Spillikins # 628. Who knocked Yandex traffic jams and what to do about it


Another interesting week ahead and behind, there are more and more events every day, just have time to turn your head in different directions. But what is interesting is that old themes reappear and acquire new relevance due to the events taking place in our lives. I talked with an acquaintance who participated in illegal rallies and complained that it is not always possible to hold the phone in your hands on the go, especially in winter. Keeping in mind that he is a skier, has a GoPro, he wondered why he hadn’t used this camera. Of course, this is a completely different world, which is replete with its own stories, it will not be possible to understand it at once. According to my acquaintance, the use of any sports camera attached to the body causes an instant reaction, such people are detained by law enforcement agencies. Apparently, it is believed that this is how the organizers are recording, which means that they are pulled out of the crowd. I heard many tales about how to protect your data on your phone, but most of them are myths that are harmful and sometimes even dangerous.

Several years ago, I watched how, upon arrival in New York, a young man was asked to show something on his phone, and he began to download rights (a free country, you have no right, and so on). I was asked several times in different countries for something similar, most often in the USA and China. Unlocked, showed and did not know any problems, it takes a couple of minutes. Uniformed people look at your reaction, your desire or unwillingness to show your phone, consider this a psychological test. And when a person begins to be indignant, behaves aggressively, it means that he has something to hide. I don’t know what happened to that young man, he was taken to a separate room for a check, and we were deprived of the opportunity to observe further events. But I would like to note separately that it is definitely not worth believing the instructions of strangers on the Internet, who should “protect” you. Turn on your head, you must understand how you can protect your data, and what does not provide any protection.

But the preface took too long, let’s start our release, let’s go!


  1. Dostoevsky in touch and Google Translate to translate the book
  2. The moon in the photo is a miracle or an ordinary
  3. Yandex.Maps and a broken traffic jam service – an explanation from the company
  4. Small update of the children’s laptop, replacement of the SSD
  5. A few words about the quality of communication in the Moscow metro
  6. Books. Andrey Podshibyakin, “Game Time”
  7. Cheating on Avito, a letter from our reader

Dostoevsky in touch and Google Translate to translate the book

I never tire of wondering how easy and simple it is in our world to communicate with people who are thousands of kilometers away from you. We are accustomed to this and consider it to be something commonplace that we can easily reach any corner of the planet and almost any person from our phone. I am reading a wonderful book about Russia, our country through the eyes of a Norwegian writer belonging to my generation. There are a lot of typos in the book, the publisher did not really work on quality. More precisely, as you read, one gets the impression that at first one person was engaged in the translation, and then some parts were sent through Google Translate. Repetitive words, broken cases, and sometimes the meaning of what was said changes exactly to the opposite, the eye stumbles on such pages. You read what was written in a light, beautiful language, and then these crutches. I was not too lazy and bought the English version of the book, drove the detected absurdities into Google Translate, and immediately received familiar phrases where the logic of the narrative was broken. Perhaps, for the first time in practice, I come across the fact that the translation of a fiction book is carried out in this way. And this is clearly the work of several people. It is difficult to assume that a translator who coped well with his work suddenly began to fail and write such a thing. On the other hand, in the Russian translation, the currency in China is for some reason considered the yen, and not the yuan at all. An error that is striking and, to some extent, casts a shadow on the author himself.

Spillikins # 628. Who knocked Yandex traffic jams and what to do about it

I decided to look for the coordinates of the author in order to write about mistakes, found more than a dozen of them, although I read only two hundred pages, did not even get to half of the book. Discovered Instagram, wrote a few words and thus got to know each other. Throwing phrases, I caught myself thinking that it would be interesting if Dostoevsky had a social network, it would be possible to talk to him about criticism of his novels, and the same “Demons”. Contemporaries took the novel with hostility, for example, in the newspaper “Golos” they wrote: “The manner of enlivening the novel with details from real life, yesterday only read in newspaper correspondence or verbatim records of court hearings, cannot be considered worthy of imitation, if only because it is a kind of plagiarism”. Ivan Turgenev also spoke bitingly about the novel: “To display well-known persons in the novel, enveloping and, perhaps, distorting them with the fictions of his own imagination, this means passing off his subjective creativity as history, depriving at the same time the withdrawn persons of the opportunity to defend themselves from attacks. Thanks mainly to the latter circumstance, I consider such attempts unacceptable for an artist. ”

Our descendants will dig not only in newspaper clippings, more precisely, on the websites of long-gone newspapers and magazines, but in social networks in order to evaluate how we perceived certain works. Although, probably, the ratings will be interesting in the aspect of films and TV series, to a lesser extent books.

