school desks with computers built in

Education

Education is the key to success

At this stage of a civilization’s development, education is the single most important investment. Children need a crash course in the world they’re born into. When all we had to do was gather berries and build shelters from the storm this was something a village could handle, but not anymore. There are too many subjects, too many students, and too few resources, personnel and otherwise.

Children Can Math

Presently the nation’s education budget is about $100 billion dollars. Our entire national budget is around $3 trillion dollars. That means education is getting only 1/30th of the budget. Kids are not born stupid, they’re taught basic math and they can figure out how much their future matters to you. It doesn’t.

Imagine if Education received 1/4 of the budget

If Education received 1/4 of the national budget that would be around $750 billion dollars. We could build enough schools so that no community would have classes bigger than 15 students. We could provide a computer to every student in every class in every school in America. They’d be built into their desks to prevent wear and tear and accidental damage. All data would be stored on the network so students wouldn’t rely on a single machine.

Every student would have a personal folder on the school network, with public and private repositories. This is something we already do in top colleges, why not grade schools? Start them earlier. There could be a secured folder where students would have read-only access to their lesson material, textbooks, assignments and so on.

It’s easier than you think.

The politicians want you to believe that kind of budget adjustment is impossible, but it’s not. The reason America spends $3 trillion dollars on so many things is because Americans are stupid, thanks to a public school system which hasn’t seen a real overhaul since the 1950s. Stupid people cost money to maintain. Smart people would innovate new tools and processes which would improve our society and drive down the costs of maintenance. The only thing that creates smart people is education.

Cloudflare’s “Keyless SSL” Feature violates trust and privacy.

SSL exists to ensure Privacy and Trust

SSL serves two purposes. Privacy and Trust. Both purposes are equal. Privacy means it encrypts your traffic, this ensures that packet sniffers on a public network can’t view your credit card number when you purchase something on Amazon. Trust means when you visit Amazon.com, you know that the responding server is actually Amazon.com

Without both Privacy and Trust, SSL is useless.

If you compromise either privacy or trust, the SSL certificate becomes completely worthless. Now your activities are at risk of being compromised, which is precisely what SSL exists to protect against.

KeyLess SSL violates both Privacy and Trust.

Cloudflare’s new feature “Keyless SSL” violates both privacy and trust. This dubious service operates by decrypting 100% of your web traffic between the server and Cloudflare’s network. That means Cloudflare can view your credit card numbers. All that is required is a Cloudflare employee to hide malicious code in their traffic inspection function and they could steal thousands or millions of credit card numbers in an hour.

Browsers should Declare all Cloudflare traffic “Insecure”.

The solution is simple. If SSL traffic comes from Cloudflare, one must assume that it has been decrypted and inspected during transit. This means it is not secure. Web Browsers need to declare this to the user. Traffic that comes from Cloudflare websites should be flagged as insecure, regardless of the SSL status.

US Flag - Distress

Google’s “NoCaptcha ReCaptcha” product is slave labor.

Google are Crooks.

Google has been in trouble over their ReCaptcha product in the past, and they are bound to face the fire again. Their “NoCaptcha” service advertises itself as being user friendly, by presenting users’ with a single check box they click to pass the test. However it very rarely works like this, especially if you use any sort of adblocker or privacy protecting addons in your web browser. Most of the time it presents the user with a photograph, or a series of photographs, in a 16 square grid. It then asks the users to click on each square which matches a specific description.

If you don’t answer the captcha to Google’s satisfaction, the challenge becomes more annoying. For example after clicking a square you might have to wait for that square to reload. The time it takes that square to reload is adjusted by Google, based on how much they “trust” you. So while some users might only have to click 3 squares, others might have to click 6, and wait for as many as 10 seconds for other squares to reload. And then when you perform the tasks they demand and you click ‘verify’, it will often start the entire process over again, for no explicable reason as you answered everything correctly.

What is really going on?

What is actually going on here? Is the system broken? No. What is happening is Google has a massive database of images, billions and billions of images, and they are using the unpaid labor of millions of computer users to add digital tags to those images. “This Image contains a Car” or “This Image contains a Mountain” and so on. The entire system is automated. On it’s rosy surface it would appear as if the labor of those users is being used to improve the captcha system, but that’s not what it’s for. It exists to force millions of users to do the work that Google is required by law to pay people to perform.

This is slavery.

This is slavery. We haven’t tolerated slavery in this nation in nearly 300 years, but Google thinks they can get away with anything they want because they think the world depends on them. It doesn’t. We don’t need their stupid search engine, there are a number of 100% equally useful search engines such as Bing and DuckDuckGo, in fact some have found those engines provide better results for their searches. We don’t need their free E-mail service, as there are countless providers of that same type of service, none of whom use it to spy on their users the way Google has done for years. The truth is Google does not provide ANY valuable services to the world, and they are raping the information market in new and disgusting ways to make a quick profit.

Stop Google.

It’s time we put a stop to it. A class action lawsuit should be raised against Google again for their “NoCaptcha ReCaptcha” service, and the FTC needs to step in and force them to stop.

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.

Zootopia Carrot Pen

How to Disassemble & Repair the official Disney Store Zootopia Carrot Pen

I’m a big fan of the film so when I saw they had this pen I had to buy one. It records great and writes adequately. It is possible to replace the pen part, however one should take great care when disassembling so as not to break any of the plastic bits.

There was one issue which seems like a defect to me. The spring on the pen is a bit too large for it, and on mine it shifted up and wedged itself on the block which is supposed to keep the spring down. As a result the retractable feature stopped working.

To repair the retractability, I carefully disassembled the pen:
1. There are two covered screws near the top, the covers can be removed with a sewing needle.

2. The silver cone tip is where everything locks together so that is where one must be very careful not to break the pen. The cone has two ‘teeth’ which fit inside the two orange halves, and each orange half has a tooth which fits into the cone.

3. Once disassembled, a bit of electrical tape wrapped tightly around the “blocker” part of the pen, just above where the spring goes, will keep the spring from shifting upward. A smaller spring might be a better solution, but who knows where to find such a thing.

~ fin

UPDATE Jan 7th, 2017

The pen broke again a few weeks ago, sadly.. The electrical tape must have slid from it’s spot as I feared it might. I’ll need a more permanent solution, perhaps a tiny bit of epoxy. It’s a low priority, I really love the pen, perhaps I’ll write Disney and asked if they’ve addressed the issue in a new batch.

broken telephone and the hammer which smashed it

The telephone is obsolete.

Some guy told me that my future depends on having quality telephone service. I think not.

The telephone was invented in the 1800s, and was a fantastic piece of technology for 200 years. Since it’s invention we have also invented more advanced forms of communication. E-mail. Text-Messaging. Video-Conferencing. And with the advent of high-speed internet based on fiber and coaxial networks, none of these technologies rely on or even utilize the telephone.

The future in no way relies on the telephone. And anyone who believes the telephone to still be a relevant technology needs to step into the 21st century, where the rest of us are currently living.