Personal Privacy – REDUX

•March 6, 2016 • Leave a Comment

The comments below were written in response to an article that I read (http://www.pcworld.com/article/3039474/internet/online-privacy-3-things-you-must-do-to-protect-yourself.html) – Online privacy: 3 ways to ward off cyber criminals and snoops

My response I posted to the article:

“Using TOR is technically great… but after all the Snowden stuff and the problems with the silk road, I read that the US Government has said that they look at all TOR-based traffic as somebody doing something that they should not be doing. As a result… it gets their attention… and even if you are just reading this web page… if you use TOR, the US Government says that they are identifying you…and tracking you…. JUST IN CASE you are doing something wrong. This goes against my beliefs and ethics. It upsets me … as I was a big TOR user in the past. I have to admit that I have uninstalled it across all my devices in my computing eco-system. With spy first, see if you are guilty later, I don’t think that the Government can be trusted with our civil liberties. Just my personal opinion. The fact that the FBI wants Apple to help them crack the San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone 5C and they have another 12 iPhones that the Justice Department wants them to crack into shows that just like drinking a savory beverage, one sip… and they will want to drink the whole thing! The “Snowden Affair” shows that even though we thought we were safe and protected from the Government spying on its citizens, in reality, we had a lot to fear. Absolute Power to crack into people’s private assets.. corrupts absolutely !!! I wish that the Constitution would be respected as the law of the land… but as long as people can sit in secret offices and order people illegally spied on… then our society is in danger ;-( “

I just wish we lived in a perfect world… but we don’t. So many people…. and not necessarily Low Information People… don’t understand what the big deal is.

I talk about the Apple iPhone 5C that the FBI wants Apple to break into… and they are so trusting. They are not concerned about the abuse of power that this can bring. I ask them about the Snowden stuff… and they say “That old stuff? !!!”. They just don’t seem to be so concerned. The way that society works…. and is safe… and is able to function… is that people follow rules. I feel fundamentally betrayed when Governments ignore their laws… and do what they want… or more importantly… do what their leaders want. I am very angry that the US Government has declared open season on anybody who uses the set of TOR utilities. By stating that they are targeting people for surveillance (and might be trying to break into their devices to prove their guilt, angers me to no end! I guess if the founding fathers saw the type of country we have become, I think that more than a few of them would be cncerned.

I hope and pray that having strong encryption on your devices does not become illegal. If it does…this becomes one thing that they can arrest you for… fine you for, etc. Once they have you…. a long chain of events can occur where you, your livelihood, and family can be destroyed… scary isn’t it? ;-(

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Since when did people stop doing things for themselves and start looking for others to wipe their asses?

•February 18, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Sorry to get so explicit, but it bothers me of late. it seems to me that people don’t care about being self-sufficient any more. People are just out to look for people to do things for them. They don’t care who they use or if they lose friends. They want to get stuff done for them… and as long as stuff gets done… they are happy.

Pretty sad I think. 2016 has been a year of awakening for me. People asking me to do so much for them that I actually neglected things I needed to do in my own life. Pretty sad huh?

Unfortunately, due to selfishness, if you agree and paint one room of somebody’s house for them…they will be really mad afterwards… because you stopped there at one room, and did not paint all of the rooms in their house! I don’t like this behavior… and I feel that people who act this way need to spend a little time self-actualizing themselves.

Anyway… 2016 has brought me a good understanding of what I can and cannot do for people. 😉 Did I do this all by myself……? No, I think that God has helped me to learn a few needed lessons.

Oh, and a heads up…. if I tell you “no”… then I mean ‘no”… LOL

Sometimes I Try to do the Right Thing… But End Up Screwing Myself!

•September 8, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Sometimes a guy like me is too clever for my own good. Case in point… right now I am on the phone… trying to get to AT&T support. i am hanging on… listening to a multitude of inane messages…. made for 14 year old girls BTW… because those AT&T customers in the Orlando area are experiencing heavy call volumes. I guess they say they don’t know why… but I don’t believe them. LOL. No, this is not why I ended up screwing myself.

I live in a house designed and build by Maronda Homes…. or as my buddy Dave says…. “Maronda ‘No Responda’” !!! Ha ha. Yeah, after I bought the house, they never answered any of our calls when things went wrong. At any rate, Maronda used steel studs in the wall. Cheaper for them… but this materials decision meant that my house acts like a Faraday Cage… I have to have multiple WiFi routers in the house to get coverage… and Cellular service from AT&T sucks too. Dropped calls, etc…. basically sucks.

I decided to get an AT&T MicroCell device. This devices connects to my high speed internet and acts like an internal cellular tower for AT&T’s GSM signal. The device is manufactured by CISCO. Instead of buying a new one… I tried to go cheaper and bought one on eBay. The guy who sold it said that he never used it… but when i went to activate it… it was already activated. It cannot be activated until it is deactivated. I sent him the link to do it… but I doubt that it will go well. I am currently on-line with AT&T as I said…as i want to see if they can force dump him off the account.

