We have Amazon Echos in most rooms of our house. They do indeed get confused and wake up at sounds that are not their wake word some times. Usually, it's either slightly annoying or slightly funny. When I first started reading this article, I wondered why people who were worried about being overheard didn't just turn off the microphones for privacy, or if they didn't trust the manufacturer, unplug the devices as desired. Or go all the way and just not have any smart assistants in their home. Then it hit me, I guess I'm a little slow tonight, that people are worried about privacy when they aren't in their own house. The part about replacing Welcome mats with Warning mats sort of clued me in. To be fair to myself, every other article I've read about privacy and smart speakers revolved around being spied on in your own home.
I don't often say anything that could cause more than slight embarrassment if it was to be printed on the front page of the local paper, but you'd better believe that, even without smart speakers, I'd be very careful where and when I said things more secret, or possibly dangerous, than that.
In a case like that, I would not trust the Bracelet of Silence. If there's enough at stake to have one, having one is not enough.
In the end, though, this becomes less of a concern about Alexa and her friends, and more about the expectations of privacy that we, as a society, can expect to have now, and in the future. I think that the days we can expect to go through public life anonymously are over. Nothing is going to bring that back. These gadgets are cool, but they are only a partial and temporary solution to a problem, that someday might not be seen as a problem anymore when all illusions of public privacy have been stripped away for years. Although I do not look forward to such a day, it is coming.
Which brings us back to the home. Can we hope for privacy in our own homes for the indefinite future? I certainly hope so. I may not need it, but it seems that it should be expected to have such privacy even if it means turning off the microphones in your devices when desired or simply not having devices with microphones in your house in the first place.
I don't see the day coming, at least not soon, when people will be compelled to have always-on microphones in their house for government ( or corporate) surveillance. I hope.
Not surprising. I've never read the book, so I don't know exactly how "wooden", or,of course, how factual the prose is, but I'd give him some slack, I think it's his thoughts about America and society that are the points of the book. Some day I'll have to read the book and see if I still feel that way, I might not.
Counterfeit chargers and other inexpensive consumer items, especially those powered by your wall outlets, are scary. If you don't feel like sleeping for a while, look up bigclive.com on YouTube. Among other things, he posts videos where he tears down and analyzes the safety of such products. The bad design and corner-cutting on these products can be downright deadly, and he documents this.
Fakes are not limited to consumer products. The actual components used to make products, including the components bought in good faith by legitimate manufacturers are often counterfeited. Integrated circuits, i.e. chips or ICs, which make up most electronic products are often fake. Some don't work at all, but those are the best case, at least the manufacturer knows it when that happens. Some work sorta OK, but fail under some circumstances making the product fail in interesting ways. These parts have totally infiltrated the supply chain, a huge international company can buy parts from a huge international component supplier and get fake parts that the seller didn't even know about. Sort of like a consumer buying from eBay or Amazon, but these are parts going into legitimate products, causing problems down the line. Hobbyists (such as myself) or small electronic manufacturers are take a real risk when they buy electronic components online, even from legitimate retailers, and especially from eBay etc. One of the techniques used by IC counterfitters is to take a part that looks like the more expensive part, sand off the markings, then re-mark it as a more expensive item. Another method is to steal legitimate parts that failed quality control at the factory, and sell them as good parts. these often sort of work but fail when they get hot, or cold, or when they encounter some other situation that a good part could handle.
Not quite fake, but a few months ago my wife and I bought two laptops from the same ad on Amazon. We ordered the same item in two different colors, but we wound up with two totally different products. Both are Dell laptops which work well, but mine is the model we ordered and hers isn't They both work well, and have very similar specs, but they look totally different and are one model year apart. Hers is the newer one. Go figure.
Philo Farnsworth, who invented the type of reactor described in this article, is a very interesting person. He was a prolific inventor and businessman, but he gets little recognition today, much like Tesla was ignored for years before his recent "rediscovery." Well worth looking him up.
This is not the first time I've seen the idea to power a vehicle via a flywheel. The first time I saw it was in a popular-mechanics type magazine back in the '70s, where they proposed a glass fiber flywheel turning at some insane speed to power a car. That never got off the ground either.
I have seen, in magazines, the Internet, and textbooks, systems that used flywheels to power a building for a few seconds until a backup generator could kick in.
I'm with the guy in the comments who said that, "For my entire life fusion power has always been a decade or two away." He got ripped later in the comments since improvements in technology are not linear with respect to time, but the basic feeling of what he said hits home. We've got to keep trying though.
I do not trust systems like this and I'd trust a fully self-driving car even less. I see fewer and fewer claims of self-driving cars being just around the corner, perhaps manufacturers are realizing what the consequences are.
My daughter, who is blind, is really rooting for self-driving cars, but I'd prefer she stick to Uber than use any recently developed self-driving car.
In my comment on the last article I posted, I mentioned Ken thompson's article about having to trust your computing environment right down to the level of the hardware manufacturer itself.
Then I ran across an article with information about US laws requiring "secret" backdoor access to your information by law-enforcement agencies. Access that was likely abused by the maker of hardware for their own governments's spying efforts. Don't trust any entity if it's really important.
Fortunately, what most of us do is not that private.
Another case where claims of security intersected with organizations stealing private information.
The article says that Jumpshot was disbanded last month, but when I downloaded Avast for the PC about 10 days ago, after reading about the security issues, the installation dialogs mentioned Jumpshot, albeit very explicitly, not hidden in legalize. Needless to say, I didn't install it on any important computer.
Many years ago, in 984, Ken Thompson wrote "Reflections on Trusting Trust" which discussed how one could never totally trust the security of software that was not written by oneself on a computer built by oneself using a tool chain built by oneself. You just can't be sure.
As well as this providing valuable insight into how ordinary people thought over 200 years ago, this triggered another thought, but not an original one.
Someone found Tomlinson's diary and read it. I have a diary, as well as other pieces I have written over the years They are all in digital form. Will they even exist in 200 years? There are so many more ways to lose digital information than there are ways to lose a physical object such as a book. If they are still in existence at that point in time, will anyone be able to read them? It's a major project, worthy of some articles I've read, just to read digital information from media recorded as recently as 35 years ago. Will it be practical, or even possible, after so many years? This is definitely not an original thought either, many are worried about this. But, other than the Internet Archive, are any groups trying to do anything about this? It would be nice for there to be an archive where documents of any sort could be submitted for archiving. It would be prohibitively expensive to do even close to exhaustively, and who would judge what documents were worthy of inclusion? In 1810, who would have thought that a farmer's diary would be an important document in 200 years, but here we are.
This is very concerning. The carrington event was not mentioned in this article, but I'm not sure why. It was in 1859, before the mentioned records were kept, but still, a mention would be expected due to the havoc it wreaked on the early telegraph systems.
I get this article, but it doesn't really apply to me anymore When I worked in an office, days meant something. Monday and Friday obviously. But now that I'm retired and work a retail job,days have lost their meaning. I can work any day of the week and the days I work change from week to week. some weeks I work all weekend Other weeks I don't. I never know more than a few days ahead when I'll work. It's Very disrupting, and with the changing economy and employment realities, more and more people are in this situation.