Category: writers

Insanity Run Amuck

Insanity Run Amuck

A sudden rush of noise distracted me from being careful of the truck ahead of me, which seemed to have trouble staying in one lane. As his tires crept over one white line and then over the other, clearly, the driver was not paying careful attention to what he was doing. Perhaps this truck was not updated with the safety devices, or the driver didn’t care.

The noise, however, was not from the truck. It was from not one, not two, but three sports cars weaving in and out of vehicles on the busy freeway.

Two were Dodge Chargers, and the other was a Ford Mustang.

Traffic was moving at the posted speed. These folks passed us like we were not moving.

The last of the three, a charger, came inches from my back bumper. Had it collided with me at that speed, the formula F=M*A would have applied.

It would have been like a ‘pit maneuver’ at highway speeds.

Folks, this was at 17:05 hours last Friday, the 18th of November, on Westbound GBT.

Since this was on the tollway, is there a way to check which vehicles were on the tollway? I bet there is.

I won’t state the obvious of how utterly stupid this action is. People go to events where fast cars are involved to see the wrecks. Much like boxing, it is a sick sport. That is my opinion.

I live over a mile from major highways. However, I can still hear the Ninja bikes and other loud cars occasionally on those highways. I listen to them as they put the proverbial pedal to the metal.

There must be a way to track these drivers after the fact. There will be some who defend their actions, although they are indefensible. If the death of your loved one was caused by their stupidity, you would not even think to protect them.

Think of the attorney seeking to defend such a deviant’s actions. How can they sleep at night?

Possibly I am oversensitive because an intoxicated driver almost killed me. A head-on collision at highway speeds changed my life forever. Over thirty years later, every movement is a reminder of that day. Whenever I get behind the wheel, PTSD reminds me of how tenuous life is. It is a struggle to leave the house and get on the road because of the actions of one inconsiderate SOB.

As we head into this Holiday season, I implore you to think before you decide to drive while under the influence. The life you save might be your own.

Even after the fact, I would encourage the traffic enforcement folks to go after stupid people like that. I am not interested in speeding per se but in reckless driving, including speeds far exceeding rated maximums.

As you travel this holiday season, be on the alert for stupid people. Statistically, there are safer times of the day and the week to travel.

Early in the morning (after sunrise) until noon is relatively safe. From noon to first light the following day, rates of accident increase logarithmically, tapering off the closer you get to morning.

Rush hour most any weekday, sees a higher number of car crashes. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are much higher in incidents of accidents than Monday through Thursday.

We can apply a little common sense to this equation and determine the source of the rise in accidents. They are lower when people are expected to be working or will need to return to work than on other days of the week. Holidays are worse for that very reason.

I wonder if we could sue the liquor industry like other idiots are attempting to sue gun manufacturers. It’s obviously the booze causing the problem, right?

-Best

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Don’t use the condiments

Don’t use the condiments

On a local social networking site, a person sounded off about some child drinking from the chocolate syrup bottle at the local BBQ joint. She corrected the child and told management what had happened. The girl behind the counter tossed the syrup. When the boy told his father, he glanced at the woman, waved, and left the establishment.

The thread went on with many weighing in.

Since my thoughts are more verbose than intended, I thought I would put this on my blog instead.

It starts with the parents. It might be more profound than that. Kids are being raised by video games and what used to be Hollywood.

The economy is such that usually, both parents must work. Your children are not raised by ‘Father knows Best, or Leave it to Beaver.’ If they are in a single-parent home, that lack of good behavior goes double. Where do they then learn what is socially acceptable?

I am a writer. Often my characters bump into today’s value system. It has been incumbent upon me to learn where these kids get their values. It was not an exhaustive search. After looking at some of the games they play, examining the amount of unsupervised time they have, and the educational system tolerating bad behavior, I had my answers.

Not long ago, I was in the food court close to some teenagers who were lamenting about their home lives. These were kids wearing designer clothing. They each had a smartphone, some had braces, and they went on about how crappy their parents were. I had to leave.

Speaking with children of different generations, I notice a variance in what they think is acceptable behavior. It is rather shocking.

Today’s 30-somethings that I speak with are clueless. At their age, they should be saving for retirement. Instead, they rent an apartment equivalent to the house they grew up in. They attempt to live as if they were still under their parent’s roof and eat out as if it were free. Many parents enable this behavior by supplementing their income. Their kids live paycheck to paycheck, usually running a deficit by the end of the month. Much like that college loan, they also have credit card debt. Why? They were never taught to manage money.

Instead of attempting to do it for themselves, they complain about how crappy life is and, yes, spend their free time on the computer playing video games. It is no small wonder they cannot afford their student loans.

The gaming industry is $188 Billion. Proponents of video games will argue against what I am telling you. Still, from Sandy Hook to many other mass shooting events, most of those shooters had one thing in common. Can you guess?

One of the officers investigating Sandy Hook told the press that the kid was ‘very proficient’ at killing that many people. It was almost as if he were trained in the military. Huh…

The Parkland Shooter was part of a unique program where his misdeeds (criminal) were kept secret from the School to avoid the school pipeline to prison. The argument for this program is that kids will grow out of it. One trip to the south side of Chicago will change the mind of most. The FBI knew about the shooter’s violent proclivities and were even warned before the shooting. They did nothing. I am still amazed that the activist David Hogg has yet to figure it out.

A teacher in California was beaten by a student because ‘she gave him a failing grade.’ The school system tried to convince the teacher (while she was still in hospital) not to press charges. If memory serves, he broke her jaw, among other things. It would ruin the boy’s life if you pressed charges. I wonder where that ‘child’ is now?

