The ‘F’ Word And More – It’s Fasab Fact Day!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Don’t be offended by the title.

An ‘F’ word here or there never hurt anyone.

So get stuck into the facts (that’s an ‘F’ word too!)

Enjoy.

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who is afraid of the 'F' word

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In 2011 approximately one third

of divorce filings in the US

contained the ‘F’ word,

yes, that’s the one

“facebook”.

(See, it wasn’t nearly

as bad as you thought.)

facebook divorce evidence

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HOT fact:

The temperature of the Earth’s core is

5500 degrees celsius (9900 degrees fahrenheit).

That is the same temperature as the surface of the sun.

temperature of the Earth's core

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Getting a silver medal in the Olympics

will make you feel worse than getting a bronze

(because you just missed the gold)

silver medal in the Olympics London 2012

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There is actually a beer brewed

from bananas in some countries

beer brewed from bananas

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Out of 44 Presidents of the United States,

32 have served in the military.

15 Presidents served in the Army/Army Reserve,

9 served in state militias,

6 served in the Navy/Naval Reserve

and 2 served in the Continental Army.

President Reagan Military Service

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Croatian Josip Belušic invented the speedometer.

(How about that for a fast fact?)

Josip Belušic

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Answering the call of nature is something

Europeans usually associate with the utmost privacy,

which is why American toilets,

with huge bottom and side gaps,

seem so weird to some foreigners.

American toilets

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The first webcam was actually created

to monitor a coffee pot at

the University of Cambridge.

first webcam

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Russian spies used to use hollow coins

to pass messages to each other in the US

and one of these coins made it into circulation.

One day a paperboy dropped the coin

and it split open revealing its coded contents.

The code baffled the FBI and CIA

until a Russian spy defected to the US

and interpreted the note.

It was a welcome message from Moscow

…and it was intended for him.

hollow coins to pass messages

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In Australia there is a river

called the ‘Never Never River’.

Never Never River

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The toaster in your kitchen

contains a more powerful computer

than the one used by NASA

to send astronauts to the moon.

It only had 64Kbyte of memory

and operated at 0.043MHz.

toaster

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After the release of the Top Gun movie in 1986,

the US Navy stated that the number of

young men who wanted to become Naval Aviators

went up by 500 percent.

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Would You Buy An Expensive Lock If Someone Else Had The Key?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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encryption-lock

 

Apple and Google recently enabled full-device encryption by default on their mobile operating systems – and big brother doesn’t like it – not one bit. As always he talks about things like ‘National Security’, ‘terrorist threats’, etc., and that there will be total chaos in the streets if ordinary citizens are allowed their right to privacy.

Some of the stuff that has hit the media has been ridiculous and would be laughable except these idiots are actually intent on total control.

For example, the head of the FBI has issued dire warnings of children dying if ordinary people are allowed their privacy via encryption programs. The secretary of Homeland Security used the deaths of the 168 people killed in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing as ‘proof’ that, while privacy was important, encryption should not be allowed to stymie US law enforcement.

Big Brother wants to stick his nose into EVERYTHING. Anything that makes that harder to do frustrates the hell out of him.

big brother is watching poster

 

So he continues with the stupid excuse that the necessity to snoop on law abiding people is because criminals and terrorists might use encryption tools as well.

It’s a bit like saying that no one should be allowed to drive a car because someone, somewhere, sometime, might get drunk and cause a fatal accident.

Then there’s the EnnEssEhh director who wants mandatory “front doors” to be built into all cryptographic technology used in the U.S., so that you can’t have secrets it can’t spy on. His idea is for all encrypted software and hardware used in the U.S. to have one encryption key for the user (you) and another that would be made available to the government bureaucrat spooks any time they wanted it.

This is complete nonsense. And they know it. But still they persist.

They have already got the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which removed the right of a purchaser to use their goods as they see fit. This legislation means that digital products continue to be the property of the seller – not (you) the buyer who paid for them. And it makes it illegal for buyers of digital goods to circumvent any features that allow snooping.

Going back to my car analogy, that is like a car dealer selling you a car on the condition that you never open the hood to see how it works, or perform your own modifications.

In practical terms this means that if you buy a new phone or computer, the manufacturer can have a spy device pre-installed in its hard components or its software and you would be forbidden by law from finding out about it or fixing it.

