Category Archives: Information Technology

IT; is the acquisition, processing, storage and dissemination of vocal, pictorial, textual and numerical information by a microelectronics-based combination of computing and telecommunications.

Why the Net Isn’t Neutral

server rackI understand, you want things to be fair. You’re all about fair play and equality. You’re even willing to wear a silly hat and carry a sign if necessary in the name of fairness. I get it and respect that.

When I read many posts making claims about net neutrality, I realize the masses can be so readily manipulated. It’s one of the reasons I’m glad I’ve learned to be more skeptical and willing to dig for information. It’s because so few people are willing and able to dig in for themselves, preferring to accept the most frequent regurgitations as fact.

No matter how many times I’ve neutralized the arguments about net neutrality, even some people who I regard as highly intelligent, accept the following as fact.

Without net neutrality we will lose these benefits:
(these claims are false but many believe it to be true)

  • education on-line
  • employment opportunities
  • social media access
  • on-line shopping
  • ticket buying
  • cat videos
  • our favorite porn
  • explosive or chemical devices (see this link)

Before 2015, there were no legal protections requiring net neutrality. Before 2015 Internet providers could charge different prices for different speeds. You wanted faster Internet, you paid a higher price. After 2015, when “net neutrality” laws were passed, Internet service providers are able to charge tier level prices. Faster Internet = higher pricing. Notice any difference before 2015 and after? There isn’t any.

Let me explain it another way. The whole idea behind net neutrality, is to keep data flowing freely. You want to be able to watch those on demand cat videos and Internet porn, or your favorite net-fix video. You believe it’s your right, but it really bothers you that a company has the audacity to charge you more if you use more data. How dare they!

If the objectives of the law were to insure we receive services on an equal basis, then why is it other “utilities” charge more for their services? Water companies charge more for greater consumption. Electric companies charge more for additional capacity & usage. What are we asking for data services that differs from other utilities?

If Internet service slows or is completely off-line, I call the provider. The problem is identified and the issue is resolved. Municipalities (local government), created a localized monopoly when they chose a single provider for a specified geographic area. This eliminated a market aspect of control and correction through competition. Rates and services improve with competition. Politicians with government regulations created the problems. They later identify & amplify the problems they started, and promote their willingness to fix if only we would elect them.

Dianne Feinstein speaking

To put it succinctly, if the government were to be put in charge of a desert, there would be a shortage of sand in a few years.


 

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Operating Systems – Quick Update

brilliance controlIt’s time to get past the discussions on politics, religion, or anything else that you might find disagreeable. It’s time to put back on my favorite hat, Computer Tech. (click here for musical fanfare in background)

I have without hesitancy, been a big fan of Linux instead of Microsoft Windows. If you’re satisfied with Windows and don’t care to explore the other options available for mostly FREE, then please go back to watching cat videos… Make a cake then… if you don’t like cat videos.

I’m using a well-known and popular LINUX version, UBUNTU. All of the tools and programs I require are readily available using this operating system.

desktop_image_ubuntu

An image from my desktop using UBUNTU

If you have an older PC (more than 3 years old), you may find it a bit sluggish or you missed the free upgrade path from Windows XP, Vista, Win8, to Windows 10. If that’s the situation for you, I would like to suggest some alternatives.

Another reason(s) to run LINUX is for security, and finer control of user access to the computer system. If you run a business, this is especially important. I’m going to start with this recommendation of LINUX. RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux) has been around for decades. They offer some of the best, secure, server solutions. There is also a free version of this, CENTOS. Obviously, free is good, but the better support and latest releases will be found in the paid versions.

CENTOS 7 desktop

Click on image for details

Let’s start on the ground floor.

If you’re someone not as familiar with trying a new operating system or concerned on negatively impacting your existing computer, I might suggest any of the following options.

  1. Go to this page and find out more.
  2. Check out the links I’ve provided (they’re underlined) to find out more.
  3. Contact me through this post. If you leave a contact email addy, I can respond.

There are a few beginning steps to take whenever you try something new, but believe me, trying LINUX is going to be a very easy step. I find ordering a disk online or buying a magazine from a book store which includes a disk, are easy ways to try a new flavor without having to install it. If you have a CD drive in your laptop or desktop, it’s a very simple process of inserting and trying the new operating system.

One of the latest installations I’ve done, are for my grandchildren. I installed Voyager. It started out as a derivative of XFCE but is now based on a simpler interface to UBUNTU. I had an older PC with a relatively small amount of memory and a slower processor.  It’s noticeably faster on Voyager than the original installed Microsoft Windows, and it automatically found and installed the wireless network connection.

voyager_linux_desktop

Voyager desktop image – click for more details

One of my favorites, which I use on my laptop PC is LINUX Mint. The user interface is much like a Windows PC with less opportunities to viruses and hacking. Even still, be sure to enable the firewall and an anti-virus program.

linux-mint-desktop

Linux Mint – Click on image for more information

Here’s a recap. I would recommend the following but this shouldn’t be considered the final word.

  • CENTOS – server distribution for small to medium sized business.
  • RHEL – get everything CENTOS offers plus the latest changes and support.
  • Voyager – If you’re just starting out and want to become familiar. It looks a lot like a MAC OS.
  • UBUNTU – my favorite to use and get all of the tools as well as good third party support.
  • Mint – Based on UBUNTU with an easy to learn user presentation. Some people prefer straight on UBUNTU while others like the friendlier interface of Mint. Either choice is great.

Check out the video below for another opinion.

Enjoy!

How Patriotic is the Act?

I’ve written about this topic before and as seen in this video, most people won’t pay attention to a story about national surveillance unless the conversation is dumbed down. Just in case you aren’t too busy watching TV, standing in line reading the latest tabloid about the Kardashians, buying lottery tickets, or checking out the sports scores, I’m going to post this in hope that it matters to some people. I won’t be using only simple words or sarcasm to explain the problem. Only those who have a reasonable vocabulary and attention span will want to understand this topic.

Edward Snowden decided while working as a contractor for the NSA, the United States was over stepping the bounds of human decency and reasonable limits when it came to spying on American citizens as well as International organizations which shouldn’t be the target of focus. In the video, he cited UNICEF as an example, or the negotiation of lawyers over the pricing of shrimp.

John Oliver, using his comic style and making absurd references, presented some of the reasons the Patriot Act is a law which may be used as a tool for extreme covert activity by people given unprecedented power to invade our privacy, and to release potentially harmful information as a weapon of influence or control.

One of several Drone types.

One of several Drone types.

Domestic surveillance has become common place for local police, through the use of cellular data capture utilizing devices within a limited area, or drone technology.

Key to the growth of surveillance technology is the public desire to keep people safe, combined with apathy of most people as to how technology is used. This is how a draconian law like the Patriot Act got passed.

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