Saturday, August 27, 2016

Email Un-privacy

I have rambled on and on about the Internet for many years now. I am often astonished at who gets burned. But they inspire me to continue to wonder why. I attribute to them too much innocence and enthusiasm. But some of the people who get burned are not young any more. And when they get burned and it is their fault, I often feel as sympathetic as I do when it is not their fault. People want to use their Blackberries and iPhones in peace. I don't blame them. I believe they have a right to think that the thoughts in their emails belong to themselves and not the whole world. When you write an email to a friend that perhaps is unguarded, that does not mean you are a criminal. If you write an unguarded email to an enemy, it can mean you are a criminal. If you write a sincere email to a beloved family member about a forthcoming baby, you are not a criminal, and this email goes with sacred rights, and it should not be interfered with or bandied about in the public for any reason. This is not complicated, but it also may be at times complicated and it may get mixed up.

If you happen to have a geek in the house or you are rich enough to hire one, they can build a home server, and you will be amazed at the ease of use, dependability, and at least for me, the pleasure of working on a machine with NO ADS AT ALL and no interference. I can sit in my rocking chair and think for hours: no distractions.

A home server never goes down; it is open for business 24/7. You are free of Google. Your backups are simple to do. I back up to another disk and put the disk into a locked safe. And a home server if built by someone who knows what they are doing is surprisingly hard to break into. Open BSD is hard to crack. My favorite, Debian, is hard to crack. You hear of intrusions on Windows every day, but I can't remember the last time I heard that Debian was cracked. But Debian has been so dependable, I am out of the loop that way. When I don't hear about it, I tend not to go looking.

That backup disk is MY PRIVATE PROPERTY. What there is on that disk that I do not want anybody on earth to see I think I can protect for awhile, even if it is illegal. I do not have any interests that are illegal. I can run this server and not be a criminal. When I get emails, they should be private. I can delete them at any time. A home server and anything on it should be my property to do with whatever I want. It should be mine just like my house is mine. A private email should be a private email. If you break in, and steal the email, you should be a criminal. If they are stolen, they should not be admissible as evidence in court. If you harass or bully a person with them, no matter where you get them, whether stolen or dropped on you from the FBI, you should be treated like a criminal.

If you steal them, you should be prosecuted and locked up. Since that probably won't happen very often, famous people should try to find a way around this problem. Nobody uses the phones anymore. They use a digital file. Since digital files get no protection from the law, you have to protect your digital files yourself. The only way to protect your digital files is to delete them or put them in a memory somewhere locked up. Either that or write only what you want the world to see. Transmit only what you want the whole world to see. This, of course, is a terrible limitation. But there is no protection for you anywhere. The law may need a generation or two to catch up. In the meantime, like it or not, the private email belongs to everyone.

Understand! There is no such thing as a private email! any email belongs to everyone. They can be employed for all kinds of murky purposes. But they are not proof of anything. As evidence for anything they are laughable. Journalists will use them to theorize over all sorts of things. I suppose hypotheses and theories are their paycheck. What can you do?

Famous people listen:
1. Do not leave your baby pictures online. Take them off-line and put them in a memory media, and lock them up somewhere. Those beautiful pictures of your wife or husband, ditto.
2. Love letters to your recent flame, hide them immediately. (Don't tell me you don't want to do it that way.) Memos to your children, take them off-line as soon as they show up.
3. If you are famous and in the public way, government won't help you. But they are slowly beginning  to try. Huge computer systems are hard to defend and I believe that government is beginning to realize that something is wrong. It is embarrassing and troubling to the average human being to wander rapaciously through another person's emails in order to convict her of a hypothesis.
4. Julian Assange is a criminal.
5. If you don't pay attention, God help you.

I have given up. I am not going to write about this anymore. It is hopeless.

Julian Assange is a criminal.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


Besides being chock full of excellent weather, at least up Maine, this summer has been very interesting, and it is getting more and more interesting. Teflon is already insinuating that if he loses it will be because the election system is rigged. The upshot being, since he speaks for the people, the system is rigged against the people. The media also is rigged (biased or slanted) against himself, in fact, the media is the enemy. Uncovered facts continue to swirl: an underworld of political assassinations by the Clintons; Hillary's low energy and bad health: seizure medication. Fame and stolen emails!

