The Spy In Your Smartphone

An article in OS news (linked below) opens by saying those of us with experience in digital technology have known about the nasties hidden in your internet enabled computers and gadgets for years.This is absolutely true. Why did people like me not sound the alarm then, you might well ask?

In the case of smartphones I confess to being completely indifferent, I have no interest in owning one, my ten year old Nokia phone gives me all the mobile communications I want (when I am not available to answer the landline, I am not available to talk and there’s nothing so important it can’t wait a few hours) and when that old faithful croaks it will be replaced with an entry level pay as you go device.

It is wrong to suggest however that cynical old pros like me were not sounding the alarm, we began sounding the alarm when Microsoft operating systems started to be shipped internet ready. Microsoft always gave themselves the ability to take over your computer, change settings and load stuff you hadn’t asked for. And the favoured page markup for the World Wide Web, thanks to the interference of an idiot science tit and the willingness of politicians to listen to a guy with a PhD in Star Trek Studies rather than people who had long careers in computers behind them, had as much security as a house with no doors.

The trouble was people did not want to listen, the propaganda coming from government spin doctors and corporate marketing departments said the world wide web was magic and would make everything free. And people want to believe in magic.

Thus we handed governments and corporate cartels with fascist tendencies (i.e. all of them) the greatest tool for controlling information anybody could imagine. They could rewrite the past and create the present. As George Orwell put it in “1984”, “He who controls the present controls the past, he who controls the past controls the future.” And he could have added “He who controls the information controls the present.”

Keep on reading to learn a little of how Our New Unhappy Lords are controlling the information.

Read more in OS News

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Geneva Motor Show: Genius Or Geekery Gone Mad.

The Geneva Motor Show in recent years has become less about cars than gadgets. Like SxSW in Houston, Texas which used to be a music festival but has gone the same way, these gatherings are now mutual maturbations sessions for geeks and gadget freaks.

This years Geneva show is mostly about electric cars that you don’t have to drive, a computer does all the fun stuff for you. So you pootle along at 12mph in a vehicle designed to go nowhere slowly and you are not driving. You might as well get the bus with all the other losers.

dijimain
The Honda Diji, the outer skin of which is a giant, curvaceous screen that can display just about anything that can be put on a screen. But not much room for a to get you leg over in the back seat. Not that the geeks who designed it would ever think of getting their leg over while there are gadgets to play with.

Electric cars are a pipe dream for sad acts. And cars that drive themselves? Well they must rely on Sat Nav and anyone who has followed Boggart Blog for a while will know how reliable sat nav is. (or you cn check out our sat nav stories in the related posts list at the foot of this article)

Yes, while the wide eyed politicians and the geekocracy are burbling excitedly about electric cars and hybrids saving the planet there is little talk of what a filthy, enery intensive process manufacturing the batteries is (Why do you think Union Carbide moved their manufacturing plants from Europe and the USA to Bophal, India. Yes, THAT Bophal. And there is even less talk of how expensive electric or hybrid cars are and how a replacement battery pack for an average sized car costs around £8,000.

Hmm, so that second hand Prius with just three months warranty you’ve been offered for a knock down price doesn’t look quite such a bargain now does it? Unless of course you are one of those twunts that thinks computers will soon be able to think like humans, that advances in medical science will enable us to live forever and that we are just a whisker away from interstellar travel.

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Blackberry Crumble but offer a RIM Job

If you are a progressive, web enabled, aspirational, upwardly moblile, high-tech, multi-gadget user who has long ago abandoned the idea of thinking for yourself as “so last century” and thus rely on your collection of electronic gizmos for career related activities, socal life and information needs, your piss is probably nearing boiling point now.

Blackberry, still the leading messaging technology in yuppieland (iPhones are for chavs and the kind of obnoxious idiots who go on The Apprentice) has broken down in spectacular style, leaving millions of tech-savvy, well-connected and emotionally crippled users in a quandry. Yuppies, corporate apparachiks and trendy “meeja” types have been taken off their life support systems. The Blackberry whose distinctive little bleep might have pissed off us more leisurly diners in restaurants made owners of the gadget feel so important they would positively preen as they paused between mouthfuls of cous cous to deal with another urgent message.

“Look at me,” their body language would say, “I’m so important the organisation cannot function without me even through my one hour lunch break.”

