Facebook to Test Market Overriding User Privacy Preferences

December 22, 2012

In its ever-increasing quest to generate more revenue, which usually means violating user privacy preferences, Facebook announced that it will “test” market to certain accounts the ability to send private messages to the inbox of non-friends to the tune of $1.00 per message. 

Now to the average Facebook user, charging for private messaging, regardless of the pricetag, may seem silly, especially since the charge is only applicable if you want to contact someone not on your friend list. But what you may not have realized is that Facebook recently fixed what was not broken (again) by enabling messaging on your account even if you had previously chosen not to.  Case in point:  Yours truly had messaging via Facebook available only to friends.  If you weren’t a friend, then you didn’t see the “message” button on my page. 

Since Facebook has now overruled that particular privacy preference, if you don’t happen to be a friend, and you message me, well then your message will go straight to an ignore folder also known as junk. Hey, Facebook taketh away your preferences, and Facebook giveth a piss-poor choice in return. It’s like Gmail – sure, you have a spam folder and it does a reasonably okay job of catching unwanted email, but if Google wasn’t selling your address to everyone and his dog in the first place, then you would not be deluged with spam. But I digress.

Since the average user (you & I) would not likely have an interest in messaging someone not on our friend list, we then have to ask ourselves which users would? Who would be willing to pay for the ability to bypass the spam folder? Ha. Perhaps those users with commercial accounts, the kind whose posts show up randomly uninvited such as the following Ram spam among the content in your newsfeed from the pages that you want to see?

Ram spam

Ah, yes.  A flood light appears at the end of the tunnel and it belongs to an advertiser.

A pay-to-play charge of $1.00 per message to override user privacy preferences is but a drop in the bucket to a brand name marketer such as Ram.  But, Facebook wants to remind you that this is, just a “test” being available only to “certain” users. Translation:  Depending on the backlash from individual users, it may or may not to decide to allow coporate advertisers to bombard the shit out of your Facebook inbox with junk. And given that Facebook also recently nixed the ability for users to vote on the governance of the site, you don’t even get to have a say about its policies anymore.  Which leaves it up to writers like me to remind you that Facebook does not give too much of a damn about what the individual user wants when compared to what corporate users want. You didn’t actually believe that Facebook exists for any other reason, did you?

©2012 Peyton Farquhar and Prattle On, Boyo™.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.  Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Peyton Farquhar and Prattle On, Boyo with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Toshiba Canvio 3.0 External HDD

December 21, 2012

Featuring one terabyte of space ( 1 TB =  1 x 1012   (1, 000, 000, 000, 000) whereas one gigabyte (1 GB =  109 ( 1, 000, 000, 000).  USB 3.0, and, disk imaging software are also included to back up your existing computer hard drive, this portable drive is no bigger than the average QWERTY keyboard mobile phone. From the time I took it out of the packaging and plugged it into my Windows desktop, it worked perfectly.  If you’re concerned about rigging new hardware, rest assured, the Toshiba is about as idiot-proof as you can get which makes it custom ordered for the technology challenged.

System Requirements

Windows 7, Vista, XP

Mac OS x (Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard & Lion)

Features

I did some research on the drive beforehand, and, was intitally concerned that USB 3.0, despite being touted as backwards compatible with USB 2.0, wouldn’t work on my XP box.  But I was pleasantly surprised when it ran just the way it was intended with my existing USB 2.0 ports.

Where Macs are concerned, the Toshiba is formatted with NTFS and can be read and written to on a Windows PC.  Mac OS X can read data from the drive with no additional software, but if you want to write to the drive, then you have to install the software which is already loaded on the external drive. Once installed, Tuxera NTFS for Mac will enable both read and write support for the NTFS partition on your Mac.

Comparison

I have an Iomega 300 gigabyte drive that I purchased back in 2007.  At the time, its retail price came in just under $300.00.  This drive (pictured above next to the black Toshiba Canvio) is about the size of a electronic book reader, and requires external power, which can make portability somewhat of an issue. (Especially if you’re using another computer that is not at your own private desk with your own private electricity socket.)  Additionally, after the Iomega has been powered up for a little while, it tends to get really hot so you have to take care not to place it near or on anything heat-sensitive.  Plus, it’s on the heavy side.  (I’m not sure what the exact weight is, but you wouldn’t want to get hit upside the head with it.)

