Friday, February 27, 2015

Godspeed.


Yesterday was "100 flowers", today is "Reichstag fire".

Once upon a time in China, there was an evil warlord named Mao Tse Tung. He wanted to identify and kill everyone in his lands who disagreed with him. So he proclaimed a new government program, the Hundred Flowers Movement. He said "Let a hundred flowers bloom; let a hundred schools of thought contend".

And then after a little while of letting these people talk, he killed them all. In 1957. Then he really got busy, and depopulated the entire continent.

Once upon a time in Germany, there was an evil Chancellor named Adolph Hitler who wanted "emergency powers" so he could become Die Fuhrer instead of just the Chancellor. So he had somebody burn down the Reichstag. This is known as the Reichstag Fire, and it marked the creation of the Third Reich.

Reichstag fire.

Adolph went on to kill a lot of people, although he never came even faintly close to Mao Tse Tung.

Fast forward to modern times. In the Interwebz we have an example of the Hundred Flowers Movement. We've all been happily sharing our most private thoughts, comments, news, pictures, naked pictures, movies, ALL of our lives on-line since the 1990's. And during a great deal of that time, the United States government, the Canadian  government, the British government, all kinds of governments around the world have RECORDED IT ALL.

These days the NSA alone copies pretty much ever packet that goes along the Internet. You know that Apple iCloud thing that's so awesomely convenient for saving pics off your phone? They copy those. Yes, they do.

Love him or hate him, at least we were warned.

So somebody, somewhere, has a perfect record of everything you've ever done online or on the phone.

Which brings us to today. Today is the Reichstag Fire of The Internet.

Dallas Mavericks owner and investor Mark Cuban predicted that proposed FCC Internet regulations will end up impacting TV and "your TV as you know it is over" on Thursday's "Squawk Alley" on CNBC.
Cuban began by predicting "the courts will rule the Internet for the next however many years." He then explained, "let's just take it all the way through its logical conclusion. All bits are bits, all bits are equal. If all bits are equal, then let's look at what a stream bit is an example. So when Henry and I do an interview, and it's streamed lived on the Internet, there's a camera, it goes through an encoder, it sends it out via server or some manner to the Internet, you click on Business Insider and you watch the stream, right? Now, let's look at CNBC on Comcast. There's cameras right in front of you, they go through a switcher, they go through an encoder, it's put through a server, it goes to Comcast, and it's streamed in a managed service environment to television. It's the exact same thing. And if it's the exact same thing technologically and all bits are equal, then why shouldn't CNBC and all TV networks that are delivered on cable, and Telco, and fiber like Verizon, why shouldn't they be part of the open Internet as well? And if they are and all bits are equal, now, let's take it one step further. It's the purview of the FCC now. The FCC, right? So, the FCC now has to apply their same standards to content, don't they, that they do to television content because that's where it is and there's going to be certain citizens who think 'well now, since all content is delivered over the Internet because all bits are bits, and it's a fair, and open, and equal Internet — decency standards.' And remember the FCC is the same agency that fought Nipplegate for eight years over a wardrobe malfunction."
He added, "your TV as you know it is over."
Meaning that if they want to, the FCC could be applying "decency standards" to your personal shit on Apple iCloud. And sending the cops around for a chat if they feel the need.

That most likely won't happen this week because its far too quick a change. They'll ease into it over the course of a few years, after a couple billion dollars worth of lawsuits grind their way through the courts. But, I predict that the days of carrying your smartphone around everywhere and sharing pics of your dinner on Facebook are now officially numbered.

Welcome to the New World Order.

I do believe I said this was going to happen waaaaaay back in 2008, but everybody said "Noooo, that can't happen here! This is a civilized country."  Problem is, that's wrong. It can happen here. It just did.

Germany and China were civilized countries too, my friends. Look what happened to them.

The Phantom

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Iron Finger of Deletion.

Abandon all hope, ye who comment here!
Behold ye trolls and unsavory denizens of the dark: The Iron Finger of Deletion. 

It hungers!


Thursday, February 12, 2015

"SHUT UP!!!!!" they explained.

Todays excursion into SHUT UUUUUP!!!!! comes, predictably, from the Left Coast of Amurrika.

