Holly Jahangiri kindly nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger Award. I doubt I’d win, as I don’t follow the rules. I’m not even entirely sure what I’d win. But the questions seem a fun thing to do, especially now that I’ve decided to minimize my time on Facebook in favour of the blogosphere again (roll on 2006, but without the arseholes!). These are:
Thank the person who nominated you.
Answer the 11 questions youâve been asked.
Nominate 11 other bloggers, making sure to let each one know that they are nominated.
Ask the nominees 11 questions.
Thank you, Holly, I’ll do the first two. I don’t believe in asking others to do these Q&As, but if you’re reading this and would like to join in, please feel free to.
In the spirit of blogging goodwill, and helping out someone who has bravely given up Facebook (and its subsidiaries) for Lent, the 11 questions, and my answers, follow.
What is your favourite drink?
I’ve become more teetotal as I get older. I’d have to say a mango nectar.
Where is your hometown?
I hail from Kowloon, Hong Kong, but Wellington, New Zealand is my home.
Do you prefer sweet, sour, bitter or savoury flavours?
We can discount savoury from the get-go and this might apply to a lot of people of Chinese descent. I don’t mind something slightly bitter.
What is your favourite song?
Depends on the mood I am trying to get in to. There’s not a single one. That’s like asking someone what their favourite typeface is.
Where do you find inspiration for your blog posts?
Anywhere. Just whatever takes my fancy at any given point.
Are you a minimalist or a collector?
What colour is your suitcase?
Boring: it’s black.
Which trees do you like the best?
PĹhutukawa (metrosideros excelsa) always bring a smile to my face.
Do you have a day job as well as blogging?
Yes. Surely there can’t be many full-time bloggers left? I’d expect they’ve all become “social media experts” by now.
What is your favourite smell or scent?
This is like that song question, isn’t it? I can’t limit myself to one.
Do you prefer to eat meat or vegetables?
I prefer fruit to both.
Iâve always been surprised when I see Google or Facebook appear on any âtop brandsâ lists. Itâs branding 101 that a strong brand must have loyalty, awareness, positive associations, perceived quality, as well as proprietary assets, based on the model from David Aaker, and implicit in this, I always thought, was trust. You can neither be loyal to something you donât trust, nor can you have positive brand associations toward it, nor perceive an untrustworthy thing to possess quality. According to a survey from a consultancy, Prophet, which looked at over 400 brands across 27 industries, polling nearly 10,000 customers, we donât trust either Google or Facebook. Neither makes it into the top 50; those that make it into the top 10 are Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, Netflix, Nike, Chick-fil-A, Amazon, Spotify, Lego, and Sephora. Google slots in at 55th, and Facebook at 98th.
To me, the Prophet approach makes far more sense, as for yearsâlong before Edward Snowden revealed the extent of us surveillance under PRISMâI had been blogging about privacy gaffes and other serious issues behind both companies.
People may find Google and Facebook to have utility and enjoyment, yet we willingly volunteer plenty of private information to these sites. We do not trust what they do with this information. Adweek notes that in a separate survey, Facebook was the least trusted brand when it came to personal information, making it worse than the US federal government. There have been so many occasions where users have found certain privacy settings on Facebook altered without their own intervention; and Iâve constantly maintained that, with the bots and spammers I encounter daily on the social network, its claims of user numbers are difficult to accept. In fact, if you have Facebookâs advertising preferences set to reject tracking, the site will not stop doing so, compiling a massive and sometimes inaccurate picture of who you are. What it does with that, given that you have told the site that it should not use that information, is anyoneâs guess. It makes you wonder why that data collection continues. At least Google (now) stops tracking advertising prefÂerences when you ask it to.
These surveys indicate that consumers are wising up, and it opens both Google and FaceÂbook up to challenge.
