• 24 Posts
  • 950 Comments
Joined 3 years ago
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Cake day: January 21st, 2021

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  • This is a great point, but it probably doesn’t do the job as well as more modern alternatives.

    1. Easy to lose, possible data leak concerns.
    2. Easy to retain data that should have been deleted.
    3. Easy to lose data if a disk gets lost or damaged.
    4. Likely wastes time when trying to track down the disk you need to getting someone to transfer it.
    5. Lack of access logs and auditing capabilities.
    6. Easy way for viruses to spread.

    Modern IT managed file servers solve a lot of real problems when well-managed.



  • There are a few reasons. Some of them are in the users’ interest. Lots of people phrase their search like a question. “How do I turn off the wifi on my blue windows 11 laptop?”

    While ignoring stopwords like “the” and “a” has been common for a while there is lots of info here that the user probably doesn’t actually care about. “my” is probably not helping the search, “how” may not either. Also in this case “blue” is almost certainly irrelevant. So by allowing near matches search engines can get the most helpful articles even if they don’t contain all of the words.

    Secondly search engines often allow stemming and synonym matching. This isn’t really ignoring words but can give the appearance of doing so. For example maybe “windows” gets stemmed to “window” and “laptop” is allowed to match with “notebook”. You may get an article that is talking about a window of opportunity and writing in notebooks and it seems like these words have been ignored. This is generally helpful as often the best result won’t have used the exact same words that you did in the query.

    Of course then there are the more negative reasons.

    1. Someone decided that you can’t buy anything if your product search returns no results. So they decided that they will show the “closest matches” even if nothing is anywhere close. This is infuriating and I have stopped using many sites because of it.
    2. If you need to make more searches or view more pages you also see more ads.

  • There are some password managers where you need to either manually look up passwords and copy+paste or autotype them or select the correct password from a dropdown. Some of these will come with an optional browser extension which mitigates this but some don’t really tract domain metadata in a concrete way to do this linking.

    Some examples would be Pass which doesn’t have any standard metadata for domain/URL info (although some informal schemes are used by various tools including browser-integration extensions) and KeePass which has the metadata but doesn’t come with a browser extension by default.





  • Tips for being secure online:

    1. Use your browser’s password manager to generate random passwords.
    2. In the rare case you need to manually enter your password into a site or app be very suspicious and very careful.
    3. Never give personal information to someone who calls or emails you. If necessary look up the contact info of who called you yourself and call them back before divulging and details. Keep in mind that Caller ID and the From address of emails can be faked.
    4. Update software regularly. Security problems are regularly fixed.

    That’s really all you need. You don’t even need 2FA, it is nice extra security but if you use random passwords and don’t enter your passwords into phishing sites it is largely unnecessary.


  • I’m not an expert on modern alarm systems but it seems that it is very common and fairly inexpensive to have cellular data backup. Not every system has it, but many do. In that case cutting the main connection will likely result in someone appearing on site fairly quickly.

    Many cameras also have some form of local buffering. So even if you are gone before someone does show up you still may find yourself recorded.

    But at the end of the day just put a bag over your head and you can be gone by the time anyone shows up without leaving a meaningful trace. Other than the very top-end system security systems just keep the honest people honest.




  • Yeah, I made the mistake of trying to ride the shuttle from Bloor–Yonge to Spadina. Bloor was under construction so the bus took a crazy long loop. Seemingly getting lost. Then after stopping a while at Dupont station they just announced that it was the last stop. On a bus labelled with route 1! It would have been way faster to walk, which I would have done if I had known that it was going to be absurdly slow and drop me off at the wrong station in the end.

    I do love the TTC but sometimes things go very wrong. I actually filed a feedback report that if the shuttle isn’t going to follow the route it should have a different route number or some sort of warning before you board. They responded and said something like “sometimes buses take different routes”.







  • It is true, don’t do it.

    Even at huge companies like Google, lots of stuff was keyed on your email address. This was a huge problem so Google employees were not allowed to change their email for the longest time. Eventually they opened it up by request but they made it very clear that you would run into problems. So many systems and services would break. Over time I think most external services are pretty robust now, but lots of internal systems still use emails (or the username part of it) and have issues.

    IIUC Google accounts now use a random number as the key. But there are still places where the email is in use, slowly being fixed at massive cost.



  • Prom is fun. You get to hang out with all of your classmates, ask someone out. A subset of people are always going to go overboard, but keep in mind that you don’t see the “normal” cases. Most people just walk up to someone and ask them out. They find a date from the school or go alone.

    I’m from Canada so I don’t know if the US is wildly different, but here it is a bit of a big deal, but I think part of that is what makes it fun, you sort of build a bit of hype around what would otherwise be just another school dance.