Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Weird weather

We were out, and doing a little shopping. The sky was dark and heavy with impending rain. We just stopped at 2 different stores, near the house, looking for shampoo, and Pudding. The sky flashed with lightning, and thunder rolled. We did not get wet, the rain did not fall yet. The sky is just weird.
Oh, also, there was a sinkhole in the neighborhood. There were several concrete trucks I guess pumping concrete into the sinkhole void. Who knows? But for the grace of God go I.
Thunder rolls.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Did Edward Snowden expose the cloud to be a house of cards?

Did Edward Snowden expose cloud based computing resources to be insecure? http://www.businessinsider.com/internet-story-not-edward-snowden-2013-7?nr_email_referer=1&utm_source=Triggermail&utm_medium=email&utm_content=emailshare Is this part of the damage to the economic future of the Tech industry that we can heap onto Edward Snowden? Granted, some of us probably already realize that when you are trusting someone else to store photos, or whatever for you, that you are relinquishing control over that content. The Business Insider article was saying how Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo, along with other corporate entities will comply with court orders and hand over data. Trade secrets aren't really safe when they are stored out in the cloud. Outsourcing e-mail management responsibilities to other big tech companies isn't attractive when one thinks in those terms.
I've known this, but hey, data is data.
The angle of Edward Snowden the whistle-blower doesn't work. He failed to keep secrets. I'm sure that there was a document that he signed that said he would keep secrets. Maybe he could try the line of reasoning that nobody really reads the terms of service for all of the cloud storage services offered, anyway, but that doesn't really fly when he is in Hong Kong, and then in the airport, and possibly in Moscow. Maybe the American will get an appreciation of Russian Justice. Maybe he will manage to live a long and productive life.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

I don't understand

I don't understand why almost half of our elected representatives would vote to limit the access that our military (the NSA) has to signals intelligence. Sure, okay, I can sort of see why a 29 year old might be deluded into thinking that he has a patriotic duty to report our capabilities to the world. I guess the youngster didn't make it through basic training, so he might not have fully grasped the importance of following orders.
Sure, maybe they knew that the votes weren't there to have funding pulled back, or whatever limiting mechanism was proposed, but when we were involved in our most recent hot wars, there were sayings that loose lips sink ships. Demanding greater congressional oversight, and approval of operational controls, is dangerous to my way of thinking. The NSA is mostly a military organization, from what I understand. I don't know how deeply intertwined the FBI is with the SIG INT capabilities of the NSA, but I'd suspect that there is considerable separation between organizations.
The US intelligence agencies are good at making use of technology to intercept those who wish to do harm to our country.
A seperate issue is how much of the future work can be done by outside contractors, versus by military folks. It probably won't be implemented immediately, but this could reverse some trends toward more contractors providing for the military. It might cause harm to the non-military employment scenarios imagined in the future, but then again, maybe not.

Observing people

Watching people can be slightly humorous. Last night, we were planning to maybe go to the Dallas Bull, for a country concert, which would have yielded some interesting sights, but instead, we went to watch people at Bay Street (International Plaza's outside area where there are some bars, and other establishments.
I commented to my wife that I don't really get the desire to wear high heels by women. I guess sure, being a few inches taller might help some women to stand taller and (at least in their own perception) make them more attractive than other women out there. I am not sure why women dress up to try to snag a guy at a bar. I guess it works some of the times. Women feel better about themselves when they dress up, I suppose. I really don't get why women wear uncomfortable shoes. It was interesting watching some women who had trouble walking in the high heels.
Maybe women who are dressed up fancy tend to get hit on more, and maybe get drinks bought for them by guys who are trying to express interest in their stories, and if the chemistry is right, things might progress.
We went to Silver Springs in Ocala this morning, and then back to International Plaza where I tried to get my ipod touch looked at/swapped out. An apple sales person took me over to a computer to set up an appointment at the genius bar. There was no appointment available today, she gave me a calling card, with a URL on it, so I could set up an appointment later.
I also took the device to ihospital, and asked if the guy there was aware up the vertical line problem on the 5th generation ipod touch, and he indicated that yes, he wazs aware of it, and that I should take the device to the apple store, and they will probably swap it out, since it was bought within the last year (actually, the warranty expires in January of 2014). I saw where some other people were complaining about vertical lines on the 5th generation ipod touch devices. The ihospital guy looked up the serial number from a apple database. I like the macbook pro. I thought the ipod touch 5th generation was just a bad gadget. I may try to get a different device, and see if I can use it better, without the vertical lines.
My wife got some starters from Williams-Sonoma. We just had the French Onion Soup, and while it was pretty expensive, relative to other costs, it was most likely not as expensive as a night at a fancy steak house. The French Onion Soup was very good.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

An outsider's understanding.

