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05 February 2013

Facebook Graph Search

Facebook has released a new feature - and with it, a new layout - called Facebook Graph Search to people who signed up for the beta. I’ll admit that I haven’t gotten access yet, but I have had time to check it out via friends and the Internet. From what I’ve seen, it is the coolest, creepiest feature Facebook could have added. On one hand, it is a pretty cool search tool that lets you search for friends based on interests, associations, or whatever using a more or less natural language search. On the other, it gives Facebook a whole new status as a powerful stalking tool if you want to get to know people. One of the more amusing searches that I found online was “Married friends who like prostitutes” which would, as expected, return a list of friends who are married and who also “like” prostitutes. The search also allows you to branch out to non-friends by searching criteria for “friends of friends.” It seems that in general, searching for “Pictures of friends of my friends” retur...

18 December 2012

Windows 8, Two Months Later

About two months has passed since I upgraded my laptop to Windows 8 back in October, slightly before the public release. Despite my general preference for Linux, my initial impressions of 8 were really good and for the most part, that still stands after using the OS after the initial shininess has worn off and I’ve broken it in a little more. With that said, Windows 8 is still very definitely a Windows operating system with the same quirks here and there as before, although I still maintain that it is an improvement over 7.

As has been typical with Windows since as long as I can remember (I go back to Windows 95 myself), 8 takes a while to get to a point where it’s usable after logging in. I don’t have a ton of programs start at login and I’ve disabled most of the ones that have a higher impact (according to Task Manager), and I still have plenty of time to get up and get a snack between logging in and having a usable desktop. Once the system is up, it’s still snappy even...

22 October 2012

The Upgrade to Windows 8

The official release of Windows 8 is later this week on the 26th, so the wait for the final reaction to the new version of Windows is finally less than a week away. As far as the Internet has been concerned since screenshots of 8 first came out, the new Metro interface is everything from amazing to unusable, although the unusable claims seem to be the most widespread, if not just the most vocal. For those like myself who are at a school that has access to MSDNAA, we’ve had access to the Windows 8 release since the beginning of the month for those who are curious enough to try it or in some cases, courageous enough to ditch Windows 7 in favour of Windows 8.

I upgraded my laptop to 8 a few weeks ago after some consideration about compatibility and the effect that upgrading would have on my Linux install on the other half of my drive. As far as the release goes, not a lot has changed visibly since the consumer preview that I tried previously in a virtual machine. The same bi...

02 October 2012

Learning from Apple Maps

Apple has been in the news a lot over the past several weeks with their patent suit against Samsung and the release of iOS 6, and is now in the middle of cleaning up their own mistakes with the new iOS. It has been rumored for a while that Apple would replace Google Maps and YouTube with their own equivalents since Apple and Google are competitors in the smartphone market, so the fact that iOS 6 has Apple Maps as the default maps app and is missing the YouTube app doesn’t come as a surprise. What is surprising, however, is how bad Apple Maps actually is. I’m not a fan of Apple by any means, but I have always been able to give them credit for making sure all of their product releases are up to their usual standards. With Apple Maps, that just hasn’t been the case. Apple has been met with round after round of complaints over wrongly named countries, weird 3D imagery of melting cars, and outdated maps.

While Apple can’t be blamed for wanting to ditch apps from Google, and so...

08 August 2012

Losing Your Digital Life to Hacking

Hacking pops in the news occasionally, but mainly when it happens on a huge scale. Hotmail’s big breach a few years back, Dropbox’s “password optional” bug last year, and Yahoo Voices’ stolen credentials are some of the bigger ones that have made it into the news and they all have one thing in common; they were on a large scale and fairly isolated in that millions of people did not lose their entire lives to them. Basically: they were news, but they weren’t extremely scary to most people. Even I can admit that large-scale attacks don’t scare me and I am conscious of how destructive an attack can be.

The fact that those huge breaches are so often brushed off and users change their passwords or drop the service and consider themselves completely secure again downplays how epic an attack on an individual can be. In all likelihood if hacking was seen as a much scarier thing to individuals there would be far more outcry for improved security of breached sites, less need to dem...

