Month: May 2014

Cell phone / tablet

I have decided that the cell phone needs to be redesigned. Apple and others need to make the phone in such a way that the battery can be replaced by the end user.

These things cost hundreds of dollars and the “normal” person is ill equipped to replace their battery. Secondly and most importantly, if I want to make sure the damned thing is off when I turn it off! If I can remove the battery, I know it is indeed off. Currently these phones, tablets, and other smart devices could be hijacked by who knows who and used for nefarious purposes.

Apple, Samsung and the rest need to make this happen!

While I would truly love to have an app that would tell me what my phone is doing or has done, I am not certain that the app (log) could not be circumvented by the hijacker. The only way to know for sure is to ” kill” it!

Without electrons it cannot be hacked. Maybe people will think I am being paranoid but , I am a security guy so paranoia to some extent is a good thing. Trust no one or nothing that you don’t have 100% control over.

These devices accompany us everywhere. They live in our bedrooms, bathrooms or wherever and if hijacked , video and or audio could be transmitted to who knows where!

Give me a replaceable battery Apple! I don’t need a new $400 phone and a new contract every 2 years, I need a $10 battery!

-best

Gravity.. Million Dollar Arm

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I rarely get time to watch movies much less TV in general.  Today I was under the weather a bit so I decided to kick back and veg.

Sandra Bullock who is probably one of my favorite actresses performed in a role out of her norm and I must say I was impressed.

The plot was predictable and the Russians always seem to be the bad guy, even in my book that I am working on, they play the role of antagonist.  Most of the Russians that I have met however do not fit the stereotype so maybe we as writers need to find another “bad guy.”  I digress…

I am also a fan of Clooney and I really liked his country western music, story telling character. I even appreciated the way he “rides off into the sunset, although technically I think it may have been sunrise..

Some of the special effects went too far in my humble opinion and I could have done with a lot less of the spinning, whirling and breathing in the fish bowl.  I think the director might have gone too far with a lot of what they were trying to convey and this definitely gave me some flashbacks of 2001 space odyssey.

Was the movie believable or plausible, no… But if you check your brain at the door, the special effects are good and while I really should have seen this one in 3D, it was still ok on the TV at home and popcorn and a drink that did not set me back $20.

If you happen to keep up with what is up above the earth at all, they do bring up the very real possibility of what would happen if some of those artificial satellites were to become tiny bits and pieces.  It underscores the need to have a complete “cradle to grave” solution for everything that leaves the earths orbit.

 

I also caught Million Dollar Arm this weekend.

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The movie gives one a flavor of India.  It moves along rather slowly and is also predictable.  I kept looking to see Clint Eastwood looking for talent instead of someone who I am not familiar with.

 

Trouble with the Curve is a much better movie than this; and for my money this is a rental on a rainy night, or wait for it on Cable.  I was rather curious about the outcome of the two recruits from India to see how they actually performed but have yet to do the research.  The comic relief was some rather brilliant writing, but not enough to go spend $11 or more to see.

I would really like to see more of the two in the picture below but, I just don’t know how you would make a sequel out of it.

 

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Profiling

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On a recent trip to Florida I rented a Red Mustang Convertible.  I had been told that was a perfect place for it, as the temperature is not too hot and you can see more with the top down.

The toll way /road coming from the airport to Key West is one long speed trap.  Most of it purports to be under construction but of course there was not one person holding a shovel or anyone doing anything regarding road construction.

There were signs saying that it was an active construction area but of course, no one working.  I am really not sure what active means but;  I would guess if you speed we get to double the fine!

The road is a pitiful 45mph most of the way, a little 55 and a lot of 35 with some 30 thrown in for good measure.  Don’t be in any hurry if you go there, and don’t rent a mustang convertible.  As the matter of fact I would get something that old people drive, so you would fit in.  Most of the locals puttered around about 5 under the speed limit as I am guessing that they too have been tapped one too many times for minor infractions.

