Going Commando In the Digital Age

A note on “security”. Since we now know about the Spectre flaw making CPUs built in the last fifteen years unsecured AND we know about the WPA2 wifi wireless protocol Krack, Key Reinstallation AttaCK, vulnerability, there is NO real security.

When our wireless connections are as secure and a toddler’s toy box and our CPUs offer access to the keys to the kingdom, we can not say ANYTHING is secure. There are those saying that the CPU problem will require new hardware. Okay, what hardware are they planning on buying? Since everything built in the last 15 years is vulnerable, we will need to wait for all new processors. Those processors are going to have to change the way information is exchanged between processes… Can you say alpha or maybe beta hardware? Anyone who trusts the first generation of any technology is out of their mind. A massive change to the internals of CPUs is going to be a BIG gamble!

I believe the CPU issue will be solved in three to five years. The wifi issue may actually take a little longer, but most business users will be up to snuff in five years.

This is going to take a long time to fix.

Replace Men With Sex Robots?

Bloomberg has an article that is pointing out that sex robots may replace men in bed.

As a man, my response is “that’s nice.” Unlike the fully triggered femi-nazi snowflake nutters, I’m just not all that worried about it.

Sorry Bloomberg, the shock thing only works when the target cares. With the sex robots on the way, who really cares what women think? The whole women’s rights thing has been stretched and stretched since the 1960s to the point that no sane person can take those movements seriously.

Enjoy the robots, but when it is time for the robot tune-up, get your damned toolbox!

As I Sit Here NOT In the Dark

Note that my house is at least sixty years old. I love my home, but is by no means new.

Last year, around 10/2016, I asked for an estimate for a natural gas generator. Among my reasons for wanting one;

  • I am now on a low pressure sewage system wherein a pump sends the sewage into a pressurized pipe, I would like to be able to flush during power outages. Without a generator, I can hold it, put it in a waste disposal bag, or crap in a bucket…
  • In the modern world, too much is tied to the power grid.
  • Some times I have consulting jobs to get done and I don’t want to wait eight hours for the power to come back on.
  • I have ALWAYS wanted a natural gas generator.

I looked at the numbers and they were okay. The company doing the install warned me that there would be a bigger natural gas meter needed and that would be between me and my power company but not to expect to pay less than $550. I signed the paperwork and began the adventure.

I had the generator, with the auto switch over mechanism installed. The installers said that while the new meter should be installed, I could get by with the existing meter as long as I avoided any other natural gas usage. While I liked the fact that I didn’t have to wait for the new meter for any emergency that might pop up, I wanted everything perfect.

NIPSCO, my power company, decided that it would cost $830 for the new meter… Okay, I paid it. Two or three months later, in the beginning of January, they did the install. They mentioned, gee, I had soft copper tubing for my natural gas line and that is a MAJOR no-no. I would have to replace all of the natural gas lines in my home immediately…

I swore that I would IMMEDIATELY get the lines replaced. Note that the house is about sixty years old and the lines seem to have done just fine all of that time, so I didn’t rush. Once the weather warmed up, in March, a couple of months later, I looked into the natural gas line replacement. Since my water lines were also soft copper, I had the water lines and the natural gas lines replaced.

While the plumbers installed the lines, I asked if they could balance a toilet that was giving me problems. They said no problem. After examining the issue, they pointed out that the toilet was fine, but the section of flooring it was on was not…

A month later I had the bathroom flooring entirely replaced. While they were at it, I had the tile replaced as well. They also patched all of the drywall cutouts used during the natural gas install. I was amazed at just how few drywall cutout were made. I think there were all of three.

At the end of the day, everything now works. The generator may have cost me more than expected, but I would prefer to avoid Biblical re-enactments, which is to say fire and flood. Without the generator, I would not have replaced the natural gas lines nor the water supply lines. Eventually, there would have been an issue.

Why have I gone through this whole story? To make a simple point. Right now, my neighborhood is in darkness. There are 40 to 50 mph winds and a transformer down the street appears to be toast. It is currently 63 degrees and will be dropping to 34 degrees with a high tomorrow of 36 degrees. I am happily typing this blog, while everyone else lives in primitive conditions and wanders in the dark. Do I feel guilty? Hell no!
With all of the business I gave to many local suppliers to get the natural gas generator installed, I have paid my dues!

Bottom line, natural gas generators kick ass!

Note, I found two interesting brands; Kohler and Generac. There are others, but I prefer to stick with the front runners. The reviews of Generac had 50% of the owners loving them and 50% with nightmare stories. Most of the Kohler stories were happy. I also noticed that the Kohler generators were quieter. I see no need to keep the neighbors up.

The Internet will eventually go down, but the world will continue

I’ve always believed that the internet will be taken down by a worm/virus/botnet, whatever. I assume, that after a while, it will return stronger and more secure. The fact that it has not happened in all of these years is a tribute to both TCP/IP design and operating systems that basically do what they are supposed to do.

A article in the Sun talks about the possibility that a gigantic new reaper botnet could bring down the internet. It could happen but probably won’t. Eventually, there will be world wide incident.

