Seriously, ESR nails it:
Seriously, ESR nails it:
I’ve had the new phone for several days now. I was even asked once if it was the much more expensive new Samsung, which amuses me greatly. As usual, it feels (and likely is) decidedly faster at many things than the previous phone. Some apps I’d had on the previous phone I decided not to bother with anymore. And some new ones are there, at least for now.
One I think I’ll be keeping is Syncthing which keeps chosen folders (directories) in sync across computer(s) and phone. About the only modern things it seems not to run on are iPhones (iOS stuff) – and I presume Apple has something to handle those.
What I like about Syncthing is not just the sync-ing, which is the program’s job so it had better do that, but that there is no external requirement – though one can relay through the ‘net if one so chooses. I do not have to have an account in some “cloud” storage setup (Hint: There is no cloud. There are only other people’s computers, not under your control.) It’s all my hardware, my network, and my rules. I can set it to only sync when the phone is charging, is on WiFi, and connected only to WiFi network(s) I specify. Is it absolutely 100% secure? Of course not, as nothing truly is. But miscreants won’t be handed anything on a silver platter, at least.
This is not a backup setup. Something deleted one place, will be deleted in the other. It is synchronization. Think of it more as file sharing, but only for the devices you choose. Joe down the the block can go get his own files. That is why the sync-ed folder on the computer has copies of the files I also want on the phone – and why, say, photos from the phone should be copied or moved to an un-shared folder on the computer. Duplication might be disk-inefficient, but it’s less apt to end in anger and disappointment at something being truly lost by some accident.
Between that and the IR port which means the phone is also a truly universal remote control, I’m really liking things. How universal? So far I have it able to control five TV’s (two LCD sets, three CRT sets) and two air conditioners. And I’ve not gone looking at the other stuff in the old TV/video/stereo stack yet!
Alright, I gave in and got the Chromecast even though Google. It was inexpensive, it works, and their Android app doesn’t demand the network be renumbered for some addlepated chucklehead. I’ve streamed stuff to it a few times now and it’s neat, but while being able to pause the feed is nice, being able to fast forward it is better. Even the “good” TV can be a bit annoying. One day when it was time to deal with “Laundry, folding of” I figured I’d catch up on news and let CNN roll by. Oops.
I was hoping for a set of stories or articles that lead from one to the next. Instead the one seemed to loop until I forced it to change. And in the “National” (USA) version the lead story was… not Hurricane Harvey. Not Hurricane Irma. Not North Korea’s nuclear testing, nor missile testing. Not anything of an Immigration “Agreement” nor anything else of real import. Nope, the lead was… a stupid vapid rant about Trump’s supposed temper. The bit about him, during the (now long OVER) campaign telling his audience to beat the crap out of someone if they were about to through a tomato.. well, what do you expect someone to say, “Let the asshole paste me”? And face it, had Hillary or Bernie said the very same line, it would have been shown in a very positive, humorous light.
This isn’t even fake news. It’s not news at all. It’s rubbish. “The Propaganda Arm of the Democrat(ic) Party” is how some have summed up the so-called Mainstream Media. It’s not merely obvious, but outright blatant. I’d find it funny, except It’s Happening Here. This was a bit easier take some decades ago when I listened to shortwave and would be entertained by the nonsense spewed forth by Radio Moscow. Of course, I was not living in the USSR. Not then, anyway. Nowadays, I can’t be so sure.
If, for some strange reason, you read the comments on my previous post here you saw someone asking if I minded if they “cross-posted” (the term they used) it to another site. As I have had things cross-posted/re-posted/re-blogged before (guest posts at ATH that a couple folks liked) I figured it was no big deal. I was wrong, as it was NOT a simple re-publication on another personal site with a link back. Oh no. It was something far worse. It was Marketing in the truly Dilbertian, or perhaps even Catbertian, sense of the word.
Instead of a simple re-posting, an account was made on the site they are building, Writer Beat, and I found myself signed up to the damned thing. There was no mention that such an account would be created, nor that I would “need” one for this. A lie of omission, that.
