Monday, October 20, 2014

Your Mac is still Phoning Home. So is your PC.

Big Data still hasn't learned that people generally don't like eavesdroppers. Max OSX Yosemite is phoning home lots of data back to Apple, and it doesn't matter how you configure your Mac, apparently.

DuckDuckGo for Privacy

Having read DuckDuckGo's privacy statements, you might decide to switch Safari's default search to DuckDuckGo. If we enter a new search in Safari, we can then search the logged data to see who the search terms are actually sent to.

The logs show that a copy of your Safari searches are still sent to Apple, even when selecting DuckDuckGo as your search provider, and 'Spotlight Suggestions' are disabled in System Preferences > Spotlight.

Non-Cloud Mail Account

When setting up a new Mail.app account for the address admin@fix-macosx.com, which is hosted locally, searching the logs for "fix-macosx.com" shows that Mail quietly sends the domain entered by the user to Apple, too.

Tres uncool, Apple droids.

However if you think you're going to escape by using a PC, Slashdot says y'ain't.

From WinBeta: "One of the more interesting bits of data the company is collecting is text entered. Some are calling this a keylogger within the Windows 10 Technical Preview, which isn't good news. Taking a closer look at the Privacy Policy for the Windows Insider Program, it looks like Microsoft may be collecting a lot more feedback from you behind the scenes. Microsoft collects information about you, your devices, applications and networks, and your use of those devices, applications and networks. Examples of data we collect include your name, email address, preferences and interests; browsing, search and file history; phone call and SMS data; device configuration and sensor data; and application usage." This isn't the only thing Microsoft is collecting from Insider Program participants. According to the Privacy Policy, the company is collecting things like text inputted into the operating system, the details of any/all files on your system, voice input and program information.

This means they are collecting what you type into your own PC. Like, your passwords. Which I really don't think is a "service" I want to pay for, right?

Definitely worth looking at Linux if Apple and Microsoft keep doing this crap. Or just re-installing that old copy of XP we all have kicking around in the closet. It still works. According to my experience, using XP on this exact box I'm running Win 8 on right now doesn't slow down what I do every day. I'm sure some things are faster with Win 8, but I don't -notice- them being faster and so I don't really care. If I need FAST I can stick an off-line compute server in a corner and feed it by sneakernet with thumb drives.
Dear Apple and Microsoft, my files, my keystrokes, my stuff generally is none of your business. If I have to finally bite the bullet and learn Linux to keep your sticky fingers out of my PC, I will. And if I will, millions of other will too. Anything you corporate wankers can make, we users collectively will jailbreak, hack, pervert, fold, spindle and mutilate.

And if you piss me off I'll switch my phone back to a Blackberry. If for no other reason than RIM is Canadian.

The Phantom

Here's something you don't see every day.

White kids rioting.

Students who participated in riots near the Keene State College campus Saturday night could face serious consequences, including expulsion for the worst offenders, according to a statement from the college president.

We see kids rioting all the time lately. Not a new thing. What you don't see every day is the words "expulsion" and "offenders" used in the same sentence by a university official. Hell, she even threw in the word "consequences". We never see that. Normally we see something like "working with the community to reduce violence" or "more sensitivity training for staff".

I speculate that this case is different because these are WHITE kids, and are therefore supposed to know better. Otherwise known as the "soft racism of low expectations". Except this is the flip-side, where the book gets thrown at them because they's White and there's no political reason not to kick their asses like they deserve.

Dear Commie Pinko educators: maybe if you stopped giving certain groups a Special Deal and throw the book at -everybody- who riots, they'd all do better, hmmm? Just a thought.

The Phantom

Sunday, October 19, 2014

NY Safe Act: 34,000 New Yorkers dangerously insane.

What happens when you set bureaucrats to decide who is sane in a society? They err on the side of caution, obviously. Because  they're bureaucrats. Ass covering isn't second nature to them, it DEFINES their nature.

