Monday, March 13, 2017

Snowmageddon! (March Edition)

Well, it's that time again. Having skirted snow and had many days where a light jacket was ok, it's March and we're through the hard part of winter. Oops, maybe not.  One (very) loyal reader alerted me that my area was about to get some weather. My local forecast said a number of thirty-two degree days, so I said thanks. It took another twenty-four hours until I actually looked at the forecast (I'm pretty quick) and noticed we were in for a little snow (and when I say little, I mean 6-12" or more).

The Philadelphia area is populated, like many cities, by complete idiots, forecasters who cannot forecast, and services that grind to a shrieking halt the moment 1/4" of snow is forecast, no less falls. In recent memory was the day the entire school system was closed and it didn't even bother to snow. Naturally, with the 1/4" of snow is the requisite PANIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bread and milk disappear from every shelf. Sidewalk salt, shovels, snowblowers, and snails (maybe not) are in short supply. And if history is any indication, Philly will still be digging out next March. This will be mirrored in quite a lot of cities, as this one is supposed to be a whopper. Of course there are a bunch of cities that know how to deal with snow, but they're no fun to write about. This dance is repeated each time it snows, with absolutely nothing learned from any time in the past.

  • According to something I read on the internet, world's largest and most factual source of information, Aerosmith is no more. Among reasons mentioned was health, as guitarists Joe Perry had a heart attack onstage with his side band (no word on what effect that had on his playing, but best of health to him). Tony Iommi, lefty guitarist for Black Sabbath, who played the final date of their final tour last week, said it's very bad for one's health to be touring at his age.
  • WTF has happened to rock and roll? (it has aged, apparently) - rock stars used to overdose on drugs - now they die of cancer. I hope I die before I get old is now I better cash in on yet another (high quality farewell/comeback) tour. And now bands are calling it quits because they're getting old? Hell, Alice Cooper dyes his hair black and is always in motion. Steven Tyler is unlikely to sit down (ever) and goes to show you what happens to the ADHD kid who can't keep still in class. Jeff Beck is better and busier than ever, in his seventies. Bands are doing comeback tours, with damn near some of the original members. Where was I going with this?

Our good friends at the FBI are dropping all charges* in a child-porn case rather than release the details of how they hacked Tor to get the information. Think about this one for a bit...  *the case is being dismissed without prejudice, meaning they can take it up again later. Meanwhile they can continue to use this hack against anyone, criminal or innocent person.

  • Malware was just discovered (pre-installed) on a bunch of android cell phones. What's different here is that the malware was not part of the software sent by the manufacturers. It was installed later. Any guesses? Check the article's list of affected phones. If yours is on the list, scan with a very good scanner (I like Malwarebytes, available free from the Play Store- set it to run weekly). 
  • There are also lists of infected files to look for. My phone is listed but passes the scan and doesn't have the infected files. Two of the pieces of malware steal information, display illegitimate ads, and lock all your files for a ransom. 
  • The problem here is what to do if you find malware. The article is laughingly free of details as to what to do, just mentioning scanning. My initial recommendation is that if your phone is over a few years old, scrap it and get a new one. If it's more recent, normal humans don't have a lot of remedies, short of contacting the carrier/manufacturer and asking what they're going to do about it.  The more tech-oriented of us can root the device and remove the files. As it is, the phones contain operating and other files that a normal user cannot touch/modify/erase. Root gives you Ultimate User privileges and will allow you a full reign of terror to do what you wish, including possibly turning your phone into a very expensive paperweight. If you're interested in rooting, the best guides are at Android Forums.
  • How does anybody at all get hold of phones between the manufacturer and retailers and install malware with root privileges? We know it has already happened before with laptops and networking hardware.

Let me say something nice about Samsung on a very large carrier. Umm... it has a decent coverage area? My wife's phone is a mess, and I say that politely. It started with the contacts getting foobed beyond belief. It scrambled like eggs, mismatching first and last names; I came up as lefty Smith, Smith being one of her doctors. Shortly thereafter, my contact picture came up as that of a third person. So when the phone rings, she's not sure whether it's the person in the picture, the first name, or the last name.  As if Scrambled Contacts is not bad enough, it continues to modify and confuse, in a less than exciting way. 

Not to be outdone, the text messaging sends all texts into the ether, requiring up to three hours to arrive at my phone. This has caused all sorts of 'amusing' situations. A trip to the carrier fixed Something, but Something was a problem that had nothing to do with the carrier. I hate to say it, but either the phone needs to be replaced (the 2nd one so far) or has to be blown out and reset to factory original specs. This will (further) screw up the contacts, requiring a complete descrambling - hours of work. 

  • A bill has been introduced to make porn-viewing illegal for federal government workers, because it's a waste of time. Not addressed were the three thousand other ways federal workers waste time. This is an example of knee-jerk piss poor legislation, pandering to a certain population. Isn't it already wrong to waste time, regardless of how?

Words of widsom: if you're having trouble standing, you might want to sit.

  • Carleton University (Canada) has removed a weight scale from gym after students call it "triggering". Next up: banning tight outfits, as it makes the fat kids uncomfortable.

No comments:

Post a Comment