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Thomas Tuttle
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Thomas Tuttle

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echochamber.js: Commenting without the comments.
echo-chamber-js - Commenting without the comments
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Thomas Tuttle

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Building content-neutral platforms is important for diversity and public health

I'm personally firmly of the belief that platform providers should not attempt to police creative expression, including sexuality-based expression, that is legal and non-hateful. Proactively blocking access to content is not a sensible way to build services that are useful to the world at large. Providers should respect users' preferences if they ask not to see certain types of content. But providers should default to showing users information that they've specifically requested instead of behaving in a paternalistic manner.

Permitting freedom of expression about sexuality and access to age-appropriate information on sexuality is beneficial to users. Users are best served with information that is appropriate to their needs. This includes the freedom to express non-mainstream sexuality, express it in non-mainstream ways, and access information published by others about non-mainstream sexuality. Platforms should not attempt to censor legally permissible expression related to legal, consensual activity. 

There are tremendous negative public health consequences associated with sex-negativity. To many people, publishing platforms and search tools are their primary gateway to information. Censoring information related to sex kills people. Blindly censoring terms such as "condom", "bisexual", or "transgender" results in less availability of health and wellness-critical information. Excluding sex-positivity causes people with non-mainstream sexual identities to feel excluded/isolated, leading to significant guilt, shame, and depression. Images/video are important to discussions of sex-positivity - for example, tying people up the wrong way can cause serious injury or death. Posting images and video of how to do it safely is not gratuitous or a luxury/privilege to be taken away. Users will engage in sexual activity regardless of providers' approval, so providers should serve them by informing them.

If a user is logged into a platform and has elected to see or not see explicit content, platforms should respect and follow their preferences. But if there is no information on a user due to their choice to not log in, platforms should default to showing content (with an interstitial). Of course, platforms should provide age-appropriate content to someone if their age is known - thus, asking for anonymous individuals’ ages and directing them to a resource like Scarleteen is a great user experience, but it should not be required to give up your privacy to view explicit content. Requiring users to log in to view content relating to sexual health makes that content inaccessible to the most vulnerable users. Users feel chilled when they must associate accounts, email, and their names with viewing content that others label morally objectionable. Requiring individuals to log in creates digital footprints that put users who want to keep their behavior secret at risk of repercussions.

It's impossible to actually create a bright line for enforcement of moral standards based content policies. Deciding the boundary between sex education and porn is extremely difficult to get right, and incurs numerous false positives that cause people to avoid platforms entirely - for example, videos that are clearly entirely educational frequently are blocked on platforms and not restored on appeal. Even the most enlightened policy rules will occasionally be applied incorrectly (e.g. breastfeeding? STI prevention / education? legitimate sex education? that is supposedly allowed under the platform's terms of service). Rule-abiding users that are remotely unsure of whether their content might get blocked (and whether they will be able to appeal successfully, and whether there will be collateral consequences for the rest of their account) will avoid platforms with ambiguity about their commitment to free speech. Moreover, a discretionary standard is inherently more vulnerable to organized pressure campaigns from censorship-minded governments and interest groups than a principled commitment to freedom of expression.

Even permitting 'non-commercial speech' without limitation isn't enough. Denying businesses access to platforms on basis of the type of non-abusive content they host is a form of redlining. We are, unfortunately, moving towards a world in which only "morally approved" types of business can be conducted using the best possible tools, and everyone doing anything remotely suspect must pay extra for inferior tools or make do without them entirely. For instance, +Kristen Stubbs had immense trouble finding a payment processor that would serve their nonprofit at any price, because of the nature of their business: crowdfunding for sex toys. Imagine if they couldn’t find hosting either, because no web host would allow them to host images of the products that their customers would be buying. Platform providers contribute to that morality policing by closing doors to customers that can't abide by their restrictive terms of service.

(all opinions strictly mine, and not necessarily those of Google. I do not speak for my employer. seriously, I do not speak for my employer.)
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Getting one of these.
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So I'm putting together the A/V set up for my new place, and I'm having trouble finding a piece of furniture.

My current plan is 5.1 surround, with the TV mounted to the wall, the center channel speaker sitting on top of a cabinet, and the receiver inside the cabinet. My receiver is about 15" deep, and needs a few more inches for cable routing. Most of IKEA's TV things seem to be under 16" deep; there's one that's 17", but it has solid front doors, so the remote wouldn't work. So far my best idea is just a coffee table with a bottom shelf (for the receiver), but that would leave an awful lot of cable clutter visible.

Does anyone have any ideas? Should I just get a circular saw and solve this myself?
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Thomas Tuttle

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Do NOT buy a +Nest smoke alarm. They false alarm and are unhushable pieces of crap. Please spread the word.

Watch this horror video of me trying to quiet mine.

You can stop or mute this video if it's annoying, but you cannot stop an actual Nest protect.

This went off in my house all day, annoying my neighbors.

When I got the Android notification that my house was burning down I immediately assumed it was false, since my Nests had already cried wolf before.  I also checked video cameras and saw my house wasn't actually burning down, so I stayed at work. My poor neighbors, though.