Google dethroned the biggest website and search engine in the world when it was released, so no oneâs position is guaranteed. Duck Duck Go, a search engine far better at privacy, has chipped away at Googleâs share; and I find so much Facebook fatigue out there that it could follow Myspace into irrelevance. When I hear those speak of these two companiesâ positions as being unassailable, I take it with a grain of salt.
We already have seen peak Facebook (and Twitter, for that matter), for when it came to Super Bowl stats this year, there was a massive 25 per cent drop in activity. Interestingly, despite the trending #RIPTwitter hashtag last week, I don’t agree with those who think Twitter is heading into oblivion, for the simple fact that the site is less invasive and seemingly more honest than Google and Facebook. Those same experts, after all, said that Google Plus would be the Facebook-killer, while I consistently disagreed from day one.
The Medinge Group predicted correctly in the early 2000s when it was stated that consumers would desire greater integrity and transparency from all their brands, something reflected in our book, Beyond Branding. I donât believe that we are so different when it comes to dealing with online brands.
In the last 24 hours, author Holly Jahangiri found an illustration depicting child pornography on Facebook that had been reported by many of her friendsâonly for Facebook to deem it constantly acceptable, despite what it states in its own terms and conditions. It was only when she Tweeted about it that Facebook finally responded publicly; and only when she involved a US government agency did the page disappear. The pressure of accountability like that against dishonest companies tells me Twitter will be around for a while yet.
@facebook apparently, hardcore digital kiddie porn doesn't bother you at all. In spite of this section in your "Community Standards."
Other than for the landline, Iâve never bought a phone before. Each cellphone has come as a result of a company plan or a loyalty gift from the telco, but when my Huawei Ascend Y200 began needing resets several times a dayâIâve had computer experts tell me this is the phone, or the SD card (like any endeavour, itâs hard to find agreement; this is like saying that the problem with an axe lies with the handle or the blade)âI decided to replace it. Plus, having built websites for clients it seemed only fair to have a device on which I could test them on an OS newer than Android 2.3, and after a few days I have to say the Meizu M2 Note has been worth every penny. (The Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 was on the shortlist but the Meizu performed better in online tests, e.g. this one.)
You can find the specs on this device elsewhere, in reviews written by people far more au fait with cellular technology than me, but a few things about arriving in the mid-2010s with such a gadget struck me as worth mentioning.
First, I opted for a blue one. Theyâre usually cheaper. Since I have a case for it, I donât have to put up with the colour on the back anyway, so why not save a few bucks if the guts are the same?
Secondly, itâs astonishing to think in five inches I have the same number of pixels as I do in 23 inches on my monitor.
Thirdly, cellular battery technology has come a heck of a long way. (Down side: you canât replace it in this device.)
But hereâs an absolutely wonderful bonus I never expected: itâs Google-free. Yes, the Flyme OS is built on Googleâs Android 5.1.1, but the beauty of buying a phone from a country where Google is persona non grata is that Iâm not stuck with all the crap I had on the Telstra Clear-supplied Huawei. No Google Plus, Google Play Store, Gmail, Google Maps and all the other stuff I had to switch off constantly. I could have had the phone rooted but it never was a big enough priority, even with my dislike of the big G.
I donât know how much ultimately gets back to Google through simply using its OS, but Iâve managed to keep away from signing in to any of their services. In this post-Snowden era, I regard that as a good thing.
The phone booted up for the first time and gave me English as an option (as the seller indicated), so the deviceâs OS is all in the language Iâm most fluent in. However, itâs not that weird for me to have Chinese lettering around, so the apps that stayed in the Chinese language are comprehensible enough to me. There is an app store that isnât run by Google, at which all the apps are availableâInstagram, Dolphin Browser, Opera Mini, plus some of the other admin tools I use. Nothing has shown up in my Google Dashboard. The store is in Chinese, but if you recognize the icon you should be all right, and the apps work in the language youâve set your OS to.
