Morning Ed: Techlife {2018.09.13.Th}

[TL1] A really cool Twitter thread on the history of personal calculators. I remember those old calculators!

[TL2] This could be really good or really bad and I’m not sure which. Microsoft seems to have given up on anti-piracy measures with Windows 10. Is that because they’re going to focus on business or they’re getting us hooked until we pay a monthly fee? I just signed on to OneDrive and boy would it be a pain to have to switch away from it. And also Windows 7….

[TL3] It turns out our phones aren’t listening to us after all.

[TL4] How tech backlash succeeds and fails.

[TL5] In an age of constant communication, does online status even mean anything anymore?

[TL6] Orwell always wins, in the end.

[TL7] Oscar Schwartz worries that the media is getting conned by “AI influencers” {more}

[TL8] Google wants to do away with the URL. They’re certainly a lot less important than they used to be, but I would miss them if they were gone.

[TL9] Rachel Withers argues that there’s no shame in browser clutter. Maybe, but browsers (and more specifically, their memory usage) don’t seem to see it that way.


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Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter. ...more →

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5 thoughts on “Morning Ed: Techlife {2018.09.13.Th}

  1. [Tl3] the limitations of that study are significant – they didn’t create any accounts for any of the apps they analyzed. So all we know is that e.g. the Facebook app doesn’t listen in on you if it doesn’t have a Facebook account to link the audio recordings to.

    [Tl8] AOL keywords for everyone!

    (Also re Google’s tangentially mentioned “aggressive” promotion of HTTPS – I don’t know how aggressive you can say it is when, if you just type a host name into Chrome, without specifying the protocol, it still defaults to HTTP.)

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  2. TL2: I have two desktops. My newer one runs Windows 7. The older runs Windows XP, and is not connected to the internet. I had a laptop (that I didn’t replace when it died) running Windows 10.

    My needs are quite simple: word processing, web, some light gaming, and a shitload of hard drive space for a gazillion images, mostly of newspaper scans for my baseball history research. My XP machine could do this, except for the hard drive space and that can be worked around. The problem is that I dare not connect it to the internet for, extrinsic reasons. Hence my machine running 7. So now I am seeing that Microsoft is planning on bricking that machine unless I pay their extortion money.

    For what it is worth, I absolutely loathed 10 on that laptop. It had a bunch of stuff I didn’t want. Some I could uninstall, but a lot I could not. In particular was Cortana, the “assistant,” which Microsoft made impossible to kill off permanently. It essentially was a penalty I paid whenever I inadvertently moved the cursor to the wrong spot: Cortana would pop up and I would have to close it out. (My Android tablet does something similar, with “Google Assistant” opening sometimes, but not always, when I wake it up.)

    So what I take away from this is that my next computer I will bite the bullet and go with some form of Linux. I have been avoiding this because I am not really a tech guy. The balance has been between the pain in the ass of climbing the learning curve versus the pain in the ass Microsoft chose to inflect on me. I sense that the turning point has been reached.

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  3. TL8: Sounds less like they want to do away with URLs and more like they want to place another layer on top of addressing (much the same way that URLs were/are a more human readable layer on top of the IP layer).

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    • I like their stated goals. I think they are pointing at a real issue: There’s a lot of garbage in many URLs these days, and then there are the shortened URLS that are completely opaque, as well as an opportunity for someone to insert themselves into the middle of a conversation.

      I have no idea whatsoever about what might fix this or make it better, though.

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