Foreward

This is a Red Pill Zone. "You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes." This site also contains language and opinions that may consign you to the 9th Circle of Hell for reading. You Have Been Warned

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  • Copyright Creative Commons License This work by alan herrell is licensed under a 
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Based on a work at 
ravinglunacy.org

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Product Lust

I am getting older and the 19” inch LED monitors just aren’t cutting it.
I already have a 42 inch Visio I bought for 1400.00 bucks about 7 years ago. It has been my main monitor for 2 years since I cut the cable.

This is the new model.
e420i-b0-2_1

I really need one of these. And at 450.00 bucks it is a steal.

Maybe I will get lucky and one will show up at my door.

The Internet of things 1999

Back in 1999 I penned a piece called
Web TV and Set Top Boxes Back then we had programs not apps, email was king, and you didn’t need an antenna box to watch television

Let’s take a moment and expand on the internet appliance paradigm.

7:30 AM

You wake up in the morning feeling like you have been devoured by Godzilla and crapped off a cliff. You crawl to the bathroom and grab the Medic Alert Internet Appliance…… You insert it into the proper orifice(the sharp sensation you feel is the bloodwork probe), it dials up your doctor, and sends it’s information to his Doctor 2000 program which, compares your symptoms against the database for you.

It thinks you have the flu. You need drugs. It writes a prescription, emails it to the pharmacy, which fills the prescription, and sends Harry, the delivery boy to your house, with the life saving chemicals. Since you belong to a (MCO)managed care organization, they receive an email to their database, notifying them that you are sick again, and will adjust your premium accordingly.

7:35 AM

Also in the bloodwork was a high blood alcohol content reading, (We know it was a retirement party), but the Doctor 2000 program flags your file, and an email is sent to the nearest AA chapter, which dials your house with a prerecorded message urging you to attend the next meeting which is starting in 15 min.

7:50 AM

The knocking on your door is Harry from the drugstore with your prescription. Since the drugstore is delivering, it has already wired the bill to your MCO, which has sucked the deductible out of your bank account, as well as the next premium increase. Your MCO file is flagged and you receive an email asking if you have dealt with your alcohol problem.

8:00AM

Your television turns on and adjusts the volume up as you are still puking your guts out. Your set top box screams you’ve got mail! It is a commercial from the drugstore thanking you for shopping, and offering you more products to help you get back on track. Another window opens up in your tv, from the Medic Alert Internet Appliance Company offering to send you the Upgraded Medic Alert 2001 appliance. Since you have not responded in 30 seconds to this offer, it is shipped instantly(just like the book clubs) and your bank account is debited for the first of 300 EZ payments. Your Medic Alert has determined that you are still barfing, so it tells the House to open the door and directs Harry to your location.

Harry administers the life giving products and helps you back to your bed.

8:01AM

The medic Alert has determined that there is virus particles on the floor,(yes, you are a bad shot), and emails the Daisy House Keepers, to come and clean your bathroom. Your pantry is queried and you are found to be woefully lacking in the proper disinfectants to ensure your recovery. An emergency email is sent to your grocery store for the products needed to abate this Now a Biological Hazard Cleanup. These products are dispatched at once! Again your bank account is debited for this.

8:10AM

There is a knock on the door. It is Daisy to Clean. Your house permits her to enter. Her pager goes off. It is a alert that this is not a mop and glow situation, but HazMat. The house directs here to the kitchen, to wait for the delivery from the grocery store. The coffee pot starts and the house offers her a cup of coffee while she waits. Meanwhile, since the situation has changed from her original dispatch, her time and material program starts the meter running.

Since she has met Harry, he is brought into the loop regarding your Hazmat Cleanup, he grabs his palmtop and emails the drugstore for gloves, gowns, shoe covers, and Biohazard ”DO NOT CROSS” tape. This flags the drugstore program, which by law must report this group of products as a Bio Hazard, emailing the Health Department.

8:20AM

There is another knock at the door. It is the grocery store with cleaning supplies and a loaf of bread. (you were running low)

8:40AM

There is another knock at the door. It is the Health dept. Biohazard Response Team. They are all wearing Level 4 Racal BioHazard suits, as the email the received said that your flu virus had not been classified at the time of dispatch.

8:45AM

Your TV goes off again with new messages from Daisy, the grocery store, (Your printer starts printing money saving coupons), Notification from the Health Dept. regarding your Biohazard, and notifying you that your neighbors on both sides have been emailed regarding the developing situation in your house.

The Biohazard Team sets up an Isolation unit in your kitchen to test Daisy and Harry for Possible Infection.

The team leader enters your bedroom to interview you to determine the possible cause and source of your illness.

But you are in the bathroom again.

8:50AM

Your TV goes off again with new messages from the drugstore (More money saving coupons) and your doctor. You have an appointment at the Clinic at 9:30AM

9:30AM

The drugstore has delivered your cleaning supplies, and the cleanup begins.