(The reaction of we more leisured diners was of course to display body language that said, “Fuck the fucking fuck right off, you annoying little twat. I’m ‘avin me lunch.”)

BlackBerry’s parent company Research In Motion (RIM) has displayed public relations ineptitude surpassing that of Microsoft, Google, Apple and even Facebook in dealing with the crisis. Who can’t forget Apple’s response to the non functioning iPhone 4, “There’s nothing wrong with our technology, users are too stupid to use it;” or Websfuhrer Zuckerberg responding to complaints about Facebook’s repeated invasions of privacy by saying that privacy is obsolete.

Yes Blackberry have surpassed all of this. Research In Motion (RIM) have simply pretended nothing is wrong, there is no mention of the problem on their website or Facebook page and no statements or press releases have been issued giving details of the nature of the problem and an estimated fix time.

But should we expect anything else from a company that calls the career opportunities page on its official website RIM.jobs?

The Only Reason You’ll Ever Need To Hate The Toyota Prius.

There has always been something about the Toyota Prius that pissed me right off but I could never quite put my finger on what it was:

The smug self righteousness of the bastards that drive them maybe? the lies about it being a hybrid when it will actually do about four miles on the electric motor before the batteries go flat and it becomes a grossly underpowered but otherwise conventional family saloon?

The way we are told it will do 700 miles on a tankful of fuel so long as you are willing to spend four hours recharging the batteries for ever half hour you spend driving?

The duplicitous way adverts claim the car is green when in fact to obtain the raw materials needed to manufactured the batteries, heavily armed corporate thugs have driven thousands of primitive tribespeople in Ecuador or Bolivia or somewhere from land their ancestors have farmed for over a thousand years?

Is it the way the car poses as environmentally friendly when in fact making and scrapping the batteries puts loads of heavy metals and other toxic shit into the environment?

Or is it perhaps just that the latest Prius looks like a motorised turd?

When I saw an ad for the new Prius today however I was left in no doubt what makes me hate the bloody things.

Effing everything, that’s what.

Toyota’s engineers are the kind of sad, dysfunctional, cone – headed freaks who think because they are good at doing equations they can build a car that is cleverer than me. Toyota’s public relations people think I’m so stupid they can persuade me to believe people who are good at doing equations can build a car that is cleverer than me. Fortunately I have driven lots of cars whereas none of these people have ever driven a car as will become clear.

So let’s put things in perspective. The Toyota Prius is neither clean nor green, nor is it likely to get you anywhere you need to be any quicker than you could walk there. The clever Japanese cone – heads who built the Prius do not know much about torque or power – to – weight ration or stuff like that but they do know about gadgets. Thus they have built the Prius with a tiny engine, an electric engine jut about powerful enough to move its own batteries and lots of gadgets. The Toyota public relations people meanwhile, by putting a positive emphasis on the car’s unique selling points (a.k.a. telling lies) are sure we are so gullible we will be impressed by gadgets like this:

The Prius projects speed and navigation information onto the windscreen so you are not distracted by having to look down at the instrument panel.

Now the very last thing an experienced driver wants to see when looking at the road ahead is the odometer, tachometer, fuel gauge and sat nav screen. What we would much rather see is that forty ton truck coming towards us. It should be a no brainer to cone heads, advertising creatives and even the kind of people who would drive a motorised turd for the sake of appearing to care about the planet. But instead of spotting that little flaw in their design, Toyota have built a car that wants to kill us.

So there you have it, the only reason you will ever need to hate the Toyota Prius.

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Well, Officer, It Was Like This…

I am sure that you often come across things, items being manufactured and sold, that makes you wonder how civilisation ever got this far without them. I have to say it is a sort of hobby of mine, keeping an eye out for the ridiculous gadgets that really there can be no valid need for whatsoever.
How gratifying then to pull into Woolley Edge services and find on sale……

a portable pop-corn popper!

But not just a portable pop-corn popper, a portable pop corn popper with an adapter to enable it to work from the cigar lighter in your car!!!

I can only imagine the explanation to the police officer following the multi car pile up on the south bound carriageway.

Well, Officer, it was like this, I’d just plugged in the portable pop-corn popper into the cigar lighter and was topping it up with corn, when I had to brake suddenly, causing me to overfill the popper. Before I could get the lid on the corn was popping and I was very shortly covered in the stuff. Consequently I couldn’t see where I was going and veered across the cariageway….

Driving Whilst Blind And Drunk