Playing video games releases endorphins which make the player feel good. The hormones and chemicals released are addicting. We humans can be addicted to almost anything, even pain. Does that fact shed some light on why some self-harm?

Those game players reading this will likely chime in, telling me I am wrong. Truth is, I am not mistaken. If you were to honestly log the amount of time you spend playing games, you might be surprised. How does it make you feel to win or take that hill? How do you feel when you lose? When confronted with the truth, how does that make you feel? How does that make you feel if you are a sniper and kill the ‘enemy? No, I am not wrong.

Can you guess why Syrup Boy was drinking the syrup? Sure, it tasted good, but what else? Yes, chocolate is addicting, as is anything that makes you ‘feel’ good. That little feature of most animals is for the survival of the species. I don’t need to spell that out for most of you.

Those proponents of video games immediately tried to spin things differently, but…If you live in a world full of violence, day in and day out, guess what happens to your psychic? Where did this Sandy Hook killer learn to be so proficient? He blew one of the teacher’s heads off and was heard laughing about it after the fact. One wonders why. Was it what he expected?

Were you aware that you could get PTSD from video games? Now we have VR (virtual reality), which will most certainly make the game more real or immersive. Are we even looking into cause and effect? No, it’s the guns doing it.

It is almost as if we should have a consumer protection agency or something looking into cause and effect. What happens if?

There is a real danger among us; syrup boy is just one minor symptom that we are doing something wrong. The prison population is a vast indicator we are doing something very wrong. PFFT

Cause and effect, garbage in, garbage out. Why has nobody put this together? Is it that unpopular? Can we not handle the truth? Are we not paying anyone to look into such things?

Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte, it will all be ok.

I mention the $188 Billion gaming industry because they hire PR firms to spin events like some mass shooting in another direction, away from the obvious. IT’S THE GUNS!!!

Guns are an easy emotional target or trigger word. That is why gaming lobbyists push the gun narrative. They know what it is, but $188 billion pays for PR firms and lobbyists and buys congressmen. It also makes the 2cnd amendment and the NRA the enemies of the people. If they can tie it to a political party, that is just a bonus.

Mental illness is rife. Covid, the lockdowns, and much more play into what is happening. With the lockdowns, the youth have more time to immerse themselves in these games. During the lockdown, the youth were not as socially active as they might have been. Games are an alternate reality. One wonders where reality and games collide. Add drugs into the mix, and that line will get super blurry.

Uvalde; his grandfather was a drug dealer, his mother a junkie, and you know grandma was not innocent or clueless about where the money came from. Pot today has a THC content of up to 95%. In the ’70s, the THC content was about 5%. The effects on the brain are mind-numbing and can cause uncontrollable rage. A toxicology report is still pending on the Uvalde shooter.

Riddle me this, why did the City of Carrollton, Texas, spend tax dollars on creating an E-sports (gaming facility for kids to play video games?) Wouldn’t it be better for kids to play these around their parents? Is this a taxpayer-funded babysitter or surrogate guardian who would also drink from the syrup bottle? Is it for kids who can’t afford a gaming computer?

In truth, I am uncertain what this facility is. On the surface, it sounds like a taxpayer-funded Dave and Busters, only for video games, period. Shouldn’t we try to get kids away from the keyboard and outside playing sports?

I am glad that the kid that shot up the July 4th celebration was such a coward that he gave up without committing suicide by cop. We need to learn what motivated him and everything else we can. He, like others, will end up being a statistic, but nevertheless, information is valuable.  

Where did he learn to be a sniper? He must have known about ballistics to shoot that distance and hit the target. Where did he learn?

Many people claim that School is a pipeline to prison. They blame it on things that are far from the facts. To quote Jack Nicholson, ‘They can’t handle the truth.’ In School, you learn the basics to get by in life and are introduced to social mores.

When I went to School, if your shirt was not tucked in correctly and you were caught, you earned a swat. For the rest of that day, every time you sat, there was this stinging reminder to make sure your shirt was properly tucked in.

Some parents argue against such things. They doth protest. Their argument is that you are teaching kids to hit; I disagree. You are teaching them that we have rules. While you are here, you will follow them. Trust me, parents, kids know how to hit already.

If you have flown, there are more rules than I care to count. Do not joke with the TSA.

In society, there are rules. You and I have those same rules. We get hit in the pocketbook if we speed or drive erratically. If you have one of your tires over the line in a handicapped parking area, the fine is over $600. I am talking about accidentally crossing that little white line with one tire.

One lady had just picked her kid up from school. She was on her phone while speeding through the school zone. The motorcycle cop had his lights on. He tried to get her attention for over a mile before he was forced to go up to her window at a red light and tap on it. I hope her child watched that interaction.

She was terribly distracted by the conversation on the phone. Speeding through a school zone is a hefty ticket. On your phone, while driving in a school zone is yet another. Not seeing the cop for at least a mile…Those mistakes will be quite the spanking.

My point is that there are rules; when do we start teaching them to our kids? There are social mores that are also incumbent upon us to teach. We don’t drink from the bottle. We cannot be our children’s friends. We must be parents first; that is our job. We are not talking about child abuse or beating anyone; we are talking about course corrections. We are talking about parenting. Know what your child is doing. We parents are held accountable for their actions until they reach adulthood. Our job is to raise them so that the criminal justice system does not have to.