I also formatted the Iomega to that of the NTFS file system since doing so would maximize space on the drive.  (Out of the box, it was just the bloated FAT-32 system.)  The Canvio, on the other hand, is about a third of the size of the Iomega and requires no external power source, which makes transportation and interfacing with another computer fairly simple. The drive comes with its own USB 3.0 leash and will work with most USB 2.0 ports.  (I was able to successfully jack into an XP system owned by the local library which are notoriously, woefully, not state-of-the-art computers and locked down so ridiculously that it’s a wonder the system is even operable.) 

If you’re looking for a highly portable,  easy to use, mass storage device to replace a thumb drive (as I was) then this drive is for you.  The price tag is not cost prohibitive and retails for approximately $70.00.

Disclaimer: I am not receiving any kickbacks from Toshiba or any other company for this review, but tips are welcomed and appreciated using the Pay Pal link located on the uppper right hand side of this page.

Note:  The Canvio has an L.E.D. located at the top of the case that will blink white intermittently when reading/writing to the drive, but goes black when the drive is idle.

©2012 Peyton Farquhar and Prattle On, Boyo™.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.  Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Peyton Farquhar and Prattle On, Boyo with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Newtown, CT | Killing In the Name Of

December 15, 2012

bad egg

By now, you must have heard about the latest mass shooting. Yet again, there was another mentally unstable shooter having taken the lives of innocents during yet another moment of unspeakable violence. We’ve all seen the images of the real people experiencing real anguish, and, yet, the mind fairly reels from the implications. We see, but are unable to comprehend or even process the end result. Which leads us to an inevitable conclusion –Who is to blame? Fault must be assessed and someone must pay. It’s just how the human mind works.

 The left side of the political duopoly has seized on this sad tale to assess blame on gun ownership. If only guns were illegal, then all crime would magically disappear in the U.S. This is the standard refrain from gullible Americans who have never encountered an issue that they believe could not be resolved by surrendering their civil liberties. (TSA, anyone?) Of course, such simple mindedness does not bother to look beyond the warm fuzzies they anticipate from removing firearms from the possession of law-abiding citizens.  They’re just agreeing with what the news told them to think.  In this particular instance, a gun ban is “for the children,” and that trumps everything, including common sense. 

Other countries that have gun bans are trotted out as proof that it works, but this, is, of course, not only entirely fictional, but given the evidence to the contrary that is freely available to anyone with an internet connection and a search engine, the disingenuous and overall intellectual laziness is positively stunning. Not to mention that applying mindsets from a foreign country to the U.S. is an exercise in comparing apples to Jupiter.  While we’re at it, why not just ask why the U.S. does not have universal healthcare like all the other developed nations on the planet?  The reason couldn’t be attributed to the fact that the U.S. government is firmly owned/operated of, by, for and about the 1%, could it?  This discussion, however, is best left for another time.

Contrary to popular sheeplethink, mass shootings are not exclusive to the U.S. We’re just not informed with much news from outside of the country because the plantation owners don’t want us to get any cute ideas about peacefully protesting our government in the manner hundreds of thousands of others have done elsewhere.  And so a media blackout is easily enforced since there are only six corporations that control 90% of everything Americans see, hear and read. If you see the protests from other countries, then it’s because you have Occupy-minded, activist friends, such as yours truly, who have shared the news to their social networking page.

While the mainstream media would have us swallowing the propaganda of their corporate masters, the fact is, banning guns does not work. Just ask the Germans. On four separate occasions dating from 2002 – 2009, tightening gun ownership laws has only exacerbated the problem. The Germans didn’t just opt for gun control, they took it to a level far beyond by also outlawing “violent” movies, games, and television, and, even having prohibited paintball. And yet despite the nanny law overkill, the mass shootings still happened in Erfut, Emsdetten, Stuttgart, and Ansbach, nonetheless. In the latter incident, the attacker used petrol bombs and an axe as his weapons of choice. But do Americans really need to look to the Germans as proof that prohibition not only does not address the problem, but increases it by creating black markets? Criminals are notorious for not following the law, after all. But don’t say that too loudly in front of Obama voters as the cognitive dissonance may dislodge them from their happy places.

