UPDATE: A little further below I announced the date of the return of the SEB Podcast as February 20th at 3PM. As it turns out, Dave is apparently very highly in demand at his current job and as such a big super-secret project he’s involved with has already resulted in us having to postpone the return of the podcast just hours after we settled on a date and time. The new date will be March 6th at 3PM. We now return you to our original entry.
If you’re a long-time visitor to SEB then you know that at one point in time, I attempted to start a podcast with Dave Hill of ***Dave Does the Blog. In the past 11 years since we started it in February of 2010, we have managed only ten total podcasts. If you look in the podcast section of the blog, you’ll see that we managed to do the first four in the same year with only a couple of months between them. Then the fifth was nearly a year later with the next two also coming in within a couple months of each other. The eighth one, again, came nearly a year after the seventh. The ninth, however, well it was over three years later in 2015. Jinkies!
I hear you saying, “Wait a minute! You said you did ten podcasts, but there’s only 9 listed in the podcast menu!”
Yes, the tenth was done as a live-stream in Google Hangouts which I apparently never got around to adding to the podcast menu. Probably because I was going to strip the audio from it and save it as a MP3 file. You can find it here on my YouTube channel. It was streamed on May 6th, 2018 making it almost three years ago that we last sat around shooting the shit. Naturally, this means it’s time for Dave and I to make another one.
So, that’s what we’re going to do. On February 20th at 3PM EST I will haul the desiccated remains of the Stupid Evil Podcast from the shallow grave it’s been lying in along the railway tracks and prop it up for another go. You can either watch it live as we stream it as we will once again doing it as a video stream or catch it later once it’s been archived to my YouTube channel. Google Hangouts streaming, which we used last time, is no more having been replaced by Google Meet. Which I think is the same damned thing with a new name. That’s probably what we’ll be using, but I’ll need to double check and make sure it’ll do what we want. I’ll leave a comment with exactly what we’re using once I know for sure.
As always, we’re looking to you guys for topic ideas. Yeah, Dave and I have a lot to catch up on, but it never hurts to find out what you guys want us to talk about. It doesn’t even have to be anything we’d know anything about, though it might make for a better answer if we know at least a little about it. Got something? Leave a comment below or on social media and we’ll try to address it.
As if to prove that America doesn’t have a lock on Right-Wingers destroying their own property to “own the Libs”, Australia’s own COVIDIOTS have stepped up to “send a message” to the Mainstream Media that they’re not going to take their fake news any longer.
You got it all in this one: The people who smash computer monitors or smartphones instead of their TV because they don’t know the difference, the shotgun to the screen followed by a spear, the kitchen meat tenderizer, a pick axe, various hammers and sledges and so on. I do like how several of them took the time to explain that the TV they were smashing was, indeed, a “tell-a-vision” so we knew that they were smashing a TV because, you know, we might not be smart enough to know what it is just by looking at it. I also found it interesting how many of them sounded like they were reading — badly — from a prepared script and at least one dude showed that he was.
As with past protests by the Right where they destroy expensive stuff such as Nike shoes (over their deal with Colin Kaepernick) and Keurigs (after they pulled ads from Sean Hannity’s FOX show), I fully endorse this and hope they continue. In fact, I hope it spreads (like a virus!) to the COVIDIOTS here in America as maybe it’ll get them away from FOX News for a bit.
This latest bit of Conservative stupidity didn’t go unnoticed on Twitter:
So take heart American Conservatives! You’re not alone in your journey of destroying stuff you paid good money for to own the Libs!
What’s that? No, we’re totally not laughing at you. We know you’re very serious and we would never giggle at you. We all feel horribly “owned” by your actions. Go ahead, do it some more!
Have you seen all the people on Facebook posting selfies of themselves after they’ve run it through the FaceApp? It’s all the rage right now probably because the results tend to err on the very flattering side. If this app is to be believed, everyone is going to look amazing. Just a few more wrinkles and lots of grey hair. Personally, I don’t need to use that FaceApp to see what I would look like as an old person because I am already an old person.
