Red circle with a line through it, crossing out the word "LIES"

Choosing a webhost, why are they all lying to us?

Preface

If you have a website you have 3 options to put your site on the internet. You can self-host, you can rent hosting space from someone else, or you can use a free hosting service. Self-hosting is the best, if you can afford it. You need a computer and a reliable internet connection, typically not residential internet but that is changing thanks to services like Google Fiber. Free hosting services are great, if you don’t need a private domain name or special server side applications. For people who want “Mydomain.com” however, renting a hosting service is usually the best choice.

Nearly every hosting provider is lying

That seems straightforward enough, so this should be easy, you visit a few websites, compare some prices, and purchase your hosting. This shouldn’t demand more than an hour of your day, but it’s not that easy. Nearly every large hosting company is outright lying about the services they offer. There’s no regulation in the hosting market and the prices are as low as they can realistically get, so the companies have resorted to competing with lies instead.

The devaluation of the word “Managed”

For example, let’s look at the word “Managed”. Every hosting provider in the world offers “Managed Hosting” if their websites are to be believed, but what does that really mean? Well not much as it turns out. The word Managed starts with “Man” because it’s supposed to mean a human being is overseeing operations, but with large hosts that have 100,000 customers how is that even possible? It’s not, they are lying. They use completely automated systems and if you require any personal support it will come from underskilled phone-operators, or you’ll pay extra for it.

Unlimited is never unlimited

The other popular buzzword in the hosting industry is “Unlimited”. Nearly every hosting provider offers “Unlimited” service, but computer hardware has a finite amount of storage space, processing power, and memory, so how can they offer “Unlimited” service? They can’t. Every hosting package in the world is limited. What’s really happening is they’ve stopped being up front about the details of their service. This makes it especially difficult to compare the value of different services because most of the details are hidden from you.

Full Disclosure

I own a technology consulting business and one of the services I offer is webhosting. I’m not writing this article to advertise my business however. I was unaware of the problems in this marketplace until I entered it, and I am disgusted by how nearly all of my competitors operate. I say nearly all, because there are a good number of honest businesses who are up front about what service you receive and for what price.

What can we do about it?

The simple answer is stop supporting hosting services which behave in dishonest ways. If their sales page doesn’t provide full details of the service you’ll receive for the prices they advertise, or if they claim to offer “Unlimited” storage/memory/CPU, or if they hide extra costs and features on sub-pages of their website, shop elsewhere.

Protestors holding signs that read "No More Wars for Israel".

Israel is not *my* ally.

One of the things you will hear often from the mouths of American politicians is “Israel is one of our greatest allies.” What they really mean is “We’re not anti-semites and also they buy our weapons.” But why are they our “allies” really?

It’s not anti-semitic to say Israel is not our friend. They don’t care about us, they have never come to our aid in any significant way. Israel exists because our grandparents felt sympathetic for the jews following the atrocities of the holocaust, and our grandparents didn’t care about “sand niggers” at all, so they stole some land from the arabs and gave it to the jews, as if it was theirs to give.

Just speaking for me personally, I am two generations disconnected from the people who created Israel. I did not create it, and I would not have created it by stealing land from other people. It is unjust for our parents’ generation to expect and demand that we share in the foolish plans of our grandparents, who dropped nuclear bombs on populated tropical islands full of innocent people so that they could test the effects of radiation on the victims. Our grandparents were terrible people, regardless of how much they may have loved us.

Israel is a hostile xenophobic parasite in the middle east. They take whatever they want, they commit horrible crimes against humanity, and they justify it all by saying “But the holocaust!” You can’t use the crimes of long dead generations to justify the horrors you commit today.

It is time that America reconsider it’s relationship with Israel. Is it too much to ask that they adhere to their treaties and behave in an upstanding way to foster peace in their region? I believe that is a perfectly reasonable expectation of any nuclear power. The biggest kids on the playground should be setting positive examples for everyone else.

Why America Does Not Have a Popular Vote.

What is a “Union”

The United States of America. That is what we call ourselves. We often abbreviate this to USA, US. or America, for the sake of brevity in conversation. It is important to remember, however that we are the United States. America is a union of autonomous “States” (often referred to as nation-states, in other countries).

Each State has been granted authority under the constitution to make it’s own laws, which are not subject to the authority of the federal government. This affords us a really unique ability to have completely different life experiences simply by moving to different states.

A Popular Vote would disenfranchise 47 states.

According to election results from 2016, California had about 9 million participating voters. New York State had approximately 7 million. Texas had 9 million. Wyoming had 250,000.

