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David Warde-Farley
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Someone was having too much fun with the StreetView appliance at the Montreal IKEA. +Julian Ibarz +Yaroslav Bulatov I think we have a face-blurring failure mode. :P

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I expect this sort of thing from the University of Toronto (who once sent me transcripts addressed to the Universit? de Montr?al) but Google is usually pretty good about internationalization, so this was pretty surprising. 

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No ordinary fart app! A physics-based fart synthesizer for Android.

If this doesn't make iOS users want to switch over to Android, I don't know what will.

I left my Chromecast on for a while with nothing playing, and I suppose that a recent update has added a nature photo slideshow.

Interestingly they credit the photographer in the bottom right corner, and based on a little searching, they seem to be all or mostly taken by Googlers. Rather notable Googlers, in some cases; I just saw a photo taken by +Peter Norvig.

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Nicely done, +Hugo Larochelle! These look great.

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The packet capture shown in these new NSA slides shows internal database replication traffic for the anti-hacking system I worked on for over two years. Specifically, it shows a database recording a user login as part of this system:

Recently +Brandon Downey, a colleague of mine on the Google security team, said (after the usual disclaimers about being personal opinions and not speaking for the firm which I repeat here) - "fuck these guys":

I now join him in issuing a giant Fuck You to the people who made these slides. I am not American, I am a Brit, but it's no different - GCHQ turns out to be even worse than the NSA.

We designed this system to keep criminals out. There's no ambiguity here. The warrant system with skeptical judges, paths for appeal, and rules of evidence was built from centuries of hard won experience. When it works, it represents as good a balance as we've got between the need to restrain the state and the need to keep crime in check. Bypassing that system is illegal for a good reason.

Unfortunately we live in a world where all too often, laws are for the little people. Nobody at GCHQ or the NSA will ever stand before a judge and answer for this industrial-scale subversion of the judicial process. In the absence of working law enforcement,  we therefore do what internet engineers have always done - build more secure software. The traffic shown in the slides below is now all encrypted and the work the NSA/GCHQ staff did on understanding it, ruined.

Thank you Edward Snowden. For me personally, this is the most interesting revelation all summer.

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The enlightened brand of "fiscal responsibility" peddled by the Canadian government under Stephen Harper:

 * Cost of keeping open the world-renowned Experimental Lakes Area research facility: $2 million per year.
 * Cost of shutting down the ELA: $50 million.

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You know how us Internet hippies are always mumbling about “Network Neutrality” and you’re wondering why you should care? Here’s why. Shaw, a big Canadian ISP, is about to give their own streaming-movie business the inside track against Netflix and friends by making the bandwidth free for their own movies.

I'm not a lawyer, but I can’t help but notice Section III.27(2) of the Telecommunications Act (helpfully available online at which says: “ No Canadian carrier shall, in relation to the provision of a telecommunications service or the charging of a rate for it, unjustly discriminate or give an undue or unreasonable preference toward any person, including itself, or subject any person to an undue or unreasonable disadvantage.”

If you want a book-length explanation of why this is such a stinking bad idea, check out Tim Wu’s excellent The Master Switch.

[Sorry for the double-publish; decided it belonged in Public not Circles, and you can't change that post-publishing.]

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O brave new world...
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