Some scream about prison overpopulation. We, the parents, are in part the cause of this. The lack of morality and, yes, the violence are symptoms of not being engaged with your progeny.

Dysfunctional families are endemic to the problem, and that is what congress should be addressing. Breaking the cycle of single-parent homes requires education.  

Drugs and the promise of easy money probably eclipse poor parenting, as even the best of parents end up burying a child due to an overdose. Some lose them to gang violence. That, of course, is systemic of drugs and the drug culture.

It starts at home. You are the person they will model until such a time they attempt to emulate some actor or actress. If you teach them correctly and raise them right, you will not need to worry about what the schools are doing to indoctrinate them into this woke world of weirdness. You might also keep them from hanging with the wrong crowd.

Anyone who teaches your kids to hate their country must be in a different vocation. Any person who grooms your young child must be behind bars for pedophilia. The messages children get today are mind-bending. Homeschooling is almost a must.

Your options are clear. Either be of good moral character and lead by example or teach them how to look innocent in a lineup.

-Best

Should we stick with incandescent bulbs?

Should we stick with incandescent bulbs?

I had written before on those fluorescent curly Q bulbs that were the next end-all-be-all to saving the planet. We talked about the fact that they contain mercury and, if something goes wrong, there might be a fire.

LED bulbs seemed much more promising.

Well, not so fast. First off, there is the issue of different types of LED bulbs for circuits with dimmers vs. without. How many ‘users’ of these things truly understand the difference and, how many care?

To that end, all LED bulbs entering the US market should be designed to work in either situation.

I feel a little like Ralph Nader when I mention this fact, as it seems obvious but, they should at the very least be clearly labeled.

The last batch of ‘dimmable’ LED bulbs I purchased clearly was marked ‘dimmable’ on the box, but no place on the bulb itself did it distinguish itself as dimmable.

My next nit to pick is quality control.

Out of six regular LED non-dimmable bulbs, I had a 50% failure rate.

The bulbs would either flicker or just not work.

My curiosity got the best of me.

If you notice those two blobs of solder, they are situated by the plus and the minus terminals for the LEDs. That blob of solder in the middle does not belong. In my business, we call that a solder bridge. This is incredibly shoddy work, and while the bridge is not zero ohms, it is close enough to render the bulb useless.

I have not opened the other two failed bulbs but, I can guess what I might find.

Are these a fire hazard?

I would like to believe that because these circuits are housed in plastic-coated aluminized housing that a circuit breaker might blow before the thing catches on fire.

The companies that create and sell these things need to tighten up quality control and, all of them should be made to fit into either a dimmable socket or a regular socket.

Since Underwriters Laboratories turned into a for-profit company, one must wonder who is watching out for the American public. Someone should be testing this stuff independently of company sponsors. Currently, the FTC takes complaints and tips but, to my knowledge, does zero pro-active research on something as basic as substandard or hazardous products.

While I loath bloated government, there is a need for an Underwriters Laboratories to test, check the quality, and so forth of products imported into this country.

Are they safe?

Is there lead paint?

Are they going to catch on fire?

Are they labeled correctly?

If I take the time to open the other two failed products, what will I find?

I would think that the Chinese companies would be overly careful of this type of quality. Just possibly, they know they are the only game ‘in town’ and that people will just accept the lack of value for the dollar and lower their expectations.

Maybe the Chinese should offer repair kits for their poorly constructed bulbs so those of us with the skills and know-how can fix them.

Is it worth it? Knowing these bulbs should last years, would it be worth your time to ‘fix them?’

Stay safe until we meet again.

If there is nothing new, maybe I will tell you all how to make Banana Bread.

-Cheers

What If?

What If?

Every day someone finds something.  This day was no exception.  The more creative the attack the more interesting the day.  If you call that number they try to get you to give them $199.00 to unlock your computer.

You can send me some money if you like but, here is the fix for this…

CTL ALT DEL , task manager, kill the process, aka browser and then do not restore the page when you reload the browser.

I am not affiliated with CCleaner but I sell a heck of a lot of it for them.  Install it and let it clean your browser after every use.  $25 a year and damn well worth it!

As one might use an explicative to emphasize a point, I often use a somewhat tawdry analogy for this purpose.  Surfing the web with inadequate anti-virus software is like “hooking up with a stranger” without using protection.   Not only is it idiotic, but dangerous!

Having been in Data Processing, or the IT business since before Steve Jobs or Bill Gates was a household name, I know a thing or two.  The scars on my back are from arrows taken in the trenches of digital mayhem. This bedlam was caused by such things as bosses wanting to be on the bleeding edge, to software not ready for prime time, been there done that.

Free antivirus software is not worth what you pay for it!  

The best security software is going to have a price or cost to it.  Why?  It takes many engineers, coders, and much research to create and maintain a massive program like anti-virus software.  Who is going to do that for free?  More importantly, why?

While someone might write an app for free, to get their name out there; anti-virus software takes a village.

Much like hiring someone to sell your home, you don’t hire someone who does it part-time or as a hobby. If you want to get something done, give it to a busy person.  If you want to sell your home, hire someone who’s lively hood depends upon them being successful.  You want a secure computer, hire or purchase the product with the most to lose if it fails.

There is much more to the process of considering which product to purchase but, free is not a reason.  I would argue that free is a cause to eliminate that choice.

The reality is that the internet has become the wild west.  The bullet that finds you can come from almost anywhere. Every company that uses computers should have a security officer.  His or her job should be to focus their attention on threats out there and the best way to keep them from affecting that company.