Approximately 120 million people voted in the 2016 election. If America used the popular vote to determine it’s president, California and New York State and Texas would dominate every election. Between them they have 25 million votes, which is more than 1/6th of the entire nation’s votes.

That means if we were to use a popular vote, California, New York, and Texas would dominate every election and 95 million votes would be practically unheard.

But the Electoral College reduces the ‘value’ of certain votes

Yes, this is true. And before you think you’ve figured it all out, everyone over the age of 30 has figured it out before you. The thing is the electoral college does less harm than the popular vote. Yes, some votes mean less than others. Specifically, California’s votes. California is the only state really adversely effected by the Electoral College, and that is because California has too many people living there. California has the largest number of EC votes (55) of any state, but there is a ceiling because if the EC votes were directly proportionate to the population, then California would again be dominating the election.

Do you see a pattern yet? The point of the Electoral College is to prevent a single state from dominating every election. If you’re a selfish democrat living in California or New York you might think “So what?” Well we aren’t “The United States of California, Texas, and New York”, we’re the United States of America, and everyone deserves a voice at the table as much as you.

Why does this issue get raised every election

Because a lot of people are sore losers, they don’t care about being a United States, all they care about is getting their way, all the time.

One of the things that makes this country so great is the political balance. No single party dominates all the time, which prevents the most heinous of ideas from becoming laws. There is a filter known as “gridlock”, ideas go in, and most of the time what emerges are bills which everyone can agree on. This system has worked for almost 300 years.

Some are thinking “but sometimes one party controls the white-house and both houses of congress”. That is true, however that usually does not last more than 2 or 4 years, and typically the opposition party puts up a fierce battle during those times. Balance is found.

Isn’t there something better?

YES! We just haven’t discovered it yet. Seriously, if you are interested in this you should work on it. We are never, ever, ever going to have a popular vote. For our particular political system a popular vote is out of the question, it is off the table because it would be unfair and broken. If you want to see our elections improve, you have to be forward-thinking. The system to replace the Electoral College will be something new, that nobody has ever tried before.


This next part is dedicated to those poor souls who are either incapable of understanding, or unwilling to understand, the above text. Be warned, if you already “get it”, you might find the next part tiresome.

But but but… the popular vote!

People who, in spite of everything I have explained above, continue to insist that the popular vote is the only real vote, those people are idiots. They aren’t worth your time and there is not a fully developed adult in this country who will ever take their opinions seriously. If you’re one of those people, I urge you to let it go. Re-read what I’ve explained above. Read other people’s explanation. For your own good and understanding, you should.

So and so won the election, but lost the popular vote

Remember, there is no popular vote, so it is impossible for someone to win or lose it. In the same way that we do not have a monarchy, or a parliament, we do not have a popular vote. Yes, you can count numbers in a certain way, but that does not mean the way you counted has any relevance or bearing on the conversation ever. There is no such thing as a popular vote in America, and there never will be.

The only people who ever bring up the popular vote are the losers

We don’t have a popular vote in America. I know I keep repeating this, because certain individuals continue to use the phrase “Popular Vote” as if it were a thing which exists. It does not exist. There is no such thing as a “Popular Vote” in America. It does not exist. The thing you keep talking about does not exist. The numbers you quote are completely meaningless. And if you look back, the ONLY people who ever start this are the losers.

If you are tired of losing our elections, then maybe the problem is you’re trying to win the popular vote, which does not exist, instead of trying to win the Electoral College, which is how our elections actually work. You’re not appealing to the individuals of every state, you’re appealing to the states themselves. It is a pyramidal system and for now it is the best that we have. You either work within that system or you continue to lose and act like crybabies, wishing that the sky were some shade other than blue.

In conclusion

There is no popular vote. There is no popular vote. There is no popular vote. Say it in your head like a mantra every day. There is no popular vote. There is no popular vote. When you’ve matured enough to really understand that there is no such thing as a popular vote, then you will be better able to understand the rest of our political culture, and you will make more informed choices.

Comments?

I invite your comments. Comments which appear to be in support of “A popular vote” will be deleted, as I do not tolerate efforts to dumb down the population, especially not on my blog. Forward thinking is encouraged.

Election Chill Pill.

The Sky is Falling

The sky is not falling. The media has been telling you 1000 times per week that this election is “historic” and will have dramatic consequences. They say these things at every election. The result is that you have all lost your minds, and no matter who won the election, your reactions would be the same.

Each election presents it’s own blend of historic elements. After each election the country continues mostly as it had been doing before the election. New presidents almost never introduce radical changes. And even when they do, the citizens of our nation manage to survive “somehow”.

