It’s just unnatural. I went slightly sane (that’s not a typo) at about 04:00 NZDT, scraped up $NZ9.00 in $NZ1 coins and took a months worth of laundry downstairs and washed and dried it.
Amazingly the laundry was deserted. Normally it’s a crazy house – although my data for the last month is somewhat limited.
Anyway now the place no longer reeks of socks and I have drawersful of folded (FOLDED) garments and some clean dry towels.
And what I call my I.T. technician’s lab coat (a horrible old black bathrobe that has been known to scare the natives) is in anthropomorphised shock right now. At least 25% of its substance must be helping clog the plumbing and the lint catcher in the dryer downstairs.
I’ve checked the back of my head for electrodes but there’s no sign. Still – I suspect someone may have been conducting experiments.
THIS IS NOT NORMAL.
Completely unrelated – I just tried installing XBMC from the Kali/Debian repo on my Dell. That wasn’t fun.
It completely locked X up so I had to alt + f2 to get a console outside X, kill XBMC good and dead and then purge it.
WHAT THE FSCK.
Last time I tried it – maybe 8 months ago – it ran beautifully. I just couldn’t see a good reason to use it. I don’t know what changed but fortunately I still don’t have a good reason to use it. I’m just a bit confused and will have to do a bit of background reading because I don’t get it. It’s supposed to go like the clappers on the Raspberry Pi – my Dell is an old junker but it’s not THAT old…
A post at the YouTube Creators’ blog late Monday has acknowledged that YouTube commenters, never ones for productive discussion, have turned the site’s Google+ integration changeover to their advantage. There are now new and worse ways to propagate spam and immaterial content below videos, which has created an avalanche of complaints and outcries from both viewers and content creators. It seems as if Google can’t move fast enough to give its users tools to manage the triumphantly abusive and off-topic trolls of YouTube.
YouTube started to require that its users log in to Google+, allegedly to help fix the cesspool that was the YouTube comments section. The strategy was two-pronged: One, Google+ would require users to tie their comments to a real name and persona for accountability purposes. Two, the integration would use Google+ profiles to tailor comments to each user so that they would only see a few types of comments below videos: comments from Google+ friends, comments from “YouTube personalities,” and “engaged conversations.”
But along with those changes, Google also thought it would be safe to turn off certain comment restrictions. Previously, YouTube comments had a character limit and couldn’t contain hyperlinks in order to prevent some of the worst spam. Now those restrictions are off, leading to people posting links to porn or screamer videos, or just dropping ASCII porn art below videos.
To compound the problem (just as we predicted at the time of the change rollout), Google greatly underestimated the ability of YouTube commenters to produce what qualifies as “engaged conversation” while managing to be also disgusting, offensive, NSFW, irrelevant, or all of the above. And that appears to be the heart of the issue.
YouTube commenters are exceedingly good at either bickering or piling on to each other to produce a long comment thread. Because of the lack of content moderation, the relaxed restrictions, and the fact that there are enough people who do not care if their offensive comment is attached to their real name, not only are those long and terrible comment threads still there, but they are now often featured prominently as the video’s meatiest discussion. For certain values of “meatiest,” that is not entirely inaccurate.
Many of YouTube’s prominent users were unhappy with the way the comments had changed, mainly for forcing their viewers to sign in to Google+ to comment, but also for the formatting. YouTube personality Vi Hart condemned the system for “promoting hateful inflammatory comments because they provoke responses.” Edwardspoonhands.com highlights comments on a video by YouTube personality Emma Blackery that were promoted to the top because they are controversial (e.g., one comment that is a racial slur repeated 85 times), not because they are popular.
The Google+ integration has also proven unpopular in a broader sense for a couple of reasons. The change constitutes a) meddling with a well-understood, if broken, system in the interest of creating engagement and more data affiliated with real people, thus creating more business for Google, and b) doing so using Google’s social network, which sits somewhere on a spectrum between reviled and ignored. Google seems to be counting on the outcry against Google+ itself to eventually settle down. The company’s response to the newly bad YouTube comments has been to finally introduce better content moderation at a high level. The update to the system will have “better recognition of bad links,” according to the YouTube blog post, as well as “improved ASCII art detection” and altering the display of long comments.
The next step will be to add bulk comment moderation, a long-requested feature that YouTube has avoided until now. The post also mentions briefly that the team is “working on improving comment ranking.” However, no details are provided on how the system will overcome YouTube’s ability to co-opt the definition of “engaged” and turn it into, specifically, “controversial.”
The Google+ integration, though, appears to be here to stay. That’s despite the fact that the strongest user-based case for its use—that accountability will prevent trolls from trolling—has been killed, drowned in a sea of ASCII penises.
Casey Johnston / Casey Johnston is an Associate Writer for Ars Technica covering gadgets, privacy, and tech culture. She graduated from Columbia University with a degree in Applied Physics.
Upon opening the case of his 40" Hisense Smart LED TV, he discovered that the logic board actually had two unused USB pads -- what luck! He tapped off of them to get 5V @ 500mA to power the Pi... Later on he realized this wasn't the ideal solution -- when the TV turned off, it cut the Pi's power too.
Analogue broadcasting switches off here in New Zealand in a matter of days. I’ve already yanked the RF cable out of the wall and switched permanently to watching “TV” via the internet. I do realise that IPTV by its very nature is monitored by providers but I do have some degree of control over the data that’s phoned home. And a Linux machine that I’ve set up myself will not be sending records of what I access from my own media or local drives ANYWHERE.
Until there’s a smart TV that’s safe or at least easily root-able as we say in this part of the world the smart tv manufacturers can GET ROOTED.
