How to block auto-play video in Chrome

Chrome block auto play
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If you’ve ever visited a website with auto-play video and yelled in frustration as a result … this tip is for you.

To disable auto-play plugins in Chrome, go to settings

  • Type this in a browser tab: chrome://settings/
  • Or navigate to settings by clicking on the “hamburger” on the top right side of the browser and then select “Settings”

    Chrome settings

    How to managed Chrome settings

From settings, navigate to privacy content

  • Select advanced settings, which a text link at the bottom of the screen
    Chrome select advanced settings
  • Scroll to privacy and select content
    Chrome privacy settings

Change plugin default settings

Chrome block auto play

Change the default settings for how plug-ins behave

 

Many many thanks to @alphast:

 

The result, however, isn’t very pretty. I wish I could “see” the video but have the choice of when or if to start play:

Chrome Flash blocked

Feds set up internal consulting group for web projects, but what about contracts?

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In announcing the new U.S. Digital Service (USDS), Chief Information Officer Steve VanRoekel told the Washington Post: “Think of this as [a team of] management consultants that helps you understand your gaps.”

The Playbook is a next step for the digital president and a response to the HealthCare.gov disaster.[icopyright one button toolbar]

There were gaping holes – not just gaps – related to both project management and testing in the HealthCare.gov launch. Yet as Computer World’s Patrick Thibodeau wrote at the time, “A majority of large IT projects fail to meet deadlines, are over budget and don’t make their users happy.”

According to data from The Standish Group, “Of 3,555 projects from 2003 to 2012 that had labor costs of at least $10 million, only 6.4% were successful.”

Last year, McKinsey & Company reported, “On average, large IT projects run 45 percent over budget and 7 percent over time, while delivering 56 percent less value than predicted.”

And CIO magainze reported in 2005 that poor requirements management is a bigger factor in project failure — 7-out-of-10 failures — than poor technology or missed deadlines.

There’s a lot going on here.

USDS Playbook is only one factor in success

The USDS Playbook is comprised of 13 “plays” based upon best practices. These are necessary but not sufficient conditions to achieve a successful project. Culture change is also needed, and that doesn’t flow from words on a page.

USDS playbook

The 13 plays from the U.S. Digital Services Playbook.

Moreover, about half of these one-liners relate to technology, which CIO’s data suggest isn’t the source of most failures. That said, technology design seems to have been a major issue with HealthCare.gov, according to Adam Becker on Medium:

Each page load on Healthcare.gov generates over 60 separate [sic] HTTP requests to the same host, downloading completely unminified and uncompressed assets for a grand total of 2.5mb transferred.

screengrab

Reuters reported something similar:

Five outside technology experts interviewed by Reuters, however, say they believe flaws in system architecture, not traffic alone, contributed to the problems… [Creating a user account] prompts the computer to load an unusually large amount of files and software, overwhelming the browser, experts said.”

Nothing in the Playlist explicitly addresses the coordination needed with multiple contractors (reports of 55) although there is an allusion in No. 6: “Assign one leader and make that person accountable.”

CMS and CGI

On September 30, 2011, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) named CGI Federal as the lead contractor to design and develop the Federally-Facilitated Marketplace (pdf). CMS did so by using a contract for information technology (IT) services that had been awarded in 2007 (pdf).

In addition to CGI Federal, some of companies involved in the project included Accenture, Aquilent (Development Seed), Booz Allen Hamilton, Creative Computing Solutions, Deloitte LLP, eHealthInsurance, Equifax Work Solutions, Experian, IBM, McKinsey & Company, MITRE, PricewaterhouseCoopers, SAIC, Serco Quality Software Services, and UnitedHealth Group’s QSSI subsidiary Optum/QSSI. See a list of contractors from the July 2013 GAO report (pdf).

Two states also suffered

Both Vermont and Massachusetts contracted with CGI to build their sites, and both states began withholding payment last year.

The feds let their contract with CGI expire in January.

In June, Massachusetts extracted itself from its CGI contract. Earlier this month Vermont dropped its contract with CGI. The Vermont site remains unfinished although the state paid the Canadian firm $67 million. CGI owed Vermont $5.1 million in penalties for missed deadlines.

