Costco then Apple: Road Trip; and a bit more.

Chaos Manor View, Monday, June 08, 2015


This morning Alex drove me out to the Burbank Costco. We used the AI in his car for directions, and it took us on a tortuous route using the freeway then a snaky path which ended us there in the same place and in about as much time as my direct surface route – Colfax to Burbank, past the old LASFS clubhouse, and east till we get there. The Hearing Aid Center has been moved but not far. Kerry, their remarkably talented technician-saleswoman was not there but her very skilled assistant quickly replaced all the mechanical parts of both hearing aids – and Lo! I can hear as well as ever I have since the stroke. It’s wonderful.

We also have an appointment for Saturday to have the electronics adjusted, and at time I will consider other options, but I think I will not need them. Things are remarkably better with the new earpieces.

Then we went to the Apple Store in Glendale Galleria. I had taken Khloe, the MacBook Air circa 1907 which served me well when I was getting my radiation therapy in 2008, and who later developed swollen battery – you can see it in the picture. The wait to pay them lots of money for an iPhone 6 large was a few minutes, but to get anyone to look at Khloe would be two hours, which seemed excessive. I decided Khloe can wait. I’ll go to the Apple Store in Sherman Oaks another time when I have more time. I do want her – if she can’t be fixed, OK, I’ll get another. What I loved about her was that I could write in the radiation lab waiting room, and she gave me no hassles. There may now be better portable systems for writing, but in 2008 for a cancer patient there were none. It may be that she won’t take the latest OS – unlike Microsoft Apple prefers latest technology to legacy systems – and she hasn’t a lot of new stuff like fingerprint login, but I did love her and she deserves better than being put in the back room with a swollen battery.

Anyway I bought an iPhone 6, and you’ll undoubtedly be hearing about it for a while. We had lunch in Glendale and came home to set up the iPhone. Alex reports that Apple has achieved a new level of difficulty. In the past everything on an Apple was either simple or impossible. You can now add tedious. We had to go through a lot of steps until it decided to check for updates, after which we had to do more to update the operating system, after which we had to start over as if she were brand new. As an example, she recognized the AT&T mini-tower – I kept the old AT&T phone plan with unlimited use – without my having to do anything; of course the old iPhone went dead to AT&T at the same moment. No need to access the SIM card. But it is easy to back up the old iPhone 4 by wireless to the cloud. But when we were ready to do new stuff with the new iPhone it wanted the OS update; that took a while; and when it was all updated it sort of made us start the registration and setup all over as if the new OS were a new phone. Tedious.

But eventually we were done. All my stuff came over from the cloud. I can use a fingerprint to log in. There’s a whole bunch of new. More to come, but with the hearing aids refurbished mechanically, and the Big iPhone 6 I am a lot more comfortable with my bad hearing and dimming eyesight. It was a good day.


That’s not a bad photo, Khloe really is that warped.


I posted the above just before 1600.  By 1602 the usual 4 o’clock in Time Warner cable Internet speed came into effect. It usually comes back to normal by 1620.  We’ll see.

Actually earlier. Irritating but not infuriating.


I guess things went well, and Larry got his Grandmaster award over the weekend. There’s all kinds of “news” about Puppies and slates for the Hugo – no, I don’t know much about it and I don’t want to – but I can’t find anything about the actual event of the Grandmaster.  It’s certainly deserved.


US State Department wants to engage in prior restraint of online discussion of firearms.



Roland Dobbins

I expect we should not be surprised. After all, the NRA is more dangerous than ISIS is it not?


World War I (the Great War) is still not over…

“In Verdun, there are road signs to indicate a dumping grounds for farmers to leave the shells they’ve plowed up on their land to be collected by authorities.

“They call it the “iron harvest”, in which nearly 900 tons of unexploded munitions are recovered each year by Belgian and French farmers after ploughing their fields.”

Charles Brumbelow


Look at this PDF that the Internet Archive has chosen to copy and preserve. (It’s not pointing to an archived website — it’s stored on, in their own index.) Maybe you’ve seen it already. If not, please look at it. There’s no need to read all 79 pages — I certainly haven’t — but look it over, and see  how professionally it is put together. Look at pages 24 to 26, for a chilling example.
They have put together an entire infrastructure. They are not a bunch of maddened fanatics living in caves, churning out ink-stained pages of propaganda from a mimeograph machine. They have hospitals and an entire healthcare system!

