Is Your “Smartphone” Spying On You?


Well, no: probably. If you use it to access social media sites (FarceBook, et al) or any Google service, almost certainly. Heck, there are growing claims that smartphones “listen in” to conversations happening within access of the phone’s mic, like so-called “smart” TVs do.


I’ve worked with computers/networking, etc., for ~30 years and am certainly no Luddite, but my phone stays OFF (and usually in another room) when I am not making calls. I check it now and again for messages from any whitelisted folks, and (very rarely, and only when I’m away from a desktop/notebook/large format tablet–which is very, very rarely, since I almost always have one of the three at hand) I might use it to check something on the web, but only when locked down fairly well and using a strong VPN, while on a local network I trust to be well locked down, as well. I see no reason to let a phone run my life or be connected to any old whomever who might want to contact me.

Other phone “tracking” things?

I don’t need GPS. I’m not helpless or “directionally challenged.” I know how to read a map, can navigate with or without (usually) a compass, and check my routes before heading out anywhere I’ve not been before.

Yes, I got lost once (on an overcast day, on a system of rural gravel roads and two-tracks in rough terrain, off my projected area of travel for that day–no excuse, since I simply left my compass and map for the area behind that day). I stopped and asked directions (because I’m also not completely stupid).

I like the convenience of having computers, tablets, cell phones, etc., but unlike many I know nowadays who would probably be pleased as punch to have their dumb “smart” phone embedded in their body, wired to display in their field of vision, etc., I think I can handle a lil disconnection now and then.

I Think This Was Part of EA Poe’s Problem with “Life As We Know It”

Frequent readers (OK, the frequent reader *heh*) here have seen me refer to “the voices in my head.” They’re not really there, at least not as delusional thoughts. But I do “overhear” arguments with myself, and I imagine that’s something Kierkegaard, at least, could have related to. But I do hear strange, distracting, annoying, and sometimes painful sounds.

Tinnitus is a real PITA.

One of the most irritating things about tinnitus is the way it seems to effect a distraction to certain frequencies, at least as I experience it, in effect covering over certain pitches. Other freqs, higher and lower? Nope.

So, I can be sitting quietly playing a game of “Zen Freecell”1 with all the “tintinnabulation of the bells, the bells, the bells” ringing and roaring in my head, and yet a clock ticking in the next room impinges on my subconscious and I find myself CLICKing and making moves with a steady one second rhythm. Once I realize I’ve been caught again, I can then not do so, but that “tick-tick-tick. . . ” in the other room still hounds me.

1“Zen Freecell” is just regular old everyday Windows Freecell played as near as possibly in a mindless state. My current scores on each computer where I do that for relaxation (in place of “meditation”) are each above 8,800 games played with no losses. It’s just patterns. It’s a bit like seeing the solution to an equation without performing the intervening steps, only with “Zen Freecell” the steps have to be taken even though the solution’s a foregone conclusion.

I Don’t Really Care That it’s Your Money, but. . .

. . .since it’s mine, too. . .

Some folks from a state government agency dropped by today as a part of state efforts to check up on people who may have been impacted by the April 30 floods and the aftermath. I suppose that’s a legitimate state concern (though I’d bridle at the effort were it a fedgov dealio), but a followup six mpnths after the event seems a bit laggardly, if it’sto be done at all.

When I had adequately perssuaded them that though we had experienced some flood damage, I had been able to do mold erradication and repairs myself, they simply gave me a bundle of handouts all dealing with basic emergency preparedness. We were outside on the front stoop, so I walked over and popped the hatch on my lil car to display my EDC bag, mentioned the bugout bags stored at the front door (including a “pet go bag”), and the well-packed pantry (including stored potable and wash water).

They then asked me to give the materials to someone who might benefit from them.

Pretty simple stuff: checklists for med info (not needed: have the med info we might need emergency personnel to have tied to scannable bracelets and on USB flash drives connected to our EDC bags, along with scans/pdfs of our essential docs on the same flash drives), pet supply preparedness, and personal “go bags,” etc. Very basic stuff.

Nice that the info is getting out, but I have to wonder at the delivery mechanism, both in effectiveness and in cost. Apparently, they’ve been going around trying to make contact during normal working hours. . . when most folks are at work, leaving Olde Phartes as their most likely contacts,and Olde Phartes, by and large, are better-equipped than young folks to deal with emergencies, in my experience (well, up to an age of disability, I suppose). *shrugs*

Grand Theft Under Color of Law

Civil Asset Forfeiture: a procedure by which government thugs can seize the property of citizens who have NOT been convicted of a crime, and especially NOT of any crime in any way associated with the use of that property/asset.

It’s nothing but government-sponsored theft, and those who practice it should

  1. Have their assets seized–all of them
  2. Be horsewhipped through the streets of whatever jurisdiction they committed the theft in
  3. Serve a real life sentence on a chain gang manually making gravel from BIG rocks.

Should, but in our corrupt society, instead they are rewarded with sinecures, jobs protected by a so-called “qualified immunity” that amounts to a functional immunity that is little other than a license to bully, steal, and–if they can get a wink and a nudge–kill.

Anyone have a solution short of bringing such vile, despicable, completely depraved individuals before their Final Judgment? Since the PTB have made self-defense and the defense of one’s property rights unlawful in today’s Amerika *sigh*, I’d very much appreciate someone smarter than me to offer a lawful solution to this kind of rampant brigandage.

