Re: FIVE years?
> Hell I had already had email in one form or another for 10 years by that point!
Eeee, them 'twere the days.
When you could tell a person's true status by the number of hops they were from ucbvax
2452 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009
> Hell I had already had email in one form or another for 10 years by that point!
Eeee, them 'twere the days.
When you could tell a person's true status by the number of hops they were from ucbvax
> five or more years' experience using the internet
That seems to be to be measuring the wrong thing.
A child who's spent the past 5 years goofing around on Facebook and Twitter is incomparable to one who started using a computer at age 13 and now runs a successful web business. Just as a brit who's been living in Spain for 5 years, red-nosed from the cheap booze, too much sunshine and days spent reading the Daily Mail in a bar all day is no match for one who has spent the same duration in the country and is fluent in the language and is a fully functioning member of the local society.
When you start looking at skill-level or achievements, duration or time spent is misleading. It's results that count.
> Police constable 1337 stunned by Lego lookalike
... to be careful where you point that TASER
> Would those who have downvoted Daniel care to explain
He wrote something that could be construed as criticism of the RPi.
Around here that's an automatic downvoted from the Look Mum, I can make a LED flash on and off brigade. (As mother silently weeps into a hanky: 14 years of education and 10s of thousands of £££'s in raising the child, all for that ...).
Even worse, in the very next thread he intimates that something else could possibly be better.
So what is it?
It runs "sketches", so is it a more powerful (overly-powerful) Arduino competitor with rather high power requirements
It's got an x86 instruction set, 256MB of DDR3 RAM and PCI, so is it a PC - no mention of windows or Linux
It seems to me to fall between both.
If you're just going to run embedded code with no O/S, there are better, smaller, (probably) cheaper and less power-hungry ways of doing it. If you are going to boot an O/S, there are smaller, more powerful, more capable (e.g. the dual-core 1GHz/1GB, SATA Cubieboard2) and (possibly) cheaper alternatives for that, too.
With either of these propositions, it's going to be the user created support that makes or breaks it. I wonder if anyone would port BeOS/Haiku to it?
Every year we get some breathless pundit squealing with delight about a meteor shower with words like "fantasic", "spectacular" and whatever superlatives still have some life (if not credibillity) left in them. The same goes for comets, eclipses, conjuctions andall the rest. One budding journo picks up as astronomical announcement and exudes awe about it - that's picked up by another who embellishes the first's work - then another with more exaggeration and finally it hits the TV and we're all exhorted to view this "sight of the century" (which seems to occer every few years).
Almost all of them are a damp squib.
Whether that's because the uncertainy and qualifications that the original bulletin contain get left out for reasons of making the news "public friendly", or astronomers genuinely thought it would turn out better. However in the UK the main reasons seem to be the weather, the light pollution and TV presenters (and their script writers) who have no concept at all - none whatsoever - about how bright, or dim all of these events are.
We were "promised" a comet earlier this year - FAIL! Sure: it turned up on time, but it was a huge disappointment. Same goes for all theother ones since Halley, 25 years ago. Maybe the media should learn their lesson and just let it all go - though then they'd probably be inundated by calls from scared and ignorant viewers about "strange lights inthe sky". You can't win.
Most web "phenomena" last a few years. They grow and grow, become the darling of the online press - then the wind changes and all their users desert them (sometimes helped by unpopular changes, managerial incompetence or the next "big thing" being bigger and thingier than they are). Twitter has had a good run and round about now you'd expect it to start sliding as the next generation of internet users dismiss Twitter as being "for old people".
So why go for an IPO? Possibly to staunch the slide. Buy up the competiton, or expand by aquisiton - or maybe just to cash out while there's still some money in Twitter as a going concern.
Either way, given the current climate there's no good time to float (or sink), but on the presumption that the financial situation won't be getting any better for some time, and that Twitter's shelf-life could be coming to the end, this would seem like a good time for them. Whether it's a good time for investors? No-one can say.
It would be handy to know what question gave rise to this result.
Was it a non-specific equiry about the abstract principle of extracting oil and/or gas - or was it a direct question about whether individuals would be "happy" to have this carried out withing ½ a mile of their homes, or their childrens' school?
I suspect the answers may vary considerably.
At present the USA is keeping share prices high by "printing" $1Tn a year for quantitative easing - buying up their own bonds and keeping market prices high.
