Documentation

Tonight on GeekNights, we consider documentation. Client documentation, user guides, service runbooks, developer notes, and the like. We've previously covered Documentation Systems, as well as in a game design lecture on game rules.

In the news, Rym finally dressed up as Zed from Zardoz, Facebook's name change to "Meta" isn't fooling anyone, a theoretical unicode-based attack on compilers is being patched, Roblox had a massive outage, and the LIRR is now able to run trains into Grand Central Terminal, a feat of engineering in the making since 1963.

This is also the 16th anniversary episode of GeekNights! We started on October 31 2005, and we made "beta" episodes well before that!

Social Media

Tonight on GeekNights, we consider the Leopard that is social media. It is difficult to summarize the myriad ways that social media has materially harmed society despite its great promise. From Orkut to Facebook to Twitter, it's been a destabilizing force. In the (possibly too on-the-nose) news, Facebook had a major global outage today (see our episode on outages), Facebook has a whistleblower revealing terrible revelations about the harm Facebook causes, a new tool can reveal who actually owns companies, and Europe is looking to (rightly) standardize on USB-C for charging electronic devices (much to Apple's discomfort).

Remote Controls

Tonight on GeekNights, we consider the humble remote control. We are some of the youngest people who remember having screens and other devices without remote controls, and they changed things in more ways than you might have expected. In the news, Apple is going after Itch.io in its ongoing fight with Epic, Steam rejects some games but not others without clear rules, Facebook rejects adaptive clothing ads, Microsoft changes its old icons, and a major US fuel pipeline was shut down by ransomware.

Laptops and Tablets

Tonight on GeekNights, we consider the current world of laptops and tablets. The world is changing, and laptops are increasingly becoming desktop replacements or niche devices. Don't take our advice from how to buy a laptop in 2008, and internalize how long ago 2012 was. (This was Rym's first laptop). In the news, Yahoo Answers shuts down forever, destroying a treasure trove, LG exits the smartphone business, and Nvidia unveils a server-room ARM CPU.

Multi-factor Authentication

Tonight on GeekNights, we consider how multi-factor authentication works. We've previously talked about single Signon, biometrics, the levels of security & privacy, and the like, but we've never actually talked about how TOTP and other multi-factor authentication schemes work.

In the news, the ship is no longer stuck, New York opens up vaccines to everybody, fake ai-generated and fake stolen-profile-photo twitter accounts are spreading Amazon's anti-union propaganda, and the Free Software Foundation has ruined its reputation by bringing Richard Stallman back on board, with many others joining the denouncement. Also note that there is a vulnerability in 2FA keys that allows cloning them.

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