The Electoral College

The Electoral College was not invented to “screw” people. The United States is a large union of smaller states, each state is meant to be autonomous and ruled by the people who live in that state. Our national constitution protects the rights of states to govern themselves, as a result of that structure.

The social effect of this is that people who are unhappy in one state can move to a different state where the lifestyle better suits their particular tastes. This is one of the greatest features of living in the United States.

Because the population numbers of each state vary significantly, it’s impossible to hold a fair election based on the popular vote alone. If we were to only use the popular vote, California and New York would dominate every single election. The effect of this is that millions of citizens living in the 48 other states would feel disenfranchised.

The electoral college is not perfect, but unless someone can present a constructive alternative which is at least as fair as the electoral college, then there is no reason to suggest changing it. We will never have an election based on the popular vote alone.

Conclusion

In summary, you all need to take a chill pill. Seriously. Smoke some pot or drink some tea or do whatever you do to relax, because freaking out all day long is not healthy. America is young, but it is much older than you, and it has weathered these kinds of issues every 4 years for almost 300 years. Everything is going to be alright.

The “Internet of Things” must be stopped.

Preface

The Internet of Things is an idiotic idea dreamed up in a marketing lab at Apple and other corporations. Wide-eyed executives with no real grasp of technology saw an emerging market where they could capitalize and make billions of dollars, and they rushed to dive in without thought toward the consequences.

What is the Internet of Things?

The IoT or Internet of Things is the name given to a world filled with devices that have embedded operating systems which are internet-capable. On paper, in a fictional utopian paradise, it presents some pretty cool ideas. Sharing of data between apps, remote control, etc.

Where did the Internet of Things go wrong?

The IoT has been a complete fucking disaster. Because the devices are being rushed to market and made by the lowest bidders in chinese code-factories, the software is easily exploitable. The IoT has regressed internet security by 30 years in a handful of months.

What is the evidence for this disaster?

A recent DDoS attack, that is a “Distributed Denial of Service”, was launched using a botnet which is comprised at least in part by millions of “Internet of Things” devices. This was the largest recorded DDoS attack in the history of the internet and it won’t be the last. Think of this like a country testing a nuclear bomb. A black-hat hacker-for-hire group is displaying it’s capability. Next they will sell their service to anyone willing to pay.

What is the solution?

The Internet of Things needs to die, right now. Boycott all embedded devices which do not have robust security controls. Device owners need the ability to upgrade the software and install their own security controls which could be superior to the factory settings. This is absolutely required to bring embedded devices up to speed with the rest of the computerized world.

What if we do nothing?

Selling unstoppable DDoS attacks will become a common practice. With the IoT growing at a ridiculous rate, it will become trivial for anyone with some technical know-how to own networks of millions of bots. A huge black-market industry will emerge. There will be attacks on corporations, on non-profits, on news organizations, on government systems. Giant CDNs like Cloudflare will be destroyed by botnets. The internet will become a wasteland. The benefits we’ve seen in recent decades, improvements to human rights for example, will be lost.

Summary

This is a pivotal moment in human development. We have a choice to nudge our own technological evolution forward in a responsible manner, or push everyone off a cliff in a fool’s gold-rush lead by absolute idiots who are drunk on greed and have no idea how the technology works.

Let’s Encrypt IS the panacea to all our HTTPS woes.

This is a response to a blogger’s post located here: “Here’s how broken today’s web will feel in Chrome’s ‘secure by default’ future” discussing the future of encryption on the World Wide Web.

I was banned from commenting on Mr. Hunt’s page because I made one critical comment about one of his articles. So much for free expression and the exchange of ideas. I don’t feel like re-writing my opinions so when you read it, bear in mind it was originally intended as a comment.

My Comment:

I can’t entirely tell what your intention with this article is, perhaps just to discuss the subject, which is great cause it needs discussing.

There’s no debate to have, encryption is the future, it should have been the standard by now. A discussion needs to happen to wake the average user up. Encryption isn’t only about protecting privacy, it’s about security, as well as simple standards of living.

SSL is trivially easy today. You said that Let’s Encrypt is not the cure, but you are wrong. Let’s Encrypt _solves_ the problem completely. Any remaining difficulty in adapting 100% SSL is the fault of lazy engineers and developers, and nothing else.

SSL is not a luxury product. SSL _was_ a luxury product. And just like Operating Systems, Digital Audio Workstations, Anti-Virus, E-Mail, and so many other applications, the generosity and effort of computer purists have given us free tools capable of replacing proprietary models. SSL as a Luxury product is going away.

