One Four Challenge and other stuff

Out of millions of blogs, I only peruse sixty or so. I’m sure I miss out on lots of incredible content, but one thing I don’t seem to miss out on is something called the “One Four Challenge”.

One photograph processed four different ways. I keep coming across the theme on a number of blogs I read. 

The challenge specifies posting one version of the photo per day for four days . . . right; like I have the patience for that.

8253_MISC_04JAN2010_1-Processed-3_DIGI

These are surfers on the North side of Maui. Now, I do like looking at the surfers, but I am more interested in the waves. People might not know, but I love waves; raucous power and dynamic beauty. What’s not to like? 

. . . uh . . . unless, of course, it’s a tsunami killing thousands or a rogue wave capsizing cruise liners. But other than that, awesome. 

I could go into the whole post-processing thing, but I rather talk about something else. 

I mentioned it before: everyone should read the book Future Crimes, by Marc Goodman. The first part of the book deals with things that really irked me. It’s difficult summarizing things that are inter-related and deal with computers, software, politics, money, deceit, and abuse of power.

Let me take them in order right after one of my different processing efforts. 

8253_MISC_04JAN2010_1-Processed-Processed-2_DIGI

Hmm . . . a bit bland, but let me get back to the book.

The reasons computers are so easy for the bad guys to infiltrate, to corrupt, to take control of can be summarized with two ideas.

One is the Stupidity of People. Yes, I capitalized that. If I put a link here titled Kardashian wears see-through dress, and even if, knowing me, it’s not likely a link to one of the Kardashians, some readers will still click it just in case.

And that is the problem. You can make things as secure as possible, and still people click on dangerous links. I learned a new acronym . . . PICNIC . . . Problem In Chair Not In Computer. Never mind the sad fact a Kardashian in a see-through dress draws more click that just about anything else. 

But, that is not the only problem because things are seldom as secure as possible . . .

Two is the greed of software companies. You see, they have sold us a business model that would not work in any other industry or with any other product. They have trained us to accept buggy, unsecured, and barely functioning software AND to absolve them of any responsibility for it. You could not do that with a car, lawnmower, or even a can opener. At the very least you would be forced to recall it and fix it, and in extreme cases you would get sued out of existence.  

Not so with software; you are often sold software with vulnerabilities that are easily exploitable by bad guys who, incidentally, do a lot of research in finding those vulnerabilities. And find them they do, sometimes months or even years before the software companies themselves realize they are there and put up a patch to fix them . . . and in the process of rushing out a fix, introducing a whole new set of vulnerabilities.

I can almost see the smug, and ignorant, smiles on the faces of Apple users. Read the book. Or, perhaps, talk to celebrities who get their private lives (and privates) paraded to the world when their iPhones get hacked.

Hey, how about this variation, introducing a bit of color back into the photo? 

8253_MISC_04JAN2010_1-Processed_DIGI

So, we live with people easily duped and software that is full of security holes . . . 

. . . and some of those holes are intentional, requested by our government. Rather than me talking about it I’ll let John Oliver explain a little of what goes on . . . 

. . . and if you are too lazy to watch the whole thing, here’s some excerpts: 

And if that is still too long and complicated for you, here’s a shorter version of something easily understood . . .  

And, finally, a short bit on passwords . . . 

That joke at the end? Not a joke. People “can’t be bothered” to keep their information secure.

Of course, government surveillance is only a part of what pisses me off . . . 

. . . the other part being all the information that is gathered about us and then sold to third parties by companies that purport to “help us”. Third parties that you might not approve of as having your information. 

TANSTAAFL

Remember that acronym as you use all them free tools . . . Twitter, Google, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. 

You basically give them the right to not only gather information you willingly share, but the right to run algorithms on your activities, habits, e-mails, tweets, FB posts. Algorithms that can find out a lot more about you than you imagine or would like them to know. Read the book. Facebook even ran psychological experiments on its users, and it was all perfectly legal. How are they not out of business? (HERE and HERE and HERE)

Keep an eye on offers you get, targeted ads, and so on, and stop to think how they knew to target those ads at you. Some are obvious; you did a search on boots, and you get an e-mail about a shoe sale.

The problem comes in when you mentioned boots in an e-mail to your friend and later you get an Amazon ad for shoes. Amazing, eh? It’s like information seeps from one company to another, from one product to another, interconnecting facts about your life in ways you don’t even think about. 

