Algorithms and Victor Hood – What’s That All About?

The newly published author, Victor A. Hood, is better known to followers of his blog as Al Hood. His work can be found at:  The Cvillean – The adventures of little read writing Hood.

Al recently published an autobiography, “So, That’s What It’s All About, Alfie!” I wanted to purchase it. I knew it was being sold by Amazon,  but wondered if it would show up in a ‘Google’ search. I started with the author’s name and the name of the book. The search engine came back with  some books, including ones about Robin Hood, some obits, a type of range hood… but not what I was looking for.

Next I went to Amazon.com and looked in the book section for “So, That’s What It’s All About, Alfie!” Amazon told me I had used too many words, so they showed me 2000 results for a search for the words ‘so thats all’. Al’s book was fifth in the results. The first four books were about preaching, teacher leadership and sex education for youth.

I then tried searching in Amazon for Victor A. Hood. While Al’s book did come up on the top of this list, Amazon asked me if I meant to search for Victoria Hood. That was an interesting suggestion because in Al’s book, he noted that his mother had hoped he would be a girl. She had already picked out a name: Victoria.

Searching and Algorithms – What’s that all about?
The results we see when we search for anything is decided by an algorithm. This is a set of instructions with certain conditions that will deliver a pre-defined result. The people who write these algorithms influence what you are going to see. A Google Spokeswoman unintentionally confirmed this by saying:

We do today what we have done all along, provide relevant results from the most reliable sources available.
– Google Spokeswoman in response to a WSJ article in 2019 –

“The most reliable sources available”  – someone is deciding for you what the reliable sources will be.

Now the Government Wants to Decide What you will See
The Canadian Government has introduced Bill C-10, the internet streaming tax. The primary goal of this bill, as stated by Openmedia.org, is:
… expanding Canada’s Broadcasting Act to apply to all streaming audio or video content on the Internet… In addition to the taxes… C-10 would grant the CRTC the right to set quotas for how much of a streaming platform’s content must be CanCon (Canadian Content), and to require… apps, websites and search results to make CanCon appear more frequently and prominently within the service.

The Canadian Government deciding what you should see. What could possible be wrong with that?!?

For more about Algorithms, click these links to my posts:
Math and Number Quotations
Algorithms – Do They Have a Hidden Agenda?

If Bible Characters had iPhones – Trey Kennedy (Video)

Imagined conversations about some of the major stories of the bible – if there had been cell phones:

Here are a few of the funniest bits:

“Aaww, Abraham and Isaac are on a little father son trip! What could go wrong”

“If NOAH Instagrams one more time about his DIY project…I’m done.”

“Jesus is coming – just order two fish and five loaves of bread.”

“Jonah went deep sea fishing a few day’s ago, have you heard from him?”

The actors in this video are Trey Kennedy (an American comedian and musician known for his YouTube and TikTok videos) and John Crist (a fast-rising stand-up comedian who also does videos.)

What Does 28 plus 47 Mean to You?

quip cardToday on Twitter, someone asked the question, “What happens in your brain when you add 28+47? Tell me your process – let me see how your brain works.”

Here were a few of the responses. Which one is closest to how you would answer the question?

a. Add the 7 and 8 remember 5; carry 1 and add to 2+4 equals 75

b. 20+40= 60; 8+7= 15; 60+10+5=75

c. 28+2 + 47 -2 = 30+ 45 = 75. (Basically take one number to the nearest multiple of 10 by adding the deficit from the second number)

d. I hit the little circle in the bottom of my phone and then open the calculator ap. I switch back and forth several times because I’m dyslexic and don’t trust myself to hold the numbers in my head the right way around. And it tells me it’s 75 which is more than 60 and less than 80.

e. Me: “Alexa, what is 28 + 47?”; Alexa: “I’m sorry, I did not understand the question.” Me: “Alexa, I said, what is 28 + 47?” Alexa: “Here’s Yellow by Coldplay.”

f. Because 28 = 4×7 , the 3nd Cosine of the 4rd logarithm of π squared divided by the binomial coefficient can be used find the 2st normal form of the bending moment of the right angled trilateral …75 I can’t make it any simpler.

g. When I was 28 I thought 47 was ancient. Now I only hope I make it to 75.

h. 8 unicorns + 7 unicorns = 15 unicorns; 4 kittens + 2 kittens = 6 kittens; 6 kittens + 1 unicorn = 7 unikittens; 7 conkittenated with 5 = 75 unikittens.

i. It’s a bit of an age gap… I forsee the relationship lasting at least 5 years. If it’s long distance the entire time? Probably less. But then again — ya might be soul mates.. what would I know?

