Gongol.com Archives: 2016 Weekly Archives
Brian Gongol

April 16, 2016

Computers and the Internet How not to quit your job

A radio play-by-play announcer quits with an online posting. There are so many mistakes made here: The announcement includes misspellings and takes place in a public forum while burning all bridges along the way. These things persist, you know. Something like this becomes the #1 search result in your next job interview. To anyone who doesn't know the back story, this looks like sabotage is your M.O.

Iowa Is it really a substitute?

Due to printing problems, the Des Moines Register isn't distributing an April 16th printed edition. As pointed out by a former staffer, printing problems used to activate backup plans -- today, it would appear, the answer is to just tell people to access the online edition for free. But if they're really equivalent substitutes for one another, then why go to the trouble of printing and distributing the print edition at all? And if they are not equivalents, then shouldn't a press failure be important enough that some kind of emergency plan can be rolled out? Either the print copy matters or it does not. This response seems to suggest that, institutionally, the latter belief is in the driver's seat.

Threats and Hazards Unprecedented antisocial behavior in politics

The presence of a candidate who has treated the entire Presidential race like a game of Mario Kart has brought out the worst in a lot of people

Broadcasting Show notes - WHO Radio Wise Guys - April 16, 2016

Streamed live at whoradio.com/listen and archived for later playback on iHeartRadio

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April 15, 2016

Iowa MidAmerican Energy now targets 80% of power generation from wind

They expect to get there by the end of the decade, putting Iowa light-years ahead of everywhere else

Threats and Hazards The DoD says cyberattacks are now a threat on par with missiles themselves

We're looking at you, Iran and North Korea

Aviation News Boeing/Lockheed "United Launch Alliance" is making job cuts

New competition has tightened the rocket-launch market

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April 14, 2016

Business and Finance Japan's debt spiral

Public debt is now at nearly unsustainable levels -- and when that triggers a reaction, things could get ugly in a hurry

Health "Citizen scientists"

It would be a good thing if all citizens thought about science more often, but "citizen scientists" is a clever title to offer people for participating in an NYU study of baby sleep patterns. The study asks parents to record their baby's sleeping patterns in a widely-used smartphone app -- something many parents were doing with the app already, but by aggregating the data, they can turn it from micro-information (used by the parents) into a macro-study with far more data points than the researchers were ever going to get by handing out paper surveys.

Computers and the Internet EMV credit cards are still slowing down checkout lanes

In the long run, a chip-and-PIN system ought to be highly secure for in-person transactions. But in the short run, the inconsistencies in their rollout and use are driving people crazy at the cash register.

Threats and Hazards Russian jets buzz US Navy warship in the Baltic

It's one thing to show off, and it's another to provoke. This behavior teeters dangerously close to the latter.

Computers and the Internet Great social-engineering attacks in history

We think of social-engineering attacks as a modern online phenomenon, but they've been around forever. And it helps nothing at all when IT people use techniques that are indistinguishable from those of the attackers.

Computers and the Internet Microsoft claims coming Windows 10 update will be good for classrooms

Technology alone doesn't and can't fix problems with education, but viewed as a useful tool, technology may be able to help. The less teachers have to be IT people and the more they can simply use their tools, the better.

April 13, 2016

Computers and the Internet Facebook's next ten years

They want more artificial intelligence and more artificial reality

Aviation News Schumer plan to legislate bigger airline seats fails

Not that today's seats aren't absurdly small and uncomfortable, but legislation isn't the way to fix it -- especially not if people are given the option to pay for bigger seats (and don't)

Science and Technology Lab-grown diamonds are on the way -- in a big way

Fundamentally indistinguishable from organic diamonds, they don't come with any of the ethical baggage and offer creative cutters options they didn't have before

Computers and the Internet Netflix hacking

Crooks are trying to break into Netflix accounts not because they want to mess with your ratings, but because they want login information. They can get enough information to trick people using social engineering into giving away credit-card info, and it's also likely that any passwords people use on Netflix are in use elsewhere, too.

Humor and Good News "No business being an extrovert"

Another hit from The Onion

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April 12, 2016

News A dystopian vision of the future

The Boston Globe looked into its crystal ball to see a Trump Presidency and they saw something awful

The United States of America Nebraska will keep its split Electoral College votes

It's a practice that shouldn't have been threatened in the first place -- more states should follow Nebraska's lead on this and divide their Electoral College votes by Congressional district, with the statewide winner getting the two remaining votes

The United States of America Speaker Paul Ryan won't run for President (this time)

He's putting his foot down on the idea of being named as some kind of unity candidate. He's needed in Congress now, and almost certainly to an even greater degree after the results of this coming November. The primacy of the Executive Branch needs to be reeled in a bit, and Speaker Ryan is the right person for the job on the Legislative Branch's side of things.

Computers and the Internet The National Weather Service will kindly stop shouting now

They are at long last changing the format of most of their reports to conventional sentence case, rather than the ALL CAPS format that had been in place since the teletype days. The practice was a technological artifact -- it was necessary when there wasn't sufficient means to send mixed-case messages. But now there is, and since sentence-case messages are easier to read and comprehend, this is a good change.

Computers and the Internet Facebook introduces 8K-resolution video camera with 360-degree viewing

For those times when it's not just enough to feel like you're there, but also to get serious motion sickness in the process

April 11, 2016

Computers and the Internet Britain's Daily Mail may want to buy Yahoo

They would use private-equity money to form a new company, but the essence of the deal would still be the same: An old-media company buying a new-media company to give both a shot at survival.

Science and Technology Toyota working on "guardian angel"

A very clever metaphor for the technologies that will eventually accumulate and lead to self-piloted cars for everybody -- but that in the shorter term will at least ensure higher levels of safety by overriding the stupid decisions and slow reactions of human drivers.

Business and Finance Canadian Pacific gives up on bid for Norfolk Southern

The rail industry is already pretty well-consolidated, so further consolidation may be hard to achieve.

Business and Finance "Returnships" for those returning from job gaps

It's a sign that an economy is healthy if people who leave the workforce need to catch up a bit when they return. That means things are changing and improving. Thus it's smart to have ways to help people rejoin the workforce quickly, and "returnships" may be part of the answer.

Science and Technology Truck platooning is working

The over-the-road freight trucks of the future won't always have individual drivers. Testing is taking place right now in the EU, where trucks use automation to communicate with one another to drive in closely-packed series that move more efficiently and use less road space than individual trucks. It's also supposed to save fuel. Pilot testing is underway in Europe.

The United States of America "Hillary would beat [Trump] from jail"

Tim Miller has a very clever way of looking at things and framing the politics around them. His take on the Presidential race right now is worth a solid 45-minute listen.