Saturday, June 8, 2013

We're MOVED!!!!

If you're reading this, update your links to:


See you off google. :)

Big Brother is watching.....and waiting for you to invite him into your home.

So here is your horrifying thought for today: Your own government could very quickly have a video and audio surveillance device put in your house. But that isn't the scariest part. You ready for it? YOU will be the one PAYING to put it there, by your own choice.

Don't believe me? Let's consider some things that have been happening recently:

1. The NSA's massive Utah Data mining center - a 1 million square foot facility, capable of storing yottabytes of data, gleaned from every type of communication device we use. Also consider the fact that every piece of communication passes through a wire at some point, even your cell phone, so literally EVERYTHING is accessible at some junction point. Even if you encrypt your transmission with the highest level of encryption available today, that doesn't matter in the long run. If they can't crack it now, they will store it and crack it when they have the ability to in the near future.

2. PRISM - Since 2007 (but more realistically since the Patriot act was first passed in 2001), the NSA has been using your own internet providers, popular sites, and makers of the worlds most used devices to provide direct access of all their products and services to the government. Since the news broke recently, all the companies on the list of PRISM partners have come out stating, in some form or another, that they are not giving direct or backdoor access to the government, and that they are only responding to court orders as required by law. I call bullshit, for a couple basic reasons:
A. We've already been lied to, and then when they were caught in the lie, they tried to assure us that it wasn't as bad as we are making it out to be, specifically with federal wiretapping. We were all told that it was ONLY calls originating from foreign countries or placed to foreign countries, and that the surveillance was extremely limited in nature. Fast forward to this week, and we find out that was complete bullshit, and that they have been monitoring ALL calls, including ones that are ENTIRELY domestic, for years. Verizon has been handing over data for years already: "While the order itself does not include either the contents of messages or the personal information of the subscriber of any particular cell number, its collection would allow the NSA to build easily a comprehensive picture of who any individual contacted, how and when, and possibly from where, retrospectively." This program has been going on since as far back as October of 2001, in some form or another.
B. All the companies on the PRISM list don't want a mass exodus from their services. Why wouldn't they lie, to retain users? And furthermore, even if they aren't just lying to retain users, it doesn't matter, as they are under a federal gag order from FISA anyway, so even if the wanted to talk about it, the can't!

3. The Ace in the Hole: The Xbox One - A few things on this to get started; To operate, the device must call home once every 24 hours (NOTE: this is to be able to play games. MS has stated that you will not need to connect to watch live TV or DVD's. Who cares, I can already do that without an Xbox). The Kinect MUST be connected for the system to operate. Unless you unplug the entire thing, the Xbox One is always on in a low power state.

So let's put all this nifty information together into one cohesive thought: The NSA is building a massive data retention center using, at least in part, the information it is gathering from it's partners listed in the PRISM project. The very first company to sign on to the PRISM project was Microsoft. The NSA data center will be completed in October, roughly around the same time that the new Xbox One will be hitting stores. Do you honestly believe that if they are already tapping your phone, email, web searches, Facebook, and all your other internet communications, that the NSA won't want to get their greedy little claws where they couldn't go before? Inside your house, directly into your living room? Into the Xbox One and Kinect, that can record a live video and audio stream? Talk about fleshing out the whole picture....

And the best part is, you are going to pay THEM for the privilege.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Moving to Wordpress!

This blog will shortly disappear to be replaced by a new blog, no longer part of the Google mothership. 

Shouldn't be any need to update links, but if your reader feed dies, might want to try to update the RSS feed again.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Gardening for 2013

Well,  due to an extremely late snow storm in May this year I feel like I am totally behind on getting everything into the garden.  I know I am pretty late on some things is year,  but not so much on others.  I am slowly working way through all my beds,  getting them planted. 

This year I decided to actually install the new flower bed in the front of the house.   It's all planted now,  there are some day lilies there at the end,  some herbs next and I planted the whole thing in with a wildflower mix.  Hopefully it will do well,  especially since I'm getting done so late. 

- Fin

Friday, April 19, 2013

Facebook Frustration

I've noticed a definite trend lately with Facebook - I'm tired of it.  Somehow, I'd like to move away from my primary connection point of family and friends being this site.  Why?  Well, I might start with the upcoming video ads.  

Really?  Multiple rumors also indicate these ads will AUTO PLAY, multiple times.

Screw that noise.

I went to paying google for my email a few months back.  Why?  No ads.  Now, when it comes to Facebook, I struggle to find the justification.  Family and friends have switched more to facebook lately, away from blogging.  I think because blogs require more "work".  Like writing a letter versus calling or texting.  As a society, we want immediate live feeds.

So, the question now becomes... How do I follow my friends and families without Facebook? Unfortunately, I think it requires their cooperation.  I've had a few friends announce they would leave Facebook.

For now, I'm going to make an effort to blog here instead of posting to my Facebook feed.  Hope the family gets it.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Fate's 2013 New Years Resolutions

My 2012 resolutions all went downhill pretty quick.  So, here I am at the start of 2013 trying to figure out my list of 'accomplishments' for this year.  As usual, these will be more "goals" than resolutions, although a few of them are a bit cliched.

1. Restart "Dave Ramsey Plan"
While we haven't gone crazy in our spending, Fin and I have relaxed after a couple years doing a really good job budgeting.  Mostly, this is my fault - feeling burned out looking at bills.  By most measures, we've taken a year off our financial plan, and need to get back onboard.  There's some discussion at the office of bringing on personal financial advisors and such - might be interesting.

2. Make soap again.
I made enough soap to last us a long while, and then we switched over to left over fragments floating around.  We're running low on all of the above, and I need to get my stuff together and go through with it.  Largely, it's a bit of a pain with the cats (we wrangle them up into a room for a couple hours).

3. Build evil-project laboratory
I haven't had space to work on electronics projects since I moved to the area - multiple small apartments, followed by a small house.  Working on audio wiring, I purchased a soldering iron, and find myself considering the possibilities of electronics tinkering again.  With any luck, Fin can have some space for her craft projects, and I'll have space to tinker.

4. Learn a Bach Fugue
I'm hoping better than "learn a Beethoven Sonata", and then playing Op. 49.  I still haven't selected one, but I've started working on a 3-part invention to get my ready.

5. Time Lapse Garden Video
I'm still dismayed by the destruction of my previous camera for the time lapse project.  Tho, I do a significant collection of photos I could make something with (at least until mid-spring timeframe).  I'm not sure what sort of hardware investment I'll make here, but there's multiple options, and I do have a nice project enclosure to help things along.

6. Get back to writing
I haven't written significantly for a year.  I'm hoping to improve my work/life balance and get this blog thing going well again.

7. Reorganize the office
This one would likely be #1 if Fin ordered the list, but the low place here is symptomatic of both of our desires to tackle the beast.  The office is the one area of the house that isn't currently "awesome".  Mostly on account of HUGE collections of "stuff" that needs unpacked and sorted, including the majority of boxes from before I moved in. :o

And now, I'll place the "standard" resolutions.  These are serious, but feel too cliched to take seriously.

8. Take longer/better vacation at some point in 2013.
9. Get to the gym / Y / etc...
10. Spend less time watching TV & playing video games.

I'm not going to justify these with explanations, and really, I debated putting them on the list.  Still, I hope to break trends and accomplish something there to write about. :)

That said, one of the important things (to me) about the "New Years Ritual", is to recognize your accomplishments over the past year that might not have been "resolved".  2012 saw a large number of "bucket list" items, and I suspect 2013 will as well.

--- Fate