to Office Space is a verb

I watched four of my employees this morning struggle mightily with the photocopier like it was cavemen learning about fire. They fought the machine for a half hour before they got it to work again. This copier is brand new, and it already is failing. It’s a Xerox, who has been making copiers since 1959 and things still don’t work.

You’d think if they’d been making the same kind of machine for over six decades they’d have figured this sort of thing out. Nope! Everybody around the planet is still struggling with the same flaws, failure, frustrations, and fury. It’s almost like they build these machines poorly on purpose. So you can pay them for maintenance or have to buy a new one all the time.

Everybody wants to Office Space their photocopier. It will always be so. Aliens don’t even need to blow up the planet to take over. They just need to give every family on Earth their own copier. After one month of dealing with failure, we’ll be begging the aliens to become our overlords. Just as long as they destroy all copiers.

not complying with electronic equipment environmental disposal / destruction laws is the dream of every white collar employee

soon, Mars will be your holiday destination

So the new Mars rover (there are so many now it’s hard to keep track of which is which) brought a helicopter with it. Or more accurately, a little drone that weighs four pounds and is probably so brittle your three year old could break it whilst holding a candy cane.

Mars’ atmosphere is so thin the two twin blade props on the thing had to spin at an insane rotation rate to attain the necessary lift. You can see the NASA video here:

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Succeeds in Historic First Flight | NASA

Pretty cool. That’s no kidding a human creation in flight on another planet.

Essentially this is a test bed for future airborne drones which could be used to explore Mars far more effectively than a ground based rover crawling around at 1.73 kph.

But I’m insane, so all of this is minor scraps for me. What I REALLY want to know is:

1) When will the NASA airborne drones be armed with guided missiles and chain guns?

2) In keeping with Humanity’s desire to destroy everything including ourselves, when will these armed drones be used to exterminate all remaining life on Mars?

3) After extinction, when will Mars be available as your pristine holiday destination?

These are important things to consider. Too harsh? Wrong. After all, Mars started it. We’ll make sure Earth finishes it.

disconnect everything you can

Recently, a town of 15K people near Tampa, Florida nearly had their entire water supply poisoned by a hacker. Somebody hacked the system and increased the lye content of the water to poison levels. Only the actions of a very alert employee (who should be the guest of honor at the next Super Bowl) saved 15K people from drinking poison.

Guess what, nobody cares. To me, this should be front page news for a week. To others, the Brittney Spears documentary and the Aunt Jemima rebrand are more important. These news articles go above the near poisoning of 15K Americans, which is off the front page after less than a day. So this is another reminder of how debased and useless the modern media is.

I can’t stress this enough, disconnect everything you can. I’m a former loser computer science major. I’ve never used computer science, but am still a loser. If you have four hours, give me a shout and I’ll explain to you in intricate detail just how unsecure the Internets is.

You cannot secure the Internets. At its most basic 0 and 1 level, it can’t ever be totally secure. This goes back to how the founders of the Internets designed the backstage to be totally open and freewheeling. When these dudes made the Internet’s core coding and theory, security wasn’t even on their top 100 concerns.

I was helping my Ma troubleshoot her fridge this weekend, spoiler alert, never buy an LG fridge. In the manual they have Wi-Fi instructions. Why does your fridge need to connect to the Internets? Soon your freaking pacemaker will be. What the fuck are people thinking? I think they don’t understand just how unsecure this all is. The “Internet-of-Things” is a fucking dystopian nightmare in waiting.

You need a phone and a computer to connect to the Internets. Oh, and a gaming console, if that’s your thing. Disconnect everything else. As the bumbled coronavirus response has shown, if you’re counting on the government to protect you, you have the wrong idea. You have to protect yourself.

the mind decides how you behave

The tech freaks of Silicon Valley won’t be happy until they build either a fully functional human brain or at least Skynet in reality. I don’t care what any of them say, this is their goal. Their space rockets are neat, but expensive, and at the margins. These very bizarre, successful dudes want to create life.