So there you go… spent money, on something that won’t work. I have to rely on the goodness of the guy who took my money… to deactivate it. i simply want a MicroCell device so we can talk on our phones. Ugh. Sometimes I think I am smarter than I actually am. Sometimes a guy like me causes himself more problems that he needs to have.

Hmmmm on the phone for 20 minutes now… typical AT&T support ;-( What is going on in Orlando… that people are calling up with problems. LOL.

OK, contacted the guy I bought the MicroCell from…. he is a great guy! He logged on using the link that i sent him…and deactivated the darn thing. Now I am spending the next 90 minutes trying to activate it. The first one bombed… so i am trying again. Will wake up tomorrow and see what my efforts have wrought. In the mean time, I called AT&T and got hung up by an Indian guy…. I called back…and told AT&T that after spending 35 minutes on the phone… I did not appreciate being treated that way. They were horrified. PS…they could not figure out who hung up on me…because the poor SOB never officially logged in to my call. LOL. Would you … if you were gonna treat me poorly?

At any rate… I am looking forward to this thing working. Hey…update. It is activating. 😉

Well, maybe when I wake up tomorrow… it will be working. Ha ha. It did not get this far before. Well, it did end up activating 100%. I just activated it and talked to my brother. The clarity is amazing. Just at first blush, I recommend it!

Windows 10 Installation: REDUX

•September 7, 2015 • Leave a Comment

I wanted to comment on my previous post about a guy like me… trusting Microsoft to get the Windows 10 Installation “right” versus “wrong”.

I was very surprised. Even though the Windows 10 notification icon was really late… the point is that it was there. Everything went well. Within 10 hours, I received confirmation that the update was ready to download to my tablet… all 3.5 Gigabytes of it. Now the HP Stream7 runs a compressed version of the Windows 10 software so I am willing to cut Microsoft some credit in taking their time to get this right.

When it installed… it rebooted only once… and then it had a cacophony of updates spilling out from Microsoft’s Windows “Corruptdate” servers. Everything worked… and I cannot complain. The tablet was average spiffy in performance when I had windows 8.0 on it. When I installed 8.1 … and added all the necessary software to protect any Windows machine… it got to be sluggish without anything on it. AVG antivirus, CCleaner, and MalwareBytes made it just drag.

When I installed Windows 10 however, I found that the system performance was much improved on the device. What a surprise! Made me glad for updating. While I am pleased with the update I have to say… I agree that for tablets, that Windows 10 is a step backwards. I do like the all-in-one “tablet or PC” toggle button… letting you choose how to use it… but the keyboard does not come up automatically any more when I want to type. I had to mess around with the settings…and finally got it to hide in the toolbar… but it does not pop up when I need it (Performance anxiety, maybe? !!! HA HA).

At any rate, no major disasters and I am finally happy that Microsoft …. aside from the overall product of Windows 10 – whose verdict is still out at his point – did some hard work to get things to run right… and run correctly. How was all of your installations? Leave me a comment…. as I am curious.

Finally Saw the Apple Watch in Person and Close-up Today. Verdict: No Compelling Reason to Purchase – Sit out and Wait for the 2nd Generation Watch.

•September 7, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Well, those of you who know me, know that I am a Mac Fan Boy…. a Computer Engineer, Geek, and a guy who does not want to spend all of his time installing/reinstalling Microsoft’s Windows software. People have been telling me for months that I have been purposely avoiding the Apple Watch…. because they know that “If I go to see it… I will come away with one” and that I am just being stubborn. Well, I went, saw, and came home empty!

OK, ha ha… “I get it” you say… well, maybe you don’t get it… or even “get” me. First off, aside from my iPad first generation deal, there is no compelling reason to buy one. I have square hands and a fat wrist. When I put it on my arm, it was not big enough. I just felt that it was too small. Before you go ahead and think that I like a watch the size of a supper plate on my wrist, I don’t. I like a watch that is big enough… but not oversized. i want one that is not delicate (no, not “delicait” – Don’t care what Bruce Jenner likes to wear on his arm!)… but fits.

With all the functionality that Apple says is there… I am left with a big “so what?” The really nice Apple employee was very nice… and spent some time with me. The Milanese Loop band is SWEET…with a CAPITAL SWEET… but I think that it is just easier and less cumbersome to use the phone. I know you can have digital heartbeats and all kinds of hidden “I love You’s”… but it might be more compelling for me if I had somebody “loving me”…and that they were into Apple products…AND that they had an Apple Watch. LOL.

At any rate… the buzzphraze now is “Version two of the Watch OS is coming out… it will fix everything”. Hmmm I thought version 2.0 of the hardware for anything…. is supposed to fix everything. LOL.

Don’t get me wrong, if I see somebody wearing one… I don’t think that I would ping them as a DOUCHEASAURIS REX/REGINA… but I would probably ask them how they use it… to see if anything had changed since I last looked and Apple Watch OS 1.0.

Hate to disappoint many of my friends and acquaintances… but I don’t think that for now, that the Apple Watch is for me.

