From what we are being told, coronaviruses are common and are the cause of common Colds. Also, we are already about to start clinical trials of a vaccine against this particular “novel coronavirus” that is running amuck currently….
Given those two statements, wouldn’t that mean it should be more than possible to provide a vaccine against the common cold? Just saying….
Wits n’ Giggles
In my efforts to minimize my reliance on Facebook, Google, and other big data organizations, I am moving from my Drunken Tech Blog presence on Facebook and have moved my personal blog to WordPress. Since Drunken Tech Blog was basically my personal blog for so long, this seemed like a good opportunity to just combine my efforts and Wits n’ Giggles was born.
Tech, Booze, Potty Humor, Movies, and Music have always been my go-to sources of entertainment. This new blog will continue in that vein. You’ll still see technical articles and reviews, posts about booze, and all the things you’re accustomed to seeing on The Drunken Tech Blog, but I’m trying not to limit myself to just those topics going forward.
The Facebook page for Drunken Tech Blog will be going away soon, so please be sure to bookmark this blog or add it to your favorite RSS reader to keep up with all the Wits n’ Giggles you can handle.
This post will remain a “sticky” reminder at the top of the blog for a few weeks. Also, if you click the little “Menu” lines in the top left, you can select the Drunken Tech Blog posts page to filter on the posts brought over from there!
Now hear it again…
Facebook IS SPYING on you.
I can’t recall ever seeing an ad for an antacid or reflux medication on my Facebook feed…ever. I haven’t searched or even typed “Reflux” or any related search term in my phone, computer browser, or anywhere.
Last night I mentioned aloud that I was going to take some Tums because I was feeling a bit “reflux-y.” Fifteen minutes later, browsing my Facebook feed, I see this:
This is not the first time something like this has happened, but it IS the most obvious example. In the past, there have been many times I’ve seen posts/ads related to things I’d searched for outside of Facebook. Proving they reach deep into other, non-Facebook ecosystems to gather as much intel on us as they can.
But clearly they are also listening even when we are not actively using the App.
Here are just a couple of the more recent articles relating this this problem. And it’s not just Facebook, folks…
I set up this blog a few days ago as an alternative to sharing on Facebook. I figure I can post my “Facebook-worthy” content here and, as I see fit, share links to my Blog posts on Facebook.
Today I have officially uninstalled the Facebook App from my phone. This isn’t another one of those “Ermergerd! DeLeTe FaCEbOOk” posts. We all know that course or action rarely works out. But we can be more careful…
Here’s what I’m going to try:
- Primarily only use Facebook via the Webpage on my Desktop (without a camera or microphone connected; limiting their ability to spy on me)
- When I do feel the need to use Facebook on my Phone, I will only use it via the web browser. I prefer Firefox as they have made great efforts of late to help protect your privacy. You can even go to https://m.facebook.com in your phone browser and add it as a Shortcut to your home screen. That way, you can access it like an App, but not have the Facebook App installed (and always listening in the background).
Be sure you double-check your Permissions for Firefox (or your browser of choice) to deny access to the Camera and Microphone. I personally see no reason why a mobile browser would ever need access to these, and Firefox does not request them
Also, consider taking the same precautions with Instagram, since Facebook owns them, too.
Those who want to keep up with me and my life, I appreciate you! You can bookmark this blog and even pull the RSS feed into an aggregator of your choice to easily see my posts. I will continue to share these blog posts to Facebook for a while, as well. In the meantime, I will be purging all the Apps, Pages, and other crap that have accumulated access/association with my Facebook account over the years.
Some good, regular housekeeping is always necessary!
Let’s start this out with a disclaimer; this is an opinion/rant. Do with it what you will.
We all know there is some stiff competition between the two Titans; Google and Amazon. But can they please get over their back-and-forth bickering already? It is costing their users like you and me a lot of missed entertainment!
About the time Amazon started selling their FireTV devices, they decided stop selling Google products that it saw as direct competition. At the time, this included Google’s Android TV devices and has grown to include their Google Home Smart Assistants. Amazon has even gone so far to not just exclude these devices from its search results, but actually display THEIR devices instead! Note the search results for “google home”:
In an act of apparent retaliation, Google has pulled its YouTube service from availability on Amazon devices. Quid Pro Quo, eh Google? This has gone back and forth several times, with occasional arrangements bringing the massive service back to Amazon devices briefly, at best.
Let’s face it, a LARGE number of us consumers are regularly using and subscribing to BOTH Google and Amazon services. And it was AWESOME to be able to switch from watching music videos on YouTube to catching up on Sneaky Pete from my Amazon FireTV. Now, without workarounds, that is no longer as easy as it should be.
And one thing that really doesn’t make sense to… While voice-controlled home assistants like Google Home and the earlier Amazon Echo devices could be considered direct competition, Google has nothing to compete with the screen-toting Amazon Echo devices like the Echo Show and Echo Spot!
Even if/when they do, wouldn’t it make sense to give some leeway and come to an agreement which allows users of those Amazon Devices to use their YouTube service? Sure, Amazon bitch-slapped Google by not selling their hardware, but as you know, Services = MONEY. And by eliminating the customer base that uses Amazon devices like the Echo Show and Echo Spot (as well as the millions of FireTV and Fire Tablet users), Google is essentially punching themselves in the DICK by loosing out on that large group of people who could be using their service.
On the flip-side, you can FIRE up the Google Play Store (pun definitely intended) on your Google devices and enjoy any of Amazon’s services you want; Prime Video, Prime Music, etc. So apparently Amazon recognizes the importance of having their services available to users of non-Amazon hardware. Too bad Google hasn’t come to that same understanding.
I really just don’t get it….
Can’t we all just get along….and get YouTube back?
AnTuTu Benchmark is the go-to for many who want to test out their phone’s capabilities. As of this posting, it has a 4+ Star Rating, with over 925,000 reviewers on Google Play.
Recently I was in need of a Sprint-compatible phone that would work where my temporary (6-month) office would be. Not wanting to break the bank, I settled on the Essential Phone (pleasantly surprised, for sure).
I decided to load up and run the obligatory AnTuTu Benchmark. Irrelevant to this post, but it scored pretty well.
A couple days later, while browsing through my phone memory using Solid Explorer, I noticed something odd…so odd that it made my heart skip a beat. Keep in mind, I have Solid Explorer set to show hidden files, cause why not? Well, I noticed quite a lot of hidden files with random filenames. My mind immediately went to Malware, as this seemed pretty typical of Malware I’ve fought on Windows machines for decades.
At first I didn’t make the connection….but later that day it dawned on me that it could be AnTuTu since that was the only thing I had installed recently. So I fired up another phone and installed AnTuTu and….Ah-HA! The same sort of files appeared on that device.
So now, intrigued, I started my Google searches for “AnTuTu Malware” and “AnTuTu Hidden Files” but got nothing of any significance in the results.
Best I can tell, if anyone else has noticed this, they aren’t asking about it online anywhere. Keep in mind, the average user probably never installs a Third-Party File Manager; much less has it displaying Hidden Files. The typical user probably would never notice these files.
I’ve reached out to the developer for explanation and will report back. I will say, these files remain in Internal Memory even after clearing data and uninstalling AnTuTu.
See video below for the pudding…proof and all.