Hedges trimmed, leaves swept,
Cars washed, sticks picked up. Great day
For a Fall clean-up!
Hedges trimmed, leaves swept,
Cars washed, sticks picked up. Great day
For a Fall clean-up!
Out grilling for an early dinner so that I don’t have to work in the dark!
It’s a beautiful Saturday, so I got outside with my son and took care of our fall yard clean-up. Hedges trimmed, plants cut back, both cars washed, and a lovely four mile walk in the sun. Burgers on the grill for dinner.
I’ve never had them,
Before last year. Allergies,
Ruin great Fall fun!
Apple’s Give Back program is ridiculously slow.
This is a time of great upheaval in American technological culture. For the past twenty years, technology companies have taken up an ever increasing presence in our lives through hardware and software. These technologies, like so many before them, changed the way we do business and live. As with all technology, what can be used for good can quickly become very dark.
For over a decade, I handed over troves of personal data to Facebook. Like so many others, my digital life resided primarily within that walled garden. As I left college and entered the workforce, Facebook took on a deeper focus on their business and increasing market value. More people were let in, algorithms took over the feeds, and soon I was mostly seeing ads or friends trying to hawk their latest diet.
Cambridge Anayltica was a tipping point for many, but for me, it was just the impetus to shut it all down. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, gone. I deleted my accounts, and this time, it stuck. I haven’t been back.
I was struck in late October by a particular public action of Google. I read news articles about how employees were pressuring management to not work on technologies that would benefit the United States military. Setting aside the fact that I come from a military family, for employees of an American company to request that our war fighter not have the best tools at their disposal for protecting our freedom, is inane. Google is one of the great American technology leaders, and their refusal to work on contracts for the Defense Department is shocking. Juxtaposed against that virtue signaling is Google’s full-throated efforts to dominate the Chinese market. They may be making progress, but they’re doing it on the Chinese government’s terms.
Reporting this year has revealed the depravity of the Chinese Communist Party and the lengths that they are going to in order to maintain power. They’re leveraging technology, stolen or otherwise, to bring into existence the dystopian police state that every free thinking person fears. One has to look no further than the proving grounds of the western Xinjiang province. Home to a large muslim ethnic minority, the Uighurs, the Chinese government tests and hones its use of surveillance technologies in Xinjiang before rolling them out to the rest of the country. The Communist Party has built an expansive network of concentration camps and, by some estimates, has interned over one million Uighurs without cause, subjecting them to “patriotic education” and, according to some former detainees, torture.
Google’s rejection of support for the United States military and implicit cooperation in the oppression of a minority group, let alone the Chinese people writ large, by their government is too much to let go unnoticed.
To Google, I am both a customer and a product. The more that I use their products and services, the better they understand me. They likely have enough information on me to tell you just about everything about me. In that way, I become the product, whom they can repackage and market to advertisers in exchange for fees.
In light of recent events, creeped out by their constant efforts to track and categorize me, and in consideration of our lack of values alignment, I have decided to quit Google.
It’s going to take me about a year, and during that time I’ll need to stop using the following Google services: Google Voice, Google Search, Google Wifi, Google Drive, Google Docs, Google+ (business), YouTube, Waze, Nest, Google Analytics, Google Adsense, Google Webmaster Tools, and I’m sure, others. There are plenty of alternatives out there in the market, and thankfully, they aren’t all owned by one company. This distributive approach to fulfilling all of my services needs will ensure that no one company can track me so expansively.
Google started out as the best search engine, and then became a juggernaut. In the past decade, they’ve betrayed what was enshrined in their corporate code of conduct as far back as 2000, “Don’t be evil.” They quietly emoved that tenant from their code in the past twelve months. In many respects, they’ve become everything that they set out to avoid.
Greg Ip for The Wall Street Journal, The Unintended Consequences of the ‘Free’ Internet:
The zero-price business model is a source of many of the problems plaguing the Internet. It’s no coincidence that Google, Facebook and Twitter Inc. —which garner more than 80% of their revenue from advertising—are the ones most often accused of propagating toxic content and eroding privacy…
Changes to home tech,
Take quite a bit of my time.
Feels good when all done.
Medal of Honor: Allied Assault was a great game.
Realizing how deep my relationship with Google goes. Waze, YouTube, Google Voice. A twelve month transition away feels like the right amount of time to wrap things up.
Hierarchy of domestic shipping:
So much fun to watch,
Five year old do karate.
He is full of joy!
I love when the sunset paints the upper branches with that warm gold.
I wish that Apple had a really good iOS/macOS way to clean up “Recent Contacts.” So annoying.
Currently reading: Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety by Eric Schlosser 📚
Crews outside my house,
Tearing up the neighborhood.
Hope they leave nice roads!
American Kingpin is the true story of the infamous Silk Road, its founder Ross Ulbricht, and the law enforcement agents of the United States and their hunt to bring down Ulbricht.
In many respects, Silk Road was a revolutionary website and the epitome of the logical ends of technology. Any technology, the internet included, taken to its logical conclusion, can be used for evil just as easily as it can be used for good. Silk Road was a website on the so-called “Dark Net” that served as a digital black market for drugs, guns, and really anything shady. Drugs ordered on Silk Road would be sent through the mail and, for the most part, delivered to their destination.
Ulbricht was, by all accounts, a failure in his mid-20s. He had a burning desire to change the world, but no real successes to his name. His friends and family considered him to be sweet, but as the story goes, it becomes clear just how dark Ross could go.
A main thread that runs through this story is the inefficiencies of the Federal government when it comes to cross-jurisdictional law enforcement. The tribalism of the different agencies mired the investigation and ultimate take-down of Ulbricht and Silk Road. It was because there were cyber crimes, drugs, firearms, fake IDs, digital currency, and illegal usage of the US Postal System that this fragmentation took place. Author Nick Bilton goes to great lengths to detail the infighting between the US Attorney’s offices, FBI, DEA, HSI, CBP, IRS, US Secret Service, and even the US Postal Inspection Service. Even beyond just this upper-strata of conflict and competition was inner-agency strife between offices in different cities, especially HSI Chicago vs. HSI Baltimore.
What was truly remarkable about the story was how Silk Road tended to infect and corrupt every one who touched it. Ross went from a “sweet” kid in the suburbs, to a ruthless mob boss, ordering (and paying for) murders of competition and traitors. A DEA agent started selling Ulbricht intel on law enforcement activities and tortured a Silk Road employee. A Secret Service agent stole nearly $1M in Bitcoin.
The story is told in vignette style, which makes it very readable. I got through the book quickly and enjoyed every minute of it. Bilton is a skilled journalism and writer. In the end, the government got their man, and Ulbricht was given a sentence commiserate with his crimes not just against the government, but in a very real way, against humanity. People died using the drugs bought off of Silk Road, others became addicted, and those are just the few stories we know.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Oh, Amazon. DC and NYC for HQ2? How original! How brilliant! How imaginative! What a colossal waste of everyone’s time.
iMac Upgrade Woes
Hard drive not replaced,
Tech said not possible now.
Here comes external!
Finished reading: American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road by Nick Bilton 📚
Benedict requested a podcast this morning, so we sat down at the breakfast table and hit record. He shared a random fact and Felicity is now a puppy. This episode can best be summed up by Felicity’s off-mic review once we wrapped, “That a great ChetCast!”
I’m so disappointed in this season of Last Man Standing. They really lost their juice between networks.
Ready to Go
Busy week ahead,
House is neat and tidy, tho.
New a new topic.
I’m so close to app and preferences parity between my iMac and MacBook.