As a federal government employee, I want to note that I am not a veteran. I have not fought in wars. The CIA, as I understand things is mostly concerned about laws being broken outside of the United States (affecting the United States). The FBI is concerned about laws being broken inside of the United States. The NSA is not law enforcement. It is military. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NSA
Repeat. It is Military. Cyber command. Signals Intelligence.
Maybe that is why they get touchy about exposing secrets.
Providing aid and comfort to the enemy.
Our Department of Defense is a large organization, with many enlisted, and many officers. Some civilians, and some contract employees. There may be changes implemented re: the access to information that some employees will have.
Once Mister Snowden gets institutionalized, likely, worse things could happen to him.
Maybe he will find warmth in Russia. Likely, he may find that the justice systems can be harsh in Russia.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Glenn Greenwald & Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden book: It was only a matter of time. Glenn Greenwald, the investigative reporter who broke the story of the government's surveillance on everyday citizens, is writing a book about notorious leaker Edward Snowden. The book, as yet untitled, will be published in March 2014 by Metropolitan.
Wasn't it Glenn Greenwald who wanted the debate to be about the content of the leaks, rather than the leaker himself? I think the fact that governments spy on their own populations is really a not-a-big-deal type of story. "Dog bites man!" I mean it's what dogs do if provoked.
Edward Snowden probably made things more difficult for people in the future. The law of unintended consequences. There may be less information sharing. But that could have happened even without Edward Snowden. People in power like to have control of their power. This phenomena happens at many places. I guess Edward Snowden being a younger person did not realize this. I hope that he has an enjoyable time in whatever country he ends up at. It would be nice if he had an understanding of the global situation, but I suspect that he might not.
Maybe Russia will quickly get him out of the country. Maybe his language skills are superb. I'd suspect that he probably does not have that much experience with languages, but I could be wrong. Maybe he will learn.
If the Intelligence Community really was concerned about stopping the leaks, it'd seem to me that there are ways to discourage publication. Money is a motivator for many.
I don't know about the Russian criminal elements. I'd suspect they might be curious.
Glenn Greenwald probably might have a better understanding of how the world works.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

grinding teeth (bruxism)

I suppose that the teeth clenching and grinding is related to the traumatic brain injury (TBI) in some manner. I've seen it referred to as bruxism in some dental stuff. A few dental hygenists have been impressed that I am a bruxer. I don't think it's too interesting. I don't know how common of a problem bruxism is, there probably are some places where I can find out more, but I'm not concerned. There are other thins which need to be more immediate. The TBI has limitations. I am happy that I have a job. I like that I am moderately successful. Yes, I think it would be cooler if there were more development done with the idea of computer mediated communication and the VA / veteran patients, but most large organizations probably have forces which keep them doing things the way they have wanted them to be done, and introducing change likely will take time. I'm not positive that there are large numbers of people who would benefit from greater access to computer mediated communications technology, but it seems to me to be a no-brainer type of idea. Obvious on its face. It will probably enhance patient satisfaction. Perhaps bruxism is a longer term issue in some people with TBI. But by the same token, some people's problems are more pressing in other areas.

I am reminded of the fragility of life's systems

On days such as this, I am reminded that many of our systems are inherently fragile. Well, not fragile in and of themselves, but given enough time and wear, even teeth eventually need replacement, or augmentation. In my case, I guess it will likely involve placing crowns on all of my teeth. The root structures appear to be healthy enough, from what I know. Panoramic X-rays images done at two separate prosthedontist's offices which the dental insurance appears not to want to cover. I realize that going to different dentists offices requires different images to be taken. I was bummed that the first prosthedontist office wasn't an in-network provider. I was referred by a separate dentist who I went to for a second opinion. The second prosthedontist was in network, but his X-rays were also not covered. The initial dentist's office (a coast dental location in a rented space in a strip center) I went to had x-rays on films, and I much prefer the cool digital X-rays, displayable on a computer screen. Of course, technology probably is not free. I went to an endodontic specialist for a root canal, and saw the fancy digital X-rays. Having the ability to zoom in on a tooth, and the root structure was pretty cool. The in-network prosthedontist is located a few miles away from the house, so I need to get transportation (wife to drive me there). The insurance company hasn't yet agreed to pre-authorize procedures done. But who really knows how things will shake out? Eventually, Snowden will probably need healthcare, and dental work. If he is fortunate to live to a ripe old age.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

I'm not one to speak ill of the dead

The Trayvon thing doesn't really impact me much.  Sure, I agree that the boy shouldn't have been shot.  It seems that he didn't have very good impulse control mechanisms in place if he wanted to beat up Zimmerman.  According to some of the stuff I read, someone thought Mister Zimmerman was a homosexual, and Trayvon was expressing his displeasure with that particular lifestyle choice.  Leaving the whole issue aside, beating up another shows a lack of peaceful thoughts.  I asked a few of my co-workers what they thought, and they seemed pretty consistant, "It is sad, but I won't be acting the fool, and taking part in any sort of riots or any of that."  My co-workers have jobs.