Anyone can offend an artist, I have never had such a desire and never had. But our world makes it possible to reach literally every person, ask a question and even get answers. I try to respond on social networks when they write to me, but I can’t always do it quickly, since the incoming stream of messages is too large and then I only need to deal with them. But I sincerely try to do this, because I think that what a person has gathered his thoughts and wrote is already important. On the other hand, I once mentioned that I never answer lazy letters when a person wants to do some work for him, does not want to strain at all. This caused indignation, read the comments and was amazed: “We are readers, and it’s so cynical to write that you can hammer a bolt at us, you cannot. You do not exist without us and therefore you must respond to every letter, message or comment. ” You can feel this youthful maximalism, in which there is not a drop of rationality and an attempt to understand the meaning of what was said, and the very manner of communication betrays a certain type of people who constantly poke at strangers, because this is the Internet! Sometimes I correct such people that we did not drink at brotherhood, and in response I hear: “You know English, there is no address” you “, there is all you, and so it is customary to say, nothing personal.” The image is completed in full, the desire to communicate does not arise from this.

I do not in any way equate myself with writers or classics, there is no arrogance and vanity in me. But I can say that I constantly communicate with several dozen people, our readers, who are interested in technology, and we discuss certain issues directly and outside the public field. Conversations are interesting, they often give rise to ideas for certain notes, but people are always driven by interest, this is the basis for any communication. In exactly the same way as when I wrote to Erica, I wanted to improve the quality of the translation, because the book itself is excellent and does not need to be changed.

Surprisingly, people often do not think that they can simply write to someone and the person will answer. A friend of mine adores the lead singer of some famous band, a rock star with all the regalia due, fanned with glory. At some point, a friend just wrote him a private message on social networks, thanked him and asked a question. Got an answer. I thought that a specially trained person was answering, because a star cannot write on his own (aha, apparently, his hands have atrophied!). They eventually became pen pals, and he also gets tickets to concerts, which made him travel to other countries even before the pandemic to listen to his idol.

My experience suggests that communication starts at a time when it is interesting for both parties, and this is a normal conversation on an equal footing. In all other cases, communication cannot work out in principle, since it is not interesting. It doesn’t matter if you are praised or scolded, the result is always the same. As for me, there is no need to be afraid to write to a stranger, if you have such a need, social networks allow you to do this. Another thing is that it is worth thinking about what you will write and how interesting it will be for your interlocutor. Our world is very comfortable, and you can communicate with almost anyone, it will not be difficult to reach any person. And there is no need to be afraid to do this, the whole world is open in front of you, and this is not a figure of speech at all.

We’re used to the wonders of technology, and I wrote a little essay about it that week that you may have read. Too many things have become familiar to us, so we don’t pay attention to them, read my thoughts if you haven’t already.

The moon in the photo is a miracle or an ordinary

Let’s take a look at a photo of Mars taken by the Chinese spacecraft Tianwen-1, which is approaching the planet. We are witnessing a new round of the space race, but with new faces (Russia temporarily dropped out of the competition, but there is hope that in 10-15 years we will return to it).

Spillikins # 628. Who knocked Yandex traffic jams and what to do about it

The snapshot of Mars was taken from a distance of 2.2 million kilometers, which by cosmic standards is called “a stone’s throw.” The picture is far from ideal, a hand-held photograph of the same Moon looks much more interesting.

Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra (SM-G988)

But we must remember that there are some 384 thousand kilometers to the Moon, although the cloud cover must also be taken into account. My attempts in the previous days to take new photos of the Moon turned out to be a failure, as it constantly snows in Moscow. The sky is covered with clouds, and our satellite simply does not look out because of them, I will wait for another weather.

Compare my image with the one the China Space Agency got for Mars. There is a difference from an artistic point of view, let’s look at the Moon at the maximum digital zoom of x100.

Review of the flagship Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra (SM-G988)

Here the picture is already crumbling, since the optics do not stretch, as well as the matrix. But you can still see the individual outlines of the craters. And this is fantastic!

