Giant WTF

it’s either real or it’s a dream, there’s nothing that is in-between

24 Aug 2020

Wisconsin calls out National Guard after unrest over police shooting of Black man

It’s hard to believe that police just keep shooting black people in the back considering all the scrutiny they’re under in 2020, but they just can’t help themselves. Police in the U.S. are clearly either not trained adequately to handle stressful situations, or are purposely trained to eliminate all risk, no matter how minute, by shooting anyone they can claim they feel threatened by.

“12 more years!” Trump’s opening speech got the 2020 RNC off to a dark start

Trump is laying the groundwork for the brain donors who believe in him to swallow another conspiracy theory should he lose the 2020 election. And they will.

I don’t think we can assume this is trolling or setting up an excuse for losing in advance. At this point, I’ll be amazed if Trump leaves quietly.

The FDA Just OK’d Emergency Use of Plasma for Covid-19

Filed under the Activities, Not Results category comes the news that the FDA is ok’ing the use of convalescent plasma for people sick with Covid-19. The problem is, no one knows if it’s actually effective or not, because no scientific trials have taken place. But that hasn’t stopped Trump from claiming that it’s another miracle drug.

It’s also important to note that Emergency Use Authorizations (of which this is one) don’t make claims of benefit but simply authorize utilization of a given treatment. The FDA already issued one for hydroxychloroquine earlier, so this current EUA should be met with some healthy skepticism.

Coronavirus catches up with Usain Bolt, world’s fastest man

As if the dummies who think physical fitness is a defense against Covid-19 need any further proof to the contrary, one of the world’s fittest humans caught the disease after a crazy birthday party full of social non-distancing.

Interstellar visitor ‘Oumuamua could still be alien technology, new study hints

When a Harvard University astrophysicist starts claiming that aliens are behind the unaccountable acceleration of the bizarre interstellar object known as Oumuamua, you know things are weird. And yet it’s still not as weird as most of the things currently happening here on planet earth.

It’s ok to be skeptical of Avi Loeb’s claims though, because he’s pimping a book he authored about this being the first sign of intelligent life beyond earth. It seems a little premature to be that certain about it, but apparently not everyone agrees.

Ultraconservative evangelical leader Jerry Falwell in sex scandal

Another famous evangelical, another sex scandal. Really it’s getting tiring, the tendency of conservative Christians to hold up the worst possible human beings as role models, especially since none of these people are remotely Christ-like.

I won’t miss this idiot, but sadly, he’ll probably just take some time off and then will be able to proclaim redemption and resume some form of “ministry”.

Spain warned of dire impact of second coronavirus lockdown

As amazed as I am by some of the anti-lockdown protests in Spain that have taken place recently, I’m kind of glad to know Americans aren’t the only people in the world who can’t handle reality.

Look, being in lockdown is bad, and no one is denying that it poses very real and very big problems for everyone. But the Spanish seem like a lot of Americans in their desire to completely ignore the pandemic itself and focus solely on the effects of trying to get the disease under control.

Hit me up on Twitter to yell at me if you really think that will help.

You can find my thoughts on tech and other projects on my personal site at scottwillsey.com

 

11 Aug 2020

Cops Arrest 17-Year-Old Suspect in Massive Twitter Hack

“He’s a 17-year-old kid who just graduated high school, but make no mistake, this was not an ordinary 17-year-old. This was a highly sophisticated attack on a magnitude not seen before,” the State Attorney said in a video statement.

I wonder if we’ll ever again hear news of a hack that isn’t characterized as “sophisticated”. In truth it seems like it was standard social engineering and a powerful admin tool with very few safeguards on its operation.

That’s not to say it was not a noteworthy security breach, because Twitter is influential and we now know it has a powerful administrative tool that has just one level of access control.

I sure hope that $100,000 or whatever he got was worth it, because this kid is going to spend some time in prison.

More on the this:

From Minecraft Tricks to Twitter Hack: A Florida Teen’s Troubled Online Path

Here’s the part of this story I’d like to hear more about:

At 15, he joined an online hackers’ forum. By 16, he had gravitated to the world of Bitcoin, appearing to involve himself in a theft of $856,000 of the cryptocurrency, though he was never charged for it, social media and legal records show. On Instagram posts afterward, he showed up with designer sneakers and a bling-encrusted Rolex.

