Friday, December 2, 2016

We're Gonna Do Something DIFFRENT Tonight

The head of Germany's spy agency claims that Russian hackers will disrupt the upcoming election. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a potential winner. Whenever you don't want something to happen, claim that the Russians are going to hack it. This should be useful for everything from local elections to presidential elections to getting out of tests in school.

  • Are you enjoying Uber? Know that with the latest software upgrade, the app is tracking your location, regardless of whether you're in an Uber or not, so long as you have it running in the background. And it wants access to your address book.  Take a moment and ponder what this means... your location, 24 hours per day, plus your contacts... that would be the end for me but I celebrate by not using Uber in the first place.

Kelloggs, the cereal people, has decided to pull its advertising from Breitbart, a right-wing news network. As soon as the news hit, Breitbart users initiated a boycott against Kelloggs. Things are shaping up to be interesting, with existing boycotts against other companies. I'm not exactly a Breitbart reader but this is shaping up to be an active season. There is actually a list of active boycotts, which becomes ridiculous as you have to check it every five minutes if you're shopping. Fortunately I'm already boycotting the NFL (I don't do sports), Pepsi ( you couldn't pay me to drink it), and various others.  The one that really confuses me is a potential banning of Trump's Twitter account. Do you really want to 'censor' the president's account? And what does this say about the media in general?

  • The FBI has, through no surprise, gotten the legal OK to spy on any computer, anywhere in the world. All they need is a handy judge to approve things and they're off. Somehow I don't think this is the type of government the Founding Fathers had in mind. I urge you to read this.

Yes, it's the appliance you've been waiting for: the wifi-enabled 6-quart slow cooker. Walmart has it for a great price. The only problem is that it doesn't work if wifi is down and you can't hook it to your wifi anyway. Aside from that, it's a handy device and a bargain.

  • Reminder not to wait to update Firefox and Tor browser. Do not put it off. Nasty hack available for it makes it unsafe to run. Period. If it asks you to upgrade, do so. If it doesn't ask, download the new version. Or don't, but your system might be used to hack something and you don't want the nice people at the FBI to stop by your place for a nice visit.

Most computer infections these days come from removable USB devices. With that in mind, you need to protect your systems, particularly the USB devices. No need to worry, folks, because now there's a USB Condom. The device technically disconnects the data pins of your device, allowing only electricity to flow. I'm not entirely sure you'd want to use a device without data, only to charge, but we are assured that this is THE device to have. I think I'll wait a bit.

  • As if Faceyspaces weren't enough to get your Really Good Social Media Juices<tm> going, one can now be a Social Media Influencer. As best I can tell, if you have a Metric Shitload<tm> of followers, they apparently hang on your every word and will be influenced by the things you say (type). As if this weren't Boffo enough, you can add Social Media Influencer to your profile. This may encourage companies to give you Free Shit<tm>. It might also cause potential followers to laugh hysterically at you and all of your offspring, born or potential.  Amongst other things, the Influencers are generally good-looking, which rules me (and most of social media) out. Companies will PAY you for your influence. If there were only a commercial platform for sarcasm, I'd be rich beyond my wildest dreams.

One of the disadvantages of buying concert tickets online is the targeted ads from the ticket vendors. One sends me 'hand-picked suggestions'. After Rick Astley and Sarah Silverman, I unsubscribed. Apparently their algorithms are what we refer to as really f-d up. Also recommended was the For Today Farewell Tour. I didn't even know there was a First Tour.

  • The inventor of the Big Mac has left the planet. I said I'd be nice to McDonalds, as they closed their Gaitlinberg store to provide food to residents and firefighters - a Fine Gesture. If I hadn't promised to be nice, I'd have said something like "arteries across the world have started unclogging," but I'm a man of my word.

Hey, have you been on the Adult Friend Finder site? They were hacked in October, alerted, and finally have their Best People on it. Just so you know, they also kept data on deleted accounts. Their passwords were not protected either.  Just don't, ok?

I sure picked a bad day to stop taking amphetamines. No, wait.. to sleep late. It's been a while since I got to sleep late. I didn't get to last weekend because of some work on a space project which I cannot divulge. Today was a day or pure joy - sleep until I was done. Then nap.

Almost on cue, the neighbor's company arrived. And when I say company, I mean the guys who showed up to cut down her tree.  I'm sure they were delightful guys (they were guys, or at least chicks with really deep voices) but I try not to mix tree-cutting with sleep. The neighbor called, bless her, to tell us to move our car out of the driveway, lest we have to submit a rather large insurance claim.  Can you imagine trying to figure out which insurance company is supposed to handle this? They could successfully keep this in the legal system so long that our estate would have to handle it. We'll have to leave instructions to disburse the money to the dog(s).

The actual tree-cutting wasn't all that bad, but the trucks were insane. I kept banging my head on the headboard and cursing the tree-downing profession. As if that weren't pleasant enough, they were disposing of the tree's remains on the spot, which meant a chipper. For those of you not familiar, it's a wheeled device into which they feed tree bits. It has a whirly chopping blade-thingy inside, which renders the tree bits to sawdust. One would think this would also be a great aid for disposing of bodies, but one would be incorrect. The evidence, as it were, would be all over the place. You need a device that will properly (and untraceably) dispose of the evidence (but don't tell anyone you read it here).

Wife warned me in advance not to let Marshall outside, as he'd want to stand there, like an idiot, barking his head off at them, not moving. Again, as if precisely on time, Marshall had to go outside. I think the wife knew before she left and was counting on my semi-dead state to not question and laugh hysterically at me once she left. Marshall used to bark when he wanted to go out. Now he stands there, whining pitifully. If that fails, he approaches, puts his head on my arm and whines. This will go on until he gets what he wants. This is also how he runs the entire house. He's now getting medically special dog food that he hates. So we located medically special dog food in varieties, like chicken and vegetables and beef stew. Let me tell you, there isn't a whine to be heard when he goes face-down into his food bowl. It's cleaned, so well that you couldn't tell it was a dog food bowl approximately 90 seconds ago. And a family of four could eat cheaper than one can of this food.

Half dead, I donned my shoes, checking to see if my pants were already in-place (they were - it was a good morning) and prepared to drag myself outside so I could watch him go to the bathroom (like he does to us every day) and keep him from barking like a loon at the tree guys. But Marshall, being much smarter than me, saw me putting on my shoes and decided that this meant I was going somewhere without him. He assumed his Sad Perch on the steps and prepared to look pitiful and alone. It took five minutes to convince him I was taking him outside. Once outside, he immediately rushed to the side of the house and started barking at the tree guys like a loon. This was confusing, as this is the same spot he uses to bark once at the neighbor so she will bring him a treat.

He thought he would evade my please to return to the house by hiding in the bushes. What he failed to realize was that it's almost winter and there are no leaves on the bushes under which to hide. I finally got him in the house, but not until after he discovered a convenient muddy puddle and stood in it for a bit, obviously contemplating the meaning of life or other Spaniel Mysteries. We now know why he comes in the house with wet paws and leaves sticking to him.

Good thing we made it into the house when we did, because Drama had just broken out with the tree guys. One guy, who we'll assume was the boss, was yelling at his minions, telling them not to come to work until they were ready to work. This progressed to how he was going to get two new minions because these two were nothing but grief. At this point, the smarter minion (we'll call him Leroy for no particular reason at all) fired up one of the heavy pieces of equipment, as if to signal to Boss that he couldn't hear him - he was too busy working.

I desperately wanted to go back to bed but couldn't. I wasn't too upset, though, as the unstable compound I slipped into the chipping device while they were arguing would combust the next time they turned it on.

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