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No Food for Thought

Food is something you should provide to your brain long before coming to this blog. You will find no food recipes here, only raw, serious, non-fake news for mature minds.

Bientôt guéris de l'acharnement thérapeutique?

admin Saturday April 11, 2020

Les gens de ma génération connaissent bien l'expression « acharnement thérapeutique », désignant une obstination déraisonnable à « soigner » un malade. Je me souviens très bien que cet enjeu était un sujet populaire de débats quand j'étais adolescent.

C'est pourquoi je suis heureux de voir le diagnostic sur l'acharnement thérapeutique au Québec posé par le médecin Alain Vadeboncoeur en février. Peut-être justement parce qu'on en entend moins parler, l'ampleur du chemin parcouru ne m'avait pas encore frappée.

Comme notre système ne peut se permettre de tourner le dos aux optimisations faciles, et surtout comme nous méritons mieux que de se faire imposer d'endurer, continuons l'éradication de l'acharnement thérapeutique. Avec tout l'acharnement nécessaire!

XL-ent news: JPEG XL

admin Sunday December 15, 2019

Ever since I heard about JPEG 2000, I have been waiting to see a new, efficient image format replace JPEG (1992). Needless to say my wait is getting long.

But now a new format is promising even more than JPEG 2000. JPEG XL could replace not only JPEG 1992, but PNG, uniting both lossy and lossless compression into a single format. And according to an excellent presentation by Jon Sneyers, there's good reason to believe this time will manage to take photographic compression more than 2 decades forward! According to the latest press release, reference software should come in Q4 2019.

Crossing fingers Santa will be most generous this year...

The Costs of Insecurity, The Costs of Fragmentation

admin Sunday December 15, 2019

A 1 million $ theft is the latest reminder of how easy social engineering remains, even in 2019. I cannot help but wonder how much more secure our technological ecosystem could be, if only all of the damages from security attacks could be invested in securing systems, even if only looking at communication and authentication.
If only we could all work together...

Thunderbird "Authentication failure" popup trying to setup a Gmail account on a new OS install?

admin Sunday October 20, 2019

Are you migrating to a new operating system (Windows, or quite possibly any) and failing to setup your Gmail account in Thunderbird (version 68.1.2, and surely many more)? Getting a small popup which says "Authentication failure while connecting to server imap.gmail.com.", in the bottom right corner of the window, with only an 'x' to dismiss the message? Despite Thunderbird restarts? And even OS restarts?
If you're like me, you're in luck, the solution is very simple : just connect to Google. That's right - open a browser, go to Google, connect. And then just retry connecting in Thunderbird (or restart it).
And that is how intuitive it is to use a top 2 MUA with a top 2 mail service. An MUA from an organization who's done tens of millions of USD-s in business cooperating with that service's provider. Congratulations, Google
Welcome to 2019

P.S. For those less lucky, see the "Less secure app access" section in https://myaccount.google.com/security
I figured this one out thanks to this long thread (get ready to click "more" several times to reach a useful reply).

Celsius and School Degrees

admin Monday October 14, 2019

Temperature is the topic of much debate. Even inside temperature is a topic of disagreement.

But this disagreement has just gotten a lot less light, and should get much more heated. Indeed, inside air temperature no longer matters only for its ecological impact, but also for its direct economical impact, according to new study Battle for the thermostat: Gender and the effect of temperature on cognitive performance, as this TIME article reports.

Here's hoping that more research on this issue will come soon.

Méta-promesse

admin Thursday August 22, 2019

Il y a quelques semaines, j'ai eu le privilège d'assister à une promesse électorale plus grande que nature. Une promesse de la taille d'un rhinocéros en chef.

En effet, j'assistais au discours inaugural du chef du Parti Rhinocéros du Canada, Sébastien CoRhino Corriveau, dans sa circonscription de Québec, lorsqu'il promit que pour chaque promesse faite par un parti concurrent, le parti rhinocéros allait renchérir en promettant le double. Une promesse qui saura sans aucun doute attirer la clientèle la plus sélective.
Bravo aux rhinos, et que les résultats de la campagne soient à la hauteur de leur innovation!

Geek Love and Theft

admin Tuesday July 9, 2019

Early in my eleventh year, I fell in a painful love for the first time. My parents bought me a Pentium 120 MHz machine, my family's first personal computer. Instantaneously, my reading time dropped by 98%, and all of my spare time (or more) went to this buggy, unstable, very limited, yet how-irresistible creature.
A tragedy since, like any love, it takes the place from other possible loves. And a tragedy since, like any real love, it can never be completely fulfilled.
Before this tragedy started, I thankfully had the time to study and read a lot and become excellent in maths, science, French... and any school topic which didn't require creativity lol So I could pick any high school I wanted, and my parents sent me to the International Education Program, which - at the time - was still only accessible to the elite. I learned I was accepted in Rochebelle high school's International Baccalaureate program from the acceptance paper my mother had wrapped in the Christmas tree.

In spite of my mother's efforts to present this to me under a positive light, during all the months before I started at Rochebelle, as I imagined how it would be, I anticipated one downside. Not the higher academic expectations we would have to meet, but the less pretty girls I thought I would study with. In my 11-year-old mind, the intelligent girls which were selected had to wear glasses and be physically unattractive. Either I developed this preconception from the girls I saw at the admission exam, or - and I have no doubt it's the latter - I had already been exposed to enough Western culture to associate geekness with lack of physical attraction. My preconception was right in that both of my elementary school ex-"girlfriends" were in the regular program, but thankfully, there were more than enough interesting girls in my program too.

During my first grade, I would spend my evenings at my friend Guillaume's house, since he not only had a computer, but was lucky enough to have dial-up Internet access. At the time, we had to connect to the Internet, and to do so, we needed to enter our ISP password. One day, I saw Guillaume enter his password in the wrong field, unobfuscated. It was hard not to remember that his password was "12345". Even though Guillaume was my best friend at the time, some time after, while I was home, I stole his password so I could connect to the Internet from my home (ah, the good old days of dial-up). I probably never even thought that my own parents could catch me when they would notice that the phone line was busy. But it's Guillaume himself who caught me while I was using his account to use the irresistibly cool Palace chat application.

Thankfully, my theft had unexpected consequences. Instead of rejecting me, Guillaume remained my friend, and his mother accepted my family's proposal to share his Internet connection. I would bring them 15 CAD per month so we could use their connection, and we shared for a few months, until we got sick of having to synchronize who could connect or not all the time and each got our own.


Long story short, when I entered high school, my mind was constantly thinking about the Internet and several interesting girls. Girls to whom I didn't dare to disclose my attraction, and who - I thought - may also had been keeping secret reciprocal interests.

During my first years in high school, I had this idea of a system allowing all students to secretly indicate who they were interested in, which would tell 2 students if they were interested in each other. There were design difficulties though; how would the system ensure that interest was genuine, and not just a dummy indication someone would enter to know who was interested in them?

Fast forward many teenager crushes, even more computer crashes, and many less tricky ideas which would replace that one. With the advent of social media, this kind of system has become much cheaper to develop. So much so that in fact, a couple months ago, Facebook started deploying one, called "Secret Crush". Which got me aware of the fact that Orkut had done it last decade.
Welcome to the future, the geek paradise! (Just too bad it's 20 years later and I've forgotten with whom I was hoping to use it)