Further, the FAQ had a couple bombs lurking in it. One could not post more than once every 48 hours. While I am hardly prolific in my posting, my schedule is my schedule.
The second bomb was the requirement of commenting on others posts. Nope:
Whether something is deserving of a comment of mine is my decision alone.
And notice a pattern? The utter lack of informed consent. Dishonesty. This is not a medical emergency situation where such can be ignored for the sake of life-saving urgency. This is just plain old-fashioned lying.
I agreed only to the asked-about allegedly free re-publication, nothing more – as nothing more was revealed. But then I found I had an account on that dubious site. When I found those bombs lurking in the FAQ, I decided I wanted nothing to do with any place that made such demands. I had logged in. I had changed the password (before I made the comment containing the original public). So upon that discovery I decided to delete the article from that damnable site, which I did. I then went looking for a way to delete the account itself. Such an option does not exist.
Before, I was merely miffed. Now I was getting genuinely angry. No way to leave means it’s a trap. Even if not calculated to be, it still is so. And thus I sent this e-mail:
When you commented on Elegant Ungulate it was about a simple cross-post or
re-post. You did NOT tell me it was an account sign up. That is dishonest.
Also, no mention was made of article frequency limits, nor commenting
requirements associated with this un-informed and un-consented sign-up.
As I find this all dishonest and distasteful, I intended to delete the
account that was created without my consent. Only problem – your site seems
to be a Roach Motel California: A person can’t DO that.
Well, I mean to.
WriterBeat delenda est!
I did get a reply that my article had been deleted (Had I not already done that? Or is this site copying FaceBook’s malicious, evil design where deletion isn’t really deletion?) and that they had gone in and manually removed the account a mere user could not delete. The corker was the utterly ridiculous claim that *I* had “misunderstood” things when they had been outright omitted – at the very best, merely omitted. Oh, and though it was not said outright as “exposure” it was implied with “Should you ever decide to reach a larger readership…” Uh huh. There is a place for those who use an “exposure” line on folks. That place is on the hard vacuum side of an airlock. You want exposure? Sunbathe at the South Pole. You’ll get the exposure of your life.
The site owner(s?) must be desperate for content if they are trawling the web for articles to copy and people to sign up unawares. Perhaps a name that feels like it should be about/for reporters, or cops who walk a lot, or a riff on Tiger Beat magazine isn’t exactly helping.
What’s puzzling, assuming it isn’t automated by a ‘bot lacking any judgment of content, is: why that post? It’s nothing of much import. One guy talking about replacing an aging phone with something newer. It’s filler, really, and I know and admit that. Going down to the very next (that is, the previous) post gets an almost infinitely better candidate for wider transmission and perhaps discussion. But “I have a mark on my arm…” was bypassed. If I were to believe in “Social Importance” (cue Tom Lehrer’s tune Smut) I would assign a significant amount to that and very little if any to “Telephone, Man.” Of course, if it can be explained by incompetence, incompetence explains it. And it sure does!
So, should you get some schmuck trying to get your stuff on Writer Beat, BEWARE! It’s not mere duplication, but an attempt at conscription. Don’t be shanghaied.
My take is as said in email:
Writer Beat delenda est!
ADDENDUM: This is not a new development. Have a look back to 2014 at 4 Critical Changes Writer Beat Must Make to Become Competitive and note the author’s followup update to his article. There seems to be history of dishonesty on the part of Writer Beat’s owner(s).
I have an aging smartphone. It will at times seem to drop from 90% or more charge to under 60% charge in a couple minutes and sometimes just shuts down. I think part of that is not just age, but that I had been keeping it in a pocket while working (in a soft case) and, well, I work and thus sweat (like an ox, yes). So it might not be just the battery – which is allegedly not replaceable. It can be replaced, but it’s not what the maker, Motorola, had in mind.
