I was watching a mediocre teen comedy and it contained not one but two jokes about cryptocurrency!

I'm gonna let you in on a little secret. Being popular is an illusion. Like a magic trick, or cryptocurrency. You just have to believe in it. And then they will too.

And later:

Her uncle invented that crypto banking app, Money Grab. It's an app that's like a bank. But instead of going to an actual bank, you go to the app and like... grab money.

[sighs] No, Bree, it's an actual bank. It's just, like, the money that isn't real. Anyway, it'll be sick for the party.

So that's what presumably-Millennial screenwriters think Gen Z have to say about it.

Posted Mon Dec 5 18:33:38 2022 Tags:

Frontier Airlines has eliminated telephone customer support. The only way to communicate with the airline is through its web site.

I once flew on a Frontier flight, and noted that the staff seemed to have a right ear and a left ear, but no front ear. That cast its name in question. Now it should be called "No-ear Airlines."

I tried looking around that web site. For the most part, the information seemed to be present and navigation worked. But I think that most inquiries and actions depend on nonfree Javascript code, which excludes me from doing them.

They invite people to use a chat system to get in contact with an agent. That might be an acceptable solution, except that that chat system is part of the web site and it seems to depend on Javascript too.

One thing I noticed on the site is that the company is pressuring people to use its cr…app rather than its web site. Surveillance by the web site is limited; surveillance by a cr…app is much more complete.

Posted Sun Dec 4 22:50:33 2022 Tags:

Google promised not to save location data about "sensitive" places such as abortion clinics, which some states threaten to sue or prosecute people for going near. It did not make enough change to eliminate the danger.

I am not surprised, because surveillance-based companies will always tend to collect too much data and hold on to too much data.

However, data tends to get duplicated and get stored in various places. The root of the search problem is (1) collecting location data, (2) collecting personal identifying data, and (3) identifying return visitors (with cookies).

An acceptable web service must not find out any of those facts about you unless you request to send them. And it must do its job even if you choose _not_ to send them.

See surveillance verses democracy.

Posted Sun Dec 4 21:30:48 2022 Tags:

41 Republicans plus Manchin used a filibuster to kill the proposed railroad workers' contract that gave them sick leave. Then the Senate approved the contract lacking sick leave, the version that Biden had asked for.

Posted Sun Dec 4 09:15:36 2022 Tags:
Posted Sun Dec 4 09:15:36 2022 Tags:

The UK's immigation department sent 20 asylum seekers letters inviting them to come to meetings to discuss their cases. When they arrived, which in some cases was a big expense for them, they were told that the staff did no plans for meetings with them that day.

Either these letters were a prank, or the UK government has become so incompetent and confused that it can't carry out the simplest plan. After seeing how incompetent Tories are, I think the latter is more plausible.

Posted Sun Dec 4 08:15:30 2022 Tags:
Posted Sun Dec 4 08:15:30 2022 Tags:

Senator Merkely has proposed a bill to put a heavy tax on single family homes when they are owned by big companies that own hundreds of them.

Posted Sun Dec 4 07:35:12 2022 Tags:

The history, since 1940, of the series of US tax cuts for the rich that impoverished the country.

Want to really make America great again? Tax the rich!

Posted Sun Dec 4 07:15:56 2022 Tags:

*The [corrupter's] supporters can no longer avoid testifying before grand juries in Washington DC and Georgia.*

Posted Sun Dec 4 06:56:05 2022 Tags:

*Ukraine needs tanks, and the west should supply them. They could finish off Putin and Russia.* The proposal includes modern aircraft and longer-range missiles. Careful strategic thought is required about whether to donate the latter.

Posted Sun Dec 4 06:18:42 2022 Tags:
Scathing allegations against Mayor Breed and city in lawsuit filed over treatment of the homeless:

Former San Francisco employees, including a director who worked with the homeless, allege that the city routinely cleared encampments while knowing there were not enough shelter beds available, according to new testimony filed in court Friday. [...]

In Friday's filings, Marshall said they were explicitly directed by the former head of the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, Jeff Kositsky, to forcibly move unhoused people and destroy their property without taking the time to inquire about their needs.

The city cleared encampments in response to "daily mandates" by Mayor London Breed, Marshall stated: "Mayor Breed ordered us to carry out sweeps because she did not want to be seen near unhoused people while she was at lunch, at the gym, at fundraisers, or at meetings on public business." [...]

Marshall also suggested the method the department used to track shelter refusal was misleading. The Homelessness and Outreach Team would warn unhoused folks that the police were coming without taking steps to offer shelter, Marshall alleged. Despite the lack of offers, they wrote, the city recorded those individuals as having "refused" shelter, which Marshall called an "inaccurate and blatant attempt to work around the City's stated requirements for enforcement." [...]