From the time that I left the airport to the time that I returned to it, I had been followed by more cops than I could shake a stick at.  It seemed that most every time that I looked up, I had a cop behind me.  The last one was in Miami going back to the airport.  I saw him swoop over from the left hand lane to the right lane where I was, driving about 3 to 5 under the speed limit.  He appeared to call in the plate and as soon as it came back to a rental company; he was gone! 

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Folks, this happened a lot in just a few days.  I used the cruise control to go just about anywhere as I had no intention of paying for one of their new toys.  I would look up, smile at them; and just keep doing what I was doing.  Had  I been in my truck, I would bet I would have not gotten a second look!

Regarding the Mustang I must confess that I was a little disappointed.  The ride was not very comfortable, I had trouble with the Window working correctly and the mirror adjustment is so far forward, that I could not adjust it properly from where I sat.  When I reached up to adjust it I was now out of my “zone” where I was sitting so I had to make incremental guesses until I got it close.

I am not sure what kind of an engine was in it but, I averaged over 33mpg so, I am guessing small.  There was not one place to let that pony run, so I really have no idea what it would do.

As Mr. Peabody would say, the moral of this story is rent a normal car and not one that looks like it is doing over a hundred sitting at the light.  I don’t know if others profile in other states but my guess is that they do.

 

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-Best to you and those that you care about!

 

Should I worry?

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Looking closely at this picture you will see streaks of oil or some other black liquid emanating from the engine cowling.

The streaks grew as we made our way to Miami but not enough for me to worry too much.  Once not too many years ago I was sitting over the wing and watched streaks of clear fluid leaving the wing at a fairly good clip.

I called the flight attendant and had her look at what I was looking at.  She thanked me and then went and got the captain to come take a look, which he did.

He leaned over me, looked out the window, patted me on my shoulder and left.  No words were exchanged.  A few moments later we were making S turns to loose altitude.  We spent most of the day in Scottsdale where the plane underwent repairs.

As I left the plane at my final destination the captain was standing there.  He reached out to shake my hand; again no words were exchanged.  Non-verbal communication at its best I think.

Had we not landed in Scottsdale would we have made our destination otherwise?  Who knows.

My guess is that it was hydraulic fluid.  I have no idea if there are redundant systems or if we would have lost the ability to control the plane.

The moral of the story, if you see something like this and have any doubts,  it does not hurt to calmly call attention to it to the flight crew.  I stress calmly, and you will notice that this whole transaction was basically non verbal.  Upsetting passengers causing anxiety is unnecessary and could be more dangerous than the issue itself.

I am sure that there is some sort of protocol for such things like “not yelling fire” in  a theater.   No reason to spook the passengers..

 

Safe travels!

 

Communication 101, the Mirror and You

 

 

Text vs. phone vs. talking in person.

This is not a new subject but one that deserves attention.

Recently I was reading and posting on a social forum and recognized that people were not picking up on sarcasm or someone’s attempt at humor vs. someone being totally sincere in their opinion.

 When one person does not pick up on some sort of queue and responds in kind the entire thread turns bitter and quite frankly is a perfect example of the human condition.

 There are two issues at play here, one is that people miss a queue and assume the worst.

The other is that some out of “being anonymous” just show the worst side of themselves.  This in turn begets more sarcasm, name calling and just downright ugliness.

 Any post with a long thread; this type of thing will come up.

 People either want to assume the worst or look for a reason to be pissed about something and then respond to it in like fashion.  Political correctness is one such way that anyone can be offended at any time they want, then feel all righteous about it and rant.

 I for one would like to see the anonymous post go away.  I think you should have to let the world know who you are when you post so if you choose to be a jerk, at least the world knows that you have a proclivity towards such behavior and not put much weight on what you are saying or just not even read your post.

 If you will notice that when you are waiting in line at a restaurant or ride at some amusement park or even the bank, most are polite and await there turn.  They may even strike up a conversation with you about the weather or some such thing.  I am one of those that will do that not only in line but on an elevator as well.

 The interesting thing is that people hide behind their glasses; their blank stare and the very clothing that they wear; are much like some sort of shield against the world.