One assumes that Twitter want to
dump as many shares as possible get their IPO done before this fount of artificially high prices dries up. So while they might be able to get $15Bn at current valuations, I don't need to take a bet (as all share dealing is, is a posh phrase for gambling) on whether or not it will stay high.
> American corporations held a total of about $1.48tn in cash as of June this year
So american businesses hold about $1.5 tril of cash, but america owes about 16.7 terabucks
Anyone else see a potential problem here?
> lets you access Twitter, Facebook, email and texts while you are on the go,
We all thought that trying to send SMSs while driving was so dumb that nobody would need to be told not to try - but no, apparently the limit of human intelligence is lower than we thought.
Will we now need to be reminded that tweeting while driving is so blindingly stupid (for the driver to do) that each text should be automatically forwarded to the Darwin Awards assessors?
> The current 11-year peak in solar action... may presage a lengthy quiet period
And like everything to do with climate change, nobody can say for sure.
It seems that the quote attributed to him turns out to have some substance after all. For those who missed it::
There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesome returns of conjectures out of such trifling investment of fact
or should that be his other one:
Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please
Either way, it's a great spectator sport, just so long as I don't have to do anything until we *know* what is actually happening - and whether it is turning out good or bad.
> because a hell of a lot of work was done to mitigate the risks.
Indeed. I was one of the people doing it. However you don't get rewarded for problems that never happen - only for fixing the ones that do.
We had Y2k: lots of talk that aircraft would drop out of the sky, that the financial system would crash and burn, that shops would be emptied of food, that utilities would stop working. None of which happened.
Now people are being told that something as small as Microsoft no longer pestering them with updates to some old piece of software - updates they never bother applying, anyway - is a bad thing?
I expect that a lot of individuals won't even be aware that the end is nigh. I expect that a lot of companies simply consider PCs to be a commodity, like chairs or employees and will need to actually see something catch fire before they are willing to consider an abstract concept such as a lack of bug-fixes to be anywhere on their priority list.
On top of that, it's not as if they could just take a PC, apply some "stuff" to it and voila! the problem has gone. No, the hardware will need to be upgraded, possibly the software too - maybe even the peripherals (now many modern PCs have VGA ports, or parallel ports). So given that this lack of "support" won't actually stop anything running, whereas mitigating it will be (a) expensive and (b) disruptive, then sitting with your thumbs up your bum waiting to see what (if anything) happens, is a rational strategy.
That's certainly what I intend to do with the 3 "retired" XP computers that are now just instances that run under VirtualBox, if I need one of their applications, like Photoshop. I'm definitely not planning on spending £££'s upgrading that (legal copy). Or dropping cash on a copy of W7 or 8 to upgrade them, either.
"Tell me what you want to do?"
"Email Susan and tell her I'll be 20 minutes late because of traffic".
That, 1000 times, that! (but who's Susan?) - though the email part becomes redundant, the "smarts" would just record your voice, filter out extraneous background noise and send that as the message.
You are absolutely correct though: even Google's voicey thing (can't speak for Apple, never seen/used it) has trouble - but I have used it to translate We skipped the light fandango/Turned cartwheels 'cross the floor/I was feeling kinda seasick/But the crowd called out for more into spanish. But in 20 years time, they won't have trouble doing what I envisaged. And it probably won't matter what your native language is, either.
Back in the mid 1970's there was a machine called the PERQ. It was marketed in the UK by ICL and did pretty much everything that users want from a machine today: GUI, mouse, networking, running stuff. If development into voice & face recognition had progressed as much as graphical software has and audio cards kept pace with graphics hardware - you could probably stare at your computer screen now it it would read your mind.
Instead we're bogged down with eye-candy written by some very clever programmers with extreme technical skills, but bugger all utility so far as designing a user interface goes.
I guess the answer to "Why do all this?" would be "because we can".
After all, if Linux interfaces just stuck to the basics of running an application in however much (or little) of the user's screen it needed - possibly with a little cut'n'paste, there wouldn't have been the need for any interface development for the past 20 or more years. Though we might have machines that boot in a couple of seconds and will run off batteries for days on end.
But since all the new, wizzy, capabilities we get in desktops - and also appearing in portable devices have the power, memory and graphics ability to do all these things (irrespective of whether anyone will use them), that's what we get.
Personally, I'd much prefer a user interface that contained one simple question and a box for the user to type, write or speak the answer. If all the power and ingenuity that the UI guys have expended on X, Wayland, Mir and all the other stuff had been focused on the average user, that box might just say
Tell me what you want to do?
