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Comments

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Use Google's Nexus 7 Tablet As a VoIP Phone, For Free

Lauren Weinstein Re:The idea is to provide specific instructions (91 comments)

Just out of curiosity, if you're that disdainful of Slashdot's editorial prowess, why do you visit here at all? I mean that as a serious question!

more than 2 years ago
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Use Google's Nexus 7 Tablet As a VoIP Phone, For Free

Lauren Weinstein Re:The idea is to provide specific instructions (91 comments)

Actually I've been here since the dawn of time. Maybe earlier. But the point is, the Slashdot audience does include a lot of people who are not technical wizards. I'll leave it at that.

more than 2 years ago
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Use Google's Nexus 7 Tablet As a VoIP Phone, For Free

Lauren Weinstein Re:The idea is to provide specific instructions (91 comments)

I think you may be somewhat overestimating the ability of many users to set up these environments in various cases without specific instructions. I know that when I mentioned that I was happy with this solution (in another venue) I got flooded with people asking for step-by-step instructions. In any case, all I did was note the posting, and I assume that the Slashdot editors have a pretty good sense of what will be useful/interesting to their readership overall, which seems to include a significant number of non-techies these days.

more than 2 years ago
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Use Google's Nexus 7 Tablet As a VoIP Phone, For Free

Lauren Weinstein The idea is to provide specific instructions (91 comments)

No representation was made that this was earth-shattering news. Rather, a *lot* of people had been asking specifically how to make this work (not everyone is as knowledgeable about this area as some folks seem to think!) and the goal was to provide an approach with specific instructions that would function for people already using Google Voice, or who can obtain Google Voice accounts. This approach also has the advantage of going direct to Google Voice servers, rather than via third parties, which is also a plus (as far as I'm concerned, anyway).

more than 2 years ago
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AT&T To Replace 17,000 Batteries

Lauren Weinstein Another sign of VRAD overheating observed? (71 comments)

Out here in the West San Fernando Valley (Los Angeles) -- and it can get *very* hot here during the summer -- where AT&T has widely deployed VRAD cabinets (though U-verse is not activated here yet), I've recently noticed another sign of possible overheating problems. On the side of the VRAD cabinets is apparently a large air intake with an exposed filter element. On several units I've observed recently, the filter element first vanished completely, and then was replaced shortly thereafter with what appear to be rather bulky external fan units. Interesting. --Lauren--

more than 6 years ago

Submissions

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When Web Experiments Violate User Trust, We're All Victims

Lauren Weinstein Lauren Weinstein writes  |  about 4 months ago

Lauren Weinstein (828974) writes "If you ever wonder why it seems like politicians around the world appear to have decided that their political futures are best served by imposing all manner of free speech restrictions, censorship, and content controls on Web services, one might be well served by examining the extent to which Internet users feel that they've been mistreated and lied to by some services — how their trust in those services has been undermined by abusive experiments that would not likely be tolerated in other aspects of our lives ..."
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One of the Most Alarming Internet Proposals I've Ever Seen

Lauren Weinstein Lauren Weinstein writes  |  about 9 months ago

Lauren Weinstein (828974) writes "You'd think that with so many concerns these days about whether the likes of AT&T, Verizon, and other telecom companies can be trusted not to turn our data over to third parties whom we haven't authorized, that a plan to formalize a mechanism for ISP and other "man-in-the-middle" snooping would be laughed off the Net.

But apparently the authors of IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) Internet-Draft "Explicit Trusted Proxy in HTTP/2.0" (14 Feb 2014) haven't gotten the message.

What they propose for the new HTTP/2.0 protocol is nothing short of officially sanctioned snooping."

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Unintended Consequences: How NSA Revelations May Lead to Even More Surveillance

Lauren Weinstein Lauren Weinstein writes  |  about a year ago

Lauren Weinstein (828974) writes ""This then may be the ultimate irony in this surveillance saga. Despite the current flood of protests, recriminations, and embarrassments — and even a bit of legal jeopardy — intelligence services around the world (including especially NSA) may come to find that Edward Snowden’s actions, by pushing into the sunlight the programs whose very existence had long been dim, dark, or denied — may turn out over time to be the greatest boost to domestic surveillance since the invention of the transistor.""
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Microsoft's Bizarre Anti-Google "Scroogled" Campaign Jumps the Shark -- Again!

