Another ‘Fake Spring” in Indiana with temps in the 60’s followed by below-freezing nights in the same week. The first couple months of the year are my least favorite time of year, and spring can’t get here fast enough…
At the recommendation of a co-worker, I picked up a new mouse last week. The Logitech MX Master 3 is unlike any mouse I’ve used before. First off, it’s a big boy size-wise, but, weighing in at 4.9 oz (140 grams), it’s surprisingly light for its stature. It also has a LOT of buttons and wheels. Something it’s going to take a while to get used to, especially since you can customize EVERY control and wheel depending on the application you have in focus. The fit in hand is comfortable, and the USB-C rechargeability makes this an excellent replacement for the Apple Magic Mouse I’ve been using for more years than I can remember.
Priced at $100 the Logitech MX Master 3 is not cheap but the improved ergonomics and extreme customizability are worth it in my opinion. After using it for about 2 weeks I can’t imagine going back to a “normal” mouse again.
And finally… 60 Minutes (Australia Edition) aired a piece earlier this month about the Malaysia Airlines flight 370 disappearance. A aerospace engineer claims he has determined, with great confidence, where the flight went down. He did this by analyzing disruptions in Ham Radio communications, of all things, during the flight. Let us know what you think after watching in the comments below.
It’s starting to get cold in Indianapolis after record warm temps in December. I’m ready for spring to get here so I can get back outside and off the couch. Also, I’m hoping the rental car situation improves this year because I’m dying to make a trip to Portland, Maine, to do some hiking, fishing & eating. In 2019 there were non-stop flights from Indy, but it looks like those are no longer available, so that means I have to go through Boston & drive north.
As much as we’re all trying NOT to catch COVID, we have to be realistic and accept the fact we’ll all probably get it at some time. If you’re concerned about what to do when that day comes, The Atlantic had a great writeup in December with recommendations on what to do.
This Monday, the College Football Championship is in Indianapolis, with Alabama playing Georgia at 8 pm. Lots of festivities downtown, including several concerts on Monument Circle. The weather looks a little iffy, but I hope it holds off so people can enjoy the festivities.
Meanwhile, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution sportswriter Chip Tower slams Indianapolis as the host city for the 2022 College Football Playoffs National Championship. Happily, Indianapolis Monthly had a reply.
And finally, “Don’t Look Up” on Netflix was a surprise hit. After watching it, I could totally see how the movie’s premise could happen…
Two low-level astronomers must go on a giant media tour to warn mankind of an approaching comet that will destroy planet Earth.IMDB.com
I took some time over the long holiday weekend to finish a book I had started a few weeks ago and promptly start another related one.
Permanent Record by Edward Snowden is an eye-opening tale centering around a late 20-something NSA contractor who exposes the US Government’s mass surveillance system created after 9/11. Love him or hate him he brought to light the vast data collection of US citizens by their government.
No Place to Hide by Glenn Greenwald starts up with his interview of Snowden while he hides in Hong Kong before his trove of documents is released to the public by various medial outlets. Meanwhile, Laura Poitras films a series of interviews for her documentary Citizen Four. It goes into incredible detail about the surveillance systems in use around the world, by many countries, and details just how far they have gone to invade your privacy.
If you have any interest in this kind of stuff it’s well worth your time to seek out these books or at least watch the full documentary (available on YouTube with Ads (that will track you, haha)). It will chill you to the core and make you think about what you do online going forward.
As I wrote earlier this year everyone needs to be using a Password Manager application. My favorite continues to be Bitwarden. The free version is more than enough for most people but the $10 paid version adds some advanced features and helps support the development. Getting started with a Password manager is NOT difficult and is NOT a good excuse for NOT using one. Bitwarden for Beginners is a great place to start.
NordPass just released their annual Top 200 Common Password list. It shows what people are actually using to secure their private data as well as how long it takes to crack and gain access. If your password is on the list you should assume your accounts have been compromised because you probably use the SAME password in multiple places. The benefit of a Password Manager is that you can use a different, unique, password for every account and only need to remember ONE (secure) master password/phrase. The tool generates and documents the login details for you.
Another security tool you should consider using, especially if you use your devices in public, is a personal VPN account. This tool encrypts your traffic and protects you from anyone wanting to access your data. Sounds a little overkill but it’s not uncommon for someone to sit on a public network and watch for unsecured traffic to exploit. In fact, as far back as 2013 AT&T and Starbucks encouraged it! My personal favorite is Private Internet Access (PIA) which works on all devices including your phone and tablet. An annual subscription is $39.99.
