Category: IT

Canada targeting San Francisco Bay’s Intelligent Immigrants?

[UPDATE June 7, 2013] The New York Times ran an article titled , using a photo of the same board.


This photo got 17,088 Flickr views in eight hours. There’s a strong message in this. I wonder whether the US is listening. [UPDATE July 25, 2013] The original Flickr photo was removed. Below is a facsimile:

Canada immigration billboard in San Francisco advertises new start-up visa H-1B
Canada immigration billboard in San Francisco advertises new start-up visa H-1B

Billboard says:

H-1B Problems?


New Start-Up Visa

Low Taxes

SHARP — old and new

The folks at must have liked my post about my trusty 35-year-old ELSI MATE, because they sent me a brand new calculator. Thank you, SHARP!

The new SHARP has 469 functions, twin power, and comes at a great time. It will go to my son, who will use it in his college math classes.

I will stick with the ELSI MATE, and I hope to write another blog post for its 40th anniversary.

SHARP old and new
SHARP old and new

Why Google Glass will fail

There are many reasons Google Glass will fail:

  • They identify the wearer as a dork
  • They create a host of unresolvable privacy issues
  • [ADDED April 29, 2013] “Men don’t make passes at … [girls who wear Google Glass]” — blog reader and commenter , channeling 

But the realest, simplest, most fundamental reason why Google Glass will fail spectacularly is that nobody likes to wear glasses. Take it from someone who has had to wear glasses since 1996. Wearing glasses is awkward, cumbersome, limiting. I take mine off every chance I get. And I can’t imagine wearing glasses if I don’t have to.

The caveat here is that the majority of the Google Glass demographic – young people in their teens and early twenties – have not had to wear glasses, and are thus unaware of the limitations and inconveniences that go along with glass-wearing. They are understandably excited about this new contraption, and can’t wait to get their hands on it.

But mark my words: Their excitement will be short-lived. Once these new Glass-wearers encounter the cumbersomeness of wearing glasses, they will kick Google Glass to the curb, never to look at (through?) it again.

The only question is who at Google will eat crow.

Google Glass presentation, Google I/O 2012
Google Glass presentation, Google I/O 2012
Image credit:


[UPDATE April 28, 2013] Robert Scoble wrote a lengthy Google+ post titled , which gave me the analogy that had been eluding me: Google Glass is just like the Segway — a weird contraption that very few people want or need.


[UPDATE May 2, 2013] Today Wired published an excellent piece on the subject. Two excerpts:

  • “While nerdiness implies a certain social awkwardness that’s ultimately endearing, dorkiness connotes social obliviousness that opens you to deserved ridicule.”
  • “Google Glass, like the Segway, is what happens when Silicon Valley spends too much time talking to itself.”

Read the full article, titled “” (referring to Robert Scoble).


How old is your calculator?

I remember ringing in the new year 1980. I remember being upset that my new Sharp clock-calculator was a few seconds off. I am no longer upset. 34 years later, the same Sharp (pictured below) is still in service as my main alarm clock.

By comparison, I will probably have to throw away the cell phone I just got before it’s even paid off, for its battery is not replaceable.

Progress, yo.

SHARP ELSI MATE EL - 401A calculator alarm clock
SHARP ELSI MATE EL – 401A calculator alarm clock

Google Reader as the canary in the coal mine

This is my final post* on the demise of Google Reader, and I’ll make it short.

The absence of Reader will not affect me personally – I stopped using it (by choice) over a year ago. It is the obvious absurdity of Google’s decision to kill the service that is of concern. That such a clearly ludicrous idea can be proposed and get traction in Google’s corridors of power is a troubling indication of how this giant ship is skippered and where it may be going.

That is all.

* Previous posts (1, 2)

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Teh Copyright Alert System rolls out this week

If your Internet Service Provider (ISP) is AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner, or Verizon, you are in for a treat this week. that could slow the Internet to a crawl and force violators to take educational courses. For your protection, of course.

Watch a cheerful and informative two-minute video about the new Copyright Alert System (CAS):

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Bruce Schneier on privacy, security, and the future — video interview

An excellent video interview (22:23) of security expert Bruce Schneier given at an artificial intelligence conference in Oxford, England. He talks about social media, privacy, Facebook, government, and the generation gap.


We have to be careful not to project our fears onto another generation that doesn’t have them. This is a generation gap. The younger generation always wins, because the older generation dies. The older generation always tells you about the horrors, and what will go bad, and they are often right, but the younger generation makes them not horrors.

It’s wrong for us to predict and prescribe. We really have to observe.

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Google Chrome blocks Twitpic

UPDATE January 5, 2013 10:43 AM: The issue apparently went away the following day.

UPDATE December 30, 2012 6:43 PM: Still blocked.

UPDATE December 30, 2012 3:51 PM: Twitpic says working to fix the notice, trying to contact Google.

Wow! Google Chrome now blocks access to with this ominous message (screenshot below):

Danger: Malware Ahead!

Google Chrome has blocked access to this page on

Content from, a known malware distributor, has been inserted into this web page. Visiting this page now is very likely to infect your computer with malware.

Malware is malicious software that causes things like identity theft, financial loss, and permanent file deletion.

Google Chrome Twitpic malware warning screenshot
Google Chrome Twitpic malware warning screenshot


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How to block ABC News from your computer

Or, rather, how to block your computer from accessing ABC News online.

If you are like me, you are on the receiving end of a constant stream of incoming URLs — from email, RSS, social media, etc. Quite often the target URL is obscured by a URL shortener, or you are just not paying attention to what you are clicking on. And every once in a while the target AUTO-PLAYS SOUND. I hate that, and I bet you do, too.

In my case, the offender is almost always ABC News. The offending URL is

This has been going on for a while. When I first noticed it over a year ago, I thought it was a temporary lapse of judgment at ABC, and made it a point to avoid them. About two weeks ago . And while having Flash off by default mitigates the problem, I decided to take my defenses a step further.

How about blocking access to ABC News, period?

It turns out this isn’t as simple or as easy as it ought to be. You can’t do it in Chrome without third party plug-ins. I hear Internet Explorer allows it, but this is no reason to use IE (which I haven’t opened in over a year). So I decided to block ABC News at the operating system level by adding the domain to my host file.

Here’s how I did it on Windows:

  • Go to C:\WINDOWS\system32\drivers\etc
  • Use Notepad to open the file “hosts”
  • Add this line to the bottom of the file:
  • Save the file
  • Restart your computer

Now when I type in my Chrome address bar, Chrome displays this. Music to my ears.

ABC News blocked screenshot
ABC News blocked screenshot

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