The China-only apps arenât hard to dispose of, and the first ones to go were Netease, Dianping (I donât even use an Anglo dining review app, so why would I need a China-only one?), Amap (again, it only works in China, and it can be easily reinstalled through Autonavi and its folded paper icon), and 116114, an app from a Chinese telco. Weibo I donât mind keeping, since I already have an account, and I can see some utility to retaining Alipay, the painting app, and a few others.
And having a Google-free existence means I now have Here Maps, the email is set up with my Zoho âboxes, and 1Weather replaces the default which only gives Chinese cities.
What is remarkable is that the Chinese-designed default apps are better looking than the western counterparts, which is not something you hear very often. The opposite was regularly the case. A UI tipping-point could have happened.
I also checked the 2G, 3G and 4G frequencies against Vodafone New Zealand’s to ensure compatibilityâthere are at least two different M2 Notes on the market, so caveat emptor. Vodafone also recommends installing only one SIM, which suits me fine, as the other slot is occupied by a 64 Gbyte micro-SD card.
The new Flyme-based-on-Android keyboard isnât particularly good though, and I lose having a full set of smart quotes, a proper apostrophe, and en and em dashes, but far more obscure Latin-2 glyphs are accessible. Iâm not sure what the logic is behind this.
I had an issue getting the Swift keyboard to install, but Iâve opted for Swype, which, curiously, like the stock keyboard, is missing common characters. Want to type a g with a breve for ErdoÄan? Or a d with a caron? Easy. An en dash? Impossible.
This retrograde step doesnât serve me and there are a few options in Swype. First, I had to add the Russian keyboard, which does give an em dash, alongside the English one, though I havenât located a source of en dashes yet. Secondly, after copying and pasting in a proper apostrophe from a document, I proceeded to type in words to commit them to my personal Swype dictionary: itâs, heâd, sheâll, wonât, etc. This technique has worked, and while itâs not 100 per cent perfect as thereâll be words I missed, itâs better than nowt.
I see users have been complaining about the omissions online for three years, and if nothing has been done by now, I doubt Swypeâs developers are in a rush to sort it.
Swypeâs multilingual keyboards are easy to switch between, work well, but I havenât tried my Kiwi accent on the Dragon-powered speech recognition software within.
Going from a 3Âˇ2 Mpixel camera to a 13 Mpixel one has been what I expected, and finally I get a phone with a forward-facing camera for the first time since the mid-2000s (before selfies became de rigueur). Itâs worth reminding oneself that a 13 Mpixel camera means files over 5 Mbyte are commonplace, and thatâs too big for Twitter. Iâm also going to have to expect to need more storage space offline, as I always back up my files.
I havenât found a way to get SMSs off yet (suggestions are welcome), unlike the Huawei, but transferring other files (e.g. photos and music) is easier. Whereas the Huawei needed to have USB sharing switched on, the Meizu doesnât care, and you can treat it as a hard drive when connected to your PC without doing anything. That, too, has made life far easier.
Iâve been able to upgrade the OS without issue, and Microsoft (and sometimes Apple) would do well to learn from this.
It leaves the name, Meizu (é ć), which in Cantonese at least isnât the most pleasant when translatedâletâs say itâs all a bit Goblin King. Which may be appropriate this week.
Iâm not one who ever gets a device for imageâs sake, and I demand that they are practical. So far, the Meizu hasnât let me down with its eight cores, 16 Gbyte ROM and 4G capability, all for considerably less than a similarly equipped cellphone that wears an Apple logo. And itâs nice to know that this side of Apple, one can have a Google-free device.
How interesting to see a silly Tweet of mine make the Murdoch Press and lead an opinion columnâIâm told it even hit the news.com.au home page.
Itâs a very old joke that Iâve told since 2002, when I walked along Bay Road in Kilbirnie and saw a locksmith sign in Futura. Back then, Dick Smith Electronics had its logotype set in ITC Avant Garde Gothic. I really thought it was a Dick Smith sign at a first, fleeting glance, seeing CKSMITH. The joke was born.