How can she possibly bear up to the struggle with ISIS? At the same time Teflon doesn't look well at all. He must be drinking. His face looks reddish and bloated. It can't be the tanning.  When he was here in Maine, he looked weary, looked wiped out. Has anybody noticed? What will happen if say with 50 days to election, facing an historic landslide loss, he just decides to skip it and go on a long vacation? Has anybody thought about that? Recently he has looked increasingly unhappy.

Teflon has been crunched by wrenching, negative biographies which tell the tale of his unsavory family history and numerous bankruptcies. (How is he going to get around the bankruptcies? This seems so dumb to me, I don't know where to start.) I guess if you could pull out the family jet and do enough low level buzzing he might get by. He seems to love airplanes, even ones that he hasn't seen. So long as he doesn't open his mouth.

Is this a joke? How can anyone imagine that he can act like a real estate salesman and become President? He must not have read any American history at all. How many Americans do you know who can act the way Teflon does and not feel embarrassed with themselves?

For a long time I have thought that it wouldn't take much to curtail American Democracy. Though hopefully not kill it. And seriously, Donald Trump is a lightweight. He is living proof that you don't have to be very smart to make a lot of money. You just have to want to make a lot of money at all costs. Also, he is proof of the respect for wealth that is welded into the American character. Americans love wealth and the do whatever it takes attitude that comes with it has never been a drawback. I know Americans are not big on morals. Look at the Kennedy's Papa. The question has come up: why bother to vote at all? And if that does happen, people stay home, it should work more in favor of Hillary because there are more Democrats around.

All comparisons of Teflon with Ronald Reagan or Teddy Roosevelt are ridiculous and odious. Anyone who says that can't be serious.

I no longer think that America has the will to fight off an attack from a serious political. I might be exaggerating. What disturbs me is the fact that who Teflon attracts aren't interested in reality, they care about a state of mind. It isn't so much Trump as the world he appeals to. But there aren't enough of them. How can there be enough of them? Nobody likes Hillary but nobody likes Donald either. You can check his facts all you want, he lies and exaggerates impetuously, splendidly in fact, but the falseness of anything he says is meaningless to the people he appeals to. His lies are not debatable.

Bigotry, for example, is not about reason. You can be a bigot, make a bigoted statement and back off and that makes you not a bigot? You can be unreasonable and back off and then be reasonable again? Of course, if it does not disturb your state of mind.

Apparently, you can say anything you want so long as you back off on it.

Even his gestures are strange. He is forever hanging his right hand in the air with thumb and forefinger together. Then he'll almost turn his back to the crowd, as if in contempt, his tongue will flicker, wiping his lips, and then his eyes will turn back with an eerie glare like a pitcher about to go head hunting. He has hired a devil's crew to surround himself with. They are the worst lush face bastards I ever saw. I'm sure they'll be plenty of drinking in the Trump campaign. I'm sure there has been plenty already. Would you ever for any amount of money want anything to do with them? I would not.

But Teflon has managed to tap into something different, I honestly don't know what it is. I haven't read enough American history to be able to recognize it. Maybe it is a new territory. Before Teflon found it, I think I suspected there was something there, but I never imagined it could be that crude. It reminds me of an ignorance that is almost medieval. Back in a time when nobody knew how to read or write. Of course millions of Americans are not that bright, or that well-informed. But the greater millions, I trust, are very well-informed, though there are only a few who know everything. That is not anything new. Ignorance is not new.

Whatever this is, hardly anybody has managed to understand it. The media, (that means everybody, not just NBC or CBS or Fox), is for the most part as befuddled as I am or anyone else. What is it? Where did all the exaggeration come from? Rush made millions exaggerating the decline of America. He hit on the flea in the ointment. But I bet you anything he wouldn't be able to define this other thing either. Many times I have listened to him lately seeming confused about where the damned flea is that he has depended on for so many years. He blathers, goes on sudden breaks. I think that he is wondering where to direct his appeals for money now there is a new kid emerging.

I am old and retired and just getting by. But I don't worry about myself as much as I worry about the young folks working OT, husband-and-wife, never seeing each other with the kids, and still just barely making it. Any possibility of self improvement is ridiculous. It is a tiresome life. Which, Hillary or Donald, will somehow figure out how to alleviate this dilemma? Probably neither. But I doubt that Teflon, an expert on bankruptcy, will ever attach himself to this bitter problem or any other.

Then put him next to the button! It has been a long time since anybody has thought about that, the most important fact of modern life, the nuke.

