Meet the new Dropbox: It's like the old Dropbox, but more expensive, and not everyone's thrilled

Found on The Register on Sunday, 16 June 2019
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The cloudy storage outfit is keen to move beyond mere cloud storage to become "a single workspace designed to bring files, fragmented work tools, and teams together".

It is the usual cloud story: prices can change at any time, which means something that is great value when you sign up may not look so good a year or two later.

More of your data in the cloud? No thanks. If you rely on the cloud, you'll be left to die at some point.

The Catch-22 that broke the Internet

Found on Ars Technica on Monday, 10 June 2019
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The disruptions all stemmed from Google Cloud, which suffered a prolonged outage—an outage which also prevented Google engineers from pushing a fix. And so, for an entire afternoon and into the night, the Internet was stuck in a crippling ouroboros: Google couldn’t fix its cloud, because Google’s cloud was broken.

Google says its engineers were aware of the problem within two minutes. And yet! “Debugging the problem was significantly hampered by failure of tools competing over use of the now-congested network,” the company wrote in a detailed postmortem.

A friendly reminder that everything can and will go down. "The cloud" is in no way special there; it makes it just more spectacular by affecting way more people.

Google recovers from outage that took down YouTube, Gmail, and Snapchat

Found on The Verge on Monday, 03 June 2019
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The root cause was issues with Google’s Cloud service that powers apps other than just Google’s own web services.

Discord, Snapchat, and Vimeo users are also affected, as these all use Google Cloud on the backend.

The problems for YouTube follow high profile outages for the popular video service in January and October.

Just a friendly reminder for those who think "cloud" means "always working".

Facebook reportedly thinks there's no 'expectation of privacy' on social media

Found on CNet News on Sunday, 02 June 2019
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"There is no invasion of privacy at all, because there is no privacy," Facebook counsel Orin Snyder said during a pretrial hearing to dismiss a lawsuit stemming from the Cambridge Analytica scandal, according to Law 360.

The company reportedly didn't deny that third parties accessed users' data, but it instead told US District Judge Vince Chhabria that there's no "reasonable expectation of privacy" on Facebook or any other social media site.

There is privacy even on social media if the control of all available data is under the control of the user only. Obviously, that would make it impossible for a company to harvest and analyze and sell everything about their sheep users, so it's harder to make money. Snyder should have said "There is no privacy on Facebook because of our business model".

What Do Amazon's Star Ratings Really Mean?

Found on Wired on Sunday, 26 May 2019
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Five-star ratings from three years ago probably shouldn’t count as much as three-star ratings left just last week. But it also represents an additional layer of algorithmic secrecy, which can be frustrating for third-party merchants on the ecommerce site. Amazon's seller forums are full of merchants struggling to understand the black box of how their products are ranked and rated.

Star ratings aren’t only influenced by Amazon’s algorithms. They’re also sometimes manipulated by sellers who pay for glowing reviews in order to raise the rank of their products in Amazon’s search results.

Amazon ratings are pretty much useless thanks to an army of paid writers. There are so many reviews out there which either sound like perfect marketing, or don't seem to have anything to do with the product itself at all.

Backup your files with CrashPlan! Except this file type. No, not that one either. Try again...

Found on The Register on Friday, 24 May 2019
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CrashPlan has banned a bunch of file formats from its online backup system aimed at small businesses.

Users on the relevant subreddit claimed CrashPlan had deleted files in the those formats with no warning.

"This is the company that has on its home page 'Automatic Data Loss Protection for Your Small Business' and 'Never worry about losing business-critical data again'. They deleted my business critical data. On purpose."

Another lesson in "never trust the cloud". Either you have control over your critical business data, or you don't; and in the cloud you don't. It's a rough lesson for some, but hopefully a good lesson for many: do your backups right.

Jeff Bezos finally gets .Amazon after DNS overlord ICANN runs out of excuses to delay decision any further

Found on The Register on Thursday, 23 May 2019
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The Jeff Bezos-run Amazon will likely get control of its internet namesake this summer. It intends to run it as a brand business with a small number of domain names that reflect its core businesses.

There are only a handful of companies that have launched on their dot-brands, and a growing number – now over 50 – have simply abandoned the names, formally telling ICANN they are no longer interested.

The Brazilian government also strongly opposed the US government's role in overseeing ICANN and ultimately succeeded in getting the US Department of Commerce to step away from its role and provide the organization with real autonomy.

Jeff has just paid the US-focused ICANN enough money to get what he wants. Not that it really matters much, because Amazon is a pretty useless shop by now, overloaded with crappy chinese products, combined with useless search options.

>20,000 Linksys routers leak historic record of every device ever connected

Found on Ars Technica on Sunday, 19 May 2019
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More than 20,000 Linksys wireless routers are regularly leaking full historic records of every device that has ever connected to them, including devices' unique identifiers, names, and the operating systems they use. The data can be used by snoops or hackers in either targeted or opportunistic attacks.

By combining a historical record of devices that have connected to a public IP addresses, marketers, abusive spouses, and investigators can track the movements of people they want to track.

Why would a router even keep all this information in the first place? Oh yes, for convenience...

Mozilla, Cloudflare & Others Propose BinaryAST For Faster JavaScript Load Times

Found on Phoronix on Friday, 17 May 2019
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BinaryAST is a binary representation of the original JavaScript code and associated data structures to speed-up the parsing of the code at the page load time compared to the JavaScript source itself.

Or maybe webmasters and developers could take their job more serious and care about efficiency instead of dumping hundreds of scripts into every single website; but that would mean that they actually understand what they are doing.

Facebook sues app maker, says it made millions misusing Facebook user data

Found on Ars Technica on Monday, 13 May 2019
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Facebook has sued a data analytics company that operated apps on the Facebook platform for nearly a decade, saying the company misused Facebook data to sell advertising and marketing services.

Facebook's lawsuit seeks a court order requiring the company to delete Facebook user data and suggests that Rankwave may have sold the user data to other unidentified entities. Rankwave refused to tell Facebook which entities it sold data to and refused to "[p]rovide a full accounting of Facebook user data in its possession," Facebook says.

Data which was handed over because of Facebook itself. How cute.