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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

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

17,701,711 users

17,701,711 users That is how many folks are using AdBlock Plus in Firefox
Firefox Most Popular Extensions List
Seventeen Million, seven hundred one thousand, seven hundred eleven users
meanwhile advertisers are paying for ads nobody sees……..

Notables Nov 2013

Noteworthy Web sites
Data is Data until it is transformed. Most data is in the form of spreadsheets which to a large percentage of the population are equivalent to Insomnia Relief. Infographics are visual displays of data that transform it from numbers into visual presentations that make it understandable.

Kantar Information is Beautiful Awards is a site that scours the web for them and has created awards for excellence.
Here are the 2013 winners [NOTE: Image heavy! be advised that it will take a bit to load completely]

Chromeography is a photo site devoted to Emblems on Cars and other things. I spend a lot of time photographing cars, mostly wrecks, I found this interesting. Hat Tip Joe Jennet

SMART is Not

“Smart” is the new black. Smart Phones, Smart TV, Smart Cars. Smart is Hot! Smart is not.

Surveillance Monitoring and Reporting Tools is what SMART really is.

Your Smart Phone is a Three Way calling Device. You, who you are calling, and the Government. When you consider that your smart phone is CC’ing every thing you do to spy agencies both domestic and foreign from who you call, who calls you, time, date, duration, location, and content, in voice, text, and internet access. From the OS that runs your Phone to the Latest App, you are being spied on. From Rooms in switching offices, to taps in routers, and cables both on the ground and buried in the ocean, you are being watched.

The Telcos are the only business that violates customer privacy and personal information to anybody with a request. No other business shares information about their customers if they hope to sell them again.

Your Smart Car is tracking you as well. ON Star and similar systems track you in real time, not only by location, but also reporting speed, direction, engine and braking data, which insurance companies love in denying claims. More of these systems are coming online everyday. They are being marketed as “Safety Features”.

Your Smart TV. A recent report shows that LG’s Smart TV is not only reporting what you watch, but also reports the contents of any connected devices on your TV.

LG Smart TVs logging USB filenames and viewing info to LG servers
LG investigates Smart TV ‘unauthorised spying’ claim

It is only a matter of time before other Smart Products are outed as fellow travelers in the New World Order of SMART.

Not only is LG unapologetic about this, but actually Promotes it! This nugget is from Doc Searls over at the Project VRM Blog:

If you want to really hate LG — a company you barely cared about until now, watch this. It’s a promotional video for “LG Smart AD,” which “provides the smartest way to reach your targeted audiences across the borders and connected devices with excitement powered by LG’s world best 3D and HD home entertainment technology” and “enables publishers to maximize revenues through worldwide ad networks, intelligent platform to boost CPM and the remarkable ecosystem.”

Your Internet connection is compromised. From Your ISP, who in most cases is a Phone Company, who for some reason wants you to use their outgoing mail servers for your email. You can route around this. Your Browser, whose default settings phone home in the case of Google, Firefox, IE and others, and allow sites to track your activity, interrogate your computer, set cookies, take part of your hard drive for what is known as local storage, but in reality are data mining tools for third party actors, whose motives are at best are suspect(targeted/relevant advertising my aching asshole), and at worst another database for plundering by governmental agencies, under the rubric of National Security.

The latest Smart Tech being flogged is Cloud Computing. Really, Move all of your data to the Cloud! We will manage and back it Up. You can access it from anywhere with an Internet connection! HELLO? what part of this makes any sense? Trusting your information, individual, business, commercial or proprietary to companies who do not encrypt if or offer encrypted connections. Or even worse using your phone company to manage your cloud.

Edward Snowden’s disclosures have galvanized world governments, organizations, and individuals into speaking up. Curiously, the American public, whose tax dollars are funding these 4th Amendment violations are for the most part silent.

Let’s Recap SMART Tech Does Not Make You Smarter! It does make you a bigger target.

Bonus Link: Surveillance is not about protecting us. It’s about control.

Chrome’s HTTP Switchboard

Privacy in web surfing is becoming a much more complicated endeavor with the vast quantity of advertiser supported sites on the web. Web analytic, data miners and data sucking Social Networks Icons on sites not only compromise your privacy but also slow down your surfing.
Using the Chrome Browser is no more or less a compromising choice than the other major browsers.
There is a new tool in the drive for privacy on the internet for the Chrome Browser, HTTP Switchboard This is an amazing tool. A great explanation can be found over at BetaNews
Before you rush over there using Chrome as it is a Chrome Only Tool, lets lock down your chrome browser.