True story: On the way into work this morning I could not for the life of me remember my age. I knew I was 50-something, but I wasn’t sure if I would be turning 52 or 53 next month on my birthday. I had to literally do the math in my head while driving at 70 MPH on the freeway because it was bugging me so much that I couldn’t recall if I am currently 51 or 52 years old. (For the record, I am currently 51 about to turn 52.) I almost went as far as to ask Google because they almost certainly know my age, but I did the math instead because I didn’t want to interrupt the song streaming on Pandora at the time. So, yeah, I’m old. Not super old. Not even eligible for senior discounts at most places yet, but old enough to have the bloodhounds at AARP on my ass about signing up. I’ve got another three years before I outlive my biological father who died at 55, but I doubt I’ll match my great grandmother who died at 99.
Speaking of that FaceApp, you might want to think twice before playing with it depending on how much you care about your image potentially being sent to Russia for a foreign company to do whatever they want with it. The folks at Slate have a good write up on how worried you should be about the app with responses from the company that makes it:
Privacy Matters and several news outlets (some in rather alarming terms) pointed out that when you use the app, you grant Wireless Lab a lot of rights. That includes a “perpetual, irrevocable, nonexclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, fully-paid, transferable sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, publicly perform and display your User Content … without compensation to you.” That basically means FaceApp can do whatever it wants with your photos, according to New York Law School professor Ari Waldman. “You retain copyrights and photos that you upload, but you grant them the opportunity to pretty much do anything they want with the photos that are stored on their servers,” Waldman told me. And in many cases, it’s not just photos of the individual using the app—people upload images of their friends and families, too, meaning such a database of faces would be massive, and that same policy would apply regardless of who is in the photo. “It’s pretty broad, to say the least,” Waldman said.
That’s a pretty permissive and vague terms and conditions, but to be fair to Wireless Lab, that’s true of a lot of apps because it covers their ass in case someone decides to sue for some stupid reason. Still, you should be aware that you are granting them these rights when you use the app. There was also a rumor going around that it wasn’t just uploading the picture you submitted to foreign servers, but grabbing your entire camera roll. Slate asked security expert Will Strafach to take a look at the app to see if that is true:
And, according to FaceApp’s creator Yaroslav Goncharov at Wireless Lab, that data doesn’t get sent to Russia at all unless you are in Russia:
Yaroslav Goncharov, FaceApp’s creator and Wireless Lab CEO, said in an emailed statement that no user data is transferred to Russia even though “the core R&D team is located” there, and he echoed that the entire camera roll is not tapped for upload. Forbes reported that FaceApp uses Amazon servers located in the U.S. and Australia. And, to be fair, FaceApp said it deletes most photos after 48 hours: “We might store an uploaded photo in the cloud. The main reason for that is performance and traffic: we want to make sure that the user doesn’t upload the photo repeatedly for every edit operation.” But, again, all we have here is its word. When I asked Goncharov what Wireless Lab uses the photos for, he didn’t say. “Privacy policies and terms are drafted by lawyers and they always prefer to be on the safe side,” Goncharov wrote in an email. “We are planning to do some improvements here.” I directly asked if the company actively uses personal data for commercial purposes, and he didn’t respond.
So, in the end, it’s entirely possible that FaceApp is an innocuous bit of mindless fun and the folks at Wireless Lab aren’t keeping your data for very long or doing anything with it you wouldn’t want them to. However, the potential for abuse is still there in that terms of service agreement and if they changed their minds because, say, Russian intelligence needed a shit ton of pics to train a facial recognition system with, well, you’d given them the rights to do just that. Even then it’s arguable whether that would have any real impact on you in the long run outside of having helped the Russians to train an A.I., but it’s something you should consider before using the app.
