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Quote and Notes

Quote of the day

The price one pays for pursuing any profession, or calling, is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side. — James Baldwin

Notes:
Facebook Down…Who you gonna Call?
911 calls about Facebook Outage
Gonna have to revisit the idea that the internet makes you smarter.

Browser Fingerprinting
Yet another privacy invasion brought to you by folks who should know better.
Browser Fingerprints: A Big Privacy Threat
Panopticlick EFF.org
Browser Fingerprinting and Online Privacy. We know who you are!

there will be more….

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

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.

FUSE The dumbest App EVER! *YAGTTYEOTR* UPDATED!!


UPDATE! Just received a comment from Phil clarifying that it is the OBD2 Connector and not your phone that gets a new SIM card and DOES NOT BRICK YOUR PHONE! My profound apologies on that point.

I was reading Doc Searls weblog and ran across this nugget talking about Fuse, allegedly an app that will connect you to your car(1996 or Newer Only) and run on your smart phone. This is the brainchild of Phil Windley who has done some incredible work with his Kyntex company.

I deal with the car mad on a daily basis with my work with wrecking yards, car lots, and folks who build, drive, and buy and sell cars. I also deal with phone mad, who are folks whose smart phones are loaded with apps, and basically run their lives. A lot of these folks are both which does make for interesting conversations.

Mobile phones were originally created to allow you to make and receive calls when you were not in the location where your primary phone was plugged into the wall. Technology marches on….. There is nothing scarier than riding in a car in traffic with a phone mad person at the wheel.

This thing is wrong on so many levels that it needs to have a stake driven into its heart, the corpse dragged into the sunlight, and the ashes scattered to the four corners of the globe.

This is such a bad idea that I created a new acronym for it.
YAGTTYEOTR Which stands for:
Yet Another Gadget To Take Your Eyes Off The Road.
Pronounced; yag tee oh ter

The sales pitch hits all the right notes.

Fuse is three things in one:

A smartphone app that gives you a second dashboard,

An off-the-shelf gizmo that plugs into your car’s diagnostics outlet, and

A personal cloud to connect your car with the rest of your life
Source Kickstarter

Personal, Private, Cloud Based. For the minutiae inclined it will track your position, speed, mileage, and read your diagnostic information.
This is how Doc writes about it:

Your Fuse is three things in one:

A sensor gizmo that plugs into your car’s diagnostics outlet
A smartphone app that gives you a second dashboard
A personal cloud to connect your car with the rest of your life

Fuse’s gizmo routes all your car’s data from a plug under your dashboard to your smartphone app, and adds GPS data as well, so you can see exactly where your car has been — and combine that information with anything else it would be good to know.

For example, Fuse can learn your driving patterns and automatically classify repeat trips, such as a carpool. It can associate your contacts with a carpool pickup, and automatically shoot over a message as you leave home and again as you approach the stop. You can even share your location with your pickup, so they can see where you are on their own map.

Fuse can associate trips with business, charity or other tax-deductible purposes.
Source Doc Searls

Holy Shit Batman!! Makes you want to go out and hug your 1996 or Newer car, and beg for forgiveness for your shameful neglect of it. The reason for the 1996 or newer requirement is that it uses the OBD2 Port(On Board Diagnostics) which is standard on all cars manufactured from 1996.

NOT SO FAST!!!

Fuse is not just an app like so many others you can add to your smart phone. It is more like a complete OS changeover. In order to use Fuse, you need a OBD2 device that plugs into the port on your car. It is basically a reader with a radio transceiver to transmit information to “Your Personal Cloud”.

This is off the shelf tech as most repair shops and dealerships have tools and software on laptops and pc’s that do this when you bring your car in for service or repair.

To use Fuse, you need a subscription to their service/cloud. This is not the bad news as lots of folks have Netflicks and similar services on their smart phones.

UPDATE! Just received a comment from Phil clarifying that it is the OBD2 Connector and not your phone that gets a new SIM card and DOES NOT BRICK YOUR PHONE! My profound apologies on that point.

Hence the following deletion.

No, the bad news is that you have to change the SIM card in your ‘device’ (aka your phone) as they so euphemistically put it. The sim card in your phone is what connects to your carrier that allows you do make and receive calls, text, and the other lunacy available on your phone.

Changing the SIM card basically ‘bricks’ your phone from doing anything else but mind melding with your car. You are on another network entirely and your car is the only thing in your phones universe. So while you are “Fusing” the rest of the smartphone universe like your friends and family will get some sort of out of service message.

