In two months, I will have been blogging here for eight years, and will have written close to 4,000 posts. I try not to count chickens before they hatch, or measure water before it runs under the bridge, but still, that's an accomplishment. Too bad there's no widget for blogging into book format. Maybe I should commission one for Droid, then e-reader peeps could read this screed, too.
There's no humor here, but there might be an explanation of the mind-set that could allow one person to commit such an atrocity. The technology of broadcasting your thoughts, as illustrated by your blogger in this blog, for example, might be a reason that we are self-absorbed, that we disregard the best proven teachings of the culture.
We are so, so, "whatever".
But we are NOT faithful to the culture.
It's always "what my BFF said" or "what MC Gangstapunk rapped", but it's never "what Thomas Aquinas said" or "what John Locke said", is it?
We have shrugged off the brilliant minds who built our superior culture, and replaced them with..."Whatever".
The technology, or rather the abuse of it, did that to us.
I'm NOT going to say "reject the technology", because it is the same technology that enables us to carry the entire brilliant works of the culture on one pocket-sized device, so this same technology which gives rise to unfathomable evil can also save us from that evil.
It can only save us, though, if we choose to use it for navigation on that path. If we choose to use it to simply divert our minds from the ennui of having to live too close to one another, we have failed to realize the primary strength of the technology.
H/T to Country Gal, who I should probably promote to "bff"
...sideways attack. On my email addy, the Comcast one for those who use it. The yahulian addy for this blog seems to still be upright. It was the master addy, I have several other ComCrap addys and they weren't hit.
Could be a massive penetration of ComCrap, because there is a monster backlog at the help desk. I intercepted one of the messages, which came from a PA addy on Comcrap (prolly a zombie puter) and it was addressed via me to some business I never used on the Least Coast. There were four others like it, all to different businesses. The evil wizard figured out how to keep ComCrap's security system from notifying me that my password and secrit question had been changed, but the targeted businesses seemed to be well enough protected by the system which didn't let the monster long messages through. They were composed of thousands of words of rambly disconnected sentences in decent English, appearing to be cut and pasted out of some college Lit course.
At first I reset just the P/W, and restored service, but got hijacked a second time, so reset all the security items. Trend Micro hasn't found anything, is about finished with a deep scan. Pretty sure the penetration was at ComCrap, not in my network.
UPDATE 12062012: 0759 PST: Email hacked again overnight, but got through to ComCrap techies this ayem and had a console-change done on the password & PIN, then went online and changed the sooper-secrit question to a different category and used a long alpha-numeric-punctuation-both case string instead of the usual name in one of the name categories. We'll see. If THIS security update holds, we're just dealing with a smart hacker-bot which got into ComCrap's shorts, but if I gets hacked again, we're dealing with a person with some intent, and that person probably reads this blog.
So, Mister Hacker, can you run faster than 1,000 feet per second? You can? Okay then, how about 3,000 feet per second? You DO leave a trail, ya know, and I have that trail safe in standalone memory now. When my urge to end your annoyance gets strong enough, we'll meet face to face, and you won't like what happens next.
I arise today at a reasonable hour, and decide to reconcile my checking account, which I haven't done in 12 days. At the 'puter, I click open the Credit Union web page, and note that it has been completely re-designed. Hmmmm...the hairs on the back of my neck start to tingle (I am the RivrDOG, after all!).
I find the log-in tab, and click it. It opens very slowly, and so I insert my account number and click on "Password", which fails to take the password I type. Hmmmm. I change from Chrome to Internet Exploder and try again. No joy.
I go back to Chrome and re-enter everything, but now use the "tab" key to get to the password box, and now it takes my password, but when I click "go", it doesn't go, and I get a FUBAR box from Chrome. Back to Exploder, do the same, get the same result. Go back, do it all over again, this time using the keyboard Enter key to enter instead of mouse-clicking on "go". Still FUBAR.
I started to try to access this account (into which ALL my pension deposits are electronically made, and out of which I pay all bills) @ 0745 local, and it is now 0905, and the CU is actually open, but still no fix. I have been on "hold" on the phone for over and hour, and have no answer, just hold ads. I read blogs for an hour to pass the time while on hold.
It's payday, too, and if this keeps up, I will have been denied almost $7K in incoming funds.
This about rips it with me for this CU. I have done business with them for almost 40 years, but they cheap out on everything. In this case, their mistake is obvious: they changed everything to have the newest and latest web-page, but failed to post their IT guy to 24-hour monitoring of it to make sure all the new server links stayed up and working.
