Il Diario di Tinton











Location Services Screen Shot

Location Services Screen Shot

Update: Coincidentally, a few weeks after i posted this entry, the new update of iOS removed this behaviour.

Have you ever noticed? To turn off Location Services, there is this BIG RED button, (which is rarely used throughout the iPhone, maybe just for those critical things, like reset the iPhone to factory settings) asking for confirmation, but to turn it on, swoosh it goes, right ahead, without asking for anything.

What’s up with that?

Aggiornamento: Per pura coincidenza, proprio qualche settimana dopo aver pubblicato questo, l’aggiornamento di iOS ha rimosso il comportamento bizzarro discusso qui sotto.

Lo hai mai notato?

Per spegnere le Location Services, l’iPhone chiede conferma facendo un di un GRANDE BOTTONE ROSSO (che viene usato molto raramente, giusto solo per quelle operazioni ad alto rischio, come la re-impostazione ai valori di fabbrica, cancellando quindi tutti i dati), ma per accenderle, si accende subito, senza chiedere nulla.

Sai mica il perché?

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{2013-10-22}   JTAG Flashing a CM5000

JTAG Flashing via unbuffered Xilinx DLC5 Cable III a CM5000 processor

20131022-231223.jpg



{2013-09-13}   Phoneblocks

From http://phoneblocks.com:

“Everyday we throw away millions of electronic devices, because they get old and become worn out. But usually it’s only one of the components that causes the problem. The rest of the device works fine but is needlessly thrown away. Simple because electronic devices are not designed to last. This makes electronic waste one of the fastest growing waste streams in the world. And our phone is one of the biggest causes.

See the video presentation and home page.

The concept is great! I really like the idea of repairable hardware. While it is important for all of us to participate, it is also just as important to do so with the awareness that this is most likely not going to materialize. The reason why i’m expressing this opinion is to prevent discouragement, and here’s what i mean.

We find ourselves now in an era of disposable hardware. The era of repairable hardware has passed a few decades ago. Most hardware vendors are exploiting the planet to be able to deliver cheap hardware, which is very hard to repair, hence encouraging replacement over maintenance. It’s more profitable for them, however it’s not sustainable at a planetary level. For this reason, and because of the law of impermanence, this will have to change again. So we will enter a new era or repairable hardware at some point again, there is no question about that. The unknown is when.

So the proposed 29th of October blast will not materialize in anything physical or concrete. At the same time it will be a first move toward the new era. Manufacturers will start to read of this blast in the news, and, while they will most likely not act upon it in any way, the seed will get planted. And blast after blast, news article after news article, CEO after CEO, eventually the necessity will become so normal, so natural, that manufacturers will naturally start to move towards more expensive repairable hardware again.

So this is why it is important to participate, while at the same time being prepared and avoiding disappointment and discouragement. Let’s just keep making our voices heard, without expecting them to be heard, persistently, ardently, patiently. The law of nature is such that sooner or later, we are bound to succeed.

Da http://phoneblocks.com:

“Ogni giorno buttiamo via milioni di oggetti elettronici, perché sono diventati vecchi e consumati. Nella maggior parte dei casi, però, la causa del problema si limita ad un singolo componente. Il rimanente del dispositivo funziona bene, ma viene gettato via lo stesso, semplicemente perché i dispositivi elettronici non sono studiati per durare. Questo fa sì che i rifiuti elettronici siano diventati uno dei flussi di rifiuti più rapidamente in crescita al mondo. E il nostro cellulare è uno dei motivi principali.

Vedi  il video e visita la home page.

Il concetto è fantastico! Adoro l’idea di dispositivi riparabili. È importante per tutti noi interessati partecipare, ed è altrettanto importante farlo con la consapevolezza che molto probabilmente in apparenza non andrà da nessuna parte. Il motivo per esprimere questo punto di vista è per prevenire di scoraggiarsi, ed qui spiego cosa intendo dire.

