From Pine View Farm

Geek Stuff category archive

Geeking Out 0

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Fluxbox on Mageia v. 8. The wallpaper is from my collection.

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Lost in the Algorithm 0

Elvie in the car with her daughter.  Elvie says,

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About That Algorithm 0

Goat:  Some days I find myself just sitting around on my phone judging others and I think,

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At Psychology Today Blogs, Nir Eyal explains why persons stay buried in their phones, even as they step off the curb in front of passing cars, or, indeed, drive one of said passing cars. He identities four factors designed into “social” media and messaging applications to keep you “engaged.”

Here’s the summary (emphasis added):

  • People have become attached to their devices because devices facilitate social connection and because they’re engineered to capture attention.
  • Products that lead to habit formation often involve four steps: a trigger, an action, variable rewards, and investment.
  • Understanding how people interact with their devices can lead to better iterations of technological products in the future.

Follow the link for a detailed discussion of how “social” media sucks you in.

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Don’t Believe the Hype 0

Artificial intelligence is indeed artificial, but it’s not intelligent.

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I Just Finished Updating My Windows 8 Virtual Machine 0

Windows is a kludge.

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Geeking Out 0

Debian Buster/Sid with the Plasma desktop on a Thinkpenguin laptop. The wallpaper is from my collection.

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The Disinformation Superhighway,
It’s All about the Algorithm Dept.
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David Neiwert explains. A snippet:

A recent study demonstrates that YouTube’s recommendations—which send users to videos the algorithm believes the viewer will like—are in fact promoting videos that violates (sic) the company’s content policies, including hate speech and disinformation. In many cases, the platform is recommending content that has little or no relation to the video that was watched previously. And the company has made clear it has no intention of changing things.

Follow the link for the full story.

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Geeking Out 0

VirtualBox virtual machine of POP!OS with the default Gnome desktop (I loath Gnome with the fire of a thousand suns–Gnome spells “simplify” as “d-u-m-b-d-o-w-n”) on Mageia v. 8 under the Fluxbox window manager. The wallpaper is from my collection.

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It’s All about the Algorithm 0

At Above the Law, Mark Herrmann reflects on how often persons misunderstand the possiblities of technological advances, starting with examples from the early days of automobiles. Then he moves to today. An excerpt:

At the dawn of the internet age, people were certain that the internet would permit anyone to speak directly to large audiences. . . .

But we didn’t realize that algorithms run by artificial intelligence would cause many of us to hear only our own thoughts reverberating constantly in the echo chambers of our computers.

I commend the entire article to your attention.

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No Place To Hide, the Clock is TikToking Dept. 0

Bruce Schneier reports that TikTok has changed its terms of service to include a provision that it may now collect biometric data.

One more time, “social” media isn’t.

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Geeking Out 0

I do likes me my purty pictures.

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Mageia v. 8 with the Fluxbox window manager.

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Geeking Out 0

The Fluxbox window manager on Mageia v. 8 with Xclock and GKrellM. The wallpaper is from my collection.

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Geeking Out 0

A VirtualBox VM of Windows 8 on Ubuntu MATE under the Fluxbox window manager. The Ubuntu wallpaper is from my collection. The Windows wallpaper is from a Windows theme.

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Geeking Out 0

Mageia v. 8 with the Fluxbox window manager. Xclock is in the upper right and GKrellM with the “Glass” skin in the lower right. Thunderbird and Firefox are tabbed in a shaded (sometimes referred to as a “rolled-up”) window (by the way, you can’t do that with Windows). The Grand Canyon wallpaper is from my collection.

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It’s All about the Algorithm 0

A reporter for SFGate tested Youtube’s algorithm and determined that you are just three clicks from the rabbit hole.

Aside:

When I visit Youtube, I turn off autoplay.

After a short while, Youtube turns it back on.

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Taming the Toxic Titans of Tech 0

This is a relatively long video (a little less than half an hour), but well worth a listen.

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Parler Talk, Stringing Apple Along Dept. 0

When you browse to a web site, your browser sends a “user agent” string which typically identifies the browser, the operating system, and other information about your system. (Depending on your browser, you may be able to customize your user agent string.) Generally, the information transmitted is innocuous and betrays no personal information.

Now comes Parler, which is customizing itself especially for iPhones.

I suspect that they are doing so by using iPhone users’ user agent strings to tailor their behavior.

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Perpetually Playing the Victim 0

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Accounts Receivable (Updated) 0

Group of persons labeled

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Afterthought:

I am not surprised that the right-wing bubble is filled with statements and political cartoons attempting to place the blame for the temporary interruption to gas supplies to the southeastern U. S. on President Biden, even though it was caused by (likely Russian) cyber-gangsters and an American company’s inadequate security practices.

Fact is absent from right-wing discourse.

Anyone who has paid attention to businesses’ attitudes towards cyber-security has seen that security is often treated as an afterthought–a troublesome expense to be minimized–rather than as an essential aspect of doing business.

No, the blame for the success of this ransomeware attack rests squarely on the pipeline’s operator’s incompetence.

Addendum:

In the Tampa Bay Times, cyber-security expert Mark Khan’s article supports my conclusion as to where the responsibility for this security breech lies and offers hints for protecting systems from being pwned.

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Geeking Out 0

Listening to The Circular Staircase with the VLC media player on Ubuntu MATE under the Fluxbox window manager. The wallpaper is from my collection.

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