Businesses need to make sure they have, at least, the framework of a plan to cover while the internet is down. Those with cloud solutions should make sure they have local resources and the ability to access local backups.

If you are a individual user, you need to plan for a few issues. The ATMs might be down for a few days, so have a couple weeks of cash around the house. You may have trouble making online payments, so have the latest bills in hard copy. Make sure to patch your equipment as best you can with the latest updates. You might want to make sure you have a few books and movie DVDs laying around.

Final piece of advice, remember one thing. The world existed before the internet. It really is true! While the internet makes things run at a much faster pace, the world can take a step back and get things done without it for a while.

Skynet has a friend

Let me be the first to welcome our new God… Wait, never mind. Anthony got there first!

Breitbart came up with one hell of an interesting story, Former Google Employee Engineering His Own A.I. Religion.

Anthony Levandowski wants to create an AI that can serve as humanity’s new God.

Wired’s Mark Harris described it, “God is a bot, and Anthony Levandowski is his messenger.”

You have to give Anthony credit. As far as do-it-yourself projects go, he has picked a big one! If others do the same, will the AI Gods fight for supremacy, form various pantheons, or link into a giant Skynet threat to humanity? Maybe a combination of all of the above? Maybe those riding in self-driving cars will LITERALLY have God as their co-pilot? If nothing else, at least the sex robots will have a God of their own?

Colossus the Forbin project and Terminator are movies that have both described futures fraught with AI issues that are really bad. If Anthony can create his own AI God, can someone else create their own AI Satan?

Every now and then, there is a story that has so many angles that it boggles one’s mind. This is such an article. Read it yourself and think about it.

The dinosaurs had their run. We’ve had a pretty good run as well. Ah well, the bytes must flow!

Your Teachers Will Have Shiny Butts

According to The Telegraphhttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/09/11/inspirational-robots-begin-replacing-teachers-within-10-years/, Sir Anthony Seldon says that robots will begin replacing teachers within ten years.

He quickly hits the one really good thing about robot teachers:

“Everyone can have the very best teacher and it’s completely personalised; the software you’re working with will be with you throughout your education journey.”

That is the one characteristic that I really like about the idea of personally adapted educational software.

The big issue that the article skated over quickly, the computers:

… will learn to read the brains and facial expressions of pupils, adapting the method of communication to what works best for them.

While the computers are programming the children, the teachers:

… would adopt the role of “overseers”, monitoring the progress of individual pupils, leading non-academic activities and providing pastoral support

Lets think about what he is saying. The government, along with every mega-corp, will not only know your thinking, but your entire history. Big Brother is an amateur! The powers that be will be able to program your children to think whatever the government thinks best. The government will be able to monitor compilance on a daily basis… What could possibly go wrong? A bunch of union “teachers” would serve as cheerleaders and enforcers to backup the machine indoctrination…l

While we are on that track, what if the robot is getting it wrong? As flawed as teachers are, at least they are human.

I don’t know about you, but the NEA has shown itself to be one incredibly efficient greed machine that does not give a damned about anyone’s children, other than their own.

He did touch upon the issue,

He expected the National Union of Teachers to be “very alarmed” by the prospect.

Educational systems are already changing in many interesting and dynamic ways. The university courses online were and are the vanguard of that change. The AI and massively improved nature of teaching software is already changing the landscape of learning. Knowledge learning will be cheaper and easier to obtain. Teacher’s unions are doomed. College professors are going to have to change with the times or go the way of the dodo bird.

He also mentioned that the students should not need to spend more than 30% of the time they do now in the school… Does anyone see politicians wanting to cut school budgets by 70%? Picture having 30% of the teachers. I bet the NEA will be fighting that one, while demanding a big fat raise.

The interesting thing to watch will be the ivy league colleges. They are basically places for the privileged to make contacts that can be exploited for the rest of their lives. What happens when those universities are no longer really needed? It will not happen over night, but those institutions will become entirely different beasts or they will fail.

One thing to note. Genuinely good professors will be able to sell online teaching and tutoring and make a nice living while doing so. Online language instruction has shown many ways for those instructors to find enthusiastic students and actually make a difference. People who really like teaching will find a niche.

While there are many positives to this massive change, there are not a hell of a lot of firewalls. Who determines what is appropriate in the humanities?

Is a Nazi and a Marxist treated the same or is one given preference over the other. Both political movement have murdered millions.

Do we condemn Robert E. Lee for slavery? Do we condemn Rev. “Fat Al” Sharpton for the violence and death related to the Crown Heights, New York riot (8/19 to 8/21/1991)? Do we just avoid all the issues by just publishing the UN’s version of history?

When dealing with social sciences and current events, do we acknowledge the violence of antifa, or do we toe the PC line that all whites are evil and anarchists fascists are our friend?

Make no mistake about it. Math, reading, and sciences are all great candidates for automated learning. I do not trust the powers that be when it comes to programming questions involving right and wrong.

There is another issue that I think everyone is missing. American schools have the reputation for not being the best when it comes to rote learning. Those same schools have a reputation for inspiring creativity and individuality. The software learning systems will drastically improve the rote learning, but will that software undermine that creativity?

We do live in interesting times.