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The Actuator - July 10th

Level 17

In Austin this week where the weather is boring, just a constant 97F degrees and bright blue skies. The locals tell me it doesn't really get warm until August. I'm not going to stick around to find out.

As always, here are some links I hope you find interesting, enjoy!

People in Japan are renting cars but not driving them

OK, I would never think about renting a car just to take a nap, because we don't rent cars by the hour here in the U.S. Well, not yet, anyway. And at $4 for 30 minutes, I might think differently.

How the Dutch Made Utrecht a Bicycle-First City

I'm always amazed when cities are able to successfully implement bike lanes into their core. Many European cities make it look so easy. I sometimes think how such designs wouldn't work where I live, and then I realize that they *could* work, if the people wanted it to work. Public transportation is broken for much of America; bike lanes offer a partial solution.

Digital license plates now in 3 states, with more on the way

I honestly don't understand what problem they're trying to solve here. Consumers lose privacy, and pay more for that privilege than using regular license plates.

7-Eleven Japan shut down its mobile payment app after hackers stole $500,000 from users

I've said this before, and I'll say it again. Until we hold developers responsible for building applications with poor security choices, we will continue to have incidents like this one.

British Airways faces record £183 million GDPR fine after data breach

Finally, a fine that might cause a company to rethink how they handle security! Thank you GDPR!

Warning: free hotel wifi is a hacker’s dream

As a frequent traveler I can attest that I am uneasy about public and shared Wi-Fi systems such as those in hotels. In a few weeks I'll be at Black Hat, and will probably wrap all my devices in foil, leave them in my room, and burn them on the way to the airport.

User Inyerface - A worst-practice UI experiment

I know you'll hate me for this one, but I want you to try to understand how the things you build are seen by others.

It's Carny season! The best place for $8 draft beers and $6 fried dough.

carnival.JPG

45 Comments
Level 14

Thanks for the links.  And LOL at the user inyerface link.  I started to go through it but nope! 

Level 12

Some politicians want to charge a "use tax" instead of a gas tax for road maintenance, using the excuse that it's unfair people with gas guzzlers pay a lot while people with hybrids and electric vehicles pay little to nothing. Of course, in order ot charge a use tax they would need to monitor the location of vehicles at all times via GPS. This would not only give them the miles driven and jurisdiction, but a continual location for the vehicle so they can know where the driver is going, speed so they could issue tickets without police being involved, and plenty of other Big Brother type invasive data.

I'm sure this is a big thing behind the push for digital license plates, the belief that the country will somehow be better if we lose all privacy rights.

Level 16

Great idea, a little nap pod in the middle of the city.

People in Japan are renting cars but not driving them

Level 16

I'm all for this. Before I moved a few years back I lived in a Michigan lake shore community and near the bike path. There were three small towns all linked together and off road as well as on road bike paths available to get about anywhere.

Due to the large amount of tourist traffic and difficulty in parking I rode my bike instead of driving April - October. Once October hit the tourists were gone so it was easy to drive\park again.

How the Dutch Made Utrecht a Bicycle-First City

Level 16

Probably not a bad idea. The local police here already have the plate scanning cameras so it doesn't matter if its digitial or aluminum. 

Digital license plates now in 3 states, with more on the way

Level 14

Hotel WIFI is scary.....

So.. I can rent a car for 30 minutes and it costs $4.... hmmm... about the same as my Starbucks Large coffee.... except I can take a nap ...... I am intrigued.

Bike paths... In congested areas they are a must.... but as a casual rider... nothing beats a ride on the open road.

GDPR fine -- question is how MUCH will actually be paid.

Great as always sqlrockstar

Level 13

As always (and I really do mean that even though I say it every time) thanks for a bunch of great links.  I look forward to this post every week.

The user interface thingy is a scream.  The clock is now ticking and I can't stop it.

Having lived in Japan when I was younger, I'm totally not surprised about renting cars just to keep some personal space.  For those of us that live in places that have a fair amount of personal privacy, it's really hard to understand what it's like to live somewhere where there are so many people that privacy is virtually noexistent and personal space almost doesn't exist.

Level 13

I'm with you on the digital plates.  Not sure what problem they are trying to solve and this seems like it opens multiple cans of worms with all sorts of unpleasant side effects.  How hard would be it to steal a digital plate and ride the toll roads on someone else's dime?  Not very I would guess.

San Antonio Texas has made great strides to being a bike friendly city over the past 20 years. 

From my home I can ride to and from work using the linear parks that have connected up a large part of the city. 

People like myself use them to ride walk and exercise across the city.  When the Leon Creek Greenway to Salado Creek Greenway is made, It will be possible for me to ride the greenway trails 27 miles to the South of where I live to 28 miles in the opposite direction (West and then South again).  So someone could ride over 100 mile round trip without leaving the trails.  Someone but not me.....

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MVP
MVP

Cool article

Renting a car but not driving it.  I had to read the article completely to sate my curiosity.  I suppose this activity results from over-population in the limited space of the Japanese islands and cities.

One also might wonder if these hourly rentals may also (eventually?) serve the purpose of hourly motel room rentals in the States, located in red light districts.

One day we'll have to get smart about population pressures on our world, and consider exactly what we want from the environment.  Maybe when that happens we'll curtail our population growth, and even send it in a reverse trend.  That might also have the effect of causing people to value lives more, and reduce risky activities that can threaten life.

Level 13

Thanks for the Articles

MVP
MVP

It's Carny season! The best place for $8 draft beers and $6 fried dough. -

I'm impressed with cities that go the extra mile towards improving cycling over automobiling.  As this quote from article goes:

"As Lott Van Hooijdonk told the New York Times: “Cycling is like a piece of magic: It only has advantages.”

