It was the premise of the Politico article that drew me in. It was the claim that politics of 2030 would be shaped by the ghastly presidential election of 2016. There would be big changes to come.
Given the tumult of the times, I don’t doubt that one bit. The contest between The Hillary and The Donald, and all the odd and shifting v*ter alignments and policy preferences around it, is bound to reverberate into the future. It’s something I’ve thought a lot about. I wondered if others were coming to similar conclusions. So I read.
Recap: All they were saying, without actually saying it, was that my 2G phones are about to become obsolete. The fact that they weren’t actually saying it, and the fact that any contact with TracFone other than buying and adding airtime is always painful threw me a bit.
But by Sunday, I had a nice little touchscreen 3G phone — $7! — that did everything my old phone did, but could also send and receive photos and had a virtual qwerty keyboard for texting. (This is why I turned down two kind offers for free phones; I really wanted that qwerty keyboard.) All set, thank you!
Not only that, but the process of transferring the old phone’s activation and minutes to the new was quick and easy. Five minutes on an automated call (no conversations with anybody in Mumbai). Two hours later … done.
Interestingly, I was also given the weekend’s use of a somewhat elderly Android smartphone: “Use it, play with it, break it if you like.” I’ve made calls and viewed photos on friends’ smartphones, but never cared to own one myself because they are such major wreckers of privacy.
But avoidance of smartphones puts me behind the curve when it comes to writing intelligently about them. So I was glad to mess around with one freely for a few days.
I hated a couple of major things, but loved a lot more.
Hated: The fact that Android — the “superior” phone OS that lives on something like four out of every five smartphones — is an even more naked Google Evil (TM) than I’d imagined. Fully half the phone’s functions seem designed to force the user onto Google, be identified, and give away any concept of personal privacy.
Appalling. First thing I did was hunt around and turn off geolocation and all the “helpful” report-to-Google functions. But I could see that without setting up a Google account and downloading apps, a person would be losing many of the advantages of having a smartphone.
Yet, oh my, the price of some of those supposed advantages! Even if there are workarounds. Who wants to spend their life engineering workarounds — and still never knowing how many other Google-designed or Google-approved data leaks you’re carrying around in your pocket?
Loved: The fact that, with a TracFone smartphone, airtime cards not only give “triple minutes” (as that 3G phone does), but in addition give triple number of texts and triple MBs of data. Wow. On my old 2G (double minutes) phone and the 3G phone, all texts and browser time come out of the “minutes” budget. So this is huge.
And there I sit with a backup phone that has well over 2,200 minutes on it … which would become 2,200 minutes, plus 2,200 texts, plus 2,200 MB of data if I picked up a $30 smartphone.
Just past the halfway mark of my six months without home Internet. Not too painful so far, right?
Its original purpose of lowering monthly payments to clear last year’s home-improvement debts kind of went kablooey when Dave quit paying for the blog. At that point, I emptied savings to clear nearly all that debt, figuring any unnecessary monthly payments would not be a good idea right now.
Kept a small emergency fund, of course. Always keep a small emergency fund unless you’re living in your car and eating out of Dumpsters.
The barefoot one didn’t manage to freeze Mama. Reading this article, I’m not sure whether Colton Harris-Moore is a naive young kid or a crass hustler who’s going to head right straight for trouble again when they release him from prison this summer.
“This Bud’s for you, America.” Another one to read mainly because it’s by George Will, who writes like a barbed angel. The whole business with Budweiser’s temporary name change is as pathetic as it is cynical.
Why are house prices soaring across this Great Land of Budweiser? One guess.
If this has happened to you — particularly if you managed to resolve the issue — I’d like to hear about it.
Got a text from Tracfone this morning: URGENT — Network changes in your area — ACTION REQUIRED — You MUST call … Blah blah.
I called and all I got was, “Press 1 if you already have your replacement phone. Press 2 if you need to purchase your replacement phone.” No other info. No option for reaching a human being (which wouldn’t help much, in any case, as I’ve never spoken with a Tracfone rep who could speak English, not to mention they probe for private info and can take hours at customer expense(!) to resolve problems).
I presume TF is about to obsolete my phone. Actually, two phones. One of which I carry every day and is about to run out of minutes. And one of which is a backup only but has 2,200 precious minutes on it.
Not surprising if they’re going obsolete. I’ve had them since sometime in the mid-Jurassic. Still. COMMUNICATION, people!
If any of you dear Commentariat members know how to fix this with minimum fuss (and no damn snoopy smart phones), I’d love to know.
Oh, and if anybody is going to suggest I quit Tracfone and try some other privacy-respecting phone service, keep in mind that said service must operate here in the western edge of nowhere. NetZero doesn’t work here. I tried an AT&T GoPhone for a while, but it was a horrible rip-off, charging me substantially for a day of “use” any time the phone rang, even if I didn’t answer it. Oh, and the only local dealer of privacy phones just closed.
Wow whotta way to go! And what a perfect song to be performing at the time. (H/T L.A.)
Twelve ways to increase your anonymity and security online. Very geeky and hardcore, but very good. (H/T Shel in comments) And for the non-geeks: is there a path forward for those who want online security but quail at the thought of TOR or an offshore VPN?
