SSL certainly *does* facilitate private browsing, at least from governments and service providers - you use SSL to tunnel your HTTP requests through another site (e.g. https://www.proxyssl.org/). You're still trusting the people hosting the proxy, of course, but that's a separate issue.
A more secure mechanism can be to run your *own* SSL proxy on a virtual private server. Regardless, once you have an encrypted connection to play with, you can use it for all sorts of things, regardless of the actual mechanism used (with IPSec and SSL being the two most common choices on the net).
The whole *point* of the encryption is that the ISP can't tell the difference between your connection to a bank and your connection to an SSL VPN (http://searchsecurity.techtarget.com/definition/SSL-VPN)
I'd read that piece and have some fairly major objections to it. First and foremost is the lack of a *link* to the source paper, so we're only left with Jonah's interpretation of the experiment and can't readily go check the original paper to see what, if anything has been left out.
Most importantly though, they don't explain what they *mean* by 'hedonic rating'. I love stories with interesting twists where the author carefully orchestrates things such that there are (at least) two plausible interpretations of the facts, subtly nudges people towards one of them for most of the story, but then reveals at the end that they meant the second one. When they do this well, the moment of revelation is a great step in the story, since even if you didn't pick it, you get to go back and reinterpret events in light of the new data and see that it makes sense. (Heck, the whole process is a beautiful metaphor for the mechanisms of scientific discovery and reevaluation of a hypothesis in light of experimental data).
With such stories, I get to enjoy them in two different ways - the first time, attempting to guess what is going on, seeing how well I can divine the author's real intent, and the second and subsequent times, appreciating *how* the author sets out to mislead the reader, while at the same time remaining consistent with their *real* intent.
So, the article sounds suspect to me, since the very concept of distilling the process of enjoying a story down to a single 'hedonic rating' sounds like reductionist claptrap. The kind of story I want is going to depend on a whole host of other factors. Perhaps I want to be challenged in trying to guess where a story is going, perhaps I want to curl up with a familiar tale to pass some time without having to think too much.
Now, that said, I don't understand people that are *rabidly* anti-spoilers, either, especially when they're happy to reread books they like. You can't get a much bigger spoiler than having read, seen or heard the entire story before.
Did you read the same article I did? What did you think comments like "Anything politicians do to try to force it almost always does the opposite." were referring to if not "'jobs' projects"?
Focusing on building and upgrading expensive, naturally monopolistic networks (such as road systems, electricity grids, networking infrastructure, water distribution networks, sewage systems) is a good way to increase the chances of getting smart infrastructure spending from governments. But focusing on "job creation" as the primary motivator for government infrastructure spending is unlikely to be a good way to allocate resources.
Given the much vaunted touting of 'professional fact checking' by the various legacy news organisations and their regular failure to acknowledge mistakes and updates online, yes, it absolutely *is* worth mentioning.
It isn't a given that humanity will survive. We know from the example of Venus right next door that a runaway greenhouse effect is physically possible. We know from Earth's own history that climate change induced mass extinctions are also possible (as the less temperature change tolerant components of the foodchain die off, causing serious problems for critters higher in the foodchain that can themselves tolerate the changes in temperatures, but starve due to the depletion of their food sources).
Now, such dire outcomes may not be *likely*, but they're definitely possible. We can see the oncoming train - it makes sense to step off the tracks.
Doesn't sound fixed to me - no mention of eliminating the ability for resharing to bypass the explicitly set photo album access controls (which *should* be completely independent of what you post to your stream, but currently are not).
Having been surprised by this myself, there is a *genuine* problem with the Google+ privacy model on this point: it gives you the *impression* of doing one thing, while actually do something else entirely.
First, let's go back to Facebook. When someone reshares a link on FB, it drops your description and any comments. Other kinds of post (photos, status updates, checkins) aren't easily reshared at all - you have to copy/paste them and the same goes for the descriptions you give posted links.
