Blog Index for March 2018

Yesterday: Visit website; Today: ads for that site following me around the web; PRIVACY VIOLATION

(March 30, 2018)

A meme going around says -- "I spoke aloud yesterday about cialis, and now my Facebook feed is full of ads about Cialis". The reality isn't quite that bad, but yesterday I opened the TransferWise website for one page view, and now Facebook is showing me a TransferWise advertisement. How did Facebook know I visited that website? how did TransferWise know to put advertising in front of me? Isn't this a privacy violation?

NVIDIA Boosts World’s Leading Deep Learning Computing Platform, Bringing 10x Performance Gain in Six Months

(March 29, 2018)

NVIDIA is upping their game with GPU's meant for "machine learning" computational workloads. Such systems are installed in cloud server facilities to assist with Machine Learning computations. What NVIDIA is doing is to pivot their expertise in graphics processors into supplying high performance numerical calculation engines. These systems pack 2 petaflops of computation ability into a relatively small box, that also contains some conventional CPU's and a massive amount of SSD-based storage. The need being fulfilled is the massive computation required to implement artificial intelligence algorithms.

NVIDIA claims the improvement rate for this product line is faster than Moores Law - meaning that system capabilities are doubling faster than every 18 months - meaning that a revolution is underway in areas requiring this sort of massive computation capability.

Emma Gonzalez did not rip the constitution, another victim of doctored truth

(March 26, 2018)

A couple weeks ago yet another mass shooting at an American school left yet another student body shell shocked and traumatized because of a gunman committing random violence. What's different this time is the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are speaking up, and are working to organize a movement for social change. Obviously there are now tens of thousands of school kids who've directly experienced this gun violence, and millions of others living in fear. However doctored images have begun showing up with a manufactured reality - instead of showing Gonzalez ripping up a shooting target, it shows her ripping up the US Constitution. It's false, it's bogus, and that's what we call social media manipulation or social media warfare.

What did computers use before the Windows operating system was invented?

(March 24, 2018)

Microsoft's Windows operating system family seems ubiquitous today, but that wasn't always the case. Windows was introduced in the 1980's, and computers of various kind date back to the 1950's. That means a whole lot of computer history predated Windows.

Was the Windows operating system ever reverse engineered?

(March 22, 2018)

Microsoft's Windows operating system family is an egregious example of closed source operating systems and the risk to consumers from overly-controlling manufacturers. Many of us worry what Microsoft does with information collected from its customers, and chafe at the lack of control we have over our computers. But the popularity of Windows means there's lots of enticing software and a large number of folks comfortable in that environment. As they might wish for an open alternative, with a strong NO SPYWARE guarantee, they want a thing which behaves like Windows. Getting there means undertaking an effort to reverse engineer a Windows implementation in the open source world.

The modular DIY cell phone you can upgrade yourself

(March 8, 2018)

Most cell phones are built to prohibit repairs or upgrades by the owner. Instead the manufacturers seem to want to force us into buying new phones every two years. The Fairphone is different, using a modular design it can be completely disassembled, and parts can be easily swapped out or even upgraded.

YouTube video recommendation algorithm reportedly preferences conspiracy videos

(March 5, 2018)

A cool thing about YouTube is as you browse the site, it recommends videos based on your viewing history. YouTube's engineers have carefully tuned artificial intelligence algorithms to keep track of your viewing history, and recommend more of the same to you. Simply browse the YouTube home page and this is obvious, as the selections will match what you've recently watched. YouTube does this to increase viewing time on the site, and success at matching recommendations to a viewers history directly impacts Google's revenue. But does the algorithm skew its results in order to increase viewing time?

Quick review of ReactOS, a Windows alternative with blast-from-the-past user experience

(March 3, 2018)

Your search for an open privacy-intrusion-free method of running Windows software may, one day, be satisfied by ReactOS. This Windows-like operating system looks and feels like OLD SCHOOL WINDOWS, and you can (in some cases) install regular Windows applications and use them directly. ReactOS is a completely free open source operating system that's an interesting experiment, but clearly not ready for prime time.