Originally spurred with a $500 Diversity Center grant from The Pride Foundation, the campaign focused on queer identities and hurtful words surrounding them, said Center director Angie Hambrick, who teamed with Lace Smith, then with Student Involvement and Leadership, to turn those ideas into art. The first posters, which appeared in 2012, featured students tearing up phrases including "That's so gay," "Lame," "Retarded," "Ghetto," "Fat" and "Illegal." "We then decided to expand the words," Hambrick said. "We really wanted the campaign to be about individual choice—words that they're hearing and words that they've chosen not to say. They've heard those words—maybe even used them—but they now understand these words have impact even when the intent is not to hurt. We have to take responsibility for the impact on others, and on ourselves."

 Yes, they have a whole billboard campaign featuring "concerned young people" tearing words in half.


No, really. Its gay. What are you, exotic?

The whole thing is so lame I feel retarded for having even read about it.

The Phantom

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Hey Hipsters, got some piping hot Irony for ya...

Yep, big ol' pile of steaming irony right here at the Soapbox. Seems some religionists are less interested in coexisting than others:
It seems like something one would be hard pressed to disagree with: the word "coexist," written on a wall using a Muslim crescent as the letter "C," a Star of David as the letter "X," and a Christian cross as a "T."
But in Paris, this particular iteration of the popular inscription—here, created by the street artist Combo, who also pasted a life-size photo of himself next to it—didn't go down well with everybody. Le Monde reports that four young people asked the artist to remove it last weekend, and beat him up severely when he refused to do so.
Now, you may be wondering about the religious affiliation of the "four young people" who kicked this guy's ass. Because the paper didn't say. I checked with Google Translate.

Wow. Now that is offensive.

Let's do a thought experiment shall we? Can you envision four young Orthodox Jews in black coats and fedoras with those long curls down the side, beating the daylights out of this "ahhhtist" because he was defacing their Star of David? Ok, maybe not.

Or how about four beefy Mormons, eh? Yeah, them boys from Utah are really known for... no, I can't see it either.

Buddhists? Some of those Shaolin Temple ass kickers in the saffron robes decide they don't like the cut of Combo's jib? Not working for you?

Amish! Yeah, that's the ticket, some Amish bros were in town carousing and took exception to having the Cross associated with... yeah no.

Oh go on, you can guess, right?

This article from The Local avoids to mention the fact that French media reported: the attack was committed by Muslims in Porte Dorée, more or less a Muslim ghetto East of Paris. Porte Dorée (the Golden door) is also the French name for the fifth century Golden door that serves as the main entry into the city of Jerusalem.
Combo, who is born in Amiens to a Christian Lebanese father and a Moroccan Muslim mother, created the artwork as a political message in response to the Charlie Hebdo massacre. Combo says his street art used to stay intact for at least 3-4 years but is nowadays vandalized within 2-3 days of creation. Although Combo doesn't want to reveal the identity of his attackers, he states that he is afraid of future violence from a growing group of extremists in France.
He tries "to find similarities" between religions in his art. He became well-known for a political message blasted over Beirut that read:
"Less Hamas, more hummus".
It was 'very poorly received', he concludes.
"I am deliberately being vague about the description of these cowards and where it all happened," his post read. "To me, it doesn't matter where they come from, what colour their skin is, what their religion or their political ideas are. In this context, all they represent is stupidity and ignorance."
Combo started out as a graffiti artist in southern France and currently works mostly with wheat paste and prints, which he displays in cities all over the world.
Despite being French himself, the only place he's getting beaten up after posting all kinds of confrontational stuff all over the world is... France. By Mooslimbs.

What's the BIGGEST irony of all here is that following the Charlie Hebdo Massacre, and the Jewish Deli Massacre, and the Police Shooting Massacre, and the Four Assholes With AKs Shooting At The Cops Massacre this week, Le Monde still refuses to report that the jerkoffs who beat up Combo the peaceful "can't we all just get along?"  graffiti artist were Mooselimbs. Beat him up over a -poster-.

Meanwhile, Jews all over France are packing up and moving to other countries where if it isn't actually any safer for them, at least they get to shoot back.

Meanwhile the French hipster Left maintains its calls for more gun control unabated.

Now that's some well layered irony for you.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Kitchen light turns on, Brian Williams runs for the wainscoting, gets covering fire from Washington Post

Brian Williams lied about being in a helicopter that got hit in Iraq. Ok, I'm sure Brian Williams lies every day, I don't care. I have low expectations.

But then all the people who were in the helicopter call him on it, and a "thing" ensues. So after getting called out, a lot, Brian Williams issues a big grandiose apology on TV. I still don't care, because low expectations. Obviously he's going to spin it, that's why I don't watch NBC.

