Tag Archives: Google

The Oracle-Google Case Will Decide the Future of Software

It is the opinion of this reporter that APIs should not be subject to copyright because, by their very nature, they allow for open access and interoperability with either closed or copyright-protected software. APIs are critical infrastructure when dealing with a connected world–much like a highway is in meatspace–and, for the sake of innovation and competition, should not be locked down.

The legal battle between Oracle and Google is about to come to an end. And nothing less is as stake than the future of programming.

Source: The Oracle-Google Case Will Decide the Future of Software | WIRED

How To Replace A Nexus 5 Battery

Atari shows you how to replace a Nexus 5 battery. The technique is simple and can be applied to any phone from a Moto X to an iPhone 6!

Google reaches into customers’ homes and bricks their gadgets

Normally, when I publish a link to another article, I publish a direct link. Today, though, I don’t think I could much improve upon Cory Doctorow’s commentary. However, I will add my own opinions here.

What sort of a world do we live in when “corporate interests” dictate whether or not you can use the technology you legally purchased? Imagine if you purchased a Blu-Ray player that not only refused to play any 20th Century Fox films, but destroyed itself in the process. Imagine if you bought a car that would simply refuse to start if you made the mistake of putting in Shell gas instead of Chevron. Imagine if that car automatically died when the next model was imminently available. Imagine if you took your iPhone to a 3rd-party repair shop, only to have it bricked when the next software update automatically downloaded (oh, wait, that last one actually happened….)

This, folks, is why the DMCA is an existential threat to freedom. Freedom of commerce, freedom of innovation, freedom of legal use, freedom of repair, freedom of choice…. Devices are more and more often being built with planned obsolescence, but (usually) consumers can keep their devices in good repair or even hack them to suit their own needs. Unfortunately, the latter is a violation of federal law. The former could technically be as well–given the correct judicial environment. John Deere and General Motors tried a similar move recently, and they were only stopped when the Library of Congress (the “keepers of the copyright”) finally yielded to massive public outcry. Let us cross our fingers that the same thing will happen for Nest.

This is also why I tend to look at building my own automation devices and solutions: the concept of ownership. Devices you “buy” at the store are no longer yours to tinker with. This was fine back when the worst damage you could do was to break the gadget and void the warranty. Now, if you break the gadget, you face criminal charges in addition to a voided warranty. If the hardware isn’t based on open principles, and the firmware isn’t open-source, I really don’t want a part of it. Part of my shopping process for devices is researching to see if there are alternative firmware builds available or if there is an active development community. Basically, I don’t want some some silver-spoon jerk-off in a San Jose ivory tower coming into my home and telling me what I can and cannot do with the hardware I legally purchased (that includes Cupertino as well as Mountain View).

One last note: Although Google purchased Revolv, since the corporate restructuring under the Alphabet umbrella, Nest now owns Revolv. Google was the company whose unofficial motto said “Don’t Be Evil”, and no such culture exists at either Alphabet or Nest. Let that soak in for a second.

Revolv is a home automation hub that Google acquired 17 months ago; yesterday, Google announced that as of May 15, it will killswitch all the Revolvs in the field and render them inert. Section 1201 of the DMCA — the law that prohibits breaking DRM — means that anyone who tries to make a third-party OS for Revolv faces felony charges and up to 5 years in prison.

Source: Google reaches into customers’ homes and bricks their gadgets / Boing Boing

How to create app-specific passwords in Google

Sometimes you’re going to run across an application that uses the Google API, but for whatever reason does not support 2-factor authentication. Google has wisely built an infrastructure for such incidents. In your security settings, you can create “burner” passwords that can be used for specific applications. You typically don’t need to remember or write down these passwords because they are persistent on the device accessing Google, only accessible to one application, and can easily be exchanged for a new code if ever compromised. To get one of these passwords, head over to http://myaccount.google.com/security

If you’ve never used this section of Google before, it would be beneficial to take a couple of minutes to familiarize yourself with the options available before proceeding. When you’re ready, scroll down to “Signing in to Google” under the “Sign-in & security” section.

Screen Shot 2016-01-17 at 3.38.08 PM

In the screenshot above, you can see the “App passwords” heading on the bottom-right. Click this section and you will likely be prompted to enter your Google password again before accessing the app passwords section.

The following page will present you with a list of applications using specific passwords. To create a new password, just select the appropriate options from the drop-down menus and click “Generate”. You’ll be presented with a 16-character password that you can use to log in persistently with a particular application (such as Outlook or Apple Mail). If the password is ever compromised, you can simply click the “Revoke” button and the password is burned forever.

Please Start Using Google Image Search to Kill Fake, Viral Pictures

Please. Do not propagate ignorance and hysteria.

If you scrolled through Facebook or Twitter this weekend, odds are you saw at least a dozen different pictures of Hurricane Patricia. There’s a pretty good chance at least half of them were fake or misrepresented. If you have an internet browser, you have access to a quick and easy viral image debunker. The internet will be a better place if we all start using it.

Source: Please Start Using Google Image Search to Kill Fake, Viral Pictures

YouTube Red Deal Forces ESPN To Pull Its Videos From YouTube

I wasn’t too big a fan of this whole “YouTube Red” idea to begin with. Point one: I like a lot of YouTube shows, but I don’t like them so much that I’m willing to pay for a subscription to watch them. I’d rather endure a short ad in exchange for infrequent access to the same videos. Point two: If I make a video that I would like to monetize, I now can’t do that unless I put it behind a paywall (which will never happen).

Obviously, YouTube is making a play toward its biggest content creators, doubling down on popular “partners” like PewDePie at the expense of smaller creators who use the platform to build their followings and earn a few dollars on the side. They used to be “the Great Equaliser”–democratising video content on the web from the ground up–but lately YouTube is beginning to look like any other cable monster.

The fallout from YouTube Red, its forthcoming ad-free subscription service, is already underway. Today, the majority of ESPN’s video content has been pulled off of YouTube in the US, as the sports network currently can’t participate in the YouTube Red service due to rights issues surrounding its content.

Source: YouTube Red Deal Forces ESPN To Pull Its Videos From YouTube | TechCrunch

Google book-scanning project legal, says U.S. appeals court

Fair use wins!

A U.S. appeals court ruled on Friday that Google’s massive effort to scan millions of books for an online library does not violate copyright law….

Source: Google book-scanning project legal, says U.S. appeals court | Reuters