Online or in your car your shield expands and you can drive aggressively or rant your thoughts or opinion on a subject with little or no fore-thought. I see this all the time where people sound off on some subject with little or no facts, they just want to be heard!  Some actually use words as a weapon to hurt people, just to do it.

 You see it to when people cut you off on the freeway or other surface road just to get one car length ahead of you, maybe causing you to miss the light that they should have missed, but now you did.

When you talk on a social forum or blog or what have you, type as though you are having a conversation with the people in a room with you.  When you expound upon your thoughts, do so in a manner that is respectful of all of those who might be reading it.  Do not respond to idiots!  If they choose to make an ass of themselves, ignore them.  Ignored behavior goes away.

I would implore you to drive in a similar fashion.  Any good manager knows to lead by example.  Drive like you would like others to drive.  If 90 seconds extra at a light is that big of a deal, leave the house 90 seconds earlier.  Too many people cause accidents trying to beat a light, yellow means stop if you are not already in the intersection, and can stop without being in the middle of the intersection. (Always look in the rearview first however; as there are many that will run you over as red does not even mean stop to them.)

 Emoticons are a great way to let the world key into your feelings on a subject.  A smiley face will give the reader the idea that you are trying to be funny or what have you and it will elicit a different response from the reader that may have otherwise taken offence to your remark.

 The emoticon replaces the one to one facial queues that one misses in face to face communication and it also replaces the laugh or humor in your voice.

 Toxic people and boundaries.

 Lastly, stop looking for a reason to be offended. Pollyanna had the correct idea.  What you look for you will find.  You will shorten your life and have a miserable life at that if you are constantly on the lookout for things to be pissed about.  There are people out there that will piss you off simply for their own amusement.  Don’t fall into that trap and avoid them.   

I stay away from Toxic people and I don’t invest my time and energy on those that enjoy being a victim or offended or look for political incorrectness just so they can be offended.

They are only hurting themselves.  If you climb onto their pity train then you too will become despondent over things that you really don’t have a dog in that fight.

 There is this principle of boundaries.  Where friends or associates are concerned we need to stay alert to the place that they are in and be prepared to push them away.  You can pray for them, loan them a good self help book and even listen to them if you choose but, don’t own their shit.  What they are going through is theirs!  Councilors go through years of training to learn how not to own their clients shit!  They themselves have to go through counseling to make sure that their head stays on straight.  What are the odds that you can counsel people without the training and not start to own their shit!?

I liken boundaries to the orbits of the planets around the sun.  For the sake of argument you are the sun.  Mercury is you closest friend, Venus is next and then Earth, Mars you get the idea.

 Mercury is your closest confidant which should be your spouse. Venus may be your longtime friend that you share things with. 

 Let’s say that Venus has something going on their life that affects you and they are unwilling to help themselves which in turn brings you down.  Don’t push them out of the solar system but do push them out past Mars or even Jupiter for a while.

 If you can help them without owning their shit than by all means help them, otherwise push them out until they get their act together.  There is no shame in seeking counseling and in this complicated world we live in that might be a great profession to be in as this world is a messed up place.

I am not telling you to abandon your friend.  I am telling you to advise them to get help and if they don’t or wont, than you need to keep them at a safe distance. No one is immune to this “shit owning” and there is no sense in making their issues yours.

 

Many people, who never look into the mirror, blame their lot on life on someone else or some circumstance.  It is always easy to blame someone else.  Next time you want to do that, go look into the mirror and blame that person.  Odds are incredibly good that the person in the mirror is the one that did it.  The person in the mirror needs to examine themselves and make some course correction as to not be the problem.

 

  • Use Emoticons
  • Don’t be part of the problem
  • Don’t look for things to be pissed off about
  • Text and drive (not at the same time) like the people around you are your neighbors
  • Look for the good in people and not the bad
  • Stay away from Toxic people
  • Look in the mirror and seek counseling for that person in the mirror if they need it.

 

Now go take on the day!

 

-Best to you and those that you care about!

