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The Actuator - January 15th

Level 17

In Austin this week for our annual meeting of Head Geeks. The first order of business is to decide what to call our group. I prefer a "gigabyte of Geeks," but I continue to be outvoted. Your suggestions are welcome.

As always, here's a bunch of links from the internet I hope you find interesting. Enjoy!

Facebook again refuses to ban political ads, even false ones

Zuckerberg continues to show the world he only cares about ad revenue, for without that revenue stream his company would collapse.

Scooter Startup Lime Exits 12 Cities and Lays Off Workers in Profit Push

Are you saying renting scooters your customers then abandon across cities *is not* a profitable business model? That's crazy!

Russian journals retract more than 800 papers after ‘bombshell’ investigation

I wish we could do the same thing with blog posts, old and new.

Alleged head of $3.5M crypto mining scam bought stake in nightclub

A cryptocurrency scam? Say it isn't so! Who knew this was even possible?

Ring confirms it fired four employees for watching customer videos

Ah, but only after an external complaint, and *after* their actions were known internally. In other words, these four would still have jobs if not for the external probe.

Tesla driver arrested for flossing at 84 mph on autopilot

Don't judge, we've all been there, stuck in our car and in need of flossing our teeth.

It's helpful for a restaurant to publish their menu outside for everyone to see.

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36 Comments
MVP
MVP

It seems that not only do "employees" and off shore design teams have access to ring video, but supposedly law enforcement has access as well even though supposedly only if the homeowner permits it.  I saw an article recently about this issue and the fact the EULA and such says that is not the case.

Too many companies taking liberty with your data and personal data/info.

MVP
MVP

Of course Zuckerberg is only interested in revenue...all the clickbait and false news as well as emotionally derives facts/positions only allows more advertisements seeing more subscribers therefore he gets more advertising money.  It's a win-win for him....

MVP
MVP

Lime and other eScooter venders have been in the Dallas area news in the last part of last year as Dallas was coming up with new ordinances to accommodate that blooming business.  Some of the problems were vehicles being left everywhere and accidents by the riders inexperience.  

Level 14

Scooters and Lime  - (sounds like a boutique vodka or gin?)

I was in San Diego for a conference in August and I was shocked at the number of abandoned scooters that were left on the sidewalks and walkways in both public and non-public areas. It's littering by transportatiion.

Profits??? My guess is that the locals and governmental agencies were trying to enforce laws and the cost to play was going to get higher with each successive summons, ticket or forcible removal. (it's a large number when you do the math for attorney fees!)

Level 14

You get arrested for flossing at 84 MPH while on auto-pilot? Hmmm. What is considered a safe speed to perform dental hygiene and remain free?

MVP
MVP

The challenge is that many cities have nothing on the books to deal with that sort of thing.

Many of those programs were in a trial period to see how they would do...it was at the end of one such trial period that all this news came out.

I also know much of the same also exists for rental bikes although not to the same degree.  I think with the scooters you had to dock and then re-rent them every hour.

I suspect that in some  cases they turned off since the time was up and they hadn't been docked so people abandoned them.

Level 14

Ring... and other IOT "miracles"

Can we all agree that this stuff is inherently insecure and abide by the ancient proverb Caveat Emptor?

Shields up folks!!!

MVP
MVP

I guess you can't floss while sitting in an airliner at 360mph then....

Maybe he should have been using a toothpick.

I have always like the idea of rings service, but could never justify the risks for what I need.

Level 13

As always, thanks for a bunch of head-scratching, thought-provoking, laugh out loud links.  Personally I give a big thumbs up to the gigabyte of geeks.  Sounds good to me.

MVP
MVP

Sad thing is you pay them for the opportunity to look at your video...subscription models nickle and dime you to death and then they use all that date/video to make more money.

Level 13

I'm thankful that where I live we've been largely (as yet at least) free of the scooter infestation.  I was shocked at how many were abandoned in all sorts of inappropriate places last time I was in San Diego.  It was a great example of what happens when unrestrained chaos reigns.  Not good.

Level 15

Assuming all the other unmarked area are hot dogs

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Level 15

Facebook again refuses to ban political ads, even false ones

Its too bad people believe stuff they get off of social media.

Level 14

False political ads equal LARGE $$$ for Mark Z.

So remember when they were going public and the stock analysts were concerned about the ability to keep a steady revenue stream from ads? Hmmmm.... not so much now!

Level 12

This comment probably could apply to many of the articles. "Standards. They matter."

Level 12

thanks!

MVP
MVP

Good article, thank you.

MVP
MVP

"gigabyte of Geeks" -> sounds good to me

MVP
MVP

It's helpful for a restaurant to publish their menu outside for everyone to see. ->

MVP
MVP

Facebook again refuses to ban political ads, even false ones - Hmm

Level 13

Thanks for the links!

Level 12

That temptation with the cameras is just too much for some folks, it seems.

Level 13

I'm amazed that people continue to buy in to the whole crypto currency thing.  I guess that just proves the old saying "there's a sucker born every minute".  The siren call of get rich quick just never seems to lose it's appeal I guess.

Level 9

We are making our cars smarted to make up for the human deficit.

Level 12

I love the irony of your post!

Level 12

I can understand being ticketed for flossing while driving, but arrested? What's with that, Canada?

And I am not in the least bit disappointed to see Lime downsizing. A lot of the scooter users are way too inconsiderate to pay any attention to who or what they may be blocking when they get off the scooters. I think a great move for municipalities would be to set regulations prohibiting rude parking of scooters, demand scooter companies make rental records available when there is a violation, then fine the individuals who are too immature to not block a sidewalk or front door.

It wouldn't last long, but in the short term, this would be a huge profit for these cities.

MVP
MVP

Tesla driver arrested for flossing at 84 mph on autopilot - Why did they even approve this prototype if it leads to an arrest as per the law ?

Level 13

Thanks for the articles

Shared by a colleague this week, with no apologies for the pun:

"What do you call a group of eight hobbits?"

Facebook not doing the right thing?  No surprise there.  Reading their caveats or EULA or whatever they call it shows they're interested in using personal information of others for profit.

Disappointing, but hardly surprising.

I'm not surprised Lime is closing operations in multiple cities, but I AM surprised they were as widely diversified to so many cities.

I wonder what makes the difference for them in profitability.  Is it just that some cities have responsible adults who return things to the places they belong, and other cities have less mature scooter operators?

That "bomb shell" story about Russian plagiarism was eye opening.  Thanks for sharing it.  I reminds me strongly of other technical journal publications associated with projects outside of Russia--the problem appears to be more universal than the focus on Russian issues implies.

It's nice to see some of the bad things about bitcoins coming back to bite those that abuse the ignorance of others.

In regards to the Ring Camera employees who viewed more customer video than allowed, it's got to be assumed people will abuse privilege and access.  Therefore extra steps and authorization have to be required to do so.

In the health industry, we may have the ability to view patient's personal health information (PHI), but we're trained NOT to view more than is require by our jobs.  In fact, each time an employee views PHI an alert is sent that tracks down who accessed what and determines if it was necessary.  Those viewings of PHI leave very bright tracks in the snow.  You could think of the step taken to access additional information like taking the little hammer hanging by the fire alarm pull and using it to break the glass, while pulling the alarm equates to accessing the PHI.

We're serious about protecting private information.

Why isn't Ring Camera?

A hobbyte.

About the Author
Thomas LaRock is a Head Geek at SolarWinds and a Microsoft® Certified Master, SQL Server® MVP, VMware® vExpert, and a Microsoft Certified Trainer. He has over 20 years experience in the IT industry in roles including programmer, developer, analyst, and database administrator.