This is in no way a complaint

Email icon1

And I’m really trying not to look a gift horse in the mouth, but has anyone else noticed a significant slowdown of SPAM in their email?

I mean really noticeable!

Whereas, in recent months my email had been inundated with all kinds of crap, now, quite suddenly, it’s eerily quiet. 

Again, not complaining, just fascinated and curious about what’s happening.

It’s been so slow that I actually wondered if my email was broken. 

I could understand one account being quiet, I’m trying to phase out accounts that I don’t use anymore. But this is a marked reduction in junkmail across several accounts. 

I was hoping that my stellar programming of junk filters had been responsible. Then I checked the servers and found that, alas, my junk filters were as inefficient as always, and there was nothing being caught by the built in server filters either.

For a moment I was excited though.

angryemail

Could it be that people aren’t falling for the scams in the junkmail anymore, so the spammers aren’t sending email?

Nah, unlikely there are way too many morons out there.

As PT Barnum said, “There’s a sucker born every minute”.

I just had a dark thought. Suppose the SPAM / Phishing emails are slowing because they’re no longer necessary?

What if due to the breaches at the OPM, IRS, and various Health care companies the SPAMMERS have all the information that they need? 

That would truly suck. 

I’m hoping it’s just that I’ve gotten lucky and various ISPs handling my email have installed some killer filters.

I’m not holding my breath… I think I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.

What if you threw an App and nobody came?

IPeeple App’m hoping that’s what’s going to happen with Peeple.

Yep, the application that should NEVER have been written debuted yesterday.

You remember, the application that will let you know someone is “Reviewing” you via email but that you’ll have to join to refute any comments.

You know, the app that will essentially enable cyber-bullying but claims it doesn’t.

The app that once you’ve joined, will allow you to “hide” but not delete any negative “reviews” of your personality traits, business dealings, dating habits, or sexual performance.

But it’s not enabling bullying…

RIIIIIGGGGGHHHTTTT!

Now, they’ve added a “New Lemon Scented” feature. A paywall that allows those who pony up the money, to see the “hidden” reviews. Great!

But it’s not enabling bullying…

Sometimes, a bad idea, is a bad idea, no matter how much you claim it isn’t.

But in the case of the progressive Social Justice Warrior crowd where bad ideas abound…

Bullying done by SJWs is Justice, and a plate of shit, is sirloin steak.

I hope to God this bullshit fails. Unfortunately, I know it won’t, and eagerly await the first time they’re named in a cyber stalking or bullying law suit.

Until then, keep an eye on your email folks. You’re being reviewed and you’ll have to create a Peeple account just to defend yourself against folks that have an ax to grind.

Wait until co-workers start savaging each other, or angry children “review” their parents. I don’t even want to think about the kind of dirt that’s going to be thrown by nasty divorces.

I’m going to sit back, make some popcorn and watch the show.  It’s going to be amusing as hell.

For those of you who may be interested

battery

The new battery from newer technology that’s in my computer is working out very nicely.

As they said on their web site, it took several charge / recharge cycles to get the full runtime out of the battery.

Not that there wasn’t immediate improvement after the replacement. Initially my runtime went to 5 hours, now we’re at about 7. Obviously that depends on what I’m doing.

The time will vary. But I’ve noticed a couple of other interesting things.  Microsoft Word is pretty energy efficient. BBEdit is also very frugal on its power usage. With a little experimentation I’ve found that I can stay on battery easily most of a standard workday, all I have to do is choose which apps I’m running carefully. For example, do I need to have Safari opening to an automatically refreshing news page while I’m working on other things? Nope! Do I need the full power of Word, when all I’m doing is scribbling down some notes that I’ll later fold into a larger document? Nope!

In spite of the frustrations and challenges, I’d call the battery fiasco, a win. I’ve learned some things and am more active in my power management.