I wish I could remember a time to remember that was close to being similar. People who urge you to remember are ignorant. There is no time like this to remember. It is different.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Real Time in the Mall

I have been dictating my journals into my iPhone for the last few days. I love the language that happens in the shopping mall. I have always loved the vernacular. It is democratic. It is a way to get at the democratic. Mall language is about buying things and invention. It is about pop up toasters, vacuum cleaners, dishwashers; it is about dirty laundry. It is about what people feel when they are trying to make do. When I dictate there is in the language THAT.

Mall language is nonpolitical. It is born out of necessity. It is the companion of silence, the language of people who speak little, who speak only when they must. When they speak, it is to make do, so they are quiet about it. Rarely in the shopping mall is there an uproar. Mall talk is the enemy of the bellicose. Even returns that are almost crazy, box gone, purchase unproven and disheveled are made without lament.

I spent several hours in the mall today. I have often wished that I could dictate into my iPhone in a quiet corner of sporting goods. But talking to yourself, even with an iPhone in your hand, does not seem like the right thing to do. Even in Maine Mall, for instance, where there is more bustle than the local Walmart on a weekday morning, a complaisant shell of privacy for dictating is nowhere to be found. People play with their computers in the coffee shop but they don't talk to them. That would be too weird. Even when sitting in my car making a note with Siri I have got peculiar glances. Earbud equipped geeks like me get the same disapproval bookish, intellectual people used to. If no BT, the wires are awkward. So I have to hide myself in my house to dictate and by then the freshness that I WANT is hard to find: memory is weak, the exact words befuddled.

In the mall today I was impressed by the silence. The mall is a great place to go to get silence. Notice how pragmatic bustle emphasizes silence. And in the language is humility and politeness. Remember there is as much evil in the mall as there is anyplace else. That's why the voices and language of the shopping mall appeal to me. The deal is a pressure of ego, deception and aggression. We mall shoppers are being led astray. We are being instructed to part with our money in order to buy things we probably don't need. Might use is different from need. We will discard these things whenever anything goes wrong with them, they cease to function for any reason, or something comes up that is perceived to be better. And yet we carry on with a soft language, and even seem to enjoy the experience. Some people obviously hate it; they stride rapidly and are anxious to get out. They are different. Most like it; they saunter leisurely. But all try to be polite, ingenuous, even though it is only an act.

What I am trying to get at is a sound. Though iPhone dictation is clumsy and difficult to work with, sometimes it allows me to get connected with that sound. Other people may not be able to tell the difference, but I can. The problem is the klutzy keyboard is still king; the desktop is still president. And it is not even close. The iPad also is a fight to write on, if you write every day and want to get somewhere. But mall talk, mall talk, I will get you with my iPhone!

But I believe the future is in the "smart" phone. I am determined to upgrade soon and my upgrade will be to a phone with almost the power of a laptop. I have a good collection of cargo pants and shorts to stow away connectors, earbuds, folding keyboard, a phone with a large screen, and that will one day be my desktop. Then I'll be able to carry my computer around and dictate notes on my universe in real time. I have always wanted to get deep but failed. Real time is close to deep.

The Pokemon connection in the Walmart was terrible. I ought to complain to the manager.

Monday, August 8, 2016

The Advantage of Earbuds

I have been playing with gadgets for a couple days. I have set up my iPhone on the Dell monitor. The monitor displays huge letters on the big space. I am preparing myself for when I am almost blind. With this set up I should be able to continue to write though almost blind. You can clearly parse the words; all the easier to pick out errors. And now I am dictating. It is an interesting experiment, but I think that my base model iPhone is too short on power to do the job consistently. I have to speak very slowly. The program gets hung up on grammar, and the vocabulary is limited. Also a corner of the screen tends to flicker when the iPhone is turned in landscape mode. Dictation is laggy, you have to speak very slowly. When, ceasing dictation, I pair up my Apple keyboard and wire my iPhone to the Dell monitor, that also is laggy. I intend to upgrade my iPhone soon. It is the direction I am going. But the iPhone comes nowhere near to being a desktop yet.

(By the way, you can use Emacs shortcuts in the app Plain Text. There are quite a few apps for writing on the iPhone. I pair Plain Text with Dropbox because Dropbox has never let me down in the five years or so I have been using it. But I am starting to use iCloud more and more. No particular reason.)

Very nice. Back to dictation. The number of characters that can be dictated at a time is limited. But with a more powerful iPhone I think dictation would be serviceable enough to write a major work with such as a novel. And you could write while moving around. Your basic writing machine would be in your pocket! Learn how to tell Siri to take a note, a name, a shopping list.