The NY SAFE Act, part of it banned "Assault Murder/Death/Kill Weapons!!!", but the other part created a board who decides who's too crazy to own a gun in NY state.

So far, 34,000 people are too crazy.

A newly created database of New Yorkers deemed too mentally unstable to carry firearms has grown to roughly 34,500 names, a previously undisclosed figure that has raised concerns among some mental health advocates that too many people have been categorized as dangerous.

The database, established in the aftermath of the mass shooting in 2012 at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and maintained by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services, is the result of the Safe Act. It is an expansive package of gun control measures pushed through by the administration of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. The law, better known for its ban on assault weapons, compels licensed mental health professionals in New York to report to the authorities any patient "likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to self or others."

But the number of entries in the database highlights the difficulty of America's complicated balancing act between public safety and the right to bear arms when it comes to people with mental health issues. "That seems extraordinarily high to me," said Sam Tsemberis, a former director of New York City's involuntary hospitalization program for homeless and dangerous people, now the chief executive of Pathways to Housing, which provides housing to the mentally ill. "Assumed dangerousness is a far cry from actual dangerousness."

Take home quote is "That seems extraordinarily high to me" from a mental health expert and government guy.

But that's because the point was not to make New York safer. The point was to get the mental health camel with his nose in the tent. Now the nose is in there, and as we can see the rest of the camel is coming in behind it. What they really want is a regulation that brands you insane if you apply for a gun license, and as we can see from this 34,000 number they are well on their way. By next year they'll be up over 200,000. Anyone who has so much as said the words "I feel kinda depressed" to a physician will eventually be on this list.

See, the people who campaigned for this law consider ALL gun owners to be dangerously insane. Just wanting to own a gun makes you a potential killer in their book. These people are liberals. One of their most fundamental beliefs about people is that everyone in the world is only one bad day away from becoming the Long Island Train Killer. Or the Son of Sam, or Ted Bundy. Liberals think human beings are dangerous, murderous animals one thinning synapse away from snapping and killing everybody they can reach.

Those are the honest liberals. The dishonest ones who MADE the law just want to make sure you can't shoot back when they finally come for you at 3AM. Because they're not liberals, really. They're fascists.

The Phantom

Monday, October 13, 2014

"If you build it, they will come."

Via Small Dead Animals, a Breitbart story reports that:

On October 9, the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC) released a revised report showing that 92% of mass public shootings between January 2009 and July 2014 took place in gun-free zones.

Imagine my surprise.

In other startling news, bank robber Willie Sutton reveals he robs banks "because that's where the money is."

The Phantom

Friday, October 10, 2014

Suicide by doctor: the counter argument.

I don't get involved much in arguments about "assisted suicide", because I think there's more important things to worry about than some sick person's desire to off themselves.

However, I saw this article written in rebuttal to the "death with dignity"/killing yourself crowd, and I like it. Its worth spreading around.

Leaving aside the Scriptural arguments, which the author obviously finds more compelling than I do, there is one remaining argument she makes almost in passing that is far more powerful in my estimation:

It's not about you.

Suicides for the most part are people who are, in the final analysis, selfish. (Yes, exceptions exist, don't get your hair up.) However they at least have the grace to jump off a bridge or take pills -themselves-. They restrict their revenge on the rest of us to making us feel bad that they died.

People who demand the assistance of others in their suicides take selfish another whole order of magnitude. They make everyone in their lives COMPLICIT in their selfish act, they make us accomplice killers. The ultimate and final act of self absorption and betrayal, if you will.

Otherwise know as being a dick.

You're born, you live and then at the end, you die. Its nothing special, we all do it. Try not to be a dick about it.

The Phantom

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Panel of experts decides Home Schooling is to blame for Sandy Hook massacre. That's sensible, right?

Cross posted from Small Dead Animals, my comment on why Canada keeps getting more totalitarian and what to do about it.

You want to know why no one ever speaks in favor of smaller government? There's a reason, and it isn't just naked self interest.