Lauren Weinstein Lauren Weinstein writes  |  about a year ago

Lauren Weinstein (828974) writes "Yet, Microsoft's increasingly bizarre, anti-Google "Scroogled" campaign is doing exactly that, and while we thought Microsoft had "jumped the shark" in the past, their new chapter is even more strange and inexplicable. In fact, when I mentioned this to a few people this morning, I got responses back suggesting that perhaps the new campaign hadn't really been approved, or that the site had been hacked. One person told me they did a WHOIS lookup just to verify that it really was a Microsoft site at all (it is)."
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False Attack on Google Highlights the Web's "Idiot Echo Chamber"

Lauren Weinstein Lauren Weinstein writes  |  about a year ago

Lauren Weinstein (828974) writes "This sorry sequence began when Consumer Watchdog breathlessly proclaimed that Google had been caught in a legal brief proclaiming that "Gmail users have no expectation of privacy." RT picked up the story, and sites that we normally would consider to be reasonably reputable started echoing it without further investigation, playing on the current climate of government surveillance furor (and in many cases, related hyperbolic and unjustified paranoia). Unfortunately for the fearmongers, there was a problem ..."
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"How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the NSA"

Lauren Weinstein Lauren Weinstein writes  |  about a year ago

Lauren Weinstein (828974) writes "Once upon a time, I knew a spy.

He died long ago, and honestly I don't even remember his name — or at least the name by which I knew him.

He was about as much a polar opposite from James Bond as it would be possible to imagine. He was big and loud, rather vulgar, and frankly quite ugly. He had a loud, annoying laugh that made him an embarrassment to be with in a restaurant or other public places. You wouldn't want to even look at him twice — which of course is exactly what you really want in a spy — not the suave look of the fictional 007.

He was also one of the nicest and most fascinating people I've ever met."

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(Don't) Send in the (Internet Censorship) Clowns!

Lauren Weinstein Lauren Weinstein writes  |  about a year ago

Lauren Weinstein (828974) writes "Great Britain had two princes to talk about last week. One was the widely celebrated birth of the new Prince George, a joyful occasion indeed.

The other "prince" — actually a "clown prince" named David Cameron to be more precise — was playing the fool somewhat under the radar, and we can excuse the British people for not noticing him as much amid the celebration of George's arrival.

To call Prime Minister Cameron a "clown" at all might reasonably be taken by some as an affront to clowns and jesters reaching back through history. Because Cameron's style of clowning is far more akin to the nightmarish, sneering "clowns" of "B" horror movies, not the bringers of entertainment under the big top.

Cameron, through a series of inane and grandstanding statements and pronouncements both deeply technically clueless and shamelessly politically motivated, has been channeling Napoleon by placing the clown prince crown on his own head.

Laughing at his antics would be a terrible mistake. For his wet dream of Internet censorship poses an enormous risk not only to the UK, but to other nations around the world who might seek comfort in his idiocy for their own censorship regimes (already, calls have been made in Canada to emulate Cameron's proposed model)."

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UK and Canada Internet Censorship Madness (Hangout On Air)

Lauren Weinstein Lauren Weinstein writes  |  about a year ago

Lauren Weinstein (828974) writes "This Hangout On Air is scheduled to discuss UK Prime Minister David Cameron's expanding plans for broad Internet censorship, content blocking, flagging, and criminalization in the UK (and his increasingly confused and ignorant responses to questions about his plans) plus similar proposals that are now being made in Canada. What are the implications of these ideas for civil rights and free speech in these nations and in other countries around the world?"
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As Feds Demand the Keys, Preparing for the Death of Public-Key Encryption

Lauren Weinstein Lauren Weinstein writes  |  about a year ago

Lauren Weinstein (828974) writes "With further confirmation of the longstanding rumor that the U.S. government (and, we can safely assume, other governments around the world) have been pressuring major Internet firms to provide their "master" SSL keys for government surveillance purposes, we are rapidly approaching a critical technological crossroad.

It is now abundantly clear — as many of us have suspected all along — that governments and surveillance agencies of all stripes — Western, Eastern, democratic, and authoritarian, will pour essentially unlimited funds into efforts to monitor Internet communications."

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UK Mandatory ISP Filtering Selection Form Leaked!

Lauren Weinstein Lauren Weinstein writes  |  about a year ago

Lauren Weinstein (828974) writes "With increasing signs of conflict between the UK government and ISPs regarding mandatory filtering and blocking of Web sites that users would have to opt-in to disable, now comes word that the government's actual mandatory form that UK users will be required to submit has been leaked. I've created a local alias for easy access:

http://www.vortex.com/uk-isp-filtering-form

Pretty short and direct, I'd say."

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Yahoo's Sneaky Strike to Tumble Tumblr's Adult Artifacts

Lauren Weinstein Lauren Weinstein writes  |  about a year ago

Lauren Weinstein (828974) writes "Rather than explicitly banning adult materials per se, Yahoo is in the midst of a full court press to bury them all in a "red light district" in the deepest, darkest corner of their data centers, ideally in locations where cooling unit condensation will drip directly onto the servers and render associated data unreadable as soon as possible.