Now, move to G+ and by default resharing is enabled for everything you post. G+ still drops the comments, but keeps your description. This is generally a good thing, but there's a few aspects to it that annoy me:
1. The resharing status is hidden away in a submenu rather than being visible when making the post
2. Posts to limited groups still enable resharing by default (the default should be the other way around - easy resharing of public material ala Twitter retweeting, but require a bit more effort to reshare nominally private material - such as copying and pasting or posting a comment to say "Hey, could you enable resharing on this, please?")
3. And this is the kicker: resharing BREAKS the access controls you have configured on your photo albums
I have all my photos on Picasaweb as an offsite back-up. I shared a few of them with my Friends circle while playing around with G+. One of my friends reshared one of those posts and it meant all of *his* friends could now see the photos in that album.
Could my friend have made copies of my photos and redistributed them to other people against my wishes? Sure, but he wouldn't do that. What happened was that completely innocently and inadvertently, he bypassed the access controls I had chosen to place on my photo albums, because that's the way G+ is currently set up to work.
However, this is just a beta - this is almost certainly the kind of bad interaction between features Google will fix before Circles goes live.
Like many others, I've been playing with Google+ for a day or so now and think it has definite potential.
The reason Circles differs from FB friend Lists is that Google have made Circles central to the entire experience. Yes, FB has had Lists for a long time, but they've always been an optional extra that most people ignore. G+, by contrast, gives people 4 Circles by default (Friends, Family, Acquaintances, Following), makes it easy to create new ones, and provides a nice, oddly *fun* interface for managing them. The *only* way to connect with someone is to add them to at least one of your circles (like Lists, the details of the circles themselves are private, but you can choose to share the aggregate information as to who is in your circles).
They still have some kinks to work out in the way the privacy settings, sharing and circles interact, but what they have now is an *excellent* starting point in helping users to feel in control of who can see what they post (and doing so in a way that is more straightforward and integrated than the FB Lists experience).
They also make it easy to list your non-G+ using friends for your own benefit, so you can automatically connect with them if they join up, as well as easily passing information along to them directly via email when that is appropriate (although again, here, some of the defaults need tweaking to avoid inadvertent spamming by inexperienced users).
As to why they shut invites down, my assumption is that it is the feedback system that was dying rather than G+ itself. I never noticed any problems at all with the actual site, but the feedback tool was definitely struggling at times (and, of course, dealing with all that feedback is ultimately constrained by the number of *people* Google have available for the task rather than anything to do with how many servers they can through at the problem of allowing people to accept it).
The vendors that get cloud service right operate on a "wherever you go, there you are" type of mentality.
Sometimes that is achieved via "dumb terminal" status (i.e. web apps), other times it is achieved via automatic client synchronisation (e.g. Firefox Sync, Dropbox, over the air Google Calendar/Contact sync to a smartphone). Some services (such as Dropbox or the Calendar/Contact example) mix the two modes - you can use the web app *or* the smart client as you choose.
The principle missing component is direct service-to-service transfers for large files (as opposed to the dumb download+reupload approach typically needed now).
There is one scarcity that at least some people will always be willing to pay money for: their own time.
Why do automated car washes make money? It is quicker and easier to pay up and drive through than it is to break out the bucket and hose and do it yourself.
Why do yard care services make money? It is quicker and easier to get someone else to do it for you than it is to obtain the necessary equipment and spend the time to do it yourself.
Why do cleaning services... etc, you get the idea.
What iTunes and Netflix offer is a system that is comparatively easy for a customer to use. You can subscribe to things and have them just turn up whenever they become available, and know that you'll be getting exactly what you asked for.
The free competition, on the other hand, requires remembering to search for things you want when new releases may be available, checking them to be sure they're what the claim to be, hoping that they're good quality (e.g. no video/audio sync issues).
However, the free version also comes with some big bonuses:
- available globally immediately on release
- absolutely no DRM of any kind
- no copyright warnings that talk down to paying customers like they're naughty puppies
You know the interesting thing about those major benefits of the free product? They're all related to removing things that the big content companies *chose to add* to their products. Windowing, DRM, copyright warnings - none of that is inherent in any of the content they're providing, it's just customer-hostility in a pre-packaged portable form.
Remove those annoyances from the paid versions and suddenly the free alternatives become significantly less compelling.