17 July 2012

Platform vs. Platform

One of the most interesting things about the digital world is the availability of the cloud.  Pretty much everything is capable of going online in some way or another and accessing cloud services as either a mobile or “desktop” device.  The coolest part of it is it no longer really matters what platform is being used behind the scenes on the client device.  So much effort and money goes into advertising why one platform is better than another- Windows vs Mac OS X, Android vs Windows Phone vs iOS even though for the majority of people it doesn’t actually make a lot of difference.

Most of my files are stored in one cloud service or another, I use webmail, and I have Internet access almost anywhere I go.  I can pull out almost any device and start using it with all of my stuff at my fingertips.  I’ve used iPads, Kindles, borrowed computers, and I have an Android phone, Linux, Windows, and a Palm Pilot (yep, I’m old-school).  In all cases for getting online and accessing my s...

20 June 2012

Why The Hate For Windows 8?

At this point, the new interface for Windows 8 is old news, with two preview releases out and the screenshots all over the Internet.  To boil it down briefly, the iconic Start menu and button is gone, and has been replaced with the Metro Start Screen, which serves more or less the same purpose.  The Start Screen is more customizable and is the new place for everything installed on Windows 8, which can include apps from Microsoft’s own store.  Additionally, the old “desktop” is now part of the tiles on the Start Screen since it is no longer intended to be the starting point, which takes a little getting used to.  Other things, such as settings, are moved around a little and take some searching to find, since panels like the Charms menu pop up when the cursor is in the corner of the screen.

For some reason, the new interface has been the subject of a lot of hate across the Internet.  The focus is generally on getting the start menu back, which isn’t possible on anything new...

09 June 2012

Aaandd We're Back!

I was forced to take a brief hiatus from keeping the blog up to date once spring quarter hit at school due to the workload.  As I have mentioned in the past, school takes precedence over writing for The Philosophy of Nate as it should, so posting will be irregular.  Despite the blog’s constipation lately, some work has been going on behind the scenes just as slowly to get everything in working order across the website, and plans are in order to actually get some things on it.

Now that spring quarter is over, posting will be much more regular, time permitting.  There are already some posts lined up for the near future, so stay tuned.  If you’ve stuck around to put up with the weird posting schedule of The Philosophy of Nate, you won’t be disappointed; your usual stream of content will be coming your way.  If you’re new, welcome! Stick around, it’s worth it!

28 February 2012

Some Blog News

The Philosophy of Nate has lived on a Blogger subdomain ever since I first started it as a non-public blog. Since then it has gone through a number of changes and eventually evolved into the globally syndicated blog that it is now.

At this point in time it seems appropriate that The Philosophy of Nate should move to its own web address and fully become its own online entity.  I actually made the switch from a Blogger domain a few weeks ago, for anyone who noticed, but now it’s time to make the official announcement!  For the time being, the old address,, will still get you here without any trouble.  However, the shiny new address is so be sure to update your bookmarks.

This also means a change in the email address that all you email subscribers receive mail from, which is currently my private mailbox.  Starting next week you’ll see mail from our shiny new email address, blog [at]

22 February 2012

Google's Latest Privacy Woes

Google has been drawing a lot of attention to itself over privacy issues, from a new privacy policy, to offering users the option to essentially sell their privacy.  The new privacy policy goes live as of March 1st, if everything goes as Google plans and although the reaction to it is almost entirely negative, I don’t find it particularly surprising.  According to Google it is intended to unify all its services more, rather than maintaining a privacy policy for each individual service, which makes sense.

At about the same time, Google unleashed a much quieter offering that essentially pays users to give up their privacy so that they can be monitored and so Google can “learn more about its users to enhance its services.”  This offering gives users the option to be paid a total of $25 in instalments for running a browser extension to track them online, or significantly more if they allow Google to install hardware on their network that tracks everything.  Although ...

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