When Public Works removes an encampment, staff are supposed to collect and log unhoused residents' belongings to be retrieved later [but they] often threw away residents' items altogether, due to a lack of time to sort out trash from belongings. "I have seen DPW workers throw away entire tents," Malone stated.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

Posted Sat Dec 3 19:14:23 2022 Tags:

Man voting in Georgia is so different than in Illinois. When I lived in chicago, during early voting, I went to the local elementary school, waited in line about ten minutes, and they gave me a sheet of paper. I checked people off then I put it in the machine and left.

Not Georgia. We drove downtown because every other polling place had a line >90 minutes. We paid ten bucks to park. We went in the building, then emptied out pockets to go through a metal detector. We then saw a sign about where to park to get our parking validated. Inside.

We then waited in line ~80 minutes. We got to the end and we were given a form to fill out (?). We were told not to sign it until told. Then we were moved into a waiting room where we were given a ticket number, like when you are at the dmv.

We were told to get our IDs out and wait. We waited here for 15-20 minutes. When your number is called they took your form, did some stuff on the computer, then told you to sign the form. Then you get a little green card. You insert it into the machine.

Then you go through three or four prompts, including a very serious™ warning about perjury, a totally necessary warning given how huge a problem stolen identity is for the purposes of voting on behalf of someone else.

You then finally vote, and after an "are you sure" prompt you get a sheet. You then have to walk the sheet over to feed it into a machine. About half of these were working.

The bottleneck was clearly the weird application and waiting room thing. There are two dozen people at a time sitting to have their stuffed checked. Think of it as regular voting except when you got there they had to run a credit check for each person like you need financing.

It was easier finishing my PhD paperwork. Thankful for the kind people (nearly all black women) the shepherded the processes. But man if you are poor or disabled or whatever, good luck yo. That should have been easier. We finished tho.

Previously, previously, previously.

Posted Sat Dec 3 18:37:53 2022 Tags:
The Life Of Sharks:

Scooby Doo: How do you square this then eh? All the criminals we catch are old white men and yet our jails are filled predominantly with black and hispanic male prisoners. Why aren't the old white amusement park owners getting jail sentences?

Daphne: Oh Scooby, don't bring this whole thing up again.

Velma: Better lawyers?

SD: Oh shut up Velma and eat your fucking hummus.

Fred: Come on guys, don't be like this. It's Christmas.

Shaggy: I just wanted a nice dinner with all of us together...

Previously, previously, previously, previously.

Posted Sat Dec 3 18:11:02 2022 Tags:
"Building housing for the working class is completely off the table for the private sector"

Even with the most optimistic assumptions -- that the land will be delivered clean of any residual toxics, that no demolition is required, that the state's Density Bonus law will apply, that no CEQA review will be required, and that the city will provide all necessary entitlements at no cost to the developer -- new private-sector housing in the neighborhoods doesn't make financial sense in today's market. It simply doesn't provide enough return on investment for the speculative capital that finances housing. [...]

Sup. Myrna Melgar, a former planning commissioner, told me she read the study and agrees: "It has nothing to do with the process." A year after the state forced the city to upzone everwhere, "nothing is moving," she said. "Not a single project." [...]

The problem isn't CEQA, or neighborhood appeals, or zoning. It's Capitalism, stupid.

Apropos of nothing, the other day I saw a small homeless encampment being "cleared" from my neighborhood -- which means, a bunch of people having all of their possessions, including their tents, tossed into a pickup truck and thrown away. Just another reminder that when Breed and Dorsey talk about being "tough on crime", what they mean by "crime" is "visible homelessness".

I hope all the police overtime protecting Union Square high end retail is going great, though!

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

Posted Fri Dec 2 21:37:40 2022 Tags:
Denver police in SWAT gear raided Johnson's Montbello home looking for a stolen cellphone that had pinged in the area.

Johnson, in her bathrobe, opened her door when an officer on a bullhorn told anyone inside to come out. Officers carrying rifles stood on her lawn next to an armored tactical vehicle. One officer held the leash of a German shepherd K9.

Once inside her home, Johnson said, they smashed a door to her garage with a battering ram, broke apart a ceiling panel, broke the head off of a beloved collectible doll and left the house in disarray. [...]

The search warrant followed a report of a truck stolen from a Denver hotel. The owner of the truck said there were five handguns, a rifle, two drones, $4,000 in cash and an iPhone in the vehicle when it was stolen [...]

The following day the truck owner told Staab that he used the Apple "Find My iPhone" app [...] The truck owner rented a car and drove by Johnson's house and told Staab that he didn't see his truck but it could be in the garage. [...]

