Robert Vinet

A​ Passionately Curious Bloke

Category: Technology (page 1 of 5)

An Explanation of Why We Ground Electrical Systems

Posted byu/VVillyD on Reddit:

… There are 2 very common myths regarding electricity which are important to dispel at this point. Myth 1: electricity is ‘trying to get to ground or the Earth’. Get this out of your head right now and forget you ever heard it. This is not true and I have heard many stories of people who created harmful situations because they believed this whole-heartedly. Fact 1:electricity is ‘trying to get back to it’s source’.

Myth 2: electricity takes the path of least resistance. If this were true, it would be impossible to connect circuits in parallel, because the electricity would only take the parallel path which has the least resistance. Basic electrical theory and Kirchhoff’s Law tell us this isn’t true. Fact 2: electricity takes ALL conductive paths available to it. …

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15 skills every adventurer should have, according to National Geographic

Lauren Matison, writing for National Geographic, believes these are the necessary skills to have to enjoy and survive a “multi-day trek, afternoon bike ride, or overnight camping trip.”

  • Layering properly
  • Navigation
  • Safety
  • Packing a backpack
  • Hydration
  • Fuelling up
  • Handling unexpected wildlife
  • Being resourceful
  • Building a fire
  • Fixing a flat tire
  • Gearing up responsibly
  • Mental strength
  • Tech knowledge
  • Leave No Trace
  • Knowing when to stop


Bill Gates Sits Down With David M. Rubenstein

On Monday June 24, 2019, Bill Gates was interviewed by the Economic Club president David M. Rubenstein. They discuss climate change, Microsoft, artificial intelligence, and his work on global health and K-12 education in the USA through the Gates Foundation.

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Introduction to Machine Learning

If you are interested in learning about artificial intelligence, Google has made a YouTube series with examples (recipes) you can use to program yourself using the Python programming language.

Six lines of code is all you need to start your journey towards machine learning. Pretty cool eh?

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The Toaster that Costs $270 and Makes Only One Slice at a Time

The obsession with the perfectly toasted slice of bread.

Reed Stevenson writing for Bloomberg:

Perfectly made toast isn’t just an obsession in Japan. It’s a business opportunity.

Over the past few years, there’s been a quiet boom in the pursuit of expertly reheated bread, from high-end toasters and premium loaves, to cafes catering to connoisseurs seeking that satisfying crunch.

Joining the fray is the next best thing for sliced bread, a toaster designed for just one task: making a single piece of toast, flawlessly. Made by Mitsubishi Electric Corp., better known for its workaday refrigerators and rice cookers, the Bread Oven hit store shelves last month, retailing for about 29,000 to 30,000 yen ($270). While that might seem expensive, Japanese consumers are already used to paying top price for toasters; the popular Balmuda, which debuted a few years ago, sold for about $230.

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Updated: Google changes location tracking policy

A few days after an Associated Press investigation about Google’s privacy practices was reported, Google has revised its deceptive description on its website to ‘clarify’ it still tracks user location even after they turn off location history setting.

This affects Android powered devices and iPhones loaded with Google software such as Chrome, Google Maps, etc.

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Google tracks users even when they turn off location tracking

An Associated Press report has revealed that several Google services on Android devices and iPhones store your location data even after users set a privacy setting that is meant to stop Google from doing so.

Computer-science researchers at Princeton confirmed AP’s findings.

Associated Press:

Storing location data in violation of a user’s preferences is wrong, said Jonathan Mayer, a Princeton computer scientist and former chief technologist for the Federal Communications Commission’s enforcement bureau. A researcher from Mayer’s lab confirmed the AP’s findings on multiple Android devices; the AP conducted its own tests on several iPhones that found the same behavior.

“If you’re going to allow users to turn off something called ‘Location History,’ then all the places where you maintain location history should be turned off,” Mayer said. “That seems like a pretty straightforward position to have.”

Google says it is being perfectly clear.

“There are a number of different ways that Google may use location to improve people’s experience, including: Location History, Web and App Activity, and through device-level Location Services,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement to the AP. “We provide clear descriptions of these tools, and robust controls so people can turn them on or off, and delete their histories at any time.”

Should Apple really be your privacy hero?

When compared to the likes of Facebook, Google, and others, Apple are probably doing a better job. But they could be doing more.

Bloomberg Businessweek (paywall):

Bloomberg News recently reported that for years iPhone app developers have been allowed to store and sell data from users who allow access to their contact lists, which, in addition to phone numbers, may include other people’s photos and home addresses. According to some security experts, the Notes section—where people sometimes list Social Security numbers for their spouses or children or the entry codes for their apartment buildings—is particularly sensitive. In July, Apple added a rule to its contract with app makers banning the storage and sale of such data. It was done with little fanfare, probably because it won’t make much of a difference.

When developers get our information, and that of the acquaintances in our contacts list, it’s theirs to use and move around unseen by Apple. It can be sold to data brokers, shared with political campaigns, or posted on the internet. The new rule forbids that, but Apple does nothing to make it technically difficult for developers to harvest the information.

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So far this year, US telecom companies have successfully stopped 70 state bills that would have prevented them from selling your personal data


Rewind back to March 2017: Congress voted to overturn a yet-to-take-effect Obama-era FCC regulation requiring ISPs to get permission from customers before collecting their data and selling it to advertisers. It was a victory for corporate giants like Comcast and Verizon, who nevertheless assured everyone that they had no intention of selling their customers’ internet histories.

In the wake of that repeal, about half of the country’s states chose not to take the ISPs at their word, and began crafting their own legislation to restore the FCC’s rules within their borders. Washington, DC is the latest example, and the National Conference of State Legislatures shows close to 70 similar bills on state dockets this year. So far, not a single one has passed.

Ancestry and 23andMe pledge to be more upfront about how they share/sell users’ DNA data

Genetic testing firms Ancestry and 23andMe pledge to be more upfront about how they share/sell users’ DNA data to business, police, and others – Fortune, Washington Post


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