This story illustrates the reason. I found it mentioned on Kathy Shaidle's Five Feet of Fury and followed the linkage chain to (I hope) the original news story.

"Gov. Dannel P. Malloy created the group more than a year and a half ago in response to the murders of 20 school children and six educators at an elementary school in Newtown. He charged the panel— made up of experts in education, mental health, law enforcement, and emergency response — with making recommendations to reduce the risk of future tragedies.

The commission expects to have a final report within the next few weeks. On Tuesday its members reviewed their likely recommendations on mental health during a meeting in the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.

The draft proposals include requirements for individual plans for students with significant emotional or behavioral problems. The group is backing extending those requirements to troubled youths, whose parents have chosen to homeschool.

“Continuation of homeschooling should be contingent upon approval of [individualized education plans] and adequate progress as documented” in progress reports, Susan Schmeiser, a professor of mental health law at the University of Connecticut Law School, said as she summarized the proposal."

That right there is the machinery for what makes North America, both Canada and the USA, less free and more regulated every single day.

1-Something bad happens.
2-A panel of "experts" is created to explain/prevent said Bad Thing. The "experts" are obviously friends of whoever is in power that year. They may or may not have to brain cells to rub together.
3-The panel releases a report, said report represents an opportunity to gain resources and credibility for whatever hobby horses or pet projects the panel members may have, so obviously the report features those prominently.
4-The panel report gets taken up by whatever organ of the government is concerned with the type of Bad Thing in question. They create a regulation
5-Our taxes go up to pay for the regulation and its administration.

That's how they do it.

Rinse and repeat for every "crisis" team, Blue Ribbon panel and Grand Jury in the land. Its machinery. It eats money and grows. The more money, the faster the growth.

Solution? Tax cut. Starve the machine, it shrinks.
The Phantom

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Oklahoma "beheading" story actually armed citizen story.

Yes, some guy went nuts and killed a woman in Oklahoma. Cut off her head, started ion stabbing another one.

Real story? How they -stopped- him from killing the second woman:

A man fired from an Oklahoma food processing plant beheaded a woman with a knife and was attacking another worker when he was shot and wounded by a company official, police said Friday.

In other words, some guy in the office who had his gun on him. Probably against company regulations too.

And that, as they say, is the rest of the story.

The Phantom

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Money lending meets the New Barbarism meets robot cars. Hilarity ensues.

Here we have a perfect confluence of crime, greed and technology. Also the burning stupid which is New York City liberalism.  People with bad credit scores are still getting car loans, but they are getting cars with remote shut-off tech in them.

The devices, which have been installed in about two million vehicles, are helping feed the subprime boom by enabling more high-risk borrowers to get loans. But there is a big catch. By simply clicking a mouse or tapping a smartphone, lenders retain the ultimate control. Borrowers must stay current with their payments, or lose access to their vehicle.

Yes, the banks and the car companies have come to the conclusion that they can't stay in business only selling cars to the people who actually have the money to pay for them. Because cars are so expensive now, it takes the average worker several years to pay for the damn things. Furthermore, a third of the working adult population is out of a job right now. So they have to keep making loans. Because making cars that average people can afford to buy would be just crazy, right? Completely nuts! That's the greed part.

But, the quality of the people they're lending to has declined severely even in the last twenty years. The number of people who take out car loans and then just skip out on them, also known as STEALING, has grown so much that the loss can no longer just be written off. General Motors can probably afford to kiss off two to five percent of their loans to deadbeats. They can't possibly afford 20%. That's the crime part.

What to do then? Well, why not tie the car's functionality to the deadbeat jerkoff who took out the loan? Why not kill the engine when Mr. or Ms. Deadbeat fails to pay up on time?  That's the technology part.

Seems reasonable to me. I would never put up with it myself, on my car, but then I'm not a deadbeat loan fraudster desperate for a set of wheels.

