Not-mean-enough girls.

I think the judge is quite correct. If school administrators do one thing consistently, it’s overreact. They did it when I was in school and they will likely still be doing when my great-grandchildren are in school.


I fear this horse is already out the barn door and into the next county.

The French data protection authority on Monday gave Facebook three months to stop tracking non-users’ web activity without their consent and ordered the social network to stop some transfers of personal data to the US.

The French order is the first significant action to be taken against a company transferring Europeans’ data to the US following an EU court ruling last year that struck down an agreement that had been relied on by thousands of companies, including Facebook, to avoid cumbersome EU data transfer rules.

Details at the link.


India refuses to be assimilated by the Zuckerborg (emphasis added–follow the link for the full article):

The Indian Telecoms Regulatory Authority (TRAI) has permanently banned Facebook’s Free Basics project on “net neutrality” grounds.

TRAI today ruled (PDF) that: “No service provider shall offer or charge discriminatory tariffs for data services on the basis of content.”


Facebook’s Free Basics project was ostensibly intended to extend some of the internet to those in the developing world – for free. It was billed as a charitable exercise by the Zuckerborg, but was met with considerably more hostility than charity usually is.

Critics have noted that the Zuckerborg’s curated collection of sites which were available distorted the view of the web for new netizens.


My attorney will not be contacting El Reg over use of the term, “Zuckerborg,” because the comparison is so damned obvious that it’s public domain.


Apple wants you to stay confined in their walled orchard.

Thousands of iPhone 6 users claim they have been left holding almost worthless phones because Apple’s latest operating system permanently disables the handset if it detects that a repair has been carried out by a non-Apple technician.

Relatively few people outside the tech world are aware of the so-called “error 53” problem, but if it happens to you you’ll know about it. And according to one specialist journalist, it “will kill your iPhone”.


The Empire states back.

A New Jersey man was arrested on Thursday after a drone he was flying crashed into the 40th floor of the Empire State Building in New York City, police said.

The 29-year-old man was taken into custody after a small aircraft he was piloting struck the iconic building before coming to rest on the 35th floor on Thursday evening, the New York City Police Department said.

We are a society of stupid.

02 February 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, February 4.

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.

01 February 2016 · Comments Off on Droning On · Categories: Geek Stuff

Where eagles dare . . . .

31 January 2016 · Comments Off on Patently Offensive · Categories: Geek Stuff, Mammon

Read this, then follow the link to join the EFF, the one over there, on the sidebar.


31 January 2016 · Comments Off on Facebook Frolics · Categories: Geek Stuff, Personal Musings

It’s complicated.


In case you are not aware of it, you can indeed have a very nice much better online life without Facebook and other social leeches media.

29 January 2016 · Comments Off on Droning On · Categories: Geek Stuff

Boys and their toys . . . .

(UK–ed) Aviation investigators on Friday released details of the four confirmed near-misses, but pilots warned that these may be the tip of the iceberg.

The UK Airprox Board investigated seven incidents last month involving drones, four of which were classified as being in the most serious bracket.

So far, a total of 30 incidents involving drones and manned aircraft from 2015 have been confirmed, compared to just six in 2014.

22 January 2016 · Comments Off on No, It Will Never End · Categories: Geek Stuff

Pig:  What do you have there, Rat?  Rat:  I have the Smart-Phone 6.  It's light years ahead of the 5.  (Shopkeeper puts sign in window,

Click for a larger image.

22 January 2016 · Comments Off on No Place To Hide · Categories: Enforcers, Geek Stuff

Thom talks with the ACLU’s Chad Marlow about privacy.

22 January 2016 · Comments Off on No Place To Hide · Categories: Geek Stuff

We are being assimilated.

The UK’s data protection watchdog has warned that retailers can track every move of their customers using their phones and target them using facial recognition software.

The technology, which has been available for the last couple of years in some form, is capable of tracking a smartphone using the unique identifier that it broadcasts via Wi-Fi. It is the same as that used by beacons which track smartphones using the unique Bluetooth identifiers every smartphone puts out when the wireless communications service is switched on.

I keep the GPS on my phone turned up when I’m not actively using it. Think I’ll start doing the same with the Wi-Fi.

It may not do much, but at least I don’t have to help our mercantile Big Brothers.

20 January 2016 · Comments Off on Vim with Vigor · Categories: Geek Stuff

Editing audio in audacity

I have a new podcast up at HPR about how to check your spelling in Vim.

You too can podcast at HPR. Do you have something to say? Say it.

