I Miss Google Reader

The Google+ shut down reminded me that I still miss Google Reader. Google also shut it down about 5 years ago.

I use Inoreader now, but I do not spend nearly the amount of time reading through it that I did GR. I could spend hours a day browsing through articles and mulling the content. Now, I spend about the same amount of time on Twitter instead.

Some old GR posts.

Buh Bye Google+

After a security lapse with the now dashed hopes for a Facebook killer social media site in Google+, it is now going to be shut down for most users. They apparently want to keep it around as a competitor to Slack? LOLz.

Google says Google+ currently has “low usage and engagement” and that 90 percent of Google+ user sessions last less than five seconds. Still, the company plans to keep the service alive for enterprise customers who use it to facilitate conversation among co-workers. New features will be rolled out for that use case, the company says. Google is focusing on a “secure corporate social network,” which is odd considering this announcement comes alongside news that the company left profile details unprotected.

Funnily enough, this post is going to go to Google+. See, I have WordPress Sharing set to post to Google+. I rarely go to Google+ anymore, but I have two users who +1s my posts there. Go figure.

USB Drives to Move Election Malware

From “Can Georgia’s electronic voting machines be trusted?“:

Though voting machines aren’t directly connected to the internet, witnesses testified last week that USB drives are used to transfer election data from internet-connected computers to election servers.

So, computers that are connected to the Internet are used to move data to the election servers. Malware can be used to reach those computers. The theory here is the election servers by not being on the Internet are more secure because they are “air-gapped.” However, Stuxnet eight years ago taught us: Not as much as once thought.

Stuxnet was never intended to spread beyond the Iranian nuclear facility at Natanz. The facility was air-gapped and not connected to the internet. That meant that it had to be infected via USB sticks transported inside by intelligence agents or unwilling dupes, but also meant the infection should have been easy to contain.

USB drives are the prime vector to contaminate air-gapped computers. It sounds like the election officials are aware because they added this claim to the article:

Election officials say security precautions protect voting machines from tampering. For example, a USB drive is reformatted every time before it’s plugged into an election server.

I find it unlikely they download data onto a USB drive, delete that data by formatting the USB drive, and only then insert the blank USB drive into an election server. It would be easier just to not use a USB drive at all. They probably mean they format the USB drive while it is in the potentially infected Internet-connected computer, which would not prevent malware from inserting itself onto the USB drive at the time the GEMs data is copied onto the USB drive.


18th Anniversary of Blogging

Here is my first blog post from 18 years ago, which makes it as old as a legal adult. Wow…

Two Footballs

I got started at a place called Diaryland. A friend, Lacey, had started using it. Back in those days, I was up for trying pretty much anything geeky friends were doing. Blogging was a natural place for me to go.

Diaryland became Pitas and the site there was the first Rants, Raves, and Rhetoric. As other platforms became available, I tried them all:

My activity is far less now than it was back in 2000, but as I understand, most people active back then primarily post on Facebook or Twitter.


There are a handful of people who post interesting things, but I cannot stand the 99% of what they post. Is it worth the pain sifting through thousands of crap posts to reach the one gem?

I discovered that I have a strategy for this dilemma. Follow someone who reposts the interesting stuff. Let them do the hard work.

Skynet for school shooting prediction

This sounds likely to be fraught with false positives.

In particular, the language a student uses during an interview can help distinguish a high-risk teenager [shooter] from a low-risk one, according to previous research Barzman directed. That study concluded that the former was more likely to express negative feelings about himself and about the acts of others. He also was more likely to talk about violent acts involving himself and violent video games or movies.

My clique in high school were the metalheads, barely passing nerds, and social rejects. Self-deprecation was the basis of our humor. Violent video games or movies was the basis of our media consumption. The only one of us every accused of fighting was a case of mistaken identity as the first and last (not middle) names matched the very common actual guy of another race.

Artificial intelligence is the tool of choice for this kind of stuff. I hope the research is light years ahead of where this article describes it.

Why does Microsoft hate Edge?

I have the default browser set to Chrome in the Windows OS. So, when I click a link in Outlook, it opens in Chrome. So, any time an application opens Internet Explorer, it is obviously something weird.

Okay, confession time, it makes me wonder if I am computer illiterate every time IE opens.

Since Edge will be three years old this coming July, I kind of expected the switch by now. Why are Microsoft applications opening links in anything other than the default browser? And why are they picking IE instead of Edge?

I thought I would fix the issue by uninstalling IE. In Control Panel > Programs > Turn features on and off, one can choose whether IE is installed. Unfortunately, that seems to have broken the ability of programs to use the default browser. Reinstalling IE fixed that.

ISP Maybe Not Neutral

It looks like maybe my ISP is forging their Ookla speed test results. Whenever I use that speed test, I get the speed I paid for, but performance otherwise still seems slow. Whenever I use other speed tests, I get results that are a quarter to a twentieth as fast.

The tests were not concurrently run. They were sequentially back and forth several times for consistent results. I’d need a lot more data to say one way or the other. I have not gotten to the point of running a thousand automated tests on every tester I can find.

Both consistently slow or intermittently slow Internet speeds might explain the issues streaming Hulu and Netflix. If it was intermittent, then in testing the speed the service might decide high speed means give me HD quality, but then a slow down causes it to start buffering and before it downgrades the fast speed is back.