Ci troviamo ora come ora in un’epoca di dispositivi usa e getta. L’epoca dei dispositivi riparabili è terminata da qualche decina d’anni. La maggior parte dei produttori sfrutta le risorse del pianeta (mano d’opera, materia prima e smaltimento rifiuti) in modo da poter vendere sottocosto oggetti che sono molto difficili da riparare, incoraggiandone, così, la loro sostituzione. Sicuramente gli rende di più, ma allo stesso tempo non è una procedura sostenibile a livello planetario. Per questo motivo, e per la legge dell’impermanenza, questo dovrà cambiare di nuovo, e quindi entreremo prima o poi in una nuova era di dispositivi e oggetti riparabili. Mentre non c’è dubbio su questo, la domanda che rimane è quando accadrà.

Quindi la proposta di farci sentire tutti assieme il 29 Ottobre 2013 non si materializzerà in qualcosa di tangibile o concreto. Però si tratterebbe di uno dei primi movimenti in direzione della suddetta nuova epoca. I produttori cominceranno a leggere di questo evento sui notiziari (web, cartacei o TV che sia) e mentre molto probabilmente non li prenderanno in considerazione, il concetto verrà seminato. E così dimostrazione dopo dimostrazione, articolo dopo articolo, CEO dopo CEO, prima o poi questa idea diventerà così naturale per tutti, che si trasformerà in necessità, e dunque i produttori cominceranno a soddisfare le richieste riprenderanno a produrre apparecchi elettronici più costosi, ma riparabili.

È per questo che ritengo importante partecipare a questa dimostrazione, e allo stesso tempo farlo con la consapevolezza di non aspettarsi nulla, in modo da evitare frustrazione e scoraggiamento. Continuiamo pazientemente a ardentemente  a farci sentire, senza aspettarci di essere sentiti: prima o poi dovremo avere successo. Così è la legge della natura.



This page has been moved to https://wiki.afm.co/x/SAI0Ag

 



T-Mobile has two really cool plans, which have finally made cellular data an option for me while in the USA: $2/day and $3/day, only for those days that the phone is actually online. Both have unlimited SMS, voice and data, but while the $2/day provides only 2G data speeds, the $3/day provides 3G/4G speeds for the first 200MB, and 2G above that. Since i come to the USA for business a few times a year, and stay a couple of weeks each time, this plan has changed my life.

At any rate, i have discovered that what they publicize does not represent the reality i have experienced: it is publicized that the first 200MB of traffic are 3G/4G and everything above that only 2G. So, a sort of a FAP. But in reality i have experienced this:

  • Checking on t-mobile.com for the available traffic didn’t help me, as it kept showing me 0MB used. Maybe the information is not real time? Maybe it was that way because i had just upgraded from the $2 to the $3 plan? In any case, i hit the limit with that page showing i had used up 0MB. Maybe it might have been necessary to disconnect, and reconnect for the site to pick up the correct
    English: Unusual speed limit (3 MPH), located ...

    English: Unusual speed limit (3 MPH), located at the DATA bus terminal in downtown Durham, North Carolina. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    amount of data used. Don’t know.

  • The speed limitation (FAP) after 200MB is not 2G, but less than a third of 2G.

2G data uses EDGE technology which has a bandwidth limit of 320kbps, which usually in reality never translates to more than 25KBps (bytes, not bits). But T-Mobile allows connecting on 3G network and the data bandwidth available seems to be about 8KBps (around 64kbps). At that speed, it would take about 4-5 minutes to load the t-mobile.com website, instead of taking less than 1.5 minutes. This makes a huge difference when working at such low speed, especcially because many servers have connection timeouts. For instance the t-mobile.com website is so heavy, the server seems to timeout each time i try to load the page after i hit the 200MB limit.

The speed limit also occurs when disabling 3G on the phone, and connecting with 2G technology only. While i have no proof physical proof (i.e. router configurations, or other packet/frame data that indicates bandwidth limitation) that T-Mobile has a bandwidth limiter in place, i sure feel comfortable saying that it sure looks like they do: from downtown Chicago, where i get 5 bars of coverage, i can’t get more than 8KBps with lots of jitter connecting via 2G, and about the same 8KBps with almost no jitter connecting via 3G once i have hit the 200MB limit.

