Thursday, November 20, 2014

Breaking Bad Spin-Off 'Better Call Saul' Trailer: Saul Goodman Is Back!!!

Source:  Cult of Mac.

If you're not a Breaking Bad (AMC) fan, you need to do yourself a favor and give it a chance.  There's a reason why many people are still talking about Walter White and his turn into darkness as some might call it along with former student, Jesse Pinkman.

Well, here is the spin-off based on the what some might called "sleazy" lawyer, Saul Goodman, who really is no where near being a "good man".

Here is the trailer for "Better Call Saul", a tagline Saul used during his late-night commercials to drum up business.

What do you think?  From the vibe of the trailer, things are going to be even darker than Breaking Bad occasionally sprinkled with Saul's winning personality.

The thing with Breaking Bad is that you have a man in a desperate situation, trying to balance right and wrong with doing right by his family and then taking that fateful turn down the slippery slope into a darkness that most people won't go down.  Nor do most of us have to face with these kinds of decisions.  And once we have had that taste of blood or power, then what?  Walk away from it?  Well, it's not as easy as one might think.

I reckon Saul didn't go to law school with the goal of helping meth kingpins evade the law and launder their misbegotten treasures.  No, I have a feeling that Saul took was faced with an unthinkable situation and did the only thing that was available to him that turned him towards the dark side.  

Social: Folks Go To Our Satirists and Comedians For News

Okay, so we know for years that Jon Stewart has had an impact on American society and politics and has been the source of news and information many young minds go to.  Gone are the days when Tom Brokaw and Peter Jennings has us glued to the evening broadcast news for the day's events.  Who has time to sit around the dinner table watching the news when we almost never eat at the same time and have Twitter and other social media to keep up.

But we still find time for The Daily Show, right?  Of course.  And what's amazing is that spin-offs and offshoots of TDS has also skyrocketed to the top as the place where we find out facts about issues should be important to us.

Case in point is the debate over net neutrality.  John Oliver, Steven Colbert, and Jon Stewart dominated over traditional media with Fox News coming in last as the place where people have heard a lot about the future of the Internet and whether the net as we know it will continue or go the way of the dinosaurs and only those who can pay can play.

According to The Mary Sue, satirists have at least a 10 point lead over traditional media with newspapers coming the closest at 12% behind TDS's 22% of a survey of people who have heard quite a bit about the issue.  Fox News came in at 7%.

Interestingly, if you look at the ranking, maybe there is a certain slant of the political views of the news (or comedy) organizations - net neutrality being a more important issue to liberals and democrats than conservatives, libertarians, and Republicans.  Perhaps, this alone says a lot about biases in the media as well.

Here is a video clip on net neutrality from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

Privacy: Russian Website Streaming Webcams From the UK

British authorities are trying to get Russian law enforcement to take down a website that apparently has access to many webcams from homes and gyms among other locations.  It appears the hackers gained access to these webcams through poor choices of passwords as British authorities are trying to educating webcam owners the importance of using difficult to guess ones.

There are a lot of sick people out there.  They're smart and motivated.  And as with anything that is connected to the Internet, you have to assume that nothing is 100% secured and you have to do your own due diligence to make sure you do everything to make it difficult for hackers.

Notice I didn't say lock out hackers.  I said make their lives difficult.  Again, nothing is completely secured and locked down.

If Russian authorities do not act, the British will work with our Federal Trade Commission to shut it down.  It's uncertain how that can be accomplished.  Right now, the West and Russia are at odds over Putin's adventure to annex more of Ukraine.

Source:  The Guardian.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Freezing? (Scratching My Head)

I've read multiple headlines, pretty much all sensational, about how every state has temperatures that are freezing or below.

72. Here now.

It originated from Reuters and because of how stupid the post sounded, I'm not linking. I'm sure this "weather phenomenon" where all fifty states of the Union has frigid air has happened more quite often.

But we live in the unfortunate age of click-baiting, so I simply find this to be very sad.

Again, 72. Here. Now at the time of this writing. I'll trade some of this "heat wave" for some cold and rain.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Privacy: DOJ Wants A Child Dead So That Can Be Pinned On Apple (And/Or Others) And Then Get The Law Changed To Access Our Data Freely

I know that this is a very inflammatory title and that is what this 9to5Mac post stated as such.  The Department of Justice warned Apple that it could be blamed for its crusade to protect user privacy (Google is also now following suit with Android data in similar manners) should a child die all because authorities could not have access the kidnapper's iOS data.

