Posts Tagged ‘tech talk

09
Feb
17

“Smart” Devices, Security Threat

*****

“Smart” devices promising convenience; dumb inconveniences just like pills that result in lackluster results and/or more side effects.

Yes, I am at it, again! I am livid about the latest and upcoming “smart” technology! If you have any brain cells left to digest some food for thought, dig in.

Those talking speakers–which are supposed to make life easier and answer all of your questions so you never have to use your brain for more than uttering words and pushing a button–are a potential security risk IF you have devices–including phones, appliances, door locks, home computers (which might hold tax/income files, insurance records, bank/retirement account links, etc.)–connected to the same WiFi network.

Local news reporters recently suggested hackers could do some serious damage to your records, resources and even your home if this is the case. They recommended creating separate networks for each branch of technology and extra complex passwords, “ones you might not even remember.”

…Wait. Did you just hear/read that right? Yep. Passwords you might not even remember.

WHAT FREAKING SENSE DOES THIS MAKE?!

First, they make technology to simplify life. And, like so many new inventions these days, these conveniences ask you to link every aspect of your life together, put everything online and/or in one digital storage unit. How convenient…for thieves!

You don’t have to think much. You can turn everything on and off from the small nuclear reactor you keep in your purse or back pocket. You can get money wherever, whenever. Why do your own taxes or even send a check when you can link the IRS to your bank account and let them do the draining–er, work–for you? But, those who want what you have (and know how to program the very things you put your faith in) will make stealing and/or ruining it easy.

Need I mention the latest thing in American credit cards (not new to Europe, among other places)? Those wonderful “smart chip” cards that are supposed to be better protection for your credit/money. Yet, as quickly as they get “mandated,” there are commercials for thieves with devices that can scan them much the way the latest designs for retail/grocery stores without cashiers (among other employees) can scan your card and send the bill to your house (to save you the hassle of waiting in a line with other human beings with whom you no longer seem able to socialize and/or tolerate). As an added security feature, there are ads for wallets with metal mesh protection layers…if that does the job. But, if you are protecting your wallet from thieves with scanners and camera phones and “skimmers,” how are those locations that detect your card and send the bill to your home supposed to read your card? Heaven forbid you have to stop, pull out your bulletproof wallet, dig out the credit card for that store and swipe/scan it. Oh, that would be too much work. Wouldn’t it have been easier to just not invent credit cards? Or, here’s a novel idea, STOP MAKING EVERYTHING COMPUTER-DEPENDANT!

THEN, you’re supposed to separate everything you just learned how to connect AND lock it away with a complex password you may not remember. Exactly where are you supposed to safely put all of these passwords you may not remember? Isn’t one of the thoughts behind designing a password to make it something you’ll remember and not need to write down? Will you remember where you put the passwords you have to hide from any wandering snoop that may come along?

Will someone please hold my shoulders so the room stops spinning?

How stupid do humans have to be until the whole world explodes or shuts down? Seriously. No, not Sirius-ly or Siri-ously. Seriously. A word you can find in an actual paper and cardboard dictionary if you can make the effort to find one and use those things you call fingers to do more than swipe right.

Back in my youth, the least intelligent technology–aside from the occasional invention that died out before every “average joe” knew about it–came in yellow and black books, guides for “dummies,” to make life easier and save students the chore of reading actual literature. Then computer classes began, and the whole world started going down the tubes as fast as it was making global connections.

You don’t hear much about those “dummy guides” anymore because you or people you know are likely already the dummies talking to the devices that are now capable of doing your homework for you. The dummy guides are now “help” buttons (which are practically useless due to the fact idiots sometimes compose the “simple” text and diagrams they provide), search engines and digitized voices. Don’t you feel educated?

What’s the sense in spending money on education when technology is going to rob everyone of their brains? I would not be surprised if some tech heads are doing calculations to figure out how many human brain cells are required to get the robot revolution underway before humans are no longer able to program and repair said robots. Won’t we all feel better when we no longer exist and some white plastic-faced box is turning everything we lived for into fertilizer.

NOT ME!

Unplug, now, people. Unplug, now. Think before you compute. And, someone help us all if any more of this crap is forced upon us.

06
Feb
17

Super Bowl 51, Poetry and Disappointment

*****

Some moments in history can be quite poetic, regardless how great or awful they may leave you feeling. The US disaster of 9/11 was one of those moments when numbers started clicking like gears in a clock, turning what seemed like a big shock into a conceivable puzzle, one that could have been orchestrated. Likewise, Super Bowl LI (51) has a few numbers that fell perfectly into place. And, if we look hard enough, we might uncover more.

Consider this.

Tom Brady of the Patriots was looking for his fifth win/ring, and he got it. Now, he’s got himself an infinity gauntlet. He’s half way to becoming a Super Bowl Mandarin. [Those were nerdy Marvel Comics jokes, in case you were wondering.]

The Falcons were apparently denied every previous ring/trophy they ever snatched from the hands of every team that fell one round short in all their previous championship years. This would have been their first win. They were denied, again.