If Big Brother thinks he can enforce stupidity like this then he is even crazier than I think he is – and I think he is completely crazy already!

Big Brother can legislate all he wants, but we all know that the only people who will abide by these new laws will be the law abiding people. The criminals and terrorists will find ways round it, through it, over it, or under it.

It’s the same flawed logic as in the continued cry from liberals to take legally registered guns away from law abiding people so that only the criminals are armed.

Neighbor Wants Guns Banned

 

Then there is, not the probability – but the FACT – that if a government spook friendly encryption system was created, it would immediately be attacked by hackers – including hackers employed by foreign governments, some of them friends of the terrorists that the legislation is supposed to be there to defeat.

And what about the practical commercial aspect to it all? When you think about it, who in their right mind is going to pay good money for an encryptiuon system that they know can be broken?

Would you buy an expensive lock if someone else had the key?

I think not.

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Gullibility test kit – send $19.99 now!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Gullible or not now is your chance to look at this week’s selection of word plays, better known as puns.

As usual they come with choice….

Enjoy or endure!!

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rofl

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I have four problems in life:

counting,

remembering

and counting.

 counting sesame street

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I was driving along the other day,

when a bloke stopped me and said,

“Your back mud flaps have fallen off.”

I said, “Can’t do much about it now,

I’ll just carry on rear guard less.”

 mud flaps

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Stable relationships

are for horses

 Stable relationships are for horses

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My friend told me that after years of doubt,

he is now convinced my wife is having an affair.

“We’ve gone and moved 250 miles away,” he told me.

“And we’ve still got the same window cleaner.”

 window cleaner

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It’s times like these, when I’m sat

in bed with my computer on my knee,

that I really wish I’d bought a laptop.

 computer

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I think I may have a shower.

Just checked, yes I do, it’s upstairs.

 a shower

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I just found $20 hanging from my ceiling.

It was a suicide note.

 $20 bill

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Exaggerations went up

by a million percent last year.

 sales chart

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If Einstein hadn’t come up with

the Theory of Relativity,

someone else would have.

It was only a matter of time.

 Einstein

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My cat is absolutely terrified

of thunder and lightening.

The pussy.

 lightning

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What part of my body is as long as your thigh,

contains over 120 muscles,

and is an anagram of “pensi”?

No, you’re completely wrong.

The correct answer is my spine.

 spine

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According to my facebook timeline,

I had no life before joining Facebook in 2012.

I believe it to be the other way around.

Facebook-Timeline-Evolution

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RIPIE, YIPEE!!!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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In my post last Friday that I called ‘Looking Through The Windows’ (click here if you want to read it)   I mentioned that the demise of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser was imminent and Windows 10 would see a whole new ‘streamlined’ internet browsing system bundled with it.

Now it’s official.

Microsoft is indeed ditching Internet Explorer. If fact it is getting rid of the entire brand.

Microsoft has confirmed that it was re-branding its new browser, currently known as ‘Project Spartan’, when it is released in summer.

Microsoft-s-Spartan-Browser

As usual, the need to kill off Internet Explorer is Microsoft’s own fault. They have released a series of bloated and buggy versions of IE over recent years, every one worse than the previous one. Now IE has attained a very negative reputation with internet users, particularly experienced ones.

But IE’s death will not be a quick and painless one. Instead a lingering demise is planned. Why I don’t know.

Some versions of Windows 10 will apparently still be shipped with IE still on board. Presumably you will have to go through the rigmarole of deleting it and replacing it when the new version is ready. Possibly a reason not to buy the new Windows 10 system until they get their act together.

internet-explorer-9

On the positive side, the new browser will be free. Not because Microsoft likes to give things away for free (that’s not what made Bill Gates the richest man in the world), but because they started that trend when they were trying to kill off Netscape, which they successfully did.

Since then no one pays for a browser. Apple, Google, Mozilla, Opera and the rest are all freebees these days. Inadvertently I suppose Microsoft did us all a big favor.

The only thing that scares me is the hype coming from Microsoft.

Statements like, “Microsoft’s change in direction is a smart, albeit bold, and a symbolic gesture.” don’t fill me with confidence. It is the same type of nonsense that preceded the release of ‘Windows Vista’ and ‘Windows 8’, and if you read last week’s post you will know what disasters I thought they were.