Here is why I titled this post that way.  Because should this actually happen and law enforcement could not prevent a child's murder in time, there will be some giddy bureaucrat or two and its PR machine ready to pin it square on Apple or Google, depending on what phone the kidnapper may be using.  And regardless of whether the mobile device of the kidnapper is relevant or not, the DOJ will use this child's death to its end.

It's unfortunate that the government is stooping so low to get what it wants - wholesale access to our data no matter what.  Collection of data is paramount.  Isn't that Big Brother?

Like others have said, it isn't as if authorities cannot find out where this kidnapper might be if they go to the wireless companies to find what they need to pinpoint the location of the kidnapper.  Having access to the criminal's phone won't help unless he specifically states where he is at any given time.

The the problem is the lack of transparency that usually is involved with government programs and lack of accountability.  Personally, I think my information is safer with the NSA than with Google but that is not the point.  The point is that I'm a law-abiding American citizen and there really is no need for any law enforcement or intel agency to track my Twitter, Facebook, or texts.

The government has to wonder why corporations are pushing back.  Of course, they're doing it because of the bottom-line but it's also the trust of the consumers they have be accountable to.  Apparently, some in the government do no feel they are accountable to voters, many of who are the same consumers of these corporations.

I think a vast majority of the law enforcement, the agents, analysts, and other personnel, have nothing but our best interest at heart and want to protect us and bring criminals and terrorists to justice.  They're just like you and me.  And at their disposal are other tools and means that will allow them to accomplish their jobs without doing away with the notion of general privacy.

Scare tactics like the one the DOJ used in their meeting with Apple executives has me very wary.  I'm not a conspiracy theorist but I cannot help but think what will happen should something bad happen again and the government is asking us to relinquish more of our privacy, well, I think you know where I'm going with this.  The inevitable fear from the general public will so overwhelming that we are once again faced with the choice of what is more important:  our privacy or safety.  If history is any indication, it'll be a sad dark road we head down.

Can you imagine what Prism 2.0 will be like?

According to the Wall Street Journal which accounted the meeting between Apple executives and the DOJ, Deputy Attorney General James Cole, second highest ranking official over at Justice, implied that that is exactly how it'll play out.  Some child will die and the public outcry will force Congress to change the law allowing government access to our information.

That's is the gist of it.  Some in the government are waiting (maybe even hoping) for something awful to happen to a child or another terror incident so that the pendulum will swing away from our need for privacy and our willing to give that up for safety.

Social: #Snowvember (Trending On Twitter)

Yeah, we got a word for everything and today's word is "Snowvember" as in lots and lots of snow in November for a lot of the country.  Meanwhile, in southern California, dry as ever.  Good time for someone of you to visit and maybe bring us a little of that wintry wet weather.

We need it.

Source:  Twitter.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Vape: Learned A New (Useless) Word Today

I've got an app that gives me a new word every day.  I'm proud to say that I know most of them but every once in a while, I'll get an interesting word worthy of my SAT days.  Today, my new word is "vape" and it's circulating all over Twitter and the Internet at large.

According to Oxford Dictionaries, "vape" means to inhale or smoke an e-cigarette.  Apparently, saying you're smoking only pertains to regular cigarettes or cigars.  Not a cool thing to confuse the two.

Source:  MSN.

Some Are Just Animals: Angry Dad Bit Off Another Man's Ear

This says a lot about our society in general.  In Oklahoma, an angry dad bit off another man's ear over spilled drinks in which the biter's daughter was involved.

First, great example for your kid.  Second, some people are just animals and there is no reasoning with them.  Whatever their problems are that cause them to want to hurt another person over something as simple as spilled drinks, they're definitely real to them. 

Source:  Uproxx.

Forget Back To The Future, This Hoverboard Is Now!

Check out this video of Tony Hawk trying on the hoverboard whose lift was created by a magnetic field.  Okay, it's not quite anti-grav but I'll take this any day.

I don't think we're anywhere close to creating actual anti-grav engines or anything close like that but imagine a future where magnetic plates are created to move things along.  We kinda already have trains that works in similar manners.  Why not a park or walk way that becomes magnetized when needed.

Source:  PC Mag.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Social: Twitter Takes A Small Step Forward To Combat Harrassment.

Business Insider has post that Twitter is finally close to doing something about harassment on its social platform.  Not a real big move, mind you, but it's good enough to be called a first step given how little it has in way of stopping harassment.