 

 

 

UFO Blows up Taliban

I am not sure if this is a Hoax or Hollywood or if the “truth is out there” however: here is the story borrowed from “the net”..  Watch the video and you decide.. 

U.S. Marines captured this incredible footage of what looks like a UFO hovering over a Taliban encampment – then blowing it to kingdom come.

With Nato forces withdrawing from the badlands of Afghanistan, the country’s people need all the help they can get to keep extremists from once again seizing power. But it seems a new intervention has come from an unlikely source… outer space.

The clip was reportedly filmed by U.S. troops fighting in Afghanistan in March. Shot by a soldier standing next to a stationary armoured column, it shows a bizarre triangular object hanging in the sky not far ahead.
As soldiers look on, the craft slowly moves into position, before what appear to be muzzle flashes soundlessly emanate from its underside.

A split-second later and huge explosions erupt as the fearsome space weapons hit the site of the purported Taliban camp, sending up plumes of smoke that obscure the view of the mysterious bomber.
After the smoke clears, the cameraman zooms in to shoot a close up view of the UFO, which looks unlike any known U.S. military drone.

If the unidentified aircraft is from outer space, it has come at the right time for the Western-backed government of Afghanistan.

Most international troops are slated to withdraw at the end of the year, and there are fears that the Afghan army and police are not ready to take over the job of securing the country.

Despite a decade of war since a U.S.-led coalition invaded Afghanistan and toppled the Taliban regime, it remains a crucible of extremism, a place where women have few rights, and a major source for the international heroin trade.

But with possible alien intervention, it could be that a new era has finally begun for Afghanistan’s embattled people. Perhaps it is time to rename the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), to the Inter-Stellar Assistance Force…

Scam Tri-Fecta

Are you getting the idea that this is rampant…

Here are three that each tries to get you “me” to open that attachment!

Notice the enticement that they try to use…

 

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This is some sort of sales order that I am to look over…

 

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Oh no, the better business bureau is after me, I had best open the document to see what is up…NOT

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From somewhere I have received a fax, but not on my fax machine….Think I should see what this is about???? 

 

It doesn’t stop with BS e-mails but also comes in the form of phone calls via people fishing for information.  Today I got a call from someone telling me that they are able to keep the IRS from enforcing my tax lien.. “Oh good!” Wait, I don’t have any stinking IRS problems…. Think I should give them my social security number to check “just in case?”  Holy crap, it never ends.!  Some people fall for this stuff and that is why I am here today… Don’t!  Tell your friends, family and neighbors  and countrymen… LOL 

 

If you find any of this useful spread the word for me.  Sometimes I feel like I am typing all this simply to amuse myself….

 

-Best to you and those that you care about.

 

Scam of the day 5/7/14

Today’s scam comes from your friendly banking institution.  Just kindly open the attached ZIP file for all of the details… Nope, don’t think so!

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Your bank may very well send you e-mails.  I would not open any files that you were not expecting. 

 

If you look at the “from address” you will see that it is not from Bank of America but someplace that makes no sense.

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Make a phone call to your local bank if you are in doubts, before opening anything!

 

-Best to you and those that you care about.

Scam of the day 5/6/14

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Why are the feds not looking into this?

Now I get a lot of this type of stuff and I know better….

 Having said that; how many times have I been tempted to click before engaging the brain?  Too many too count… And I know better….

 The post office would not have my e-mail address; nor would they send any type of attachment or even communicate with me in this manner. 

 

They are the king of coming during the business week and leaving one of those nice little notes that you were missed and oh yes now go waste 30 odd minutes of your life standing in line; not counting the drive time, gas or other inconvenience for using USPS.

 I digress, don’t play into this as it is most probably some sort of virus lurking, waiting to do some nastiness to your computer, files or exploit your personal information.

 You would also be wise to have your e-mail package not display pictures by default.  That too is a source of ingress into your system, like files, you should only allow pictures from trusted sources and then make sure that your trusted source has not been compromised.

 

-Best to you and those that you care about.