A Feature of the Chrome browser is the incognito mode.
Below is a screen shot of Chrome in Incognito Mode Notice the grey color with the guy in hat and shades in the upper left corner? You are Incognito Baby!

Going incognito doesn’t affect the behavior of other people, servers, or software. Be wary of: Websites that collect or share information about you Internet service providers or employers that track the pages you visit Malicious software that tracks your keystrokes in exchange for free smileys Surveillance by secret agents People standing behind you Learn more about incognito browsing. Because Google Chrome does not control how extensions handle your personal data, all extensions have been disabled for incognito windows. You can reenable them individually in the extensions manager.

Chrome in Incognito Mode

Here is what Incognito does.

Going incognito doesn’t affect the behavior of other people, servers, or software. Be wary of:
Websites that collect or share information about you
Internet service providers or employers that track the pages you visit
Malicious software that tracks your keystrokes in exchange for free smileys
Surveillance by secret agents
People standing behind you
Learn more about incognito browsing.
Because Google Chrome does not control how extensions handle your personal data, all extensions have been disabled for incognito windows. You can reenable them individually in the extensions manager.

The information below is Windows Specific. Hopefully somebody on a Mac will explain this for those users.
In Windows to make this happen, find the Icon for the Chrome Browser, Right mouse click and click on Properties
The Properties dialog box appears.

Properties Box

Properties Box

Scroll to the end of the Target Window which says
“C:\Documents and Settings\your computer name\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe”
and add the following: space-incognito so the target window now says:
“C:\Documents and Settings\your computer name\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe” -incognito
Do Not forget the space after the quote and before the minus sign. It will not work otherwise
Now your Target Window should show
Going Incognito

Going Incognito

Click Apply, Click Okay, and you are done.
You’ve gone incognito. Pages you view in this window won’t appear in your browser history or search history, and they won’t leave other traces, like cookies, on your computer after you close all open incognito windows. Any files you download or bookmarks you create will be preserved, however.

At this point it will erase your history, searches and cookies on exit, however the damage has already been done as even in incognito mode Chrome accepts cookies.
I have written about privacy before under the pithy title of Advertising Rights Management ARM:
Advertising Rights Management ARM
Advertising Rights Management ARM 2
In any case in incognito mode you need to go to Settings> Extensions> and enable your extensions to work in incognito mode.
Chrome’s HTTP Switchboard is a new privacy tool for the Chrome Browser. It is more complicated than AVG Do Not Track, albine Do Not Track Me, AdBlock Plus, and Ghostery, but the quantity of information about the sites is amazing. And you can allow or deny cookies, scripts, Plugins, iframes on a case by case basis.

An exciting addition to your privacy on the web. Highly Recommended!

[Bonus Link: How to Always Start Any Browser in Private Browsing Mode]
Hat Tip: Joe Crawford

YAGTTYEOTR Yet Another Gadget To Take Your Eyes Off The Road Sweepstakes

Lets Recap.
‘Smart’ Phones do NOT Make YOU Smarter. Quite the Contrary if the volume of apps(which used to be called programs, and ran on a PC)that are offered to ‘enhance’ your mobile phone experience, which if you are old enough to have pubic hair, the original point of a mobile phone was to be able to make phone calls when you were not at home or work. Moving on…

YAGTTYEOTR Which stands for:
Yet Another Gadget To Take Your Eyes Off The Road.
Pronounced; yag tee oh ter

The latest app to catch my eye is Type n Walk. Yes indeed! This gem will help you type while you are walking. I stole this image from their site.



holy crap! 20 years ago folks saw you mumbling with your hand near your ear, the guys in the white coats would be bringing you a canvas coat with extra long sleeves and buckles in the back.

The good News is that it is only available for the IPhone. The bad news is that they are serious.
Distracted Walking a new Category for insurance companies.
“Really I was just walking when the street sign jumped out at me”

But they do understand that this may require some explanation. The First FAQ Question on their sites is:

Q: Why don’t I see anything in the ‘viewport’ but a black screen?

A: Make sure your fingers (or protective case) aren’t blocking the front camera.

Lets Recap.
‘Smart’ Phones do NOT Make YOU Smarter.

Bonus Link Mobile Phone Accidents

quote of the day

found on twitter

“I like that you expressed an opinion again. But you were supposed to change your mind this time.”