You see? This was Super Bowl 51, and Brady got his fifth while denying the Falcons what was very close to being their 1st. 5 and 1.

And then, consider who scored the much needed touchdown to tie the game. I don’t know if he scored the 2-point conversion, too. But, we’ll say it was #28 who tied the game at 28, sending it into overtime. The first Super Bowl to ever go into overtime? I highly doubt that.

What else have I got to make this more poetic? Actually, that was it. But like I said, there may yet be other numbers that fit into place. And, I would not be surprised.

All poetry aside, let’s not forget the two reasons I really watch these championship games: the commercials and the halftime show.

Sadly, there wasn’t one commercial that I wanted to see multiple times or discuss with friends/family/coworkers the rest of the week/year. The one about the internet being a skinny “wiry” guy who LIKES everything; that was…interesting, I guess. Mr. Clean got a chuckle. Melissa McCarthy, that chubby siren, she was so cute…pitching a car that sounds a lot like a mad Roman emperor who watched his world burn. A metaphor for the oil industry? The traditional favorites seemed missing until, near the end, I saw glimmers of the old advertising magic, including the ghost of Spud the Budweiser dog and one lame Sprite commercial that fell flat faster than the soda does when left uncapped.

But, the biggest disappointment of all might be that no one made a commercial with Chun Li in it to commemorate the number of the game. [I kid.  But, I did make my own ad for that.]

Lady Gaga was a sight to behold with her halftime show, making some sharp costume variations.  Hair and makeup were both fantastic and simple.  Yet, compared to a few previous shows with female contenders, hers was washed out. Some might have questioned her lack of a supporting artist. She didn’t call in Lenny, Bruno, Madonna or the Black Eyed Peas. She held her own. And, she did all right. She kept it clean, nothing too edgy, daring or controversial. But, something was missing…

…And, “social media” was not it! I get it. Everything on television has to be geared toward teens who must eat, sleep and breath the clicking of a keyboard as they get programmed for war in the future. But, seriously? I need to know how many “tweets” or clicks or beeps are happening during a game or right after a performance? That’s like going to see a Broadway show and finding out how many people coughed or sneezed at the end. SHUT THE FRAG UP! I turned the TV off and waited for the madness to stop.

I am so sick of all the tech talk! I’m tired of robot football players flashing signs, drones popping up everywhere you look, boasting camera angles that could zip into a guy’s nose hairs…and, cripes sake, stats about finger clicks and swipes. E-NOUGH! Even if the game was played by robots to eliminate all the painful injuries and losses…only to rack up other losses and repair jobs…it would not interest me to be so robotic or computerized. Without a certain human element in this game, I don’t think I’d have the same interest. It would be like watching a giant, ridiculously expensive video game. And, maybe it already is just that…and I should stop watching before I hate it like NASCAR.

Ehem. Neck roll to relieve pent up stress.

Truth be told, fitting a stellar show into 12 minutes is rather daunting. I’d suggest two alternative strategies next year:

1) The artist picks 2 or 3 songs–not a full album–to spotlight with grand props, special effects…the works. That’s roughly one song per four minutes, slightly longer than the average music video. But, we get to revel in each song in ways that a normal concert might not be able to provide.

2) Make the halftime show at least 30 minutes long. That may seem like a drag to the teams in the locker rooms, but it would give the performers more time to develop a stellar show rather than appear like they’re rushing to get a touchdown before the clock expires.

In conclusion, I went into this game not caring who won. The team(s) I wanted to play were denied entry. And, personally, I’m a little sick of Tom Brady and the Patriots. When one quarterback can score 5 rings/trophies in his career–granted, not as easily as the Dallas Cowboys made it look some years ago–while my favorite team(s) are lucky to see 1 ring/trophy in a decade…and that’s after changing coaches, quarterbacks and/or who knows what…it grinds your gears a bit.

Not to mention, there was the year the Patriots–if I am correct–were accused of photographing an opponent’s playbook. And, just last year, we were grumbling over “Deflategate,” when the Patriots were accused of messing with the air in the balls used in the final game on an exceptionally cold night. Topping that off, Brady wins this one after pretty much sitting back and relaxing for three quarters before shaking off his lion-skin cape and breaking out the bazooka. It’s as if someone told him the last scandal would get wiped from his record if he took a few hits and threw a few rounds in the ring before unleashing the eye of the tiger. And, it wasn’t like the Patriots needed the overtime period. That ended about as fast as their last drive, in under a minute. All the Patriots really needed was another 30 seconds on the clock, maybe 51 seconds.

Anyway, the big spectacle comes and goes, making way for the next season of tycoon arena sports. Thankfully, I care even less about that one. I don’t waste more than a minute looking at the car-nage. But, what an expensive gambling setting, source of pollution and waste of resources. All thanks to our beloved troops who make it possible, right? Whatever. [And, all of the local crimes behind the troops backs really make us feel safe at night.]




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