Most in my social media streams got it except a couple of Australians who had likely come across it via Murdochs a day late, one calling me ignorant (not sure how you can get that from one Tweet), and another âaholeâ (is this a misspelling of aloha?). As the funniest guy in their media is John Clarke, who was born in New Zealand, maybe humour doesnât reach a couple of households there if it has to be imported. And the number of times Johnâs taken the piss about us, to my thorough enjoyment, means that some of us can take a joke. Perhaps we just have a sense of humour. We have to: it was the only way we could deal with our PM appearing on The Late Show with David Letterman. It is, to quote the man, âa bit of banter. No drama.â
The false indignation âon behalf of othersâ is always a comical one, because itâs usually founded on a misplaced and unjustified sense of superiority. During a political campaign, theyâre the ones I find the most humorous and least authoritative. Thick skin came with that territory.
Neither deserves a response beyond what I said on Twitter, but the second one (with a fresh new account to troll from, always a good sign of someone who wonât stand by their words) highlights a point that I have made on this blog before. âRuby Pondâ notes, âThe guy is pure Oz and started when you were in nappies and tried! Stick to your foreign companies, they really help Oz.â Iâm not sure what I was tried about, not having been to court while I was in nappies, but maybe sheâs depending on the fact that not everyone remembers back to their infancy.
Well done. She got this from an American-owned newspaper website (remember, Rupertâs no longer an Australian, nor is the HQ in Australia and hasnât been for a long, long time), and, for the record, Iâm not as old as the business that Dick founded. Thereâs also a suggestion that I must be Australian, because, after all, everyone on the planet must be. No other countries exist. I didnât want to get into trans-Tasman rivalry in such a situation, nor was it appropriate to give a list of Australian corporate misdeeds in New Zealand. The term off-topic springs to mind.
I told her, âStick to your foreign media, they really help Oz.â
Hers is that simplistic thinking that gets people supporting foreign-owned businesses when they believe they are supporting local ones.
Dickâs been one of my personal heroes since his solo helicopter flight and Iâve been a customer of the chain he founded since I was old enough to buy my own tech gear. Entrepreneurs like him are the ones Iâve always encouraged, through mentoring and through my policies. However, the sad story of the company, no longer owned by Dick, is one of corporate greedâwhich the founder himself has been critical of. We havenât learned the lessons of so many economic crises: Gordon Geckoâs mantra of âgreed is goodâ continues to drive the corporate world.
The reason so many multinationals buy local brands is to fool the public into thinking theyâre supporting their own. Weâre guilty of it ourselves, and I recall using the examples of Just Juice and most of our local newspapers on this blog. People closed accounts at the National Bank when it became ANZ here, because of a suspicion of, dislike of, or rivalry with Australia, perceiving National to be a local bank. The problem there: ANZ had owned the National Bank for years before the rebranding of its own subsidiary, and prior to that it was part of Lloyds TSB in the UK. A lot of Australians think Ford and Holden are domestic players (though, oddly, not Toyota, which probably builds as many, if not more, cars there), just as many Britons still think they are buying British when they shop at Ford and Vauxhall.
The situation with news.com.au differs slightly in that that business was started in Australia by Rupert Murdochâs Dad, and it has grown from thereâbut the fact remains that its HQ is overseas and thatâs where it pays its tax. Help to Australians: not a lot. The Murdoch Pressâs globalization agenda wonât be one that the âbuy Australianâ crowd would support for the most part.
But this is how brands work, because they encourage us to make mental shortcuts for the products and services we consume. Iâve devoted a good deal of my professional life to it. Some should encourage scrutiny because of the power they have (Wally Olins noted, many years ago, how some brands need to adopt notions that were once reserved for states), and it was hoped that, post-No Logo, we would be more inquisitive about the backgrounds to the organizations we support.
