
I wish I could find something on their website that states what they actually do with the returned toner cartridges. All I could find is this:
We will evaluate the opportunities to recycle, reuse, reduce, refuse and reform resources throughout the life cycle of our products.
My emphasis. This is not a commitment to recycle. It's feel-good corporate-speak.
Do they actually dismantle and recycle them? Do they refurbish them, or sell them to a refurbisher? Or do they just dispose of them so that they stay out of the after-market?
I'm sorry to be cynical. Brother may very well be acting as a good corporate citizen. But when I don't see explicit mention of their actions, I start to wonder what they are.
I suspect there are two problems for them in being too clear. First, I suspect they can't guarantee to reuse every cartridge - some of them will be damaged or contaminated, I imagine; second, they won't want to validate third party cartridge refills by admitting they actually do refills themselves! I recycle my Lexmark cartridges by mailing them back (with a prepaid shipping label they include with every new cartridge); my guess is they will refill and reset perfect-condition cartridges, recondition damaged or older ones, and recover the raw materials from unusable ones, but they won't want to be too open about the details. The "new" cartridges aren't exactly cheap, admitting they're sometimes actually refills would probably hurt sales.
I wish we had windows. Lucky dog.
They are handy - ten feet off the ground, so all we can see is a strip of sky at an odd angle, and almost no natural light ever gets in, but it means we can tell if it's raining or not outside before setting off. I'd far rather have a/c though!
If you run a messenger service, you aren't entitled to decide that select groups can't use your service. You can't decide that you will monitor the messages, and only deliver those messages that you approve of. You don't get to decide that you will deliver partisan messages that favor your position, and just lose messages that support the other side.
As an email provider/carrier/whatever, Google has a responsibility to pass the messages on, unless and until they actually violate some law.
How about if your phone company listens in to your conversations, and cuts you off when they disapprove of your conversation?
Now - you can twist a pair of panties into any kind of a wad you like, but you cannot twist morality and ethics enough to justify censorship of private communications. Nor can you justify political communications. Can't even justify censorship of business communications, until those communications violate a valid law.
Morally and ethically, you have a point - but legally, no. Telephone companies in the US have specific laws regulating what they can and can't do - but if Google decided that from now on, any email containing the word "viagra" would get blocked from Gmail, that's up to them. Probably not a useful choice (spammers already use workarounds like "\/iagra" anyway, and the occasional legitimate email would get caught) but it is theirs to make. Indeed, this very site has a few rules to reduce spam and misuse - so you can't post very long words without getting random whitespace added (to combat the old "page widening troll"), you can't post more than a certain number of messages in one period of time - all rules they are perfectly entitled to adopt and enforce, since it's their own site/service.
Someone posted here earlier that the domain looks quite "spammy" on some of the heuristics Facebook and co probably use internally: it wouldn't exactly be the first time legitimate content got caught by a spam filter. More likely than a conspiracy theory about Twitter and Facebook being so determined to stifle criticism of TPP. As of right now, stopfasttrack.com is not listed in Spamhaus's database; probably someone got over-enthusiastic promoting it, and some of those messages got reported as spam. Nothing new there, either.
How would an ISP block them, however? The only mechanism I know about would be DNS blocking, whenthe DNS server is supplied by the ISP.. Is there some new British trick where pages of certain sites could be selectively blocked? If so, how long before "politically sensitive" human rights pages would be blocked, or whistle blower pages?
CleanFeed, built by British Telecom to block access to child abuse imagery, sold to other ISPs, then inevitably abused as a blunt instrument to enforce copyrights. It's a two-stage filtering system: a list of IP addresses gets loaded into the ISP core routers, which diverts all access to those addresses through a proxy server; that server checks against a (secret!) list of prohibited URLs and lets the rest through. It has already blocked part of Wikipedia by mistake or misjudgement, and the government has already announced plans to filter "extremist" websites too.
TalkTalk, another of the named ISPs, bought a more elaborate setup from the People's Republic of China for millions of pounds, and push their "adult" content censorship system on all customers who don't specifically opt out. It's been a big political issue lately, with the current government wanting to force all ISPs down that route so you'd have to ask your ISP specifically to stop filtering your connection.
Easy. You call up the US vendor that sold China their Great Firewall and order another one. This one will be cheap, considering the UK's population is a fraction that of China.
Already done: TalkTalk (arguably the UK's worst ISP in general, as well as being the first to jump on the government's bandwagon) spent many millions of pounds (described in a related court case as "an eight figure sum") importing a horribly flawed censorship system from Huawei, which is one of the Chinese manufacturers of part of the Great Firewall.
A few principled UK ISPs are standing up to censorship, and still offering unfiltered services - though I do fear Cameron will attack them for it now: like most bullies, he can't handle criticism or opposition.
I never cheated an honest man, only rascals. They wanted something for nothing. I gave them nothing for something. -- Joseph "Yellow Kid" Weil