Disclaimer: I am a Google employee. I paid for these myself. So I speak as myself.
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wow. I haven't had any such problems with mine. got mine immediately after launch so you'd expect fewer or the same bugs in any other units. :(
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Thomas Tuttle

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So I just tried to get +T-Mobile's Free Data for Life plan set up. I am a giant fan of their plans, and wanted to get a friend's tablet set up with free data.

I talked to someone (#1) online, who reassured me that I would be able to go to a store and get the plan set up.

I went to one store and talked to someone (#2), who said she couldn't see the plan in their system. I figured I'd figure it out myself, and paid her $15 for the SIM, as is customary.

I happened by another store, and figured I would see if they knew how to set it up. The rep (#3) looked, couldn't find it in their system either, but talked for a bit and then said they figured out a way to make it work. They futzed with things for a while, and then told me they had it set up but I needed to pay $15 as an activation fee. I balked, as T-Mo has never charged me an activation fee, their website says they don't charge them, and it was clearly rung up on the register as "SIM STARTER KIT", and I'd already paid for that. He talked to his manager (#4) for a bit more and then said they could do it for free. (They were obviously grumpy that they weren't making any money for their efforts, but if they're gonna have a giant "T-Mobile" logo on their storefront and shirts, I expect them to handle T-Mobile customer service issues without charging me extra.)

On my way home, I looked at my plan. He'd set me up with the "on-demand" tablet plan, which includes no data, costs $10/mo, and claims to include a $10/mo "you also have a voice line" discount, but I couldn't find it anywhere.

So I called someone (#5) on the phone, and explained what I was trying to set up. He, too, couldn't find it in his system, and offered me the $10/mo Match Your Data plan, but I held out for the free one. He transferred me to someone (#6) in Loyalty who finally explained how to sign up for the 200 MB plan.

The punchline, in case you're trying to do it yourself: It's not a postpaid plan, it's a prepaid plan you sign up for through the ConnectMe captive portal ON YOUR TABLET.

So I tried to do this, but it didn't work, since the store had already added the tablet to a plan.

So I fired up their live chat, got a rep (#7), and promptly closed the window by accident (^W does not do the same thing in Chrome as in a terminal).

...opened it again, got another rep (#8), who said they could actually get me the Match Your Data plan for free, but that they couldn't make it effective until next month. I said fine, and took it, and indeed, the pending change popped up in my account.

I figured I might as well double-check, so I talked to another chat rep (#9) and asked if they could push the change through any faster. They said they could, but that Match Your Data did not actually qualify for the $10/mo "you also have a voice line" discount, so it'd be $10/mo. I finally gave up and decided that $10/mo for 4.5 GB of data was enough of a deal that I'd just pay it for my friend.

...NINE PEOPLE (ten if you count me) to get a data plan set up.
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... does SMS work?
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Stop assuming the reason for failures in your apps:

Just because you can't reach Fitbit.com doesn't mean it's down for maintenance (I actually wandered out of wi-fi range, and it didn't retry).

Just because you failed to upload my check deposit doesn't mean I was logged out for inactivity (the app actually crashed).
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My Nest knows the indoor and outdoor temperature and humidity. Why can't it tell me to open the windows when it's nicer outside than inside and it's needlessly running the A/C (or, more rarely, heat)?
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I sense a feature request and/or hacking project! :D
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Thomas Tuttle

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Wow, Vizio (no G+ page :( ) just shipped a firmware update in the middle of 2015 to the 2014-model TV I have (E550i-B2E):

Update to 1.60.10-020 includes:
- Multiple picture quality improvements and adjustments
- Improvements on system stability 
- iHeartRadio will now be a full HTML5 app.
- Improved behavior when playing multimedia files either by USB or through DLNA
- Overall improved system stability and performance
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Thomas Tuttle

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Have you ever printed a multi-page print job and not wanted it collated?

(If you collate it, you get the entire first copy, then the entire second copy, and so on. If you don't collate it, you get several copies of the first page, then several copies of the second page, and so on. As an example, you might want to not collate if you have a document containing three one-page handouts and you want to put out stacks of 30 copies of each handout -- you'd print it uncollated and simply split it into the three stacks.)
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No, I haven't printed un-collated.
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Yes, I have printed un-collated.
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Nora Kischer-Browne's profile photoRiff Zifnab's profile photoThomas Tuttle's profile photoZachary McCord's profile photo
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It's useful for anything where each page of the document needs to be reviewed and the copies of that page dealt with before moving on. Ideally those business processes are electronic, of course…
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Thomas Tuttle

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Surprise two-factor from Amazon!
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I mean, WIWTF is good even in the expected configuration as protection against stolen/phished passwords. It's not mathematically more secure, but it does reduce the chance of a stolen or phished password being reusable without more effort.
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Sibyl L
 
I dunno... I got thru the first 5 challenges on completely dain-bramaged code. Working on 6 now.
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"A total freak, but our kind of freak." -- [anonymous coworker]
"like one of those self-petting cats." -- relsqui
"queerly a cat" -- [anonymous partner]
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