The Internet is such a cool place that everyone here can have their own opinion, which does not need to be supported by anything. After people began to upload pictures of the Moon from the S21 Ultra, publications immediately appeared in which it was claimed that the image was taken from the library and this is exactly the same mode as in Huawei (that is, the Moon is drawn). This is not so, in the code of the “Camera” application we could not find a single mention of the fact that our satellite is being replaced by something else, as well as the pictures themselves, which are being replaced. All experiments around slipping something different and similar instead of the Moon turned out to be a failure, the camera does not try to turn the lamp into the Moon, although they are the same on the screen. But now a fair number of people have read that the moon is not real, but they have not seen the materials in which the opposite is stated. There is a usual difference of opinion, some argue that the moon is real, the second – that it is not. The main thing is that everyone stays with his own opinion, and yet all this arose out of the blue.

Here a similar situation happened to me, one of the TV channels took a picture from a YouTube program for its broadcast, and in the title called me no less than a political scientist. I did not expect that this would so hurt the feelings of many people who would begin to build conspiracy theories around this, express their opinions, knowing exactly why I needed it (he goes to work in the Kremlin, so he called himself a political scientist!). The versions, of course, are wild, but they perfectly illustrate how people perceive reality, there is no critical thinking at all. I remember a joke about the fact that I did not win, but lost, not at cards, but at checkers, not money, but something else. I will not tire of repeating that the ability to critically evaluate information becomes an extremely important quality for a modern person, and our next topic is exactly about this.

Yandex.Maps and a broken traffic jam service – an explanation from the company

On the night of February XNUMX, Yandex broke down a service that predicts traffic jams in Moscow. In the maps from “Yandex” all of Moscow “stopped”, traffic jams reached the maximum ten points.

It is impossible to assume that at 4 in the morning a general flight from Moscow began, especially since everything was normal in Google maps. Let’s remember this moment, in two similar services there was a completely different picture of what is happening, this will be important for our reflections.

In the morning, the Yandex press service came up with an explanation, which, in my opinion, does not explain anything at all, let’s give it in full: “That night Yandex.Traffic jams received a large number of fake GPS signals. The service specialists quickly detected and eliminated the problem before the drivers massively left the road in the morning. The skew in the data was detected and filtered out in time. We have added enhanced filtering of signals, including at night, in order to exclude a repetition of this situation in the future. ”

Hurray, good fellows at Yandex, as someone maliciously attacked the Russian service, but did not touch its American counterpart. Now let’s remember how GPS works and why Yandex’s explanation does not stand up to scrutiny.

The GPS signal comes from satellites, smartphones also use A-GPS, when the mobile network helps to determine the coordinates, which makes it possible to provide a better quality of positioning in urban conditions. All Yandex services receive coordinates from applications installed on smartphones, and those, in turn, receive GPS coordinates from a regular GPS service. Since Google maps worked fine, we can safely say that there was no problem with GPS. And a failure in this case would have affected not only Moscow, but other cities as well, and what cities there, and countries as well. But there was nothing like that, a failure at the level of one company and one city.

The issue of “jammers” that sometimes transfer drivers from the Kremlin to Vnukovo, although they remain in the center of Moscow, was widely discussed. This is the only way to get a “fake GPS signal”. My sense of beauty suffers from the syllable of Yandex’s PR people, the company should make them go through dictations until they learn to speak and write in their native language, and not give out all these tracing papers from English.

And again we come back to the fact that the “jammers” did not work that night, at least throughout Moscow, no one reported anything like that. But something else was happening, the fare in Yandex.Taxi suddenly increased due to increased demand, several people wrote to me that they were offered a trip at a different cost than usual. It is clear that the problem did not affect thousands of people, but for hundreds of trips that happened during the crash, it would be nice to return the difference in payment, since there were no traffic jams.

We have already discussed the fact that when one company controls traffic jams and it is so significant for the market in Moscow that it can regulate the traffic on the streets and even works with the mayor’s office in this area, it is wrong. An inevitable conflict of interest arises, in which the temptation to make a little money always comes to the fore. And moreover, this can be done gracefully, there are many ways for this. For example, with increased demand, the passenger pays more for the trip. Can such a demand be created? Easier than easy, it is enough to slightly change the algorithm to create small traffic jams. Let me remind you that Yandex.Maps is the main navigation application for many people, but in a taxi it is the default and is part of the system. There are plenty of opportunities to manipulate data, but we, as users of the service, can only hope that this is not happening and take Yandex’s word for it.