Snowden seems to be making an entirely different bed.  It seems that his former life of internet freedom will soon be replaced by one of decidedly less internet connectivity.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Custom wheels

What is the deal with people getting custom wheels, usually jacking up the vehicles, so that they can put significantly larger wheels on the vehicles? Is there a reason why people like to ride around in larger wheeled vehicles?

Lost in Yonkers

Yesterday, we saw a play Lost in Yonkers, by Neil Simon. The play was about a family that was kind of messed up. The mother had passed away from cancer, the father/husband went away to work, leaving his two boys with his mother and aunt. I guess the boys were the main characters. The play was very good in my opinion. The actors were quite well in the roles. This was at the Carrolwood Players' Theatre, a small venue off of Gunn Highway (Busch Boulevard west of Dale Mabry Highway). I enjoy going to see the plays. I guess there were 8 scenes, separated in two acts. It was nearly 3 hours long. 15 minute intermission.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Trying to manage weight loss

Well, I suppose that I've had a tool in place to assist with the weight loss routine. The lap band has been helpful, but I think it might be slightly too tight. I may see if the doctor will remove a small portion of the saline that is is in the band to allow slightly more food to be eaten, to pass through my smaller stomach pouch slightly easier. I REALLY REALLY like the meatloaf and mashed potatoes that my wife makes. The 10 ounce tubbies with screw on lids have been phenomenal in helping to control portion sizes. I had a co-worker ask me about the lap band, and I was upfront with him. I hope that if he chooses to do it, it will work out relatively well for him. Avoiding diabetes, and the compounding health problems that it causes is a big factor. The chewable vitamins for bariatric surgery ar pretty good. Mostly it's supplemental vitamins, and then a big b-12. I guess it's better in an easier form for absortion. The b-12 was important. I had been told by my doctor that I should take a b-12 supplement. It did improve my mood, and help me see things in a more positive manner. Maybe I saw more options, more ways that I could influence things around me. Of course, this is also impacted by my traumatic brain injury issues which still probably affect some stuff even today, and also important to deal with is my teeth issues. The teeth will be expensive to have crowns placed on them, but eventually, I should have a newer better smile. More importantly, I should be able to continue with my chewing, and eating for some time into the future. The prosthedontist's office had some pretty cool x-rays and computer displays displaying basically health root structures for my teeth.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Snowden

“I don’t understand what he was thinking,” she said. “Is he a little boy with no idea about the consequences?”
The above quote comes to us from:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/seeking-snowden-in-sheremetyevo/2013/07/04/ef67ece4-e4d1-11e2-aef3-339619eab080_story.html
I wonder how he keeps his precious laptops secure for days on end. I wonder where Miss Harrison is at? Wikileaks is the one who seems to want the spotlight.
I doubt Snowden plays chess.
For that matter, I'm not sure that Assange plays chess.
Maybe Mister Assange in fact does play chess, now that he is at the Equadorian Embassy in London. Or, maybe not.
I'd think that the Russian Security folks should know where he is. If in fact, he is still in the transit zone. Did Miss Harrison continue on with her travels?
Is she located at some wikileaks underground bunker? I doubt it.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Jobs numbers in the US

I suppose it is good that the jobs numbers are picking up. It would perhaps be better if there weren't as many part time employed people, who state that they would prefer full time work, but it is what it is. I guess some businesses might be a little bit concerned about adding full time employees, with the impacts of Obamacare, or whatever. I really don't think that it should be of much concern, but the fact that the federal government is paying contractors to do jobs that federal employees used to do, or perhaps more to the point, paying people more than federal employees, but also not contributing to benefits, time off, etcetera, and presumably allowing the contractors to try picking up health coverage on their own, or whatever. In speaking with a former contractor, he said that yes, the individual rate of reimbursement was higher, but there was no paid time off, no medical, no dental, no retirement system. Maybe the contracting agency might be able to set up something, but I doubt it. The federal government probably likes the fact that they don't have to pay for all of the costs associated with providing benefits, and the contracting agency probably makes some money by providing people with certain skill sets who are able to do certain jobs. The former contractor tells me that he was just an hourly employee, when he was a contractor, I suppose that Mister Snowden was also an hourly employee, working for the NSA.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Back from Highlands, NC

I'm back in Tampa, after having spent a few days visiting my parents in Highlands, NC. I'm ready to go back to work tomorrow, and feed my co-worker's fish. I suppose that I'll be one of a few people at work tomorrow, but who knows? I had a good time with my parents and my wife. On the linked-in network, I've discovered a number of other people who I've sent inquiries to. I'll see how readily it translates into an expanded network of contacts as relates to my desire to share some experiences and wisdom gained or just evidence that recovery from a moderately catastrophic injury is possible.
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