Click this link for all the best Math and Number Quotations.

When Life Gives you Lemons

“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” This is a motivational phrase that encourages optimism and a positive attitude in the face of adversity or misfortune.

So, here is my Lemon story:

Bad news: My Lenovo Computer got fried and it was going to cost a grievous amount to fix it.
Good news: The ASUS Computer I bought to replace it had more features than the Lenovo, and cost less than the Lenovo had… maybe that should have been a warning sign.

Bad news: The ASUS was temperamental and did not always play well with Windows updates.
Good news: The store where I bought it has a helpful geek who could always fix the computer within minutes of my arrival (unannounced).

Bad news: The ASUS got stuck in BIOS diagnostic mode last weekend. Diagnosis: the hard drive died. The computer had to go to the computer hospital for repairs.
Good news: The computer is still under warranty.
And more good news: There is an ASUS repair depot in my Canadian province – otherwise the computer would have had to be shipped to Texas.

My 9 year old Sony laptop – slow, but steady. Built to last!

Good news: My last data back up was 7 days previous, so I didn’t lose too much stuff.
Good news/bad news:  My back-up computer is a nine year old Sony laptop with Windows 7.

It was a speedy machine back in the day. Today – it is feeling its age. It took a few hours to prod it into action. I updated the OS, installed a Security system, and downloaded a few of the programs I like to use for photos. I was good to go. The computer, on the other hand, has let me know it has a few strict guidelines:
– it will not say, for certain, that it will work and play well with any of those newer, snooty programs that believe Windows 7 is old and outdated.
– it doesn’t like to multi-task. Therefore it will not guarantee that any task I ask it to do in the morning will be completed before mid afternoon, if I am also asking it to do something else.

A bit more bad news: It is also dawning on me how many things I didn’t back up – like web browser bookmarks and all the little digital post-it notes on my ‘desktop’. I’ve also lost quite a few flower photos that I had recently downloaded from a new camera.

The Lemonade part of the story. I’ve had a home computer of some description for over 30 years. This is the first time a hard drive has failed and the worst case scenario is I’ve lost a very, very small portion of the data I’ve accumulated in that time. In the big scheme of things, this is a nothing event!

When you have finished backing up the data on your computer, do tell me the worst computer failure you have had!

Internet is Watching You – TEDTalk Tristan Harris (Video)

What if this was a dialogue between you and Google?
You: Hello! Is this Gordon’s Pizza?
Google: No sir, it’s Google’s Pizza.

Did I dial the wrong number?
Google: No sir, Google bought the pizza store.

Oh, alright – then I’d like to place an order please.
Google: Okay sir, do you want the usual?

The usual? You know what my usual is?
Google: According to the caller ID, the last 15 times you’ve ordered a 12-slice with double-cheese, sausage, and thick crust.

Okay – that’s what I want this time too.
Google: May I suggest that this time you order an 8-slice with ricotta, arugula, and tomato instead?

No, I hate vegetables.
Google: But your cholesterol is not good.

How do you know?
Google: Through the subscriber’s guide. We have the results of your blood tests for the last 7 years.

Maybe so, but I don’t want the pizza you suggest – I already take medicine for high cholesterol.
Google: But you haven’t taken the medicine regularly. 4 months ago you purchased from Drugsale Network a box of only 30 tablets.

I bought more from another drugstore.
Google: It’s not showing on your credit card, sir.

I paid in cash.
Google: But according to your bank statement, you did not withdraw that much cash.

I have another source of cash.
Google: This is not showing on your last tax form unless you got it from an undeclared income source.

WHAT THE HELL? ENOUGH! I’m sick of Google, Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp. I’m going to an island without the internet, where there’s no cell phone line, and no one to spy on me …
Google: I understand sir, but you’ll need to renew your passport … it expired 5 weeks ago.
– Author Unknown –

Who Collects Your Data?

Social media platforms come with a price tag. You have given the “Zuck’s” people full permission to collect almost anything from your cache of info. Why are we suddenly surprised that data was collected, sold, exchanged, and shared?
Don’t hold only Facebook responsible for collecting because every app you added to your phone is already doing the same thing. You scroll through after installation and agree to each little pop-up screen and then wonder why they can take your information without permission.
You gave it up willingly, and some was shared illegally, we all could take stock in being a little more cautious…
Don’t get me started about the folks who are angry about everyone knowing their business just before they yell to Alexa to play something from the Little River Band. Let that sink in for a few minutes.
She already knows where you are making reservation for dinner, and that you probably are wearing the new pants and shirt you purchased through Amazon.
– TC, Bangor Maine Police Department –

How a handful of tech companies control billions of minds every day

Limiting the Information Flow.