Then again you should probably stop to consider these things with any app you’re thinking of using. Considering I’m all over both Google, Facebook, and this blog I doubt my using FaceApp could do much more damage to my privacy than I’ve already done to myself. I still won’t use it, though, because I already know what I’d look like when I’m old. Now, if it could remember my age for me…
I’ve not blogged anything in awhile in part because my creative juices have dried up and in part because every day there’s so many new outrages to come out of the Trump administration that it’s hard to keep up without being overwhelmed. Children in concentration camps, his unqualified kids sticking their noises in at the G20 summit, and now his big Russian styled military parade for the 4th of July.
This is why the title doesn’t wish you a Happy 4th. There’s nothing to be happy about this year. It’s all starting to feel way too much like the dictatorships Trump loves to buddy up to. More worrying to me, however, is how Trump has shown the willingness of Republicans to tolerate a wanna-be Stalin so long as he’s a Republican giving them want they want. Trump has already done so many things that they would’ve tried to impeach Obama for if he had done them that it really does put to bed any credibility they might have had. There was one Republican who stood up and called for impeachment, but he’s announced that he’s leaving the party so they don’t even have him to point to anymore.
So, have a safe July 4th. That’s the best I can do this year.
Help me out here, the year is still 2018, right? I only ask because apparently the folks at FOX & Friends First are very alarmed by the fact that smartphones have cameras on them. Cameras that can record video clips. Cameras that can record video clips of police officers. Almost like, *GASP!*, BODY CAMERAS!
To be fair, they’re freaking out over a shortcut some dude came up with for the iPhone that makes recording an encounter with the police very easy by simply saying “Hey Siri, I’m being pulled over.”
Here’s why this is stupid: First, cell phones have had cameras capable of recording video since at least 2005, though video recording capabilities wouldn’t become commonplace until a few years later. The original iPhone, for example, had a 2MP camera and couldn’t record video. Still, it’s easily been doable for over a decade now.
Second, being able to start recording a video with a voice command has been a thing since at least 2014. With my Pixel 2 in my shirt pocket all I need to say is “OK Google, record a video,” and it will launch the camera app in video mode and start recording immediately. In most of my shirt pockets the phone is just tall enough to peak over the top of the pocket. This makes it trivally easy to start a recording without making it obvious that I’m doing so. At least so long as the target is out of earshot as I have to issue the command and the phone acknowledges that it’s launching the app. Once I stop recording my phone is set to immediately back it up to my Google Photos account. The one drawback to this is that if it’s been awhile since you unlocked the phone then you may need to unlock it before it’ll start the app, but with the fingerprint reader that’s pretty easy to do.
Third, this isn’t something that can only be done on the newest iPhones as the report above suggests. It’ll work on any iPhone running iOS 12 and the Shortcuts app. It’s not even the only shortcut that’ll do this. The I Got Pulled Over shortcut is also available.
The big innovation here is that the Police shortcut pauses music you may be playing, turns down the brightness on the iPhone, turns on “do not disturb” mode, starts recording with the front facing camera and sends out a text message to a friend letting them know where you are and that you’re recording a police encounter. Guess what? There have been apps that will do similar things for quite some time now.
On Android there’s Legal Equalizer which will text a contact of your choice, record the encounter and upload it to cloud storage, advise you of your rights and what to say, and even help find a lawyer.
Also, there is the Mobile Justice app developed in association with the ACLU which has been around since 2012. There are multiple versions of this app as each is specific to a state (here is the link for Mobile Justice: Michigan on Android and here’s the iPhone version). This app is more for activists as in addition to recording video and uploading straight to the local chapter of the ACLU, it has the ability to let you know when someone else is involved in a police encounter nearby so you can act as a witness.
That’s just two examples of dozens of apps. The point being that this isn’t anything new. So why is FOX acting like this is some shocking new affront to the police? Well, it turns out that lots of news organizations are reporting on it because the shortcut has shot up to become the third most popular one available at the moment. Business Insider did an article on it where they even show you how to make the shortcut yourself, USA Today wrote about it, Car and Driver got in on it, etc. and so on. The difference here is that FOX & Friends First decided to play it off as something bad because it’s FOX News: Propaganda Arm of the GOP since 1996.
