Google Chrome Bug in the Bookmarks Bar

Hey Google Chrome Devs, wouldjamind fixing the bug in the bookmarks bar?

It’s been biting me for a while now.

Story is, I refer to, sort, and add bookmarks religiously in order to categorize/organize my [mostly very] important web-based resources. To give you an idea, I keep my exported bookmarks file saved in many backup locations (in case they ever fall off my Chrome browser; get deleted somehow) and I update these backups at least monthly.

The problem I am having with the bookmarks bar is that it’s nearly impossible to consistently move around/organize folders and bookmarks (using drag and drop).

The screenshots below tell it all:

The drag and drop bug is present in the bookmark manager as well. The issue is the same but occurs with less frequency – so I am able to accomplish the action after some trial and error (whereas with the bookmarks bar the issue cannot be circumnavigated).

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The IRONY with SOPA

I was watching a recently-released (in theaters) feature film the other day online. Since I never break the law, I was watching this at a friend’s house on her computer. At one point early in the film, some text appeared as an overlay while film was playing.

Possibly, it was a hidden element embedded in the digital film strip (that only appears when people record movies in-theater with a camcorder) – which made me wonder (thinking to myself, if this were the case), why wouldn’t the studios also insert a unique specifier-encoding along with this that indicates the theater name/location too (minimally)? Otherwise, what is the point? Well, I get the point – but where is the opportunity for recourse?

The irony is in the image itself. As I watch a streaming online movie (for free), a message appears telling me ‘not to duplicate’.

Honestly, why? Because I would never even consider the notion of duplicating the film. Why would I? When I can just sit back and watch – giving myself a badge for 100% compliance.

Google’s Failing Grade – Chrome-based Chinese-to-English Translator

Being listed on Alexa Top 500 means something – or so I figure every time I hear it being used again in an article as a benchmark.

It’s been months, and maybe even a year now, since my last visit to Alexa. The list has certainly evolved and shuffled since my last time seeing it:

There would be no point for my having mentioned Alexa, had it not led to my discovery of two precarious websites resting amongst US-based powerhouse tech companies.

The two sites I notices that stuck out in the top 20 were:
#17: Sina.com    (Direct url: http://www.sina.com.cn/)

What does a Top-ranked Chinese Site look like?

So naturally, I had to explore a bit. I visited Taobao first and noticed (what appeared to me as) a completely jumbled page covered in Chinese writing. Using Google’s Always-Most-Recent Chrome Browser, I accepted when prompted for a Chinese-to-English Page Translator:

During this interaction, I thought to myself, what a wonderful service and technology this has become – And one my children will likely almost-completely take for granted.

Before any translations are accepted (on the Chrome toolbar-dropdown) it looks like this:

After proceeding with the Translate option the page looks like this:

It was hard on the eyes. And for a website globally ranked in the top 20, I questioned why Google’s Chrome-to-Translate technologies wasn’t able to translate a site many consider, “the Amazon of China”.

After Leaving Taobao, I returned to the top rankings list. I found Sina, which is currently ranked at #17. This is when something not-at-all-pretty was uncovered (after again accepting Translate):

I assure you I was set to 100% (default) zoom in my browser settings. Here is a closer look:

Just to be sure, I translated the Japan-based version of Yahoo (aka Yahoo! Japan):

And it looks dramatically better.

The Challenge Exists Especially with Images

I am aware the Chinese language is one of the toughest for any algo to consistantly crack. And it may also have a lot to do with the image-based media displayed throughout such China-based pages.

examples of main slideshow (middle of homepage; taken from Taobao.com):

I just wanted to bring this up. And maybe the guys at Google can think further into this problem. It is a pretty big problem when you think into the underlying contexts (in the sense of limiting access to shared information; business politics) and maybe the guys at Google can think into it a bit more.

…or maybe they already have and they “know what they’re doing.”

Note: I left out QQ.com, which is #11 on the Alexa Global List. So that there would be one high-ranked gem leftover for readers yet to discover.

Conceptual Vision to Limit Citizen’s Privacy Invasion by the US Government (Part 1)

Popular sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and others are compiling tremendous amounts of personal data on their users.

Imagine the depth of information the United States Government is capable of retrieving on a person. The FBI, CIA, IRS, and other intelligence agencies (all funded by taxpayers) undoubtedly host an even more complex consortium of information.

Such agencies’ rights to compile this data is an issue in itself. But the reason for this blog is to address the due process procedures that need to be re-written (and adhered by the [once-citizens/now-]agents of all our government branches).