For Twitter, this could only have happened if it realized that users are not happy with what's going on.  As an avid Twitter user, I can understand the plight others have been through trying to express themselves only to be harassed (to put it mildly in some cases).  Earlier during the Gamergate exploded and some began harassing critics, mostly women (there's more on it here on wiki).

The problem I see is that while Twitter might succeed in shutting down accounts of the perpetrators, it's simply for the bad elements on Twitter to eventually create new accounts to start up their attacks again.  

Because Twitter response has been lacking, there are third party and crowd-sourced options.

The problem with Twitter is that is it still growing and working on ways to define itself beyond the tweets and their immediate impacts.  It has to satisfy investors and keep users engaged and coming back.  And given its last financial result, it's possible that Twitter is headed for a peak and slowing growth.  

The company is mostly ran by engineers including its CEO, Dick Costolo.  Frankly, the issue may be that there isn't a whole lot of "social" understanding beyond coming up with the platform and maintaining it.  Most of the time, these engineer executives may simply be blind and lack the understanding of what these harassment and attacks are doing to users.

So, as you can see, any step towards combatting harassment of its own members by others is a good first step for Twitter.

Video: Walt Does Frozen

Walt Whitman (you have to have seen Breaking Bad to get that) does Frozen.

This is just freaking awesome!  I'm so impressed BB still has such a big influence on the Internet and society in general.

This is a definite must watch Frozen parody no matter if you are a Breaking Bad fan or not or doesn't even know what that is.  Okay, you have to know a little about it.

Privacy Violators On the Wrong Side And AT&T Realized That

AT&T has decided to stop the use of a set of very blatantly privacy-violating cookies that is capable of following mobile users on its network when they go from one site to another by inserting a series of codes.  It's uncertain why AT&T decided not to go down this route but competitor Verizon Wireless continues to practice to track as many of its subscribers as possible.

But it's not quite over if you're an AT&T customer.  See, Ma-Bell Wireless still reserves the right to sell information it has already collected.  However, it has given users the option to opt out.  

So, I reckon it's probably a good idea for you to log into your AT&T account now and do just that.  

Also, if you're a Verizon Wireless customer, you can also log into your account and opt out of VZW following you.

Source:  Electronista.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Yeah, Does Feel Like The Cold War Is Back On

The race is back on again.  Cold War 2.0 is here despite claims to the contrary by the Obama White House.  I fully understand the rationale for calling it this.  It isn't likely going to be a sort of Iron Curtain thing but there will be a lot of low-level one-upmanship in the media, cyberspace (as in hacking), and generally causing pain here and there. 

And this reminder from CNN with a map of Russian incursions over the last few months showed that until both sides find an agreeable arrangement, things can heat up rather fast should someone decided to have a twitchy finger or a bad day.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Mobile Payment: What Good Is A Walmart Credit Card If I Can't Pair It To a Apple Pay Or Google Wallet

Got this interesting email from Walmart today to apply for its MasterCard branded credit card.

I'm thinking it's probably not going to work with Apple Pay or Google Wallet. So what would be the point.

Walmart, tell you what, I'll go back to shopping there and apply for this MasterCard-Walmart card when I can use it with whatever NFC payment option I want.

- Posted using Mobile

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Mobile: iPhone 6 Plus is Fine - There Is No Hardware Problem, & Apple With 86% of the Mobile Profit

9to5Mac has a post debunking a Korean hit piece against Apple's seemingly unstoppable iPhone 6.  Specifically, the iPhone 6 Plus.  Again, a post originating in Korea, which is where Apple competitors Samsung and LG calls home, where the iPhone 6 Plus by even Korean media is trouncing the latest and greatest these two homegrown companies have to offer.  Namely, the Galaxy S 5, Note 4 and Edge from Samsung and the G3 from LG.

By themselves, those devices are top-notch Android devices.  Nothing to be ashamed of.  It's just that in the high-end part of the mobile market, the iPhone is the choice for premium customers.

The original Korean report stated iPhone 6 Plus users saddled with restarting problems due to NAND issues, the memory used in mobile devices and that Apple is faced with a massive recall.  Of course, this issue isn't new and dated back to iOS 6 when users loaded their iPhones will more apps than they really have time to use.

Not to blame the users because Apple should have fixed this bug a while back.

More at On Apple.

Space: Never Buy Russian

Source:  Gizmodo.