18 January 2016 · Comments Off on Light on Lumos · Categories: Geek Stuff

At Science 2.0, Brandon T. Bisceglia tries to shed some light on Lumosity. Reacting to the FTC’s levying a significant penalty against Lumos Labs, Inc, Lumosity’s owner, for false advertising clams, he takes a critical look at that advertising.

He is not impressed.

A snippet:

Lumosity sells games to customers that are ostensibly designed to target particular cognitive skills. . . .

The company has long used scientific terms in a dubious manner to increase its cred among potential customers.


But Lumosity’s pitch goes beyond this (that is, in the vernacular, that practice makes perfect–ed.). Its central argument is that its regimen of simple games is broadly transferable to other skills, and that those games are better than other forms of activity.

Seen in this light, the company has a tougher row to hoe. In real life, we don’t suggest that learning to ride a bike will make you better at driving a car.

If you want to learn to drive a car, you drive a car.

Full Disclosure: I got no dog in this hunt.

17 January 2016 · Comments Off on No Place To Hide · Categories: Geek Stuff, Mammon

The EFF reports on Senator Al Franken’s attempt to investigate Google’s business practice, in particular their tracking of school students’ activities on Chromebooks. Here’s a bit from the story. Read the rest, then you can join the EFF at the link on the sidebar, over there.————————————>

As we pointed out in our FTC complaint, as a signer of the Student Privacy Pledge, Google publicly promised it will refrain from collecting, using, or sharing students’ personal information except when needed for legitimate education purposes or if parents provide permission.

Yet without parental consent the company tracks and records students’ online activity in certain Google services and feeds it into an ad profile attached to the students’ educational accounts. Is there an educational purpose in that practice? Senator Franken has asked Google to explain why it collects this information, and as we raise in our FTC complaint, whether “Google [has] ever used this kind of data for its own business purposes.”

16 January 2016 · Comments Off on Bits Byte · Categories: Geek Stuff

The Guardian reports that Mike Hearn, “a longtime senior developer on bitcoin and the former chair of the bitcoin foundation’s law and policy committee, announced in a blogpost that he would be selling his coins and quitting development on the project,” because he has concluded that bitcoin is a failure.

Of course it is. It’s been a mug’s game from the start, a Ponzi scheme open only to techies with full pockets of real money, an elitist hipster con, suckering those who think that they are k3wl and l33t just because they understand “blockchain,” an electronic Enron enticing economic illiterates enamored of their magical computing boxes.

Here’s a short piece from the article:

But the main reason why XT never took off was the failure of the other major bottleneck: the miners.

Bitcoin is supposed to be a decentralised currency. Anyone can download the entire history of bitcoin transactions, and devote computing power to verifying future transactions (called mining). For a change such as the switch to XT to succeed, more than half of the computing power on the bitcoin network has to support it by updating their own software accordingly.

But very few people bother to mine for bitcoin. It’s expensive in terms of computer hardware, time and electricity so it is very difficult to beat professionally equipped outlets in the race for rewards. Those amateurs who do mine largely do so as part of pools, who share both computing power and rewards. Those pools, however, are also centrally controlled. As a result, Hearn points out, just two individuals control more than 50% of the power of the network. He adds that “over 95% of hashing power was controlled by a handful of guys sitting on a single stage” at a recent bitcoin conference.


Ask me nicely, I’ll tell you what I really think.

14 January 2016 · Comments Off on How Stuff Works, “Social” Media Dept. · Categories: Geek Stuff

Goat:  I've determined that the internet is besieged by persons who want to vent anonymously.  Rat:  So?  Goat:  So I've decided to give those people an alternative venue.  (Goat unveils a little building labeled,

Click for a larger image.

13 January 2016 · Comments Off on No Place To Hide · Categories: Geek Stuff, Mammon

You will be are being assimilated.

Staff at one of Britain’s oldest national newspapers got a shock on Monday morning when they found monitoring sensors installed under their desks.

The boxes, sold by OccupEye as a way to monitor how long staff are at their desks without relying “on coffee cups and coats on chairs,” were installed in the offices of The Daily Telegraph. Staff weren’t told anything about the installation and soon kicked up a storm of protest.

The devices were installed under the desks of journalism, advertising, and other commercial departments. There’s no word if HR got them too.

09 January 2016 · Comments Off on The Last Wind-Up · Categories: Geek Stuff

A Swiss company is fighting back against the Apple Watch.

The flash mechanical wristwatch requires no batteries and needs to be manually wound every 100 hours. It also proudly sports no apps, no doodles and no heart monitor, focusing instead on what the company says is “the most essential application for the most valuable commodity; your time.”


“It will let you reconnect with people by getting out there, meeting your friends, and spending time with your loved ones,” said CEO Edouard Meylan.

“So get a life, upgrade to a mechanical watch.”