Gongol.com Archives: May 2016

Brian Gongol


May 19, 2016

Threats and Hazards Don't dismiss the nightmare scenario of Russia re-invading the Baltic states

A recently-retired British general has published a book saying he thinks Russia might go after Latvia as soon as next year. The book's online description says the nuclear deterrent won't work. When reviewers skewer the writing but then say, "for all the clumsy writing, it is of profound importance when a former Nato deputy commander is screaming at us that the alliance's high readiness task force is a sham", then attention must be paid.

Computers and the Internet Maybe it's a bit too early to go all-in for the "smart home"

Security flaws let hackers figure out how to unlock doors integrated with the Samsung platform. The hackers, fortunately, were researchers at the University of Michigan and Microsoft, but the proof of concept is enough that it should put on ice the ambitions to connect everything everywhere in the "Internet of Things". Hacking an entire home (or office) is an attractive proposition, so it's best not to be the very first adopter. One of the main problems the researchers identified is "overprivilege", or the granting of too much power to programs and applications to achieve what they're advertised to do.

Computers and the Internet Google announces "Allo" and "Duo" for release this summer

"Allo" will be their next-generation chat application, with an AI assistant built-in. Duo is to be a 720p HD video chat service.

Computers and the Internet Charter now owns Time Warner Cable

And they're killing off the Time Warner name. They claim to reach 25 million customers in 41 states.

Computers and the Internet A global map of Facebook live video feeds

It's the Truman Show come to life. It's not an unequivocally bad thing that people can now live-stream anything they want to Facebook -- think, for instance, of the deployed soldier who can be shown a live stream of a major family event -- but it's also not an unmitigated wonder of the world, either. People make bad decisions, and it's hazardous to let them make bad decisions in front of what is -- at not even the click, but just the hover of a mouse -- a global audience that could easily include lots and lots of people with mal-intent. We should not be in the least bit surprised when a Gresham's Law of sorts swallows up "Facebook Live" -- bad purposes, bad actors, and bad audiences will drive out the good.


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