You ’60s and ’70s people — you Illuminatus! fans — want a blast from the past? This was obviously written a long time ago when Robert Anton Wilson was still alive, but the crazy life of Kerry Thornley is always worth a re-visit.
Is F*c*b**k controlling the news its users see? Are there reporters naive enough to be thinking otherwise? This becomes more and more of a problem as billions turn to a narrower range of online sources for everything. FB: the new MSM.
Ninth Circuit court — the previously infamous 9th Circuit — says there’s a Second Amendment right for gun stores, too. (Or rather, an individual right to be able to acquire guns.) And the WaPo, the always infamous WaPo, prints the recaps of both Eugene Volokh and David Kopel. Oh, the times they are a’ changin’ …
So. Do you think the whole Obama in the girls’ bathroom thing will hold up in the courts? And isn’t it downright embarrassing, as well as tyrannical, that a president is involving himself in this (you’ll pardon the expression) sh*t?
Deciding when and whether to give trust is one of those endless dilemmas of the freedom movement. Well, of life, too, of course. But the decision to trust — or not — becomes a lot more vital when you might be doing something Authoritah disapproves of.
On the Internet, you’ll find a lot of pat advice about how to bestow trust — or not. Tell people only what they need to know. Isolate suspected informers. Etc. I’ve written some of that advice myself and read more of it. Some of the advice is sound, some stupid.
Ahem, mine of course is always of the sound variety. But speaking of stupid …
I love my neighborhood. In many ways, it’s like what we think neighborhoods were in the olden days (but probably really weren’t).
I had an “olden days” moment yesterday. Not in the idyllic sense, but in the sense that anybody in the neighborhood can give a troublesome kid what-for and parents will back that up.
I was sitting in the sun room, enjoying the respite after a day of painting and ripping down old siding when — whap! — something thumped the wall next to me.
I knew immediately what it was and who did it. Sure enough, I went outside and there was a baseball in the grass. Looked up and there he was, a tall, blond adolescent boy in the neighbors’ yard. The three boys who live there (all younger and smaller than this kid) were outside, too. But having had my house pelted several times last summer with hardballs, and having seen the tall, blond kid every time, I knew it wasn’t their doing. (They lob balls into my yard frequently, but never get near the house and nearly always use nerf or whiffle balls.)
Without giving it a second thought, I stomped over to the fence, pointed, and called, “You! Blond kid!” And proceeded to give him a piece of my mind and a warning that if he broke a window, hurt an animal, or damaged my property in any way, he’d be in deep yogurt. Then I tossed the baseball over the fence and went home.
A couple minutes later, the father of the three boys was at my gate, full of apologies and concern.
“No, no. Your little boys are so sweet and polite,” I said. “You don’t need to apologize for anything. It’s that other kid. It’s almost as if he’s aiming at my house. He needs a good talking to from his parents.”
“But I’m the dad,” my neighbor said, as if that explained everything that needed to be said about his responsibility.
Later I got to feeling bad about raising a ruckus. Maybe I should have just gone over there and had a quiet talk with everybody. Maybe I should have gone to Dad and let him handle his guest.
This morning I took the family a peace offering of apple pie (storebought, sorry) and ice cream. Dad was off on a volunteer fire call, but Mom and two of the boys were there. I assured the boys I wasn’t upset with them in any way. I apologized to Mom for the undiplomatic way I’d handled the situation and asked her to pass that on to her husband.
She made it clear that she and Dad had had a very serious talk with all the boys and that no peace offering was necessary. “That kid is a good boy,” she said. “But … they’re having some troubles right now.” Not excusing, just explaining.
Only nerf and whiffle balls from now on, she assured me, taking the pie and ice cream that I finally had to force into her hands.
Be patient, citizens! That is an order! Your government is hard at work protecting you. (I do rather wonder what those TSA lines snaking up and down escalators look like. Or worse, feel like to stand in, especially if you’re stuck at the top or bottom where the stairs disappear. But not enough to want to go to an airport to see for myself.)
Speaking of gummint “protection,” be glad you didn’t run into this employee of the Federal Protective Service.
Militias going mainstream? So sez The Guardian with a surprising minimum of tsking about it.
But not to worry. Plenty of tsking is still to be had in government schools. This time over a rather creative paper gun.
We are shocked. Simply shocked. Facing minimum-wage hikes, Wendys is adding self-serve kiosks, with McDonalds not far behind. Yeah, kids; that minimum-wage that nobody thinks you’re worth is a real benefit, isn’t it?
I admit that, because I’m sick unto death of social-justice pecksniffs, ivory-tower radicals, elitists who sneer down their noses at the rest of us while unable to navigate the real world for themselves, and the thuggish Melissa Click types who now personify academia (academia being the major home of rape-culture hysteria), my first reaction was to tune the book out even though everything Wendy writes is always worthwhile. Then I noticed the much more hopeful subtitle: “Fixing the damage done to men and women.”
Yeah, that needs doing. And Wendy is just the person to analyze the problem and suggest sensibly individualist solutions. Turns out the scope of this new book is wider than the title implies.