I find it surprising that politicians are screaming about Russian hacking of our computers.  What the hell do you expect?  You just assume that someone with a certification gives a damn!?

What worked in 1982 does not work now.  Having a “PC Wizard, or your grandchildren” working for you is tantamount to a trapeze act, blindfolded and working without a net.  Insurance companies and credit card companies are now aware of this and demanding your strategies to be secure in the world of cyber threats.  They should audit you, and they should hire folks like me who know what to look for.

White Hat hacking allows us an inside look at what one might expect.  We learn many ways to infiltrate a company.  The same applies to the TSA in homeland security.  While I would probably choose a job to be that guy that test the security systems of the homeland, airports and such, it is much easier to check companies.

The first thing I must do is understand you.  More importantly, know that entity many of us in the biz call “users.”

Too many infiltrations are accomplished with something called click bait.   “Ten pictures that should never have been made public…” With half a picture of some scantily clad woman visible, how many will click?

Human nature dictates men will want to see what the camera saw. “Boom, you’re infected.”

Good antivirus software will stop any activity created by software manipulation but, the caveat or keyword there is “good.”  What if you bought the bargain basement software or just used the free stuff?

For the coders to write the fix, someone must fall prey to it, report it, and then they must institute a fix.  That is why Software of this type is never static.  Updates are consistent and often.  New threats are released hourly.  To run a company dedicated to this is no small task.

Maybe you own a plant which produces widgets.  Your widgets are better than others, and your competition wants the skinny.  You hired someone like me for your IT manager or CIO so they cannot get in through your firewalls.  Your safe, or so you think.  Industrial espionage is rife in the competitive world of gadgets and widgets.  If I want in bad enough, I will contract one of my guys to write a program that will hide on a computer until certain key phrases are typed, and then it will activate.

“Wait, you said my firewall is secure, Fort Knox secure!”

“Why yes I did, so I am going to place this little program on a thumb drive and…I am going to put some naughty pictures on it with some commercial looking writing on the outside of the device to make the person who picks it up from the parking lot where I dropped it, think that they have something juicy.”

Possibly just tossing a thumb drive out the window of my car near the parking lot with a few files on it, and the Trojan would be enough to get me into your network.  I will purchase some chrome colored or fancy looking thumb drive to be sure that it is spotted.  I will know when the landscape folks work, so I make sure and plant it after they have done their thing so that one of your employees will find it.

Maybe I send one of my spies out to places that your guys eat and leave the drive on the table by the ashtray or the salt and pepper shaker at the table they eat every week on a given day and time.

Possibly I get one of my people inside your company, hired by you.  They install some remotely controlled program like Team Viewer on their PC and Viola; you are hacked.

Because your IT guy is so sure that his firewall is good enough, or your engineers are so demanding that he left the USB ports open for use by them, with lax policies he leaves your company vulnerable too.

How do we stop the threats?

One way we do this is with training.  Every employee should sit through CE training on the essential use of the corporate computers.  This is information that they can bring home and share.  Education is by far the best tool one can have in their arsenal.

All of the policies are trumpeted for them to hear and before they leave they sign a document saying they will adhere to them.  With it harder and harder to fire people these days, that too is one more tool in your belt.  Good employees, you want to keep, those that prove lacking, they need to go.

I could easily make the argument that good computing practices are patriotic.  I could certainly apply this to purchasing respectable anti-virus software and creating policies and procedures that protect your business but, the bottom line is, in the end, it will save the company money.

I was making this argument to a CEO of a good-sized company when he stopped me and said, but viruses help your bottom line too.

I argued that I would much rather use my time and talents to design safe environments for companies like his than put out fires.   It is considerably less expensive to install a good fire retardant system then to try and rebuild.  Yes, a metaphor for using robust best practice standards in computing vs. reacting to noise.

Noise is the result of a problem created by an event that was unplanned or caused by employee error.

A good security person is somewhat paranoid and is always asking, what if?  I do this in disaster recovery scenarios balancing those “what if’s” against statistics and a risks assessment.

With proper education, we can mitigate the employee errors.  Using proper procedures and policies, we can diminish the unplanned events, i.e. viruses or other malicious code.

When I run into companies that think free antivirus software is adequate, it makes me a little crazy.  If they are a public company, trust me, I will not purchase their stock.  Flirting with disaster out of sheer frugality or ignorance is idiotic.

If you keep your guys around because you like them, think again.  I may love some folks, but I would not hire them for certain positions if I could find someone better.  I don’t have to like you, for you to work for me.  If you are the best person for the job, you get the job.  P&L trumps feelings!  Feelings can be costly and can be a liability.  Logic in business is your ally.  Logic must always be forefront when making business decisions.

I have walked away from companies who have their kids working for them.  By hiring the children, you open yourself up to losses that could be untold.  One company had their children not doing the paperwork necessary to complete the task, thus losing money in that department.  Hiring me to do an analysis, it did not take long to find the problem.  I fired her children after trying to work with them.  I kid you not one of them actually cried in my office after telling him time after time he must do all of the job.  A grown man crying!  There is no crying in IT.  Either perform the work or get the hell out!  Either do all of the job or learn to ask, “Do you want fries with that?”   Is that too tough?  I felt for the kid but, feelings do not dictate policy.

Do your kids a favor and don’t hire them.  The real world does not work that way so why in the world handicap them, and make them believe that it does?

Over the years there are best practices that have been created by time trusted procedures and policies.

Some are things like:

  • Hardware Asset management.
  • Software Asset Management
  • Security both physical and digital

I could write a book on the subject, but I will spare you the details.