I think that just about wraps things up for this week. It’s hard to believe 2021 is 90% over & we’re getting ready to settle down into the winter months. At least I have a stack of books to go through while hunkering down inside for the next 3 months. See you next week!
I always love digging this out every November. Enjoy!
Now that it’s getting cold outside hot coffee is starting to sound good to me again. I usually only drink hot drinks in the winter while preferring cold any other time. I’ve enjoyed iced coffee all summer since its easy to make using a concentrate I get at the local store.
Remembering I had some money on my Starbucks account I stopped at the location near my office. It’s been a while since I’ve been in here because the service is well below average. They seem to dedicate all of their staff activity to the drive-thru and, even today, they were serving 3-4 people in the drive-thru to every one person in the store.
After I ordered my plain coffee & walked over to the condiment bar for a splash of half-and-half. Wait a minute, the stainless steel thermos is missing! The guy standing next to me saw what I was looking for and said “you have to ask them for it”.
So back to the pickup counter I go and I waited to get someone’s attention. The employees were too busy tripping over each other to get the orders out the little window to notice me standing there. After a few moments I got one of the worker bees attention. “Cream?” I asked. She was already reading my mind and grabbed a little paper cup and proceeded to pour out a couple of ounces of the heavy moo juice. I asked, “do you have one you’d like me to put out on the station”, thinking I would be a nice guy and do them a favor. “No” she said. “We keep it back here now so it doesn’t run out as fast”.
Then it hit me. The Ghetto Latte has gotten so bad they have to ration out the dairy to keep people from cheating the system. I assure you this is a real thing. I’ve seen it time and time again where people turn a couple of shots of espresso over ice into one (or in some cases when they ask for an extra cup) two Lattes saving themselves a few dollars in the process.
Way to stick it to the man cheap skate. I’d be willing to bet that’s your idling car parked crooked in the handicapped spot too. Bonus points if you’re talking on your speaker phone while oblivious to everyones personal space the entire time you’re in the store.
So once again, those who take advantage of things make it inconvenient for others who go with the flow. Say what you want about Starbucks. I know it’s over priced and there are better options out there. In this case it was a choice between office coffee (usually empty), a small Keurig we have in our area (meh, I don’t get the pod thing), or something slightly better.
I’m curious if this practice of keeping the half-and-half behind the counter is a isolated thing at this particular Starbucks or if this is a common practice at other coffee shops too. Anyone else witness a Ghetto Latte in the making? I’d love to hear your stories!
How does this book sound to you?
In a futuristic society the world is controlled by a new government and “The Population Police” who have decreed that no family shall have more than two children. These laws having been brought on supposedly by overpopulation, severe famine and death. Any child being born third or after in a family is a “shadow child” not to be seen by anyone or they will be taken away and killed along with their family and anyone who harbors them. – Book synopsis from Wikipedia
Sounds like a scary scenario right? Here’s the kicker. My son was assigned this book to read in 6th grade! Doesn’t that seem a little dark for pre-teen kids? I’m not alone according to some of the reviews on Amazon.
When I asked him about the Diary of Anne Frank he’d never heard of it. This “Among the Hidden” book has a similar premise of hiding form the outside but at least Frank’s tale is true & discusses an important part of world history.
Not sure what to think of this…
While Catching up on my Conspiracy Theory blogs I came across the following videos showing how the U.S. is still in the process of destroying its chemical weapon stockpile from the 50’s. It’s interesting to see how the two locations are using different processes to accomplish the same task. With all the Syria talk in the news its interesting to see that the U.S. still has these types of banned weapons available should they choose to use them. Although I would not put a lot of faith in a 60-year-old munition even working.
The man who led Fukushima’s meltdown battle has died. Masao Yoshida, who selflessly stayed to direct staff at the Japanese nuclear facility in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami, succumbed to cancer at age 58. Fukushima’s operator claimed that radiation was not the cause.
Um, yeah… Right…
I read this in Slate the other day & it’s been really hard to forget…
Back in the early 60’s this test (PDF FILE) was given to anyone in Louisiana that could not prove at least a 5th grade education and wanted to vote. Test takers had 10 minutes to complete the test and ONE wrong answer would result in an immediate failure of the test.
Take a look at the test & let me know how you think YOU would do!