And, it is now more than a couple years old. If not ancient, certainly elderly for a smartphone. Thus I find myself pondering a new phone. Of course, nothing is ever simple. As I am not Independently Wealthy, simply plunking down a wad of cash for the expensive thing at the top of the reviews (seems to be the Galaxy Note 8 right now – at $750) isn’t an option. There needs to be some judgement and monetary efficiency. That also excludes cheap junk – paying next to nothing to get nothing is also monetarily inefficient.
The iPhones and Windows phones are right out. I’ve no desire for any sort of lock-in or attempt at it. That leaves Android, for now, though there are allegedly Linux phones planned – but planned doesn’t mean ready right now, not even likely in a few months. As an example, Librem 5 is raising funds – even if they succeed, even if they are on schedule, it wouldn’t be until January 2019. And these campaigns, even if they get all the funds and more, have technical setbacks during development and initial production. Add a minimum of 6 months to that schedule, more likely 12: I am hoping to get an item I backed on Kickstarter that was planned to ship this past February before the end of this year. I can get by with the Motorola for a while longer, while I save up for the replacement. The question is: What will be the replacement?
There was going to be a lot more here I went on about what was available. But instead, I’ve recently ordered an Honor 8 as I could get it at a steep discount and the specs are rather good. The only real downside is the lack of a good moisture resistance rating – and I’ve already ordered a truly waterproof case for the situations where that will matter. The other nice-to-have thing I’d like that it lacks is wireless charging, but I’ve gotten by without that so far – and if I really want it, there are add-ons that will take care of that, too. While I do not expect to ever get or wish to get an iPhone, if the next one has wireless charging as rumored might push that into becoming a “must have” standard by the time I need to change things out again.
*** Back in 2013 I finally got annoyed enough with the silly (at best!) anti-vaxxers to rant a bit. I repeat it here, now, only slightly modified. It’s not 2013 any more. ***
I have a mark on my arm…
And everyone (or very nearly everyone) of a certain age or greater also has this mark. It’s not the ‘Mark of the Beast’. In fact, it’s pretty much the exact opposite. It helped me, and so many others, avoid – at a minimum – far worse marking. Those rather younger generally do not have this mark. They don’t have it, because they don’t need it. They don’t need because I, and so many others, have it. This mark is the one that came from getting a vaccination. You could say, the vaccination. The name vaccine itself came from this, or a very early version of it. It is perhaps the ultimate vaccination success story. It’s also one thing the United Nations, through the World Health Organization, got right. You see, the last “in the wild” (not a lab accident) case was diagnosed in October 1977. In 1979 the WHO declared that smallpox had been eradicated. This was the first time, ever, that a disease had been considered eradicated.
Since then there has been only one other such success, so far: rinderpest, a disease affecting bovines, that was declared eradicated in 2011. There had been hopes that polio (and perhaps measles) would join them. It hasn’t yet. War and paranoia have prevented the last phase of vaccinations from happening, so instead of zero cases cases yearly worldwide, there are over 200. That sounds good, if you think about the time when cases were in the thousands or millions, but it’s bad if you want to truly wipe out the disease so you can stop worrying about it at all. ADDENDUM: Things are improving some. In 2016 it was down to 37 known cases.
Smallpox vaccine actually was relatively dangerous – compared to other vaccines. It had some nasty potential side-effects. And it was not 100% effective. Why was it used? Have you met smallpox? No? Consider yourself mighty damn fortunate. By the time I got that vaccine, it was pretty good, and had about 95% effectiveness. And that last 5%? A thing called ‘herd immunity’ – if enough of a population is resistant to a disease, even if an unfortunate individual comes down with it, it can’t spread. Thus while the last 5% aren’t perfectly protected, they have a sort of immunity by a kind of automatic quarantine.
The polio vaccine was so effective it astonished the researchers. Its success rate was the stuff not of mere dreams, but of outright fantasy. It also is not perfect, but is well beyond being merely “good enough.” There are other vaccines, for other diseases. I’ve met perhaps one person who likely had (and was lucky enough to survive almost unscathed -if only barely) smallpox. I have met a few people who survived polio. There are vaccines now for more minor illnesses, some of which I’ve had and even though they were mild and “minor” (and minor is relative – they aren’t harmless, they just cause permanent disability and death less often than the Big Bad ones like smallpox.) I would have been quite happy to have traded a needle-stick for the affliction itself.
