Archive for PEBKAC

A selling point, perhaps

Here’s a personal email service designed with your privacy in mind:

Own-Mailbox is a home-plugged personal email server, with strong privacy protection measures integrated at its core. It provides self-hosted email addresses, or connects with your existing email address. In both cases you can seamlessly send and receive encrypted emails from anywhere in the world, through Own-Mailbox webmail, Smartphone app, or through an external email software (Thunderbird, Outlook, …).

Which seems pretty swell. I wonder, though, if this is the right pitch:

Own-mailbox automatically encrypts your emails with Gnu Privacy Guard, a strong encryption software, the same software as used by Edward Snowden (as in the movie citizenfour).

I await an endorsement from Glenn Greenwald and his invisible friends.

(Via Ellie Kesselman.)

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Now with deBlartification

Ezra Dyer grumbles in Car and Driver (August) that cars have too many dysfunctional functions:

Part of the problem, I suspect, is that carmakers indulge the temptation to cram in every feature that might theoretically have a moment of utility over a car’s life span. For example, I just tried Infiniti’s new InTouch system in the Q50S. Several menus down the infotainment rabbit hole, I had the car giving me movie times for Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2. A disclaimer at the bottom of the screen read, “Screening times displayed are not always up to date.” I suppose this function would be useful, if something happened to your phone — maybe you ran it over? — and you then had to use your car to find uncertain movie times. But in all likelihood, you would never miss this feature if you never had it, leaving your car and your life just a little bit simpler.

I’d take a different approach. The Q50S is already smart enough to detect when you’re drifting out of your lane and nudge the car back into position. With this much brainpower, surely it’s possible to arrange for the car never to even mention stuff like Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2.

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No computer left behind

The idea of the “user port” on the Commodore 64 was simply this: if you can program it, we’ll give you lines and a little bit of memory to support it. And now, 802.11 has arrived:

Schema is developing a Wi-Fi cartridge for the Commodore 64. At this moment he has a working prototype that is communicating on 2400 Baud. You can use a standard terminal program for the communication and all the RS-232 signals are supported.

Old C-64 hands will remember that the user port was forever limited to 2400 bps — until, of course, it wasn’t.

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Still they persist

Looking through the accumulated StatCounter stuff, which has been piling up for a month now, I’m finding that there are some serious diehards out there:

  • 5.2 percent of visitors are running Windows XP. Still.
  • About 21 percent of visitors are using the Firefox browser, and while the vast majority of them are using version 38, I’ve had two hits from someone still on 3.5.
  • Most of the Internet Explorer users are running version 11, with 8 a distant second and 9 and 10 hardly showing up — but 6 and 7 are still in the log.
  • Almost all the Chrome users are using 43, but there are apparently some hard-core individuals on 10.
  • Google dominates the searchers, of course; but google.ca, all by itself, outdraws Yahoo!

Traffic is ostensibly up by about 15 percent, though this may simply be greater efficiency than was afforded me by my previous tracking service.

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We’ll make that decision for you

After this colossal stunt, what could Samsung possibly do to make matters worse? How about this?

On my home forum Sysnative, a user (wavly) was being assisted with a [Windows Update] issue, which was going well, aside from the fact that wavly’s WU kept getting disabled randomly. It was figured out eventually after using auditpol.exe and registry security auditing that the program that was responsible for disabling WU was Disable_Windowsupdate.exe, which is part of Samsung’s SW Update software.

SW Update is your typical OEM updating software that will update your Samsung drivers, the bloatware that came on your Samsung machine, etc. The only difference between other OEM updating software is, Samsung’s disables WU.

So he caught a Samsung tech in chat, and after a couple of pages of the Prescribed Script, the tech came clean:

When you enable Windows updates, it will install the Default Drivers for all the hardware [on] laptop which may or may not work. For example if there is USB 3.0 on laptop, the ports may not work with the installation of updates. So to prevent this, SW Update tool will prevent the Windows updates.

@SwiftOnSecurity, when she read this, commented:

She was being kind. I do like my little Samsung flip-phone, but then it doesn’t require anything as complicated as Windows Update.

Update, 26 June: Samsung says it will stop doing that “in a few days.” Quipped @SwiftOnSecurity: “I hope Microsoft threatened them with the banhammer.”