In order to enhance dictation I also purchased Bluetooth earphones. They weigh nothing. And they have range from the phone of perhaps 30 feet.

So there are three basic ways to write on your iPhone. You can dictate into the microphone in your earbuds. This way you can walk around and you don't need to stay right on top of your iPhone. You have to renew the done button after a short time or a certain number of characters, so you can't go very far away from it. Or you can dictate directly to the machine. In which case you have to carry it around. Or you can pair up your Bluetooth keyboard. Happy Hacker has recently brought out a Bluetooth keyboard. I don't know why the number of characters in dictation is so limited. Still each method has particular advantages. Unless you jailbreak there is no way to set up a mouse. You have to poke the phone to move the cursor. I don't see that as a deal breaker.

I personally like to use Dropbox. But there are other ways to go such as iCloud or directly to iPhone notes. I have done all of this blog by dictation. I notice that the sentences are shorter and inelegant. (Do you care?) I like the feeling of thinking and speaking. In my set up I have the monitor higher up than eye level. They say that is a good posture to think with. I need all of the help I can get. And I can walk around!

At first about six months ago when I began my career in dictation into my iPhone I never thought it would be worthwhile, or develop into something I could use for substantial writing. But the program has learned my voice and for the most part I can dictate for quite a while without having to go back and correct an error. Sometimes the program falters. It doesn't have a big vocabulary. Rebuke can come out as Reb Uker or delete as Del Eat. Sometimes you can go back and try to change it and the program will immediately change it back to something like deli eats, and so on. (You can change some tendencies in settings. For awhile the distinction between to and too was not accurately maintained. The program insisted on "to", but lately it has been doing better.) My personal style is uncomplicated; I blog as clearly and simply as I can for the few people left in the world who, suspicious of pictures, still love to read. The idea of dictation insists on brevity and simplicity.

When I dictate, I like how my sentences look and sound. I also like that when I dictate it is too much effort to figure out how to put bullshit so that it doesn't seem like bullshit.

Also, people you are not interested in talking to just plain hate people that have earbuds sticking out. It is a great advantage to wearing earbuds. God works in strange ways.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Crooked Hillary

I have been thinking a lot about crooked Hillary, monster, mass murderer, unwashed Hillary. This campaign season has been amusing and interesting more than normal. A lot of my thinking has been about the northern mountain woman I met at the dog shelter, although she did eventually admit that "she didn't like either of them". Each time she pronounced Hillary she bluntly used the epithet "Crooked". I thought she was hung up on the server. She seemed unclear what a server is.  I don't think she knew what a server is. When I said that there was nothing wrong with owning a server, that it was legal, she said, "What's wrong with doing it on the telephone?" I said, "Yes, but nobody does it that way anymore." Frustration and anger covered her face. For many millions of Americans computers are still evil. Computers are why nothing works anymore, why the children have become immoral, and so on. Much, if not everything, that is wrong with society can be attributed to the use of computers. Not only does Hillary use a BlackBerry, or whatever it is, so also does her buddy Obama, but Hillary owns a server and she runs it herself. But that wouldn't make her a monster would it?

I think the photo of Hillary in dark glasses holding up her BlackBerry is a reality problem for her. If Hillary were male, that photo would not have been mass-produced a million times in the media the way it was. The photo is very colorful, but it projects a shady image and adds to the "above the law" and the strange mass murderer insinuation that is going around about her and Bill. Many millions of Americans vigorously defend this insinuation with their above the law beliefs. All of this is so odd to me, and inexplicable, that it is hard for me to think about. But on the other hand it is also hard for me to ignore. How could it happen? When before have such extremes been matched? It is so completely unlike the American temper to hoot and call names and act this way.

I could provide another recital of Hillary and Bill's brilliant career but it has all been done a thousand times and doesn't need to be done again by a blogger. I could carry-on in wonder about Ken Starr, the Benghazi affair, and the recent server investigations, all of which cost the American public millions of dollars, and ended up with nothing. Miss Lewinsky was a great past time for a while. I guess that was one of Bill's errata but for some reason Hillary is involved in Bill's sexual peccadillos also. I guess I should try harder than I do to get excited about it. Some people are still riled up over it. But what on earth is this all about?

