Including web sites you trust (e.g. facebook) and hard drives in your physical possession

POOF! For any number of reasons out of your control (company death, policy change, merger, acquisition, anything), a third party whom you trusted with your data destroys or is compelled to destroy all of your data which they had control over, without warning, and without recourse! Many giant undertakings involving user-created data in the history of the internet have so vanished, taking uncounted user hours and terabytes with them, with absolutely no recourse. If you would like to think that some certain web sites are invulnerable, I urge you to think again. The Titanic was also unsinkable. Everything your trusted web site stored and treasured in text, links, their own images–irreplaceable photographs of loved ones!–all gone forever, to internet heaven or hell. Again, it has happened many times. See Indie Web Camp's article on site deaths at the following link:

The takeaway: never leave irreplaceable data in the hands of a third party.

  • FACEBOOK HELP: back up all of your facebook data to your own computer! Facebook is not designed for archival purposes and permanency. Back up a new archive every wheneverly. Nope, you have to download everything all over again each time. What, you expect a multi-billion dollar company to have a solution like incremental user backups?! Ha ha ha! They're too busy chasing the next advertising dollar. Observe how much work it took tens of thousands of users to simply get any kind of data backup feature created; see:
  • What?! Nothing exists besides facebook, you fool.
  • Okay, backups from your wordpress and blogger blogs which you have forsaken for the global time suck also are possible. Do a web search for wordpress backup, blogger backup, whatever backup . . .

The more secure solution is to directly store and control a backup of your data on a hard drive which you have immediate physical possession of. In case of any reason of any number of accidents to the hard drive you control, back it up in turn to several other hard drives, at least one of them off-site and in the possession of a family member or friend you absolutely trust. Sure, use web backup solutions too (do a web search). Just be aware that nothing is necessarily permanent. You are reducing the risk of your data vanishing with disaster that can strike anywhere at any time. My most paranoid scenario would have end-to-end encrypted backups on many different continents. If a nuclear electromagnetic bomb detonated over North America, and everything you have is stored in the Western United States, all of that data could be gone (other problems: the power grid could be irrecoverably wiped out; follows utter economic devastation, mass death, hysteria, and devolution to warring blood clans. Tyrants in Iran may like that idea and be preparing to bring it to pass, whatever else they say. And have you asked your Senator what your country is doing to prepare for a nuclear electromagnetic pulse event? I don't want any Senator in office who doesn't know what that is). Now I wish I had friends I absolutely trust on many continents.

No, my data isn't all backed up even as I write this. I have a backup regimen I've forsaken for months. If you don't even have a backup regimen, you are very vulnerable. If you have data you cannot replace stored on only one device, get a backup in place ASAP. Ideally, irreplaceable data should be backed up the moment it is created.

Software Patents

All software is math. We patent software. Yet the law forbids us to patent or copyright math and algorithms. Lobbyists have managed to fool so many judges that software is somehow more or different than math. This is simply not true. All software subsists of strings of ones and zeroes. Nobody can patent or copyright numbers; Intel tried to copyright the number 8088; they failed (which led to their use of original names instead of numbers to designate their processors). You can arguably copyright source code, which could be considered original expressions of writing, in many cases (it won't work where a function or algorithm has been in such wide use that it is arguably public domain). But nobody should be able to (or try to) patent source code. Under correct interpretation and application of law, anyone should be free to exploit any software or algorithmic process that they can gleam from any source (including by reverse-engineering binary code).

The abuse of software patents–including threatening to assert “rights” to them against supposed infringements–is the root of stagnation and lack of standards in video codecs and open video platforms on the internet. I say hooray for Cisco in implementing an H.264 decoder and source code for which they have made a legally binding promise that they grant everyone free use license of the same (while they themselves foot the bill to the MPEG LA patent trolls).

Apple, Inc.

My criticisms of Apple, currently without verified source attributions:

  • Mac OS is built heavily on open 'nix-style ideas (if not code?), while Apple is hyper-proprietary, e.g.:
  • Apple annually spends a fortune in a cat-and-mouse code game, hardening iOS against the exploits of crackers who find ways to root the iOS operating system and “jailbreak” devices, to embed and run truly innovative custom modifications to iOS . . . innovations which Apple subsequently officially implements in iOS, giving no credit whatever to the brilliant programmers who rooted the operating system and invented the idea to begin with.
  • Apple spends a fortune to (try to) keep it impossible for other software developers to read and write from iThing music databases; there was a Winamp plugin that worked with iPhones for years until the developer threw his hands up in the air and surrendered to Apple's continuous database and encryption scheme changes designed to lock users into using iTunes and iThings only with the Apple music store.
  • Steve Jobs was a capital J Jerk who was the primary actor in instigating a massive wage cartel, enjoined by many big players in high tech, suppressing millions of dollars of wages from very many employees–and people still worship him! He's a thief, folks! Our tech history books ought to scorn such! However, to his credit, when he had his biography written, he insisted on complete transparency and access to everyone who could give a real picture of him. That the picture was often ugly, and he knew it and he signed off on it, shows integrity. I like to hope he came by his foolishness and cruelties honestly, or in other words, his heart was generally good.
  • Apple implicitly encourages so many fanbois to sing praises to Apple's products and software as “innovative” (with the context usually easily betraying an idea or attitude that Apple “did this first!”), where really they've only arguably made a feature more convenient or slick (if even that).
  • Apple sued Samsung over a claimed design patent infringement of. . . a slab with rounded corners. This destroys one of the primary protections in copyright and patents where basic or elemental things (such as elemental shapes, math etc,) cannot be exclusively claimed. Slabs with rounded corners have been around since, uh, the dawn of recorded history. Yet Apple won that lawsuit. Tell me the United States justice system can't be bought.
  • “Think Different?!” Heck no–think their way or think no way. Cases 1-6 in point.
  • Apple is one of many corporations who give lip service to fair wages and an ethical work environment to overseas manufacturers of their products, yet when legislation was introduced to make a uniform quality work environment standard for outsourced tech workers, Apple and so many other tech corporations balked and demurred, effectively, “we can't have these uniform standards…” while human rights and wage abuses in overseas high tech factories continue to run rampant.

In summary, Apple is a glaring monstrosity of arrogance, skulduggery and anti-user philosophy which miraculously receives so much adulation only because modern American culture is infested with an obsession over power and superficial “personality” in lieu of substance of character and originality; ditto, an entitlement ethos that demands very high tech stuff at prices far lower than what would be considered fair if we didn't look the other way where glaring human rights and wage abuses are enabled by our purchases. If iThings were manufactured in the U.S.A. by workers who insisted on a fair entitlement to a fair wage, iThings would easily be a lot more expensive. International wage discrepancies are one exhibit in the problem of milder forms of slavery.

Yeah, I have my friggin' iPhone, and I love it. Only when it's jailbroken. And only with a conscience freed by this screed and my prayers for overseas workers.

 /home2/ussinsor/public_html/earthbound-io/wiki/data/pages/screeds_against_powers_that_be.txt · Last modified: 2016/03/19 09:57 by alex
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