Those lists we keep seeing — like Google’s “autocomplete” search suggestions or the news feeds on Facebook — those determine what content we will see and what content we will never see — in other words, what content will be censored. That, as George Orwell warned and as Chinese officials know well, is how you control people: by limiting the information flow.
– Robert Epstein, Daily Caller – Google and Facebook Are the Problem –

Are You Gullible?

… the idea that a “targeted” bleat from a campaign basement to a functional adult will bring that person to vote a certain way can only lead to one of two conclusions: such a person should never go on the internet, or, should not be allowed to vote.
– Rex Murphy, Facebook Made Me Do It, Nationalpost –

They’re Watching You

Facebook: “The notion of being handed a multimedia pass to all your friends, wherever they might be, for free, holds immense appeal — even if “free” turns out to mean “we’re watching you and making money and maybe pulling some of your psychological chains to our own ends.”
– Ted Anthony, Facebook – Should You Leave it, Financial Post –

Auto-Refill

News feeds are purposely designed to auto-refill with reasons to keep you scrolling, and purposely eliminate any reason for you to pause, reconsider or leave.
It’s also why video and social media sites like Netflix, YouTube or Facebook autoplay the next video after a countdown instead of waiting for you to make a conscious choice (in case you won’t). A huge portion of traffic on these websites is driven by autoplaying the next thing.
– Tristan Harris, How Technology is Hijacking Your Mind, Thrive Global –

If We do Nothing

If we do nothing about Google and Facebook, we will get more of the same: more hyper-targeting, more algorithmic bias, less competition and the further erosion of collateral industries, like media. Enough is enough.
-Gabriel Weinberg, CEO and founder of DuckDuckGo, CNBC –

How to ‘Avoid’ GoogleThe Quippery

Yahoo and or Outlook email instead of G-Mail.
WordPress.com blogs instead of Blogger – (though frankly WordPress P*$$ me off a bit now that they are cancelling Photo Challenge.)
Firefox instead of Chrome.
DuckDuckGo instead of Google Search.
Dropbox instead of Google Drive.

What have you done to limit how much of your data is ‘mined’ by one company?

Over the Air Television – Anticipating a Better Picture

557-ota-antenna
Christmas Reindeer inspect the new flat antenna before it is positioned for best reception.

One of the things on our Christmas wish list this year was a gift for our TV set.

Television – in my lifetime, I’ve ‘seen’ it all! Our first TV had rabbit ears which were enhanced with wire and tinfoil. In later years we had roof top antennas, then big satellite dishes, little satellite dishes, and cables. Our first TV gave us one station. In later years we had dozens of stations, then hundreds of stations. Our TV screens were sometimes as small as a laptop computer, sometimes big boxes that took two men to lift, and finally flat screen lightweights that hung on the wall.

We wanted to see if we could ‘cut the cord’ on our Satellite TV service. To do that, we needed a digital antenna that would pick up free Over the Air (OTA) television. The Car Guy chose a TERK omni-digital antenna for 1080 HDTV broadcasts.

Like children who peek at their presents before Christmas morning,  we opened this  gift a few weeks ago. The installation was very easy once The Car Guy had finished exploring all the possible ways not to connect the cable.  We were pleasantly (okay ecstatically) pleased with the crystal clear High Definition picture we now receive thanks to an uncompressed signal.

The antenna cost just a little more than the price of one month’s satellite TV and gives us free TV from 6 local stations: GLOBAL, CTV, CITY, CBC, YES and OMNI.  Three of these stations broadcast the seven shows we like to watch each week. What a great Christmas present!

Have you ‘cut the cord’ on your TV service? Discontinued the phone land line and gone cellular? Turned off the internet for more than a day? Moved out of your parents basement? Finished your Christmas shopping? Do you anticipate doing any of these things?

This week’s WordPress.com photo challenge is Anticipation.

Security – A New Year – Time for New Passwords!

Happy New Year to you all!
Do you have a List of Resolutions?
Thought about adding ‘New Passwords’ to that list?

The Quippery

In 2011, The Car Guy’s Yahoo Mail account sent out invitations to most of his contacts to use Viagra. After hours of looking for a breach, I realized that the account had been hacked through Yahoo itself. We secured the account with a new password, but the whole episode was a good reminder of why it is a good idea to change passwords frequently, and have different passwords for different accounts.

Strong passwords are also highly recommended. Some sites require specific combinations, though not quite as rigorous as this password protocol that I made up:

The Car Guy and I developed and memorized a few mnemonic phrases. They form the first part of our passwords. The second part of each password varies from site to site. We’ve memorized most of them, but keep them all in a database (without the mnemonic part) for those days when we can’t find our car keys, let alone remember a password…

Do you have a Password ‘System’?