In monetary matters, it is difficult to take someone’s word for it, especially when a company is focused on making a profit at any cost. This conflict of interest can be resolved very simply and reliably when not a commercial company predicts traffic jams, but the city itself does this. That is, critical data is removed from the action of all players (Yandex, Google and others), and everyone receives the same picture from the city service. Yes, it is not profitable for Yandex, since the freedom of maneuver disappears. But today, both Yandex and Google receive the same data from the Moscow government, there are no differences between them.

From personal experience I will say that about half of the time Yandex and Google work in the same way, draw routes with approximately the same time. But the other half of the time, Yandex is shamelessly lying and takes me into traffic jams or suboptimal routes. Does he do it as a result of an error or so he manages the loading of the city, I do not know, but for me it quickly became a problem, and therefore refused to navigate Yandex at all. Moreover, in a taxi, I periodically ask you to choose a different route, because what Yandex draws is not always good and correct. And usually I win on the right route from 5 to 10 minutes on a trip of 30-40 minutes. That is a lot on the scale of the city. I will specially emphasize that I do not choose any secret paths, all routes are along the main streets and comfortable roads.

Let’s go back to fake GPS signals. Who issued them? Soft from “Yandex”, over which someone in the night tricked and tried to tweak something. Night is an ideal time for experiments, and the fact that some of the journalists drew attention to these traffic jams, and the situation spread through the media, is more likely an accident. The software from Yandex itself has become a problem, and it is impossible to blame the GPS failure, there is simply no connection. I do not know what Yandex programmers did, they built a new version of the system so that it would create traffic jams or, on the contrary, eliminate them, they simply made a mistake in something – it is not clear. But the fact that one company should not be allowed to manipulate the situation on the roads of a huge metropolis is quite obvious. And we, as a society, need to come up with ways for the state to own the information on road loading, and not a private company, which, moreover, can affect the load on these roads.

On the other hand, it is possible that Yandex is no longer perceived as a private company, retains its attributes, but officials consider the Russian IT giant to be completely controlled. During the illegal rallies, taxis from Yandex did not go to many points, the company explained that it was impossible to get there, since the streets were blocked. The official comment of “Yandex” becomes one of the proofs of illegal actions, the blocking of streets by the protesters, forms the basis of the accusations. But I was amused by the story of a friend who was sincerely surprised at Yandex’s generosity on January 31st. It was possible to leave the city center at minimal prices, her friends ordered a taxi to the bar and were able to leave at three addresses for less than 500 rubles for the entire trip! Was it another failure, or so the center was unloaded, I do not know, since I do not have the completeness of information. You can explain all this as you like, but the coincidences look amazing and to some extent timely.

So that we, as users of Yandex services, do not have such questions, it is necessary for the company to become more transparent. In every sense, it demonstrated how services work, how data is taken into account, how it protects our data and whether it does it. On the part of the state, it is necessary to remove from the influence of any private companies all data that can affect the life of large cities, such data should be controlled exclusively by the state and no one else. Otherwise, one fine day, the same Moscow will get up because of a software malfunction, which the same Yandex cannot control or, on the contrary, will create on its own, since some of the employees will think that this is correct. We need guarantees that life will go on as usual and without excesses.

And, of course, the traditional question: what do you think Yandex did so that they had 10-point traffic jams in Moscow? What are your versions of what happened?

Small update of the children’s laptop, replacement of the SSD

The child has a relatively old laptop that works great (it was once a flagship), but it has catastrophically little memory (again, I once chose an SSD). Considering different options for expanding memory, I realized that an external drive is a headache for everyone (forgot, lost, somewhere to do), I decided to try to install a separate SSD. Since I took it with an eye to using it in my machine after a while, I decided not to waste time on trifles and take a 4 TB SSD. Of all the wealth, the choice fell on the Samsung 870 Evo, since I trust these SSDs historically, I have several of them, and they have never let me down (pah-pah).

Spillikins # 628. Who knocked Yandex traffic jams and what to do about itSpillikins # 628. Who knocked Yandex traffic jams and what to do about it

Just in case, I ordered a separate box to install an SSD in it and copy all the data before putting it into a laptop, but, unlike a disk, it has not yet reached me. I think I’ll tell you separately about my impressions of how easy the transfer was. Alas, my MacBook Pro on M1 does not have the option of replacing the SSD, so I cannot supply myself with 4 TB of memory. And my hand was reaching out to order a couple of SSD drives, but no luck.

I was forced to write about this by the fact that, it turns out, many people sincerely believe that nothing can be replaced in laptops and it is impossible to expand memory. In some models it is impossible, but in many there is such an option, and it is cheaper than buying a new typewriter, especially if the old one suits you. So I just remind you about this, this option is logical and rational.

