The number one problem affecting the USA

I finally have a solution for the number one problem affecting the USA. That of course is the continued lack of adoption of the metric system, with a small side order of "use 24 hour clocks".

The solution is mandatory service in the military or NASA as picked by the people affected. Both organisations use metric and 24 hour clocks, so the blight of imperial units can finally be wiped out (and I no longer have to ask "which 8 o'clock did you mean?").

There are other benefits. It will help alleviate the high new- graduate unemployment rate, help more people understand the budget spending (~20% goes on military, ~0.5% on NASA), get more youth to vote since they will be affected by politics, wars, science etc and finally help with education since kids will know they need to prepare for their choice. A flawless plan!

Android QuickOffice warning

There is QuickOffice app on Android (it comes preinstalled on some, and is also available on other platforms). Be aware that if you use its cloud storage functionality that an access token is sent to one of their servers which then accesses the actual cloud server (Google Docs, Dropbox etc). This is not disclosed in any way.

What it means is that when their servers get hacked, the hackers will have full access to any storage you provided the credentials for. For all you know, they already do.

I've been back and forth with their support, with their latest statement being this nonsense: "However, I've been told that we are doing our cloud storage access in a very secure way, even more secure than accessing same cloud storage via web browser or native application."

Be afraid, very afraid.

Space buff Android app


ISSLive - Apps on Android Market Interact with live streaming data from the International Space Station (ISS), Take virtual 3D tours of the Mission Control Center (MCC) and ... (more)

A wonderful app for space buffs on Android where you can get a current view of the ISS in orbit as well as visit the control center and see the same live data as shown on many of the screens. As I write, the urine tank is 24% full and both S-Band antennas are on.

(Obligatory whine about this not really being space travel and how we could be doing so much better and going so much further.)

Downloads, piracy and freedom

Those of you who download content the copyright holders don't want you to do not care about freedom and you are acting against your own best interests.

Copyright means the owner of a work can choose under what conditions copies are made. Just as with any creative work you make, copyright owners can choose when and if they allow copies, what price, and who to - eg you can decide your work can only be copied by bacon eaters for 3 cents. This is a fundamental and important freedom. Just because HBO does not want to sell you a copy of Game of Thrones at a price and conveniece that suits you does not mean you can trample over their freedoms to make those decisions.

And when you do go ahead and download anyway, you are hurting your own interests. This is because you do not pick an alternative such as reading a book, watching something else, or joining a juggling group. It is very likely that those alternatives are not as good as what you wanted. But go and do them anway. They will improve and the original copyright owner not meeting your needs will learn their lesson. To understand the mechanism how this works, read the book "The Innovator's Dilemma" by Clayton Christensen. The alternatives always start out crappier than what they replace, but they then more rapidly adjust to meet the consumer's needs. Another example is how anybody pirating Windows is not hurting Microsft, but rather hurting the alternatives and how they adjust to that person's needs.

So seriously, do complain to let the companies know that their businesses do not meet your needs, but do not take away their freedoms by downloading, and do patronise the alternatives so they more rapidly meet your needs.

One thing you should concern yourself with is government enforced monopolies. This is when by law and with the backing of the state alternatives cannot be provided. This happens when towns sign 10 year franchise agreements with a cable company preventing any competition. It happens when patents are granted on things that do not deserve 20 years of suppressing alternatives because they are't actually innovations made public 20 years earlier than otherwise would have happened. And it happens when companies pay congress to enact laws suppressing competition in other ways. Behind all these is your vote.