So will a change of name, or re-branding as Microsoft calls it, mean that their new browser will be a good one? The jury is still out on that. Like everything else we will have to wait and see. If they stick with the name ‘Spartan’ the implication would be that the new browser will be slick, fast and not memory hogging. That would indeed be good and a welcome changes from recent versions of Internet Explorer.

Having said that, I don’t think Google Chrome is in any imminent danger though.

Spartan Browser 2

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Happy Birthday Dot.Com

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

dot com

Yesterday I was looking through the windows. Today it’s dot coms.

Technically I’m a week late but I thought I would wish good old Dot.Com many happy returns anyway.

Thirty years ago, on March 15th 1985, the first dot.com domain name was registered. It was symbolics.com.

It wasn’t a significant event at the time because way back in 1985 about the only people using the internet on a commercial basis were US government contractors. Ecommerce giants such as Amazon.com and Ebay.com hadn’t even been thought of.

It has all changed since then of course. Slowly at first, only four other dot.coms were registered in 1985, but now thirty years on the total number of registered top-level domains, or TLDs as they are known sometimes, has surpassed 288 million and showing no signs of stopping.

That total includes over 115 million dot coms, which are still the most sought after and most valuable, but there are also dot nets, dot orgs, dot biz, dot infos and a host of others. In fact more than 500 new TLDs are being added to the internet right now, with another 500 in the pipeline.

tlds

And the dot com era has spawned an entirely new industry. These names are now traded like commodities, most worth a few bucks, but quite a number making it to 6 and 7 figures (that’s over $1million!).

So what happened to the symbolics.com name? It was eventually sold off for an undisclosed sum to a Dallas, Texas-based investor group in August 2009.

Like I said at the start, Happy Birthday Dot.com, the first thirty years have been good.

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Looking Through The Windows

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Looking Through The Windows

Have you noticed that Microsoft Windows operating systems follow a distinct pattern?

By that I mean that after a fairly decent stable version, it inflicts a bloated piece of trash on the poor consumer. Software that is invariably rushed out to the public before it is ready, or before someone in the company has had the decency to take it out behind the Microsoft barn and shoot it.

Invariably each new version of Windows is hailed by Microsoft as “the best Windows yet”. You can understand that advertising hype I suppose, but it just ain’t true, they only get it right about half of the time.

The other half, Microsoft takes a good idea and turns it into a bad one as it tries to be new and trendy and interesting. It invariably ends in disaster.

Windows XP

After a number of faltering tries, most of which I experienced during my long love affair with computers that I previously wrote about on this blog (click here if you want to read it), we eventually got a decent operating system that Microsoft called ‘Windows XP’. It was stable, did everything reasonably well, didn’t suffer from too many dreaded blue screens, if any, and everyone was happy, particularly business users which are Microsoft’s bread and butter.

I know some people who are still happily using ‘XP’ despite its lack of updates to fix security issues like new hacks or threats now that Microsoft has finally ditched it.

Sadly, Microsoft followed the ‘XP’ success with a thing they called ‘Windows Vista’. As usual it was intended to be breakthrough technology. They tell me it was the brainchild of Bill Gates himself.

Windows Vista bad

However, ‘Windows Vista’ had one big flaw.

To put it bluntly, it was a piece of crap!

Most people, with the exception of the idiots who have to have every shiny new thing that is announced whether it is any good or not, stayed well away from ‘Vista’, and wisely so. Just to see what all the complaints were about my curiosity made me load it on to an old machine. I persevered with it for a couple of days before taking it off my computer for ever, never the easiest thing to do with Microsoft operating systems but I did it. I had to. It was dreadful.

I continued happily with ‘XP’ until it was time to change my laptop. The new one came with a 64bit version of ‘Windows 7’ on board. I had read good things about ‘Windows 7’ and they were largely true. It was a good system.

Windows 7

In fact a lot of people agree, because ‘Windows 7’ runs on about fifty-five per cent of the World’s PCs. ‘Windows 7’ was a winner because it didn’t try to make a big splash by attempting to do everything everything else did, only worse. It was just a good stable operating system that worked.

‘Vista’ became a distant memory, people were happy once more.

But then Microsoft went and did it again.

Instead of allowing ‘Windows 7’ to stay on as a cash cow, their idiot designers thought it was time for a new breed in the herd.

