The New & Old

Once again we witness the nature of any person or organization with power, applying this simple maxim:

Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” Letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton, 1887 from Lord Acton

We presently live in a world where things that were once considered far-fetched science fiction fantasy are becoming the new reality.

Mark Twain patriotismThe NSA intercepted packages to put back-doors in electronics. The NSA’s Tailored Access Operations (TAO) division, has a catalog of all the commercial equipment that carries NSA back-doors. It includes most of the big names in tech products. Storage products from Western Digital, Seagate, Maxtor and Samsung have back-doors in their firmware. Firewalls, designed to protect an organization from predatory intrusion such as from Juniper Networks have been compromised. Network equipment from Cisco, Chinese company Huawei and unspecified products from Dell. TAO intercepts on-line orders of these and other electronic products to plant ‘bugs’ in them.

Every company spokesperson contacted by Spiegel denies having any knowledge of these product modifications. Dell officials stated the company “respects and complies with the laws of all countries in which it operates.” Hewlett-Packard wrote that the company was not aware of any of the information presented in the report and that it did “not believe any of it to be true.”

All of the denials are typical but the evidence presented by Edward Snowden confirms this story.

Technology marches on and so do methods of keeping secrets. Here’s one that’s not so difficult to swallow, a pill that encapsulates electronic password access. Motorola has come up with a password pill to enable devices you select to work with this product such as phones, tablets and computers. The edible password pill contains a tiny Integrated Circuit powered by stomach acid but unfortunately the granted access is only temporary. As Sherlock might say, the solution is alimentary, Watson. I can see the writers in Hollywood salivating over this breakthrough. Sorry about the puns.

Thalmic Labs’ MYO has come up with an arm band which links through a blue tooth connection to enable gesturing. The company claims you’ll be able to run presentations by waving, steer a helicopter drone, or simply control your TV or stereo with simple movements. I believe the idea of using gestures to interact with many different devices will be as revolutionary as the mouse was to desktop computers. Perhaps rap artists will be able to use gang signs to author new music, (just kidding).

Mouse patent EnglebartMay I add a footnote about the computer mouse? Douglas Engelbart died on July 2, 2013. Douglas Engelbart’s achievements included the computer mouse and he was the first person to demonstrate video conferencing in 1968.

Reviving a phone after it takes a dip in water has many seen many ideas circulated among the tech community, such as placing it in a bag of rice on a shelf. Well, as most know, this would do nothing to remove the minerals that typically collect on circuits in the phone after such an occurrence. These minerals do the damage, including shorts between traces on the circuit board. This product has to be one of the most useful I’ve witnessed in years.

Obamacare Has a New Money Problem: It Won’t Fix Emergency Rooms. This news item has to fall under the no s___t Sherlock department. Since when does asking government to produce a solution to rising costs in anything, seem viable? The words ‘government efficiency’ are a classic oxymoron.

The promotion of government sponsored health care is a scam of the highest order. It wasn’t passed because those in government really care about us, they did it for the power it purchases. If you control 1/6th of the economy, you buy future votes and create whole new lobbies of those wanting to court the government for favor. fish for life

Costs won’t go down unless draconian methods are used to mandate specific cost reimbursement by procedure code. All this will do is drive people out of the health care field because the choices made by bureaucrats often don’t cover the actual cost to do the procedure. Fewer people in medicine will create another set of problems as this thing spirals out of control. Refer to my first paragraph on this one.

Here we go 2014 . . .

clock tower

Clock tower at Trimet station – Wilsonville Oregon

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