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We Are FOOLS For The Internet

Remember when we were told that our Internet searches might be watched over surveilled ‘reviewed’ by the Intelligence ‘Community’ (“Jesus, you guys are kind to yourselves!” ‘Joe Turner (Condor)’, in Three Days of the Condor)

Now, my friend Borepatch brings us this:

Amazon Echo, Google Alexa, and the NSA

Amazon Echo and Google’s Alexa are Internet Of Things devices that listen for your voice commands and then do not particularly interesting things for you.  The minor convenience and gee whiz factor are way outweighed by how you are painting a big bulls eye on your house:

As a rule, IoT devices lack security and these are no different. Unlike other IoT devices, these personal assistants compromise your security in even more ways they you may think. In general, most users don’t read the Terms of Service (ToS) associated with IoT devices or software being installed. Users have a basic understanding that Amazon and Google will maintain your profile information, such as what music you listen to, when you turn off your lights, or even the coffee you order, in an effort to provide a better over-all experience. Over time these devices learn your preferences; the more intuitive and responsive the device, the more we tend to use it.

What is more alarming is what you don’t think about when using these voice activated devices including those from Apple and Microsoft. There has been a lot of discussion around the security and privacy of these devices over the past few months. One of the biggest concerns is the question of whether the devices are always listening. Both Amazon and Google say the devices listen for hot words that activate them, such has Hello Google or Echo/Alexa, but because these devices are controlled by and interact with by Amazon and Google, the hot words and or the device itself can be easily manipulated to allow for an always on “listening mode” by the vendor at any time by the way of a crafty term of service

How’s the security of these devices?  You can’t know.  What will the Terms Of Service provide to protect your privacy?  You can’t know:

Amazon:In order to keep the Amazon Software up-to-date, we may offer automatic or manual updates at any time and without notice to you.

Google:When a Service requires or includes downloadable software, this software may update automatically on your device once a new version or feature is available…

So the services can update the software without your knowledge, whenever they want, for any reason they want.  The terms of service state that they may sell or share your data to other organizations.  And this is creepy but entirely to be expected:

In addition to the vendor maintaining access to the device, it isn’t unfathomable that cyber-criminals could gain access as well. These are, after all, IoT devices and are just as vulnerable to being pwnd (geek speak meaning owned/or controlled) as any other IoT device. Both devices have indicators when they are in listening mode, however this can be easily disabled by a hacker. A hacker could be listening to your every word and you would not be aware.

And so would NSA listen in?  The Snowden revelations suggest that they might already be listening in.  How much data do they have?  Who knows?

It will be a cold day in Hell when one of these things shows up at Castle Borepatch.

It’s probably good we at Guffaw de alquiler cannot afford such things.  My roomie is not particularly tech savvy (less than I) , but loves toys!  Between the two of us, we have a PC, a laptop, two tablets, two smartphones, and she has a smart watch!
If indeed, United States intelligence (or Israeli?  They reportedly have a listening post not far from Fort Huachuca) is actually paying attention to what we email, and to whom, and records our cellular calls, and computer searches, adding a voice-actuated room-wide link to the Internet just seems like overkill.
Inviting what is essentially an open wiretap into one’s home, with which to do Internet searches, order products and services, pay bills, etc. seems a little self-defeating.  If privacy is your goal.
If we ever get out of this financial hole we are digging (with her working little, and surgery pending – putting her off for six to twelve weeks), I can see her wanting one, though.
Sigh.

 

This Tastes Funny 

I’ve been drinking diet soda (of various varieties) for 37 years. (or so).  Mostly because sugared soda is SO full of sugar. In 2002 I was diagnosed as diabetic, so I had yet another reason.

(And yes, I am aware many of the chemicals, especially the artificial sweeteners, are BAD for me. Please don’t lecture me.) 

I developed a taste for Diet Coke™, which evolved into a taste for Coke Zero™. Equally bad, I’m sure, but surprisingly with less caffeine!

I take five prescription medications regularly, and a couple OTC. For diabetic neuropathy, blood pressure, cholesterol and GERD. And chronic pain.

Considering the chemistry set some folks I know take, I consider myself most fortunate.

My roommate has been taking CO Q10, and suggested that I take it as well. Allegedly good for we ‘older’ folk. Due to one of her chronic conditions, she also takes guaifenesin (Mucinex™), daily.

Due to allergies brought on by the cooler, wetter weather, I, too, have been taking it.

It helps.

I began taking these additional meds about three months ago. About two months ago, something changed.

My beloved Coke Zero™ didn’t taste right!

At first I blamed the manufacturer, then maybe I had a ‘bug’. A good friend suggested my body had had enough of the constant ingestion of chemicals! 😦

Multiple Internet searches regarding formula changes and pill interactions were for naught.

