Johnathan.org

September 25, 2018

They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead

About a man ahead of his time, Morgan Neville shares what Orson Welles’ final years were really like from the perspective of those who were there.

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Amazon Plants Fake Packages to Catch Delivery Driver Theft

Business Insider:

The company plants the packages — internally referred to as “dummy” packages — in the trucks of drivers at random. The dummy packages have fake labels and are often empty.

“We might pull something out of our pocket and put it in there” to give it some weight, a former Amazon logistics manager told Business Insider. This person, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution, said instructions for the practice came from Amazon’s corporate offices in Seattle.

“It’s meant to be a trap … to check the integrity of the driver,” he said.

I’ve had an Amazon box show up already opened (cut, not hastily taped) so whatever Amazon thinks is necessary is entirely fine by me. The contents were left behind probably because it was a water filter for my refrigerator… not something valuable or of interest to most individuals. I had one other package never “arrive” (a Philips Hue bulb, about $50 in value) though it was marked as delivered. It took several hoop jumping events to convince Amazon customer service that it never arrived. I had to explain to them that 99.95% of my deliveries landed in a secure package locker (even from Amazon’s own delivery cronies) and that if it wasn’t here, it really wasn’t here. There was no where else to put the package. 

I would just as well prefer Amazon stopped using their delivery drivers so much, too. They tend to be quite haphazard in their delivery processes and always seem to be stumped when they encounter a building that requires an access code (like mine) or a package locker. It might help if I was able to give Amazon more detailed instructions on how to delivery properly, but as of right now, that’s too much to ask.

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September 24, 2018

TechCrunch: Zoho Pulled Offline After Phishing Complaints

From TechCrunch:

The web-based office suite company, which also provides customer relationship and invoicing services to small businesses, tweeted that the site was “blocked” earlier in the day by TierraNet, which administers its domain name.

In an email to TechCrunch, Zoho boss Sridhar Vembu said that TierraNet “took our domain down without any notice to us” after receiving complaints about phishing emails from Zoho-hosted email accounts.

It’s a smart move that Zoho is moving registrars. Might I suggest one that people have actually heard of? 

Adding fuel to the un-professional fire, TierraNet openly shared details of the cancellation with a random user:

One Twitter user mentioned that by doing this, Tierra violated an ICANN policy (I’m assuming this one in eliminating access to 40 million email addresses. 

Another Twitter user (see a trend, here?) mentioned something about Google’s domain being suspended for phishing. The difference here is google.com is registered with MarkMonitor, a brand reputation company, not just any registrar with a generic site. 

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Mathematician Claims to have Proof of the Riemann Hypothesis

From NewScientist:

If a solution to the Riemann hypothesis is confirmed, it would be big news. Among other things, the hypothesis is intimately connected to the distribution of prime numbers, those indivisible by any whole number other than themselves and one. If the hypothesis is proven to be correct, mathematicians would be armed with a map to the location of all such prime numbers, a breakthrough with far-reaching repercussions in the field.

Before I posted this, I didn’t know anything about the Riemann hypothesis so I did some digging. The Wikipedia article is full of technical terminology so if you’re a layman like me, this’ll make more sense (from the Simple English version of Wikipedia):

The hypothesis is named after Bernhard Riemann. It is about a special function, the Riemann zeta function. This function inputs and outputs complex number values. The inputs that give the output zero are called zeros of the zeta function. Many zeros have been found. The “obvious” ones to find are the negative even integers. This follows from Riemann’s functional equation. More have been computed and have real part 1/2. The hypothesis states all the undiscovered zeros must have real part 1/2.

The functional equation also says all zeros (except the “obvious” ones) must be in the critical strip: real part is between 0 and 1. The Riemann hypothesis says more: they are on the line given, in the image on the right (the white dots). If the hypothesis is false, this would mean that there are white dots which are not on the line given.

If proven correct, this would allow mathematicians to better describe how the prime numbers are placed among whole numbers.

Short version: it deals with prime numbers and if Atiyah has a proof, it’ll make prime number discovery and understanding much easier. 

Atiyah has a paper on this topic, too, if you’re really into math.

(h/t Kottke.org)

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September 22, 2018

The Counterfeit Apple Accessories Market

From USA Today:

The knockoff power adapters and chargers, which Apple says could cause electrical shocks, allegedly traveled from a manufacturer in Hong Kong to Amazon.com, with stopping points at the Brooklyn location and New Jersey electronics companies.

Twelve of 400 fake iPhone adapters tested in a study unrelated to those in Apple’s lawsuit were so badly constructed that they posed “a risk of lethal electrocution to the user,” U.S.-based safety standards leader UL warned.

Apple said it decided to sue after the company bought a number of its power adapters and charging and syncing cables “that were directly sold by Amazon.com – not a third-party seller – and determined that they were counterfeit.”

Reading this article, I can’t help but think that Amazon is complacent in this practice. All they care about is selling shit, sometimes literal technological shit.

This article goes into insane depth about the process and path these fake Apple accessories took to land on Amazon.com, weaving their way through a few businesses in the United States before landing on the digital storefront. 

For the majority of my accessories, I stick to first-party options. Are they more expensive? Absolutely. There are way too many no-name, probably total garbage, Chinese-made turds on Amazon and other marketplaces. There is no vouching or vetting for these brands. Amazon puts in very little effort (yes, that’s six unique articles about the problem) to make sure reviews are legitimate. I have probably a small handful of 3rd-party manufactures I buy from–Anker and Mophie are two that come to mind immediately–and that’s about it. I don’t care that I’m paying more. I’m paying for something that actually works, not something that can kill me because someone wanted to make a quick buck.

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Johnathan Lyman
Kenmore, WA,
United States
 
blogging, design, technology, software, development, gaming, photography