They ignored everything that was good about ‘Windows 7’ and, in a nerd-like stupor of unreality, decided what the world needed was not something that they were familiar with and liked, but something they wouldn’t know how to use and that would frustrate the hell out of them.

So it was that the horrible ‘Windows 8’ was conceived and born. It ignored the desktop and most of the laptop markets completely and aimed itself squarely at the touch-tablet system, Microsoft thinking that was where everyone was going. They didn’t say so, but a big part of their plan was to try to get kick Google’s ass because its ‘Android’ operating system for mobile devices and tablets had become a dominant market force (80%+ of the market).

It could all have been so different if the arrogant know-alls at Microsoft had listened to what people were telling them when they did exhaustive testing for ‘Windows 8’ before releasing it. About 1.24 billion hours of testing was done pre-release and all the feedback ignored, presumably because it was overwhelmingly negative.

Windows 8

Needless to say, when ‘Windows 8’ did hit the market it failed.

In fact it failed on all levels.

It alienated the desktop and laptop users. Business users didn’t want it and ordinary consumers didn’t want it either. It was so bad it wasn’t even popular with the mobile device users it was aimed at.

Microsoft got themselves stuck with one of the least wanted versions of Windows in the history of the company and that’s saying something!

‘Windows 8’ is so bad it has even eclipsed the hated ‘Vista’ in the league of things you never want near your computer.

It’s not just my opinion. Microsoft’s share of the PC and tablet market on ‘Windows 8’ is only just a little over 10 per cent and quite a lot of that is made up of people who didn’t have a choice when they bought a new machine with this catastrophe pre-loaded on it.

So what have I got on my computer?

I’m glad you asked. I have ‘Windows 8’!

WTF?

No, wait, I’m not a hypocrite, not completely.

‘Windows 7’ is no longer available since Microsoft stopped retailers and PC makers from selling and installing it.  It has entered into what Microsoft calls an ‘extended support mode’, but this only means that from now on all you will get will be new bug fixes, if and when problems crop up.

So when I needed to upgrade my laptop the dreaded ‘Windows 8.1’ was all that was available. They call it version ‘8.1’ because it is 0.1 percent less horrible than version ‘8’, but that’s still nowhere near being even average, let alone good!

Of course, trying to regain my dignity and sanity, I immediately tweaked the whole horrible mess that ‘Windows 8.1’ is, for example, adding back the start button (like ‘Windows 7’), loading a proper desktop version of ‘Skype’ instead of the irritating piece of crap app that is bundled with ‘Windows 8’, and doing some more bits and bobs to make the thing actually work like a ‘Windows 7’ machine. The bloated and useless ‘Metro’ start screen is also gone and I boot right to my familiar desktop.

The only reason I didn’t dump the whole shebang and load on my old ‘Windows 7’ program was because the new ‘Windows 10’ version is so tantalizingly close.

‘Windows 10’ ? Wait a minute. What happened to ‘Windows 9’ ?

Windows 9

There are a lot of theories about what has happened to ‘Windows 9’. Personally I think Microsoft already had it in development as another souped up version of ‘Windows 8’ when they launched ‘Windows 8’. But when they saw what a disaster that was they just ditched the whole thing and put all their efforts into ‘Windows 10’.

The official line from Microsoft says they have called the new operating system ‘Windows 10’ because they wanted to emphasize that it is is not a simple step up from ‘Windows 8’ but is a huge change for the company from the way they build Windows to how it will be deployed.

In plain English what that means is that Microsoft themselves know what a crappy program ‘Windows 8’ was and are trying to put some distance even in their numbering system between it and their new baby.

Windows 10

That aside, from what I have read so far, ‘Windows 10’ is a step back towards ‘Windows 7’ rather than a move ahead to where ‘Windows 8’ was trying to go. In other words, ‘Windows 10’ is bringing back the parts of the Windows desktop stupidly dumped by the designers of ‘Windows 8’.

At last Microsoft has hit the reality wall with a big slap and realized that safe and familiar is what the vast majority of their consumers want. The detestable immersive UI experience that forced bewildered users into the flawed ‘Metro’ world is gone and the desktop environment is back. And so is the beloved start button – hurrah!

Sanity has returned!

No, wait a minute, this is Microsoft what are you thinking?

