Links December 2020

Business Insider has an informative article about the way that Google users can get locked out with no apparent reason and no recourse [1]. Something to share with clients when they consider putting everything in “the cloud”.

Vice has an interestoing article about people jailbreaking used Teslas after Tesla has stolen software licenses that were bought with the car [2].

The Atlantic has an interesting article titled This Article Won’t Change Your Mind [3]. It’s one of many on the topic of echo chambers but has some interesting points that others don’t seem to cover, such as regarding the benefits of groups when not everyone agrees. has lots of useful information about global inequality [4].

Jeffrey Goldberg has an insightful interview with Barack Obama for the Atlantic about the future course of American politics and a retrospective on his term in office [5].

A Game Designer’s Analysis Of QAnon is an insightful Medium article comparing QAnon to an augmented reality game [6]. This is one of the best analysis of QAnon operations that I’ve seen.

Decrypting Rita is one of the most interesting web comics I’ve read [7]. It makes good use of side scrolling and different layers to tell multiple stories at once.

PC Mag has an article about the new features in Chrome 87 to reduce CPU use [8]. On my laptop I have 1/3 of all CPU time being used when it is idle, the majority of which is from Chrome. As the CPU has 2 cores this means the equivalent of 1 core running about 66% of the time just for background tabs. I have over 100 tabs open which I admit is a lot. But it means that the active tabs (as opposed to the plain HTML or PDF ones) are averaging more than 1% CPU time on an i7 which seems obviously unreasonable. So Chrome 87 doesn’t seem to live up to Google’s claims.

The movie Bad President starring Stormy Daniels as herself is out [9]. Poe’s Law is passe.

Interesting summary of Parler, seems that it was designed by the Russians [10].

Wired has an interesting article about Indistinguishability Obfuscation, how to encrypt the operation of a program [11].

Joerg Jaspert wrote an interesting blog post about the difficulties packagine Rust and Go for Debian [12]. I think that the problem is many modern languages aren’t designed well for library updates. This isn’t just a problem for Debian, it’s a problem for any long term support of software that doesn’t involve transferring a complete archive of everything and it’s a problem for any disconnected development (remote sites and sites dealing with serious security. Having an automatic system for downloading libraries is fine. But there should be an easy way of getting the same source via an archive format (zip will do as any archive can be converted to any other easily enough) and with version numbers.

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