Even though it’s our money and time, the sad thing is that this level of inquiry remains the province of the few, those people who are willing to scrutinize their own behaviour and practise what they preach. Social media have helped spread news of corporate misbehaviours (Volkswagen will attest to that) and more people are aware; but to counter that we get more information than we ever used to, and unless something resonates, will we just forget it?
Therefore, it can only be something where people who have done the proper investigation get to have a say. And like all human endeavours, it can be scammed, so safeguards have to be built in.
One of the reasons the Medinge Group awarded its Brands with a Conscience accolades for close to a decade was to champion the organizations that were getting it right, inviting transparency and scrutiny, championing good corporate citizenship, and engaging in socially responsible programmes. Among them were companies devoted to doing things right by the communities they were present in, whether it was Dilmah Tea, Tata Steel or Hennes & Mauritz.
By our championing them, selected by a think-tank of leading brand professionals, we would be able to highlight shining examples of branding, as well as give them the sort of boost they deserved. If positive companies could increase their custom, and if positive non-profits could increase their influence, then we can do some good in the world.
As people rightly want shortcuts in their busy daily lives, then the work at Medinge, if seen as an endorsement, would help them make a decision about whether to deal with that organization or not.
Itâs nice to be in that bubble, which makes me ever-grateful to get reminders that we still have a lot of work to do. If youâre genuinely desirous of helping your own, then we need to help create more ways of reminding people which organizations do just that. The Brands with a Conscience programme was definitely a very good way of doing it. What shall we do, in the post-peak-Facebook world of the second part of this decade, to get word out? Is it through video, thanks to greater bandwidth, that allows us to experience and understand more? Is this the coming of age of some form of virtual reality? Or, as we did when we first started exploring bulletin boards and email, time again for us to reach out to people in communities very foreign and different to ours through video chatsâsomething like Google Hangouts but actually with people? (Yes, I know, Google fans, I was taking the piss.) Is Skype the service on which this can be built?
I would have said that technology is the great democratizer, and maybe more of us should be giving out awards to truly deserving organizations, voted on by more of the public. But we come across the issue of quality versus quantity again: the Reputation Institute surveyed 60,000 people in 15 countries and still wound up with NestlĂŠ among the most reputable firms in the world. NestlĂŠ may do very good things in some quarters, but it hasnât been able to avoid a lawsuit by environmental and public interests groups in California over its water-bottling operation there, or accusations by activists who believe the company wants to privatize water at the expense of public health. Volkswagen was there in the 2014 survey. We decide on image, and that image is the very thing that gets us making bad choices.
The next innovators are already on to it, and we donât even know that we seek it. But, in order to self-actualize, maybe organizing usâindividuals, not corporationsâinto global communities is the next stage. We have seen Kiva work so positively, so how about making it more interactive? Naturally we will tend to choose to help those in our own countries firstâcrowdfunding campaigns show us thatâbut allowing us to understand another human beingâs situation could be the challenge in a time when governments pursue their austerity agenda. Somehow, we can restore, at least to some degree, the optimism we had when we in the first world accessed the World Wide Web for the first time.
General Motors’ fine in 1995 for 470,000 cars using defeat devices against EPA testing: US$11 million. Volkswagen’s fine in 2016 for 580,000 cars using defeat devices against EPA testing: potentially US$40,000 million (or $40 billion, as the Americans say). The local companies get off far easier in the US. In fact, GM can even get a US$49,500 million bail-out from Uncle Sam. I realize there’s a difference between a settlement and a claim, but I wonder if Volkswagen’s going get away with paying less than a figure in the milliards.
An interesting weekend on Facebook. Despite regaining access, Iâm not allowed to post links (with the accusation that my computer is infectedâsee above), and after considerable research, I know this to be completely untrue. The Facebook malware accusations are targeted at certain users and, from the tiny sample of four that have responded to me, we are all heavy users. Just as I theorized back in June 2014 when Facebook shut down for me for 69 hours, some of us have reached a limit on their servers.