It's probably more simple than I think it is. Hillary is a woman. But Bill gets it too. Take away the ambition and the politics and you would have a family hardly different than the average on Main Street USA. Michelle Obama gets it, but not to the extent that Hillary does. The other simple possibility is that Hillary is always around to shoot arrows at. Nothing I can think of seems like enough except for the computer thing, which is a long shot. Can it be that there is a segment of American society that is so passed by that they don't even know what a server is, and this while information about it is in ads and on the media every hour of every day?

This idea seems far-fetched to put it mildly, but what else could be less far-fetched and seem mildly truthful? Probably the simplest thing of all: American patriarchy. That would help explain the mysteriousness that seems attached to Hillary. The language used to describe her seems so unruly that it must be something deep. American society is patriarchal. The media is obsessively patriarchal. Probably that is why the subject is rarely brought up or even suggested. Hillary also seems worried by it. Sometimes she makes statements about herself that seem unnecessarily negative. She rebukes herself, "I am not a natural politician." Meaning she is not a natural like Bill is. The recent "short circuit" statement was odd and unnecessary. But often times she speaks brilliantly with clarity, and she demonstrates a mind that has thoughtful depth to it.

I'd like to know if anybody can think of a person whose experience was deeper and more various. It is very interesting to observe how all her experience is played up as meaningless. Nobody seems to remember it. In the end this election will come down not to jobs, jobs, jobs or economy or immigration, it will come down to whether or not America is ready to put a dent in American Patriarchy.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Sidewalk Debate


On Bates Street beside Kennedy Park in Lewiston, Maine, in the shadow of Peter and Paul Church two old friends happened to meet as they proceeded in opposite directions. It was a tepid summer morning in Maine, sunny and clear. They talked about a character known to both of them, Pablo. You may observe Pablo at various times as he walks about town. He's the guy in the tan full-length dust jacket and fedora hat. Lots of people know him. I have known him for years.

Then the one fella said:

"Oh, that's Pablo, he wanted to sleep forever,
like most people do, tend to,
then everything changed.
He got in this battle with God."

Then says the other fella:

"They say he's crazy.
He likes sitting under trees,
and God made the trees,
and nobody said God was crazy,
since if He was, He wouldn't be perfect,
and how could God not be perfect,
therefore, he loves the trees.
He spent much time in the trees.
He seemed to get along, married,
made money, had interests, correctnesses.
Different maybe."

Then the debate goes on. One fella says one thing and the other says something else. They spoke in an halting way as if irresolute.

"But what does that mean? Tree hugging.
Why would he want to?
Keep balance, stay recognizable,
satisfy madnesses of curiosity:
stay sane. Isn't that struggle enough?
What happened between him and God?"

"He wanted to learn to whirl around like a dervish."

"Oh, what about God is for a man to make sense of?"

"He's the creator of the damned and the mad.
Figure that one out."

"Who would know more about it than Him?
Explain to me the wretched.
It's His creation. The old fables
claim He made them too.
He's perfect you know, infinitely good."

"Perfect! What does that mean?
Can't we talk about another word than perfect?
It might mean complete knowledge
whether of good or evil.
I know that word. An outsiders' word.
God, isolated among the Angels,
who are unable to understand Him,
might know enough about evil to avoid it.
Oh, in his glory he knows evil
but only as the outsider knows evil.
But how could that be perfect?
Sounds like ignorance."

"Is that what his battle was about?
Your tree hugger? That God must be ignorant
to have allowed evil in his creation."

"To a point. Everything with Pablo is to a point.
The keepers of the legends warned
that he was in company with the devil.
But he turned his back against them."

"Ceased going to church, I take it?"

"Dreamed about going to church, to a point.
Thought of it as a haven.
He wouldn't quit. He pondered it.
I think he'd prefer living unknown,
slipping between the garbage cans
than rattle his brains this way."

"Oh the answer is simple.
God created the damned and the good
to tell which was which."

(Why He couldn't have figured out some other
way to do it, hard to tell, in His perfect wisdom.
But I got the program and the backups,
witches, prophets, the box with the dragon,
computer parts, tin cans, sets of wheels.)

"Tell him to tighten up that screw!"

"Yeah. I'm goin home.
He ain't the only one
needs to tighten up them screws."

"Me too."

Thus they depart, two old friends talking about a third old friend, not present, and they wandered about their lives the same as all of us do.

Author: Paul Gigas

Created: 2016-08-02 Tue 08:53

Emacs (Org mode 8.2.10)