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A Sunday ramble

Dog and book days

I was deadlining late this week, aiming to get an almost-complete version of the “basics of resistance” book (co-authored with Kit Perez) to reality-checkers.

Ava did not approve of all this focus-not-on-her. The beloved little diva was driving me nutz.

So even though March is supposed to be my frugalista month, off Ava went to Furrydoc’s Dogotel.

I hit my self-imposed deadline a day early. The timeout was glorious — except on the day it rained and I kept thinking, “Oh, I’d better bring Ava in from outside.” Then I’d remember. I’m dogless.


One of the three reality checkers already got back to us. His criticism was excellent, detailed, and specific. But with it came realization that after months of work we have some fundamental re-thinking ahead.

Sigh. But thus go books — especially collaborations, perhaps.

We were hoping to have the book out in the first quarter of this year, which isn’t going to happen. Still, it’s getting there.


It’s sunny today, headed for 60+ degrees. Ava came home yesterday morning and when I picked her up the receptionist at the vet clinic announced, “No charge!”

Awwwww, Furrydoc.

I don’t expect favors from professional friends. But thank you; I will happily accept that one.

So … another glorious day.

Putting the Berlin Wall back together

With the free time between deadline and canine homecoming, I took long baths, read long books and got started on that 1990 Berlin Wall jigsaw puzzle I found last month at a thrift store.

When this is done — assuming it has all its pieces, cross fingers — I hope to glue it together, put a message on the back, and offer it up as part of the Final Fundraiser.

That’s why I’m assembling it on waxed paper. For the glue.

Sorting the pieces (never the most fun part) was rather depressing. Everything, even the grass and trees in the background, is grayish — except for the defiant grafitti on the wall and of course the colorful clothing of the people knocking down that hated symbol of tyranny.

Thank you, Mr. Pink-Shirt Guy. And thank you, photographer whoever you may have been, for realizing that monochrome-vs-splashes-of-color is the point.

Would you buy a VPN from these people (even if it was free)?

I still did my nooz cruise of course. And you know how sometime you read an article only to discover that the really important bit is buried deep down below the headline and the main topic?

Well, that surely applied to this news. Seems F*c*b**k posted an app to the Google Play Store last week, then removed it under fire:

The app in question is Bolt Lock App, a security (sic) app made by Facebook’s Onavo subsidiary, that billed itself as a way to protect third-party apps containing sensitive information. The app was discreetly released on the Google Play store Monday, and was first reported by TechCrunch on Friday. …

With Bolt Lock App, users can lock other apps on their phones, like a payments or budgeting app, by requiring a fingerprint or passcode to open them. But buried in the app’s descirption is a disclaimer — which can only been seen [if] you tap the “read more” button — that says Bolt Lock App collects how and when users open those apps and sends that data to Facebook.

Okay. That’s about what you’d expect from the Evil Empire.

But the real mind-bender was way down in the article with a link to an earlier piece.

Seems that FB’s Onavo subsidiary primarily makes a VPN — a virtual private network.

Now, a VPN’s sole purpose is to keep unauthorized parties (from your ISP to the FBI) from snooping into your browsing activity. Only the company providing the VPN service can see where you travel online, and the best VPN providers keep no logs. Your info passes through them then disappears irretrievably.

That’s how a VPN does the job it’s designed for.

But it turns out that FB and its puppet Onavo … read this carefully … created a VPN that sends all your information back to one of the world’s most malignant data-grabbers, presumably for storage, analysis, resale, and all the other evil FB makes a fortune perpetrating.

Yes, they created a VPN designed to do precisely what a VPN is DESIGNED TO PREVENT.

Wow. Is there anybody out there who is both sophisticated enough to want a VPN and naive enough to want one provided by F*c*b**k???

Of course, part of the complaint was that FB was artfully hiding its snoopery in the fine print. But really. People. Really.


  1. ~Qjay
    ~Qjay March 11, 2018 5:05 pm

    By all that’s unholy….

  2. larryarnold
    larryarnold March 11, 2018 7:58 pm

    I read the Bolt Lock App part and was ready to wonder who at F*k was stupid and tone deaf enough to author a “security feature” with a blab function.

    Then I read about the VPN.

    I got nothing. Those f*k folks ain’t stupid.

  3. lairdminor
    lairdminor March 11, 2018 8:18 pm

    Astounding. But (sadly) not surprising.

  4. Pat
    Pat March 11, 2018 9:09 pm

    What’s astounding is that FB keeps trying to get away with it – it doesn’t seem to realize the technology that allows them to invade privacy and collect data is the same technology that allows them to get caught. In that sense, Zuckerberg & Co. doesn’t understand its own field of computer networking.
    “Do unto others…” is no idle expression in the computer business.

  5. maDDtraPPer
    maDDtraPPer March 12, 2018 12:37 am

    I officially deleted Facebook permanently Jan 1 2018 and have never been better off so much free time and time spent on good projects, like this Blog and the Cabal. February got rid of google for duckduckgo and I am amazed at the lack of in my face advertising for things I googled the day before. Privacy is priceless.

  6. fred
    fred March 12, 2018 2:53 am

    My phone is magicjack,it works over the computer.talking to friend on phone,mentioned another friend coped his VHS movies on to his computer.Later today i get 2 email spams,1 for transferring music files,and another to transfer film and videotapes to dvd.

    have to wonder????? NEVER seen any spam for those before?????

  7. Comrade X
    Comrade X March 12, 2018 10:23 am

    No smartphone, FB nor Google for me.

    Hey, if I haven’t already said before, when y’alls new book comes out I hope there will be autographed copies made available too!

  8. Claire
    Claire March 12, 2018 2:52 pm

    Comrade X — I’m hoping autographed copies will be available! We’ll be doing ebooks and publishing on demand (a totally new experience for me, which is why Kit’s handling that part of the operation). There will be no boxes of print copies. But I presume we can order PoD copies, sign them, and offer them to our dozens of fans. 🙂

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