Status Update: Guilty.


Simon Phipps explains the theft of your privacy. He’s writing specifically about the recent British elections, but it works the same way on this side of the Big Pond. Here’s a bit:

There are people walking over the beautiful spring meadows. Most are just enjoying the beauty of it all, but some are going visiting to each other’s houses. Of those, a politician discovers one or two of them going and doing things he and his supporters don’t like. They demand it has to be stopped.

They issue an instruction to block the fields. The objective is unarguably pure and the things that those one or two people are doing are disgusting, so it must be possible, right? If you object to blocking the fields, it only goes to proves that you’re one of those dirty people. Bureaucrats get to work on the demand. They can’t block an open field, so first they build a road across the field. Then they build a police control point in the middle of the road.

Follow the link to find out what happens next.


A little fracas down the road a piece:

According to court testimony, the case stemmed from a Facebook post Randall made last year.

Randall wrote that he regretted voting for Moody and referenced the councilman’s “side family.”

In 2013, it became public that Moody fathered a child outside of his marriage.

If saying something to someone’s face would be, as they say, “asking for it,” so too would saying it on Facebook.


One more time, teach yourself that the internet is a public place.

13 May 2015 · Comments Off on Facebook Frolics · Categories: Geek Stuff

One more time: the internet is a public place. Govern yourselves accordingly.

10 May 2015 · Comments Off on The Internet Is a Public Place · Categories: Geek Stuff, Running Naked through the Internet

Buried deep in a longer story about Twitter’s trading travails (the stock is down a bit) is this nugget (emphasis added):

Compared with mature rivals like Google and Facebook, Twitter doesn’t know as much about its users, and it is more difficult to measure results.

Facebook has so much data on its users, “you could actually target a premium credit card to a businessman you know is traveling all the time,” said Bryan Wiener, chairman of 360i, a digital marketing agency that works with brands like Capital One, NBCUniversal, Spotify, Oreo and Oscar Mayer.

In other words, Twitter needs to up its spying game to up its stock price.

Story via my local rag, print edition.

07 May 2015 · Comments Off on Facebook Frolics · Categories: Geek Stuff

Lost in a lost world.

05 May 2015 · Comments Off on Make TWUUG Your LUG · Categories: Geek Stuff

Learn about the wonderful world of free and open source. Learn how to 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 7.

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)

03 May 2015 · Comments Off on Persons Fret about the “Surveillance State” . . . · Categories: Geek Stuff

. . . even as they eagerly sign up for the “Surveillance Society.”

Last month, news outlets reported that John Hancock was the first insurance company to offer discounts to policyholders willing to wear a Fitbit, and presumably let the company track their activity.

And, in related news.

02 May 2015 · Comments Off on Listen Up, Y’Hear · Categories: Geek Stuff

Editing audio in audacityI have a couple of new podcasts up at, and you can too.

One is about Mutt, a command line email client which manages email the way email was meant to be managed; the other is about vim, a powerful and versatile text editor, but one with an extremely cryptic command set which many, including me, have found intimidating.

30 April 2015 · Comments Off on Facebook Frolics · Categories: Geek Stuff

Facebook says, “Privacy, schmivacy. I’m going to take my electrons and go home.

23 April 2015 · Comments Off on Reinstall · Categories: Geek Stuff

Yesterday, I noticed that the root partition of my Dell 1545n laptop was 97% full. This was not good. I was close to reaching the point that stuff would not work because the partition was full.

When I installed Slackware on that machine, I established three partitions: root, home, and swap. I gave root 20 GB, but, over the several years since I first put Slackware on this box, I’ve installed lots of stuff, and space was running out. Root needed more space.

I first tried resizing the partitions with GParted, but that failed; it seems the root was on a primary partition and /home (where everything else lived) was on an extended partition. I first set that configuration up so long ago that I don’t remember making those choices, but I must have.

Since resizing was not an option, I knew I had to reformat and reinstall. Consequently, I rsync’d my home partition to my Zareason file server to back up everything in /home, including all my configuration and data files.

I repartitioned and installed Slackware 14.1 (the box started with Slackware 13.37), giving root one-third more disk space (30 GB rather than 20 GB), then updated it to Slackware –Current.

