You know when grown-ups tell you everything's going to be fine, and you think they're probably lying to make you feel better? Yes. Everything's going to be fine.
Wednesday, August 30
This Week In Australian Politics
About a month ago, I noted that two Australian politicians had been found after years in parliament to have never been eligible for election because our constitution forbids anyone holding dual citizenship with another country from becoming a federal representative or senator.
The number is now seven confirmed instances and at least another eight possible cases - including the Deputy Prime Minister and the Senate opposition leader. Labor (the opposition party right now) are sitting on documentation of citizenship status after originally promising to release it, so there are almost certainly more shoes set to drop in coming weeks.
All of which means, basically, nothing, because no-one cares about Australian politics, least of all Australians.
Heck, if we can't stop ineligible people from holding Federal office here in the US, what hope do you have?
What, I was talking about Hillary Clinton's tenure as Secretary of State, which was clearly unconstitutional.
Posted by: Rick C at Wednesday, August 30 2017 11:56 PM (ECH2/)
Can you imagine the fuss if someone read over the US Constitution and realised that Mike Pence, Chuck Schumer, and a dozen other senior elected officials were all ineligible for their positions?
Here it's just... Meh.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at Thursday, August 31 2017 01:28 AM (PiXy!)
Is there a punishment for this? Is there a way to actually remove them from office, or prevent them from running in the next election?
Posted by: Rick C at Thursday, August 31 2017 05:45 AM (ECH2/)
It's gone to the High Court (equivalent of the Supreme Court). The statutory remedy is removal from office and a fine of £100. Which shows how little attention has been paid to this rule, as Australia has been on decimal currency since 1966.
Many of those involved were born in Australia, but have dual citizenship according to the laws of another country - which may not even have a procedure for renouncing citizenship.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at Thursday, August 31 2017 12:19 PM (PiXy!)
The one overriding rule is this: If you are going to make a comedic animated buddy copy movie for children starring anthropomorphic talking animals, first and foremost it must be a good buddy cop movie.
I hadn't seen it before because I believed the hype to be overblown. Maybe the hype was overblown, but it's still a damn good film. Recommended.
Call for Mr Betteridge. Mr Betteridge to the courtesy phone please.
Unless you've been sleeping peacefully under a rock for the past week - in which case, congratulations - you'll be aware that Google fired an employee. With over 70,000 employees under the Alphabet umbrella, this is something that must happen every day of the year, but in this case it was handled so ineptly that the resulting chaos resembled a bored teenager setting off a cherry bomb in a nest of crazy ants.
What happened was this: James Damore, a biologist working for Google in some unspecified capacity, disagreed with Google's methods for meeting its diversity quotas and wrote a memo suggesting adjustments to the company's approach. Damore, being a nerd, evidently forgot that if Rule 1 of Corporate America is CYA, Rule 1a is Don't rock the boat.
The usual suspects leaked this internal memo to the ever-hungry outrage mobs and the mainstream media - if there is any distinction these days - and the relatively dull memo was immediately spun into a latter-day Mein Kampf. Within a day, the CEO of Google publicly announced the firing of the suddenly inconvenient Damore.
When the CEO of a major public company has to personally address the firing of a single, fairly low-level employee, who has broken no laws nor done anything that - without the leak - anyone outside the company would have even known about, it means that the corporate structure has screwed up, badly.
And the nature and scale of the panic exhibited by Google makes it clear that engineers are no longer running the show.
And that is a huge problem for Google.
We implicitly trust engineers because we know they view the rest of humanity with benign indifference, as long as we don't gum up the works. Engineers want to build things, and they enjoy seeing the things they build getting put to use. An engineer-led Google could be trusted implicitly with your email, because they were far more interested in shaving another fifty milliseconds off the response time of the search box than they were in anything you could possibly be mailing back and forth, short of a solution to the Goldbach Conjecture.
The Outrage Mobs, on the other hand, don't care about building things, don't think in fact that anything should be built, but are passionately interested in what you say and what you think and what your motives are.
And if the mobs are gaining power inside Google, as they seem to be, that means there is no longer that implicit trust, that rather, we can expect sooner or later the backlash will take the step from fellow employees to customers.
Which would be utterly disastrous for Google, of course, but as I said, the mobs aren't interested in building things.
Google have so far responded with profound ineptitude to what should really have been a trivial internal problem solved by a chat with HR. What they do next could save or doom the entire company.
If I were playing the market, I'd go long on Amazon and Microsoft right now.
I haven't trusted Google in a LONG time. Hell, ever since gmail came out and they explicitly stated they would violate your privacy algorithmically to show ads at you.
The problem is they've got their tentacles intertwined with so much of the internet that they are impossible to avoid. Whether it's the cultural expression like "Google it" or how many websites use the google apis, the most thorough web spiders, the co-opting of the entire history of Usenet into "Google Groups", Android Phones, Chrome, you name it, they've infiltrated everything.
Posted by: Mauser at Sunday, August 13 2017 03:23 AM (TYvUn)
This could be the beginning of a preference cascade. I've seen a LOT of people commenting on blogs--including, for example, ESR's--that they're taking this as an opportunity to divest from Google products: switching browsers, search engines, email, etc.
Posted by: Rick C at Sunday, August 13 2017 06:07 AM (ITnFO)
Yep. All else aside, it's clear that the company is focused on things other than engineering, and that's all I care about from them.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at Sunday, August 13 2017 01:13 PM (PiXy!)