What can you tell about this person?

Two questions I have for each US Citizen:

Do you feel our government already knows more than you would like them to about you?

Do you feel it is reasonable to set new laws that require government agencies to follow clearly defined procedures before prying into personal aspects about your life?

 

I will try to pass this point with a more pathos-infused real-world situation:

In a municipal court case resting on the key testimony of Officer JOE, who arrested Citizen TOM for negligent driving, the case has been pushed to trail. A jury of Citizen TOM’s peers will decide his fate – whether or not TOM will receive a charge of negligent driving on his permanent record (and any applicable fines, community service, and/or jail time).

Before giving testinomey in front of TOM’s peers, Officer JOE coordinates an investigation in coordination with his friends in the Prosecuting Attorneys Office. Fortunately for JOE, the reach of his investigation goes much further than the filing cabinets in the PA’s office. This is because the Data Records System used by the PA’s office are shared with many other prominent government agencies.

In this particular case, the PA’s office is able to uncover a small treasure trove of private images (displaying TOM with his friends around their fast cars), two YouTube Videos titled, “How to Drift on Interstate-5 Without Getting Busted” and “My car can reach 190mph, can yours?”, as well as several personal emails between TOM and his friends regarding past racing meetups.

When Officer JOE takes the stand he is questioned about the public service he has provided to his community as an officer, his past awards and recommendations, the time he saved the mayor’s daughter from a kidnapping, and oh, briefly he is asked about his observation of TOM’s negligent driving. Once Office JOE steps down from the stand, the PA presents the ‘uncovered’ incriminating evidence to the jury.

When TOM takes the stand he still in shock about the evidence that has just been presented against him. He tells the jury that the racing videos from YouTube were taken when he was 16, deleted shortly after, and are anecdotal pieces of evidence that are now almost 8 years old. A similar explanation of the emails and photos is given by TOM to the jury as well.

All of the evidence, TOM claims, was ‘permanently deleted’ many years ago while TOM began seeking employment after graduating from college. Lastly, TOM tells the jurors that he has never received any sort of traffic or parking ticket before the one cited by Officer JOE and that he was making the improper lane changes (that constitute his charge of negligent driving) on the day that Officer JOE cited him.

The jury hands down a verdict of ‘guilty’ after only four hours of deliberation.

What happened in this hypothetial court case?

Can you see where the evidence held against TOM was done so unfairly?

Disassembling my HTC EVO 4G Android Phone

disassembling

present participle of dis·as·sem·ble (Verb)

1. Take (something) to pieces.

When my HTC Evo started (Android OS) starting bugging out on me last week I decided to contact my phone insurance company to make a claim. To clarify, my original HTC Evo had treated me quite well. It was the multi-touchscreen that started failing on me first (maybe a couple-to-many drops?), which caused the UI to constantly misinterpret touch gestures. To give you a basic idea, apps were being opened that I had never touched and even calls were executing on their own from my call log.

When my new phone arrived, the documentation provided in the box from my insurer stated that I was not required to return the original (per the nature of the claim). “Great,” I thought to myself. A chance to do something fun with the original Evo!

So I began taking the phone apart to get a better glimpse at the guts. To see the phone’s specs click here.

Step 1 was simple enough. I removed the phone’s rear case, battery, and memory card:

(click to enlarge)

Step 2 entailed removing six tiny T5 Torx screws that hold the internal frame to the rest of the phone:

(click to enlarge)

In Step 3, I removed the Dual LED Flash from the internal frame:

(click to enlarge)

Step 4 was as far as I decided to go – detaching a side button and the logic board from the rest of the unit:

(click to enlarge)

And here it all is:

(click to enlarge)

I will keep the hardware for replacements (for my new Evo) or I may try to use some of the remaining components (i.e., the 8+ megapixel camera) to start a new project with – I have yet to decide.

Nevertheless, it was a fun project and now the question I am asking myself is…

(click to enlarge)

what should I hack open next?

Reddit Chalked at Berkeley

I’ve seen several occurances of this all over campus this week (and it’s the start of fall semester). The pics below are from Evans hall, but I’ve also seen the chalking: “reddit.com/r/berkeley,” all around the sidewalks of Soda and Etcheverry Halls.

Clever exposure.

I wonder what the stats were for unique visitors over the last week (compared to previous week) for reddit.com/r/berkeley, as well as the number of click-thrus to main reddit.com. Also, a data point pertaining to the number of new user accounts created would be interesting to know too.