These bastards are well ahead of where the Nazis were at a similar point in history back in the 1930s. We didn’t take them seriously back then, and the world paid the price in blood. We’re not taking these vermin seriously either, and they put the Nazis to shame.

They are far from the “jayvee team” the current pResident would have us believe.

They have openly boasted of their plan to buy a nuke from Pakistan, and then bring it into the USA via the porous  southern border — and then set it off somewhere within the Continental USA.
If they succeed, all hell will break loose, and it sickens me to even try to think of what will happen in the aftermath.

Consider this: they are wealthier than this country. Literally so! While this country is mired in debt — countless dollars in the red — the enemy (which is what they are) is incredibly wealthy. They are taking in millions of dollars a day — they are billions of dollars in the black. It would take pocket change for them to buy a nuke from Pakistan. With the kind of money they have at their disposal it is incomprehensible that they would not be able to find someone in Pakistan willing to do their bidding.
This next election will be the most crucial in this nation’s history. I have little hope that the right person will win. Heck, I have little idea of who the right person even is.

How is it that  you often put it? Something about despair being a sin? What is the alternative, other than closing one’s eyes and refusing to see what is happening?

At the moment, two US divisions and the A-10 squadrons could put paid to the Caliphate.  How long that will remain the case is dubious, but it will not be long.


Islamic State has ‘best cyber offence’ of any terrorist group (ZD)

“There’s a new group of attackers coming. It’s growing right now. And these guys are different,” says F-Secure’s Mikko Hypponen. Then there’s criminals. And governments.

By Stilgherrian | June 5, 2015 — 02:51 GMT (19:51 PDT) |

“ISIS [also known as Islamic State] came onto the scene very quickly, but they already have arguably the best cyber offensive capability of any extremist movement out there, and it’s still early days,” Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at F-Secure said.

“We still haven’t seen real physical damage being done by any extremist group, and it’s probably going to take a while until we see it. But these guys are the first ones that actually have some existing hackers who have joined them and moved in from the West,” Hypponen told the AusCERT Information Security Conference on Australia’s Gold Coast in his keynote address on Friday morning.

“It’s not yet really a big problem, but obviously this isn’t getting better, this is getting worse,” he said.

One such hacker is Abu Hussain Al Britani, a British citizen that F-Secure had been tracking as a traditional hacker three years ago. They lost track of him two years ago, but found him again last summer in Syria.

Al Britani has been kicked off Twitter around 20 times, but appears to be tweeting again this week.

“He was offline for maybe half a year, but he came back online two days ago, together with his wife. They are both British citizens. And he’s actually involved with the attacks that we saw against the US Central Command in which the home addresses of US generals were posted online,” Hypponen said.

“Yes, this is still far away from doing actual physical attacks. Movements and groups like ISIS are the only kind of attacker which would be willing to do attacks which don’t have exact targets, and which create undefined outcomes,” he said.

“For example, trying to gain access to factory automation gear anywhere in the West, and do random modifications to them. It might be an attack which would actually make sense to them, but to no-one else. That’s why I worry about extremist movements in the cyber field.”

Meanwhile, in the traditional criminal world, everything is becoming bigger, and the attackers are becoming bolder. “They’re just going online and advertising their attack services more visibly than ever before,” Hypponen said.

One of Hypponen’s examples was CTB-Locker, a Cryptolocker-style ransomware system that operates on an affiliate business model. The ransomware’s creators don’t conduct attacks themselves, but sell the ransomware as a kit.

“The other criminals [the buyers] are the ones who actually break the law, by infecting end users, and then encrypting their files and demanding a Bitcoin payment to get your decryption key,” he said.

“These lockers of various kinds have been one of the main headaches we, and other anti-virus companies, have had for the least five years … And I suppose one of the reasons why ransom trojans, whether encrypting trojans or so-called police trojans [that purport to be messages from law enforcement agencies] exploded was Bitcoin. Bitcoin created an easy way for them to move the money without getting detected.”














Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.




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