8 June 2013

Secure instant messaging: a brief guide

So, you’re angry about the NSA logging all your instant messages and phone calls, and want to do something about it? Here’s some info on what you can do. To start off, I assume that your goal is cross-platform secure messaging. That is, solutions which don’t interoperate with other platforms aren’t useful, because not all your friends use the same OS as you. Also not useful is SMS, because not everyone uses their phone for everything. ... Read more

21 May 2013

Google abandons IM openness

There’s been a lot of speculation and misinformation about exactly how far Google is going in abandoning XMPP. I decided to spend a few minutes checking out for sure. I set up Kopete on Linux with a jabber.org account, and tested interoperability with Google Talk (in Gmail) and Google Hangouts (both web and Android). Here’s what I found: You can still receive XMPP messages and accept contact requests in Google Talk. ... Read more

29 April 2013

Swype vs SwiftKey

Swype keyboard is now available from the Android store. After a few minutes of testing, I bought it for the introductory price, even though I already have SwiftKey. I thought I’d explain why. I want capitalization fixed automatically. However, with that feature on, SwiftKey insists on capitalizing ‘Web’ everywhere, no matter how many times I delete the capitalized word from the dictionary. Swype doesn’t. Similarly for my name, which I don’t capitalize unless it’s at the start of a sentence. ... Read more

10 April 2013

Perverse incentives

It’s commonly believed by right-wingers that US public radio has a left-wing bias. If you want to hear an example of a program that disproves the assertion, I suggest This American Life episode 490: Trends With Benefits. It has turned out to be somewhat controversial, though TAL are standing by the facts they reported, unlike with the Mike Daisey piece. As most people know, the US economy has a deficit problem. ... Read more

22 March 2013

Python drama circus

So, the ongoing Python dongle joke kerfuffle. My main thought is that nobody cares what I think, but that hasn’t stopped anyone else, so here goes: Everybody involved in this story has behaved like an idiot. Let’s have a quick run-down: Dick jokes during a keynote presentation is bad behavior. In fact, unnecessary conversation during a keynote is bad behavior. You’re there to listen, keep it quiet. Plus, the language is called Python, we can come up with our own dick jokes. ... Read more

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