What was I to do? 

I began drinking more filtered water, coffee, juice, and even bought a ‘healthier’ fruit juice based soda, with a different chemical sweetener. And seltzer water – when I could find it (I like seltzer water).

But, I still missed my Coke Zero™. 😕

The weather changed, and dried. And my allergies abated. And my roomie stopped giving me the guaifenesin.

About a week later, someone gave me a Diet Coke™. I thought ‘what the hell’ I can nurse it.

It tasted fine!

I’m spending less money on beverages, but I now know I can have a Coke™ product, if I choose!

BETTER LIVING THROUGH CHEMISTRY!

Can’t Touch That! – NSFW

(from Jeffery in Alabama)

Another Reason To Loathe Democrats

“State Representative Jessica Farrar, a Houston Democrat, filed House Bill 4260 Friday, which would fine men $100 for masturbating.” 

The story and the screwed up mindset behind this thinking HERE.
Uh, how is the government to find out?  (I don’t want to be appointed the ‘wanking czar’!)
Seriously, aren’t they already in our lives ENOUGH!
“No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session.” – Mark Twain
Amend this to add, uh, entertainment…

Beware The Ides Of March? 

(March 15 for the Julius Caesar/Shakespeare impaired!)

I subscribe to a smattering of emails from allegedly like-minded individuals.

Sometimes I am in agreement with their themes.

Other times, not so much.

One guy, who operates a small libertarianesque, survivalist business has been promoting a book ‘not yet in bookstores’, purporting to describe the next financial collapse, and confiscation of bank accounts(!) by the government!! 

(Other nations wherein this has begun, or is beginning! – ZeroHedge)

Allegedly, this is to begin MARCH 15!  (The Ides of March, for all you Julius Caesar fans.)

Coincidence? Astrology? A soothsayer’s truth?

I’ve no idea. I cannot afford the book, and probably wouldn’t buy it, anyway.

Most of my income is direct deposit disability.  I suspect if BIGGOV wanted to take it, they would so do.

With impunity!

WHY?  Because they can!

(So, you thought you’d withdraw your cash and hide it in your mattress?  Not so fast there, Bucko!)

♫ In The Summer, When It Sizzles…♫

(Yes, I know, it’s not even SPRING, yet!)

A couple of weeks ago, it was cold and rainy, as it should be in February.  Highs in the 50’s and 60s.

BUT, we do have occasions of warmer weather spurts, followed by cooling off periods, usually culminating in the first 100° temperature around the beginning of May (sometimes a day or two earlier.  April?)

I remember a month of so ago, my roommate asking me to turn up the heat a click, as she was ‘freezing’.  (The can be difficult to gauge accurately, as our thermostat resembles a Quija board, and she has her own internal thermostatic issues.  And my room, most Westerly in the house, gets the most Sun and heat – making it 5-10 degrees warmer in warmer months (and colder in colder months)!

It appears we are beginning an up-tic:  88° Sunday (today), then 90°,92°,93°,92°,93°,95°,94° ! (per Yahoo Weather)

(My apologies, Rev. Paul, Brigid and Gloria!)

The brain trust on the street (aka the Chicken Littles) have begun proclaiming with it being this hot so early, that we are in for a scorching Summer, as is one may extrapolate the weather that far out! (attention Chicken Littles – most weather readers have enough trouble getting tomorrow’s temp correct!  And you can predict 100 years in advance?  Yeah.  Global WarmingRI-IGHT!)

Like it’s going to be 150° in the shade in July.  Silly geese.

Everyone knows it most likely won’t exceed 122°, 123°…

YIKES!

(Hopefully, this won’t happen until July, if ever!)

PHOENIX (CBS5) –

Do you remember the hottest day in Phoenix history?

It was on June 26, 1990, a day not easily forgotten as the mercury hit an all-time high temperature of 122 degrees.

Okay, June then!

 

Fuel To The Already Dead Fire

(from Wirecutter)

Obama’s brother produces THE birth certificate

An Obama has joined the birther movement.
Malik Obama, Barack Obama’s half-brother, tweeted image of what appears to be Barack’s birth certificate.
Except it’s not from Hawaii, but rather Kenya.
MORE

From the Day Late Dollar Short, or the What Took You So Long Department!

Seriously – How many birth certificates ARE THERE?  And how did he get a Connecticut Social Security number?  And why are his school records sealed?

And, why would one’s half brother do such a thing?  Now?

Inquiring minds want to know!

(Just because sometimes, I like adding fuel to the fire! – Guffaw)

Yesterday Was International Women’s Day

WOO-HOO!

There was supposed to be a general strike of female folk to show solidarity against President Trump’s record of abuse (a locker room joke told eleven years ago), and his capitalist/anti-socialist policies.