And it would then go off and (accurately) start up all the stuff necessary to service the user's request.
Wouldn't that be better than all this eye-candy - though it would certainly be duller.
> If some project manager is insisting on unnecessary levels of paperwork & meetings, I suspect they're just making work to justify their existence rather than to benefit anyone.
Oh, without a doubt, yes.
But that's the beauty of "best practice", so long as there's always more you can do or ask for, you haven't achieved it. Hence organisations that are addicted to the idea of B/P (because they are so clueless) are so inefficient, slow and expensive.
So, a branch of government has a group. That group creates a scheme. That scheme identifies 3 levels of competency (OK, let's pretend they map onto knowing what the hell you're talking about - with some sort of positive correlation). Within those rankings, there are 6 roles. And on top of that, another bunch has another programme for certification, that's different.
Then after 3 years yo have to do it all again.
This seems like an excellent plan for identifting both individuals who value letters, titles and accreditations and also for identifying organisations that are so lacking in real-world direction, experience and judgement that they would value such confused and surreal web of qualifications.
Having seen ITIL (another government initiative, that assumes an infinite amount of manpower, time, meeting-rooms and budget to get anything done) at first hand in a couple of organisations I can only assume that goal behind this announcement is to put a stop, once and for all, to anyone having any hope of matching a competent worker with a security requirement.
> protect critical infrastructure and data stores were the country to come under electronic attack.
Or in this case, to unplug "critical infrastructure" from the source of all evil?
Seriously, you'd hope - against all common sense and reason - that anything that was actually critical would be a long, long way from being accessible over the internet.
> "cyber weapons" could be used along with regular munitions in future conflicts.
Excellent idea. Collect up all the computers and throw them at the enemy. Especially in an assymetric warfare theatre (the defining type of war in the 21st century), where one side has a great big target painted on its arse and the other is coming at it with a pitchfork.
Defn: Science. A process whereby observations are made, theories are drawn up and tested by means of experiment. The experimental results are then used to gain a consensus regarding the accuracy of the theory in question.
Religion: A belief system where faith and doctrine are formulated, depending on various factors: real or imaginary. That doctrine is then promulgated by an appointed (or self-appointed) leadership. The lack of a testable foundation makes refuting the articles of faith very difficult for the non-beleiver, but acts to strengthen the resolve of the true followers.
Jail is better.
To a company like Google, slapping a fine for non-compliance (or "law-breaking" as the traditionalists might call it) means very little. Even confiscating the advertising revenue they make in France would only be a minor annoyance.
However, their stance that "your law does not apply to us" needs some serious attention. Flinging a few americans into a french jail until the company makes itself legal would certainly have a direct and personal effect on the decision makers of the company. It would show Google that they cannot take such a patronising position and above all else, it would be wonderful theatre for the rest of us to watch.
You never know, you might even get a few brits saying "Go, Frenchie!"
> forced a youthful Stephen Hawking out of Physics and into Tap-Dancing classes
You never know, it could have freed up the position of Lucasian Professor of Mathematics thus giving someone otherwise doomed to appearing on X-Factor something to aspire to.
Though we might have ended up with A Brief History of Time being written in txt spk. Would smileys have made it easier to understand?
> Ofcom is ... looking for suggestions about how it might direct its considerable resources
Hmmm, £100 Mil.
Well, they've got all the policies they need to give us an excellent communications structure, they're just absolutely useless at implementing and enforcing them. So how about sacking all of its existing management and replacing them with effective individuals, instead?
I'm sure the redundancy payments (even at the civil service's vastly inflated, self-serving rates) wouldn't consume all the money. Even if it did, it would be money well spent.
With the remainder they could buy a dictionary, so they could look up the real meaning of the word "unlimiited".
> its saccharine colour scheme
Does that refer to the (yellowish) colour #FBBE18, or the artificial sweetness?
And why can't copier-paper manufacturers create paper that "knows" when you're trying to make a photocopy of something you shouldn't?
To the to the truly ignorant, everything has a simple solution.
> people only spend six minutes a year thinking about their energy bills. Naturally, Brem thought this was a bad sign
So that's why they continually jack up the price of gas & electricity. So that people think about their bills the whole time: worrying about how to pay them.
P.S. No need to crank your heating up with a remote controlled app in order to get out of bed. Just put on a dressing gown, like a normal person does.
Tweet away, be as rude to and about airlines as you like.