Boffins, and Facebook, say that thatâs impossible, but there have been countless signs of that over the years. Most were recorded on Get Satisfaction before Facebook shut down that community (how convenient). Among them were things such as Facebook being unable to show me every video I had uploadedâthe list began at 2011 and earlier ones were omittedâand the many occasions where I could no longer post, comment, like or share. Thereâs a direct parallel to my experiences on the former Vox.com, which Six Apart confirmed in 2009 and which they had no official answer for.
Whatâs the best course of action if Facebook accuses you of malware and forces you to download one of their programs from Trend Micro, F-Secure or Kaspersky? Delete your cookies. Once you do that, you can regain access, though, like me, youâll have a limited account where link-sharing is impossible. Initially, I was able to share a few links after my accessing Facebook, but it eventually became a blanket block, with the odd one getting through (two a day in my case).
If you want to be extra-safe, run the free version of Malware Bytes. The free one wonât conflict with your existing antivirus set-up (Iâm not trying to do Malware Bytes out of money), but, like the rest of us, youâll likely discover that your system is clean.
One woman got around this by downloading a new browser, although she was also limited on the link-posting.
Whatever you do, do not listen to these big firms. Facebook, Google et al are, as Iâve been documenting over the years, particularly deceptive. Iâve still had to deal with the remnants of Facebookâs scan switching off McAfee, nearly two days later.
Facebookâs apparently had many complaints about this since 2014, so Iâm hardly the first to encounter it. Blaming malware for their own databasing issues is cheap, but enough people will believe itâeven with my mistrust of these big Silicon Valley firms I still did their malware scan, not thinking I had a choice if I wanted to access the site again. What it really did during the scan is anyoneâs guess.
Iâd rather they come clean and tell people: you are allowed x posts a day, x links a day, and x photos and videos a day. I can work around that. But if they came clean about this and the number of click-farm workers and bots plaguing the site, what will that do to their share price?
And isn’t it ironic I can presently share more, and have more freedom of speech, on Weibo, monitored by the Chinese Communist Party?
Above: Doing things the Facebook way. Listening to them was bound to end in tears.
Above: There’s no sign of Kaspersky in Windows’ installed programs’ list.
Hereâs where things started getting very strange. Windows 10 began saying I had no antivirus, anti-malware, or firewall up. Normally I would use McAfee. However, no matter how many times I tried to choose it, the warnings kept coming, thick and fast. In one case, it chose Windows Defender for meâonly because I decided to let it runâand would not permit me to change it back through the settings. The timing of these events was all too suspicious. There was a rumour, denied by Kaspersky, that it was creating malware to throw off its competitors. The juryâs still out, but itâs just odd that while Kaspersky is running its Facebook scan, of what I knew to be non-existent malware, that McAfee would be inaccessible. I went to the McAfee website to file this.
Above: While the Kaspersky scan proceeded, McAfee was knocked out and could not be switched on. Coincidence?
Unlike most people, I have options open to me, so I began to go on to Facebook using several different methods. A VirtualBox containing XP on the same computer was fine, if incredibly slow while Kaspersky was doing its thing. (Think about Windows XP on a 386.) Lubuntu was fine as well, as was Mac OS X. I Tweeted the McAfee community link, and thought it odd that it did not appear in Facebook (I have my Twitter set up to post there). I then tried to paste the link into Facebook manually, whereupon, in Lubuntu and Mac OS, I was told that my computer was now infected with either a virus or malware. Unlike Windows, I had the option of telling them they were in error, and I was able to continue using the machines.
This really sounds like Facebook and Kaspersky have it in for McAfee and, possibly, rival products, if the scan knocks out your choice of antivirus and anti-malware program, and if the mere mention of mcafee.com inside Facebook results in a warning box saying your computer is infected.