Today, now more than ever we must harden our networks.  We must have sound policies and procedures in place, and they must be adhered to.  Documentation is essential, and it must be updated.

I don’t relish firing people but, sometimes their people are the problem, and the CEO is so far removed from the process they just don’t know it.  If training can fix it, I am all for it.  Attitude too plays a crucial role in the process, and I will not tolerate a crappy attitude.  Life is too short, and the subject matter is too important.

I love the HR folks because often they are the gatekeepers, saving the CEO from disaster.  Good HR folks are worth their weight in silver.  Gold, maybe not, so let’s stick with silver. Worthy people are not that hard to find as many would have you believe.  Upright people are around, but they may not have everything that you are looking for immediately.

Instant gratification is an expensive luxury and can be elusive at best.  Where employees are concerned, I want to start with a “good foundation.”

We place certifications above character, and that is part of our modern day conundrum.

I hired a grocery store manager and trained him for a job in IT.  He had little experience in the job I hired him for, so why did I hire him?

He had the right attitude and wanted to learn.

I had the time to train him.

The money used for training him was penny’s compared to hiring exactly what I was looking for.

He did not have the bad habits that come with so many “experts”  with the certifications, and their egos.

He ran a grocery store and let me tell you; he was not afraid of work!

Back in the day, we had interns or apprentices.  Folks, we need to look carefully at that once again.  I have hired many over the years that had the right attitude and the skill set to learn.  American people are out there struggling, and we won’t give them a chance.  Why?  Instant gratification.  We need someone who can step into the job right now, and we run with minimum employees because of what?  Because it is so expensive to have employees.

That is one of the things we need to push back on Congress and health care to fix, but the reality is, internships and apprentices I think are essential to finding and creating good employees.

Every job fair that I go to has thousands of workers looking for work.  If you can’t find them, you are not looking!  I spot good employees daily.  There are times I would love to go work for a recruiter just because I can spot talent!

Are they the exact racehorse ready for the Derby today?  Maybe not, but can they be trained?  There are virtual diamonds in the rough everywhere, looking for a chance! We are begging to bring in more H1B folks instead of taking care of our own.  That is not very damned patriotic if you ask me!

Our schools are a disaster in my opinion.  In speaking with college graduates today, I am frequently amazed at just how ignorant and totally out of touch with reality that they are.  Someone somewhere screwed them to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars for an education that is worthless.  When they think voting for a socialist is a good idea, they were screwed by their college and should demand their money back!

Today we have kids tens of thousands of dollars in debt, and they cannot find a job.  I know of several college grades making much less than $15 an hour.  Our educational system needs an overhaul.

As quickly as a company can get a process documented and packaged, they send it overseas via a VPN over the internet, sending jobs out of the country.

Trades are being overlooked for white collar jobs which are going the same way.  IT jobs are vanishing in the states.  Virtual IT shops are set up in some foreign country, hiring an English speaking American to act as a liaison between them and their Indian or other counterparts.  With an American point of contact, it is then up to the American to manage the folks in another country who speak little English, making little money, to be the IT shop for these American companies.  This same person puts an American face on their business while working with their client managing the “noise.”

“Do you see any security risk there?”

You have no clue where your intellectual property is going or who is seeing it.  Maybe you have a contract but so what.  Much like HIPAA was created to protect your health information, do you honestly feel as if your information is secure?  If you do, you are fooling yourself.  Read the documents you sign when you visit the doctor.  You sign things saying that your information is protected and then you sign a document which pretty much gives them a pass to do whatever they want to do with your information.  Smoke and mirrors.

Doctors and hospitals are hacked and the information is stolen all too often.  Why?  How?  Piss poor planning on someone’s part. Using some cheap method to get things done perhaps?

Your contract with your Virtual IT company is as worthless as the paper it was printed on.  Yes, that deal might make you feel better but, know if you are a developer, someone in some other country has your work and if they can use it, they will.

I want to touch on Software Asset Management as it is germane to this subject.  All of the subjects are salient, but that one, in particular, is in the case of security.

There are tools which you can use to inventory every program on every PC.  Why?  Why would you want to do this?

Licensing of software is an issue, but more importantly, you should want to know what is on those PCs.  The first time I did this for a company I was struck with the reality of the sheer number of programs designed for remote control of a PC, that was active.

In this world we live in, corporations can ill afford to have the wild west inside their computer networks.  Besides the games and other foolishness that was identified, the risk to the infrastructure was phenomenal. The company is liable for every program on their PC’s, no matter who put it there.  If they are audited for their licenses, and someone like myself does an audit and finds them, they must then produce that license.  Can you?  Can you put your hands on all of your licenses?

Ignorance is no excuse!

Having been part of the evolution of the business process, dating back to the secretary and the typewriter to current day, I have seen the learning curve first hand.  Fighting the first virus on a network before there was anti-virus software; asking “what if” became second nature.

Back when Gregg shorthand was used, a business letter cost an average of $100.00 back then.  Now we type out e-mails with the ease of few keystrokes and dictation is a thing of history.  Technology has improved the business process, but the bad guys have found a way to make it interesting.

The very tools we use to make our lives easier are under constant threat by evil forces that look for ways to extort money or steal your property either through the exploitation of your network, or your employees themselves.

We use the cloud as if it were a hard drive in some vault in our closet.  We send information to the cloud without a clue where the cloud is and who has access to it.  Why we don’t encrypt that data before it leaves our computers is beyond me.  If I were a villain, I would be looking for ways to infiltrate the “cloud.”

