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Alan Oleski
Attended Hofstra University
Lives in Covington, KY
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Alan Oleski

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My final thoughts on the Ahmed story.

I've said many of these things in comments to other posts but to recap, as a life-long Maker, this story hit fundamentally at my core. Even now I seethe with rage just at the thought of what happened to Ahmed.

Like many here on G+, I was Ahmed. Hell, I still am Ahmed. I build gadgets. I also took mine to school to show my teachers and friends. I however, wasn't arrested. My teachers offered positive feedback and frequently, advice on improvements.

So what's the difference? Many say "Times have changed. You can't bring stuff like this to school anymore." Bullshit. School shootings (and bombings) in the US go back to the 1700s. Google it if you don't believe me. Hell, in my own high school, a boy brought a handgun to school, showed it off to a number of students that day, and then robbed the local music store after school, shooting the owner dead. Shit happens. Life doesn't come with a guaranteed safety clause.

No, the difference of 35 years is money.

When I was in school, teaching was a respected, reasonably paid profession. You actually had to have qualifications to become a teacher. Teachers were well rounded. In a pinch, the english teacher could readily cover for the science teacher who was out sick.

Today, teaching is a thankless, minimum-wage job. Schools are so broke and desperate for staff, they'll take anyone, qualified or not. So, when an ignorant english teacher who's only knowledge of electronics and "bombs" is her binge-watching of Jack Bauer on 24 sees a home-made clock, Ahmed's fate was a foregone conclusion.

The story hits another infuriating turn at this point, however. Ok, stupid teacher (and stupid principal) call in the Irving police. Police are trained to recognize bombs. They knew damn good and well from the first glance that Ahmed's gadget was NOT a bomb. So why didn't they tell the school officials "It's a clock. Send the kid back to class."

Do I need to mention another under-funded profession that has attracted the wrong candidates? Yeah. "Protect and Serve" my ass.

There is an upside to this story however. In less than 12 hours, the global Maker community rushed to Ahmed's side, making his plight headlines around the world. Not even the NRA has pulled off that kind of PR escalation! The message is clear - even the President of the US couldn't ignore - Makers are many. Makers are strong. Do not f*ck with us.

In this instance at least, Ahmed will be fine. Makers have got his back. But what about your kids? Your schools? Are they full of under-qualified teachers who think STEM is some sort of drug? It's your fault. It's time to open your damn wallet and start voting in favor of those school ballot initiatives.

Otherwise, it could very well be your brown-skinned kid in handcuffs next time.

#istandwithahmed  
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Alan Oleski

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http://www.neowin.net/news/google-talk-reaches-end-of-life-next-week

Google talk is going away.

Another open service being replaced by one behind locked doors.
Google Talk is set to be discontinued in favour of Hangouts and the desktop application will stop working on February 16, after which users will need to use the Hangouts app for Chrome
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Alan Oleski

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Here it is, Beta 1. Faster, stronger, and with more choice than ever before. http://kodi.tv/kodi-14-0-helix-beta-1-springs-forward
It's certainly been a few rough-and-tumble months, but we're pleased to announce the release of Beta 1 for Kodi 14.0 Helix. This release brings many updates and changes, not the least of which being the name of the software. For those of you curious, we've now taken the top 10 or so vote getters ...
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TOOL IS BACK
Greatest picture I've seen in a long time. Not because of the quality (DUH), not because of that stupid fisheye, but for one simple fact:

THIS IS A PICTURE OF ALL FOUR MEMBERS OF TOOL IN THE STUDIO TOGETHER FOR THE FIRST TIME IN EIGHT YEARS!!! 

Bring. It. On.
The band's first new LP in eight years is finally in the works.
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An insidious trick played on the citizens of the US is the framing of political issues as having only two possible solutions. The more insidious trick was to further state that not only were there only two solutions, but that believing in any single solution automatically aligned you with a set of established solutions for every other problem.

For example, the presumption that anyone who believes that US citizens should have the right to bear firearms in public automatically believes that we need immigration reform, wants to eliminate abortions and to reduce spending on government programs for the poor. While it's possible that someone would feel strongly about all four of these issues, they are not directly related to each other with the exception that they are stated goals of one political party in a two party system.

