Monday, May 16, 2016

And, In Other Stuff

As that weird little virus I had seems to have run its course, here's sort of a weekend round-up.

Our ISP gave us a free upgrade.  We're on Bright House networks here and I have to say that my overall experience with these folks has been solid.  Five stars out of five.  Every time we've had to call them out, they got the time down to a couple of hours; it was never a "sometime Tuesday" answer.  The times we've called them for other things, they've been solid, too.  Compared to the crap I hear about comcast, I think BH is way ahead.

This was an upgrade from an average of 20 Mbps (megabits per second) to over 50 (I just ran a Speed Test and get 57.1 Mbps), no increase in monthly cost.  The only gotcha was that we had to replace the modem.  Awkward confession time: despite the two of us having something like 70 years experience as "electronics technician or higher", we had been leasing their modem.  It was only a couple of bucks a month, but thanks to my laziness about that, we undoubtedly bought the modem about a gazillion times over.  This time we ordered a faster modem from Amazon and swapped them out ourselves last Thursday.  Took the old one back to stop the future charges.  Which means we get faster internet cheaper.  (Let me gloat a minute, k?)  I can't say I notice a difference from having download speeds that are over twice as fast, but it's a truism that to get the same dramatic speed change we got from moving from dialup to cable, would require a dedicated, single fiber optic line to the house.  I think we went from 56kbps dialup to about 2 Mbps.  Considering how sure I am, I'll round that to a factor of 36x faster.  36x faster than what I have now would be just about 2 Gbps.   

As a regular fan of the Marvel universe, we went and caught Captain America: Civil War last Monday, so I think that counts as opening weekend.  We always would go on the second weekend when crowds had thinned, but being retired gives us the privilege to go to a weekday Matinee.  Yeah, it was a smaller crowd than most weekends, but a month or so ago we went to a matinee of Batman vs. Superman, probably on its last week, and were literally the only two people in the theater.

To begin with, some time ago (a year?) there was talk about it having "anti-conservative" or "anti-right wing" tones, and there were none.  There was even talk about right wing, anti-immigrant stuff.  Not only was there nothing like that, but the movie actually had rather conservative and individual liberty-oriented tones.  90 Miles linked to a story on The Daily Signal called "The Conservative Lessons of 'Captain America' ".
Here’s the gist of the movie—the free market does something well and the government comes in to “fix” it. And—shockingly—the government wrecks everything. 
The movie opens with Captain America and the avengers trying to track down some terrorists who are about to raid a lab in an African country and steal a horrible bioweapon.  As often happens in these movies, the raid doesn't go off surgically and innocent bystanders in the building are killed.  If you remember (or saw) The Age of Ultron, you'll recall that a tiny, European city called Sokovia was essentially destroyed by the bad guys, despite the Avengers eventually winning.  And, of course, New York City was trashed horribly by Loki's army in the first Avengers movie.  Their trail of "collateral damage" is rather prolific.  
To force the Avengers to do their job better, the “Sokovia Accords” are signed by 117 countries to put the Avengers under U.N. jurisdiction. This is a great idea because when aliens invade next, let’s have the U.N. debate if the Avengers should fight the alien invasion.

If it turns out anything like regular U.N. deliberations, the Avengers would never be used again because Russia or China negotiated a backroom deal with the aliens so that they would be global governors in the new alien world order.
The "Civil War" is that the Avengers basically split, with Tony Stark and a few signing on to the Accords, and Captain America with his small group splitting off.  One of the characters advocating for the Sokovia accords used the phrase "for the common good" a enough to stand out as creepy (which means, maybe, twice).  Captain America puts it this way: "I know we're not perfect, but the safest hands are still our own".   Go read.  And go see.  In either order. 

Finally, more along my normal "beat", No Lawyers - Only Guns and Money links to a story on Gun Culture 2.0, Facebook Denied My Attempt at Self-Promotion, Because Guns.  The author had used Facebook to promote posts on his blog before and had been successful.  The first time was a tongue-in-cheek post making fun of Bushmaster for being the "Worst Marketer in the History of Guns".  This sort of sarcasm may not sit well with you, but his argument is that if we accept the anti-gunner position that gun companies sell their guns to the psychos who commit mass murder, Bushmaster must be horribly bad at marketing because their products are just not used much at all. 

The post in question this time was about the USCCA Concealed Carry Expo Firearms and Fashion Show, held in Atlanta.  Facebook denied his ad, which was a link to his post about the show, under their prohibition of "Advertising the sale of weapons or leading to destinations where the business primarily focuses on the sale of weapons".   I don't see how a story about companies that don't sell firearms or ammunition or weapons at all, but rather sell holsters, concealed carry purses and "man bags" can fall under that prohibition. 

