Category Archives: IT

Are you afraid of Facebook tracking you? Do you use Firefox? Then read on.

If you are afraid of Facebook tracking you and you use Firefox then you want to consider this:  Facebook Container Extension: Take control of how you’re being tracked | The Firefox Frontier. 

If you are comfortable installing extensions you really want to consider this.

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What to remember the next time you see a scary robot video from Boston Dynamics

The next time you see a scary robot video from Boston Dynamics, remember this: Marine Corps Shelves Futuristic Robo-Mule Due to Noise Concerns | Military.com. When you see the videos of their robots, they seem so impressive. In fact there are serious limitations with them right now, as the article shows.

 

Boston Dynamics makes impressive videos. Whether or not their robots are impressive in the field is not certain. You be the judge.

What happens when you fill your house with smart devices?

Just how bad is it to have your house filled with smart devices? Kash Hill attempted to find out by connecting many of them up in her house and then track all the data that they sent out. The results are fascinating. Some of them send the data out in the clear, which is terrible. But even the ones that encrypt your data and leaking things about you via metadata.

Essentially whatever value smart devices provide — and some of that value is doubtful — they are monitoring equipment that you set up yourself. Just how much they monitor can be seen here in her study: The House That Spied on Me.

It’s a great read, and for some, it will be a great revelation.

Image via Home Depot’s web site.

On Bitcoin rivals


While all the hype might make you think that Bitcoin is  the only cryptocurrency, there are a number of alternatives out there and this piece in Fortune outlines what they are: 5 Bitcoin Rivals That Are Rapidly on the Rise.

While this piece lists a handful, I expect that there will be a flood of such things in the future as financial markets look to capitalize on this mixture of money and technology.

The Fortune piece is also not bad in summarizing some key facts about Bitcoin if you still find it hard to get your head around it.

I expect Bitcoin to crash to a much lower level, but I don’t see cryptocurrencies going away. Knowing more about them, especially because they could have a major impact on global economies, is worthwhile.

San Francisco puts delivery robots on a lease. Good.

According to CNET: Delivery robots face strict rules in San Francisco.

I like that picture above. Often when I see delivery robots in photos, they are by themselves on an uncrowded street. In the photo above, you can get a better sense of how it will be a problem if swarms of these things start taking over the sidewalk. The idea of sidewalks becoming more crowded by these tiny vehicles is a maddening one.

I’d be fine with them if city planners can come up with a way these robots can roll around and not impede better uses of the streets such as walking and cycling and public transit. Until then, the less robots crowding the sidewalks, the better.

Like drones in the air and autonomous cars on the roads, robots are coming to the sidewalks. City planners need to start planning for that now.

Why I think this review of the Tesla Semi is really good.

I thought this piece was great: This ex-trucker has some questions about the Tesla Semi – Autoblog.

It punctures the hype behind Tesla’s new truck in the best possible way, by carefully and methodically asking questions and bringing up real life experiences that show the limitations of the truck.

Too few tech reviews come with this type of analysis. I’d like to see more of it. Most tech reviews are positive summaries of features. Or there are a small number of pieces that say such and such will never work because I say so. In either case, the person reviewing it comes from a technology background. I’d like to see more non-technical reviews of technology.

If you are interested in Tesla or the direction of automotives, it is well worth a read.

Blockchain 101

IBM (my employer) has a great page that will get you up to speed on Blockchain. If you are interested in Bitcoin, crytocurrency, or just hot areas in IT, then you want to visit:  What is blockchain? – IBM Blockchain