Podcast - This Is Only a Test

Episode 393 – Engage VPN – 3/31/17

Patrick Norton joins us this week on This is Only a Test to talk about internet privacy, testing AMD’s Ryzen CPUs, Samsung’s Galaxy S8, and more! Plus, Jeremy watches Hamilton and we wonder if StarCraft needs an HD remake.

Comments (14)

14 thoughts on “Episode 393 – Engage VPN – 3/31/17

  1. The part that annoys me about targeted advertising is the ads for things I looked for, and then bought. I don’t need ads for that Blu-Ray Disk anymore, because I bought it! But the ads keep coming. It seems like a wasted effort to me.

  2. Jerem’y comment got me thinking… i have often wondered what is the relationship between math and games? So many game puzzles are like mathematics, symbolic manipulation and puzzles. So many of the same mental patterns seem to be involved. I wonder if there is some way to combine mathematics and games even more but I just feel like I haven’t stumbled on that particular corner of the internet yet.

    There are things that feel close, like dwitter.net or desmos.com . . . i dont meant necessarily something like Math Blaster… i mean something like… where you have to crawl around on the Mandelbrot Set in order to somehow open a door to another dimension or something… Will used to link to this game called Miegakure which is based on 4 dimensional geometry… i dont know… i feel like someone must surely be working on this but i just havent heard of it.

  3. Agree. Machine learning routines cannot differientiate from one time/infrequent purchases to routine ones unless this is specified by the programmer. Bad programmers, bad analytics.

    Google analytics incorrectly specifies my sex and age group due, in part, to the topics that I put in their search engine. I guess that girls are not suppose to care about math (like dynamic programming). I am impressed because I expect that they have better than average programmers.

    Anytime I fill in a form that asks for age/dob and sex and it is not for a legal document, I do the coin toss and put in anything. This means that I get birthday greetings all year round.

    I do not have VPN but have been shopping around. Patrick Norton has passed along some good recommendations (so nice to see him back on tested). Krebs on security and EFF (please give them support) are excellent sources.

    Google will get seriously p%$$ed off with inserted search results, I am going to guess that this will not last long. I am checking out VPN because I search for my work and I cannot rely on bias searches.

  4. as for 3d in the cinema: i’m with you that it’s often the only option, not necessarily the preferred one. when this started, i was looking forward to 3d being used akin to the positioning of an actor on a stage. but we’re now years into this and it’s still just a tacked-on gimmick in 98.5% of cases. which i find a bit sad – there should be more in that tech than the jumpy-outy attention-grabbing thing. it’s a bit like realising film’s potential for suspense and horror, and all you get is jump scares.

    re windows/maximising/high res monitors: this sounds like y’all need to look into tiling window managers. 😉

  5. Good question. I don’t. Any suggestions? Comparing search results between google and duckduckgo ? Switching to duckduckgo is another option.

    Is there a set of searches that detect searchbubbling?

    I purchased and installed a VPN for all equipment. It was one of the companies suggested by Patrick Norton. I am avoiding housework right now so I can play with it.

  6. sadly, i don’t know much about the nitty-gritty, only that those bubbles exist and may interfere with getting the results we want. the common story is getting more right- or left-leaning sources in one’s results, but i doubt that’s good enough for a test. similarly, google and ddg may offer dissimilar results just on account of their source material (google’s own webcrawler vs. ddg’s aggregation from bing, yandex, their own webcrawler, etc.), not necessarily only by how much your results get filtered.

    for what it’s worth, i’ve been using duckduckgo exclusively for a few years and have not noticed any adverse effects on the quality of my search results. i remember there being scroogle for anonymised google searches, but they shut down in 2012. wiki says there are browser extensions designed to circumvent/pre-empt being bubbled (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filter_bubble#Counter_Measures), so between these and alternative search providers like ddg and ixquick, there should be ways around the problem.

    hell, if it’s a central part of what you do, it might even be worth writing a small webapp that shows you search results from different providers in columns next to each other. that wouldn’t require any fancy code, but might prove insightful.

  7. Cancelled my premium account. If they can’t be bothered to add proper shownotes and links, why bother paying.

  8. The shownotes are usually here:

    http://bit.ly/TiOaTShownotes

    But Kishore maintains them, and since he’s been off duty for the past two weeks, those two shows are missing. If you want shownotes and Kishore is in the wind, why not remind Norm to put them up.

  9. Guys – you missed your chance to connect the dots. You spend time talking about how ISPs have the power to actually manipulate data you’re accessing, even in real time, without you being aware, and then you have a whole discussion on education and memorization and talk about how some folks today don’t believe memorization is important because all of that info is so easily available.

    Aside from the mental and educational value of memorization (and I not only advocate memorizing for education, I advocate it for everyday life – memorize speeches from Shakespeare, poems, dates . . .etc.), there is great importance in having your own bank of reference knowledge by which you can interact with the world. If kids are being trained to be blank slates and to “always trust what Google tells you” – where’s the check against manipulation? If someone decides that Mark Twain’s “Huckleberry Finn” is offensive and rewrites the digital copy on your kindle and on Google books, how does a “blank slate” even know what’s changed? And I’ve had Amazon actually make after-the-fact changes to music albums I’ve digitally purchased from them.

    “Blank slate” education (much like Musk’s idea of “augmenting” humans) places a HUGE amount of trust in corporations and companies and the money-grubbing soulless cretins that run them. How can you on the one hand get irritated with losing net neutrality and the Congressional bill allowing ISPs to sell your data and NOT also see the inherent dangers in “blank slate” education and trusting Musk or Google or whomever to store your memories or even augment your mind? Hell, half of Google’s answers come from Wikipedia which is NOT a reliable source.

  10. Jeremy was right in thinking that modern GPUs can render H264 video, they have dedicated silicon for it, but the problem is it’s just not very good.

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