The forced assimilation and the presumption that people will accept all tenants of a political group if they feel strongly enough about a single issue is the use of a logical fallacy to encourage group thinking and a mob mentality. Further, the demonization of any given issue will naturally polarize opposition to any given position to the other party and the eventual acceptance that supporting pro-choice movements means supporting carbon reduction, progressive taxing of the rich, and affordable socialized medicine.

https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/black-or-white
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Finally got this framed.
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Reposting to reiterate:

Always install your OS manually. Don't trust the OEM's version.
 
Lenovo pre-installs a web proxy that injects ads. It MITMs HTTPS traffic by installing its own trusted root certificate.

Always install your OS manually. Don't trust the OEM's version.

EDIT:  Holy shit, apparently it's the same key for all installs: https://twitter.com/fugueish/status/568258997578371072

(The private key is necessarily present on the machine. So basically if the key is not public already it will be shortly, and anyone will be able to spoof any web site to Lenovo users.)

EDIT2: Uninstalling the app does NOT remove the certificate. https://twitter.com/metsfan/status/568265468173107200
Ok, I will take a look at ESET. Thanks   Yes, VisualDiscovery is part of the bundled software in my lenovo laptop.. It is from a developer called Superfish. More info here: http://systemexplorer.net/file-database/file/visualdiscovery-exe   [Moderator note: Moved from another discussion and title cha...
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Anyone using GnuPG over here?

This guy almost single-handedly maintains GPG and he's tired of not getting donations

Considering a small donation for a very important piece of software seems only reasonable, no?
Werner Koch's code powers the email encryption programs around the world. If only somebody would pay him for the work.
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I am sympathetic to the underlying argument here, but the core of Lanier's solution is perfectly literal Luddism. At the dawn of industrialization, automated looms drove mass unemployment. And so the framebreakers -- people who had once been employed as weavers, but who no longer had a job -- broke up the machines they blamed for their unemployment. 

Never mind that creation of cloth handicrafts was an awful thing to be forced to do: the fact that it had to be done, and that people had to be forced to do it, was the reason the incipient framebreakers were able to subsist at all. In a choice between automation and their livelihood, we will each choose our livelihood. 

But we do not have to choose.

The catastrophe that faced the framebreakers, and the catastrophe that faces us, isn't caused by automation. Since the 1980s, the American companies that once employed the blue-collar middle class have been (a) shedding workers, (b) increasing production, and (c) failing to automate. That persistent growht in production? It's not capital investment. It's caused by employers shedding waste while disclaiming their duty toward their employees.

The more responsible capitalism of the 1950s and 1960s wasn't caused by technological poverty. And the solution is not to throw away our technological progress, wasting entire lives on creating sufficient busywork to justify wages -- it wouldn't work anyway, as first-world busywork cannot sustain first-world standards of living. 

If there's a second automation revolution coming, the solution is to balance the supply of labor against demand for it, not to increase the supply of worthless labor until it justifies the wages we pay for it.
Kodak employed 140,000 people. Instagram, 13. A digital visionary says the Web kills jobs, wealth -- even democracy
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Eric Schmidt // "History has proven that size and past success are no guarantee for the future. Great companies can be surpassed swiftly. Look at Yahoo, Nokia, Microsoft, Blackberry and others who seemed unrivaled just a few years ago, but were disrupted by a new wave of tech companies, Google among them. Many of you are skeptical. I get that. You look at Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon and say there’s no way competitors can beat them. I’m less certain.

For one thing, these companies are each others’ biggest competitors, because in tech competition isn’t always like-for-like. Many people think our main competition is Bing or Yahoo. But, really, our biggest search competitor is Amazon. People don’t think of Amazon as search, but if you are looking for something to buy, you are more often than not looking for it on Amazon. They are obviously more focused on the commerce side of the equation, but, at their roots, they are answering users’ questions and searches, just as we are.

But more important, someone, somewhere in a garage is gunning for us. I know, because not long ago we were in that garage. Change comes from where you least expect it. The telegraph disrupted the postal service. Radio and television shook up the news industry. Airplanes ended the age of ocean liners. The next Google won’t do what Google does, just as Google didn’t do what AOL did. Inventions are always dynamic and the resulting upheavals should make us confident that the future won’t be static. This is the process of innovation ..."
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