Apparently neither Vermont nor Massachusetts could call on a team of young software engineers to pitch in and patch.

Missing the core problem

We – the taxpayers – have paid CGI Federal $2.8 billion, according to USASpending.gov. And then there’s this:

The lead contractor on the dysfunctional Web site for the Affordable Care Act is filled with executives from a company that mishandled at least 20 other government IT projects, including a flawed effort to automate retirement benefits for millions of federal workers, documents and interviews show.
CGI Federal, the main Web site developer, entered the U.S. government market a decade ago when its parent company purchased American Management Systems… CGI … kept the core of employees … [who are now] CGI Federal’s current and past presidents, the company’s chief technology officer, its vice president for federal health care and its health IT leader, according to company and other records. More than 100 former AMS employees are now senior executives or consultants working for CGI in the Washington area.

Despite the ineptness exhibited in the HealthCare.gov project and the ineptness exhibited by its acquisition, we’re still signing over new contracts to CGI. We just won’t let contracts directly related to HealthCare.gov.

Where’s the Playlist course correction about contracts?

Out of scope.

Read more

Making science fun: ASAP Science videos should be on everyone’s weekly watch list

US beliefs about evolution - chart
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Science, technology, engineering and math, aka STEM, are key areas of knowledge for the 21st century. Heck, they were key in the 20th century, too! Remember JFK and the moon challenge as well as his tribute to science on the 100th anniversary of the National Academy of Sciences?

Recent scientific advances have not only made international cooperation desirable, but they have made it essential. The ocean, the atmosphere, outer space, belong not to one nation or one ideology, but to all mankind, and as science carries out its tasks in the years ahead, it must enlist all its own disciplines, all nations prepared for the scientific quest, and all men capable of sympathizing with the scientific impulse. (emphasis added)

How do we create an environment where science (my shorthand) is valued, where “all men” have an appreciation for science? Where denialism is a thing of the past? Because in today’s America, not unlike yesterday’s (Scopes Trial, 1925), science is devalued by the mainstream U.S. population.

US beliefs about evolution - chart

As Gallup shows, for 40 years, 2-in-5 Americans (or more) have believed God created man in our present form.
Less than 10,000 years ago.

 

Americans on evolution, 2006

Pew Research data from 2006 mirror the longer-running Gallup data. Note the difference between Protestants and Catholics.

 

Two smart and entertaining guys started ASAP Science as one way to make science interesting and fun.

Who are they? Mitchell Moffit (@mitchellmoffit) and Gregory Brown (@whalewatchmeplz).  Subscribe to their YouTube channel and get a heads-up each week when they post a new video.

This week, the two “came out” again — to their 2.6 million YouTube followers. Here’s why:

A scientific understanding of the world has always given us the power and autonomy to enjoy the beauty and secrets of life, which we believe should be available to everyone. So, whether it be trying to break gender stereotypes within our scripts, or including stick figure drawings with a range of sexualities, it was part of our mission to include subtle references to the diversity of human culture. Even with these elements remaining discrete in our videos, we were quick to see the harsh reality that a gay stick figure could make somebody just as mad or upset as a gay person in real life.

Now, we’ve always known the YouTube comment section to be a special breed of comments — one that only the bravest of souls dare navigate. But it was the persistence on a channel dedicated to science that really had us scratching our head.

Folks who believe explicitly in a mythical all-powerful being and willfully disregard scientific investigation into the origins of both humans and earth are likely to include the Venn diagram subset of Americans who think homosexuality is both a choice and evil. In other words, they probably disregard the science of sexual orientation as well. (I love the research study that correlated gay men with more fecund sisters, mothers and aunts.)

This behavior falls more in line with “ad hominem” logical fallacies than “shoot the messenger” although both are rejections of rational thought.

Here are a few of my favorite ASAP Science videos.

Have a look. Give them a thumbs up. Subscribe to their YouTube channel and help put pre-age-of-reason thinking where it belongs: in the distant past.