The internet is changing the world, just as people predicted it would. Corporations find a niche where they can profit and they refuse to innovate, preferring to maximize their profits by taking advantage of peoples’ ignorance for as long as possible. What has happened with Let’s Encrypt, and other technologies, is that information-freedom-fighters have liberated the masses from the control of those corporations.

The future of the internet is bright, probably more so than 100% of ‘meat-space’.


FIN.

Decoding Evil: It’s not about morality.

Decoding Evil: It’s not about morality.

Preface

Before I dig into the meat of this post, I want to clear up some language conflicts. I am using the word ‘Evil’, which carries a lot of baggage with people. A lot of that baggage is centered around religion. This post is not about religion. I was raised by christian parents, and while I do not personally follow any religion, the influences of christianity have made themselves apparent in my vocabulary. I am using the word ‘Evil’, you are free to substitute another word in it’s place if you like, so that you may better understand this post.

What is Evil?

We need a common definition of evil. A quick websearch suggests the following:

Causing ruin, injury, or pain; harmful

Characterized by or indicating future misfortune; ominous

These aren’t the only definitions, but they are what we’ll be using for this post.

Why is Evil ‘Live’ spelled backwards?

This is not accidental. Nothing in popular language is accidental. Someone made a conscious decision to teach us all the word Evil, and the word Live. Someone made a conscious decision to make them the reverse of each other. Whoever that was, I believe they were trying to pass knowledge to the next generation in a way that would survive the storybooks.

It is my belief that we are to learn to recognize evil, and work to counter it. It is in this way that we find the best path to ongoing prosperous life. That is why Evil is shown as the reverse (or opposite of) Live.

How to recognize Evil?

Recognizing evil is a lot easier than you might think. It’s got nothing to do with morality. Philosophers spent years debating morality, and found themselves at an impasse. Evil is easier. Evil actions create Evil results. I’ll use an example. Smoking cigarettes is a deadly activity that causes cancer and heart disease. It is a habit that is guaranteed to kill you if something else doesnt kill you first. Many of us would say that makes it Evil. Smoking cigarettes often leads to fires, people fall asleep with lit cigarettes, they discard their cigarettes or matches in the brush of forests which starts forest fires, and so on. Evil actions lead to Evil results.

We can recognize the results are ruinous, and look backwards to see the actions which created those results were Evil. This doesn’t allow us to predict the future but it does allow us to learn from mistakes, which is a critical skill for any species which wishes to survive itself. We can use this method to recognize and discourage Evil, without ever invoking morality. I could go on and on with examples of corporate greed, warmongering, and so forth. The examples of Evil being practiced and tolerated every day by Human beings is endless.

What should we do?

Every person must ask themselves if they want to live or die. If they want to be happy or miserable. If you want to live, if you want to be happy, if you want to be prosperous, then logic dictates you should not act in Evil ways, and you should discourage Evil where you see it. Practitioners of Evil such as overpaid CEOs need to be brought down. For-Profit prisons need to be eliminated. Profiteering at all costs needs to be discouraged. The power and wealth of those who have benefitted from these Evil actions is undeserved and belongs to the community which they have harmed. We are not obligated to tolerate their activities.

By persuing Evil means to their selfish goals, those people invade the liberty of the citizens who they share this nation with. One man’s liberty only extends so far as to not invade the liberty of another man, so with their actions they have forfeited the right to liberty, at least until they bring their activities back within the boundaries of ‘Not Evil’. It is up to us to discourage Evil wherever we see it, both for our own protection and for the protection of our communities and families. Inaction will lead to ruin.

Summary

I believe I have made the case today that Evil is ‘bad’ for us, like a poison or dangerous narcotic. Evil kills people, destroys communities and families, and topples empires. Evil is the kryptonite that defeats Human Ingenuity. IF we can minimize the Evil in our societies, together we can accomplish greater things than many can even imagine. People do not need Evil to prosper. Perhaps they lack an understanding of consequence, or they have not been taught how to succeed without using Evil methods. We can address these issues without ever bringing up the confusing topic of morality.

I read today an article that reminds us how the abuse of anti-biotics in abominable industrial farming techniques is creating deadly bacterial mutations which cannot be killed with medicine. If the human race does not act to eliminate the Evil it has allowed to flourish, then the results of that Evil are going to kill the entire human race. We all have choices in our lives, I encourage you all to make the right ones, and stand up to those who do not.

Stop Violence

The Root Causes of Violence

The Root Causes of Violence

We the People have neglected education

The United States education system is neglected. We used to be praised as the leader in public education. That was because of education reforms we made in the mid 20th century, things like public schools in every town, guaranteed education etc. However we have not made any significant progress since then. Also, we’ve built only a tiny number of new schools despite our population rising by 150,000,000 people.

