TECHNOLOGY: A cardboard small house

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Published on Feb 28, 2016
A special little house, made out of cardboard. Sustainably built to last. And suit all your needs.

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Most impressive. Cheap, small, and apparently long lasting.

Could solve a lot of “housing issues”.

Better than a shanty or a mcmansion!


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TECHNOLOGY: I just refuse to buy anything that’s “locked”

Monday, August 8, 2016

DRM: You have the right to know what you’re buying!

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Today, the EFF and a coalition of organizations and individuals asked the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to explore fair labeling rules that would require retailers to warn you when the products you buy come locked down by DRM (“Digital Rights Management” or “Digital Restrictions Management”). 

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Clearly, it’s a “devil’s bargain” to buy anything that has “DRM” on it.

At the very least, this has to be disclosed well in advance of the purchase of “crippled wares”.


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TECHNOLOGY: Comcast service plans — worthless according to WA

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Washington state sues Comcast, says it sold near-worthless service plans
Comcast defends $5-per-month service plans, will fight $100 million lawsuit.
JON BRODKIN – 8/1/2016, 1:42 PM

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Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson today announced a $100 million consumer protection lawsuit against Comcast, alleging that the nation’s biggest cable company “engag[ed] in a pattern of deceptive practices constituting more than 1.8 million individual violations of the Washington Consumer Protection Act.” Comcast’s conduct affected about 500,000 customers who purchased service protection plans in Washington, Ferguson said.

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It’s amazing that corporation would be so … … rapacious … …  as to sell basically worthless service plans.

Where’s the FCC and the other 49 states?

And Comcast can’t be the only one.

How about these “extended warranty” products? Where three years equals the cost of the product!

Makes me think that the product is so poorly built that it won’t last three years.


That’s why I advocate for chromebook for the average User. Something goes wrong, buy a new one. It’s so cheap. Of the 8 that I am aware of the only failure was from a wine spill over it. My oldest is 4 years old (I think) and has only barfed  up the OS once requiring a reload. (So now all the chromebooks I support have the rescue USB velcroed to the power cord.)

That’s what technology and technology offerings should be like — how Western Electric used to make telephone handsets. 


One can only hope

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TECHNOLOGY: SSA goes to two factor authentication

Wednesday, August 3, 2016


Interesting that the industry is moving AWAY from cell phones as a form of two factor authentication.

Clearly, there is a spectrum of added risks that may NEGATE this additional control.

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Starting in August 2016, Social Security is adding a new step to protect your privacy as a my Social Security user.  This new requirement is the result of an executive order for federal agencies to provide more secure authentication for their online services. Any agency that provides online access to a customer’s personal information must use multifactor authentication.

When you sign in at with your username and password, we will ask you to add your text-enabled cell phone number.  The purpose of providing your cell phone number is that, each time you log in to your account with your username and password, we will send you a one-time security code you must also enter to log in successfully to your account.

Each time you sign into your account, you will complete two steps:

  • Step 1:  Enter your username and password.
  • Step 2:  Enter the security code we text to your cell phone (cell phone provider’s text message and data rates may apply).

The process of using a one-time security code in addition to a username and password is one form of “multifactor authentication,” which means we are using more than one method to make sure you are the actual owner of your account. 

If you do not have a text-enabled cell phone or you do not wish to provide your cell phone number, you will not be able to access your my Social Security account. 

If you are unable or choose not to use my Social Security, there are other ways you can contact us.  To learn more, please review the Frequently Asked Questions found here.

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TECHNOLOGY: Sears Quiz-A-Tron is a coding trick

Saturday, July 9, 2016

by: Gerrit Coetzee
June 29, 2016  

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… looks back a time in the 80s when kids would learn by answering the questions to quizzes on their “TOMY Teacher,” or, “Sears Quiz-A-Tron”. There’s a bit of a conundrum with this toy. How did it know which answers were correct. Chip memory of any kind wasn’t the kind of thing you’d sweep into the dust bin if you had extras like it is now; it was expensive.

To use the toy, the child would place the notebook in the plastic frame on the device. They’d open the page with the quiz they would like to take. Printed in the upper left hand corner were three colored squares. There was a matching set of colored buttons on the device. They’d press the corresponding buttons in order from top to bottom and then the machine would magically know which answers on the quiz were correct.

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If it looks too good to be true, then there is a hidden trick somewhere.

I found this entertaining!

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TECHNOLOGY: Have you considered what “End Of Life” means to your hardware

Thursday, July 7, 2016

June 30, 2016

To Our Eye-Fi X2 and Earlier Generation Product Customers:


This message is for customers that purchased an Eye-Fi Pro X2 or earlier generation products prior to March 2015.  Effective today, June 30th 2016, we will no longer be offering support for our legacy product lines, a complete list of which appears below.  This notice formally begins the final stage of the “end-of-life” (EOL) process started in mid-2015 for the affected products.  It’s very important that customers cease using these products no later than September 16, 2016 as some key services these products rely on will be shut down at that time.    All customers who have a Mobi or Mobi Pro products purchased since 2013 are not affected by this announcement.