This is also the age of robo-calling, and the farging CU COULD have had a robo-call sent out to all the members to advise them of the outage, but they didn't do THAT, either.
The issue got resolved about 0915, 1.5 hours after I discovered it. I had to redial the CU, the hold music went nowhere, and after the staff took their desks for the business day, no one picked up that line. GRRRRRR! After redialing, I get a staff member, and she discovers that in the last five minutes, the system had just come back up.
Tomorrow is the Annual Meeting, so I might just have to drop by the CU and pose a question from the floor to the CEO of why the CU either does not have a 24-7 IT guy, or subscribe to a monitoring service, or have ANY way to report an online banking outage when the office is closed. Saving the members' money is one thing, but when they are so cheap as to make online banking useless with their inattention because they won't pay for some system to monitor and report to the IT manager, then they're saving TOO many shekels.
The T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S2 phone. I've only had it a couple of months, and it had accumulated a ton of garbage, mostly logs, etc. I had contributed to that process with over 120 photos and videos, and are THEY data hogs. I just spent almost two hours dumping all that crapple.
I'm having a hard time getting by the fact that I can't slim down the load of apps and processes, though. This phone came with enough bloatware on it to sink an Evergreen containership.
I've been reading up on a process called "rooting", whereby I become the MFWIC, and not Google/Samsung/T-Mobile. Seems fairly straightforward, not much more difficult than editing a Windoze Registry, and I've been doing those for years. I lose my guarantee on the phone when I do, but I will have a phone where I am in charge of what goes on it. These damn phones are for kids who have to spend 100% of their waking hours dabbling in data in some way or another. I need the excellent comms the phone can provide, and the cameras are a nice bennie, but 80% of the kiddie apps are things I'll never use, or there are better apps for the asking. So, I'll put on a better app, but then I'm stuck with the old bloatware app that came with the phone. If I root the phone I can make them go away. I just have to be careful to not jerk out an app which is welded to the core of the OS, and takes the OS down when I dump the app. That's called "bricking" the phone, which then becomes as useful for comms as a Mark One, Mod Zero red clay brick.
I know that the I-phone techies have been "jailbreaking" I-phones ever since they came out, for essentially the same reasons, and I don't hear of all THAT many "bricks" resulting from their enterprise.
I'll keep reading, but I'll probably do this thing shortly...
Then, maybe I'll root my Motorola Xoom tab, which runs the same Google OS, an earlier version of "Honeycomb", although the Xoom didn't come with too many bloatware apps, so it's not quite as much of a problem. The phone has 7 screens full of apps, of which I am responsible for installing maybe a half-screenful. That's BeeEss.
Via Tom Tancredo, former congressman from CO, "Sheriff Mack", who's about to announce for Congress out of TX, was putting on a "Constitutional Sheriff's Convention" in Vegas, apparently last weekend or about now. Donations had been solicited to defray the expenses, and apparently, the Sheriff made the mistake of using PayPal as a medium of exchange.
After $40,000 had already come in through PayPal, PayPal froze Sheriff Mack's money, mumbling some excuse about the legality of his organization to receive donations.
I've got news for PayPal, they likely just committed Federal Wire Fraud, by allowing the donations to come in and build up a sizeable kitty, then seizing the money, without warrant, lawsuit, court order, anything. Good luck getting any Obama-appointed US Attorney to file those charges, though.
This is about par for PayPal, which never saw a Defender of the Constitution they didn't want to screw over. You will recall, I'm sure, the flap a few years ago about PayPal doing the same thing to one or more gun-auction companies.
The ownership of PayPal evidently just hates the Bill of Rights, there's no other way to express it. Next week, I'm beginning to solicit funds for my new political action company which will seek to end the hegemony of the Greens over motorized boating in Oregon. I've spent several hours at my business bank, JP Morgan Chase, with my very patient business banker teaching me the ins and outs of handling money online. One of the first questions he asked me was if I was going to use PayPal. I said no, and told him why. He then said I had made a wise choice, since of the many ways to handle money online, PayPal was the most expensive, at 4% of each transaction. The one I am going to go with will charge me either 1.35% or 1.78%, depending on whether I scan a card or key it in. No one else charges as much as PayPal.