My confusion comes from this on the kickstarter page:

“You can use any CalAmp LMU-3000 (GSM) or Xirgo XT-2000 (GSM) with the Fuse network and mobile app. To do so, your device will need to be reflashed to load a new script. Your device will also need a new SIM card to put it onto the network we use for device connectivity. Note: your device can only work with one network at a time, so making your device compatible with Fuse will mean that it no longer works with the system it is currently on.”

This should say the OBD2 ‘device’.

It may clear up the confusion by calling it the OBD2 Device.
However past the delete, I stand by the rest of my comments especially concerning leaving a wireless tranciever hooked up to your car. It is no different than having a wireless connection open in your house for folks to stumble upon and take advantage.

And because I know just enough about OBD2 tech, the hole it leaves open for war driving and car jacking mischief is just too large to ignore. Imagine somebody being able to clear all the error codes stored in your car. Imagine somebody being able to reset your car’s computer to factory default. While you are driving.

As for you having control of your data, wake the fuck up! If it is in the cloud, it will be belong to somebody else soon enough.

No this thing needs to have a stake driven into its heart, the corpse dragged into the sunlight, and the ashes scattered to the four corners of the globe.

Here is a tip to make this thing useful. Rip out everything but reading only the Diagnostic information, storing on your current phone with its SIM card intact, allowing you to read and transmit it to your mechanic. Disallow reading information unless the car is stationary with the car in park. Which is how repair shops read it now.

Sorry about the cloud nonsense, the monthly fees, and the accounting bullshit, but this is just not an application as it is currently envisioned, I would recommend to anyone. Not if you want to drive your car in traffic.

can you hear me now?

loudncllear

the cloud The Cloud THE CLOUD

the cloud The Cloud THE CLOUD!

Remember Fantasy Island? The Magical Place with umbrella drinks and a staff who sorted out the problems you didn’t know you had while you were on vacation?

Yep Boys and Girls, The CLOUD!!, the latest nonsense from the freaks and geeks inhabiting the basements of Software Marketers, Social Media and their red headed stepchildren, the Internet Identity folks.

In a nutshell cloud computing means having files located on a computer somewhere else and making them available to you wherever, and whenever you are connected to the Internet.

The theory is that having your files located in the cloud, your company can be more productive, folks can work from anywhere, and hand over the hassle of managing your companies data, applications, and business information, both public and private to a third party who promises to make them secure, lower the cost of ownership, and have rainbows shooting out of your ass at the next shareholders meeting.

Microsoft has a strong vested interest in getting companies into the cloud as they are trying to move the core office applications to the internet like Office 365, moving everyone they can to Outlook.com in an attempt to keep the revenue up as personal computing sales have dropped, Windows 8 can be characterized as either Vista2, or BOB 3,(BOB 2 being Windows Me) depending on how far back your memory goes. Subscriptions are the new green at Microsoft. They are not alone. Google, Amazon, and others are offering you the cloud also.

Think about having your companies data on a computer located outside of your control, on the internet, which has a nasty habit getting broadcast far outside your network. Can you say Wikileaks?

Doc Searls who I know and love, has spent probably longer on the web than I have, whose work on Digital Identity and VRM is second to none, recently introduced the concept of the Personal Cloud.

Doc’s perspective on Digital Identity and VRM Vendor Relationship Management is filtered by his earlier life owning and running an Advertising Agency. He views the Internet as a place where we should be in charge of our Digital Identity and through that mechanism also Manage Relationships with Vendors aks companies that want to sell us stuff. We just disagree on how to manage those relationships.

My response to VRM is ARM aka Advertiser Rights Management [1] [2]. Block them all and find what you are looking for yourownself.

Doc and I agree that our digital identity has to be under our control. Establishing a Bombproof Digital Identity is an enormously thorny problem, technically. The best and brightest are working on it.

The Cloud are your files located somewhere else addressable across the internet. Sort of like this website. More on that in a minute.

Which brings us to The Personal Cloud.

Let me see…..
files stored on a computer somewhere else, Check!
available across the internet Check!
tied to someone Check!
secured under many layers of encryption Not so Much.

Holy Crap Pixel Man!
Welcome to the head lemurs personal cloud.
This is also my digital identity.

See! we already have personal clouds. Mine probably isn’t as fluffy as most, but hey its mine.

End of World 12/21/12

According to the Mayans Nibiru is coming. It may be bullshit, but if it is not, this is how much time you have left…use it wisely…or not.


World Continues…….
Film sometime soon………………..

Facebook’s Billion Member Bullshit

Facebook is an Online Social Network. Requires a connection to the Internet. That is about it.

