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software

“The entire crypto fantasy…” according to Jon von Tetzchner

The Co-Founder and CEO of the company behind the Vivaldi browser, Jon von Tetzchner, in a post on the Vivaldi blog:

The entire crypto fantasy is designed to lure you into a system that is extremely inefficient, consumes vast amounts of energy, uses large amounts of hardware that could better be spent doing something else and will quite often result in the average person losing any money they might put into it.

When you strip away the hype, these virtual currencies have very real repercussions for people, society, and the environment.  By creating our own cryptocurrency or supporting cryptocurrency-related features in the browser, we would be helping our users to participate in what is at best a gamble and at worst a scam. It would be unethical, plain and simple. 

We refuse to dress these scams up as opportunities. Instead, we encourage you to treat them with the skepticism they deserve. This may be a game for some curious crypto-investors and wealthy speculators, but for those unlucky enough to get caught out by the pyramid scheme, it could be devastating. 

You should read the full post for additional context, but there is a lot behind this blog post about Tetzchner and the Opera browser that Tetzchner also founded.

Tetzchner left Opera in 2011, the company behind Opera went on to not only fully embraced the crypto grift for years, including a crypto wallet in their browser they also got into, and I’m not joking, payday lending.

Opera subsidiary Opay has an usurious loan service called OKash that is for some reason still available in the Google Play store despite being banned from filing certain credit reports in Kenya for spamming the contact lists of borrowers who were unable to pay:

In recent months, for instance, consumers of mobile app Okash who delayed or defaulted on their loan repayments have had the unpleasant experience of having the service provider reach out to people in their contacts list in a bid to recover the funds.

“Hello, kindly inform XX to pay the Okash loan of Sh2,560 TODAY before we proceed and take legal action to retrieve the debt,” says a sample text message the service provider sends to people in one’s contact list. “We have tried calling in vain. This is the last reminder. Many thanks, Okash team.”

Opera’s disgustingly usurious subsidiary also used to have interest rates in the astronomical hundreds of percentages and short repayment periods, but they were forced to stop that by Google, supposedly.

There’s never been a better time to try out the Vivaldi browser. They probably won’t get involved in usury.

Categories
software

Google Play Music App Getting Podcasts

Elias Roman:

To that end, today we’re launching a portal for podcasters to start uploading their shows to Google Play Music before we open up the service to listeners.

Translated from Google-speak: The Google Play Music app for Android (and iOS) is going to download podcasts to Google servers and rehost them on their own servers. Podcast publishers will only have access to listener metrics for Google Play Music listeners through Google’s interface. Google will also insert extra ads around the podcasts that aren’t from, and won’t benefit, the podcast publisher:

Google reserves the right to show display (image) ads alongside podcast content. Google will not insert any pre-roll ads before podcast content starts or mid-roll ads during a given podcast episode. Google reserves the right to serve post-roll video or audio ads after podcast content. Google Play Music does not provide direct payment or revenue share for podcast content.

Today, podcast publishers put up an RSS feed that anyone can use. It’s an open standard that any client can download one of these RSS feeds, get a list of episodes, and download them. Publishers interpret the one metric that matters, downloads, and use that in addition to occasional surveys of their listening audience to sell ads to advertisers if they choose to run advertising. If Google Play Music becomes the way that most people listen to podcasts it will destroy the open standard and increase the number of advertisements that people are forced to listen to. This is not good.

Categories
apple software

Cmd-Number Shortcuts For Safari 9

Daniel Jalkut:

If you’re a Safari user and you’ve updated to the Safari 9 or OS X 10.11 beta, you may have noticed a minor change in the default keyboard shortcuts for the app.

In Safari 8 and earlier, keyboard shortcuts combining the Command key and a number, e.g. Cmd-1, Cmd-2, Cmd-3, would open the corresponding bookmark bar item. So if you arranged your most-frequently-visited sites in the first few bookmark bar slots, you could easily jump to those pages by muscle memory thanks to these shortcuts.

In Safari 9, these shortcuts now switch to any open tabs you have in a Safari window. This will come as a surprise to folks who have gotten used to e.g. using Cmd-1 to quickly jump to e.g. Google News, or Yahoo Stocks.

I was happy to read that Safari is finally going to let you swap tabs with the same hotkey shorts as every other browser. It’s been a frustration for years to swap tabs in a different way from every other browser.

Now Firefox just needs top to drop the cmd/control+shift+P shortcut for private browsing, because you might not want to accidentally print out whatever you’re attempting to privately browse.

Categories
software

Upgrading to Windows 10 Today

If you want to skip the waiting line to force the Windows 10 upgrade from 7 or 8 today, follow this link and click the buttons. I did this successfully on both a laptop that runs Windows 7, and one that runs Windows 8.

Categories
software

Disabling Windows 10’s Built-in Spyware and P2P Update Sharing

Alec Meer:

Windows 10‘s privacy settings very much need to be frowned at. Essentially: unless you pay close attention to the fluffy options offered when you first install Microsoft’s new operating system, it’s going to quietly track your behaviour and use it to fire targeted ads at you, as well as keeping tabs on your location history, data from messages, calendars, contacts and God knows what else. It is a bit scary, despite coming off the back of Microsoft’s own pledge to offer ‘real transparency’. You may or may not be OK with this yourself, but in any event at least some of this stuff can be turned off after the fact. I’ll explain how to do that below.

There’s a whole list of things you may want to do in Alec’s article. I disagree with his suggestion to stop using a Microsoft account for login, it’s a great feature that certain settings are shared between my laptop and desktop Windows installations, Cortana is similarly useful, but everything else is sound.

Additionally, the peer-to-peer sharing of Windows updates is gross just like the Blizzard updater and should be disabled.

To disable p2p sharing of Windows updates, do this:

  1. Go to the Settings program from the start menu:Start
  2. Click Update & security on this screen:Settings
  3. Click Advanced Options:Windows update
  4. Click Choose how updates are delivered:Advanced options
  5. Click the first toggle option and set it to off:ChoosegooseOff

Now your computer won’t share updates with others.