9:45AM

Your tv goes off again with a message from your doctor rescheduling your appointment in 2 weeks. Another message arrives from your MCO cancelling your coverage due to the fact you did not make your doctor appointment, nor did you request the appointment in writing 5 business days prior. Your personal Lawyer 2000 program files suit in court to overturn this decision.

10:00 AM

Your Lawyer 2000 program informs you that your suit was denied.

The new Medic Alert 2001 arrives. The Biohazard team leader plugs it in. It retests you and alerts the doctor 2000 program that new information has arrived. The new information states that you have a hangover from the party last night, (elevated alcohol levels) and not the flu as previously thought.

Since you no longer have medical coverage, your bank account is debited 300.00 for the consultation, 600.00 for lab work and 300.00 for paperwork. Your Finance 2000 program notifies you that your checking account is overdrawn. Your bank account has kicked in the overdraft protection feature of your account and sucked your savings dry.

You are Still short. Your Finance 2000 Program applies for a loan to cover the shortfall and to cover the returned check charges. The Banker 2000 program in reviewing your recent banking activities, grants you the loan by placing a lein on your house, car and computer.

10:05 AM

Your house 2000 program informs you that the medic alert 2000 had a software bug that caused bogus results. It informs the Lawyer 2000 program which starts suing everone in sight. But your lawyer 2000 program requires office expenses up front.

It examines your finances and determines you need money. It arranges with the bank to put your house car and computer up for Auction.

10:10AM

Your tv opens up new windows and informs you that your house, car and computer have sold! You are still short, as the proceeds did not cover your outstanding debts.

10:11AM

Your lawyer 2000 programs files bankruptcy protection on your behalf. Too late. another software bug.

10:15AM

The Police arrive. Daisy is arrested for unpaid parking tickets. Harry is given a clean bill of health and goes back to work.

11:00AM

The new owners attempt to enter, but cannot because the health dept. has not recalled the Biohazard alert. It’s there, but due to the increased message traffic across the net, the message is stuck waiting to send. Their Lawyer 2000 program sues for breach of contract.

NOON.

Your headache is gone, your house is clean and gone, your car and computer are gone. Your last emails are from the Employment service, the bank, the lawyer 2000 program informing you that all of your suits have been denied, and Welcome messages from the 20 new creditors you have acquired in the course of this mornings events.

Waiting outside are your new AA friends, and the neighbors carrying torches and yard inplements screaming ” that’s the guy with the Internet House”!
Behind them are Process Servers to collect money on behalf of your 20 new creditors.
The Police have returned with a number of warrants for your arrest on charges ranging from disturbing the peace to wire fraud.

But, you have many dollars in money saving coupons.

The Internet of “Things” is the Jonestown of Privacy

The latest lunacy to arrive for the internet is the Internet of Things. Things being any device that takes electricity and can be equipped with a wireless transceiver.
I’m not sure who coined it, nor do I care, as it has to be the single dumbest meme since Social Networking.

Social Networking is the Jonestown of the Advertising Industry.

The Internet of Things theory is we interconnect our computers and or ‘smart’ phones with every other appliance and gadget we own. Really? Status updates from your appliances, car and TV?

Google’s Nest Labs which makes Thermostats and smoke alarms is the poster child for this lunacy. Here we have a device with an LED display that can be programmed to allegedly save you money by learning your habits and patterns, and stop unnecessary heating and cooling. Having an ‘app’ on your phone to play with your thermostat is just a bit nuts. Most folks look at their thermostat twice a year, during heating and cooling seasons.

The first problem with this is your house is probably not airtight, and its construction negates any ‘savings’ you may achieve. Raising the temperature when you are not home and lowering it before you arrive is a nice theory, and the electric companies make a compelling case for setting your temps higher.
(You can live life at 79 degrees in the summer) The problem comes in the physics of temperature control. By raising and or lowering your temps, your HVAC unit has to work much harder to control this swing, negating any ‘savings’.

Being WiFi enabled just gives hackers another opening into your life either by war driving or compromising your smart phone. To add insult to injury having the phone company flogging these products on their sites and the information traveling over their networks just adds another bit of surveillance information that gets passed along to three letter agencies.

SMART TV’s are Back in the News again. I have written about this before. The latest revelations concern any brand of Smart TV sold that is compatible with the new HbbTV standard (short for hybrid broadcast-broadband) which is giving advertisers a gigantic pulsing erection to TARGET you with Messages. This is not some obscure hack only discussed in hacker forums, but is a real threat.

From Forbes comes this nugget
“Broadcasters and advertisers have been eager to use the HbbTV to target ads more precisely and add interactive content, polls, shopping and apps, to home viewers. But millions of TV sets would be vulnerable to hackers with the right gear, as long as the sets are receiving an over-the-air digital broadcast signal.”
Source Forbes.com

Now if your TV is connected to your home network, or smart phone your life is gonna be basically over.

The Internet of Things is not content to screw around with your house, they also want to fuck up your driving as well.

GM whose first foray into automotive spyware interactive driving was OnStar, billed as a safety feature originally. Their latest brainchild is an app that lets you scan a license plate, then text the driver.