Just don't make the newby mistake of using an account with your real name. Surely everyone (everyone who uses twitter, or any other social media for that matter) has many, many accounts under different names, guises and personas (wot! it's against the rules? Oh no! what shall I do) so just use one of them, instead.
> If you lose money from your bank account the banks give it back to you.
But is that what really happens?
The way I see it is that a bank has a duty to put in place sufficient security for it to keep our money safe. That's safe from (traditional) theft, safe from internet theft and safe from themselves being unable to give it back to us when we ask for it.
So far, cash machine security measures haven't evolved much beyond the PIN-code systems that were around in the 1970's - though my PIN in those days was 6 digits, instead of the 4 we have today. Is that really progress?
Although for home banking I now have a nice little card reader, courtesy of my bank, that "proves" I am in posession of my card when I log on to their computers, I still feel that the onus is on the banks to make sure their security is up to scratch to protect our money. There will always be some crime, the goal for security measures is to reduce it to a level that we customers are willing to pay: both in terms of losses from theft and the cost of the measures to prevent it.
Let's see, Stop sexting and send a love poem instead ...
There was a young man from Cape Horn,
who wished he had never been born,
he wouldn’t have been,
if his father had seen,
that the end of his condom was torn
Yup! 156 characters. It will just fit, as the actress said to the proverbial.
The delivery guy could leave your package, but how do you sign for it?
> As living standards rise, birth rate drops
Quite. That's an observation that appears to be universal. However, it just tells us the "what" not the "why". The reason birth rates drop seems to have something to do with city life. The other side of rising living standards is that more and more people live in cities. They / we need to do that, as that is where the jobs are (don't talk about telecommuting, see later) and most people are pressured for living space in cities - as well as not having many child-friendly open spaces, facilities and a fear of letting their kids near strangers.
However, take away the restrictions of cities, whether by letting people work where they live, not having to work at all or doing their job remotely (there's that telecommuting bit) and all those limitations regarding children and wanting a nice environment for them to grow up in, they all go away.
Therefore it's reasonable to assume that once we are free to leave the cities behind, there WILL be an explosion in the birthrate (esp. if we have lots more free time ;) )and the number of children and therefore the population WILL become limited, as Malthus predicted, simply by our ability to feed all those open mouths.
Okaaay, let's wind this scenario forward.
FF to the time when we have all we need in terms of physical stuff. Hungry? press a button and a robotic shopping cart will deliver the hot pizza of your choice. Thirsty? Same cart will bring you whatever carbonated beverage you desire. Repeat from age #1 to age #99, daily. Every day. For your whole life. For ever. All the friggin' time. Just press the button. That's it. All you do is press the button.
Next to "the button" is another button labelled "Kill me now". You can press that one any time you please, too. Maybe that one would just about help us avoid a Malthusian disaster.
The basic problem is human nature. To start with, we only value what we earn. Whether it's the satisfaction of standing back and thinking "I made that", Whether it's the knowledge that you're a "provider" and other people respect and depend on you. Whether it's saving up to go and see that band you like.
We also earn a status from being in work, whether it's productive work or merely IT (which, truth be told hasn't really improved the quality of life much at all. It certainly hasn't done a simgle dam' thing to get the country, or the world, out of its current recession). Meet a stranger and one of the first questions they will ask you is "what do you do?" Hands up anyone who hasn't embellished their answer, even just a little bit.
So, work is necessary. Not just to get us the stuff and the mental state that we value. It also sets our standing in society. Even if work became unnecessary in orer to get us the pizza de choix, we would still wish to fill our time, just to give ourselves something to talk about at all those soirees that our excessive free time would require we attend just to fill the empty void before bed.
Plus work allows us to get away from our children (and them from us).
> The idea of light triggered curtain closing/ lighting activation is pretty cool too.
The Swish AutoGlider has been available for 20 years. We got ours in 1996, still going strong.
> the impression lurking of it not being 'quite' ready.
The basic problem is that it's *not* home automation. It's (merely) remote controlled switches for electrical goods. And not very good r/c, at that.
Messing about with key fobs and the like was great in the 1970s, but these days you'd need something like EasyVR (speaker independent voice recognition) to get even the slightest twitch from the "that's cool" meter. Even so, who gives a hoot about switching your lights on or off, that's what LIGHT SWITCHES are for.
