Goodbye Twitter

Many years ago I signed up for Twitter because I thought it would be fun. At that time the phrase “don’t be evil“,  was embraced in Google’s corporate code of conduct and we had a warm, fuzzy feeling about the social media companies. Well, things have changed. The fun is gone and the arrogance of social media companies has grown unbearable. They may have thought they had a good reason for censorship but their actions are scaring the rest of us. I no longer trust social media companies to do the “right thing”. In this brand new world, it makes sense to review my privacy exposure and get rid of any social media I am not actively using. Goodbye, Twitter.

Did Jonathon Gruber Advise The FCC Commissioner On How To Pass Net Neutrality?

As a long time IT guy I am embarrassed to say how much time I wasted trying to figure out what the FCC’s version of “Net Neutrality” means? It was as if the FCC was deliberately trying to make their reasons for increasing internet regulation as difficult to understand as possible. They seem to be using the same lack of transparency tactic Jonathon Gruber made famous. Whether you are lying about health care policies or Internet regulations, it looks like political suicide on the big stage. As both a retail and commercial Internet client I have no idea what problem they are trying to solve that would not be solved faster and better via the marketplace.

I think we can agree that the Internet is a fairly, robust free market. On the other hand health care is a heavily regulated market and the additional Affordable Care Act regulations did not make health care more efficient or result in better health care outcomes. So if the government cannot wring out increased health care efficiency in a heavily regulated market like health care, what do you think the chances of continued Internet improvements are when the government is converting a robust free market into a heavily regulated market. Is this change as potentially disruptive to the internet market as the federal government’s last technology flop,, was to the health care market? The government technology track record is pretty dismal. They violated practically every software development best practice known to man in developing and then acted surprised that the site did not work and ran over-budget. This Administration is not technologically savvy so it is way too early to risk killing our golden goose for nothing.

May be it is best to listen to the concerns expressed by FCC commissioner, Ajit Pai. Click on this link to view the Bloomberg interview.

Re: The Physics of Space Battles

One of my qualifications for a great sci-fi movie is that the story has to be good enough that you do not think about things like the physics of space battles. As soon as you start wondering about the details of how they could do that in real life, the entertainment we derive from the movie is over. I purposely avoid this pitfall and promise myself to puzzle over the details after the movie is over. Here is a great resource on the physics of space battles. It also poses more questions than it answers. If sci-fi movies and video games are not good examples of space battles then our knowledge of space battles is more limited than we think. How are we going to break this rut in thinking if the physics of actual space battles is not dramatic enough for movies and video games? With this limited public knowledge how could we sway public opinion if we needed to fight a real space battle?

How To Never Bust Through Your Smartphone’s Data Cap Again [Data Caps]

I was curious whether this Gizmodo article, How To Never Bust Through Your Smartphone’s Data Cap Again [Data Caps], would come up with the idea I came up with, turn your 2G/3G/4G data access off. Since most of my awake hours is spent in two places where I have Wi-Fi access the lack of over the air data access should not be much of a problem to me. This also explains why I did it. How can I go over my 200 MB limit when most of my data transfers should be over Wi-Fi? This problem seems to be occurring every month now.

Where are the green jobs?

Talk about unintended consequences!


According to The Hill, wind executives are engaging in a lobbying-flurry on Capitol Hill this week, going after the “Buy American” agenda that Senator Chuck Schumer is pushing with regard to renewable power projects funded with stimulus grants. Schumer has become somewhat agitated to learn that most (79%) of the US stimulus money spent on renewable energy has gone overseas creating manufacturing jobs abroad, but creating little but taxpayer debt here in the U.S.

The Hill quotes Donald Furman, senior vice president with Iberdrola Renewables as admitting that Schumer’s buy-American plan “will cause my company not to build the number of projects that it was going to build simply because we can’t get the equipment that would satisfy the requirement.”

This admission is only surprising because it was made in public. Anyone who knows that China’s labor rate is under $1.00 per hour, and that China holds 95% of the rare earth elements needed to produce most renewable energy systems could have told you that manufacturing of renewable equipment is going to happen mostly in China.

U.S. Wind Industry: Turbine Construction Won’t be Domestic
Kenneth P. Green
Fri, 12 Mar 2010 06:00:58 GMT

Brazilian Blackout Traced to Sooty Insulators, Not Hackers

I saw the 60 Minutes program on Sunday and I was a little skeptical over the intelligence claims. As an engineer who worked closely with process control engineers at a chemical plant there are some significant challenges in sabotaging control systems when you have local access. Sabotaging a control system via the internet is an even greater challenge. I think that sooty insulators is a more likely answer although I agree every one should be wary.

The CBS newsmagazine 60 Minutes breaks the remarkable news that a massive 2007 electrical blackout in Brazil was caused by computer hackers. But the electric utility involved denies a hack attack. It should know — it was fined over $3 million for failing to maintain the high-voltage insulators that actually caused the blackout.

Brazilian Blackout Traced to Sooty Insulators, Not Hackers
Marcelo Soares
Mon, 09 Nov 2009 23:15:00 GMT