We began EOL on these product lines in 2015 largely driven by technological obsolescence of some of the key technologies included in these products.  The primary technologies relate to Internet security and authentication mechanisms that were state-of-the-art in 2007 when we built them into our products but have since proven to be vulnerable.  Since mid-2015 we have been offering migration services free of charge for Customers who have paid Eyefi Premium accounts.  We will continue to offer this service migrating your Eyefi View data to Eyefi Cloud. You can request a migration here. For those customers that wish to use an Eyefi Mobi Pro card in place of their earlier generation products, we have also made a limited quantity available at a deep discount, see details here if you wish to take advantage of this offer.

Please note that we will maintain our customer service Web site and content for all customers.  The support site includes detailed explanations for how to accomplish migration to Eyefi Mobi/Mobi Pro and Eyefi Cloud services.  We are grateful to all the customers around the world that used Eye-Fi products in the past as well as for our newest customers.  The EOL of a product line is always difficult and we have made every effort to minimize the impact of this change on our customers.  Thanks for your loyalty and understanding.


Customers with Eye-Fi 1.0  product line and Eye-Fi Premium subscriptions will be impacted by this EOL process.  Effective September 16, 2016 the following products may no longer operate:  

Eye-Fi 1.0 Products:

  • All original pre-X2 products (Original, Home, Share, Explore, Video Share, Video Explore, Pro)
  • 4GB Geo X2
  • 4GB Connect X2
  • 8GB Explore X2
  • 8GB Mobile X2
  • 8GB Pro X2
  • 16GB Pro X2
  • Visioneer X2
  • Sandisk X2
  • Eye-Fi Windows desktop software (Eye-Fi Center)
  • Eye-Fi Mac desktop software (Eye-Fi Center)
  • Eye-Fi app for iOS
  • Eye-Fi app for Android
  • Eye-Fi Center web app (

The Mobi, Mobi Pro and Eyefi Cloud products and applications are unaffected and will remain operational with continued future developments.

Frequently Asked Questions

I just purchased an X2 card, why isn’t it supported?

Eye-Fi began phasing out sales of the X2 product line in 2012.  The last version produced by the company were sold through authorized channels in the United States in March, 2015.  Although Eye-Fi stopped shipments of these products via authorized channels, some units were still available from third party sellers and after-market resellers.  Eye-Fi’s warranty period for the affected products purchased through our authorized channels has expired.

Will I still be able to create an Eye-Fi Center account after September 16th?

No, you will not be able to create an Eye-Fi Center account or log in to an existing Eye-Fi Center account.

Can I still download and install Eye-Fi Center applications after September 16th?

The Eye-Fi Center applications can be installed, but since account creation and logging in will no longer work, these applications will not be functional.

Will I be able to use my Eye-Fi 1.0 card after September 16, 2016?

Certain functions, such as Direct Mode, may not be directly impacted by our end of life process. If you wish to try Direct Mode you will need to set it up  prior to the end of life date. You can find instructions on how to set up direct mode here for Android and here for iOS. Please note that while Direct Mode may not be directly affected, Eye-Fi applications will no longer be updated for operating system updates, and their functionality is not guaranteed – additionally, no support will be provided either for the setup or functionality of Direct Mode. THERE IS NO GUARANTEE THAT DIRECT MODE CONFIGURATIONS WILL CONTINUE FUNCTIONING AFTER THE SEPTEMBER 16, 2016 SHUT DOWN.

For an extended FAQ, please see here.

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You can’t even count on hardware working in the future. 

Have to remember this whenever you buy a “technology” product in the future.

“He chose poorly.” A mammoth understatement by the Grail Knight in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

Me too. All too often.

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TECHNOLOGY: Thinking about car technology?

Saturday, June 25, 2016

The other day, we were stopped behind a fairly new truck and my passenger noted that their right rear brake light was out. Because she was with me, and the conditions were fortuitous, we were able to pull up alongside and tell the woman driver her light was out.

That got me to thinking.

(1) If it was just the woman alone, would I have talked to her. (Not very likely. I don’t like people.)

(2) How can one check one’s own break lights? (It’s not a one person job. Well maybe one person and large mirror hung on your back garage wall.)

(3) The current trend is automating the car (i.e., parks itself; stops itself; blind spots itself). What about the lights. (We need an idiot light for the lights?)

(4) I’m not sure I like the idea of the car stopping automagically. (I envision a bad guy stopping a woman alone on a dark road and the car won’t the bastard over!)

Guess I won’t be buying a new car soon. (But I do like my Prius’ adaptive cruise control; sweet!)

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