PayPal are not only Anti-Constitution, they are robbers to boot. Make a firm vow now to never use them again, there are too many other good choices. You can start with Google Wallet, for one choice that's about half the price of PayPal, and so far, Google doesn't seek to trash the Constitution with their business dealings. Google Wallet goes both ways, you can pay with it or collect with it. Opening a merchant account takes only seconds (if you are incorporated). There are other choices for taking in funds via the Internet, but you have to watch three things: the percentage fees, any monthly (minimum) fees, and equipment cost. Some, like The Square, throw in the equipment, but charge a higher fee to make up for it, and some, like Merchant Anywhere, charge less fee but the charge for equipment to connect to your smartphone or tablet is substantial.
Whatever you pick to make or take payment electronically, a patriot will never pick PayPal.
I need to move up to a smartphone for business purposes. I need productivity software (apps) on it, and it especially needs to be able to do all the money-transfer apps such as scanning/swiping credit cards, scanning-entering checks, etc. I have a Chase business account, and my business banker says Chase's electronic banking system will support everything that's out there in the way of apps and accessory equipment.
It needs to be able to handle .PDFs, as well as Word docs, with apps available to write on or modify such documents, then send them to my printer. Spreadsheets, not so much.
I-Phone or Droid, I don't care, but Wi-Fi capability along with 4G is a must, and I would prefer being able to move stuff around on a memory card (which I understand I-phone won't do, and now some of the Droids even lack memory card slots).
Long battery life is a plus, but not a deal-breaker, as long as it will go for 6-8 hours, since I'm religious about having a charged phone and will remember to charge it.
I don't give a rip about music, that's not an entering argument. I do like slide-out keyboards for fast text entry (I have old and less-agile thumbs, so a keyboard is almost a requirement). Camera and video is a plus, but I won't use it much.
Being able to do mobile Skype is a plus, almost a must.
I would prefer NOT to have to do all my business for apps with I-tunes, that's my biggest knock on all things Apple, you have to deal with Apple and Apple alone or you can't get it or use it on their equipment.
Price is not really an object, nor is data bundling. I'll pay the price of being able to do business in a 21st-Century style.
In the Rivrdog household, we have planz on both Verizon and T-Mobile, and T-Mobile has a deal going now so that if I get an Android phone, I can get a second smart-phone, the Nokia 710 Windows 7.5 phone, for fifty bucks. The gudwife wants an entry level smartass phone, and I'm told that the Windows device fills that need nicely. I could use more capability than the Nokia has, so I'm thinking of that Nokia for her and an Android for me, but which Android?
My previous smartphone experience ended with a windows 6.1 phone, and I was fine with it, but those days are past. I've suffered along with a dumb-phone for 2 1/2 years now and still would, if not for the pace of business.
Let the advising begin.
BTW, if Apple is so big a deal, how come no one bundles an I-Phone with an I-Pad for productivity?
Decided! I went down to the T-Mobile place and opened a Business Account, and tomorrow, with the advice of Drang, will have the Samsung Galaxy S-2. It's actually a more capable computer than the Windoze 7.0 Desktop I'm posting on....plus, for a $50 migration fee (which I thought they should have waived because I am opening a business account), I'm putting the gudwife into a Nokia 710 Windoze 7.5 phone. Less capable than the uber-machine I'm getting, but she liked it and the price was right (almost a giveaway). I might go for the full meal deal and get a 4G card for the laptop, or maybe even replace that netbook/laptop with a Galaxy Tablet...I guess this means that I will have to stop bashing Google at every opportunity as has been my practice, since I've just selected their OS for running at least my phone, and maybe a computer as well...
UPDATE: 011211 1303 PST: Thanks to Joe and Uncle, my fears are somewhat relieved on this old, moldy poll. Joe explained it in comments, below. I guess that means that the only real worry, if you want to spare some, is that USA Today has a garbage dump where they should have a Web bureau in their org chart. However, since neither Joe nor Uncle could say that data is NOT being mined from the responses to the old, moldy poll, we should still be on our guard about it. My advice is stay away. We gunnies proved 4 1/2 years ago that we can put more fingers to more keyboards faster than the anti-2A crowd, and for the life of me, I don't see any value in continuing that fight. We WON for Christ's sake! The Brady Bunch KNOWS we won. Put that trophy back in the trophy case, people, we don't have to keep playing the 2007 playoffs over and over again.
I've gotten an email which purports to link to the USA Today poll on support for the Second Amendment. Since I knew that this was a pre-Heller poll taken back in 2007, I began to sense something might be wrong.