“What if?”

The opinions expressed are my own as well as the intellectual value of the information put forth for your consumption.

© All Rights Reserved 2017

 

The Ubiquitous #Query Letter @badlitagent

The Ubiquitous #Query Letter @badlitagent

(The following is a satirical expression of frustration with the egocentric gatekeepers of the publishing world.)

I am not picking on you @badlitagent, I like your snark.

There are many out there who claim to “know the secret” of how to write the “perfect” query letter.

 

If you just follow, their simple steps, agents, and publishers alike will seek your manuscript!

 

“Who believes that?”

 

I am a writer, I write!  When I am writing, I am lost in the story.  The characters take on lives of their own and demand that I faithfully capture their personalities and character traits, as well as their actions.  The story must be cohesive, that is where I live.

When you find yourself spending more time researching each agent, constructing a query letter, creating a synopsis per their idea of what that is, and first few pages in whatever format that desire, something is wrong.

The actual hell of it is, you are not, repeat not, trying to catch the agent’s attention.  They are too wrapped up in their position of power, to bother to read your query letter, much less respond to them.  No, they have interns that may be going to college or maybe in high school.  Hell, they might have their twelve-year-olds reading them.

 

(Looking for interns)

“If you like to read certain books that we represent, we will hire you as an intern.  You must be able to “read” several query letters, and write a report on each in one sentence or less.” 

 

When researching the agent, this is typical.

“If we don’t respond in eight weeks, consider it a pass.”

 

How fucking lousy is that!  You spend hours crafting the perfect Query letter, and the agent does not have time to respond with a  simple form reply..!?

 

“I want some fucking feedback!  Why? What about this letter, or this manuscript, turned you off on the project. What was missing?  What one thing if it had would make you excited?”

 

Some will send you the form letter “Your story is not the kind of material we represent.”  Please please please continue to bang your head against the wall though; we like to hear the banging, as it keeps us awake!
(It is what you represent, because I researched your damned site, and your bio, and who you have published thus far, so either you did not read it, or your intern cannot read!)

 

Here is what I think they mean to say. Allow me to translate this for you.

 

“If you have a proven track record of selling millions of books, we might consider looking at your manuscript.  If you were on the New York Times bestseller list, let us know that too, so we can ask the intern to read more than the title of what you send.  We only have time to spend on sure bets. If you are not a famous author, please, do not bother us! I know we say that we are looking for first time authors but we all say that, don’t we?  Whatever you have written, it is trash unless we can sell at least a million copies of it, without investing any money or time on it what so ever.  As the matter of fact; if you can sell a million copies on your own, just send us 30% and we might be persuaded to have the senior intern look at your next project.” 

 

“If you still want to send us a query letter, use one syllable words so our interns who are either stoned or still in pre-K can understand them.  Thanks for your understanding now, go fuck off! And, have a nice day!”  

 

My advice…

 

You cannot be a one trick pony.

 

You must have more than one novel in you.  Get published in as many places as you can.  Whether that be newsletters, magazines, short stories and unfortunately self-publish something.  Consider it a giveaway because there is little to no protection for intellectual property rights once you put it on the Internet.  There are programs out there that can take Kindle or other types of e-books and turn them into PDF’s so they can be “shared.”

 

Many write short stories and give them away just to get their “brand” out there.

 

Truthfully we have no idea what the intern is looking for; it could be word count, Genre, style of writing or eloquent phrases or pixie dust.   Since their website does not give us any information on where they went to school or what they like to read, it is a crap shoot!

 

The bottom line as I see it, you must “be someone” already, to get their attention.

 

Your thoughts are always interesting to me, feel free to elucidate on your experiences.

 

Maybe you have an agent that reads his or her own query letters?  Tell us about that.

 

Remember that most of this is satire, with some frustration mixed in.

 

-Best

 

© All rights Reserved 2016

 

 

Is #Melania #Trump a Liar? @realdonaldtrump #RNCRockAnthems

Is #Melania #Trump a Liar? @realdonaldtrump #RNCRockAnthems

Is Melania Trump a liar?

It would seem on the surface that Melania Plagiarized 50 words of her 1400 word speech.

The liberal-leaning press is having a heyday with this, the idea being to smear Trump and to put him on defense thus controlling the narrative.  If Hillary, or her staff, can do anything to take some of the wind out of the sails of the Republican National Convention, they will do it.

Most of the press is liberal leaning, for reasons only they know.

Did Melania lie?

She said she wrote most of the speech with little help as possible.

I would tend to believe that she did indeed write a speech.

I would also tend to think that once she wrote it, the speechwriters took it, and re-wrote it. English is not her first language and even though she is fluent in five different languages, writing a speech that will resonate with the American public is best left to those that do it for a living.

The fifty words she is accused of plagiarizing out of the 1400 word speech are relatively common sentiments or phrases said by different people over the years, including the writers of “my little pony.”

Here is the error.

It is easy to check online if what you are claiming as yours was plagiarized from somewhere else.  As a writer, I often check what I write against it, just to make certain that I did not write something that I may have heard somewhere in the past.  The Trump Campaign should have done that!

In short, she is not running as an elected anything.  There are so many more plusses with her and her husband than the “other person who’s name I will not mention,” That I am willing to give her the benefit of the doubt.

Some of my friends will find this as fodder for many heated posts, and reasons why a corrupt, morally bankrupt, self-serving psychopath should be elected Vs Trump…  “Vote how you like, right now it is still a free country…..”