 

 

How the FCC could be like TSA: proposal to create an Internet fast lane

Computers and network
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Computers and network

From Occupy.com

Using money to privilege convenience may be the American ethic. And it’s a far cry from the egalitarianism exemplified in “all men are created equal.”

Look at the TSA and its “precheck” program, for example.

With TSA precheck, you pay $85 and cough up your biometrics and an application for government review. If you don’t have a prison record, you can probably get your own ID, a Known Traveler Number (KTN), and move to the front of the airport check-in line, an inconvenience that yields negligible risk reduction.

In a hurry but not in a car pool? Just pay a “toll” in many states and you can drive in the HOV lane even though you’re in a SOV.

But what if you wanted to send a present via FedX to your best friend, and she had to also pay FedX so that it would deliver to her expeditiously? Would we stand for that?

Giant corporations with ringers in the regulatory system are pushing similar preferential treatment for Internet traffic. And the FCC is playing along, in part because Congress is moribund.

What is the FCC proposing?

In late 2010, the Federal Communications Commission passed a set of Open Internet Rules, which it called “just another way” to talk about “net neutrality.”

“Net neutrality” is a simple concept: you pay for Internet service and you get the speed and volume you pay for, with no interference from the ISP. Just like telephone, electricity, gas, water or sewer. The utility doesn’t slow down delivery to your home or privilege delivery to your neighbor’s home. There may be preferential pricing — reduced electricity costs at midnight, for example — but if there is, everyone has access to it.

But that is not how the Internet works. Congress has blocked having Internet service providers classified as utilities or common carriers. Courts have blocked the FCC from writing rules that treat ISPs like common carriers.

Back in January, in Verizon v. FCC a U.S. Court of Appeals struck down part of the FCC Open Internet order. This before-and-after chart shows Netflix network speeds on Comcast, with the now-legal extortion leading to faster bit delivery.

 

In other words, the effect of the court decision is like the FedX example above: I pay for “high speed” internet access so that I can watch Netflix and have a TV-like experience. But Netflix has to also pay my ISP to deliver its bits expeditiously, a payment in addition to its basic bandwidth costs.

Comcast is bound by network neutrality provisions put in place by the FCC after the company acquired NBC Universal, however, those provision will expire in 2018. And based on the Netflix bit-speed chart, the provisions have no teeth in the wake of the Verizon decision in January.

Thus the need for FCC action.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler (a revolving door ringer) plans to issue a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) at its May 15 meeting. The FCC is rewriting the 2010 rule to get around the 2014 court decision.

Critics of the proposal released April 24 claim that the FCC is endorsing pay-to-play measures that set up an Internet fast laneStacey Higginbotham, writing at Gigaom, believes the FCC is cribbing from a 2011 order about cellphone data roaming, an order that survived a different Verizon court challenge. But in the process, the FCC is laying the ground for a two-tiered Internet.

Supporters claim that the FCC has no choice under current statute. Assuming the NPRM is approved next month, there will be a public comment period which is usually 30 or 90 days but has been longer with controversial measures.

We could get around these battles if Congress would man-up and legislate that Internet service providers (and all the players in-between) as well as mobile data telecoms are common carriers. Common carriers cannot discriminate — that’s why AT&T has to treat Verizon phone calls the same as it treats its own.

About equal access and egalitarianism

Our nation was founded on the concept that “all men are created equal.”

It would be helpful if the companies controlling the pipes into our homes weren’t also creating content that competes with other content providers. Why might Comcast want to degrade Netflix streaming? Because it competes with Comcast cable. This principle of fairness and equal access explains why 20th century regulators broke up Boeing and United Airlines, as well as why the U.S. Supreme Court made Paramount Pictures (et al) unbundle movie rentals and divest their movie theaters.

The Internet is one of the most powerful communication tools that man has created. It brings information to the fingertips of those isolated from mammoth libraries. Do we really want that power to inform, educate and entertain go to the highest bidder?

Sen.  Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has called the FCC proposal “misguided” and believes that “the average American would be the big loser” if we allow corporations to control the “free flow of ideas.” He concludes, “We must not turn over our democracy to the highest bidder.”

I agree.

Notes

 

Additional reading