When you build the first robot servant, then you get immorality, then you’ll be judged alongside Newton. It reminds me of the era where if you discovered a new turtle you could name it whatever you wanted and you would be renowned across the natural philosophy world.

The tech freaks, they’ll fail. They will all fail. All of them. The brain will allude them.

I wish I was more religious, but I’m not. I think most of it now comes from how my Dad somewhat lost his faith at the end. He was my religious bedrock and in the end he thought he provided him not many answers. But I was most religious where he and I were alone at the end. There was no priest, no time, there was just he and I. I guess I believed more then, but after he was gone I’ve had a hard time of it. I read a lot and have discovered this is a common reaction to such circumstances.

Why do I say this? I guess it’s because what I’m trying to say is the human brain, the mind, will take you across the most wonderful, baffling, and excessive journey’s of humanity. Whether you’re in a good spot or not (I’m not) you’re still in for one hell of ride. If you believe in religion, this is sacred to you. If you don’t believe in religion, or wish you did, or don’t care, either way, it’s still sacred to you. We are all uniquely special and sacred.

This is why I find the tech freaks efforts to recreate the human brain so offensive. Fuck them, they’re not god. Burn them at the stake.

This afternoon I went to the local fish market. I live in concrete land so the local fish market is a dive strip mall hovel that would qualify as a shooting gallery in most planetary zip codes. People are far, far too ready to buy straight from Generic Grocery Store #485 instead of going to the experts. I try when I have time to always shop at the experts.

I get in there and only after nodding to the dude cutting fish do I realize I forgot my mask. Fuck covid. I’m in there without my mask and I feel naked. I dash out of the store, go get my mask from my car, and then buy some tasty future swordfish steaks. If you don’t believe covid is real, you’re either an idiot or haven’t seen it. I’ve seen my relatives suffer.

So you better believe I wear my mask everywhere. But I legit forgot. But, my mind, my brain, my body reflexively reacted. I didn’t think about it, I just reacted. Muscle memory or whatever. A year ago this would have been unfathomable, my beautiful brain would have not understood the absence of a mask atop my face. But the mind adapts, it adjusts, and now when I’m in a store without my mask, I am naked. Whereas a year ago this concept would have been laughable.

Hug your brain, it’s a miracle!

work is an intrusion to home

Every human needs a sanctuary, a place where they can unplug and not be accountable to anybody but themselves or their immediate family.

For the white collar worker this evil virus has eviscerated that line.  Yes, it’s been dulled for years as high fliers or big shots checked their work e-mail at 12:31 in the morning just to keep themselves in the game, but now it’s in overdrive.

For blue collar workers who are either out of a job or have to expose themselves to the virus every day on the jobsite this is a good problem to have though.

I’m now on week two of online conferences and courses for work at home and it’s extremely jarring.  I don’t want to hear big shot #43 run his mouth about how awesome he is while I hear my washing machine go.  It’s an intrusion on my castle.  It feels odd.  It feels wrong.  Honestly, I’d just rather be at work.

A few publications that aren’t busy (still) playing politics have begun to ask very important questions about where society will be after the first global pandemic in a century.  My worry at this particular moment is the work world and the your world will be essentially blended from now on.  You did it for months, so why can’t your boss ask you do to work at home whenever the hell they want?  At whatever time they want?

This isn’t normal and it isn’t human.  But whether we like it or not, maybe it will become the new normal?

DuckDuckGo flies from the top rope

Long time readers of this degenerate blog will know I take data and internet privacy issues pretty seriously.  But I guess this will be the first time I state that for over a year I haven’t used Google for internet search.  I use DuckDuckGo, who’s been around a long time, and makes it a point not just to not track you but help you understand who is tracking you and how they’re doing it.

