Shorter Kerry Dougherty: Other people can’t have nice things.


Build your own bubble.

24 May 2016 · 1 comment · Categories: Geek Stuff

Welcome to the Microborg.

The strategy is quite simple, really. Microsoft wants to turn your computer into the functional equivalent of a cell phone–something you can use, but cannot control, even as it phones home about your every action.


Moved below the fold because it may autoplay on some systems.

Note: If you catch something autoplaying on the front page here, use the email linke, over there
on the sidebar to let me know and I’ll bury it below the fold.

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20 May 2016 · Comments Off on Alphabet (in the) Soup · Categories: Geek Stuff, Mammon

Google’s parent company revealed as investor in loan shark payday lender which has been banned from Google search results for being morally dubious.

So much for “Don’t be evil.”

18 May 2016 · Comments Off on Facebook Frolics · Categories: Geek Stuff

Trending frolics.

14 May 2016 · Comments Off on How about Thinking for Yourself? · Categories: Geek Stuff


Students who have access to computer devices in the classroom do significantly worse than colleagues without them, a study has found.

In a study by MIT’s School Effectiveness & Inequality Initiative, titled The Impact of Computer Usage on Academic Performance: Evidence from a Randomized Trial at the United States Military Academy, students whose classroom access to computer devices was prohibited performed better in exams.

Why am I not surprised?


When Yuanming He rented out his townhome on Airbnb two weeks ago, the Old Dominion University student who booked it promised there would be no parties and no more than three people on site.

Instead, witnesses said, around a hundred people showed up at the two-bedroom house a couple of miles from the Oceanfront during College Beach Weekend. Police were called there twice: once for a report of gunshots and again three hours later for a shooting that left 20-year-old Darren Campbell dead.

In a resort town like this, short-term rentals are common, but most of them don’t fly under the regulatory radar as Airbnb stuff does. Follow the link for a thoughtful consideration of the challenges that snaring poses to municipal governments.

06 May 2016 · Comments Off on Eyes on the Prize · Categories: Geek Stuff, Political Theatre

Alfred Doblin doesn’t think much of Cracker Jacks’s new prizes, which will require access to either an Android or iJunk device to use, for Pete’s sake, or of what they may indicate. A snippet:

. . . , I have come to realize that the children of the late ’50s and ’60s are the last generation of a communal society. By the time the Walkman came around in the ’70s, people had started to tune out their surroundings. Virtual was better than real.

A 5-year-old boy should not need a smartphone and app to delight in a cheap prize. The prize was never the actual thing; it was in the unwrapping of the thing, the discovery of it, the touch and feel of it.

Take that away and we are diminished as people. We see a bunch of angry Americans pushing police cars not because of racial injustice, but because they dislike Donald Trump, and we call that “chaos.” We witness a tidal wave of refugees who want nothing more than a chance to live and we call that none of our business.

03 May 2016 · Comments Off on Make TWUUG Your LUG · Categories: Geek Stuff

Learn about the wonderful world of free and open source. Use computers to do what you want, not what someone else wants you to do.

It’s not hard; it’s just different.

Tidewater Unix Users Group

What: Monthly TWUUG Meeting.

Who: Everyone in TideWater/Hampton Roads with interest in any/all flavors of Unix/Linux. There are no dues or signup requirements. All are welcome.

Where: Lake Taylor Transitional Care Hospital in Norfolk Training Room. See directions below. (Wireless and wired internet connection available.) Turn right upon entering, then left at the last corridor and look for the open meeting room.

When: 7:30 PM till whenever (usually 9:30ish) on Thursday, May 5.

Lake Taylor Hospital
1309 Kempsville Road
Norfolk, Va. 23502 (Map)

Pre-Meeting Dinner at 6:00 PM (separate checks)
Uno Chicago Grill
Virginia Beach Blvd. & Military Highway (JANAF Shopping Center). (Map)

Join the forums.

02 May 2016 · Comments Off on The Snaring Economy · Categories: Geek Stuff, Mammon

Berlin acts to rein in rogue rentals which raise rents beyond the resources of rental residents (emphasis added).

Rents in Berlin shot up 56 percent between 2009 and 2014, although at around 10 euros per square metre this year, they are relatively low compared to other major European cities.

Given that it is more profitable to rent out whole apartments for short holiday lets, some investors are holding on to apartments for such rentals rather than having long-term tenants.

San Francisco-based — short for the business’s original name AirBed & Breakfast — is the biggest of several sites that allow people to offer and find such rental accommodation worldwide.

When it’s being done by “investors,” my friends, it ain’t sharing, not by any measure.

More at the link.

28 April 2016 · Comments Off on Great Moments in Nagware · Categories: Geek Stuff

A spell of Windows breaks out over the heartland.

27 April 2016 · Comments Off on Facebook Frolics · Categories: Geek Stuff

The Tinder Trap.

27 April 2016 · Comments Off on Seeing the Light · Categories: Geek Stuff

Highway engineering for the iJunk Generation:

The German city of Augsburg is embedding warning lights in the pavement at traffic intersections to alert smartphone users who don’t looking up before crossing the road.

Rows of red LEDs have been embedded in the pavement after a 15-year-old girl was killed when she stepped in front of a tram while looking at her smartphone and listening to music. Two other people have been seriously injured in separate but similar incidents.

26 April 2016 · Comments Off on Facebook Frolics · Categories: Geek Stuff

Phishing phrolics.

24 April 2016 · Comments Off on Facebook Frolics · Categories: Geek Stuff, Mammon

Facebook uber alles.

23 April 2016 · Comments Off on The Courage of Their Carryings-On · Categories: Geek Stuff, Hypocrisy Watch

Get out of Jail free cardPlaintiffs leading a lawsuit against online dating website Ashley Madison over a security breach that exposed the personal data of customers must publicly identify themselves to proceed with the case, a US judge has ruled.

Forty-two plaintiffs, seeking to represent users of the website who had their information compromised, had proceeded anonymously against Ashley Madison’s Toronto-based parent company Avid Life Media, the ruling released on 6 April showed.

I really can’t find it in me to have much sympathy for the plaintiffs.

Really, the chutzpah just leaves me sputtering.

23 April 2016 · Comments Off on The Snaring Economy, Have Cake Eat It Too Dept. · Categories: Geek Stuff, Mammon

This should be interesting:

In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in New York on behalf of Connecticut Uber user Spencer Meyer, Schmidt writes that if the drivers are all independent contractors — as the company has aggressively argued in previous court battles — their use of common rates for passengers qualifies as collusion and price-fixing. You can’t do that under federal antitrust laws, Schmidt argues.

According to the story, in its response, Uber claims that it’s all about competition and fair shakes.

21 April 2016 · Comments Off on Facebook Frolics · Categories: Culture Warriors, Geek Stuff, The Sporting Life

In for a Schilling, in for a pound.

20 April 2016 · Comments Off on Twits on Twitter · Categories: Enforcers, Geek Stuff

Tales from the Encrypt.


Be very clear. There’s more to this than just decoding de code. There’s a presumption that if you use encryption, you must have something to hide, an assertion that a desire for privacy is inherently suspicious. (In some ways, this point of view is eerily similar to the philosophy of the Zuckerborg.)

In a snail mail world, what the cops (and the NSA and GHCQ and the FBI and their like) want would be to steam open all your envelopes and read all your mail and all your everything else without showing cause (not that lots of them aren’t already doing that just because they can).