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Fark blurb of the week

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Fulfilling time

A lot got done at Happy Acres this past week:

Gave daughter her first driving lesson. Consoled son after first serious heartbreak. Went to the gym everyday, and a 4 mile walk every evening. Worked on genealogy and uncle’s ebook. Hardened my passwords on two dozen sites. Made a will. Sprayed star thistle infestation. Had carpets cleaned. Building a pile of junk to take to the dump. Timing belts replaced on 2 cars. Pruned & weeded. Ordered gravel to line driveway.

Goodness, that’s quite a set of accomplishments. How in the world was this even possible?

The past week I went internet-dark.

Oh.

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Not ready for fringe time

Bill Quick has been dealing with the pre-release versions of Windows 10, and if you ask him, they aren’t ready for mass distribution yet:

Currently, on the [MS Surface Pro 3], I’ve got a “hardware update” that constantly installs itself “successfully,” then forgets that it has done so, and reinstalls itself, requiring a reboot each time. This is a bug known for more than three weeks, but it remains unfixed.

Several Metro Apps (apps designed for Windows tablets in the same way that iOS apps are designed to run on Apple tablets) either don’t run at all, or open in broken condition — including the People app, which is home base for contacts, and linkage to various address books, and messages from Twitter, FB, and so on.

The current build, released several weeks ago, wouldn’t install on SP3 at all until they fixed a bug it took them two more weeks to exterminate.

And the list goes on and on. Quick remains undaunted, though:

I’m able to use both machines as production machines, and I’ve been doing so. And I do really like Windows 10 overall, especially the Continuum feature, and the consistency across all platforms from phones to desktop machines.

But is it going to be ready for release to people who want an OS that “just works?”

Not a hope in hell, is what I think.

It’s not like Microsoft has never, ever missed a ship date. If it takes longer than six weeks more to swat the known bugs, then it takes longer. The world will go on turning.

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Defending the dumbphone

In my new post-austerity budget, I could very likely afford one of those fancy plastic slabs with a more-than-minimal data plan, maybe, but it’s not happening. I hasten to note that this non-event is hardly specific to me. Consider the case of Elisson’s dad:

It was difficult enough to convince him to get a cellphone for emergencies. He and his wife would make the round-trip drive to Florida every year, and eventually they allowed that yes, it would be prudent to be able to get in touch with someone just in case THEIR CAR, GAWD FORBID, WERE TO BREAK DOWN IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FUCKING OKEFENOKEE SWAMP. So there was that.

But a smartphone? You know, like all the Kool Kidz are carrying around these days?

No Frickin’ Way.

Motivation for my first cell phone: emergency comms, if needed, along World Tour ’01.

But I haven’t gotten much beyond that yet:

What was it that made smartphones and computers such objects of Fear and Loathing?

I mean, aside from the fact that they suck all the data out of your house and bank account and feed it into giant enterprises run by the government, the Russian Mafia, and Amazon?

And if you work for the feds, add “and Chinese hackers” to the list.

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Well, it wasn’t ME

If you’ve ever suspected that “infotainment” systems for your car were lagging a bit behind the stuff on your desktop or on your phone, your suspicions have just been justified:

This would be amusing if (1) Oldsmobile still existed and (2) they were still building Vista Cruiser wagons.

Now: is this a reflection of how the actual hardware works, or did this guy format that USB stick on a Vista machine back in the Pleistocene era?

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Endured, the browser wars have

And there is no peace on the horizon:

I just encountered my second major piece of software used by Bank of America for my business accounts that will only work with Internet Explorer and most definitely will not work with Chrome. Their ACH/Treasury/Direct Payments system has to run on Internet Explorer (only) and now I find their secure email system that sends me all my merchant account notices does not work on Chrome and only works on IE.

To say nothing of Firefox. (Come to think of it, he did say nothing of Firefox.)

Then again, it could be worse:

I am just waiting for the moment that a Bank of America tech support person tells me I have to use Netscape.

The most recent stable release of Netscape was 4.8, appearing in the summer of 2002. Probably too cutting-edge for the likes of BofA.

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Common jerks

In the standard version of the Tragedy of the Commons, there are more takers than givers, and eventually the system breaks down. If this sounds like a bunch of jerks to you, the Z Man can show you more of them:

Blogs and news stories invite comments. Jerks come along and fill the comments with work at home scams and penis pill ads. That means we have to have spam filters and police the comments sections. A good chunk of the code in a WordPress site is to fend off jerks trying to mess up a blog for no other reason than they are an asshole.