The search warrant never should have been approved, according to Johnson's lawsuit. Staab never tried to corroborate the truck owner's findings and never conducted an independent investigation before filing the request, the lawsuit states. The "Find My iPhone" app gives an approximate location and is not meant to be a law enforcement tool. [...]

"The screenshot offered no basis to believe McDaniel's iPhone was likely to be inside Ms. Johnson's house, rather than on any of several neighbors' properties, or discarded on a nearby street by a passing driver," the lawsuit states. [...]

The police department did not pay Johnson anything to repair the damage to her home, said Greg Brunson, Johnson's son. The family and their friends sent numerous emails to the department in the months after the incident asking for an apology but never received one, he said. [...]

The investigation into the stolen truck remains open and nobody has been arrested, Denver police spokesman Doug Schepman said.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

Posted Fri Dec 2 20:51:55 2022 Tags:
PhilTel: Installing free payphones in Philadelphia:

Surprisingly, there are more people out there without mobile phones than you may think! While there are many that won't have a mobile phone due to socioeconomic disparities, others choose not to have them because of concerns about privacy, health, and the effects of being "plugged in" or reachable 24/7. [...]

Philadelphia in particular has a lot of payphone use, even as payphone companies have been steadily removing phones from service year after year. Residents who rely on these phones are being increasingly marginalized and if this trend continues, many will be left without a communication platform they need to carry out their lives. At PhilTel, we are committed to increase access to telephone-mediated services through the preservation of public, free-to-use telephone infrastructure.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

Posted Thu Dec 1 19:28:15 2022 Tags:
Warning: do not use Hive Social:

We found a number of critical vulnerabilities, which we confidentially reported to the company. After multiple attempts to contact the company we finally reached them by phone and they acknowledged the report. After multiple days and multiple reminders by us, they claimed to have fixed all issues. However multiple vulnerabilities we reported still exist at the time of writing.

The issues we reported allow any attacker to access all data, including private posts, private messages, shared media and even deleted direct messages. This also includes private email addresses and phone numbers entered during login.

Attackers can also overwrite data such as posts owned by other users.


The Hive team has become aware of security issues that affect the stability of our application and the safety of our users. Fixing these issues will require temporarily turning off our servers for a couple of days while we fix this for a better and safer experience

To their credit, it sounds like pulling the plug entirely was the right move, and most companies would not have done that. Even if they only did it not when they found out, but only after someone created a PR disaster to force their hand. One takes what one can get.

However, that does not change the fact that (as I said earlier this week) they are yet another data silo whose lock-in design is antithetical to the principles of openness and interoperability that are the good things that the Internet and the World Wide Web brought to the world.

Previously, previously, previously.

Posted Thu Dec 1 04:26:03 2022 Tags:
Supes approve killer robots, 8-3:

Only Sups. Hillary Ronen, Dean Preston, and Shamann Walton voted against the plan. So much for a progressive majority. Even Sup. Gordon Mar, who already lost his re-election and has nothing more to lose, voted with the police.

[...] It's a huge precedent that has received national attention. San Francisco, the progressive city, has approved a policy that gives the cops another potentially very dangerous tool to use in what are, frankly, vague situations.

Yes, the rules say that only very senior officers can authorize the killer robots -- but given the way senior cops have authorized and defended a lot of completely unacceptable killings in this town, that doesn't blunt the impact of the decision.

It does suggest that the media-hyped Fear of Crime that led to some of the worst criminal-justice policies in modern history in the 1980s is back, in this city, right now.

These supervisors voted in favor of allowing SFPD to execute people by remote control:

Connie Chan, Catherine Stefani, Ahsha Safai, Aaron Peskin, Myrna Melgar, Gordon Mar, Rafael Mandelman, and, to the surprise of nobody, Matt Dorsey.

Dean Preston's dissenting statement:

Today's vote approving the San Francisco Police Department's dystopian military equipment policy -- which will allow SFPD to use robots to kill people -- is deeply disturbing. It is frankly embarrassing that the Board approved this policy based on nothing more than nonsensical hypotheticals [...]

This is a sad moment for our City, and one which shows how far the City has strayed from the reckoning on police violence in 2020. Allowing police to arm remote-controlled robots on the streets of San Francisco is dangerous, and like any other weapons used by police, will place Black and brown people in disproportionate danger of harm or death.

In contrast to the SFPD's fear-mongering hypotheticals, we don't have to look far to see why this decision could put San Franciscans in danger. We have plenty of examples of police using questionable or unjustified deadly force here at home. We also have examples of misuse of bombs and other explosives all over the country. Those include...

SFPD clarified that it would not arm robots with guns. Instead, they would be equipped with explosives.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

Posted Wed Nov 30 18:58:14 2022 Tags:

Planet Debian upstream is hosted by Branchable.