Failing education

A lack of education has lead to an increase in under-educated citizens who are less capable in the workplace, less likely to start their own businesses, and more likely to prey upon others to support themselves and their families. Our federal spending is around $4t dollars, but less than $100bn of that or 2.5% is used for education, our most important resource to ensure a prosperous future for ourselves and the generations to follow. We can literally buy societal intelligence if we’d spend more.

We the People have embraced systematic poverty

Systemic Poverty

The United States suffers from systemic poverty. Our society has adopted a dog-eat-dog mentality which traces it’s roots back to early tribal societies. The strongest tribe takes over until the next one replaces it. This is usually done with hostilities. If we want to have an enlightended and civilized future society we need to change the way we approach issues of Education and Poverty. We should be unified in raising and uplifting all of our citizens nationwide. This can only make our entire nation stronger and everyone will prosper.

We the People have encouraged an oppressive government

The United States has become an oppressive government. In May of 1970 the United States government murdered peaceful college students who were protesting the vietnam war. In April of 1993 the United States government murdered 76 people by trapping them in a building and setting fire to it. Since the 1960s and 1970s major cities such as Detroit, Chicago and Los Angeles have been terrorized by unreasonably hostile and racist police forces. Often these crimes have gone unpunished.

Abusive police

Many of us cling to the America of our dreams, one where United We Stand, but young people growing up in this environment and facing the senseless carnage and abuse that our government has been allowed to get away with will feel disenfranchised. They don’t see a nation guided by the rule of law, they see a lot of meaningless words on paper intended to empower the ruling elite while keeping the poor and underprivileged locked in endless struggles.

We the People have made life hell

The United States suffers from a widespread social disease. When someone has a bad day they take it out on other people. Those people then have a bad day and they take their frustration out on yet others. This goes on and on until everyone is miserable.

When people have disagreements, they do not look for ways to understand each other, they use their disagreements to create divisions between “Us” and “Them”. The parents of today’s youth have not tried to encourage their children to embrace our similarities, instead they have become more xenophobic than ever, teaching their children that everyone else in the world is a threat.

Our nation is enslaved by television, whether in it’s traditional form or delivered via the internet. Everything we know is presented by the television, which is controlled almost entirely by large corporations who do not care about social stability, only profit. In fact social instability usually means more profits for media corporations, so it is in their best interest to stir up problems and they are constantly doing just that.

Our politics has become completely insane. The discussions that occur in Congress at the federal and state levels are infantile and rarely show evidence of rational, considered thought. Children are not born stupid. They grow up in this environment and they see the insanity of all of the adults around them, it is no wonder that many learn to feel alone and threatened by the entire world. When faced with choices they will be more likely to make self-serving choices because they don’t believe anyone else is on their side, and that can lead to violence.

We the People have a drug problem

Pills and Money

The United States is addicted to drugs. The Pharmaceutical industry is one of the largest and most evil industries to ever exist. They are not in the business of curing disease, they are in the business of selling pills. New diseases are invented, to which harmful and addictive substances are sold with inadequate testing. People who have fallen into a hypnotic trance staring at their TV are told they are sick and they need pills to fix them. Many of these “medications” are psychoactive which means they effect the way the brain works.

Besides prescription drugs, Americans are addicted en masse to psychoactive chemicals they are told are safe, such as Caffeine and Sugar, and poisons they know are harmful such as Nicotine and Alcohol which cause more than 8 million deaths every year. In some areas illegal drugs are also a problem, but the threat of illegal drugs is insignificant compared to the damage that we’ve done to our society with “legal” drugs.

We the People are distracted by the wrong issues

The United States has been discussing the epidemic of violence for decades. It does not require decades to find a solution to a problem when the discussion is healthy. One of the reasons we are in the same place as we were 30 years ago is that every time the subject of violence is raised, the conversation is immediately hijacked by people with extremist agendas. They never talk about anything except their personal agendas, and they make the most noise and drown out everyone else. After a few months everyone realizes what a sham it is, they get sick of it and they return to the routine of their daily lives, having done nothing about violence.

I have described for you in this article many of the actual root causes of violence in America. More importantly, I have focused on issues which can be realistically addressed and fixed, rather than divisive topics that nobody will ever agree about. Are there any which I missed? I invite your comments if you feel there is a root cause of violence which I have not yet covered. IF we’re serious about reducing violence in our society, then we need to get serious about addressing these problems rather than blowing hot air every time someone goes insane because of the things I’ve listed and decides to end their lives in an attention-grabbing way.