Well, the New York Times sees it otherwise. Here's the start of their article:

The thermometer showed a 103.5-degree fever, and her 10-year-old's asthma was flaring up. Mary Bolender, who lives in Las Vegas, needed to get her daughter to an emergency room, but her 2005 Chrysler van would not start.

The cause was not a mechanical problem — it was her lender.

Ms. Bolender was three days behind on her monthly car payment. Her lender, C.A.G. Acceptance of Mesa, Ariz., remotely activated a device in her car's dashboard that prevented her car from starting. Before she could get back on the road, she had to pay more than $389, money she did not have that morning in March.

"I felt absolutely helpless," said Ms. Bolender, a single mother who stopped working to care for her daughter. It was not the only time this happened: Her car was shut down that March, once in April and again in June.

Yes, this is a catastrophe for poor, poor Ms. Bolender because she was marooned in the wilds of Las Vegas, where there are no ambulances or taxis. Or buses. Or neighbors with cars that work. Or friends, relatives, helpful strangers, cops etc. Must be tough. Even though they did warn her before they shut off the car. They warned her a lot, even though the article doesn't mention that part. The car even warned her, it beeps when you're near to getting shut off.

I notice she came up with the cash every time though, because it happened three times. I also notice she took out a LOAN with a 23% interest rate to buy a piece of shit ten year old minivan. That van is worth maybe two grand in mint condition, and she's got a loan on it? Gotta be kidding me. You'd have to be a moron to go for that deal, or have the worst credit history in the universe.

That's the burning stupid part. The idea that a deadbeat woman on welfare is some kind of holy victim of unrestrained capitalism because she won't/can't keep up her loan payments.

Dear New York Times, if you take out a loan you can't/won't pay for it is called "stealing". People who do stuff like that are called "thieves". Generally we put "thieves" in "jail".  C.A.G. Acceptance of Mesa, Arizona was awesome enough to lend this bitch three grand, and all they asked was to be paid back on time. Because they have little things like rent and payroll and interest payments to meet, and so they need their loans paid on time. Right?

Why do you think Ms. Bolander feels all outraged that they put a leash on her to make sure she paid back the money, New York Times? Because you New York liberal MORONS have been propagandizing the entire USA for 70 years that property is theft, capitalism is evil and bankers are Satan, is why.

So, of course there is a legal challenge.

In a lawsuit filed against Western Funding, Swearingen says the experience left Ward with "anxiety, loss of appetite, chest pains, loss of concentration at her job and in her personal life, crying, depression, fear of using the car, fear of being stranded, embarrassment … fatigue, headaches, personal humiliation, insomnia … nausea, nervousness, panic attack, restlessness and loss of sleep."

Swearingen hangs his legal hat on an old common law principle that a lender can't "breach the peace" in a repossession. That means they can't put a person in harm's way. To Swearingen, that would mean "turning off a car in a bad neighborhood, or for a single female at night."


Because lots of liberals have law degrees and are hungry for that awesome lawsuit payoff cheese.

However, for all you budding tech entrepreneurs out there here's an idea for a brand new sideline: spoofing remote shut-off black boxes. Pair of side cutters and an Arduino board, you can probably come up with something. Or you could just rip it the hell out. Never underestimate the power of side cutting pliers.

Because I have only one problem with this remote-shutoff concept: bigger criminals. See, knowing what fools used car dealers are and how lazy they are, it leads me to think that it probably wouldn't be that difficult to hack whatever system they're using and disable ALL the friggin' cars at the same time. This has in fact happened already, so I don't think my concern is particularly tinfoil hat.

What would happen if some gang in South Central LA just ferinstance managed to hack such a system? They'd be able to hold a bunch of people to ransom, wouldn't they? And they'd have the muscle to back it up.

Better yet, what if the City of Toronto decided to have a mileage tax? No pay, no play! Or they just decided to shut off all the cars in town because it furthered their own purposes, political or otherwise?

See? Gets ugly quick doesn't it? Side cutters!

The Phantom