 

-Best

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pioneer deceleration problem, My take. #space #time

Pioneer deceleration problem, My take. #space #time

 

In 1992, we launched Pioneer 10, which is leaving the solar system.  As it reaches further away from the sun, it has begun to decelerate.

Scientists believe to have discovered the solution.  They are proposing that particles leaving the spacecraft as heat are pushing against the forward momentum of the craft slowing it.

“I beg to differ.”

Using the good old formula F=MA, that simply does not seem to add up.

I read about this anomaly years ago and have noodled the issue for, well years.

 

Time is not a constant.

We here on earth think of time as purely a linear progression that we measure with clocks, watches, and calendars.

For years we have all seen the model of the solar system on a green grid with the sun, planets and other bodies all warping the fabric of space as they “fall” in their respective orbits.

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Picture the solar system not on a horizontal plane but inside a bubble.  Maybe it is an oblong bubble and not a perfect sphere but a bubble never the less.

Now picture the other things inside that solar system in their respective bubbles, each creating a bubble that is respective of its mass.

That bubble is warped space.  Its intensity of warpage is directly proportional to the amount of gravity.

When we see these huge storms on the sun that go on for days, or the Magellanic Clouds that seem to be frozen in time, this is our first clue that time is not a constant.

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If we could build a craft that could tolerate the heat of the sun and orbit it much closer to the sun, I also suspect that the storms on the sun would happen at an accelerated rate.  That craft would be in a different “local time.”

 

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Pick this handy little gadget up at Think Geek!

 

 

 

Much like traveling through the country we pass time zones and date zones.  If you hopped in your faster than lightspeed spaceship with your version of the flux capacitor and left to see the Horsehead Nebula, when you got there, it would not be there.

Leaving your “local time” heading outside of the solar system would put you into another time zone.  Instead of being based on some ancient 60 seconds to the minute, the next “bubble might be 75 seconds to the minute.”

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Traveling between the Bubbles in that area of empty space, where gravity does not play a role might very well find you traversing the distance in “no time,” as there is nothing there to create the bubble!

Pioneer 10 and 11 are slowing because they are reaching the end of this bubble and entering into another local time.  Once outside the bubble of the Milky Way, I suspect it will speed up significantly.

Where the demarcation point of that bubble is, is truly a mystery.

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This postulation can be proved or disproved with a simple test.

As the spacecraft get further away, does the bit rate of the telemetry change at all, even in the slightest?

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The bit rate should not change with distance, only time!

I am a science fiction writer.  I don’t pretend to understand the books of math that these scientists do.  Because I don’t constrain my thought process to what I can find a formula for, I can think outside the box.

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The postulations no matter how preposterous they may seem to the scientific community, I claim them as mine and hold that copyright.

They may very well find themselves in one of my next novels which is possibly the only place that they belong.

-Best

© All Rights Reserved 2016

 

Open letter to Bill O’Reilly @oreillyfactor @Bill_O_Reilly   on #Harambe, did Magilla (Harambe) have to die?

Open letter to Bill O’Reilly @oreillyfactor @Bill_O_Reilly on #Harambe, did Magilla (Harambe) have to die?

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The other night on the O’Reilly show, Bill called those of us who question the shooting of this animal  (Crazy.)

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Firstly, I called Harambe, Magilla for a reason.  There are a number of us Baby Boomers, who might think of this creature with fondness. Years ago there was a cartoon about a lovable gorilla named Magilla. Magilla would constantly cause his owner, Mr. Peabody angst.  We, in fact, have this as our “context” of what and who this creature was which might cause us to become mawkish over this creature.

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We might also remember with fondness the work of Dian Fossey or Jane Goodall. We might be aware of the work of Francine or “Penny” Patterson and her work with KOKO who one could have a conversation with through signing, using its own language of GSL (Gorilla sign language.)

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Then Bill we see small snippets on the news of an animal that appears to be helping the child up after a terrific fall, and find out that Harambe was shot for looking out for the child.

The problem Bill; we did not appreciate the vulgarian nature of the creature as we did not see the video of the child dragged through the water by its leg until we watched your show.

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Once again journalism at its finest looks to incite public outcry, I suspect for ratings by biasing the story.

I would submit to you Bill; it is not us who are crazy.  It is we the public that are deceived under the guise of reporting a story. In truth, they appear to be practicing “Yellow Journalism.”

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In this, I agree with Trump; some media are sleaze. It would appear that they might do anything for ratings without regard for the end result.

 

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By the way Mr. Trump, you might want to get some thicker skin for the job you are applying for. 

Just my two Cents…

 

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-Best

The Ivory Tower of liberalism yet again shines like a beacon on a hill.

The Ivory Tower of liberalism yet again shines like a beacon on a hill.

 

Richard Dreyfuss @RichardDreyfuss shows us just how out of touch Hollywood types are by his latest twitter diatribe.

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“Trump supporters are struggling, and those supporters of notoriety are whores.”  Paraphrased but pretty close.

  • Don’t you find it amazing that those that are the most vocal about doing away with our second amendment are those who have armed body guards to protect them?
  • Isn’t it amazing that those who claim to know the “real Americans” live inside a liberal bubble of propaganda, Hollywood elites, and other closed minded folks?

Richard; loved you in the movies but you don’t know me!  You don’t know the struggling whores who work two jobs to make ends meet.  You have no clue what it is like to struggle just to make the house payment, electricity bill and manage some sort of groceries to do it all again next week and then the next.