Anyway, the jerks are ruining the interwebs in a different way and that’s with ads. There are some sites I don’t bother to visit because they are so bogged down with popups, scripts and the worst thing of all, auto-playing videos. The guy who came up with that idea should be burned at the stake. There’s nothing worse than having some nonsense come blaring through your PC speakers as you feverishly look for the source.

Hence: ad blockers and such. (I’ve recently had to dispose of a script I had found useful for many years because it had mutated into a tool of the jerks.)

I don’t block every ad, of course. For example: I block nothing on Equestria Daily, since (1) I really, really need the content and (2) Sethisto has gone after rogue advertisers with jerk in their genome. But there are plenty of sites pushing on my last nerve.

I don’t solicit Breitbart because it is infested with ads created by the nation’s dickhead community. Loads of viruses are spread through embedded ads as well. If a site has no choice but to go the jerk route with their ads, then they should go out of business. The world has plenty of jerks. We’re full.

Between that and clickbait — well, I’ve been to a Turkish bazaar, and it’s run with a hell of a lot more respect for its customers.

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U can’t watch this

‘Cause I said so:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: Hacking your own home tv show?

Since this makes no sense by itself, the follow-up:

I want to learn to hack my home tv satellite and tv so that people cannot watch certain show or program and will change the show or program based on the data that I input

There are, I suspect, exactly two possibilities here:

  • Guy’s never heard of parental controls;
  • Guy’s heard of parental controls, but the Younger Folk know more about them than he does.

The question of whether this would be a violation of the agreement with the satellite company is left as an exercise for the student.

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Winning blind

The switch to StatCounter has required me to adjust to new statistics in new forms, and this is one of those forms:

StatCounter screenshot

That #1 in the oval means that for this particular search, I was #1 in Google; however, Google now encrypts its search strings, so #1 on what? SiteMeter would have given me the Google URL, but no clues otherwise.

Fortunately, StatCounter imports actual Google Webmaster Tools search data, albeit a week and a half behind, so eventually I will know what the search string was. (Then again, Google’s own display is half a week behind; as of Sunday night they were still serving up stuff from the 28th of May.)

The article in question had to do with the proposed .eq domain for Equestria, for which the proponents had announced they would be seeking OpenNIC approval. I don’t know whatever happened to that scheme, and the exit link has apparently been wiped; nopony I know would have done such a thing.

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Convergence ensues

“Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together … mass hysteria!” said Dr. Venkman. But he never envisioned anything like this:

In a memo to employees, IBM notes that starting today all employees (not just some select developers like in the past) can pick from a MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, or a PC when setting up a new or refreshed workstation. The machines will include new software for security, Wi-Fi, and VPN out of the box so employees just have to connect to the internet to get started, according to the memo. IBM notes that it currently has around 15,000 Macs deployed through its BYOD program, but plans to deploy around 50,000 Macbooks by the end of the year. That, according to the memo, would make IBM the biggest “Mac shop” around, and the company said it’s sharing what it learns through the new deployment with Apple as Apple assists through its device enrollment program.

Remember “IBM-compatible”? Me neither.

(Via Jeff Faria.)

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Packets gone awry

The cable company has been pushing me to dump my old DOCSIS 2.0 modem, and by “pushing” I mean “opening a window in the goddamn browser.” Okay, fine. But I’m not buying theirs: I’ll find one — on their approved list, of course — and go through whatever digital equivalent of the Bataan Death March it takes to get it installed.

Now “installed,” in the hardware sense, took all of two minutes Wednesday evening. Getting the company to talk to it took twenty more, and getting it to talk to them took half an hour. Not all of this time was eaten up by the robovoice, either: I got it to hand me off to an actual person fairly early in the proceedings. But for some reason, it took several attempts to get everything changed over from old box to new. Speed difference is about 30 percent; it’s noticeable, but not eye-poppingly so.

Then Thursday it failed to respond at the initial bootup, but came around after a reset. More annoying was the “This site is blocked” screen at OpenDNS, on such anodyne sites as Bing. Something about filtering in use, or some such foolishness. This was easier to deal with: delete their IP addresses from the router and reboot. (In this household, I do the damn filtering.)

