Its Over

EDIT: So according to this it was an employer that tipped off the police, but my rant still stands

Michele Catalano was looking for information online about pressure cookers. Her husband, in the same time frame, was Googling backpacks. Wednesday morning, six men from a joint terrorism task force showed up at their house to see if they were terrorists. Which prompts the question: How’d the government know what they were Googling?



I wish I could say this was from The Onion, or maybe some other satirical blog but sadly its a real 
thing. The picture above this from the confrontation by ‘local police’ with the Catalano family, all over what two people (probably on different computers in different rooms) searched for.  Backpacks and Pressure cookers are now verboten searches under the watchful eyes of the National Security Agency it seems and if you look for them too close together you will be paid a visit.  Since I fit the profile of most ‘lone wolfs’ I wonder if they would visit me if I started reading up on pressure cookers for canning (cause hey, who doesn’t like to save some money) and camping packs because I work a sedentary IT job and should probably get out of the house more often and into nature for exercise.  

I can’t even really properly express how angry and sick this story makes me.  We are lead to believe that we are having our privacy forcefully taken for our own good, yet supposedly there are 99 out of 100 incidents where this was just a wild goose chase initiated by an over-zealous spy agency who gets its jollies off monitoring every single thing we do online.  At this point I am angry at more people than I can count; Congress for letting this happen and implicitly endorsing it, and the people of the country as a whole for not demanding and GETTING an end to this blatant violation of our rights.  We have had larger protests over more niche issues like gay rights or abortion than things that impact all of us like PRISM and the spying on of every single man, woman and child in this country.  If that doesn’t show the cracks in the foundation of our society then I don’t know what does; our priorities are so screwed up we can’t even see the water as it continues to boil us collectively.  Sadly I know this rant falls on deaf ears; chances are one day my nephew or his children will look back and wonder why we left them such a fucked up world and the only mercy will be that I wont be alive to have to try to make some kind of excuse for why my generation proved to be the most spineless in the history of the nation and failed to right a terrible wrong when we had our noses rubbed in it like a dog who shit in the house.


I hope Senator Feinstein cries her self to sleep tonight and Obama drinks himself to sleep, for once congress actually gets it right!

Inauguration Waste

I may harp on a lot of shit the government does but nothing quite tops the senseless waste that is the Inauguration.  Some absurd levels of spending go on every 4 years even when its a 2nd term for the sitting POTUS, its not like we need to be introduced to him for the first time; even sister-fucking rednecks deep in the hollers of god-knows-where know who the hell he is.  Yet we still insist on throwing a weekend long fucking party like he just cinched an upset win in November.  Its no wonder we have such a fucked up economy when we are out throwing parties that, after a coupe hundred years one would hope we as a nation quit behaving like drunken college kids who cant set priorities but I guess such is not the case.

Learning Apple: Day 1

I have definitely railed anti-apple on the blog before but I am in the process of at least changing how I feel about their devices (I still might not like what they do as a business however) thanks to some prodding from co-workers.

Enter my Macbook Air which I recently picked up in hopes of finally getting a truly mobile computer with decent battery life as opposed to a short lived brick with an identity crisis (my Asus N-series).  I’ve owned a fair number of so-called portable computers and so far none have really measured up when I started paying attention to how I was using them.  This time however I seriously hope to make some inroads to developing a properly portable computing setup (to post to EDC forums of course!)

So far I have spent a day messing around with the air and I must say I’m already pleased with the experience.  Its absurdly portable; it weighs less than my tablet does (including the mandatory protective case) and gets better battery life than pretty much any laptop I have owned.  The physical aspects of the machine are just great, even holding it by a corner one handed while moving around on my bed its apparent that the construction is far more solid than anything else I’ve used.

The point I expected to be the big hang up was software, I’ve used Windows and Linux for ages so I was skeptical about how I would get along with OS X which often seems to do things differently just for the sake of being different.  So far the best explanation I can come up with is its like German to me, I know some of the basic words but I still have to sound things out and look stuff up online.  Trackpad gestures and command key combinations are taking a little while to get used to but overall things are similar enough that it hasn’t taken me long to get up and running; earlier I was using troubleshooting a web server that had mod_rewrite break after being updated and it was nothing to bring up a few terminals  and move around like I was on my Mint 13 machine jumping from browser to read documentation to the terminals (which seem to function just like every other default terminal client on X).

The real question will be long term how I get used to this and if it messes up my head as I already have two piles of data there for Linux and Windows and another one could just make my brain melt and run out my ears, but so far it doesn’t look like that will be the case.

youtube-dl september release

I don’t know if its just me (I have had a few beers) but it appears that the software is now being released as a compiled executable rather than raw python source, having poked around a bit with some tools to make sure I wasn’t being conned into running shitware I tested it since it seems Google updated some things on Youtube which broke the download script I had, so far everything works so if you are out there wondering the same thing it appears to be legit as far as I can tell.

Something Unexpected

So I broke down the other day after talking to a co-worker about the iPad and bought one. Generally I’m pretty anti-apple as far as most things go, however I wont even lie this thing is pretty nice so far even if its only the iPad 2 and not the 3rd gen model.

Battery life on it is pretty damn good, I can putz around on the internet surfing and reading things for hours without even thinking about charging it, in fact I think I’ve only had to plug it up to recharge once since I bought it. The camera leaves a bit to be desired, but then I have several other options like my HTC Evo Shift or Kodak Play if I really need a decent picture taken. As with any expensive piece of technology I picked up a case, for this device it was a Griffin rubber and plastic case much like the design that Otter Box uses except I made sure it would cover up the Apple logo on the back of the tablet as I have no need to flaunt that logo.

As far as Apps are concerned there are some drawbacks, like most of the SSH clients that I have tried so far are slow on wifi even when the access point is within eyesight of the device. Occasionally Safari will flake out and not follow links when I am doing searches on google, but that may just have been due to a pending update that I had yet to apply. I gave a RDP client a spin and was sorely disappointed, it took forever to load on a wifi connection so I can only imagine how painful it would be across a 3g connection.

When I began looking seriously at tablets one of my biggest concerns was input; I have used tablet computers in the past like the Fujitsu Stylistic and LifeBook however they had keyboards, in the case of pure tablets you often only have your fingers as input. The price of keyboards for the iPad are still a little steep for my liking, but I was fortunate to find that my roommate had a spare Logitech from when he bought an Acer Iconia (that proved to be quite poorly designed and made). That and a cheap 15$ stylus makes the iPad a much more pleasant computing experience as opposed to only using fingers to tap out messages, blog posts, URLs and facebook comments. Perhaps the only thing I would change about the input is support for a bluetooth mouse as even with a stylus it can be a little tricky to select text for copy and paste or drawing out complex designs.

All in all I’m quite pleased with the iPad, the experience has reinforced my belief that Apple’s strong point is in mobile devices such as the iPad, iPod and the iPhone as opposed to their laptops and desktops which are unfortunately vastly overpriced for the hardware they contain.