What pissed me off was this: Guy lies, gets called on it, issues biiiig grandiose apology to make himself look good after lying. Then the media reporter does this:

The admission is a rare black mark for Williams, a poised, veteran newsman who has anchored NBC's signature newscast since 2004 and has endeared himself to non-news audiences through appearances on "30 Rock," "The Tonight Show" and other entertainment programs.

They read out his f-ing resume! "Like, Brian's not such a bad guy eh? I mean, he's been on 30 Rock and everything!"

HEY, MEDIA!!!! This kinda thing is why you are all going into the ratings/sales toilet. Brian Williams is a self aggrandizing sack of shit whose best feature is good hair. Kick him to the curb, move on already.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

This is a sad thing. RWBY creator Monty Oum has died.

I just discovered this very fun cartoon TV show called RWBY on Netflix. I finished watching Volume 2 today and looked it up to see when Volume 3 might come out. Then I found this:

Our friend, inspiration and co-worker Monty Oum passed away yesterday afternoon at 4:34 PM surrounded by people who loved him very much. Ten days ago Monty suffered a severe allergic reaction during a simple medical procedure that left him in a coma. Although he fought bravely, his body was not able to recover. During his time in the hospital he was well cared for and never in pain at any time.

Monty is survived by his wife Sheena, his father Mony, his brothers Woody, Sey, Chivy and Neat, and his sisters Thea and Theary, as well as a countless number of fans and friends. We were so proud to be a part of his life and we will miss him greatly.

Your generosity during the hours after the public statement on Friday will help his family deal with the costs of his care and his passing. You made an incredible difference during a difficult time and we cannot thank you enough.

As for honoring Monty, we will do that in our own way. In lieu of flowers or gifts, we ask that you simply do something creative. Use your imagination to make the world a better place in any way that you can. If you know Monty like we do, then you know he would certainly be doing that if he were able to.

Monty was 33 years old.

We love you, Monty.

So this is Monty Oum's work, RWBY. I think its an excellent cartoon, and very enjoyable. A talented man.





The Phantom

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

IRS still runs on COBOL. For real.

Chief of the IRS admits his department of the government is hopelessly, hilariously broken.

At a Senate Finance Committee Hearing today, IRS commissioner John Koskinen testified on IRS funding requests for the upcoming fiscal year. Koskinen admitted that the IRS is stuck in the past when it comes to technology:

"Despite more than a decade of upgrades to the agency's core business systems, we still have very old technology running alongside our more modern systems."

Some of this software is so old that it is the same technology being used in 1963, a full 52 years ago:

"In regard to software, we still have applications that were running when John F. Kennedy was President."

In fact, Commissioner Koskinen stated that the IRS still uses a programming language — COBOL — that was considered obsolete 15 years ago. As his testimony stated, it is now difficult to find anyone with expertise in this programming:

"And we continue to use COBOL programming language. COBOL was considered outdated back when I served as Chairman of the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion and it is extremely difficult to find IT experts who are versed in this language."

They have software from 1962 running on hardware from the 1980's, is what he means. He has COBOL running on machinery so old the whole thing could be replaced with a PHONE. I seem to recall seeing a couple years ago that the IRS had -finally- phased out punch card machines. Awesome.

Anybody still remember the Millennium Bug? January 1st 2000 at 12:01 AM all these ancient systems were going to hit the end of their 8 bit date address spaces and crash hard. The IRS spent a cubic buttload of money updating all those 1960's technology systems, instead of replacing them as any actual business would. Because they're the government. They don't care how much it costs.

Well that was the 1990's. Its 2015 now. Its been FIFTEEN YEARS since they touched any of this crap, all of which should have been jettisoned in the 1980s and done over properly.

Canadians should not feel smug however, the Canadian government remains the largest purchaser of DEC TK50/TK70 tape drives in North America. They standardized on the DEC VAX system back in the 1980's and are still running them. Just for comparison, the  storage and processing of an entire room full of VAX 11/780s could be handled by an iPad.

The extent of this failure is truly epic.  Except it isn't much on the scale that the Barack Obama administration is failing on. Compared to the Immigration department the IRS is a model of efficiency. I mean, they actually do process tax returns, eventually. The INS doesn't process anything, they just ignore you until you go away. Unless you're an illegal Mexican, then they hand you a Green Card and say "Mi casa et su casa, amigo!"

The Phantom