Facebook internal investigation finds millions of members in QAnon groups

I don’t mean to be rude, but can we just not with Facebook anymore? If you’re still using it, why?

Honestly I think at this point the FB demographic is also the most gullible demographic. Either that or people are just so bored with their horrible lives that they’re willing to believe anything remotely exciting to escape reality. And escaping reality they are, in huge numbers.

Facebook in particular and social media in general are destructive. The tech non-sophisticates aren’t wired to handle it. I know that sounds arrogant, but there are a lot of people who just can’t correctly evaluate anything they read online.

A mysterious group has hijacked Tor exit nodes to perform SSL stripping attacks

Tor has always only been as secure as its exit relays, and I’ve always thought if I were a government agency interested in uncloaking people, I’d just run all the exit nodes. But apparently Bitcoin thieves are even more motivated than the NSA.

The group has been so prodigious and persistent in their attacks, that by May 2020, they ran a quarter of all Tor exit relays — the servers through which user traffic leaves the Tor network and accesses the public internet.

I’d say that’s a pretty significant problem for a lot of people using Tor.

Idaho Lawmaker: “Listening To Experts Is An Elitist Approach” To Coronavirus Restrictions

I really cannot comprehend what’s happening to conservatives in this country. They literally can’t tell the difference between totalitarianism and trying to get a pandemic under control. Worse yet, some of these dummies are in charge of school boards or local governments.

Does being conservative now mean mandatory lobotomies?

Characterizing people who understand that diseases actually do spread as “fearful” and characterizing themselves, who want to take no precautions, as “not fearful” is kind of mind-blowing. I wonder if they realize that biology doesn’t care about their beliefs?

Every single one of these pandemic deniers reminds me of the administration at my daughter’s school. It’s a frustrating time to be a person who believes in data-based decisions rather than reactionary thrashing and misguided moaning about personal liberties.

A’s outfielder Ramon Laureano says vile remark by Astros hitting coach spurred brawl

And just what you don’t want to see during a pandemic, baseball players who are unable to control themselves brawling and mixing it up.

America – time to get a grip.

Hit me up on Twitter to yell at me if you really think that will help.

You can find my thoughts on tech and other projects on my personal site at scottwillsey.com

 

01 Aug 2020

I said yesterday I really needed a visual change on this site, and voila! Here it is. I still need to get my header image looking good, but I like the cat and I do approve of the colors now for both light and dark themes.

I also took the opportunity to do some site code refactoring since my Hugo site best practices adherence was a bit lacking. Working with Vic Hudson on Hugo projects has opened my eyes a bit regarding taking advantage of Hugo’s organization and inheritance conventions. It’s a great platform.

Anyway, enjoy the cat, enjoy the colors, enjoy the fact that I’ll be back spamming you with the horrors of the modern world and especially 2020 very soon.

Hit me up on Twitter to yell at me if you really think that will help.

You can find my thoughts on tech and other projects on my personal site at scottwillsey.com

 

31 Jul 2020

It’s been almost a month since I’ve last WTF’d for you. I have been working on a lot of different projects and not managing to be especially productive on any of them. But I’m alive!! And I’m here now.

Looking at this site really makes me want to overhaul the look, by which I primarily mean the CSS and the one piece of artwork (using the term “art” very loosely). The colors are horrendous. I’m going to start a new feature branch and start fixing that problem. It may take me a while, but it will happen.

In the meantime, please ignore my previous sad life choices and read about other people’s current sad life choices.

Federal Agents Unleash Militarized Crackdown on Portland

It’s crazy in Portland. No one wants the feds here, probably not even a lot of the feds. But here they are. And they’re being jerks. And they’re making people even madder than they already were. It takes a special brand of people to say “let’s prove those idiots who say we just beat the shit out of everyone wrong by beating the shit out of everyone”, but the feds are just that brand.

The teams, which include 2,000 officials from Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Transportation Security Administration and the Coast Guard, are supporting the Federal Protective Service, an agency that already provides security at federal properties.

Thanks, guys!

Black in Japan: Shifting the Narrative

I found this to be a fascinating read, because way back when I lived in Japan, I thought the Japanese looked even more uneasily at the very few black people we ever saw there than they did us still rare (at the time) white foreigners. I’m genuinely encouraged to read that there are positive black experiences in Japan, or at least some attitudes towards them that are the same as attitudes towards all gaijin.