I discovered Randy Rainbow during the election and if I weren’t already married — and heterosexual — I’d marry this guy. Probably the only truly good thing about Trump winning the election is all the material he’s gonna be giving Randy to work with. Here’s his latest:
Humor is one of the best ways to cope with a bad situation and we’re gonna need a lot of it before this administration is done. Thankfully we have Randy to help keep us sane.
I keep seeing this meme pop up on my Facebook wall:
I’ve already been blocked by one die hard Conservative for daring to reply to it when they posted it and I’ll probably be blocked by a few more before I’m done.
Yes, this is technically true. Republicans didn’t riot when Obama won in 2008. They did rush out and buy a shitload of guns because they were scared shitless that Obama was going to try take away their second amendment rights — something he never even so much as tried to do in all of his time in office — but they didn’t technically riot. They did the same thing again when he was re-elected in 2012 driving gun sales to record levels in the process.
However, this meme ignores an important distinction: Obama’s wins in no way threatened the well being of white people. Unlike President-elect Trump, Obama never threatened to deport white people or ban Christians from entering the country or take away white people’s right to marry. Obama didn’t insult and denigrate his opponents constantly or talk about how he would like to punch a heckler in the mouth. He didn’t talk about imprisoning his political rivals despite the fact that a good case could have been made that George W. Bush was guilty of war crimes. In fact, he made a point of saying he wasn’t even going to look into the idea of prosecuting anyone involved in the disastrous Iraq war. He ran a campaign not based on fear, but on hope and change for the better. Whether Conservatives want to believe it or not, they faced no real threat from Obama winning other than having to live with some policies they didn’t agree with. So why would they protest in the streets?
Which isn’t to say they didn’t protest. How many years did we have to put up with Conservatives whining about how Obama wasn’t born in America so he shouldn’t be eligible to be President? Hell, there were books written on the topic and even Trump himself kept questioning Obama’s status as a citizen right up until he started campaigning. The fuckers are still screaming he’s a socialist/Muslim/dicktator/fascist/traitor every chance they get.
On social media Republicans are crying about folks using the #NotMyPresident hashtag ignoring the fact that many of them were saying the same damned thing about Obama for the past eight years. Suddenly the act of declaring Trump as “not their President” is offensive to Republican sensibilities.
Then there’s this:
WE’LL TAKE TO THE STREETS IF TRUMP DOESN’T WIN!
And then this:
Why I do declare, I don’t understand why people are taking to the streets in protest! We Republicans would NEVER do such a thing.
There was no shortage of Conservatives threatening armed revolt if Clinton won the election. We’ll never know what would’ve happened had Clinton won, but I wouldn’t have been surprised if it were Republicans in the streets crying “Not My President” because the irrational hatred of Clinton among those folks is deep after 20 years of demonization by the Republican party. For fuck’s sake, you shiftless bastards were talking about impeaching her as soon as she took office before the election was even decided.
And don’t cry to me about how some of the protestors are rioting when this sort of shit is coming from your side of the divide:
I could go on and on, but you get the point. So, yes, technically the meme I posted at the top of this entry is correct. Republicans didn’t take to the streets to protest Obama’s election wins. That doesn’t mean the folks protesting Trump’s win don’t have good reasons to do so. If you honestly can’t understand why folks, particularly minorities, are upset about Trump winning then either you haven’t been paying attention or you’re just a heartless bastard.
And before you even suggest it, no, I’m not saying they should be rioting and committing crimes, but by and large most of the protests have been peaceful. Yes, some have turned violent. That happens sometimes when a lot of emotional people are gathered in public. We can’t seem to get through a national sports championship without some idiots setting shit on fire, which is an infinitely stupider reason to riot than what is motivating these folks.
At the very least, if you’re going to bitch about it then try not to be such hypocritical fucks while doing so.