It gets worse . . . those free programs you use? You agreed to them having the right to gather data about you, to sell it, to analyze it, to exploit it. Once they have that data, you no longer own it. You can’t ask them for that data back (unless you are in Europe, but even then you are not assured of it).

It is estimated each user (twitter, google, facebook) is worth somewhere between $8 and $17 per year to those services. 

TANSTAAFL . . . if you are not paying for a product, you are the product. 

The stupid thing is that I would gladly pay any of those services $20 per year or more to keep my data private. Except I don’t have a choice other than to not use the tools we have come to rely on.  

And, they are so damn convenient, aren’t they? It’s difficult giving them up because they do serve many of our needs, but also because there is no competing product. 

People like free stuff and the majority of people would not consider paying for e-mail, for chats, for videos, for forums where we can chat with relatives about this or that kitten.

Honest, read the book . . . I’ve only scratched the surface, and once you dive in, you will likely get mad. Good. Change can’t happen without people getting mad.

Me? I still use all those things . . . but, guess what? I  play their game my way. My LinkedIn profile is next to useless. My Facebook personal data is useless. My Twitter data also so. Google is the one that is a bit more difficult to wean from, but soon that too will get drastically cut. 

Did you know that technically, according to the terms of service you agreed to, those backups of phone photos that are uploaded to G+ become the property of Google to do as they wish with them? Same as documents, spreadsheets, ideas, and anything you add to Google+. And it’s not just Google. A wonderful thing, The Cloud.

Sure, I’ll still use all those accounts, but not for anything important. And my phone. It’s going to become my phone, not a conduit for Google to gather data on me. Side note: check the permissions on the apps you use. You’d be amazed at the data they collect. They are “free” you see . . . and TANSTAAFL.

And with that, an appropriate last variation on the original photo . . . 

8253_MISC_04JAN2010_1-Processed-Processed-Processed_DIGI

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

<><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><>

Note: if you are not reading this blog post at DisperserTracks.com, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.

<><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><>

Please, if you are considering bestowing me recognition beyond commenting below, refrain from doing so.  I will decline blogger-to-blogger awards.   I appreciate the intent behind it, but I prefer a comment thanking me for turning you away from a life of crime, religion, or making you a better person in some other way.  That would mean something to me.

If you wish to know more, please read below.

About awards: Blogger Awards
About “likes”:   Of “Likes”, Subscriptions, and Stuff

Note: to those who may click on “like”, or rate the post; if you do not hear from me, know that I am sincerely appreciative, and I thank you for noticing what I do.

. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

About disperser

Odd guy with odd views living an odd life during odd times.
This entry was posted in Black & White, Hawaii, Musings Stuff, Personal, Photo-effects, Photography, Photography Stuff, Travel Stuff and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to One Four Challenge and other stuff

  1. oneowner says:

    I think I might go back to my old flip phone that only made phone calls. Except for the calculator, that’s all I use it for any way.

    Like

    • disperser says:

      It may happen, but I don’t see it yet. I want the equivalent of the phone I have but without the connection to places like Google and Apple.

      Sadly, Microsoft might be such an answer. I need to do more research, but I don’t think their revenue stream is as hooked into the exploitation of users . . . they screw them over with software sales.

      I’m hoping there is an eventual consumer backlash that someone will offer something geared to security and privacy . . . that I will gladly pay for.

      Like

  2. mvschulze says:

    First, I love your format – of playing with the image while in a tasty discussion of cyber security. (I like the first image, followed by the third. The spray is captivating.)
    Second, your discussion is eye-opening, and makes me want to steal my own identity, trash it and start over again!
    M :-)

    Liked by 1 person

    • disperser says:

      Thanks. I have more photo series in the one-four theme. This was the first one I did, and my biased opinion is that the others are better.

