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.
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.
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?
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?
It is surely a mixed blessing to have time to design your own headstone. That’s a wonderful monument, though, and the Vanderboeghs could use some help getting it made. Kudos to Kurt Hofmann for a quote deserving of such immortality.
Sometimes even writers at the New Yorker think about the real world and ask good questions: What would happen if GPS failed? (A bunch of over-dependent individuals should also be asking what they’d do if their personal GPS devices failed. Or why they’re so dependent on technology that so often misleads them.)
Get businesses freaked out enough about “discriminating against the disabled” and they’ll fall for anything.
12 lessons to learn and hang onto forever. (Especially for business, but plenty have applications in the rest of the world, too.)
Just to cheer you up, here’s the latest report on global-catastrophic risks. I confess not to have read it yet. I don’t need that kind of “cheering up” right now. But just in case you’re interested. (H/T MJR)
Assume your state government is in big trouble if one, single taxpayer saying goodbye could have this much impact.
Still sick. More than two weeks now. Whatever you do, don’t catch this thing.
It may also be that springtime is complicating matters. I don’t usually get hay fever, but Old Blue looks like Old Green every morning thanks to its daily dusting of yellow pollen, and I’m wondering whether things that normally wouldn’t bother me are affecting me now because my respiratory system is already sensitized by the virus.
Whatever this is, please don’t catch it.
I finally found a dose of OTC meds that knocks the symptoms down maybe 50% while only reducing me to stupid and dry-mouthed, no longer brain-dead. That’s something.
And today I trimmed out the back door, which means I can soon get down to one of the most pleasant of all DIY tasks, shingling the wall. Fun to do. Looks great almost from the first course. And I can pick the task up or put it down any time. My kind of job.
Books could be written on that topic. Investigative reporters could spend years plumbing the depths of how “they” — the ubergovernment and the deep govocracy, probably helped along by outfits like the Southern Poverty Hate Law Center — use our ‘Net postings to build dossiers on us. And how they use their postings on our fora and comment sections to provoke and undermine us. Kit’s only touching on a couple of things. But her points are well-taken.
IMHO, it’s overlong and repetitive. But it makes absolutely valid points about how “liberalism” became synonymous with snotty elitism and social justice pecksniffery (the very opposites of anything actually liberal, of course). Most salient point: The snottery was always there, but when the left abandoned the working class or the working class abandoned the left, nothing remained to hold the arrogance and contempt in check.
The “right” may have Donald Trump, but fundamentally the “left” is in a whole lot more perilous shape.
The most remarkable thing about the Vox piece is the source: Vox’s lefty credentials are as good as anybody’s.
The first was a classic by MamaLiberty (a piece I’d have been proud to write myself). Check the original out here.
The second, a new one from the prolific Carl-Bear Bussjaeger, looks at the question of whether Obama could regulate firearms out of existence. Ha! You know the answer to that one, but Bear’s last line says it with a hammer blow.
I’m prepping this blog Monday night, before Bear’s piece posts to TZP. But it should be there at the top of the TZP blog by early a.m.
A 24-hour round-trip drive. But a wonderful thing for friends whose next meeting can only take place “on the other side.”
If you haven’t yet sent Mike a gratitude offering for all he’s done for gun rights and freedom — for all the inspiration, ideas, leadership, and strength he’s shown even as his body betrayed him — this would be a good time. Even if you can afford only $5 or $10, it would be a great opportunity to say thanks to Mike.
I got to thinking yesterday about how preparedness tends to get emphasized more in late Summer and fall. Heck, these days there’s even a whole month observed in prepping’s honor (September, of course).
Makes sense. Crops come in. Time to preserve food. Weather’s going south. Time to check the vehicle emergency kit. And so on.
But we who “think prep” in ways that go beyond canning and emergency preparedness have extra preps for this time of year, too. Replace stashed water supplies for those hot months. Check and use up the veggies that have survived in the root cellar since last year. Buy extra ammo for those liesurely summer plinking sessions. Make sure the winter-stored fuel is in shape for the mower and other summertime power equipment. Stuff like that.
So I’m asking: What special preps do you make (or what existing preps do you take care to doublecheck) come spring or early summer?