I have also noticed that the $2/day plan is faster than the $3/day plan once the 200MB limit has been reached, by about a factor of 2.

Conclusion: T-Mobile claims that they provide 2G (EDGE) bandwidth once the 200MB/day limit has been reached, while instead it’s more like 1G (GPRS) bandwidth.



{2012-10-31}   Nice post on Google!

Why I left Google

I tend to agree with his point of view.



English: T-Mobile logo

English: T-Mobile logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is incredible. Not only do they not allow special characters, which is specified, but if the user tries to enter the letter ‘v’ or capital ‘V’, it simply is ignored! And all this in addition to the limited copy/paste functionality (see this older post). Hmm, i bet T-Mobile has some sloppy javascript programmers…



Symbol for copy & paste problem on the English...

Symbol for copy & paste problem on the English Wikipedia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I believe disabling copy/paste into HTML forms to be rude and bad netiquette because it’s an imposition on to the user and it provides close to no security improvement. (It’s sort of like opening links in new tabs or windows: if a user wants to open a link in a new window or tab, the user will do so. It’s easy enough to do it with ctrl-click, but it’s so much harder to go back to the old website and close that tab.)

Personally, i make use of password assistants to generate very secure passwords and make use of password managers all the time: copying and pasting password is a very essential feature i use on the personal computer. Disabling copy/paste functionality is a tremendous extra effort: so now i have to type in 16-31 random characters twice by hand? Do you know how much time it takes me? I type it once, then i make a mistake, so start all over again, type again… The impression it gives to the user is that the HTML programmers are saying “Look, i’m so good, i even know how to disable copy/paste feature”. So it really feels like it’s an ego thing, and i don’t need it, thanks.

And indeed this is what just happened: i had to change my password on the https://my.t-mobile.com and i had to look at the password and type it twice manually. Something must have gone wrong, because it accepted the changes, but then when i went to login again, it wouldn’t let me log in with the new password, and locked my account! To unlock, they sent me a SMS messages, which i cannot read, because the phone is offline now, since i’m in Italy. And all i wanted to do was to check to make sure i had money on the card, and the credit was not expired…



{2012-09-18}   Vodafone UK

Personal experience using a prepaid SIM in London.

I paid 10£ for 500MB of data and 300 text messages in the UK. However:

– Internet is by default content filtered. The user must ask to deactivate content filtering, which can take upto midnight. I was unable to access Fring.com.

– Was not able to WiFi tether. Personal Hotspot mode on iPhone is not allowed at all, apparently, for pay as you go cards.

– 3G network works pretty well around London. Coverage is present pretty much anywhere, however not always very strong. I often worked with 1 or 2 bars. Sufficient.

– I was about to buy a mobile wifi hotspot, however I was told they are all lock to provider. So I decided not to get it.

– when I first purchased the SIM, the clerk made a mistake and topped off the 10£ to another phone number. Before leaving the store, I was told it would take some time for the top off to go through, because they had a problem with the top off system. This was not true. In reality the clerk had topped off a different number. I could have checked the number by dialing *#100# on the phone to make sure it matched the number on the receipt. I had to return to the store to get it fixed.

– Even though the sim card is immediately active, the freebee promotion or offer takes a few hours to activate. Once topped off, Internet must remain off, otherwise the user will eat off the top off credit.

– both Fring and Skype are heavily firewalled: while they work, on the 3G network, packets are dropped at a very high rate, making the voice communication practically useless. I tried to make test phone calls on both networks and the quality was identical, even with speed test results of 1Mbit up and 3Mbit down.

– international SMS are very expensive, around 30p each.

– phone calls are about 26p/min, also very expensive.



SPAM! [don't buy]

SPAM! [don’t buy] (Photo credit: dѧvid)

You might think “What? How is it my fault if my friends get spam email? I’m not a spammer!”. That’s true, you are not. But there’s more to it, that you just might not have thought of.

