Yes - totally agree with this.
The Hurricane by Hugh Howey
Affecting story of a boy (and family) who are forced to disconnect thanks to a category five storm. First non sci-fi Howey that I've read and it's one of his best.
The Elephant in the Room by Jon Ronson
Jon Ronson visits with the Alt Right. It's good but not a revelation.
Overcomplicated: Technology at the Limits of Comprehension by Samuel Arbesman
Everything is getting more complicated. This book suggests we abandon the physics based approach of trying to understand systems in a reductionist way and switch to biological thinking - sample, study the ecology, embrace a glimpse of understanding and forget knowing everything. Gulp.
We can’t trust manufactures to build secure connected devices and so routers need to be updated to solve this problem once per network.
The distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack on Friday, October 21 was apparently caused by dodgy webcams. But next time it will be Nest or Alexa or Hue - not picking on Google, Amazon or Philips specifically here, those just happen to be the IOT devices currently plugged into my home network. My washing machine and drier would be as well but fortunately LG’s dismal app has saved me from myself by not working for toffee. Oh, I have some DropCams too. And my car is connected. The next attack will probably just come from me.
My fix: update routers to sandbox these devices. A Nest thermostat can only talk to nest.com. If it wants to DDOS Reddit too bad, no connection allowed no matter how badly the device is compromised.
When a new device is connected the router looks it up (MAC address registry?) and then puts it in the appropriate sandbox.
If Nest needs to connect to weather.gov to check the forecast then Google would need to proxy this via nest.com. If the device goes bad it’s only got one domain to attack (so there’s a pretty good incentive for the manufacturer to make sure it doesn’t).
The only downside is new routers or new router firmware. Given the current state of IOT I’d buy one.
As usual if any of my billionaire investor readers are interested get in touch.
As much as I’m looking forward to Daydream VR and trying to train my Google Assistant to swear there is one big problem left with Android that Mountain View should tackle first.
Where the fuck did my icon go Android?
Every so often when I update apps an icon is missing from my home screen. It’s one of sixteen apps that I use frequently enough to have pinned there but I can’t remember what it was until my muscle memory sends my finger flying to the empty square an hour or day later. Until then I’m distracted and can’t focus and scroll helplessly through the recently updated list in Google Play trying to figure out which of the updates is the culprit.
It’s not the first time I’ve been through this so I took a screenshot of my home screen just so I could not go through this again. But Google Photos backed it up and deleted it to save space so it’s somewhere in Drive that I can’t find doing me no good at all. When I figure this out I’m going to borrow my daughter’s instax and keep a hard copy in my wallet.
Google booking me a restaurant and a babysitter at a whim won’t save the time I lose to hunting down missing apps.
It might be fixed in Nougat but I can’t update for an unknown number of months because of device/carrier/manufacturer fragmentation so that’s still Google’s fault.
I have been a HTC loyalist so maybe it’s Sense and not Android in which case sorry Google, I should get mad at HTC instead.
I’m pretty sure it was Goodreads.
This blog has never endorsed a presidential candidate before. This isn't due to hundreds of years of editorial balance, it's because I only became a US Citizen in 2010. I became rapidly disillusioned with Obama (I voted Green in 2012). I'd prefer to have seen a candidate further to the left this time. But it's clear that there is only one way to vote this November and Hillary will have my wholehearted support.
To my Republican friends: Hillary is not going to repeal the 2nd amendment (as much as I'd like to see this happen). She's a moderate and you'll hate some of what she does but America will still be standing in four or eight years and you'll get your chance again. In your heart of hearts you know that Trump would be a disaster for the country and the world. Concede this one graciously and ease off with the desperate hateful last ditch attempt to smear Hillary with a perverted reflection of your candidate's reality.
Democrats: Please vote. I know that a Trump victory is looking increasingly remote but it's really important that Hillary wins the popular vote as well as the electoral college. So no fooling around with Stein or Johnson even if you're in a safe state. Illinois, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Nevada, New Hampshire, Indiana and North Carolina, a flip in the Senate would be great as well. I'd love Hillary to both win and be able to get something done as well.