Prod merc aura pro express6g12 envoy

I’d love to test the claims of OtherWorld Computing regarding their 1 Terabyte solid state drive. They claim that the drive uses less power and is faster than the drive that came with my computer. I’m just not ready to pony up $450 to put their claims to the test.

The funniest thing about my desire for a bigger drive, is the staggering capacity that still remains on my current drive.

I clearly recall when I got appreciative “Ooos and ahhs” because I had a 486 Class PC with 80 MB of hard drive storage.

Now I’m looking at my remaining hard drive space, 150 GB and thinking, “Wow, I don’t have much space left.”

For that matter, I remember my first laptop got an astounding 2 hours of runtime on a charge. Now a two hour runtime signals the need for battery replacement.

It’s interesting, how our perceptions change.

 

Just some food for thought…

JROppenheimer LosAlamos

I wasn’t planning on another piece about Apple v. The FBI. But here goes…

For all those pundits, wags, celebrities, politicians, and now Rabbis speaking out and telling Apple that they should decrypt the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone, I submit this.

Apple is apparently applying the thought Robert Oppenheimer had after he helped create the atomic bomb.

When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and you argue about what to do about it only after you have had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.
– J. Robert Oppenheimer

I believe this quote is often paraphrased to;

Just because you CAN do a thing, doesn’t necessarily mean you SHOULD do a thing.

I’ve lived my life using that paraphrase as a test for certain actions. I look at it as a cautionary signpost for all scientists and researchers.

Project t virus by linkin368 d3gt57g

Just because you can modify the DNA of influenza to deliver a genetic update to all the people of the world… should you? What about murphy’s law? Can you really limit the unintended consequences? 

OR is it simply better to recognize that never creating the technology is the best course of action?

Thumb01m

All these people saying Apple should crack the phone, have no idea what they’re talking about. It’s not an easy task, even for Apple. Cracking encryption isn’t what you see in the movies. 

You don’t just plug a widget into a port, have some dialog about how cool you are and then hear a beep as the NSA computers start spilling all their information onto your impossibly small storage device.

At this point it’s unclear if the iPhone in question is using something as simple as a 4 digit code. It’s likely, but depending on the IOS version being used, the phone could be locked using a phrase.

If there’s a passphrase the odds of success hacking it with a brute force attack drop precipitously with each character added to the passphrase length.

James comey fbi

The brute force attack that the FBI is describing is crude and there is no guarantee that if they win in court, forcing Apple to be their bitch, that when they finally get into the phone there won’t be a nasty little application that has encrypted all the files the FBI wants using an entirely different algorithm, from another manufacturer.  If that’s the case, is the FBI going to get another court order? Probably not, because this is about the FBI making an example. Apple just happens to be the biggest target. 

It’s just as likely, this Jihadi fucker was using a messaging application that wiped the messages 5 minutes after they were read.

Federal and state fbi agent

If the guy was at all concerned about security, He probably turned off all the Apple Tracking software, I know I did right after Edward Snowden blew the whistle.

I’m not a criminal, but I value my privacy and am willing to forego my phone being able to tell me where the nearest Häagen-Dazs is, to maintain my privacy.

This means that Apple providing a custom operating system to disables the automatic wipe on the phone and allow unlimited access to the phone’s password system is likely not going to get the FBI anything more than they already have based on cell tower records.

By the way, because of the number of towers in the San Bernardino area, cell tower data can pinpoint the movements of this Jihadi asshole to within a couple hundred feet or less.

The NSA Actually Has A Program Called SKYNET

So the FBI is lying right from the get-go, when they say they want access to the phone so they can figure out where this Jihadi and his diseased rancid whore of a wife, were before, during the shooting, and after. 

The cell tower records would already provide that information and if the guy turned off his phone while visiting some nefarious underworld figure. Or dropped it in a Faraday bag or cage…

LOKSAK SHIELDSAK Flexible Fabric Faraday Cage Anti RF Protective Bag RF Fortress Radio Frequency Camouflage NDIA SOFIC 2014 David Crane DefenseReview com DR 10

Then the FBI would still get nothing from the phone because at that point the phone would have been cut off from the cell tower or any GPS information and likewise wouldn’t have been able to transmit any of that information.