Meanwhile, those on the right have also executed some of their own carpe diem to take this mournful occasion to push its theocratic agenda and blame mass shootings on lack of Christian prayer in public schools. This is not to say that the left doesn’t play the same agenda game –they do, and they are, they just choose to couch it in Orwellian terms that the voters won’t think too carefully about such as the National Defense Authorization Act and disposition matrix of a predator drone. It’s OK to render the rule of law to that of an authoritarian regime and kill children in other countries as long as you do so via executive order. By the way, where was Nobel Peace Prize recipient Obama’s tears for the 178 children (so far) who were killed as a result of his drone assassination program?

So what is to be done about the problem? Ban guns? Remove due process of law? Remember Jefferson’s famous quote:  Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.  What if we just emulate the Israelis and permit teachers to carry weapons? Those who wish to participate can be trained to handle firearms and we can just take it from there. The Israelis have had a fair amount of success with armed teachers having successfully fended off an attack that left one student dead and six others injured before the terrorists were shot dead by school counselors.  But you won’t see that reported on the corporately consolidated news as it would fly in the face of emotional, knee-jerk gun control laws that seek to paint anyone proficient with a weapon with the ever popular term, gun nut.

Funny how some parents will surrender their children to strangers to be educated, but refuse to even consider the idea of allowing those same strangers to protect the children. Speculation about ridiculous scenarios if teachers were armed has become  a national past-time.  While arming teachers may be common sense to some, it does not seem to compute with those content to let the media, and by extension, the politicians do their thinking for them. It apparently has not occurred to these folks that mass shooters prefer malls and schools precisely because it makes their workplace so much safer. In a gun-free zone, there won’t be any pesky, law-abiding citizens that will shoot back. But in states where civilians have returned fire at the bad guy, there has been some moderate success. We just don’t ever hear about it because it would contradict the propaganda.

Maybe we can blame the problem on the lack of access to affordable mental health care. Strangely, the price tag for treatment is a topic that the Affordable Care Act does absolutely nothing to mitigate. At this point, we don’t know much about the shooter or his family.  But surely, we can state with confidence that anyone who would gun down kindergartners has a few loose screws and needs help.  Except that money for mental health treatment at the state level has been routinely slashed since the 1980s and yet the need for services continues to explode exponentially.  Perhaps Mrs. Lanza had sought help for her son long before he went off the deep end only to be turned away by social services because there are very few programs in place for poor whites.  Perhaps not.  We don’t know because the mainstream media has choosen not to investigate the whys behind this event.  Instead, it focuses on sensationalism. 

What the media should be reporting is that even if you are sufficiently privileged to have health insurance in the U.S., and, have the financial perseverance to navigate the labyrinthine maze of managed care, the fact remains, the mental health care professional who ends up treating you will inevitably want to keep his Big Pharma-financed junkets coming, so at the behest of his pharmaceutical representative, he will ensure prescribing for you the latest psychotropic pills, which are well documented to cause homocidal/suicidal rages. The Columbine shooters were on such pills.  It seems talk therapy isn’t so much a part of treatment anymore as much as popping pills has become standard operating procedure.

Perhaps a frank, national conversation should be opened that discusses the underlying societal problems that would cause individuals to become troubled in the first place. We can start with the fact that while Wall Street has been enjoying record profits since the latest economic depression began in 2007, Main Street has been absolutely decimated by homelessness due to foreclosure, and, acute financial distress caused by oppressive, non-dischargeable student loan debt, under and unemployment.

Americans are struggling financially and this is adversely affecting every facet of their lives, including the ability to parent effectively. Meanwhile, companies continue to outsource American jobs, and those that can’t be off-shored, guest workers, both legal and illegal, are brought in en masse in order to drive down wages and keep hard-working Americans demoralized and destitute. That wouldn’t cause a person to pick up a rifle and randomly open fire would it?

"In Remembrance" ©2012 Prattle On, Boyo All Rights Reserved

©2012 Peyton Farquhar and Prattle On, Boyo™.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.  Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Peyton Farquhar and Prattle On, Boyo with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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