The explosion of Antares rocket from Orbital Sciences Corporation that was supposed to resupply the ISS and bring up equipment and experiments was built in a Russian designed in the 70s.  Granted that by buying these rockets at rock bottom prices, the rockets had a troubled history.

Social: Annual "I Ate Your Halloween Candy" Torture of Your Own Kids

This is now an annual event - post-Halloween ritual from Jimmy Kimmel Live where parents forever change the innocent lives of their children by telling them (pretending?) that they ate all their hard-earned Halloween candy.

This never gets old.  Enjoy.

Source: ABC.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Privacy: Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), Group Pushing CurrentC, Said They're Misunderstood

Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), retailers that are pushing CurrentC, said they're being given a bum rap and want to explain some misconeptions (USA Today).

Just a couple of words on that:  privacy and security.

It appears all the information are still being shared among retailers and third parties with access to all the customer information.  So, zero privacy. 

Lastly, not even out and they've got security problems. 

Yeah...still, no go, guys. 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Social: Twitter's New Army of Log-Off Users And This Is The Homepage

This is Twitter's homepage when you go there.

It wants you to log on or register a new account.  That's it.  Simple.

Very simple except Twitter CEO Dick Costolo referenced millions of log-off users, users who engage Twitter without actively signing on or have an account, who are becoming more and more important to its growth, sort of the same manner in which users go to news or sports sites without signing in.

But you just saw the screen shot of Twitter's homepage.  Not very engaging.  I think Twitter will be change that more into a portal.  Twitters, pictures, headlines, etc.  Think Yahoo and MSN.

This Yahoo's page.

Now, imagine it replaced with tweets, trending subjects on Twitter, handles to follow, news, gossips, sports and weather information.

Social: Dick Costolo, Twitter's CEO, Has A New Team, And A Long Road Ahead - But Solution Could Be Simple

Twitter is making money for the most part.  But it's growth is slowing.  For regular folks like you and me, your average Twitter users, that's not bad.  Growth is good.  And even if you're not but still profitable, that's not bad either.  But for investors and Wall Street, well, they're don't live normal Main Street lives like us.  So, when Twitter reported that they expect growth to slow, their stock took a hit.

The problem for Twitter is engagement.  Getting users to use it and to keep coming back.  That's Twitter's problem.  Personally, I use Twitter on a daily basis.  I use it to keep track of news and tweets from a small number of people I follow.  I tweet out a few times a day.  I retweet as well.  And I engage other users about once or twice a day.

Mobile: If Not Samsung In The High-End, Then Who?

Samsung is taking it on the nose.  On the chin.  Where the sun don't shine.  While it remains profitable, very much so, it's high-end segment of the market has taken a hit - blame it on the economy.  Blame it on a certain fruit-branded consumer electronics company.  Whatever you may think, the Galaxy brand no longer holds the appeal it once did when Samsung debuted the Galaxy S and the Note a few years later.
This is Google's chance.  At least from the pure and under its total control of Android.  I'm talking about the Nexus line.  This year's Nexus update with the Nexus 6 with a premium price tells me that Google is ready to wrestle for the high-end segment of the mobile market for itself.  And Mountain View knows that it can do well against Cupertino (Apple).

More at On Android.

Why is Water Falling On Us over Los Angeles Sky?

Yes. Rain. In LA. What a great morning. And cold.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Mobile: We Have T-Mobile To Thank For AT&T and Verizon's Capitulation

Imagine what the mobile landscape will have been like had AT&T had bought T-Mobile, wiped out a potential pain-in-the-ass that it has become for AT&T and Verizon. Sure, Verizon had been able to keep prices high due to its better coverage and AT&T simply charging whatever it wanted because it had many flagship devices in its mobile arsenal. No longer.

Under the stewardship of John Legere, T-Mobile is a growing threat to the once indomitable duopoly. Not only has it continued to grow faster than its competitors, it's stealing subscribers from bigger competitors. Hence, this explains the sudden generosity expressed by the duopoly.

VZW has increased data allotment by 50 to 66% depending on the pay tier. This followed a similar increase form AT&T.

Make no mistake, some companies would gladly continue to bleed us dry. And if given a chance, T-Mobile may someday do just that. For now, the adage, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" works just fine with us mobile warriors.

Source: The Droid Guy, 9to5Mac.



Apple Should Prepare to Leave China (There Is Still Time To Execute Such A Plan)

At first glance, you might think that the title of this article is a clickbait considering that China is the second biggest economy in the w...