But we know that the FBI has nine OTHER phones they want to force Apple to help them unlock. 

Apple icon apple

The problem here is that Apple has never created the software to unlock or hack their devices.

Why should they?

Apple tells you, “don’t lose your password, we cant help you if you do.”

So they have a secure device, and they can insure the device’s security because they’ve never created any software to undo their encryption or their locking mechanism.

Just because you CAN do a thing, doesn’t necessarily mean you SHOULD do a thing.

Achmed

Dear Apple customer… “If you loose your password, you can wipe the phone and start over. We strongly recommend you have the data backed up. Apple provides the iCloud service for this purpose.“

It’s recently come to light, that the FBI ordered the San Bernardino County IT department to change the password on the iCloud account and therefore broke a link that could, with Apple’s help, have gained access to the phone.

Now the FBI wants to use a court order to force Apple to UNFUCK their fuckup. But that’s not the end game.

The end game is that the FBI wants to force manufacturers to build government backdoors into all devices. 

BMZ9g3ZCMAAvZN2

The FBI is using “terrifying terrorists” and criminals, to spook congress and the courts into passing legislation that mandates government access be built into all machines. They and their supporters are using the time honored B.S. line;

For the safety and security of the public…” or that old favorite “We do this for THE CHILDREN

I’m not sure I believe in the slippery slope argument but I do think it’s a very short walk to losing rights that we’ll never get back.

That walk begins with statements that start out, “It’s worth losing a little privacy, or freedom, or changing the laws, or, or, or,  for safety.” see; The Patriot Act

 When I see our government behaving this way, and I hear people saying, “it’s just a little invasion,” I can’t help but think of the poem The Hangman.


I could see a time in the future when it’s illegal for you not to have your phone on your person.

After all, the government would only want to keep track of your movements and communications to insure your safety… Right?

Back doors in our devices are, I think just a stepping stone to full surveillance.

You have nothing to fear, if you have nothing to hide.

Stand with Apple – Go Dark

Apple

Apple is a target plain and simple.

If the US Government succeeds in their ploy to force Apple to create custom code that decrypts the San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone we all loose.

This is not about the rights of terrorists. Put a bullet in the brain of all terrorists and let God sort ‘em out. I truly don’t give a flying fuck about some Muslim asshole that should’ve been turned around at the border. I’m honestly surprised that they even can use a smart phone isn’t there some fatwa saying followers of Islam must remain in the 12th century?

Tim Cook

Anyhoo…

This fight between Apple and the Government is about access and control. For over a year we’ve been hearing the FBI telling us they don’t like encryption. The NSA doesn’t like it either and with good reason. They can’t spy on average citizens and don’t even dare to think that’s not exactly what they want to do.

idiots happen

Last night on the news I heard average people being interviewed saying stuff like “Well if it’s to fight terrorists it’s worth giving up a little freedom and privacy.”

To those people I say this.

YOU’RE MORONS!

Emperor Ming

The same argument was made right after 9/11, and that gave us The Patriot Act which is by the way still in effect.

Some of the more sinister things about the Patriot act are the scope of Presidential power, the ability to indefinitely detain a citizen without due process, and the unprecedented scope of surveillance that is now permitted.

Remember how pissed off everyone was about the Edward Snowden revelations? How we found out that the NSA was recording all kinds of information from our phones? Yeah, that’s what comes from giving up just “a little freedom and privacy.”

Edward Snowden.

Apple can’t fight this fight alone. Even Apple and Google together can’t fight this fight.

We’ve gotta help.

We do that by going dark.

You can buy encryption from a variety of vendors.

But you can find some excellent encryption for free if you go looking for it. Open source encryption is pretty robust.