The voter guide for November 2016 reminds me of The Cat in the Hat Comes Back. You've got propositions A, B and C, D, E and F, G, H and I, J, K and L, M, N and O, P, Q and R, S, T and U, V, W and X. Y is missing and so is the microscopic and invisible little proposition Z. We do get an RR for BART though.
Also missing is the Voom, the magic powder that makes all the mess go away. Really this slate of city propositions is the government failing to do it's job and punting to the voters. I'm tempted to send the Board of Supervisors a week of my work to handle while I struggle through theirs. Maybe the supervisors should be limited to whatever they feel the most important one is?
As much as I hate it I have to do the best job I can. This is shorter than my state guide because after slogging through that I'm losing my will to live. Here goes:
Proposition A: San Francisco Unified School District Bond Issue
Yes. Necessary funds to fix and build schools.
Proposition B: San Francisco Community College
Yes. We need to continue to resuscitate City College.
Proposition C: San Francisco Affordable Housing Bond Issue
Yes. Repurposes unspent seismic upgrade bonds to housing.
Proposition D: San Francisco Vacancy Appointments
No. This one is just weird - someone appointed to a vacant supervisor spot can’t then run for election? Makes no sense.
Proposition E: San Francisco City Responsibility for Street Trees and Sidewalks Amendment
No. Ring fences money for tree maintenance. This was shifted to property owners and should probably stay there. I’m also generally opposed to untouchable money in the city budget.
Proposition F: San Francisco Youth Voting in Local Elections
No. Students shouldn’t be voting for the school board.
Proposition G: San Francisco Police Oversight Amendment
Yes. SFPD clearly needs more supervision.
Proposition H: San Francisco Establishment of a Public Advocate Office Amendment
No. We don’t need to pay for someone to write reports. Seems like a recipe for pointless infighting. If we get fed up with the Mayor we can elect a new one.
Proposition I: San Francisco Funding for Seniors and Adults with Disabilities Amendment
No. Should be funded by the city without needing any special ring fencing. I don’t want to be involved in setting the right level.
Proposition J: San Francisco Homeless Services and Transportation Funds Amendment
Yes. Spends the money from Prop K on transportation and homelessness.
Proposition K: San Francisco Sales Tax Increase
Yes. I don’t love it because it’s regressive but it’s a small increase for a couple of good causes (see K above).
Proposition L: San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Governance Amendment
No. Leave the Mayor in charge of the MUNI board.
Proposition M: San Francisco Housing and Development Commission Establishment Amendment
No. Doesn’t need a new body of politicians.
Proposition N: San Francisco Non-Citizen Voting in School Board Elections
No. Only citizens should get to vote.
Proposition O: San Francisco Office Development in Candlestick Point and Hunters Point
Yes. Allows more office space to be created in a much needed development project.
Proposition P: San Francisco Minimum Three-Proposal Requirement for Affordable Housing Projects on City Property
No. Makes it harder to get projects going. Most projects have multiple bidders already.
Proposition Q: San Francisco Prohibiting Tents on Public Sidewalks
No. Focus on more shelter space instead. Speeding up the process of kicking people into non-existent services isn’t helping anyone.
Proposition R: San Francisco Neighborhood Crime Unit Creation
No. Not that I’m a fan of graffiti or other neighborhood blight but forcing SFPD to allocate offices to it full time means that more serious crime might not get the attention it needs.
Proposition S: San Francisco Allocation of Hotel Tax Funds
No. The money should continue to go to the general fund and not be locked down for a specific purpose.
Proposition T: San Francisco Restricting Gifts and Campaign Contributions from Lobbyists
Yes. More constraints and time in the sunshine for lobbyists.
Proposition U: San Francisco Income Qualifications for Affordable Housing
No. Not enough to go around as it is so it doesn’t make sense to make it easier to apply for.
Proposition V: San Francisco Soda and Sugary Beverages Tax
No. Regressive and of dubious value. And I only just voted on this in 2014.
Proposition W: San Francisco Real Estate Transfer Tax
No. This tax is already higher than other bay area cities and the funds raised would be ring fenced.