It irritates me greatly to see that there are still people with the mistaken (at best – all too often it’s more outright crazy) belief that vaccines are inherently dangerous. The claim has been around since the very first vaccinations (and in truth the very first really were a gamble – but it’s not 1796 any more and more than a little progress has been since then). Nowadays the claim often centers on thimerisal – a mercury compound once used as an antiseptic and antifungal agent in vaccines (to prevent the vaccine from causing another illness), and accused of contributing to autism. Certainly, exposure to heavy metals is best avoided, but the evidence for thimerisal doing anything beyond the intended preservation is simply not there. Autism rates increased after thimerisal use ended or was at least greatly reduced (The USA stopped using thimerisal in all but a very few vaccines and antivenoms in 1999.). That doesn’t mean that thimerisal protects against autism; it indicates something else is going on. The “study” that showed the MMR vaccine (and thimerisal) had a link to autism was not only never replicated, but was debunked, retracted by the medical publication that first published it, the originator found to have several conflicts of interest which he hadn’t revealed, and that person is no longer permitted to practice medicine. In short: QUACK! The whole thing was a scam, setting himself up to profit. Ponder that one. This crook was willing to knowingly misdiagnose a cause of an affliction, and have others risk illness for his personal profit. There is a word for that behavior: Criminal.
So now, gullible and panicky people looking for something to blame, erroneously blame vaccines and thereby cause a different problem. Remember that herd immunity? It doesn’t work if the immunity rate (and immunity is conferred by vaccine) falls too low. When that happens, the unlucky individual who contracts an illness can and does come into contact with another susceptible person, and then that one can carry it to the next, and so on. The result is an outbreak of a disease that was rare for a while. Thus nowadays, thanks to this ignorance of the facts, and the stupidity of continuing to ignore them when clear and obvious evidence is presented, there are more and more cases of measles, and whooping cough, and who know what else might be next.
“Those are just childhood diseases.” some say. Adults can and do get them. And often they are far nastier for and to adults – and I can tell you that when I was kid and had some of the “childhood diseases” that they were no fun at all – and I was fortunate to experience milder (relatively) cases. These diseases can still maim and kill. We have a good, effective tool to not only avoid such outcomes, but to avoid the affliction itself. The current vaccines are all much, much safer than even the safest version of the smallpox vaccine – it was a big relief to everyone when it could be set aside. Polio and perhaps measles can, if people come to their senses, also go the way of smallpox (there is no known non-human carrier of either) – and that will mean two less vaccines needed, without risk of outbreak.
I have this mark on my arm. If you don’t, you’re welcome.
After far, far too long I finally popped the cover on the old VCR and extracted the tape that hadn’t been properly ejected. The VCR works. The old Cathode-Ray Tube TV works. Right now, as I type, the VCR is playing an old off-air tape (Animaniacs if you were wondering) and the Contec set is showing it. I’m letting things run to have all the bearing spinning for a good while and get/keep the old electrolytic capacitors properly formed.
The great thing was how simple and easy it was. Other than the standard “No user serviceable parts inside.” warning (translation: no tubes) it was No Big Deal. Two standard Phillips screws and a trivial plastic interlock tab and off came the cover. No weird seal, no weird screw heads (it’s always the one Torx type not in the collection, of course). Just… two normal screws and a click and DONE.
In a day or four, I’ll move the VCR back upstairs, see about connecting it to the fancy new TV set and have the weird combination of analog tape and digital TV set. I told you that “surreal” is my normal. Once again, it just happens. No hipster crappola, just what turns out and turns up due to Reality being weird at me.
ADDENDUM: Or maybe not. VCR is still acting up. One guide indicates the “idler tire” needs cleaning or replacement. Well, something to try – but not today anymore.