In the year I’ve used DuckDuckGo, I haven’t noticed a decrease in my capability to internet search.  It’s widely acknowledged Google has the most proficient search algorithms in the business, but what do I care?  I’m not searching for details of obscure string theory research by some mad scientist in Belarus.  DuckDuckGo finds what I need like 99% of the time.  When they fail, I don’t go to Google, I try Bing next.

Now DuckDuckGo is making their tracking data more public, so you can see who are the real big time data offenders.  No points for guessing who the two worst assholes are:

most-common-trackers-on-websites3

You might be surprised to see Adobe on this list, but remember they own/operated Adobe Flash Player and have been in the imbed business a long time.  This graphic confirms what many in the privacy business are coming to realize, an established consensus, that anything Google touches, to include Android, essentially functions as spyware.

Enjoy your day!

your car knows when you’ve been bad or good

As we’ve written previously on this degenerate blog, it’s in your interest to read most of what Geoffrey A. Fowler writes. Your smartphone has your DNA on file. Amazon knows what toothpaste you use. Google has a complete list of things you have nightmares about. Now your car is in on the game.

When I renewed my auto insurance policy Allstate tried to get shovey with me and do the driver monitoring program. Supposedly if you drive safely (I don’t) you get a discount on your insurance bill. The discount is probably like $5 a month. In exchange Allstate (and other auto insurance companies doing the same thing) probably go ahead and sell all your personal data for $15 a month. Naturally, I declined.

But all these auto insurance programs run via the app on your smartphone. In the future, it’s the car itself that will spy on you.

Fowler wanted to determine how much data and what kind of data a car was collecting. This (of course) was not an easy task:

But for the thousands you spend to buy a car, the data it produces doesn’t belong to you. My Chevy’s dashboard didn’t say what the car was recording. It wasn’t in the owner’s manual. There was no way to download it. To glimpse my car data, I had to hack my way in.

That’s right folks! The law is so loose and the Giant Octopus is so brazen that the only way Fowler could figure out what personal data was being pulled and sold was to hack the freaking car.

They also hacked another car computer they bought off the Internets:

For a broader view, Mason also extracted the data from a Chevrolet infotainment computer that I bought used on eBay for $375. It contained enough data to reconstruct the Upstate New York travels and relationships of a total stranger. We know he or she frequently called someone listed as “Sweetie,” whose photo we also have. We could see the exact Gulf station where they bought gas, the restaurant where they ate (called Taste China) and the unique identifiers for their Samsung Galaxy Note phones.

Maybe we should all just get it over with and let the Giant Octopus put the monitoring chip in our brains? It’d be quicker in the end.

The only other option is regression. Want a car that doesn’t spy on your without your knowledge? Buy a 1995 Ford. Want a fridge that doesn’t track what tasty food is contained therein? Buy one of those neato 1940’s fridges from the movies.

We’re doomed. We work for the Giant Octopus and most folks don’t even know it, or care.

Enjoy your day!

car.png

a discovery process that is actually easier than attempting to read and understand a privacy policy

beware the Internets

More and more the Internets can turn into a nightmare.  Granted, it’s like being hit by a car.  For the most part, everybody goes online and it’s just fine, you get to see happy cat videos.  But if you get your identity stolen or your bank accounts drained (while your circumstances are rare) it’s an absolute nightmare that can temporarily ruin your life.

I’ve personally known folks who had their data ripped which resulted in ruined bank accounts, they couldn’t use a credit card, buy a car, do their taxes, etc, etc, etc.  It’s a nightmare folks.  You could see the daily stress on their faces.

When the Washington Post isn’t busy shaming itself and mortgaging its remaining credibility by banging on the incessant defeat Trump at any cost bandwagon (regardless of impartiality or honor) they still do some no kidding real hardcore journalism.

I don’t normally do this here, but you dear blog reader need to read everything that Geoffrey A. Fowler writes for the Post.  He knows the Internets, he knows how to get into the face of questionable Internets companies, and he knows privacy values.  You can find his latest piece on browser extensions here.  I don’t use browser extensions for these very reasons, but apparently millions of people do.  If you personally do, stop, please get away while you can.