It sounds like the premise of a Philip K. Dick story, but it’s not. A blogger has offered evidence that his Internet-connected television has been transmitting detailed information about his family’s viewing habits, including the times and channels they watch and even the names of computer video files stored on connected USB drives.
The unidentified blogger, whose twitter profile described him as a “developer, tweaker and Linux enthusiast” living in UK county of Yorkshire, said the LG Smart TV model is LG 42LN575V and was manufactured May 2013. He provided screenshots of data packets he said he captured showing the information his TV sent unencrypted over the Internet. The data appeared to show a device ID unique to his set, along with the name of the channel it was tuned to. In his tests, the information was sent in the clear every time the channel was changed. Even more remarkable, he said, the smart TV sent the data even after he waded through the system preferences and set the “Collection of watching info” setting to “off” (it was on by default).
But the logging didn’t stop there. Included in the traffic sent over the Internet were the names of files stored on a USB drive connected to the LG television. For dramatic purposes and to ensure he chose a file name not likely used by the firmware, he created a mock video file called Midget_Porn_2013.avi, loaded it onto a USB drive and plugged it into his TV. Sure enough, the file name was transmitted unencrypted in HTTP traffic sent to the address GB.smartshare.lgtvsdp.com. In some cases, he said, file names for an entire folder were transmitted, and other times nothing at all was sent. He never determined the rules that controlled when data was or wasn’t sent.
In fairness to LG, it should be emphasized that the address included in the POST requests returned 404 errors typically used to indicate that a specified file isn’t available. That means the personal information in the request may not have been logged by the server, although there’s no guarantee that this is the case. But even if the information wasn’t stored by servers belonging to LG or other companies, it hardly softens the privacy intrusion, for several reasons.
“Despite being missing at the moment, this collection URL could be implemented by LG on their server tomorrow, enabling them to start transparently collecting detailed information on what media files you have stored,” the blogger, calling himself DoctorBeet, wrote in a blog post published Monday. “It would easily be possible to infer the presence of adult content or files that had been downloaded from file sharing sites. My wife was shocked to see our children’s names being transmitted in the name of a Christmas video file that we had watched from USB.”
Enlarge/ Data packets sent over the Internet include the string “Midget_Porn_2013.avi,” the name of a file stored on a USB drive.
DoctorBeetAnd even if LG servers never implement the URL, the blogger’s TV—and any other set that behaves similarly—will continue sending the data in an unencrypted format. That means anyone on the same local network—say in a corporate office building or over an inadequately secured Wi-Fi connection—can monitor users’ file names and viewing habits. And of course, government actors or anyone else who can monitor the Internet at large can do the same thing.
All your midget porn are belong to us
According to DoctorBeet, LG representatives made no apologies when he brought the monitoring behavior to their attention.
“The advice we have been given is that unfortunately as you accepted the Terms and Conditions on your TV, your concerns would be best directed to the retailer,” the representatives wrote in a response to the blogger. “We understand you feel you should have been made aware of these T’s and C’s at the point of sale, and for obvious reasons LG are unable to pass comment on their actions.”
The facts and screenshots in this post are based on the account of a single person testing a single model. That makes it hard to know how widespread the monitoring and phone-home behavior is. It also makes it difficult to say if there are factors that might mitigate or explain some of the monitoring the blogger reported. LG representatives didn’t respond to an e-mail Ars sent requesting comment for this post. This post will be updated if they respond later. It’s also not clear if smart TVs from other manufacturers do the same thing.
The blogger solved the problem presented by his LG TV by configuring his home router to block the seven Internet addresses his model automatically attempted to contact. This method obviously won’t work for people who aren’t comfortable mucking about with their hardware settings. But even for those who are comfortable, there’s a limit to how effective this can be. A decade from now, when the majority of appliances and consumer devices in homes come with their own Internet connection, it won’t be feasible to block every single privacy-invading address. Eventually, the only solution will be for manufacturers of these once-dumb devices to pour the same talent and resources into securing their wares that are standard at Microsoft, Apple, and Google. In the race to cash in on the Internet of things goldrush, readers shouldn’t count on that happening anytime soon.
Post updated in paragraph 2 to add blogger details, TV model number, and manufacture date; updated in second-to-last paragraph to add details about Samsung TV.
So I’ve been distracting myself from being pissed off with Life, The Universe And Everything (see my Dreamwidth entries for moaning and bitching if you must) by trying to get YouTube to display in fullscreen on my CRT. I went as far as digging around in the flashplayer with a hex editor and I actually did manage to get it to not exit fullscreen when I click something on my other desktop. So video everywhere BUT YouTube works better now. So it goes.
Anyway go here: https://archive.org/details/BBS.The.Documentary. Archive.org’s flash and HTML5 streams aren’t always pretty but they do work. And if that’s not good enough there’s always VLC or MPlayer2. This is why I like personal computers. At their best and worst theyre a bloody great psychic poultice that’s guaranteed to distract you from Bad Shit.
HTML5 now works for YouTube and so does YouTube video in full screen on my Trinitron.
Well – most of the time.
I just went to https://www.youtube.com/html5, clicked “Request HTML5 Player” and made sure the cookie stays in my browser. Now I’ve got Steve Gibson in full 20″ letterboxed glory paused on my other desktop. This has failed resoundlingly and repeatedly before. Now it works.
There are limitations still but the majority of YouTube content seems to play in HTML5 and that’s definitely an improvement. I’m also finding that embedded YouTube videos are now showing up on this blog when I view it on my Linux machine where they didn’t before. So that’s nice.
All that buggering about with the flashplayer and a hex editor wasn’t a complete loss though. Flash streams are definitely better. I wish flash would hurry up and die. It’s lurching along in all sorts of shifty and interesting parts of the Web and it needs to be given the zombie treatment pronto.