If things become sporadic over the weekend, you may presume that I’m being paid back for my wrath.

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Two for Column B

Today, a tab is an open page on a browser. It wasn’t always so:

Does anyone else remember when tabs used to be arbitrary? Back in the good old days, back when we had typewriters, tabs were set individually. There was no automatic every-so-many-spaces tab setting. If you wanted a tab at the 4th position, you spaced over 4 spaces and pressed the tab set key. If you wanted a tab at the 47 position, you spaced over 43 more spaces and pressed the tab set key. Now the first time you press the tab key you go to column 4, and the second time you press it you go all the way to column 47, which means the carriage picks up some speed on the way and arrives with a typewriter shaking thump. Which is how God intended for you to arrive at column 47.

My first typewriter, a Royal Safari rebadged as a Singer, didn’t even use the word “tab”: there were two rectangular buttons on the backsplash above the keyboard, labeled “COLUMN CLEAR” and “COLUMN SET,” though they were tabs in everything but name.

Now that I think about it, I don’t believe I’ve ever even set a tab on my current typewriter (one of those Brother electronics). Then again, it gets used mostly for filling out forms and such.

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Read faster, dammit

Okay, maybe not this fast:

Ray Kurzweil, a smart guy who talks a lot about what may (or may not) happen in the future, suggests that human beings will develop computerized personal assistants that will be able to read hundreds of millions of web pages in just a few seconds.

Twilight Sparkle is a few seconds ahead of you, Ray:

Although a computerized personal assistant probably should not be the size of a Costco.

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Leaving you with a blank space

Almost certainly the lawyers knew this was trouble:

This Monday, I had a chance to finally live the dream of texting using Taylor Swift lyrics in a convenient keyboard compatible with most iPhone apps like Twitter and Facebook (I have very specific dreams, okay?). TayText, an app designed by “a team of five female Swifties from Harvard Business School,” allowed users to talk like they were in a romantic fantasy or very angry about a romantic fantasy being destroyed, but in a very convenient way, using Apple’s text-suggestion functions.

The important word there is “allowed.” Past tense:

It took only two days … for the app to get pulled from the App Store.

Nobody protects a trademark like Taylor Swift.

Although it’s a bummer that the app isn’t available anymore, there are a few positive lessons we can take from this:

1. Taylor is a boss who knows how she wants to run her image.

2. Swifties are all over the world, from middle school through Harvard Business School (aka, in your face to anyone who says that only silly, immature girls like Taylor).

Darn right. Say that to me and you might see sparks fly.

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No longer keeping up

Who says there aren’t any good new browser extensions? Not I, after this:

If you want to live in a Kardashian-free world, there’s now an ad block for that.

The KardBlock browser extension, created by the same person who successfully put his resume on Tinder back in September, removes the Kardashians from your feed.

This will perforce block most Bruce Caitlyn Jenner news, but I suppose you can’t have everything.

Coming soon: similar code to expunge all references to Justin Bieber.

(Via Fark.)

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Hang the fees

Another one of my lingering questions, answered while I wasn’t looking: “Is there an automatic teller machine in Antarctica?” There is:

Despite the frigid temperatures, ornery elephant seals, and months of perpetual darkness, Antarctica is still a place where money matters. That’s where Wells Fargo comes in.

The banking conglomerate installed an automatic teller machine (ATM) back in 1998 at McMurdo Station, the largest science hub on the continent. Depending on the season, McMurdo’s population ranges from 250 to more than 1000. And like any small community, commerce is crucial. In order to patronize the coffee shops, general stores, bars, or post office, money is exchanged in what amounts to a closed economy. Some places only accept cash; others have a credit card minimum that’s hard to meet when you need just a couple of items.

And who fixes it when it’s broken?

According to Wells Fargo spokesperson Kristopher Dahl, the company trains McMurdo staff to make simple repairs; more importantly, there’s a second ATM that can be cannibalized for parts. “Every two years, both machines are serviced and brought up to speed on the latest technology,” he says. The vendors chosen for that job undergo a psychological exam and a physical to make sure they’re equipped to deal with the Antarctic climate in case they get held over.

“Latest technology” tells me that they’re not running Windows XP, anyway.