Disclaimer: I am not now, have ever been, or will ever be a member

Across the interwebs is the Facebook’s One Billion Members announcement. Let me try to count the ways this is a bullshit number.

One Billion? Really? Are there really that many folks shoveling shit in the Facebook room hoping to find a pony?

First up is Internet Accounting. IA is where you count the user names in an ever ascending number. Subtraction is strictly forbidden. Nobody adjusts for people who leave, quit, and just stop playing.
Remember AOL, My Space, etc.

Let’s do the Math…
By Facebook’s own admission nearly 10% of ‘accounts’ are fake, duplicates, misclassified, and or ‘undesirable’ whatever the fuck that means. I see the only requirement for membership seems to be an internet connection. I was going to say that a pulse was a requirement but I am wrong. No don’t squawk about the Real Names Policy. I’ll get to that in a moment.

So we are down to 900 million, which is a lot but doesn’t quite have that zing that a billion does.

Does the ‘billion’ include the accounts created by Facebook who are not official members but are created by cookie tracking on pages that have Facebook badges/Like buttons?

However, according to a May 2011 Consumer Reports survey, there are 7.5 million children under 13 with accounts and 5 million under 10, violating the site’s terms of service.
Source: Wikipedia Facebook Entry

So we are down to 877 million. Here the math is much less certain as there is no verifiable data but what the hell.

Next let’s chop out the company accounts, brand accounts, business accounts, marketing accounts, PR flack accounts, and the rest of the Social Media Marketeer’s crap. Companies and Brands are not people and have no pulses so they get the ax. Real Names Policy doesn’t cover this bit so well. But then a Business Account is a different animal. Like George Orwell said in Animal Farm,”some animals are more equal than others’.
20% is what I figure based on how many sites have badges and links crying for you to ‘like’ them or join them on their Facebook Page. I think that this is low but I am feeling charitable in this moment.(Trust me this won’t last long.)

702 million plus or minus.

Facebook defines an active user as someone who’s logged in at least once in the previous 30 days. According to Experian in Sept 2011 which is the most recent number I could find says that folks are on Facebook between 18-38 minutes per session. Doing the math here should send every company CEO screaming about lost productivity, brain drain and sapping the potency and creating moral degeneration like email did a few years ago.

702 million. Are there really that many people shoveling shit looking for a pony? Don’t get me started on what Facebook is doing with your information while you are shoveling.

Bonus Link Facebook’s 10-Q Quarterly Report

Microsoft’s Brain Farts and the Ugly Smell of Desperation

Make no mistake, Microsoft has kept me off the unemployment rolls for years, building and servicing computers running Windows, Actually it goes back to DOS, but most folks probably don’t remember that far back in time. (Programming escape sequences for printers made you a god)

Microsoft is a software company. They own most of the market. But they are doing just about everything possible to shoot themselves in the head.

Some recent news

Windows 8, the latest OS software out of Redmond has any number detractors for a multitude of reasons, my favorite being the removal of the start button…(you know, the button you have to click to turn your computer off). Just think years of folks trained in backwards thinking suddenly confronted with a linear process. Having to think different? Wait isn’t that an old Apple slogan?
Moving on….

Windows 8 upgrades to be cheaper than ever says the headline of an article over at Ars Technica.
[You will see this again]

Microsoft’s Brain Farts

After introducing the Touch tablet, pissing off all of their hardware ‘partners’ after spending years saying that they would never get into the hardware market. But then they said that they would not compete in the accounting software market either but as soon as Great Plains was ported to windows, they gobbled it up and rolled into their product line. (I was working for a company that used great plains and moved to quicken when Microsoft moved in.They are much happier and spent a boatload less money.)

The early announcement that Internet Explorer 10 would have privacy features on by default pissing off every ad server and data mining company on the planet. Also note that IE9 is only available if you are running Windows 7. You know the OS that removed Outlook Express the default email client in an attempt to up-sell you on Outlook or hand your ass to Hotmail. The same operating system that requires an internet connection to form simple networks, that updates itself automatically while you are trying to shut it down.

Writing off 6.2 Billion bucks for an advertising product that just didn’t work.

Windows Phone? WTF?

This is Facebook thinking for sure. Toss shit at your customers and see how much you can get to stick.

the Ugly Smell of Desperation

Windows 8 upgrades to be cheaper than ever
According to the Ars Technica article :

“Microsoft has announced that, for a limited time only, Windows 8 Pro upgrades will cost just $39.99 via download, or $69.99 for a boxed DVD from retail outlets. Download customers will be able to buy a backup DVD for $15 plus shipping and handling.