No. If you want true home automation, it's got to be more. Just like 3D TV failed because it wasn't actually 3D (a necessary prerequisite for all, except the marketing department). So it is with H/A. Until a home automation thing can fill the coffee pot, take out the rubbish and clean the bath - then clean the coffee pot, bring in the cat and fill the bath (and do these things when necessary, not when someone tells it to: the "automation" bit) it's going to be more trouble than its worth.
... is that there's been so little innovation from Apple for such a long time.
It does appear that they managed to launch their ballistic [ used as a technical term here ] trajectory with the early products, when there was little or no competition. Since then the curve has been sustained by the F*bois who are still living in 2008/9, the inertia of big business and the lack of anything better from the Android-ers: who are *still* playing catch-up and who's idea of innovation is aping what Apple have done in the past.
However, like all ballistic trajectories, at some point the upwardsness flattens out and gravity starts to exert its influence (as it does on us all!). Sooner or later that "meteoric" rise does what all meteors do and falls to earth in a firey spectacle. The only difference between Apple's ballistics and ordinary ballistics, is that you can usually plot, very accurately, the where and when of the descent and ultimate crash. With Apple half the fun is spectating and wondering when the historians will say "they finally lost the plot". Oh, and try not to be underneath, inside, or invested (financially, or in the products) when it does hit.
Wasn't all this stuff done to death and reached the same conclusions over 10 years ago, when IR35 was a "live" issue. These days there doesn't seem to be anything new, except the Jimmy Carr reference and the inevitable few contractors who still think they can get away with it (or their lawyers, who really should know better by now - surely it's wandering into the realms of professional misconduct for them still to be advising clients that they can avoid their taxes in this way?).
Most contractors of that era just did what I did: go "legit" and bump your rates up to make up the difference. Job done.
> Verlan is a technique in which the french reverse all of the sylables in a word.
So you're advocating that politicians speak in incomprehensible ways? A fine tradition that already goes back 40 or 50 years. (Though, admittedly, one that american presidents seem to be particularly good at, so maybe they would understand what was meant - even if it boggles the rest of humanity.)
However considering that we're talking about keeping comms safe from american spies, surely all that's needed to confound and confuse them are a few kg's, cm's and the odd è or é scattered through the text.
> convincing the gully-bird public to buy shares
While hoping that twitterers' memories are as short as their tweets and that they've forgotten what happened with the Facebook floatation.
As for long-term growth: how does 150 characters sound? (100 for you, 50 for the advertisers)
... and probably the only BTR hit that most people could name. [ scrabble for Wiki ensues, followed by "what about ...." ]
Although there was the intriguingly titled (I Never Loved) Eva (von???) Braun on Tonic for the Troops. Maybe after this, he will feel better about the family name?
You would hope there would be some sort of regulations about how many of these could be installed within range of each other. While the article talks about 1 "charger", what happens if your premises puts one in, the shop next door installs one, too - as well as a utility device in the shopping centre and possibly another in the offices above the public area.
A few of these, close together could give the Walkie Talkie building a run for its money in the death ray charts if multiple chargers all locked on to your (pocketed) iPhone at the same time.
> considering rejecting registrations if they feature keywords linked to criminality
As anyone who's worked with Microchip's PIC processors will know, doing a web search for "pic" throws up millions of pages of garbage [ using the standard internet definition, garbage: anything not related to what I want to see ] and makes the name PIC a positive pain to find stuff for and presumably a liabilty for their marketing department.
So maybe instead of banning words that, at present have an association with dubious activities, but which tomorrow could have changed their meanings completely and been replaced by other "naughty" words - maybe Nominet should be positively encouraging as many people as possible to register sites with those words, close spellings or them, combinations and other possibile dodgy terms. That way the baddies, to some extent, be thwarted in their quest for naughtiness and might accidentally stumble upon something that's pure and good and right and might learn to mend their evil ways.
The only problem might be if you find that your mum has logged on to your honeytrap website ...
> You're forgetting/ignoring RPi was designed for a specific purpose
Nope, nothing forgotten here. It's important to understand that this is a suggestion for a model C (per. the post) and not as a replacement / substitute for the existing boards.
Since the hardware is open source, there is scope (though nobody has taken it up yet) for any other manufacturer to produce the current board or any future improved Pi - even with their own custom additions. As it is, pretty much all the later hobbyist SBCs have gone for bigger, better, faster processors and beefed up I-O, memory and facitilites. While the Model-B fills a niche, you'd kinda home the original developers weren't resting on their laurels and had some plans for a refresh.
