24 December 2019


I make no representation regarding the greenhouse gas consequences of these coal-oven-baked internet link sausages.

  • As part of my own Quixotic quest against everything that is Dickens, I agree that — if one celebrates Winter Solstice holidays of any kind — James Joyce's story "The Dead" is the piece for the season, if only because it can't be reduced to a greeting card or put on as a high-school play.
  • The Grinch was truly a great guy, with the right attitude toward giving flooflunkers and electro whocarnio flooks as gifts without accompanying lessons. At least until his fatal-off-camera episode of hypercardia (no doubt brought on by a common virus against which his parents rejected vaccination).
  • Let's hear it for marketing using the Delos Corporation's ethics (or lack thereof) and objectives. There are exactly two times that my phone should ever allow my exact location to be retrieved by any third party: When I'm making an emergency call, and when I'm purposefully asking for directions because I can't spot landmarks or location well enough to use a bloody map. And that's just location; neverneverneverNEVER "storage contents," "calendar," "camera," or "contacts," and almost never "microphone." Especially for any appprogram that doesn't necessarily use one of those functions for its intended operation; an e-book or PDF reader, for example, has no rational basis for accessing either the microphone or contacts.
  • Speaking of which, Google has clearly changed its employee directive to "Don'tPlease Be Evil." A recent mandatory security update to my Android phone has resulted in the text-messaging application (the default for my phone and carrier) demanding access to my calendar and all body sensors. OK, "body sensors" and "text messaging" is just ridiculous. But the calendar application? That's… a problem. On one hand, text messaging involves invisible/silent push-and-pull-of-data access; it's built into the protocols. On the other hand, I have clients who are survivors of domestic abuse, and there is no [expletive deleted] way that I'm allowing any third party to know about an appointment at which one of those clients may be present. Combine that with the preceding item and you've got a recipe for stalkers sitting in the telephone of every lawyer, visiting social worker, and so on. (And yes, there's already an exploit available on the dark web, marketed to "private investigators and process servers." It's been a little over a week.) What makes it worse is that there is now a constant nag, every time I wake the phone, to turn on unlimited and uncontrolled permission to access those items. <SARCASM> But then, given the dudebro demographic among programmers, Google employees, and Google management, I shouldn't be surprised by the utter blindness to this obvious-to-anyone-who-thought-about-it problem. </SARCASM>
  • Those who've been reading this blawg for very long know full well that I sometimes tilt at windmills (but then, I've actually read Don Quixote, at least in a good scholarly translation). So perhaps it's a bit too on point to raise my eyebrows at these two doing so:

    James Holden of The Expanse, actually fighting windmills himself Donald J. Drumpf of the White House, actually blowing wind

    Especially the one on the right, after his all-too-revealing temper tantrum calling a teenaged girl names because she was named "Person of the Year" by a has-been magazine… instead of him.

    On balance, I think that teenaged girl has demonstrated more suitability for a career in diplomacy than has a recent US Ambassador to the UN.

Anyone coming down the chimney tonight is going to have to deal with the dog in a non-xtian household. Even if only delivering coal. You have been warned.