Above: On a Mac, I couldn’t even tell people about the post on mcafee.com. The second I did, Facebook said my computer was infected. The same thing happened on Lubuntu. Facebook accuses you of infection on the mere mention of mcafee.com.
Eventually, the entire system froze, and while I could still move the mouse about, I couldnât access the task bar or go to other programs.
I was forced to do a hard reboot.
But youâre asking now: was I ever infected? No. Itâs Google all over again. Peter, the very knowledgeable McAfee support tech who came to my aid many years ago, was present again and put me on to two other programs after this restart. Getsusp analysed my system for malware, and, you guessed it, found nothing. Malware Bytes did the same, and found some PUPs (potentially unwanted programs), all of which I knew about, and I had intentionally installed. Theyâve been present for years. In other words, two other malware scanners told me my system was clean. Malware Bytes did, however, restore McAfee as the correct antivirus program, exactly as Peter had predicted.
He also suggested a system restore, which sadly failed, with Windows giving the reason that an antivirus program was running. Having restored this system once before (after some bad advice from Microsoft), I knew it couldnât be McAfee. The only difference on this computer: I had had Kaspersky doing its Facebook scan. It appears that Facebook and Kaspersky donât want you restoring your system.
I had fixed the newer issues, but the original one remained: I couldnât get on to Facebook. The Kaspersky scan never finishes, incidentallyâyouâre stuck on 62, 73 or 98 per centâand while not having a personal Facebook is no great loss, I have businesses that have presences there.
I stumbled across a Reddit thread where others had been forced to download antivirus programs by Facebook, and, fortunately, a woman there had found where hers resided. In my case, it was at C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Local\Temp\FBScanner_331840299. Deleting this, and all cookies mentioning Facebook and Kaspersky, restored my access.
What to do if you ever come across this? My advice is to, first, run Malware Bytes, but ensure you run the free version, and do not opt for the trials. Once youâre satisfied your computer is clean, head into your cookies and delete all the Facebook ones, and any from the antivirus provider it recommends. This second Reddit thread may be helpful, too. I donât know if this will work completely, but anything is preferable to following Facebookâs instructions and wasting your time. I really need to stop following instructions from these big firmsâyouâd think after all these years, Iâd know better.
PS.: I found this video from last July which suggests the malware accusations have nothing to do with your computer set-up:
In addition, I cannot paste any links in Facebook. The situation began deteriorating after I regained access. Initially, I could paste and like a few things, but that facility eventually disappeared. Regardless of platform, I get the same error I did on the Mac yesterday (see screen shot above). Liking things results in the below error, and the wisdom there is to wait it out till Facebook staff get back to work on Monday.
P.PS.: Holly Jahangiri confronted the same issue as I did a few days later. She was smarter than me: she didn’t download the anti-malware malware. Have a read of her post here: other than that one difference, it’s almost play for play what happened to me for four days. She’s also rightly frustrated, as I am, by Facebook’s inaction when it’s legitimately needed.
Those great, shared cultural experiences. Iâm sure some of you remember how ground-breaking it was in 1977 to see this film. Sure, weâd seen the actors in parts before, on TV, in some smaller films, but this one propelled them into greater stardom. The memorable tunes. One of the greatest cinematic antagonists. The fact we actually started using the jargon from the film in our everyday speech.
Then there was the first sequel in 1980, and the next in 1983, though neither really surpassed the original, even if they cranked up the effects. They made more after that but those donât even count among true fans.
Today, the impact is still there. Iâm getting all misty-eyed and really need to watch the first one again on DVD.
I am truly grateful for Smokey and the Bandit.
On that very tongue-in-cheek note, have a wonderful 2016, everyone!