Six hours later, everything important was reinstalled, reconfigured, and working, including my mutt email configuration, and all the dust-bunnies from four or so years of usage had been cleared out. Much of today was spent making this happen.

My first adventure with Linux was installing Slackware 10.0 ten years ago. I’m now running Slackware Current on two boxes (and Mageia and Mint on other machines), because Slackware is the distro of iron: it always works and never breaks. (Ten or fifteen years ago, who would have imagined having more than one computer in the house?)

Ten years ago, I had no idea what I was doing, but I somehow managed to self-host my website on a Slackware box in my guest room. It took me from April to August in 2005 to bring it live. Now I can muddle through a reinstall and restore in less than a day.

I think I’ve learned something, and I’ve sure had a lot of fun along the way.

22 April 2015 · Comments Off on Stung · Categories: Enforcers, Geek Stuff

22 April 2015 · Comments Off on Rebooted with Extreme Prejudice · Categories: Geek Stuff

A Colorado man who has been “fighting with his computer for the last several months” unloaded a volley of shots into his Dell tormentor, resulting in the death of the computer and his arrest for discharging a firearm, cops report.

According to the Colorado Springs Police Department, officers responding last night to a 911 call about shots fired discovered that a “fed up” Lucas Hinch took his computer into a back alley and “fired 8 shots into the computer with a handgun, effectively disabling it.”


The late Dell XPS 410 model . . . is survived by a monitor and a keyboard.

Natch, it was running Windows. The reference to the BSOD is dead giveaway.

Linux doesn’t get the BSOD, though there is a BSOD screensaver.

(Linux gets “kernel panics,” but I’ve seen that only once, nine years or so ago.)

21 April 2015 · Comments Off on Just Because You Can Do Something Online . . . · Categories: Geek Stuff, Mammon

Doesn’t mean you should.

20 April 2015 · Comments Off on The Snaring Economy · Categories: Geek Stuff, Political Economy

Seems Uber may be the ride for the discriminating.

Uber Technologies Inc must defend against a lawsuit accusing the popular ride-sharing service of discriminating against blind people by refusing to transport guide dogs, a federal judge ruled.

In a decision late Friday night, U.S. Magistrate Judge Nathanael Cousins in San Jose, California, said the plaintiffs could pursue a claim that Uber was a “travel service” subject to potential liability under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The judge also rejected Uber’s arguments that the plaintiffs, including the National Federation of the Blind of California, lacked standing to sue under the ADA and state laws protecting the disabled.

11 April 2015 · Comments Off on Hijacked! · Categories: Geek Stuff


Police departments in midcoast and northern Maine said they have paid ransom to hackers to keep their computer files from being destroyed, WCSH-TV reported Friday night.

The Portland station said the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office and four towns paid $300 to the hackers after a virus, called a “megacode,” was downloaded on a computer system they share. Lincoln County Sheriff Todd Bracket said that the computer system was unusable until the fee was paid, and that the hackers claimed the program, called “ransomware,” would wipe the entire computer system clean if the fee wasn’t paid.

They paid the ransom in bitcoins.

11 April 2015 · Comments Off on Newsweek Discovers Olds · Categories: Geek Stuff

Via Raw Story, Newsweek discovers that Facebook drops persistent cookies that track you even when you are not browsing Facebook.

This is not news. This is olds.

This is why, for years, the few times I visit Facebook, I do so only in a private browser tab that deletes all cookies when it’s closed, and, to be doubly safe, have my browser delete all cookies upon exit.

10 April 2015 · Comments Off on uWatch Out Now · Categories: Geek Stuff, Personal Musings

Peter St. Onge considers the iWatch and rudeness quotient.

He has a point.

As much as I do love computers for what they make possible, I am appalled at persons who continue telephone calls as they deal with sales clerks and find a twits on twitter more important than the friends in front of them. Heck, some young lady with her head in a cell phone nearly collided with me as she cut a left turn too close (and too fast) at an intersection day before yesterday.

Smart phones wielded by stupid persons make for no good outcome.

07 April 2015 · Comments Off on Facebook Frolics · Categories: Geek Stuff, Give Me a Break

News as status updates.

Facebook already manipulates applies algorithms to decide what items you should see on your “timeline.” Now they will filter the news for you, too?