‘Metro’ is still there, although in a much toned down version, with ‘Metro-looking’ apps that can be run in the desktop environment.

Apparently Microsoft has also integrated its digital assistant ‘Cortana’, the rival to Apple’s ‘Siri’ and Google’s ‘Now’, which made its debut on the unwanted ‘Windows Phone’. On the phones, ‘Cortana’ is used for voice-activated calls and searches, mapping, location and to launch apps. I’m guessing it will be on ‘Windows 10’ for the same reasons, but how much use people will make of it remains to be seen and heard.

I have also read that with ‘Windows 10’ comes a new Windows browser, codenamed ‘Spartan’, which may or may not integrate with ‘Cortana’. If it is a better browser than IE that will be a good thing, but don’t hold your breath on that score, after all IE versions just kept getting worse and worse when compared to something like ‘Google Chrome’. Another point against it in my book is that it has been designed as an app rather than a proper program so the jury is still out on it. I think I’ll still be using ‘Google Chrome’!

It is a bit obvious that the idea of adding these, really unnecessary, features, to ‘Windows 10’ is an attempt by Microsoft glamorize the new operating system and, by no means least, a smoke and mirrors attempt by the company to divert attention away from the fact that it has stuffed ‘Windows 8’ in the bin where it always belonged.

So for now we just to wait and hope. On past performance, after such a turkey as ‘Windows 8’, the next Microsoft version of its operating system should be good. It has to be better. It wouldn’t be possible to do worse.

But you never know for sure with Microsoft.

One final thought.

If your name was ‘Gates’ why would you call your operating system ‘Windows’ instead? Did he suspect right from the start that there would be embarrassing catastrophes ahead and didn’t want his family name associated with them?

As I said, just a thought.

open-gate-meadow-field-peaceful-43309059

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The Internet Of Things.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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The Internet of Things courtesy of kpcb.com

Last year the ‘new thing’ that all the techies were talking about was the ‘Internet of Things’.

For those who are not up to speed on this ‘new thing’, the ‘Internet of Things’ is about getting all of our household devices connected online.

This is not just a ‘new thing’ but it’s a ‘BIG thing’ too.

Already there are about 10 billion net-connected devices and predictions are that by 2020, just five years from now, the number will have grown to 50 billion devices.

More importantly, for the businesses involved in this industry, and for investors, the ‘Internet of Things’ market will be worth at least three-quarters of a trillion dollars – that’s an ‘illion’ with a ‘tr’ in front of it!

As you would expect, the big technology players aren’t wasting any time getting involved.

Samsung's 'SmartThings Hub

Samsung has developed what it calls a ‘SmartThings Hub’ which will organize all of the connected devices in your home regardless of what platform they run on. The company’s CEO has promised that by 2017, 90% of its products would be connected to the Web.

The Samsung ‘SmartThings Hub’ is compatible with the Apple ‘HomeKit’ for iOS8, which was introduced last summer.

A lot of the ‘IoT’ devices are aimed at the home security market. Many of these are already available, but with the development of the ‘IoT’ they will become much more sophisticated, have additional features, such as cameras with facial recognition capabilities, and be more affordable for the average consumer. At the moment most of the better systems carry a hefty price tag and are aimed at the high-end market.

Another big market is babies, with a number of devices coming to the market that monitor almost everything about your baby and send that information to you wherever you are via a mobile device.

Other ‘IoT’ devices for the home include smart light bulbs, Bluetooth speakers, WiFi repeaters and lots of other home entertainment applications.

You will even be able to control your coffee maker or tea kettle via wifi.

fitbark

And your pets have not been forgotten either. If you just can’t bear to be unconnected to your dog, for example, you can get a smart collar like the ‘Fitbark’ or ‘Motorola Scout 5000’. If this was pun day I’d tell you it came with a paws control.

It all sounds great, for those who like that kind of thing. And indeed some of the devices will be useful and hopefully cost effective and energy saving for the home. I don’t think you’re going to have any choice because new devices for the home will come with all this new technology built in.

The big problem will be sophisticated burglars and malicious tech savvy people, who will no doubt figure out ways of hacking your system and possibly gaining control of the whole set up.

A password like ‘password’ will no longer suffice in the era of the ‘Internet of Things’.

you have been hacked

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