Internet – Google Autocomplete – Unfiltered Eavesdropping

Google Search wants to help you find what you are looking for. To speed up the process, it uses autocomplete to list suggestions that are based on the search activity of other Google users.

Here are some of the searches I did and what I learned from my digital eavesdropping:

How do I convertpdf and atheism – two new religions.

How do I know ifOnce the issue of the unlocked cell phone is resolved, we can move on to other pressing matters.

How do I know whenPotatoes were right up there with making babies.

How do I know whyWhy wouldn’t you know why your license was suspended?

How do I stayMaybe if you do the first three, the last will be easy…

Best style ofThe fridge was a bit of a surprise considering the rest of the list.

I will have the children read Hamlet as soon as it is practical. There are some useful cautions against eavesdropping to be gleaned from that.
– Maryrose Wood, The Mysterious Howling –

One of the unique things about the human brain is that it can do only what it thinks it can do. The minute you say, “My memory isn’t what it used to be …” you are actually training your brain to live up to your diminished expectations. Low expectations mean low results. The first rule of super brain is that your brain is always eavesdropping on your thoughts. As it listens, it leans. If you teach it about limitation, your brain will become limited. But what if you do the opposite? What if you teach your brain to be unlimited?”
– Deepak Chopra –

Sounds like you kids have some talking to do. I’ll be eavesdropping from the kitchen.”
– Jill Shalvis –

A raintree bent towards a window in one side of the bungalow, eavesdropping on the conversations that had taken place inside over years.”
– Tan Twan Eng –

Our whole lives are lived in a tangle of telling, not telling, misleading, allowing to know, concealing, eavesdropping and collusion. When Washington said he could not tell a lie, his father must have answered, ‘You had better learn.
– Germaine Greer –

First Look at Windows 8.1

This is the last post on my old computer… probably. The average operational lifespan of a laptop is apparently about  5 years.  The useful lifespan can be as little as 2 years, thanks to an industry that is based on the concept of planned obsolescence.

My laptop just passed that magic 5 year mark and it has become quite crotchety. It often gets up in the morning and can’t find it’s mouse. I have to turn the computer off, unplug it, plug it back in and reboot it. Then it finds the mouse, but it might refuse to talk to the memory stick it was good friends with just the day before.

Last week my laptop decided to issue a gag order on the Internet Security software. I eventually had to let a tech support guy named Raj in India sort the whole thing out. That wasn’t exactly a quick fix, either. I watched Raj work for over an hour, and while I understood everything he did, I sure wouldn’t have had the courage to muck around the registry the way he did!

The writing was on the wall, however, so I started to look for my next laptop. What I thought I wanted, and what is available, are two different things. What is in the store to try, and what is for sale online are two different things too.

In a complete departure from my normal shopping routine, I bought a new computer at the second story I walked into. Then I spent the next two days second guessing my purchase – mostly because I second guess every purchase I make. The Car Guy just shakes his head at my dithering – “It’s not like you have to live with this decision for the rest of your life, you know…”

I have been trying to bond with my new computer. The learning curve has been monumental because the operating system is Microsoft Windows 8.1. I’m only fluent in Windows 7. My experience so far has been sort of like going to the dentist, shopping for a bathing suit, starting a diet and finding a dent in my car – all on the same day.

My Desktop
An early version of my Windows 7 desktop – the sticky notes haven’t taken over the screen yet…

Windows 8.1, I’m sorry to report, has a split personality. The dominant persona is a bossy ‘App’ based creature that wants to tether me to the outside world in order to force feed me content on a page full of  colorful tiles. I’m not all that interested in most of these tiles and apps, however. I want my Windows 7 messy desktop with the links to my programs and my digital yellow sticky notes and my calendar gadget…

Wait! I just found a Windows 8.1 tweaking website that tells me how to get back to a Windows 7 feel. Today is going to be a good day to try out all sorts of things…

Are you a Windows or an Apple person? What version of OS are you using? What does your desktop look like?

Apples and Blackberries – My Blackberry is Not Working (Video)

Life was so much easier when Apple and Blackberry were just fruits!
– Author Unknown –

Now-a-days 12 year olds have a blackberry, an iPad, a laptop, and a Facebook profile. When I was 12, I felt Cool with my New Gel Pen.
– Author Unknown –

The QuipperyI didn’t really mean to publish this post at this time. I had it ‘Scheduled’ and forgot to unschedule it.

Bad news came in triplicate this week – not really the time to post something like this. Then again, maybe it is the best time. I watched it again this morning – for maybe the tenth time ever, and it  made me smile…