Be sure to click on his author name too and read some of his other Post pieces.  You can then indulge in the true mess of the Internets where you (the customer) are basically just a doomed farm animal as bad people make money off of spying on you without your knowledge or consent.

There might be a reckoning, eventually, for all of this.  I say might because asking Congress to accomplish anything useful is like asking a rabid panther to walk your dog safely.  But there might be movement, witness Facebook’s disastrous introduction of its evil Bond villain digital currency recently.

But, until then, it’s truly the Wild West out there folks.  You can’t arm yourself with a revolver, so you’ve got to do it with knowledge.  Learn.  Protect yourself.  Beware the Internets.

selective morality, reality, and values are the best morality, reality, and values

all corporations that lose our data to hackers are evil and greedy vs. giving the audio data in your own home free of charge of a corporation via a live bug is hip

your dog demands the most pristine of kibble vs. will eat garbage wood off the grass and pout when you don’t allow this

cigarettes are so awful they need to be banned from Netflix vs. marijuana is perfectly cool to smoke and is beneficial to your health

magic mushrooms are also beneficial and will soon be legal in multiple jurisdictions vs. soda with sugar is horrible for you and requires severe regulation

plastic straws are wasteful and worthy of a ban vs. drinking an extra tall latte out of a one use disposal and non-recyclable coffee cup is trendy

squirrels hoard all the nuts and acorns because they need them to live vs. squirrels hoard guns and explosives because they need them for the forthcoming purge

Weinstein is a depraved sexual deviant who should be erased from the planet vs. Jackson’s music is still awesome and regularly played at festivals

your boss is angry that you’re late with your assigned task vs. your boss is never own time with any assistance you’ve ever required from them

the detention centers used by Trump’s goons are abhorrent vs. the exact same detention centers used by Obama’s goons were not abhorrent

labeling the opposite side as racist instead of thinking things through vs. labeling the opposite side as racist instead of thinking things through

alcohol is the cause and solution to all of life’s problem vs. alcohol is so tasty

gasoline powered cars crush the planet’s health and are on their way out vs. charging electric cars from coal fired power plants

gasoline pumps want your money vs. gasoline pumps require the selection of 11 different options before allowing you to pay them money for gas

animal kept in captivity is immoral and the zoo will soon be banned vs. dressing up your dog/cat in a furry X-Mas costume is a sign of sophistication

everybody in the workforce requires $15 an hour vs. advocating for such issues at rallies arrived courtesy of Uber driver making half that amount

manufacturing jobs needs to come back to America vs. establishing tariffs and trade policies so abstract as to require the bailout of soybean farmers

our future alien masters promise us bliss and saving ourselves from each other vs. will blanket 1/3 of the planet in fusion fire to introduce their benevolent, wise rule

chronic obesity problem that will bankrupt the health system by 2049 vs. electric bikes and scooters are so much fun and avoid the need to walk or pedal anywhere

wave of the punk future where virtual coin will set the human free vs. coin mill farm corporations with enough size and electricity to power a medium sized nation

religion is the source of all evil mind control and should be banned from any public sphere vs. 1.3 billion likes on Instagram for the latest celebrity selfie

machines will be our masters, artificial intelligence is so error free cars will drive themselves vs. have you ever tried using [insert any software program here] without errors

innocent until proven guilty vs. they publish a mug shot online before anybody’s been found guilty and the federal justice system convicts at a stasi-like 99% rate

the magical meth elf promised you happy times if you burned down a shopping mall vs. all you got instead was a felony arrest warrant and the elf never showed up again

natural gluten is evil is requires expungement from the diet vs. generating artificial fake meat in a lab is wholesome

blogging is a healthy experience that allows the author to get things of their chest in a safe environment that informs others vs. blogging is a narcissistic act that only informs the reader that the author is somebody who needs help, and maybe a puppy/kitty or two