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Comment I'm sure I've seen this before (Score 2) 280

Now the thing is personal automated vehicles, even one per two people would still be a lot of wasted space, if the vehicles were a tiny 3m long the population density over 100m would be only 66 people assuming bumper to bumper. How about if it carried 30 -50 people in a vehicle 15m long, the population density over 100m would be between 200 - 330 people also assuming bumper to bumper. It would cause less congestion.

Of course that would mean that the vehicles would not go exactly to everyone's destination, but on routes that were suited to almost all passengers, you may have to walk. There could be multiple routes to common areas that people went, and passengers could change from route to route as required.

Of course it would not be as comfortable, but a 15 metre vehicle that carries 30-50 people and doesn't need to park anywhere but just drop people off at their destination and continue on its route for others would surely reduce congestion far more.

I can't believe its taken this long to come up with such an idea.

Comment Re:sensational headline (Score 1) 239

Don't worry - as soon as the proposed requirement for all information systems involved with doing business in Brazil be hosted in Brazil is in full effect, the Brazilian intelligence service agents will have better opportunities. You know - assuming the NSA hasn't poisoned the well and tipped everyone off by then.

Comment Re:Google can fix it with a hammer. (Score 1) 221

Customers don't give a damn if there is an API. Just a tiny tiny % of geeks care. But that tiny tiny % are developers. And customers like what developers create.

Customers don't know how the magic black boxes work. But they sure benefit from the magic created when those who do know can do their thing.

Also - for a company who "doesn't give a damn about open source", they sure do a lot of it.

Comment But this is normal (Score 2) 142

Maybe I'm strange, but I spend my days managing websites. Which are essentially virtual newspapers / magazines/ posters/ directories/ whatever. So what if it is a online designed 3d room, its just a online facility people pay for.

I feel a strange separation to my work, because I know in 1000 years from now, no one will ever no I was alive or a person. There won't be an antiques roadshow describing how wonderful/shit my work was, my work wont exist it will be simply gone. Ancient potters, blacksmiths, artist, or architects don't have this problem, part of their work can survive. Something physical something real.

I would love to listen to the future documentaries describing how "clever" we are with our "Internet" and "condoms" and our "iPads". But how simple we were for not realising that we should really have a centralised computer attached to our brains, that can simply kill all the sperm in a man's body before we have sex, by analysing our thoughts and electro-shocking our testicles.

I'm kinda sad that I wont see the future.

Comment apps folks? (Score 2) 213

That's because Profiles are no longer available to Apps accounts. Convert and voila - profile goes poof. G+ is dependent on Profiles. Google says they're doing something special with Profiles for Apps users and will be available Soon. Suspect it might be related to G+ Organizational / Business accounts.

Comment Re:Outrage (Score 1) 230

Either way, it's impossible to argue the data collection was accidental. You don't send a van out running software without having RTFM and testing it out in some trial runs.

Not impossible at all. Kismet provides data in various different formats. And even then, if what you're doing is extracting particular pieces of data from the traffic capture but not paying much attention to everything else, it isn't unreasonable to not really notice what else you've captured.

I used to occasionally run Kismet during my commute. I was curious about what access points I could see during my route and what state of configuration they were in (with the expectation to scoff at all the default unsecured - actually surprised that those numbers had fallen out in the real world). After doing this for a few months, I was going back through my directory to clean up. Just for giggles I decided to actually look at the caps I had collected and see if there was anything interesting in the packet payloads. Most of it was junk; driving around isn't a particularly good way to snoop on a network. But I did find one email password from a slice of captured POP traffic. So I did end up with someone's sensitive data sitting on my drive for possibly several months despite the fact that I wasn't particularly interested in it or being aware of it.

I suspect this is more or less what happened with Google. Scanning through the Google van captures might have turned up nothing. But Google was doing this on a larger scale so the odds were in the favor of something turning up due to the sheer amount of unsecured traffic out there.

Comment Re:Outrage (Score 1) 230

Not if your discussion is being done via bullhorn.

Bullhorns imply you want your words heard by many people. The WiFi equivalent of a bullhorn would be either a signal booster or a publicly advertised network (like at a coffee shop).

It's possible to eavesdrop on conversations in your house from miles away, no bullhorn required. But people reasonably don't expect this to happen. The same is true for their WiFi signals. People reasonably don't expect a company going around and logging their information like this.

The problem is that we have people using bullhorns to communicate and don't realize the implications of doing so. Then they're all shocked when people can hear what they're saying just by listening.

I'm not terribly outraged by this, although I do think Google knowingly went well beyond what is reasonable. I mostly find the nerd hypocrisy here to be ridiculous.

Apple gets called "evil" and thoroughly trashed here for *not* recording people's, or even any particular device's, locations, but Google gets a pass for *actually* treading on this territory (definitely logging the location of devices), and even logging actual network traffic!

I expect I'd be upset if I thought Google was actually logging the data in the sense of trying to catalog and use it. The fault that I lay at Google's feet is to not have realized the potential sensitivity of what they were collecting and done proper cleanup afterwards. As for Apple.... unless I'm missing something, Apple was not doing the exact same thing as Google was. The method and intent is likely as important as the resulting data. And so to decode the "nerd hypocrisy", you probably have to go in to the details.

Comment Re:Outrage (Score 1) 230

OK, let me rephrase. If this tool does something you want, but also does things you don't want, then it may not be the right tool for the job. (A hammer will kill pesky houseflies, but it will also leave holes in your walls.) Try it like this:

The tool is perfectly suitable for what they need. The problem is that they didn't scrub the data they collected and then destroyed everything else collected.

The TSA wants to collect information about each passenger (whether or not they are carrying prohibited items). They have a tool that collects that information, but also collects information that the TSA doesn't need, but that has potential to upset people (images of their privates). If the TSA goes forward with using that tool, they can expect blowback. It might be a great tool for collecting the desired information, but that by-product causes problems - perhaps enough problems that it's worth finding a different tool.

If I'm walking past a security camera in a public location and it gets pictures of me naked because I'm wearing no clothes, I have little reason to be upset about my nudity being captured. What the TSA is currently doing is taking steps to expose me beyond what I've chosen to expose in public. The problem here is that there's a large population who think they're wearing the finest new Emporer fashion and don't like the idea that they've been naked all along.

This isn't so much a technical problem as a management problem. I don't think it's intentional or malicious, but it might qualify as dumb. The snark comes in when you've got an ex-CIO pooh-poohing project management at the same time that Google is having a really hard time putting this one to bed.

I don't have much say on the management issue but I'd imagine if I'm a big believer in PM processes, this would irk me. As I noted, I think the real problem here is that Google didn't properly handle the data. Either the people running the project or some layer of management should have realized the potential of the data they were collecting and ensuring it was handled more appropriately.

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