Surely this remains the only case in the history of humankind where copyright is a multi-jurisdictional criminal matter? And if getting rich off copyrighted material is a crime, then YouTube has a longer history of letting this happen and rewarding users for it. The principal difference that I can see is that YouTube (through its parent Google) dodges paying New Zealand tax,* which seems to be a position our government is comfortable with. Iâm not saying I like Dotcomâwho I think is only out for himself and yes, he comes across as a dickâbut fairâs fair. Nor am I saying I support copyright infringement, but under New Zealand law thatâs a civil matter that should be fought by the infringed, not by governments. (In the US there is a criminal provision but the guy hasnât ever been there nor was his company based there.)
When I read the prosecutionâs case it falls down at some basic hurdles. They say the defendants infringed. But they donât say what they infringed. Youâve got to have this, especially if youâre going to prosecute this as a crime. The guy has a right to know exactly whatâs at issue. And Megaupload stored stuff, they werenât the infringers. Even if they knew about it, thereâs no crime knowing about criminal copyright infringement. If the US position holds true, then when we go to YouTube to view a full-length movie or TV programme that someone has uploaded in order to make money for themselves, it would actually make us criminals. Iâm not comfortable with this.
I see an appalling double standard when it comes to how this bloke is dealt with, e.g. he is dissed for spending money funding a political party but Colin Craig gets a pass for doing the same thing at exactly the same time. He is dissed for showing us how our government monitors us by bringing in Glenn Greenwald yet we all applaud Greenwald when he does it overseas. I find it interesting how he went from Public Enemy No. 1 when he was first arrested, to admired underdog for quite a lengthy period when Kiwis realized copyright law was on his side, and now heâs back to Public Enemy No. 1 again after exposing the flaws in our security services and trying to do us a favour with the flop that was âthe moment of truthâ. Guess we really hate it when a foreign-born New Zealand resident tells us how things should be, but we love telling foreigners about gun laws, imperialism and inequality.
If the guy is to go to prison, then let it be for an actual crime.
* PS.: Yes, itâs technically legal to run things through a Bermuda tax haven and pay yourselves back for stuff.
With Google and Ford announcing they will team up to make self-driving cars, I have some concerns.
Iâm not in Luddite position on the idea of self-driving cars. Potentially, they can be far safer than what we have today. I see so many godawful drivers out thereâNew Zealand has a very high road toll based on our small population, and itâs not hard to see whyâand the self-driving car canât be a bad thing. Active safety, active cruise control, and other features all point to be a better future on our roads.
However, is Google the right firm? You donât need to look too far (especially on this blog) to find some Google misdeed, a company that happily does dodgy things till it gets busted.
Imagine the future.
â˘ The car has no brakes until you sign up to Google Plus, then log in.
â˘ You cannot enter the car till you load a Google Play app on to your phone. You have to agree to a bunch of settings which you don’t even read, but essentially you’ve let them monitor you.
â˘ If you have a car accident in a Google car, thereâs no phone number for anyone to call. You have to sign up to the support forums where youâre told by Google volunteers that itâs your fault for misusing the software. Or they just ignore you. You spend several years trying to get your case heard.
â˘ Google listens to all your in-car conversations so it can deliver targeted advertising to you, until you opt out of this feature in your Google Account settings.
â˘ Google hacks your devices while you are near the car, even if you have Do Not Track or other privacy settings turned on. They continue doing this till the Murdoch Press writes an article about it or they get reported to an industry association.
â˘ Doubleclick targeted advertising appears in the carâs central LCD screen.
â˘ All routes that the Google cars choose go past advertisers’ brick-and-mortar stores.
â˘ Google Street View is updated a lot more, which sounds great, till you realize it’s been updated with images from your latest journey.
â˘ Unless you opt out, Google actually drives you to the store which has the goods you mentioned in a private Gmail message, even though you don’t need the product and it just came up casually in conversation.
â˘ When US state attorneys-general sue Google over wasted time with the cars driving you to these stores, the penalty is roughly four hours of the companyâs earnings.
Autonomous cars are part of our future. But I’ll opt for the tech of a firm I trust more, thank you. And right now, I even trust Volkswagen more than Google.