OK, they haven't gone the condensation route yet, but Yahoo wants Tumblr adult content out of sight, out of mind, and out of search engines."

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Meet the Guys: The Jerks of Computer Science

Lauren Weinstein Lauren Weinstein writes  |  about a year ago

Lauren Weinstein (828974) writes "All sorts of theories have been postulated for why women tend to avoid CS and the related computer technology fields, ranging from "different nurturing patterns" to inept school guidance counselors.

But I suspect there's an even more basic reason, that women tend to detect quickly and decisively.

The men of computer science and the computer industry are misogynous jerks."

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Touting Snowden, Russia Again Demands UN Takeover of Internet

Lauren Weinstein Lauren Weinstein writes  |  about a year ago

Lauren Weinstein (828974) writes "It was only late last year that freedom-loving Internet users around the world were transfixed with concern regarding a possible United Nations takeover of the Internet — largely pushed by Russia and other repressive regimes.

A massive effort to fight back against this was triggered, including this strong campaign by Google, which I supported.

The threat from the UN's International Telecommunications Union (ITU) was fought back for the moment — and we all gave a sigh of relief.

But now, in a clear demonstration that actions do have consequences, often unintended ones, "The New York Times" reports that Russia is again demanding a UN Internet takeover of exactly the sort repressive governments around the world have long been lusting after, and using Edward Snowden's continued presence in Russia as a foundation for this new thrust.

Acting as a catalyst for a crackdown against freedom of speech on the Net was certainly not Snowden's intention — quite the opposite, it's reasonable to assume."

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Google's New +1 Sharing Has Some Issues, but It's Not a Privacy Problem

Lauren Weinstein Lauren Weinstein writes  |  about a year ago

Lauren Weinstein (828974) writes "Google made some significant changes to the way sharing works on Google+ today, and all day long I found myself being pulled into conversations discussing the topic, some of whose participants seem upset to the level of semi-ranting ("semi-ranting?" Is that anything like "semi-pregnant?" But I digress ...)"
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The Government Masters of Hypocrisy -- vs. Google

Lauren Weinstein Lauren Weinstein writes  |  about a year ago

Lauren Weinstein (828974) writes "I'm not at all a fan of conspiracy theories. Yet it isn't necessary to believe them to smell a smokescreen of government misdirection aimed at diverting attention from enormous personal privacy abuses by governments, through repeatedly trying to scapegoat Google policies that not only don't do damage to consumers, but actually serve consumers' key interests far better than government does nowadays."
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Addendum re Google Blogger Shutdown Issues / Speculation re COPPA

Lauren Weinstein Lauren Weinstein writes  |  about a year ago

Lauren Weinstein (828974) writes "In reference to the Blogger shutdown warnings discussed above, it has been suggested (and it occurred to me as well) that the timing of this sudden policy change by Google somehow relates to the new COPPA (Children's Online Privacy Protection Act) regulations coming into force on 1 July (Monday).

Coincidence?

Maybe ..."

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Tracking Google's New "Short Fuse" Blogger Shutdown Policy

Lauren Weinstein Lauren Weinstein writes  |  about a year ago

Lauren Weinstein (828974) writes "Yesterday, in New Info About Google's Blogger "Adult Sites" Deletion Notification, I attempted to provide some clarity to concerns about Google's sudden announcement that adult-content Blogger sites containing ads or other monetization links to commercial porn sites were subject to shutdown starting only a few days later, and I mentioned that apparently all (not just adult-oriented) Blogger sites could be affected.

I noted at the time (based on what I've been told by Google) that the short notice will likely (somehow) be taken into consideration, but there is no formal grace period, and no promises about what will actually happen after the deadline hits this Monday. Nor is there any explanation for why this incredibly short notice is in effect, given the logistical issues involved for users forced to alter their sites in such a rush.

It's the point about all Blogger sites being affected — not just the adult sites — that appears to have triggered more panic among some Blogger users, judging from my inbox this morning. So below are a few suggestions and a request."

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New Info About Google's Blogger "Adult Sites" Deletion Notification

Lauren Weinstein Lauren Weinstein writes  |  about a year ago

Lauren Weinstein (828974) writes "Outside of hitting like a bolt out of the blue with an extremely short fuse, the notice itself was not particularly well worded. Was it talking only about adult ads or all ads? Ads running only on "adult" Blogger sites or all Blogger sites?

And was Google actually serious about starting to shut down offenders in just a few days, with the notice coming just two days before the weekend? Many site owners couldn't even reach their webmasters in time to push through changes like this on such a truncated schedule — or even make the required alternations themselves quickly enough, especially with the weekend looming.

In response to my queries, a Google spokesperson has provided me with some more information, but not as much as I would have hoped."

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