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Looking after my tunes

That’s the pitch I got in email from an outfit called AdRev:

We are reaching out to copyright owners about protecting and monetizing their music in YouTube’s Content ID system. AdRev administers your tracks and finds all unauthorized uses of your music on YouTube. We then monetize any video using your music and point the revenue to you. Our service is free to use. We do not charge any sign up fees, and there are no out of pocket costs. We pay you 80% of the revenue generated, and our admin fee is only 20%.

Seems legit, as the phrase goes. The fact that I don’t have any videos on YouTube, however, would definitely keep me from signing up.

Then again, at some point during the attempt to integrate YouTube with Google+, I found myself with an actual, if unused, YouTube channel. Inexplicably, it has three subscribers; I can only conclude that they’re looking to see what I like.

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Quick-ish study

Carly Fiorina’s campaign team whiffed early on, failing to secure the carlyfiorina.org domain; it now belongs to a troll who’s using it to remind people of the massive layoffs during Fiorina’s tenure at Hewlett-Packard.

Apparently, however, she learns fast. The other night on Late Night with Seth Meyers:

When Meyers pointed out Fiorina’s mistake, she asked the host: “Do you know who owns sethmeyers.org?”

“I do,” Fiorina said after Meyers noted he did not know. “I just bought it in the green room, actually.”

Watch the sequence here.

And of course, she’s making hay with it:

I am not quite awed, but certainly amused. (And I must point out that a dot-org domain from my host is only $9.95.)

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Ludicrous non-speed

I haven’t decided if this is fiendishly clever or utterly pitiful, so it’s up to you guys:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: How to REDUCE USB transfer speed Temporarily ?

Explanation for this query:

I want to reduce the USB transfer speed. I use windows 8.1 and I get a transfer speed of 17.5 MB per second through USB. I want to slow it down temporarily. Here is the Story for those who are curious, I met an awesome girl on a trip, we found out that we both are from the same city so she asked if i can take pics of her as she forgot her cam. So i took many pics of her which comes around 400 mb totally. Tomorrow she told me she would meet me to get those pics, I told her transferring pics would take an hour or so, I know it will get over in few min but this is like the only valid reason I have to meet her. So i just wanna slow down the transfer speed temporarily so I ll have little time to get to know her even better. Please help me guy. I dont wanna reduce it forever. I hate slow speed USB transfer. I just wanna make sure it takes at least 40 min. How to do it?

Note: The punctuation in the original was sufficiently random, in my judgment, to warrant some minor corrections.

The underlying assumption here is that The Girl won’t realize that he’s screwed around with the mechanism. I have a gut feeling that about six minutes into this scamlet, she’s going to ask why it’s taking so long, it never takes this long with her USB sticks.

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Target pays up, sort of

This arrived in email Sunday:

If You Shopped at Target from November 27 through December 18, 2013 or Received Notice That Your Personal Information Was Compromised, You Could Get Money for Losses from a Data Breach Settlement.

A Settlement has been proposed in lawsuits against Target Corporation (“Target”) relating to Target customers whose credit/debit card information or personal information was stolen as a result of a data breach that was first disclosed on December 19, 2013 (“Target Data Breach”). Target’s records show you are included in this Settlement and may be eligible for a cash payment. Visit www.TargetBreachSettlement.com for more information or to file a claim.

Who is included in the Settlement? You are a member of the Class if: (1) you shopped at a Target store and used your credit or debit card from November 27-December 18, 2013; (2) you provided your contact information to Target before December 18, 2013; or (3) your bank, credit card company, or other financial institution issued you a new credit or debit card shortly after December 2013 and informed you that your old card may have been compromised. If you received a notice directly about the Target Data Breach, you are a Class Member.

What does the Settlement provide? The $10 million Settlement Fund will provide payments to consumers who have had losses caused by the Target Data Breach. If you are included, you can choose between two types of payments:

* If you have documentation, you can receive reimbursement of losses up to $10,000. These losses include unauthorized, unreimbursed charges; certain costs and fees; and lost or restricted access to funds among other things.

* If you do not have documentation, you may be eligible for an equal share of the Settlement Fund remaining after payment of claims for documented losses and service payments. For example, if the total of service payments awarded by the Court plus documented claims adds up to $1 million and 300,000 Settlement Class Members submit valid claims without documentation, you will receive $30 from the Settlement Fund. The amount of actual payments will depend on the amount of claims received.