Yes, Richard, we are all whores as we sell our time and our bodies for money so we can go from one day to the next.  The others who don’t work, they too struggle as well as they certainly don’t get enough to make ends meet from the rest of us that do work.   With  millions on food stamps and millions more coming across the border it is only a matter of time when there is no more porridge left to give out.

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Of course, you, Hollywood Ivory Tower types don’t know anything about that do you?  Maybe we should just all eat Cake!

 

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1.5Million dollar estate of R. Dreyfuss

 

Trump supporters don’t like the idea of a Political elite class who cannot tell the truth if she wanted to.  The Clinton Dynasty is long overdue to ride off into the sunset of history.

 

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Belongs to the dead broke HRD

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Keep doing what you do best, regurgitate lines written by people that know more than you, and emote!

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The crap that comes from Hollywood is part of the problem in this country.

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Between the violent music and violent movies, we have a host of dysfunctional people that use what they see through media as a guide on a way to live.

 

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The Useful idiots return. 

 

Throughout history, people have watched something on the silver screen or the idiot box and replicated some action or idea that was ill advised.

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Now we have millionaires who don’t live on a budget trying to advise us that progressive values are what we should be voting for while not paying attention to how bad off California actually is.

 

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If these kids paying for these high priced college educations were actually learning anything they would recognize this as a bad thing.

 

 

 

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These same rocket scientists see this is their savior…

 

 

These policies that they espouse will be the total destruction of their state much like it is in Vennizueyla today or Greece was last summer and still is!

 

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Socialism is not taught in America… They are in economic collapse!

 

 

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Even if you have money, you can’t buy what is not available. 

 

No Richard, we are not struggling or whores, what we are is damned tired of elites such as yourself calling us whores or miscreants or idiots.  We get it because we live it!

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When Trump becomes the next President, and you decide like so many of your ilk that you cannot live in this country any longer, please don’t let the door hit you in the Ass! In addition, please convince the rest of your kind to follow you.  The land is cheap in Venezuela right now, but you might want to pack your own toilette paper, as they do not have any!

My two cents…

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-Best

Original Article

Richard Dreyfuss Goes Off on ‘Small-Dicked’ Donald Trump and Celebrity ‘Whores’ Who Support Him

 

My Two Cents #Cowardice and #Bullying

My Two Cents #Cowardice and #Bullying

 

Cowardice is certainly not a topic I write about often, but it seemed appropriate given the times that we live.

Following social media reminded me just how misguided some people are.  Launching vicious attacks on “public figures” under some pseudo name.

Those actions my friends are gutless cowardice. That gesture Does nothing to heal this country.  In fact, it further exemplifies just how fallen we as people are.

We do this with our driving as well, as we are autonomous in our cars.  We think nothing of cutting people off or driving carelessly.  We can hide behind our sunglasses and know that we can escape those that we piss off. We use our horns as weapons to berate those that don’t drive aggressively enough to suit us. We use our vehicle as a weapon slowing everyone else down riding in the left lane because we have taken on the role as “road nazi.”

It is all wrong folks. 

It is not your job to force others to comply with your version of how to drive.

The horn is not a cattle prod!

The horn is to warn of imminent danger IE you have drifted out of your lane “wake the hell up!”

When in line at the bank or movie theater or grocery store we are much more polite.  Why?  Because the person or people that you piss off might take you to task.

That is how you should be while driving or on social media, pretend like those that you are talking with are sitting next to you.  Healthy debates are one thing, four letter name calling is juvenile, cowardice and flat out being a bully!

Don’t you find it interesting that millennials are driving this whole narrative about not bullying but in fact on social media are the worst perpetrators of it?

Maybe there is a disconnect in the terminology.  Maybe they have not figured out what being a bully is?

Possibly they are bullied in “real life” so sitting in their mother’s basement in their underwear calling others names under the pseudo name “Morbius, or Death Eater” is their way of dealing with their real life.

“I can bully this person as long as nobody knows that it is me.”

Is that why geeky people escape into role playing games where they can suddenly “be someone?”

Are the bullies behind the wheel or the keyboard the bullied in “real life.”

Read the stuff on twitter or feedback on some of these forums.  If you espouse an opinion such as on this piece, and someone takes some objection to it, heaven help you.

You cannot control the actions of others.

What you can do is lead by example.

State your case in a manner that would lead others to follow your example.  Ignore those that are helplessly lost in their world of four-letter words, and ethnic diatribes.

  • Ignored behavior goes away.
  • Leading by example teaches.
  • What is it that you wish to teach?

I for one want to leave this world a little better than I found it.  That should be the goal of everyone.

We can do that in our day to day discourse with fellow travelers on this road of life.

To my geeky friends out there, take heart, the meek shale inherit the earth.  In this life, I have found that the geeks also make the money and control those jocks who stole your lunch money! If this is you, stop pushing this agenda down the road.  Those that bully you today will grow up “mature” and those that cower in the basement will either learn to deal or become twisted internally spending lots of money on therapists or doing something stupid as in Sandy Hook or Aurora.

 

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I would add…act…Before you “act…take an action, Think!

 

The bullying must stop at all levels, and we can start with our day to day discourse online.  Everyone alive has some “shit” that they are dealing with.  Cut them some slack!

The Millennials have the right idea.  If they can arrest the bullying and learn that we all have talents either with physical prowess or with intellectual prowess it would be a much better place.  If I were a jock, I would befriend the geeks as assistance with calculus from them would go far.  A symbiotic relationship between the strong and the meek is nature’s way if you study it at all.

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My two Cents

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-Best
© All rights reserved 2016