Police Are Buying Access to Hacked Website Data

If you’re law enforcement and you want information about people without having to wait for normal legal channels or face the possibility a specific warrant won’t be issued, what do you do? You pay the same hackers the bad guys do for stolen data, that’s what.

This, of course, is very similar to the problem that mass surveillance poses, which is that police using this method of data gathering will undoubtedly encounter a lot of data about people who aren’t criminals and who aren’t related to whatever case they’re supposedly working, which is the whole point of warrants and legal processes in the first place.

Law enforcement is always going to feel like they need access to all data, all the time, in order to fight crime, and sometimes they don’t care too much whether it’s all legal and ethical or not.

Google accused by developer of retaliation for cooperating with House antitrust investigation

Hey, Google, next time wait a week (or at least until Trump tweets something especially stupid) before retaliating against someone who complained about you to the government. Someone might notice. 😂

Speaking of noticing things:

Google has historically been more relaxed when it comes to approval of apps on its store. The company’s Android operating system also makes it easier to install apps without using the official app store.

Yeah… and let’s make sure not to mention that they’ve had huge problems with malware because of it, ok? Because they have.

Apple Q3 2020 results: Everything up

Tim Apple may have no problems making wildly inaccurate statements to Congress about App Store policies, but he did preside over a quarter in which Apple had record 3rd quarter earnings Y-o-Y despite the worldwide pandemic. So there is that.

Part of it is obvious: people are working from home and just generally staying home more, and their computing devices are indispensable. Still, it’s interesting that Mac and iPad did better in terms of sales increases than the iPhone did. Again, that’s in line with people upgrading or complementing work-from-home setups, but it’s still unusual for Apple.

Good job, Tim Apple! Enjoy being yourself while you can! I have a feeling the government is going to start meddling in your little App Store at some point.

Hit me up on Twitter to yell at me if you really think that will help.

You can find my thoughts on tech and other projects on my personal site at scottwillsey.com

 

26 Jun 2020

It’s WWDC time again, and it’s been a wild one, so this installment of WTF Weekly is going to veer in that direction. I promise to return to covering our depressing dystopian reality in short order.

iOS and iPadOS 14: The MacStories Overview

The most surprising news to come out of the WWDC 2020 keynote was actually not about either iOS or iPadOS, but the iOS changes will definitely affect the most people.

I really like the widgets and particularly the App Library. I know these aren’t necessarily new or innovative concepts, but they’re nice to have and as usual, the devil is in the details. I use and prefer iOS and these changes only increase that preference.

Thoughts on WWDC 2020 Day One

I really like Jason Snell’s thoughts on the Intel to Apple silicon transition here. I do agree that it seems very likely this transition, as huge as it seems to a lot of people, should be very smooth, more so than Apple’s previous two CPU transitions.

I’m also curious about how many people really do rely on being able to run Windows on the Mac. There’s been some handwringing about it (not in this article or by Jason, but in general among other people), but I wonder how much it will really affect most people. My honest guess is not very much at all.

The Future of Apps on the Mac

One thing’s clear for Mac app developers: nothing’s clear.

There are now so many ways to get an app onto the Mac that developers can be forgiven if they’re a little uncertain as to what route to go, but ultimately the options all kind of make sense depending on what you’re trying to do with a specific app and what its current state is, and probably we’ll see a wild mix of Mac apps developed in different ways for some time going forward.

WWDC 2020: The little stuff you might have missed

As always, many interesting tidbits regarding iOS and macOS developments don’t get stage (or screen) time in the WWDC keynote, or even the State of the Union. Dan Moren writes about some of these for SixColors. Read the part about the App Store review process changes and see if it doesn’t blow your mind a bit.

How Might Apple’s ARM Silicon Perform in Future Macs? We Ran Some Benchmarks!

I think one of the major surprises of the past few years has been just how quickly Apple’s custom ARM designs have caught up with x86 performance.

There are various factors involved in the shift in power balance, but the bottom line is that what was seemingly unthinkable a few short years ago, namely putting CPUs that used to be thought of as mobile processors, now looks like a great move for Apple.

PC Mag decided to see exactly what this might look like in terms of actual performance comparisons and ran some benchmarks that require a lot of asterisks and don’t really tell us much more than we already knew about the performance of the iPad Pro except that running benchmarks is fun.

Hit me up on Twitter to yell at me about typos or to talk about anything I’ve included here.

You can find more of my thoughts on tech and other projects on my personal site at scottwillsey.com