Microsoft is no better. I know this because of the 0xB16B00B5 scandal, when an awful excuse for a human, Matthew Garrett, made them fire an unnamed employee. At least they never released his name. But then it was a while ago.
Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at Sunday, August 13 2017 02:30 PM (pjL8P)
As for divesting from Google, I've done what I could years ago, when the so-called "doodle" became too obnoxious.
Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at Sunday, August 13 2017 02:31 PM (pjL8P)
Microsoft is flawed, but they have kept the company under control. Google blew it this past week. Badly.
I used to run my own mail server, even my own DNS server, but using Google was too convenient. I think it's time to dust them off again.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at Sunday, August 13 2017 03:58 PM (PiXy!)
I'm thinking, "0xB16B00B5?" Is that like the F00F bug?
And then - oh. Yeah. I do remember that.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at Sunday, August 13 2017 04:09 PM (PiXy!)
DuckDuckGo has been mentioned as an alternative.
Posted by: muon at Tuesday, August 15 2017 03:59 PM (vMYTH)
DuckDuckGo is pretty good. I turned it off yesterday when I was frantically searching for better information on the differences in automatic serialisation between releases of PHP (it's a complete crapfest), but I don't think Google actually gave me better results.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at Tuesday, August 15 2017 05:33 PM (PiXy!)
The search function is not anywhere near the biggest problem with Google, precisely because you can easily substitute it. But what are you going to do with mail addresses that are stuck in a large number of websites? You want a bored SJW at Google to change passwords for your bank accounts or have your ISP shut down your account? Because you can easily do this and more by having an access to one's e-mail.
Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at Wednesday, August 23 2017 03:59 AM (pjL8P)
Yes, email and Android are the really sticky problems here.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at Wednesday, August 23 2017 04:41 PM (PiXy!)
I have a Google Play Music All Access account, because (a) I'm an Android user and (b) because all the music services have basically the same library, but Google allow you to upload 20,000 tracks of your own, which is really handy.
Youtube now offer something called Youtube Red, a premium paid Youtube, which is ad-free (I think) and lets you play music in the background and stuff.
If you have a Play Music account you get Youtube Red for free.
I've been suspended on Youtube since about 2005.*
The result is kind of weird - all the premium features work, but most of the basic ones don't.
And this is Google, so it's basically impossible to get unsuspended.
* I was uploading anime OPs and EDs, and around that time Sony Music automated their DMCA process. I got suspended instantly, and I still am.
[Pixy Note: Click on that link for the video, because I couldn't stop it auto-playing.]
Yeah, I opened the box from the top too.
The video shows off how compact it is - they pack an eight core CPU, desktop graphics card (and not a sucky one), solid-state and spinny disk drives, a subwoofer (a sucky one*), and a fairly substantial cooling rig in something only slightly larger than a 27" monitor. The power supply is external, but I think my monitor also has an external power supply.
I paused the video and zoomed in on the disk drive. It looks like you might be able to squeeze a 5TB 15mm drive in there, which I'd like to try.
I swapped the Dell AE415 speakers for some Logitech Z623s. Only an extra $30, but the difference is night and day. The satellite speakers in the Logitech setup weigh as much as the Dell subwoofer - and produce about as much bass.
Not surprising, because the Logitech satellites are 35W each, and the Dell speakers are 30W in total.
They're a little bass-heavy, to be honest; they're designed for watching movies more than listening to music. But I can turn that down, where with the AE415s the bass was still inadequate even dialed all the way up.
Right now I have - not counting built-ins - eleven speakers on my desk, which is a bit much. Time to do some decluttering. Fortunately the Z623 supports three sound inputs, though I need to find a 1/8" to dual-RCA cord somewhere. One of those boxes in the spare bedroom, I'm sure.
I just checked, and I was testing the Logitechs with the left and right speakers swapped. Oops.
First thing I need, though, is a bigger desk. Fortunately I know there's one of those in the spare bedroom, because it's kind of hard to miss.
Oof. Forgot how heavy those things were. Okay, 7'6" x 3' of antique oak worksurface installed! (A legacy of my DotCom era salary.) Now we're cooking!
Next step: Does this shiny new toy of mine support 4K HDMI input as well as output?
Yes. Yes it does. In fact, it looks amazing. I'm thinking of getting an Xbox One X when it comes out, and with this screen and these new speakers, it should be great. Right now I have my notebook plugged in, which is nice but not entirely necessary. (Seeing as how the desktop is an eight-core to the notebook's two-core.)
It works as a monitor while the PC part is rebooting, which is exactly what it should do but is nice to see anyway. There's a physical button next to the power button that switches the video source, so it doesn't matter what software you are running, or even if the system currently boots at all.
Which means you could get two of these, and cross-connect them, run Windows on one and Linux on the other, and have two dual-monitor systems in the space of just the two monitors. Not that I have any plans of doing that.
And my keyboard and mouse are now paired with Tohru, Taiga, and Azusa (the notebook), so I can just flip the switches to control them all.
I just picked up a Galaxy S2 8 this week, because the GPU's supposed to be good--and it works great, even on games that brought my now-dead Zenpad to its knees.
It came with 6.0, and offered almost immediately to upgrade to 7.0, but my upgrade was just a gig.
Fortunately, also unlike the Zenpad, the OS upgrade didn't kill performance.
Posted by: Rick C at Sunday, August 06 2017 11:10 AM (ITnFO)