N.B. Apart from “thought crimes” (wishing ill of these evil people), I know of no laws I have broken that would open me up to such brigandage, and nor do I own assets that would make seizing such amount to much more than petty theft, but since these corrupt law enFARCEment looters DGARA about any such thing, I have to assume I could be put out on the street any time some petty bureaucrap wants. *sigh*

One term for what these people do is “anarcho-tyranny.”

Well, At Least the Writer Is Trying

Reading a book today that is. . . amusing. It’s supposed to be an action-packed “thriller” set “25 Years from now” (whenever THAT is) that’s chock full of “advanced tech” and “cutting edge science.”

That’s really funny. The “advanced tech” still relies on USB cables, and the “cutting edge science” is a “Dan Brown stupidity level” misunderstanding of everything from string theory to tachyons to time travel.

If it weren’t for lotsa laughs, I’d say the writer isn’t just trying but very trying. *heh*

Oh, on top of that, the writer pads the word count by having much of the dialog in both French and English (the English for the illiterates who either don’t own any French vocabulary or can’t work the meanings out via linguistic roots, I suppose).

More laughs.

Educating Medical “Professionals”

Annual “permission slip” Dr. visit last week: ears so plugged up with gunk I almost didn’t mind having the same questions asked again. . . and again. . . by two different forms and three different people. #gagamaggot

At least something educational came of the visit, though. Nurse dropped in to ask the SAME QUESTIONS as on the form in her hand that I had just filled out and noted that she didn’t have to ask if I were depressed, because she assumed that anyone whistling a “happy” tune was in fine spirits.

“That’s a fallacious assumption,” I told her. “I’m simply whistling a tune I am listening to ‘between my ears’ in order to drown out the dreck y’all are playing on your sound system. It doesn’t mean I am ‘happy’ but that I’m listening to something better than that stuff that would gag a maggot.”

“Oh. So do you have feelings of depression?”

“Oh, yeh. That ‘music’ y’all arer playing makes me want to end it all.”

“Oh, OK. I’ll see if we can turn it down then.”

“Thank you. Now THAT makes me happy.”


Transitive Property

The old “Prepper” adage that “Two is one and one is none” makes some sort of sense, I suppose, in that if one only has one of a particular thing–tool, equipment, whatever–and that “one” is lost, broken, or stolen, then “none” is what one is left with.

But consider the transitive property of the adage. IF 2 = 1 and 1 = 0, then 2 = 0. Therefore, one could as easily say “n. . . is 2 is one is none,” and so no matter how large a number of [whatever] one has, it is equal to. . . nothing.

This is a principle that escapes hoarders.


Sloppy Thinking

For many years I have heard Donne dunning my ears, but his catchy lil blank verse really borders on stupidity, though it does have bearing on so many folks’ hyper-engagement in “news” reporting of current events (see above reference to “stupidity”).

‘No Man is an Island’

No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

Pardon me while I both gag and throw the bullshit flag. Sure, in some theoretical way, the death of someone I do not know and never would have known “diminishes” me, but in reality? If someone dies and they are not at least a close acquaintance, I have no connection to them, and their death is something for their friends, family, and close acquaintances to be impacted by, not me.

Folks who get all “het up” over events that happen to others they have never even met are just borrowing troubles not their own and filling their lives with fake emotions. It’s the same sort of unhealthy behavior as being devoted to a professional sports team or idolizing some entertainer.

It’s stupid.

BTW, Donne’s death in no way impacted my life. I never knew him (of course) and I really DGARA when or how he died. His life impacted me mainly through my irritation at his stupid verse reproduced here. I would not have been “diminished” one whit had he never written this drivel.


I’ve taken the MMPI and MMPI-2 at different times, for different reasons (does, “For a lark” count as a reason?) and when the scoring comes back, it’s always a “Huh?!?”

Yeh, that’s what “Undifferentiated personality disorder” and other interpretive remarks (different “Huhs” at different times) all mean. The MMPI cannot classify me, except as “not normal.” I actually had one experience where the score interpreter (a p-sych grad student) told me I had been disingenuous on the test. He asked me to retake it and “play it straight” but got the same results, so threw them out of his pool. I’ve gotten that more than once–being thrown out of sample pools because I did not fit a preconceived model, sometimes in physical–lab test–results (blood lipids pseudo research in the 70s).

I’m fine with that, because I had classified myself as “not normal” way decades ago.

Other less detailed personality/p-sych inventories stumble around and place me somewhere on some contemporary “spectrum” or another, but all that means (since different inventories all say something different) is “You don’t fit our classification system. Go away.” *heh*

If one takes a bit of time and just sits down and browses through the DSM-IV, one soon realizes that EVERYONE is just a bit crazy–including oneself. Because p-sych cannot really classify human behavior1 like biology can classify species within a taxonomic system, but the DSM is great for creating billing classifications for insurance purposes. . . .

And finally, I suppose my fascination with Soren Kierkegaard is because a majority of the voices in my head find him so. ๐Ÿ™‚

(Most Norms are scratching their heads and thinking, “Where did that come from?” *heh*)

1OK, gross classification is possible. Some behavior is clearly crazy, such as delusional behavior that is harmful to the one suffering the delusion–and to others. Some behavior. Most “disorders” in the DSM can be reclassified as simply “This makes Norms uncomfortable,” though, or “I need a billing class so I can keep this person as a cash cow.” *heh*