      . . . as for the subject, I only scratched the surface. If you want the full effect, pick up the book. It’s probably in libraries right now.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Eddy Winko says:

    I once had a friend who worked in computers, right from the very start, just as the internet was picking up. Knowing computers as he did he created an identity and began to build a completely fictitious character. Name, age, job, earnings, you name it and it was plucked from thin air, although kept consistent. After a few years he started to get invites to al sorts of events, seminars and the like. After all he employed over 500 people and earned a six figure salary, bla, bla bla.
    I have followed this advice for the last 15 years and it works well, although you do get lots of random happy birthdays from fictitious ones you filled in on the registration page! Am I Eddy Winko? Although it’s easy to find out, it’s beyond an algorithm and to be honest I’m not that important for anyone to want to know.
    Now change your password on all your accounts for something complex, set one for your computer and change it every month at the very least and if you want to keep it a secret keep it in your head not your PC.
    I quite like the splash of colour.
    I’ll try and watch the video later, Have you watched Citizenfour?

    Like

    • disperser says:

      I use my real name on everything, but most everything else is . . . accurate; 110% accurate, yessiree!

      No, I’ve not watched Citizenfour, but I’ll now add it to my wannawatch list. It has not hit any of the rental places yet, and I don’t think I want to blow $15 for it.

      Like

    • disperser says:

      OK, CitizenFour is on HBO. Well worth watching and scary . . .

      . . . however, I have zero confidence in the citizens of the US to either a) have the power, and more important, b) have the will to do anything about it.

      Here we are, a few years later, and what’s the narrative of most people? It’s “plz, plz, do whatever you have to to keep us safe from terrorists”.

      On the one side, we have conservatives running on platforms that would turn this into a virtual theocracy, and on the other side we have Hillary . . . where to begin?

      Regardless, I take flack for saying both sides are far closer than they are apart. They both are focused on power and control. Nowhere to be seen are thoughts of serving the people who supposedly will vote them into office.

      . . . I really wish some alien race offered rides out of here.

      Like

  4. Emily Scott says:

    I liked the bright people on the grey waves. I have no space for any more books, I have piles and piles of them heaped up all over the place, but still I have added this book to my to-read list.

    Like

  5. I need to read the book. So I will get it. All of this is interesting, but a bit scary to me. It’s like everyone jumped on board a boat before finding out it had a hole in it, and so what do we do now? I know I need to learn more.
    Now for the waves…I never tire of the ocean waves. For many years I lived less than 5 miles from an ocean. Your photo and how you tweaked it is cool. I find the grey waves with the splashes of color-surfers stunning! Would it work to do the waves in blue/natural colors and the people in B&W!?
    HUGS!!! :-)

    Like

    • disperser says:

      I think it is scary. And depressing. And overwhelming. Some are doing something about it (http://www.wolf-pac.com/), but it’s a bit unnerving. The idea is good, but the implementation process is worrisome.

      On the other hand, I’m also pissed off at the majority of the people flapping their gums about this or that single issue near and dear to their heart. It’s like taking care of a single tree while letting the rest of the orchard rot.

      The bad guys, and I do think there are bad guys (I call them Republicrats and Demoblicans) have successfully polarized the population to the point that there can’t be any discourse, let alone discussion.

      I know of otherwise intelligent and thoughtful persons on both sides of the political spectrum who will not, cannot, entertain the idea “the other side” has the same core concerns they do. I am reminded of Sting’s (or was it The Police?) “the Russians love their children too”. I don’t think anyone at heart wants to see this great experiment go down in flames, but their inability to see the other side as having the same core concerns makes them unable to discuss the peripheral issues that seem to occupy everyone’s time and effort (abortion, gay marriage, gun control, etc.)

      Important issues, for sure, but single issue voters put into office people who have damaged and continue damaging this country on even bigger issues. For instance, Obama promised to dismantle/revise the very programs he expanded in clear violation of the Constitution. Some say the Fourth Amendment has already fallen, and the First is probably not far behind.

      It sounds drastic, but every dictatorial government in history aimed first and foremost at spying on its citizens to control dissent. Are we a dictatorship? No, but saying the wrong thing can get you on secret watch lists, get banned from flying, have your life turned upside down. All without recourse and in the name of “national security”.

      It’s telling that even as I write this I wonder if some automated program is keeping tabs and places me on a “minor watch list”. Luckily, I don’t have many readers. It gives me an anonymity of sorts. Maybe. But the fact I think about it says something about the state of affairs.

      As for waves, I don’t think the blue with the tiny specs of gray would work as well. I’d wager they would just blend in and go unnoticed . . . much like an honest politician.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. AnnMarie says:

    Dramatic . . . the last photo and your topic of discussion.

    Like

Voice your opinion

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s