(And support for the female candidate who lost?  The candidate who’s husband is a serial rapist, and who (regardless) whomeveryone’ loves?)

Tamara informed us that IF women are to be participating in commerce, it should ONLY be with women and minorities!  She surmises Blacks, Asians and other folk must be honorary women for the day!

What I take from the general strike folks is women and minorities are the oppressed.  Oppressed by THE MAN!  More specifically, the WHITE MAN.

Lemme take a guess here:  this ‘movement’ is fomented by The Left, perhaps Soros and company, as another version of ‘protest’ to destabilize society by showing no one supports the current administration.  (written before I saw the report below…)  😛

Report: George Soros gave $246 million to groups behind ‘Day Without a Woman’ protest – FB

Except, of course, those who voted for him.

And, these strikers failed to consider collateral damage.  If kids go to school, and no female teachers are present, where will they go?

Billed as an anti-Trump protest, it’s the same old leftist song and dance and has little to do with him.- NR

Quelle surprise!

 

The Silent Majority

The silent majority is an unspecified large group of people in a country or group who do not express their opinions publicly.[1] The term was popularized by U.S. President Richard Nixon in a November 3, 1969, speech in which he said, “And so tonight—to you, the great silent majority of my fellow Americans—I ask for your support.”[2] In this usage it referred to those Americans who did not join in the large demonstrations against the Vietnam War at the time, who did not join in the counterculture, and who did not participate in public discourse. Nixon along with many others saw this group of Middle Americans as being overshadowed in the media by the more vocal minority. (Wikipedia)

I believe we have seen the Silent Majority become silent no longer.  Not by taking to the streets, blocking freeways, burning buildings and other crimes, but by simply voting.

Making a statement they have had enough of the Fabian, Marxist, Communist, Socialist, Progressive, One-World “it takes a village” crap that The United States has been spoon fed for more than a century.

As posted by Irish (sent in by Murray. (I have no idea if it was correctly attributed to Paul Genova or not)

By Paul Genova—You Created Us
I haven’t said too much about this election since the start, but this is how I feel.


I notice that many of you are not graciously accepting the fact that your candidate lost. In fact, you seem to be posting ever more hateful things about those of us who voted for Trump.

Some of you are apparently triggered because you are posting how sick you feel about the results.

How did this happen you may ask? It’s simple


– You created “us” when you attacked our freedom of speech.

– You created “us” when you attacked our right to bear arms.

– You created “us” when you attacked our Christian beliefs.

– You created “us” when you constantly referred to us as racists.

– You created “us” when you constantly called us xenophobic.

– You created “us” when you told us to get on board or get out of the way.

– You created “us” when you forced us to buy health care and then financially penalized us for not participating.

– You created “us” when you lied and said we could keep our insurance plans and our doctors.

– You created “us” when you allowed our jobs to continue to leave our country.

– You created “us” when you attacked our flag.

– You created “us” when you took God out of our schools.

– You created “us” when you confused women’s rights with feminism.

– You created “us” when you began to emasculate men.

– You created “us” when you decided to make our children soft.

– You created “us” when you decided to vote for progressive ideals.

– You created “us” when you attacked our way of life.

– You created “us” when you decided to let our government get out of control.

– “You” created “us” the silent majority.

– You created “us” when you began murdering innocent law enforcement officers.

– You created “us” when you took a knee, or stayed seated or didn’t remove your hat during our National Anthem.


And we became fed up and we pushed back and spoke up.


And we did it with ballots, not bullets.


With ballots, not riots.

With ballots, not looting.

With ballots, not blocking traffic.

With ballots, not fires, except the one you started inside of “us”.


“YOU” created “US”.



It really is that simple. You democrats have only yourselves to blame.

Now, I may quibble with a couple of the tenets previously expressed, but I ‘get’ the gist.  The majority of folks who are simply trying to live their lives, go to work, raise their children, love their family and friends have decided they have had enough of unnecessary governmental overreach and intrusion.  And decided to take action.

By voting.

And the Left doesn’t know how to react – because they didn’t win, as they expected.  And they are not big on introspection and correction – they just react.

As spoiled children.

 

 

A Fender Bender?

…or scratches?

So my roomie J and I travel together ‘across town’ yesterday from the suburbs to Central Phoenix, to the hospital where she is scheduled for rotator cuff surgery on March 21.  This is her preop visit, blood work and X-rays.  And, of course, paperwork.

And after an hour or so of that nonsense, we traveled farther West to (Jack Wheeler’s) Original Hamburger Works for a late lunch.  (We add the prefix Jack Wheeler, proudly.  He was the office manager of Tom Ezell’s Investigations and Polygraph.  We did pre-employment polys for Hamburger Works (when it was legal to do so).  And, if we said we were going out for lunch to Hamburger Works, he always emphatically corrected us, adding the ORIGINAL to the name, in that great, bass voice he was known for!