I admit it. Back when Trump first announced his candidacy, I thought he was mainly doing it as a publicity stunt. As he came closer and closer to winning the nomination my incredulity only grew. There was no way he’d be the nominee because the Republicans weren’t that crazy, right? Surely they were sane enough to recognize how unfit for office this man was and yet he still became their nominee. I got a little worried then. Not too worried, though, because there was a part of me that still couldn’t believe the populace would hand him the reigns to the country. Just based on some of the horrible things he said — let alone some of his past actions — it seemed clear to me that any rational person would see this was not a man who should be President. Yeah, I can be foolishly optimistic at times. To the point that it can override my natural tendency towards cynicism.
So, I wake up yesterday and Donald Trump is President-elect. My first thought was: “Well shit.”
I often annoy my wife by trying hard not to speculate on what other people’s motives are. I try very hard not to assume I know why two people are fighting or who is right out or wrong unless I have a great deal more data than I usually do. Why did so many people vote for someone I find personally reprehensible for President? Someone who might do damage to our country that could take decades to undo? I’ve heard all sorts of reasons. Any and/or all of which might have been why. My natural inclination is to think we’ve all lost our goddamned minds, but I know that’s not really true. I don’t know that I’m smart enough to puzzle out the answers and there are others already analyzing the hell out of this election that are better qualified to pontificate on it.
What I do know is that this is the reality we live in now and we’re going to have to deal with the good, bad, and ugly as it comes along. There are a lot of people that are scared shitless right now — minorities, LGTB, etc. — and with good reason given some of of things the President-elect has said he will do. I can’t change the election, but I can do my part to try and stop the damage this administration may try to do. I’ll be reupping my membership in the ACLU for starters (https://www.aclu.org/) and I’ll be donating to a few other organizations when I can. Groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (https://www.eff.org/) and Americans United for Separation of Chuch and State (https://www.au.org/).
I’m also going to try and keep an open mind about President Trump. I don’t know that he fully understands just what he’s gotten himself into and I hope — that small knot of optimism again — that once it starts to dawn on him that it’ll sober him up a bit. I even dare to hold out hope that maybe, just maybe, it’ll make him a better person and a not-entirely-terrible President. My inner cynic laughs at the thought and I’m not one to buy into miracles, but I was so wrong about how this election would go that I cannot ignore that I might be wrong about how the resulting administration will turn out. Right now, hope is all I got so I’ll cling to it.
That said, you can bet your sweet ass that if he does turn out to be as horrible as I fear he will be that I’ll be blogging about it. I’ve not been as active on here since Obama got into office whereas I was all over Bush’s shit. If nothing else good comes from this at least it may be the catalyst that gets me back into blogging regularly once more. I’m not planning on packing up and fleeing to another country. This one is as much mine as it is anyone else’s and it won’t progress from my turning tail and running away.
For now I’m going to try and focus on the good stuff in my life. Friends and family and the upcoming holidays. There’s still lots of things in the world that make life worth living. Yeah it’s that old hoary chestnut of counting your blessings, but it does help sometimes. Shit is probably going to get rough in the near future and I will deal with it as I see it coming down the pike and I’ll try to help others along the way.
This election will be historic regardless of who wins, just for very different reasons. It’s important that you make your voice heard and it’s a civic duty one shouldn’t take lightly.
Thanks to an 11PM conference call to provide tech support to someone in India, I got to sleep in this morning and then Anne and I went to vote before I left for work.
We voted! Tah-dah!
I cast my vote for Hillary Clinton and voted blue straight down the ticket. Republicans have had a death grip on Michigan’s government for too long and, with any luck, perhaps we’ll tip the balance a little more towards the progressive side.
Hillary is most likely going to be our next President, but she’ll have a rough time of it if we don’t gain back at least one — but preferably both — houses of Congress. If you feel the same way then you shouldn’t be sitting this one out. Even if you can’t bring yourself to vote for either candidate for President, there’s still lots of other races you can make a difference in so go vote.