Improving your online privacy

I’ve written several times in the past about the threat to privacy and private information posed by the Internet and social media companies who see us as the product they sell to others, to be exploited for their greatest advantage.  That’s why I’m still not active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, or any of the other big names in social media.  The only one I use is Gab, and they guarantee the privacy of their members, making it a much safer environment. If you’ve wondered how to improve or safeguard your online privacy, there are ways.  Many of them have been

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Puns on an interstellar scale

I laughed out loud to see Friday’s XKCD cartoon.  Click the image to be taken to its Web page, where you can read the mouseover text as well. The point, of course, for those who aren’t into astronomy, is that there are precisely three stars in the Alpha Centauri system.  The cartoon conflates that fact with three-star consumer reviews. I do enjoy it when practitioners of science, or medicine, or any other discipline, poke fun at themselves.  It lightens the air for everyone.  I still giggle at the memory of my sister’s midwifery training at Groote Schuur hospital in Cape Town, many decades ago.  At one

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“Smart” gadgets versus your privacy and security

I’ve had a few things to say about the so-called “Internet of Things“, and how it threatens our personal privacy and security.  Any moderately competent hacker can use such devices as a way to spy on us.  However, it now appears that the authorities are doing the same thing, by forcing the providers of such devices to hand over what they record.  Worse still, the companies in the field are not very helpful in letting their customers know about such issues. A decade ago, it was almost inconceivable that nearly every household item could be hooked up to the internet. These

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“Silencing Alex . . . for openers”

That’s the title of an article this morning by Eric Peters.  Here’s a lengthy excerpt. The other day, YouTube and Facebook and several other inter-related social media platforms banned Alex Jones – the founder of Prison Planet and InfoWars. The reason given isn’t that Alex is a “conspiracy” theorist – the ancient charge – but chiefly that he is a purveyor of “hate” speech. What this really means is that the powers that be hate the things Alex speaks about – his political incorrectness – and can no longer abide his being free to speak about such things. Having locked down

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Poor Internet access – no posting this morning

The Internet is going up and down like an out-of-control elevator right now, here at the St. James Hotel in Cimarron, NM.  Every time I try to post something, it fails halfway through, or I can’t get back to Blogger’s editor for up to fifteen minutes.  I give up. Miss D. and I will hit the road homeward this morning.  I expect we’ll be back late afternoon or early evening, but I may be too tired to post anything.  Regular posting will resume tomorrow morning. Prayers for traveling mercies are, as always, greatly appreciated.  Thanks. Peter

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How NOT to win friends and influence customers

What’s the old saying?  “Make sure brain is engaged before putting mouth in gear.”  A British banker should have borne that in mind. Banks are facing a furious reaction from customers after saying they should foot the compensation bill for fraud by paying a tax on every transaction made. UK Finance chief Stephen Jones told MPs on the Treasury committee today that banks shouldn’t always have to cover the costs when criminals con people into transferring money out of their accounts. A tiny levy on each payment made in the UK could be a solution to covering the rising cost of

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The future of city business districts in an Internet age?

The Atlantic has some ideas. These days, walking through parts of Manhattan feels like occupying two worlds at the same time. In a theoretical universe, you are standing in the nation’s capital of business, commerce, and culture. In the physical universe, the stores are closed, the lights are off, and the windows are plastered with for-lease signs … A rich ghost town sounds like a capitalist paradox. So what the heck is going on? . . . There are at least three interlinked causes. First, the rent, as you may have heard, is too damn high … commercial rents have ascended

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Some exciting blog and Web site news

For the past few weeks, I’ve had a consultant and his team working on setting up a dedicated Web site for me, and for the publishing company I set up earlier this year.  We hope to go live by the end of this month, although it may happen a little sooner than that, if all goes well. The new Web site will incorporate this blog, plus more detailed pages for my books, by genre, by series, and by individual title.  I won’t do direct sales from it, due to all the complications of sales taxes and other regulations for fifty

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