Between its launch—whenever that will be—and January 1st, 2013, users of Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 will be able to buy the cheap upgrades to Windows 8 Pro. Windows 8 Pro is the higher of the two mainstream Windows 8 SKUs, and it includes features such as BitLocker, Hyper-V, and the ability to join Windows domains.”
Source Peter Bright Ars Technica

But Wait! There’s More! This upgrade does not include the Media Center, the big brother of the windows media player, the application used for video and audio files. Wait for it… UP SELL!!! But hey, its not like that there aren’t open source alternatives that are smaller, better and faster.

Before you get a woodie thinking that you can leapfrog over Vista and Win 7 into the next generation, remember that your XP hardware will probably not run Win 7. Don’t believe me test it your ownself, which means that you now will have an expensive drink coaster or set.

Your free AOL CD’s have got to be getting pretty shabby looking by now.

OH Wait! Microsoft could buy AOL, send out Windows 8 for free, sell your ass a dial up account for product validation, and use the Huffington Post as the PR Agency of Record. That way if you have decorated around the AOL Logo you won’t have to redecorate so soon.

Facebook’s Fantasy Island and GM’s Drive By Shooting

Today it seems that having a Facebook page is the height of cool. It is not. First a little trek down memory lane.
15 years ago having an email address was the height of cool.
10 years ago having a website was the height of cool.
5 years ago having a blog was the height of cool.

With each iteration the number of participants has increased by orders of magnitude making your coolness less valuable and harder to find. With each new communication channel(email, website, blog) companies and advertisers want you to buy their stuff. As the population has grown and the internet has supplanted print, radio, and television in delivering raw numbers of prospects, or suckers depending on your viewpoint, Advertisers have and are betting big on getting you to ‘Yes’ from email,banner ads,websites and now Facebook pages. Using other peoples money to make a living selling you shit is as old as the first print advertisement. This is not a new business model. The FB mission is to deliver eyeballs to advertisers in exchange for money.

Facebook membership is a suckers bet. Here is a piece of poker player wisdom; ”If you look around the table and can’t spot the sucker, than you are the sucker.” If you are under the illusion that Facebook is about sharing and caring about you, I would like the opportunity to offer you either a piece of the London Bridge or a square inch of the Moon.

Facebook is arguably the current darling of the internet with a ‘reported’ 900 million users, whose sole function is to encourage members to provide information by ‘sharing’ yourself with others for the marketing machine that is Facebook. This is not a new business model. However with web beacons, third party advertising companies and Facebook’s ‘like’ buttons infecting the web,(Imagine being an alcoholic and going to the local mall and every store is a bar or liquor store.) data mining, collection and data sales has gone into overdrive.

Facebook has become the internet’s Digital Plantation and its members are all sharecroppers slaving in the digital fields living in the company town, buying ‘cred’ from the Plantation owner, and in the big house there is a giant party as the ‘bosses’ buy and sell attention data, your data.

I mentioned before that this is not a new business model, but a 21st century feedlot(fattening the cattle before sale and slaughter) that has attracted the attention of advertisers and companies in a big way.

In October 2007 was this quote in a Wired Article
“The key thing is that Facebook has an audience,” says Forrester analyst Charlene Li. “Wherever audiences go and people spend time, that becomes an advertising medium.”
http://www.wired.com/techbiz/startups/news/2007/10/facebook_future
The buzz and revenue being earned by Facebook has led to the upcoming stock sale to the public. If you have a few bucks and want to double your money… fold your money in half and put it back into your pocket. Institutional traders and program traders will be snapping it up and bouncing it around for days.

As I mentioned earlier Facebook is generating revenue by selling advertising and data to companies who have been sucked into the Social Media Kool Aid. On the back of a matchbook, the ability to reach up to 900 million ‘customers’ would seem to be a great bet. Since you can sell almost anything on the web from abacuses to zebras. Almost.
If you consider 1/2 of 1% of ads actually get clicked, and you have a pool of fish even around 450 million would give you about 4.5 million leads to turn into sales, it might be a good deal if you are selling stuff folks need. But need is the last item on the list of advertising objectives.

GM’s Drive By Shooting
However GM, the largest auto manfacturer in the US is pulling out of Facebook. Holy Crap Batman! Somebody in ad land figured out that trying to sell cars used to drive to destinations to folks who are sitting down at a screen or even on a mobile phone is just about the dumbest way to spend money advertising a product that requires you to use your head as an active participant where your tablet, monitor, or mobile phone will get you seriously hurt if you try to multitask.

Once more folks figure this stuff out, ad revenue will plummet, people will demand more accountability from these networks, and the death spiral of irrelevance will suck Facebook into another What Happened to…. article on the back side of the web.