Introduction

More and more internet and email users are using web based email accounts to send ad receive their email. This is most likely because of the better HTML technology, faster processors and internet connections and greater availability of online connectivity (almost anywhere one can find some sort of way of getting online today). In the past,protocols such as POP and IMAP were most frequently used, which allowed the user to access email off-line, practically only from their own PC or Mac. However, not all users who have transitioned, have fully understood what this entails.

The main difference between accessing and having email on a web browser based system has to do with security. This post discusses risks such as password hacking, account abuse and the responsibility of the user’s own contact database.

Address Books and Hackers

Most web based email systems have an address book associated with them. Most of them get automatically populated, which means that when a user sends an email to somebody for the first time, the address book automatically adds that email to the user’s address book. This is a cool feature, as it will quickly and easily help you send emails to that person again: it is usually simply necessary to start typing their email address, and boom! the full email address populates automatically. These address books also usually have a pretty easy way to send an email to a group of contacts or to all contacts, making it easy to let all your friends know that you just had baby, or about your upcoming event (if you don’t want to use social networks).

Now, here is where hackers come into the picture: why would somebody want to get into somebody else’s email system? I can come up with at least three reasons:

  1. To be able to read your personal email;
  2. To be able to send undesired emails (spam) to others without being caught;
  3. To increase their list of valid email addresses to spam to.

Those who try to get into somebody else’s email account, usually don’t care about reading their personal email, unless it’s a jealous boy/girlfriend, i guess, which would be small percentage. So we won’t take that into account. Most of these people are, in fact, spammers: they want to be able to send spam emails from a valid email address, one that will let their email through all the anti-spam mechanisms out there. What better way than to use use the account of a trusted email user like you? And even better: they can send email to not only their already existing long list of email addresses, but also to all your friends, who will certainly not block emails coming from you! And then they can export this email list, and add it to their existing one, to keep spamming with other resources.

Responsibility

So who is responsible for all this? Well, certainly spammers are the first ones to blame. Given they are hard to find, there is little me and you can do to fight them, without investing a huge amount of time. Those who keep and maintain the web based email system usually (not always) do a decent job at not allowing unwanted access to their systems (otherwise they would be down most of the time). It’s the users themselves who are mainly responsible by using weak passwords.

You create a new email account an put a password like “password” or “simple” or same as your username, or something else that is easy to guess, because you think otherwise you will forget it, and because who cares anyways, if they guess that password: there is no critical information in that email account anyways! Well, spammers have bots or scripts which crawl the web, automatically trying to get access to email accounts, trying to guess passwords based on dictionary words and simple algorithms. If your password is simple, chances are high it will be guessed, and your account will be hacked into. Everyone in your address-book will receive spam emails from now on.

The bottom line

When somebody gets into your account and gets ahold of your address-book because of a weak password, you have effectively (even though unwillingly) given away the private information (names and email addresses) of your friends without having asked for permission. This is a lack of respect toward them. Whenever we keep a database of personal information of our friends (which is what an address book is), we have to accept the risks and responsibilities: we either don’t keep one, or, if we do, we should make sure this information is as secure as possible. Now, there is no need to go over-board and be paranoid: simply keeping your password complex and hard to follow is a huge step.

Always keep passwords complex: i generate different unique random passwords for each and every online system i use. This way, even if somebody where to get ahold of one password, only the data in that system will be compromised, and that password will be useless everywhere else. How do i remember all those passwords? I don’t! We have computers to do that. There are plenty password management systems available which make life so much easier. These systems usually offer a very securely encrypted database where all the passwords are stored, kind of like a safe. So the user only has to remember one master password. They also usually offer various utilities, like the one to come up with random passwords to accommodate various requirements, and automatic form filling.

I use 1Password, which even automatically fills out password information on trusted web sites at a keystroke. I love it, it really has changed my life. Now i never forget a password anymore… hem, actually, that’s not precise: i always forget the passwords, but i know where to find them.



et cetera
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