DISCLAIMER: If I happen to get an Apple Watch for my birthday, I have to admit that I would not give it away… LOL. So, if somebody who may or may not love me… get’s me an Apple Watch… don’t be a hater! HA HA HA HA

I Still don’t trust Microsoft to be Honest When Parsing Out its New Updates…

•September 1, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Yeah, Once bitten, twice shy. I remember how I ran the beta for Windows 7… everything ran well…. and I gave feedback to MS to help it run better and be ready sooner. I laid out money for the Windows 7 update…. and low and behold… when I went to install it… they had removed the components that they had included in the beta….that I needed to run it…namely the chipset drivers for my motherboard. Yeah, it was an old computer… but if it was good enough to run the beta and help Microsoft, then it was good enough to run Windows 7 outright!

I get so disgusted at their trickery. I have a Windows 8.1 tablet… the HP Stream7…. and it rocks. I kept wondering if it would update to Windows 10…. Nobody knew/knows. I did not get the Windows 10 reservation icon, etc. I was kind of peeved. Nobody, HP included…. could tell me if I was going to get Windows 10. Now, I know that there are some missing hardware in the tablet….so it won’t run all the full Windows 10 functionality… but I am ok with that.

I tried to run all the hacks and stuff…. to try to get the update to download… and nothing worked. I found a new hack… but had not had the time to do it. Well, the day that Windows 10 was released… there was a notification…. FROM HP. I thought it was saying… get the upgrade here. I went down that rabbit hole… only to find that it was a wild goose chase. They merely dumped me to the reservation button… which was still not there. I have not had it turned on for a while… probably a month. I turned it on today…. and then downloaded Windows updates tonight… and voila… it arrived.

Now, I clicked on it….and I found out… I am getting Windows 10! It just will take ages. I am now waiting for MS’s notification… that is… a message from MS stating that the 3 GB install file was installed to my device. I guess I have to leave it plugged in for the next week… to guarantee that the tablet will receive the whole 3 GB file.

Much better to let MS do it that me trying to install something from a public install image. Tablets can be tricky…and I don’t want to brick it. I guess… I am still wondering what messed up situation lurks in the heart of the tablet. Will it work? Will it brick? I don’t know. As I type this, I am on my 2009 Mac Book Pro (17”) … surrounded by my iPhone 6+, my Macbook Air 11” that is updating its Mac OS X “El Capitan” Beta, my AT&T 4G LTE iPad Mini, and my iPod touch. LOL. Lets not even talk about my dual processor G4 X-Serve hosting my TheMactrix.info domain, the Mac Mini that my roommate is watching movies on … and my 24” iMac. Ha ha ha ha. Maybe the MS tech knows that I have forsaken MS for a more tightly integrated computing experience. Who knows?

I just wonder… I really wonder… if this is going to be another MS screw job… or if I will actually get a functioning tablet running windows 10.

I guess for now, I am trusting Microsoft…. but soon… very soon… I will find out if my trust was misplaced or not.

My Infatuation with Name Brand Beta quality software is fading fast…

•August 12, 2015 • Leave a Comment

The software world has changed over the last few years. Microsoft is Looking more like Apple in the way that it is developing and previewing its Windows software, Google is trying to limit the interoperability of its Android Mobile Operating System so that it works best with its notebook/netbook line of Chromebooks, and Apple is marching forward onward to integrate everything it is has…. to interoperate exceedingly well.

In this brave new world, I have been both bitten and stung by the bug that permits me to install beta software on my iOS and Mac OS X devices. The First time around with OS X Yosemite, I was very happy. The beta experience was CRISP and CLEAN… with no CAFFEINE (so to speak) and I was able to report the non-working programs that I used all along… to Apple to make sure that they ran well when the final release came out. That worked well for me. I tried the various iOS 8.x betas and they worked well until I got stung by the beta release for 8.4. That sucked. It turns out that I did not learn any lessons… and raced off to the iOS 9 beta… which during the first release, almost rendered my phone unusable. I was hating life. Screen problems…. rotating all the time, sticking all the time, things I needed… not working. Ugh. Soon, I got tired of reporting bugs. When I finally noticed that there was a second round beta of iOS 9.0… I jumped at it… and it is working reasonably well.

I am running the OS X Yosemite incremental release beta on the machine I am using now… my trusty 2009 17” MBP…. and the OS X El Capitan beta on my Macbook Air (11 inch). That is a supreme wreck. I am not dealing with that. I just got another update… but with things that I am doing now…glad that the machine I am on now…has the incremental Yosemite update…and would not install the El Capitan.

Beta software helps the developers. It is no doubt that Windows 10 is probably the most stable and well-vetted version of Windows ever…because the public wasws giving feedback and finding bugs all the time. I think that the customer satisfaction of the Windows community for Windows 10 will be superb. MS finally learned.

I guess I went wrong…. in the fact that I am really too busy right now to track all the new features. I am busy with work and other things in my life… and I need my computers and phones, and tablets, etc. to do what they should be doing… work. Time to let younger people beta test… and for me to grow old gracefully and work and plod on until retirement. LOL.

I think I want stability … and quality of experience…. no sir… no more beta trials for me…. or at least that is what I say now. 😉