I fall into classification (2): I presumably had this stuff on file, but did not actually charge anything at Target during the period in question, and have incurred no losses as a result of the breach.

Oh, since you were curious:

Target will pay any attorneys’ fees and expenses awarded by the Court to Settlement Class Counsel separate and apart from the Settlement Fund. Settlement Class Counsel’s Fee Request will not exceed $6.75 million ($6,750,000).

Is there a separate wing of law school where class-action suits are studied as a specialty? And how much extra do they charge for tuition?

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Why Google still rules

Apparently they can handle even the most horribly mangled English:

(Via Rand Simberg.)

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Chopping down the shade tree

Your average automaker would much rather you visit the dealer for your service needs instead of doing it yourself. (Said automaker is kind of a skinflint when reimbursing the dealer for warranty work, but that’s another issue.) Imagine their delight if they could force the issue:

Automakers are supporting provisions in copyright law that could prohibit home mechanics and car enthusiasts from repairing and modifying their own vehicles.

In comments filed with a federal agency that will determine whether tinkering with a car constitutes a copyright violation, OEMs and their main lobbying organization say cars have become too complex and dangerous for consumers and third parties to handle.

Allowing them to continue to fix their cars has become “legally problematic,” according to a written statement from the Auto Alliance, the main lobbying arm of automakers.

The dispute arises from a section of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that no one thought could apply to vehicles when it was signed into law in 1998. But now, in an era where cars are rolling computing platforms, the U.S. Copyright Office is examining whether provisions of the law that protect intellectual property should prohibit people from modifying and tuning their cars.

Of course. Everyone thought the DMCA was all about people pirating movies and such — until all sorts of unrelated oxen were subjected to governmental gore. The one thing you can always be sure of with intellectual property: the word that matters is not “intellectual.”

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The map has a mind of its own

You never had this problem with Rand McNally:

I ran into this problem this morning. There was [a] plane crash in Hiroshima, so I wanted to take a look at the airport. I pull up Google Maps, zoom way out, pan across to Japan and zoom in until Hiroshima appears. Now I ask for “airport”. It shows me several, but not the Hiroshima airport. Make a more specific request and it takes me back to Oregon. Fuss with it and eventually I get the Hiroshima airport. Okay, what about all those other airports in this region? What happened to them? Cannot get Google to show them to me for love or money. Stupid Google.

The Bloomberg report of the crash, as relayed by the Vancouver Sun:

An Asiana Airlines plane crash landed short of the runway amid rains at Hiroshima Airport in Japan, injuring 27 passengers in its first accident since a crash landing in San Francisco almost two years ago.

The plane flew so low that the tail section of the Airbus Group NV A320 hit landing system devices placed 330 metres from the end of the runway, Noritoshi Goda, an official at the transport ministry’s aviation bureau, said by phone. The plane then veered off the runway, causing the landing gear to collapse and leaving both wings and the left engine damaged, the transport ministry said.

The plane was carrying 73 passengers plus a crew of eight.

A Bing search of this sort defaults to “Airports near Hiroshima”; Microsoft apparently gets its Japanese maps from Japanese map publisher Zenrin, and actual English map legends are not the highest priority.

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Screw those desktops

Google wants everything to be ultra-readable on mobiles, especially their mobiles, so they’re going to slant their search results accordingly:

Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.

They started making noises like this back in November, so it’s not like this is suddenly being sprung upon us, but I figure I’m already jumping through enough hoops for them, so do not look for sudden design changes around here — for at least a year, anyway.

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There’s always another version

Bill Cosby once quoted his old football coach: “You just keep running that play ’til you get it right.” Apparently this philosophy holds sway at Microsoft:

A related genius of Microsoft is its ability to just keep producing new versions of software until a product actually takes root, a process that describes practically every product that Microsoft has ever succeeded with. DOS had some versions that were total flops. The first actually usable version of Windows was 3.1. Before Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel there were Multi-Tool Word and Multiplan. The list goes on.

I think it was Winston Churchill who said that success consists in failing repeatedly without losing heart. If any company embodies that, it must be Microsoft.

I might also add that Multiplan was one of vanishingly few Microsoft products that somehow got ported to the Commodore 64.

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