One can appreciate  the cultural differences in a person's name.  "Lott Van Hooijdonk" would be a tough name to have in the U.S. public school system unless one's classmates were classier than I've seen at that age level.

Digital License plates?  I don't think so.

We already have too much exposure to data risks.  I submit more things must go analog instead of digital if we wish to  improve our security and safety when we're not improving the ethics of people everywhere.

I'm certain a person could manipulate the digital license place data.  They'd create a look-alike plate that's not connected to the network, changing its data with the touch of a keyboard.  Even as old James Bond cars rotated through a series of license plates, but quicker and easier without even exiting the car.

007 Revolving Number Plate on Aston Martin Car - YouTube

MVP
MVP

Interesting read, thanks.

7-Eleven users' accounts hacked? Naturally. This comes from jumping on a band wagon when one doesn't have the appropriate training and knowledge of Internet security.

It's inevitable.

But rather than simply writing apps that are harder to compromise, when will we start doing something to prevent people from even coming up with the idea of taking something from others without permission?

Teach ethics and altruism, and live them as examples.  Anything else points humanity down a dark and sad path.

British Airways has reaped what they sewed.  Fines must be significant to be appropriate and to cause change.

But the root problem remains--greed and lack of quick identification of problems and problem people, and immediate consequences.

Remember that old saw about "an ounce of prevention?"  What are we doing to prevent folks from looking for security holes and trying to take advantage to them?

Nothing.

I submit we'd be smart to dedicate at least a dollar on prevention for every ten dollars of cure spent on fines and discovery and rewriting code to make it (temporarily) more secure.

Any organization or individual who provides free wi-fi access to the public should have been on notice LONG before reading the article about how free wifi is a hacker's dream.

Hospitals, public schools, cities, stadia ( the plural of stadium), restaurants, libraries, and more are all complicit when they hide behind AUP's.  It's not enough to say "User beware" or "Use at your own risk--we're not liable for problems you experience when you use our free wi-fi."

Either provide and require a secure service or provide no service at all.

Level 12

sqlrockstar​ You are right, it made me hate you.

I think your link to User Inyerface - A worst-practice UI experiment should be mandatory for every web page writer to experience.  They must all use it, analyze and document its flaws, correct them, and then never write a web page at all.

Yes, I meant that last bit.

Level 13

Your carnival picture looks like Toy Story 4.  Haven't seen one like that since I was a kid.  Miss them.

Level 12

good stuff, particularly the article about the car rental in Japan.

MVP
MVP

People in Japan are renting cars but not driving them - interesting

MVP
MVP

How the Dutch Made Utrecht a Bicycle-First City - wow this is truly amazing

Imagine how popular larger (American-style?) vehicles might become in Japan, for renting but not driving.  A full-sized mini-van or conversion van or cargo van could be home to SOHO meetings, corporate offices, seasonal vacation quarters, and more!

I can see it now . . .

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Level 16

If the price stayed the same at $4 a half hour that's $192 a night to stay which I thought was going to be a great rate but then I googled it and

was surprised at how cheap hotels are. Never been there so have no clue.

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MVP
MVP

Digital license plates now in 3 states, with more on the way - lol

Level 17

I always thought of a use tax as something simpler, a flat tax tied to car registration. Pay a few hundred dollars a year to help pay for road maintenance. I never thought of it as tracking cars, or even submitting mileage. But in MA, we could track mileage because we have car inspections every year. No need to use GPS.

Level 17

Yeah, like the Madden Cruiser.

Level 16

Warning: free hotel wifi is a hacker’s dream

As has been the case for years. At least use a VPN.

MVP
MVP

7-Eleven Japan shut down its mobile payment app after hackers stole $500,000 from users - sad and untested

MVP
MVP

British Airways faces record £183 million GDPR fine after data breach - hmm

MVP
MVP

Warning: free hotel wifi is a hacker’s dream - true v true, at some point of time most of us do this mistake. We sometimes forget where we are, when we need to access a mail or an application.

MVP
MVP

User Inyerface - A worst-practice UI experiment -

Level 9

Great article about how to improve active transportation in the U.S.

Level 13

Interesting article.  enjoyed it.

Level 14

Spent a couple of weeks in Japan.  Most hotel rooms were smaller than cars and a lot more expensive.  Gives me an idea for saving money next time I go.  Rugby World Cup anyone ?

Level 14

Bike first cities might work in the Netherlands (a country not well known for it's hills) but I can't see it working in the UK.  Also, most cyclists here seem to think they own the road and that the traffic laws don't apply to them.  This gives all of them a bad name and they are mostly hated.

Level 14

Digital Licence plates sounded good at first.  I thought they would be a digital display and was looking forward to hacking them to display anything I wanted.  Set it to display "F**K OFF" and speed past a speed camera   

Level 14

7-Eleven Japan.  Does anyone TEST software anymore BEFORE going live.

Level 14

British Airways GDPR fine.  Sounds a lot and it would have been a lot cheaper to actually prevent the data leak in the first place but their parent company made a profit of nearly £3Bn last year.  It's not really going to hurt that much.

Level 14

Most hotels aren't even experts in offering hotel services.  I certainly wouldn't expect them to be IT savvy. 

Level 14

I've seen real UIs even worse than that. 

Level 14

There's a 'Fun Fair' that sets up every summer for two weeks about half a mile from where I live.  The crime rate soars during that period.  I wonder why.

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.