Someone is probably collecting/trapping the IPs of those favorable to the Second Amendment. It COULD be a beneficial organization, but it also could be a nefarious one. I suspect the latter.
Here's my evidence:
First, the link location, and do NOT paste this link, just remember it. Break out a medieval quill pen and parchment if you have one, and ink it down.
Now, go to a real USA Today site and look for polls; you'll find that there is no way to access any. The paper (at least the online edition) doesn't have a web page devoted to a daily poll. There IS something called a USA Today/Gallup poll. Here's the latest one of those which I can find using Google and Ask.com, and it's a month old:
OK, compare the two URLs I have on this post so far.
The URLs are NOT similar in any way.
Now, search on "usa today quick question polls". There is nothing on that search page to indicate that USA Today ever ran a "quick question" poll after the 2007 firearms poll, and I suspect the reason for that is because the huge response from gun owners (and anti-gunners) thrashed their host so badly they quit doing it.
Now, I'm not a real geek. I have ZERO technical training in this area of Internet technology (and I slept in my own bed last night, and didn't get close to a Holiday Inn Express, heh). That disclaimer aside, I suspect that this latest "re-issuance" of the "USA Today" poll is a fake.
Some evidence of the fake.
All the previous REAL USA-Today polls come up as a full page when you visit their site, but this one does not, it comes up at about a one-sixth page or less, tucked into the top left of a large, otherwise blank page. Also, it is unusual for ANY poll to be presented just as a simple "yes-no-no opinion" box. Any outfit with a reputation to uphold, like USA Today has, would have some other writings and explanations on the page, and probably some links to take you back to a page with more of their content (and some ads, which pay the bills). Survey Monkey is the standard for polls you don't want to pay for but need to post nowadays, and their poll page will always link to back to their website.
I firmly conclude that this is not an actual re-issuance of the 2007 USA Today poll, but is a fake, and that leaves the Big Question: whose fake is it? Also another important question: when you visit a page, any page, you leave a trail to that page. Who is mining the data from these trails to that page? Are they friend or foe?
Unless you know the answers to the above paragraph's questions, don't punch the "send" button on this ersatz "poll".
Now, if some REAL geek wants to set me straight, and offers the science to refute my suspicion here, I will gladly publish that information, with or without retribution at the request of that author, whatever is desired.
Until then, take warning and don't fall for this phishing attempt.
Netflix is a good example. Some of my family members subscribed, so I know this to be true: for $9/mo, you got great access to content via DVD and snailmail. When streaming content was added, it got even better, and many new customers signed up.
Then netflix committed the boneheaded play of the decade, and tried to split the streaming and the DVD business off into separate outfits, each with it's own subscription. It would have cost more than double to stay with all the content available from the two companies. That cost, near $20/mo, would have been roughly equal to a nice upgrade package from the Satellite outfits or cable TeeVee.
So, Netflix gave up it's price and market niche. It was really only ever about price for content, but somehow, the boneheaded analyst who wrote this doesn't see the forest for the trees.
Is there REALLY any question why our economy is in such bad shape, when the so-called experts can't fathom the main factor in a sea-change in a market?
Our military gives big bonus points via the modern testing they do to select soldiers. Those bonus points include some for being cyber-smart.
I guess the military never stopped to consider what the process of becoming cyber-smart involves with the youth it recruits.
Here's a flash for them: it involves playing video games, among other things.
So, you find a soldierly geek and give him/her all the training to make it to the top in the cyber-war field, and pretty soon, they're either using drone-operation software on missions or repairing it. While they are at this job, which has it's dull moments, it's very tempting for them to fish out a personal flash drive and put their fave games on the military supercomputer array, just so see how FAST such a game really is.
If their edition of the game has a virus, now the military super-computer has a virus.
And that, folks, is how our drone-ops computers got infected. Same way the Iranian nuke-centrifuge control computer got infected. We're lucky that it seems to only be a virus connected with the game "Mafia Wars". It could have been something like Stuxnet: Pick a day when armed drones are in the air over the Afghan-Paki border. Now, with the aid of your virus, seize control of several drones, say, at Friday evening prayers, and deliberately fly them or fire their weapons into Paki mosques.
We'd be toast.
Yep, that's a two-edged sword, that geek-love in the military. Cuts both ways. You fix it by instilling more discipline and less geekiness in the troops. GIGO = Garbage In, Garbage Out. It does the military no good at all to have the finest computers if they are infected. It likewise does the military no good to have the best cyber-war troops if they are undisciplined.