But it just raises my old argument again.   WTF do we need Facebook for?  I despise Facebook as a corporation for things like this, along with the stories of them blocking conservative news stories from their "Trending" column, hassling conservative commentators, and that's not even going anywhere near their status as Obama peg boys.  I happened to catch Steven Crowder being interviewed about that last story while on my way up to buy an emergency hole saw (don't ask).  Facebook has accepted payment from him for ads, knowing full well he's a conservative commentator, and then "lost" it.  The payments have cleared Steven's bank but Facebook is still whining like they never got it - which is one short step from filing a delinquency report which can make life rough for a small business like his Louder with Crowder.   (FTC note: I have no relationship with Steven Crowder or his company.  Never paid him penny for anything.  Never got a penny or anything from him.)  He has had to hire an attorney, who still can't get any information out of FB.  They're having to file legal action against FB. 

I tell my kids I'm not anti-social, I'm asocial - as in without any social skills whatsoever.  I don't see what we need Facebook for, and I closed my account at least a year ago.  If they were an honest corporation and treated all their customers honestly and fairly, I wouldn't have a problem with them.  It sure doesn't seem that way to me.  The world needs competition for them.  Maybe if they had competition, and didn't have every company in the world lining up like retarded zombies, chanting "like us on Facebook!", they might just treat the people who give them their $ billions a bit better.  If they weren't the only game in town, maybe they wouldn't act like we need them more than they need us.
(From our friends at, who don't appear to offer this shirt any more)


  1. Good to hear you're feeling better.

    The fiber used for FTTH is a pair of fibers; one for transmit, and one for receive. It makes the equipment cost much less at the cost of running a fiber pair to the home.

    We have Verizon FiOS, and things were fabulous until they sold the Internet section to Frontier.

    Their tech support is worse than useless, and the morons actually went in and RESET our modem when my wife called about a totally unrelated issue.

    The knocked the WiFi security down to just plain old WPA, and gave her the WRONG password for the modem, so I couldn't get in to it.

    Had to do a complete reset back to factory defaults, and then go and set up everything again.

    The speed is great, which is really nice when downloading a complete Linux distribution.

    I hate Facebook, too. I had an account a couple of years ago, but started getting slammed when I posted some pro 2A items. I nuked the account, and only recently set up another one. I rarely use it, but a couple of people I know have some interesting automotive stuff they post on it, so that's why I set it up again.

  2. RE: Modem - two is one, one is none. Keep your eyes peeled for deals and buy a spare. You live in "lightning country" and when there's a line strike (or even a strike close to a cable line) the modem will lose all its magic smoke. Repairable, but no internet while it's down, and you no longer have the luxury of having the ISP same-day replace it. I haven't found a good lightning-proof surge protector for a modem that doesn't cripple throughput speeds (if you do, please let us know).

  3. I haven't really followed it, but there is a "gunner's"/conservative alternative to FB. It's called "Grassfire". I don't know much about it other than it appears to be in its infancy, but you might check it out:

    1. I've seen them before, and there's another one I can't recall the name of. Here's where we need someone who hangs out on social media to chime in with what they want in a site. (My answer, "Nothing. I don't care.")

      It seems that we may be looking at a situation like eBay where the world really isn't big enough for more than one. Everyone's on Facebook because all their friends are on Facebook because all their friends are on Facebook. Which I frankly can't believe.

      To say Facebook is right in the way they treat conservatives and gun owners is to say that conservativism or libertarianism are fringe ideas that deserve to be marginalized. That just can't be - there are far too many people who live conservative/libertarian lives. I'd argue that the vast majority of the country lives their family life by conservative standards.

      So my theory is that people on Facebook ignore politics in their day to day lives and on FB as best as they can. Since most people aren't selling their guns, or posting take downs of the anti-gun lies, it doesn't affect them. They hang out there to feel connected.

    2. I joined FB recently because my best friend is functionally deaf, and that is how he communicates with people. He had been after me for some years now to join. One of our classmates from high school (Class of '67 ;-) said he had been suspended several times for political posts (yes, he's conservative).

      I have made most of my posts concerning muslims and islam, liberals, Obola and his pretend-wife, and such. I've even made comments about "Mother Zucker" and his collaboration with Merkel and Obola, and so far I have either been missed or ignored, and I've written some pretty inflammatory stuff there.

      I figure if they kick me off, my friend will accept my absence with a fair amount of grace (and maybe answer a few of my emails, instead). Until they do, I will continue to say nasty things about the Pegboy-in-Chief and his steatopygious pretend-wife. (Look up steatopygia if you don't already know it ;-)