In his blog post about how some folks want to regulate the internet Mr. Hearney makes a statement

“See, it was already producing the electricity that Bob just purchased, because that’s mostly how generators work – they produce a certain amount of electricity, whether it gets used or not. It’s just that, until Bob signed up, that electricity was going to waste. ”

Of course, that is completely mistaken; otherwise we would just build generators and put them in parking lots. The reality is generators transform one form of energy (the source) into another. When Bob starts using energy, well the generator either burns more fossil fuel, or draws down more water from its limited reservoir. Generation and distribution are often constrained, so during peak demand periods, the market price will rise; in regulated markets there are all sorts of ways to try and balance supply and demand with various price schedules based on all sorts of factors.

In Mr. Hearney’s example, no energy was going to waste because Bob wasn’t consuming it; what was going to waste was distribution capacity of the network. If Bob wants energy they still need to burn some more coal or use some more of this seasons water stored behind a dam.

The transmission and distribution of electricity are generally not competitive. In many places, the generation is very competitive, but the consumer still needs to pay to get the energy delivered somehow, and the transmission network may very well be constrained during peak usage periods. It gets more expensive to deliver electricity when more people want it at the same time.

Where we might take exception to Hearney’s argument on net neutrality is that, yes, you have paid your ISP for delivery from their network to your home; however, you have not paid for the transmission of massive amounts of data from the provider (like youtube or netflix) to the ISP. Who should pay for that cost? All consumers with a broadband package, or those using massive amounts of data from youtube and Netflix? (Please don’t confuse this argument with sympathy for ISPs and the rates they charge us consumers).

The other problem with net neutrality is I want your BitTorrent and Netflix and Youtube and whatever it is people due with their Xboxes throttled a bit when I have a realtime application (like VOIP) which needs a little bandwidth, but needs priority to work well.

I have created a folder action for Mac OS X that will automatically update the GPS Assist data for GPS-enabled Sony cameras such as the HX-9V etc.

I do not currently know how to create an installer for it, so you will have to install it yourself.

The action itself was written in Automator which just drives a simple bash script.

If you want confirmation that the script actually updated your GPS Assist data, you will need to install both Growl and GrowlNotify, which I recommend. Otherwise you won’t know if the script is updating your GPS Assist data when you mount your memory card.

To get it working:

Download the Sony GPS Assist Update.workflow, unzip it, and copy “Sony GPS Assist Update.workflow” to your “~/Library/Workflows/Applications/Folder Actions” folder. It might be tricky if ~/Library is a hidden folder on your system. If it is hidden, use the Finder “Go/Go To Folder” menu and type “~/Library” when prompted.

Use the AppleScripts menu (click here if you don’t see it) and select the “Folder Actions/Configure Folder Actions” menu item.

Add the “Sony GPS Assist Update.workflow” folder action to the “/Volumes” folder. This can be tricky, directions on attaching a folder action to “/Volumes” are here.

Create a folder on your memory card “/PRIVATE/SONY/GPS” (all caps!). It doesn’t matter what you name your memory card.

Now, when you plug in your memory card into your card reader, within 5-10 seconds the GPS Assist Data should be automatically updated. You can look in the “PRIVATE/SONY/GPS” folder on the memory card and check the timestamp on the file “assistme.dat”. It should be current.

If you can create an installer that would install the workflow to the correct folder and attach it as a Folder Action to /Volumes let me know. I think many folks would find this useful.

With paperless statements from Scotiabank, you don’t actually get a statement. You have to print the monthly transactions if you want a record. I print to a PDF for recordkeeping. No big deal, except that cheque images are not printed with the transaction history, and you can only go back a few months to view old cheque images.

It is painstaking to open each cheque image and print or save to a PDF. By the time you go through these for a month and save each cheque image as a PDF with appropriate file name you can spend 10-20 minutes.

I am now investigating whether I can get cheque images on the paper statement. If so it would be about 20 minutes faster each month to scan the statement and avoid recording each cheque image, which would be ironic.

mint.com collects and stores login credentials to banks and other financial institutions as users provide them willingly.

My instinct is that users who have provided financial institution credentials to mint.com should change their passwords and that financial institutions who don’t allow their users to give their login information to third parties (isn’t that all of them?) block all login attempts from known mint.com addresses.

Here is an example of mint trying to collect a users login. A user probably thinks they are logging in to Scotiabank given the nice logo and all, like when they log into third party accounts safely (I think) using their Facebook (ugh) or Google or Twitter IDs as identifiers (OAuth identification).

mint-spoof-bank-login

From the mint.com privacy FAQ:

Your bank login credentials are stored securely in a separate database using multi-layered hardware and software encryption.

I have sent a note to a well known security expert Bruce Schneier, if he elects to comment I’ll post an update.

mint.com isn’t new and has probably been collecting users financial institution credentials for years.

Trying to put an epub book into Kobo IPad App with ITunes seems to cause the IPad app to crash on startup.

The failure on the IPhone app is less severe, it reports library books are expired when they are not.

Non-DRM EBUB books will sync to to Kobo via ITunes fine it seems.

Also tried bluefire reader, seems like you can copy non-DRM and DRM epub books to Bluefire reader on IOS.

If you want to read DRM books from a library on Iphone or IPad, the easiest is to download them right into the device using Overdrive Media Console app. You can’t currently transfer DRM books from the computer to Overdrive Media Console (lame) via ITunes.

If you want to read a DRM book from a library on Kobo you can transfer via adobe digital editions.

If you prefer to use the Bluefire app to read library books on your IOS device, download to adobe digital editions, find the epub file on your computer, and transfer to Bluefire.

It also turns out you can add non-drm epub books to dropbox or similar service, and then open those files in dropbox, selecting either bluefire, kobo, or overdrive media app to read your book in. DRM books will only work in bluefire right now this way.

I was able to get this working on bluehost, and probably would work on other hosted unix you might use for web hosting.

  1. Download the binary 64 bit installer for linux from node.js. You can download it to bluehost with curl and extract with tar, or unpack it on your computer and upload the binaries, it doesn’t matter which.
  2. Copy npm and node to your ~/bin directory. make sure they are executable (try and run them, and fix with chmod if you need to).
  3. npm will probably be broken. Fix by downloading install.sh from http://nodejs.org/. Run it with sh install.sh.
  4. install lessc with the usual “npm install -g less”

Before I figured this out I was running lessc on a webdisk, which would take 20s to run. Running on bluehost via an ssh login takes only 0.8s