New ways to practice road rage.

the creep factor is enormous..
……
Hi Hal I noticed you have a large pack of toilet paper in your back seat, Would like us to come and check out your plumbing?
…..

Hey baby, how about pulling over at the rest stop?
….

Hello Hal. This is the Onstar dispute resolution APP. We noticed that You texted another driver about an un-signaled lane change, would you like us to help you resolve this?
…..

Hello Hal. Your last text to another driver contained threats regarding bodily harm. The Police have been notified and your car will be shut down in 30 seconds, so please move to the shoulder and await the authorities.
…..

To add insult to injury having the phone company transmitting this information over their networks just adds another bit of surveillance information that gets passed along to three letter agencies.

One important point that is not mentioned by the IOT weenies is every electrical device has an OFF Switch.

The Internet of Things is the Jonestown of Privacy

28 Years Clean and Sober

Just a reminder that drug and alcohol addiction does not have be the center of one’s universe. Besides the idea of the new BBC Reality show I Survived A Zombie Apocalypse would not be nearly as funny.

I Survived A Zombie Apocalypse follows the 8 contestants as they begin an apocalyptic adventure trapped together in a shopping mall, surrounded by the walking dead. The contestants must live by their wits, make difficult decisions, and use urban survival tactics. Their ultimate goal is to avoid the lethal bite of a zombie and stay alive. The series requires teamwork but how many of the contestants will have what it takes to survive a zombie apocalypse?

If you really are concerned with the Zombie Apocalypse, National Geographic who is not known for flights of fancy or science fiction offers this look at the reality of such an event.

Meanwhile it remains, One day at a time.

Surveillance as a business model is the only thing that makes a site like Facebook possible.

I have been on the internet probably longer than majority of current folks today have had pubic hair. Some of the promises of universal access, universal information and something for everyone, like left handed pipe fitters who enjoy hamsters, is coming, but at a cost that is risking everyone’s privacy, safety and security.

If you want to understand how fucked up the internet is today, READ THIS.

Yeah it is this bad.

P.S. The title of this posting is a take away from the author Maciej Ceglowski posting from the link above. If you missed it here it is again. READ THIS.

Reading Rainbow Funding

Reading Rainbow is something for kids to combat illiteracy.

Anything that promotes Literacy is a good thing.

Bring Reading Rainbow Back for Every Child, Everywhere.

Kickstarter Link

Reading Rainbow the site.

Happy Mother’s Day

happy mothers day!
no flowers
no candy
just this post
and my best wishes

News is bad for you

News is one of the most consumed categories of information on the web. News is information about events. According to Rolf Dobelli in a post on the Guardian Website, news is bad for you in a number of ways.

News is bad for your health. It leads to fear and aggression, and hinders your creativity and ability to think deeply. The solution? Stop consuming it altogether

He makes an interesting set of arguments regarding the toxic nature of news.
He says,

“News is irrelevant. Out of the approximately 10,000 news stories you have read in the last 12 months, name one that – because you consumed it – allowed you to make a better decision about a serious matter affecting your life, your career or your business.”

Personally I find some news highly relevant and it does directly affect my life.

By his own admission he has been news free for over 4 years, and this article is his latest exposition of his creative thinking. The rest of the article outlines the many ways that reading news makes us passive, wastes our time, causes toxic reactions in our bodies, promotes irrationality and makes us stupid.
Interestingly his website’s front page is a advertisement for his book.
His Media page are links to articles and interviews he has done online. Guess what? The Majority are News Sites

If you replace the word ‘news’ with the word ‘advertising’ this essay reads much better. But then it may just be my muddled thinking.

Notable Sites 12/10/2013

Current Cites
Current Cites has been published continuously since August 1990. It is an Annotated Bibliography of Selected Articles, Books and Digital Documents on Information Technology. “A team of librarians monitors information technology literature, selecting only the best items to annotate for this free publication.”
How we organize what we find and or where to find it will only become more important in the future.
This is the Current Issue Nov 2013

The Internet Scout
Published continuously since 1994 it posts an issue every Friday. It covers Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

The Scout Report is the flagship publication of the Internet Scout Research Group. Published every Friday both on the Web and by email subscription, it provides a fast, convenient way to stay informed of valuable STEM and humanities resources on the Internet. Our team of librarians and subject matter experts selects, researches, and annotates each resource.

This is the Current Issue

Copyhype
Terry Hart and his collaborators review the latest court cases on and about copyright in the US. A lot of the material is sprinkled with Latin lawyer jargon, (although pains are taken to explain the terminology as it appears) it does present a clear look at the current law on copyright. It is also noteworthy in its use of footnotes with links to source materials used in creating their articles.
An excellent example is the recent post:
Righthaven Revisited: What the Ninth Circuit Got Wrong
(News and Media Sites could use more of this type of linking to allow readers to make up their own minds on the articles veracity.)

An Added Bonus is none of these sites use cookies or trackers!

Quote of the day

One of the maxims of a free press is that news is what someone somewhere doesn’t want you to print: everything else is advertising

Without fear or favour: why we broke the spy story