A few words about the quality of communication in the Moscow metro

The other day we discussed the quality of communication in the metro, in particular, the mobile Internet. I said quite sincerely that sometimes I go to the station on the Koltsevaya line when I need to download a large amount of data very quickly, but I don’t have much time. There is a separate cauldron in hell for those who hide a presentation together with other files in an archive of many gigabytes, break it into n parts and say: “The file is at the root, most importantly, unpack everything.”

At metro ring stations the speed is excellent, especially since there MegaFon and MTS have agreed to share their infrastructure, which in theory gives the maximum speed for most people. Take a look at some measurements at the stations.

The speed is not the same everywhere, but usually everything is fine, and most importantly, the network is not loaded, no one is downloading large amounts of data (maybe they use Wi-Fi historically?). It usually takes me 5-10 minutes to load everything I need and immediately return to the surface. In the bustle of Moscow, a good Internet is necessary, but it is not available everywhere. Many do not realize that they have an excellent data transfer rate (on the Filevskaya branch, S21 Ultra gave me 350 Mbps for upload, 70 Mbps for upload). I will probably return to this topic in a separate article, since there is something to discuss here. On the other hand, many sincerely believe that the data transfer speed depends solely on the piece of hardware, although this is not at all the case.

Books. Andrey Podshibyakin, “Game Time”

I bought the book when it first appeared on the shelves, but my hands did not reach it, I put it aside. Raking through the rubble, I came across and realized that I wanted to remember old toys and the times when Russian gamedev was just getting on its feet. Andrey was present at the same time and painted the games and what they bring to the world. In some ways, reading the book awakens nostalgia, because there are IL-2, Truckers and a dozen other games that have become an event, not only in Russia, but also in the world. A light syllable, correctly placed accents, memories of the heroes-developers after years – all this makes up the outline of the book. But there is a huge flaw in it, which you will encounter instantly – it is short, some 300 pages. You just get involved in reading, gain momentum, and here it is, the end. I would like to continue, albeit not about specific games, but about the games industry as such. I believe that Andrey will easily cope with this task, the main thing is to find time. In short, I recommend you from the bottom of my heart if you have played or are playing. For those who have not seen the times of Parkan and other games, it will also be interesting to know how it all began and where it came, remembering the history is important.

Spillikins # 628. Who knocked Yandex traffic jams and what to do about it

Cheating on Avito, a letter from our reader

The topic of scammers does not subside, our reader sent a letter, which I want to cite without cuts, as it is:

“Good afternoon, Eldar!

First, I want to thank you for your work. I have been reading all your articles with pleasure for many years. Your opinion is close to me, I like the consistency and rationality that can be traced in your writings. I have always liked articles on topics that are not “mobile”.

I decided to write to you for the following reason: several of my acquaintances have already been deceived through the Avito sales platform, and precisely not as buyers, but as sellers. The mechanism is simple: an unfamiliar buyer writes that he is ready to buy the proposed product, asks leading questions, and at the end comes a link with a form for filling in the card details to receive money, only the link goes to the unauthorized resource of the fake page, and by clicking on the button to get money, the person says goodbye with this amount. It is clear that this is due to the inattention of the seller himself, and it is his own fault that he did not read the text of the SMS with the verification code, but I think most of us do this, which is what the deceivers use. The problem I see, among other things, is that the registration mechanism on Avito allows this, without immediately requiring the card details, as is done, for example, on aliexpress. I also understand that these are no longer isolated cases, since several acquaintances of mine were so deceived. And how many are there in the whole country? I also understand that this is a whole enterprise with registration as an individual entrepreneur or LLC, with the conclusion of an acquiring agreement with banks, so the scale of deception is clearly large, this entire structure needs to be maintained. Therefore, I ask you, if possible, to publish my letter on your resource so that people are aware of how they can be deceived by scammers through the official Avito application, and I also ask you to contact Avito if possible so that they introduce protective mechanisms for their sellers. They will listen to you.

Respectfully yours, Alexey Tikhonov.

From myself, I can only note that you always need to turn on your head and be attentive, not to be led to divorce scammers, especially such a simple and uncomplicated one. Be careful, do not give your honestly earned money to anyone.

PS Have a nice work week. Let these days be full of pleasant events, you will have time for an interesting book or a good movie. I sincerely want to wish you to become the best version of myself, at least to take steps in this direction. Have a great week!

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