Friday, October 7, 2016

Dear Google

Dear Google,
I write to you out of desperation and I'm not alone. 
Years ago I put my money into products from a neat desktop computer company who made good machines and they made the system software to run on them,  which meant the whole thing was more reliable, secure and stable than any other company and let me get on with making computer art, my chosen hobby.
Oh yes, it also let me read news and communicate with others around the world too.
I got the best model I could and paid plenty to get it as good as possible with upgrades . . . . but now the company (guess who?) has decided that  powerful desktop computers with mouse and keyboard are not what they want to make any more: they insist we should all have phones and tablets instead even though neither of these are ever going to be capable of doing what I want.  It's almost as if they don't want me to create anything, they just want dumb "consumers".
The computer becomes Teevee.

For now I still have a working machine but within the next five or ten years (I'm being optomistic here!)  I will need a new one - and the only company that I can see with the power to do anything about this is You, Google. 
Yes, Microsoft has started making laplets but I need desktop grunt and Windows is not the most secure or usable of systems . . . . So how about it, Google? go ahead, steal the Mac Pro (The upgradeable model, not the Darth Vader Trashcan)  market from Apple who doesn't want it anyway - there are a LOT of CG geeks who will buy it if you can deliver, and those guys get paid to do what I do for a hobby . . . . . .

Are you listening, Google? 


Friday, May 13, 2016


Even if you don't think "Flying Saucers" are real or any of that stuff,  you really should take a look at what Dr. Steven M. Greer has done with The Disclosure Project.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

"Privacy" vs. "Security"

From The Reg:

This is from the FBI vs. Apple court case.  If you don't know what it's a bout, you must have been living on a mountaintop.

In short (very) The FBI wants Apple to cerate a backdoor into their iPhones so that FBI or other Government agencies can extract information from anyone's phone.
No, they can't just chop it open and take the data. Apple spenat a lot of money and time to make sure of that.  

Apple argues that as soon as they do make a hack, the software will leak and nobody's iPhone data will be safe.  Bearing in mind that Apple is currently trying to sell everyone on ApplePay, a system that uses your iPhone for money transactions,  they need people's trust to keep selling iPhones, but deeper than that, it is a serious issue: one of the few safeguards against crimes of the future (distant or near) is that we still have some data privacy. I don't really have anything to hide or be ashamed of, but if crooks can steal my data they will be able to steal everything else too. 
Down here in Oz I have not seen ApplePay and may never, but the "privacy" vs. "security" thing is a hot subject for sure.

I have one observation to make: From the article on The Reg -

"So the question then becomes: what is the solution? And where does the balance lie? Unfortunately for law enforcement, the Snowden revelations have given everyone reason to question any assertion that the authorities will only be accessing the data of suspect people.
We know that the US government kept the records of every single one of our phone calls. We know that they spied on everything everyone did online. We know that they tapped data centers and fiber optic cables and decided the best way for them to do their jobs was to assume everyone was guilty and gather all possible information on them in case it comes in handy later.
And we know they went out of their way to make sure no one knew about what they were doing. After all that, making the basic argument of "trust us" sounds, at best, hollow."

 Why don't the FBI simply ask the NSA for the information (assuming they have it)? Could it be that these two Government Organisations don't collaborate as well as they should? 

Note also this article which points out that using encrypted communications immediately flags you in the NSA spying system as a potential threat. You have been warned.

Personally I go with the DBS principle - that's Death By Stupidity. The previous is a perfect example of that - get all paraniod about Spies spying on you , encrypt everything, and the Spooks will start poking around in your electronic closet looking for anything naughty, which might just lead to them clobbering you. 

Saturday, January 9, 2016

More Personal Transport

Remember the Solowheel? I posed about it previously. 
The whole idea of small personal transport gadgets just gets bigger and bigger: this is oblivious to the basic health of users who should at least walk some small distance each day  - but who cares about that, right? we all wanna look cool on a zoomy thingy that you can carry in your bag or stash in your school locker . . . . .

But there is a new twist to the story now: First, here is the Onewheel:
Like it's compatriots it has electronic balancing and control, new batteries and a motor - in this case in the wheel hub.  It's actually a good design I think since it is narrow, has a large wheel with an airfilled tye so you can use it offroad and there is plenty of foot spacing to allow the rider to balance well.

 Now check this out: at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show this year, a Chinese company turned up with knockoffs for sale.  they lasted about five minutes.

Should I even mention Hoverboards? it seems this is what the two wheeled devices will now be called even though they don't hover. The big mess about who has the license to make and sell them  - never mind those terrible battery fires - will be with us for a while yet.  Pah! they can't handle a decent bump and stick out too wide on the footpath too. I'll take a Onewheel any day. or walk.


There was one other CES 2016  thing that caught my eye: Cooki. This is the kitchen gadget that I have been expecting for a long time:  have a look here.  Yup, let's replace another basic human activity with a gadget and  reduce it to a mechanical process so that folks can spend more time on Facebook or Netflix. Note that the real plan is to pre-pack ingredients and sell the packs to users - that is where the real money is, just like printers and ink carts.