Sadly, Jack passed in 1985.  Pre-employment polygraphs stopped in 1986, except for police, etc.

After a yummy lunner (a late lunch), we headed back home.

J had a prescription she wanted to drop off at her Walgreens, so I headed there before home.  I was driving (as she had alcohol, I had not), and driving her Honda Element remains slightly foreign to me. (no pun intended)  But all was well.

Until I made the turn into the Walgreens’ parking lot, circling the building to the drive-through pharmacy window (the building used to be a bank).

As I made the turn, some fool in a pickup truck backed out.  As I was driving behind him!  I sped up (as best I could in a small lot) and performed an evasive maneuver.

But, he clipped us!

I pulled forward out of the path of parking lot traffic, and he pulled back into his space.  I exited to inspect the damage.  Best I could tell was a couple of scratches on the plastic part just below the fuel opening.  No serious damage, but noticeable.

I turned to greet the other driver and exchange information.  HE had hit US on private property.

And he had backed out again and left!

(I’m reminded that over 10% of Arizona’s motorists are uninsured!)

I had not taken a cell phone picture or recorded his license plate number, because it appeared he was stopping.

And we have more pressing financial issues currently than the $500 deductible for scratches.

Sigh.

(FTC – Neither Original Hamburger Works, Honda or Walgreens gave us anything!  Tom Ezell’s no longer exists, as far as I know – Tom passed a couple years ago.)

Colt, We Hardly Knew Ye

(from The Firearm Blog)

BREAKING: Colt Lays Off Custom Shop Director, Other Employees, Company Rumored Gutted

What is happening at Colt? That’s the question on many people’s minds as news of layoffs in the company began to trickle out starting on Tuesday. Rumors of massive layoffs at Colt began with a post at Pistol-Forum by member “misanthropist”, who wrote:

Sounds like a big mess down there and a whole lot of pink slips, including my favourite division, the custom shop.

The extent of the layoffs are not yet known, but it has been confirmed that Brent Turchi, director of Colt Customer Service and the Colt Custom Shop, was let go. Brent posted the following at 1911forum.com:

I am alive and well just no longer with Colt. I will continue to be a member of this forum and interact as I see appropriate. I will also tell the forum when and where I land. I have and will continue to enjoy this forum and its members. All thoughts are appreciated.
Brent

Whether this is a handful of layoffs or a gutting of the company is yet unknown, but according to misanthrope, things are not looking good. He posted that Colt Canada had reportedly been gutted, and the Colt Advanced Systems division and the Custom Shop virtually shut down entirely:

Sorry guys I don’t think there’s any information I can link to.

My understanding is that Advanced Systems is shut down entirely, as is the Custom Shop. Colt Canada will be stripped down to little more than the C8 production line and the extraneous people just had their jobs eliminated. The SWORD and MRR programs sound like they’re shelved. From the sounds of things, a lot of job losses.

That’s what I am hearing, anyway.

Colt has been trying to make its way back to normalcy, after bankruptcy rocked the company in 2015. The company debuted its newly reintroduced Cobra revolver at the 2017 SHOT Show, a firearm developed in part due to the efforts of the Custom Shop. The Custom Shop also helped debug the Defender compact 1911 variant.

There is a lot of speculation that with the election and lack of contracts, Colt simply doesn’t have enough money to continue operating these divisions. Shutting them down, however, would burn a significant amount of goodwill that Colt has built over the years with its customer base, which might make recovery even harder for the Hartford company.

We will keep our readers updated as things unfold.

Colt.  A legendary name in the annals of firearm and American history.  I’ve never had the good fortune to own one.  Have fired many.  A Detective Special (bored out to accept .357!), A friend’s 6″ Python (nickel), some ARs, an Official Police (parkerized!).  Always wanted a 4″ Python…

But, it was not to be.  Just never had the cash.  Colt, in my world, is the new Cadillac, when all I could usually afford was the used Chevy. (Back when I could afford stuff.)

They have been the proverbial Phoenix, rising from the ashes (after how many BKs?).  It would appear, given the above story, that they are on their way out, yet again.

Stories have come out of Colt for years about mismanagement, poor marketing, and high pricing.

And, they are in Connecticut, one of the birthplaces of American firearms industry (and my birth State), now hobbled by further restrictive ‘liberal’ firearms laws.  Many manufacturers have close or moved.

Will Colt do the same?  Do they have the resources?  Or is another bankruptcy in their future?

Will the Phoenix rise, yet again?

Sam Colt is probably spinning like a cylinder in his grave…

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…