Proposition X: San Francisco Replacement Space Requirement for Development Projects
No. Should be part of the regular planning process and not a proposition.
Measure RR: San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District
Yes. BART desperately needs the upgrades.
Stopping Trump is the easy part. We have seventeen statewide propositions to decide this year (and 25 city and district measures in San Francisco). Here is my guide to the California propositions:
51 School Bonds. Funding for K-12 School and Community College Facilities. Initiative Statute.
Yes. This is around $1,125 per student to help fix up run down schools. Pretty modest impact on the state budget.
52 Medi-Cal Hospital Fee Program. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute.
Yes. Ensures that California continues to get four billion dollars in Federal matching funds for Medicaid.
53 Revenue Bonds. Statewide Voter Approval. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.
No. I’d like to see fewer propositions on the ballot. This is asking for a referendum on every medium to large project. What a nightmare. I want to elect representatives to handle this for me and then vote them out if they seem to be making a mess of it.
54 Legislature. Legislation and Proceedings. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute.
Yes. Would require advance notice of legislation and also preserve video of proceedings for twenty years. Might stop some bad bills from getting through and will certainly provide many hours of footage to the Daily Show.
55 Tax Extension to Fund Education and Healthcare. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.
Yes. I grudgingly supported Prop 30 back in 2012. I actually preferred Prop 38 back then which seemed more balanced across income brackets and I hated the regressive sales tax component. This extension keeps the tax on the wealthy while allowing the sales tax to expire.
56 Cigarette Tax to Fund Healthcare, Tobacco Use Prevention, Research, and Law Enforcement. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute.
Yes. About time California taxed tobacco more. I’d rather see the funds raised be unrestricted but this is a good cause.
57 Criminal Sentences. Parole. Juvenile Criminal Proceedings and Sentencing. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute
Yes. Stops throwing away the key on some prisoners who could be rehabilitated. Our prison population is ridiculous. Also makes it harder to send kids to adult court.
58 English Proficiency. Multilingual Education. Initiative Statute.
Yes. Makes it easier for schools to establish bilingual education programs.
59 Corporations. Political Spending. Federal Constitutional Protections. Legislative Advisory Question.
Yes. Corporations are not people. This proposition will do close to nothing to reverse that Supreme Court decision but it doesn’t hurt to complain about it.
60 Adult Films. Condoms. Health Requirements. Initiative Statute.
Abstain. Don’t really know or care.
61 State Prescription Drug Purchases. Pricing Standards. Initiative Statute.
Yes. It’s a tough one because there is risk that VA pricing would increase and some drugs may not be available at the discounted rate. But if that happens the answer is going to be more draconian action against the drug makers not less. The current system where Medicare is banned from negotiating prices while bad actors send costs into the stratosphere has to end. Also, they’re spending $100M to defeat this which makes me inclined to see it as a great idea.
62 Death Penalty. Initiative Statute.
Yes. I disagree with the death penalty for a bunch of reasons. Primarily that the state should only use violence in life or death situations and should not have the power to kill in cold blood. The risk that we execute the wrong person is too high. Practically the cost and complexity is a waste of time. Life without the possibility of parole should be the ultimate sanction (and can be reversed in the event of a miscarriage of justice.
63 Firearms. Ammunition Sales. Initiative Statute.
Yes. The only thing that can stop a bad toddler with a gun is a good parent with no ammunition. More seriously this solidifies a ban on large capacity magazines and remove more guns from more bad guys. All for it.
64 Marijuana Legalization. Initiative Statute.
Yes. Make it legal and tax it already. I’d do the same for all drugs. See also #57. We could have more tax revenue and fewer people in jail.
65 Carry-Out Bags. Charges. Initiative Statute.
No, see #67.
66 Death Penalty. Procedures. Initiative Statute.
No, see #62.
67 Ban on Single-Use Plastic Bags. Referendum.
Yes. Banning plastic bags has been a big success in San Francisco. Reusable bags are way more popular. This is an attempt by the disposable bag industry to fight back. Brace yourselves - other wasteful disposables must be next. Yes on 67 and no on 65.