VPN

Encrypt everything you own. All your drives, all your files stored in the cloud. Then find a VPN service that you like and think you can trust, if they’re European even better.

Make sure that their data is end to end encrypted and use the service all the time on every device you own. 

It’s not just about taking a stand. If your information is encrypted, then it’s a lot harder for bad guys to get their hands on personal data that could be used to hurt you.

Encrypt

Make it a cause. 

#godarkforprivacy
#godarkforapple

The only way we keep our rights and privacy to to defend those rights and privacy vigorously.

Thats my public service announcement for the day.

New Tools, New Battery! Yay!

I finally found a company (American) who gave me a straight answer on my computer battery compatability. I ordered the battery they were selling, they tossed in the tools and shipped it free.

Cool!

apple-macbook-air-13-a1369-a1466-replacement-battery-a1405-original-6664-p_4
The Macbook Air 13 Battery

I get the battery today. GREAT response time.

So I power down my computer, then using their tool I unscrew 5 of the 10 screws on the bottom of my computer. On the sixth screw the tool rounded off the splines and was no longer useful to remove or re-install the screws I’ve got neatly sorted on my counter.

$%^#@$%^$@!!!! I hate cheap tools!

This tool is fairly specialized so it’s not like I can run to the local Radio Shack and buy it. The tool they sent is obviously made in China, it’s got the battery company’s logo on it and is made with some kind of metal that I could probably melt with a match.

lLpEmARHOhlWmYQC.standard
The Screw

NOW WHAT?

I don’t want to use my computer with half the screws removed, primarily because I started on the end of my machine where the board, network card, and SSD hard drive are mounted.

I didn’t know if the screws I’d removed were intergral to holding those components in place. (Turns out they weren’t but I wasn’t sure.)

The Tool
The Tool

So I grab my iPad and start searching for the tool. Hmm, Frys carries it. My ususal store didn’t have one. I expand the search and am fully prepared to drive to El Segundo or the San Fernando Valley, if necessary. As luck would have it, the Frys in Industry had ONE, only one.

A sonic boom was heard as I left my home. Actually this is neat, it’s the first time I’ve ever had reason to go to this particular Frys.

Some of you may not know this… I love tools, (no, that doesn’t convey it, I’m a tool WHORE.)

I love having the “right tool” for the job. What this means is that I left Frys with more than just the Pentalobe driver I actually needed.

Years ago I had an absolutely awesome tool kit. I lost that kit in a fire and have been slowly rebuilding a new kit with good quality tools.

(I had great quality electronic tools in the kit I lost. I built that kit over about 3 years, by keeping a list of, “Gee it’d be nice to have a blank”.)

My current kit is built much the same way and while not complete yet, has a decent collection of good quality tools in it.

After spending way too much time shopping in the tool aisle I’m on the freeway heading home. 3 hours later I arrive. LA traffic is unbelievable 24/7 nowadays.

With the proper tool in hand, (a nice case hardened steel affair with a comfort grip,) the remaining five screws came right out.

Inside a Macbook Air
Inside a Macbook Air

The bottom of my machine came off, exposing the battery and components of my machine.

Five more screws, this time Torx; one last connector and the old battery was sitting on the counter.

While I had the computer open, I cleaned dust out of the fan, and cleaned the intake vents. A little Preventative Maintenance never hurt anyone!

The new battery was a perfect fit. So again, using my nice new tools I screwed everything back into place.

Now I’m in a twelve hour battery charge cycle, tomorrow I’ll discharge the battery fully and then we’ll see how much longer this new beast will last. The capacity is slightly larger than the original battery. I have no idea how that will affect the run time on my machine.

The old battery had gotten to the point that I was only getting about 1.5 to 2 hours on a charge.

When the machine was new I’d get 6 hours before needing to recharge.

All told, replacing the battery probably cost me almost $200 bucks. (I could have had Apple do it for $129) But I got new tools (Yay!) And when I get ready to upgrade my hard drive it should be a snap!

I’m counting it as a win.