> You can pry my ethernet port from my cold dead hands.
You could still stick to the model B (superglue is an additional cost)
> one of the tiny ARM-based computer’s signal limitations: too few USB ports
In my experience, the number of USB ports on the Pi is a small matter. Ther are other design points that are more important to improve.
If anyone was planning on designing a "model C", I'd suggest dumping the Ethernet port, in favour of a Wifi device. Moving the ports around so they don't come out of all sides (possibly start by changing the SD card for a micro-SD), thus making it easier to integrate into other equipment. Adding some onboard flash, to obviate the need for an external card - though keeping the option for one.
It would also be nice if the board had (at least) a reset button, or, better, a header to break one out to a front panel. Do the same for some user addressable LEDs, so that the embedded version of "Hello World" doesn't need any hardware hacking and add an audio input port and you'd get to compete with the current best hobby SBC products like Cubieboard-2 and Olimex's A13
> They had no numbers on the number of convictions that arose from those arrests
Which is a shame, as that is the only statistic that matters.
Being arrested is not an indication that you've done anything wrong
Getting charged is no indication of guilt
Going to court doesn't make you a criminal
The only two possibilities for being classed a "baddie" is if you either plead guily (or accept a caution), or if a court finds you guilty and any appeals don't exonerate you.
I realise there is a huge "There's no smoke without fire" contingent who will naturally assume you're a fully paid-up member of the underworld is a police-person (or even the cheap plastic variety) so much as looks at you, but these individuals need to have their biases adjusted.
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you"
Or: Only open a can of worms if you plan to go fishing.
The "news" here isn't so much that the Beeb has a particular political leaning, it's that the BBC Trust chose to pay an organisation that would find that they had such a bias. I'm sure that if they'd chosen another organisation to review their output they could have obtained a completely different outcome.
The legal profession has a saying: Never ask a question unless you know the answer. I would hope that the BBC Trust has at least that much political nous, and that they got no surprises at all with the results that they paid for.
The only other question that comes to mind is: why would they have done this? Charter renewal coming up in a few years. perhaps?
> messages sent between foreign powers and their embassies
Don't *all* governments use one-time-pads for this sort of crypto. Definitely not the commercial quality stuff that you or I ever get to see.
It would be nice to think that the more sensitive commercial stuff was sent that way, too. However I'd be amazed if more than a few multinationals had the ability or security to operate at that level.
> The stuff is being archived indefinitely regardless of who you are.
Makes little or no difference. Most intelligence data is time-critical. It has a very short shelf-live. Consequently the spooks will be focussing their attention on intelligence gathering that they can decrypt, analyse (almost certainly by connecting it to other sources) and act on within a short timescale: a few weeks, tops. Anything older than that will be of no interest to them- even if they do keep it forever.
But so what if they *do* keep everything, indefinitely. They'll never get around to looking at it. The very worst case is that in 50 or 100 years some historian will decrypt a packet that contained the pass-code to your bank account. It's the sheer volume of data that is, and has always been, the problem for intelligence agencies - the good news is that almost nobody is important enough for them to take an interest in .
> Basically, the NSA is able to decrypt most of the internet
Having the ability to pick a single piece of (encrypted) internet traffic, at will, and decrypt it is a long way from being able to decrypt *every* piece of internet traffic, scan it for content and act on it. In real time.
Havng a piece of encrypted data handed to you and being asked to apply your decoding "magic" to it is one element of the NSA's work. However they still have to be able to isolate that significant piece of encrypted traffic from the billions of others: comparable to finding the one blade of grass on a golf course that has a coded message written on it.
That job of knowing which message to apply their brute force (or "cheating" - how ungentlemanly of them) processes is a monumentally different and much, much bigger problem. Sure: they can find stuff if they know where to look. However that knowing is still dependent on and limited to other more traditional methods of surveillance. There's just too much ordinary stuff, flying around as encryrpted data, or steganographic plain messages concealing sensitive information, for the NSA or any other body to check it all.
In this case, security through obscurity does work.
> an oversized and overpriced digital photo frame
Wouldn't be any use.
A quick calculation shows that a 16:9 "4K" (i.e. 4,000 horizontal pixels) screen would only have a resolution of a piffling 9 MPix. Anyone who's willing to splurge the cost of this on a screen will certainly have a state of the art digital camera (or even phone) that has a far, far higher resolution than this screen could ever display.