Today’s Vetted Amazon Purchases! Gift Ideas!

Today’s Vetted Amazon Purchases! Gift Ideas!

Everyone knows, just like Rotten Tomatoes or IMDB or any other site, Amazon is subject to a lot of fake reviews.A lot of those 4 and 5 star products when you take the time to do the research are junk. Puffed up with scam bot reviews.

This new segment is designed to help you find only the products that have been vetted or checked to have a reliability rating of over 70%. Meaning at least 70% of the reviews are accurate, as well as checking if the company as a whole has an abundance of reliable or scammed/generated reviews.

Without further ado today’s recommended low cost sub $100 tablet. This is for someone who wants a 2nd tablet for non-intensive tasks such as security cam checking or ‘digital frame’ usage or other very casual surfing.

You have lots of mostly Chinese made items in the sub $100 market to choose from. The ones with decent reviews, if you take the time to research, 9 out of 10 are fabricated reviews.

I’ve done the research to find that one out of ten low cost sub $100 tablet that is worth your time (along with the needed memory card). Below is one that has a predominance of reliable reviews:

 

The HOOZO TABLET 10.

I never heard of this tablet before today. But I was looking for a tablet that would do cellular, that is a lot better than the limited options the cellular provider was offering.

And as I mentioned in this range the market is almost exclusively Chinese made products, due to American big business willingness to dismantle domestic operations to outsource everything to the lowest bidder. And Chinese products are often viewed with a certain amount of dubiousness, and unfortunately when it comes to products China exports there have been numerous documented reasons for this outlook.

Whether it is a matter of varying degrees of quality, sub par build due to making tight margins, or orchestrated malfeasance all of these things have been documented when it comes to Chinese products exported to US shores. And again I’m not blaming the Chinese, I’m blaming short sighted American policy, that has in the last few decades dismantled the idea of local autonomy and creation and putting us at the mercy of the lowest common denominator mentality; unchecked capitalism, being indistinguishable from unchecked tyranny.

All that to say, when it comes to products you are putting in your home, you have to use more than usual diligence. The China made Wyse security cameras that everyone is racing to put in their homes and laud for its features ( which I admit are impressive) has perhaps a glaring issue. The same issue that a lot of devices have, but turned up a few notches. The security camera, may actually be invading your security. But that is an article for another day, but it is in the reviews if you take the time to look.

Anyhow, yes when it comes to products from China, you of course will have great products and great companies. The job is finding them.

That brings us to the HOOZO 10 Tablet.

This one checked all the boxes and was way  higher on the reliability scale than the tablets being offered by my cellular provider. And ever since that scandal a few years ago with cellular providers installing hardware back-doors into the devices they sold consumers, I’ve always preferred to bring my own device to a cellular provider.

So this tablet at a sub $100 price, is not going to replace your main machine, but as a secondary or dedicated machine for browsing device or gaming device  to free up your main device to be exclusively for more sensitive transactions (if you are using your phone to do purchases,and or banking, or secure email, you should not have game apps, or cooking apps, or puzzle apps, etc on it, that is where this secondary device comes in).

This machine is to help you avoid the  ‘one ring that rules them all’ point of failure or security breach.

Get yours here:

https://amzn.to/2TMmIeK

AEGO 64gb Micro SD Card microSD Memory Card UHS-1 Class 10 for Kindle Fire/Tablets/Dash Cam/GoPro with Free Adapter (U1 64GB)

 

 

AEGO 64gb Micro SD Card microSD Memory Card UHS-1 Class 10 for Kindle Fire/Tablets/Dash Cam/GoPro with Free Adapter (U1 64GB)

https://amzn.to/2JVba9F

I had started my search for 64gb Micro Sd cards, by checking out the usual players first Kingston, Samsung, etc. After digging into the reviews I wasn’t happy with what I was seeing. I then found this unknown to me company AEGO, with a very striking visual design, and much to my surprise they had great pricing AND RELIABLE reviews! More reliable than some of the big names in the field. Add to that there is not often you pick up a micro SD card and give any thought to how beautiful it is, AEGO gets props for making a very utilitarian item such as an SD card, look like a work of art.  My vote… pick it up.

Use this link to check it out. If you decide to pull the trigger you will earn a few pennies for this site which I will be grateful for. It helps me to keep producing more content like this. Share the link and spread the word. Without further ado, the link:

https://amzn.to/2JVba9F

 

So yeah guys, I hope you found this post helpful. Took me a few hours to do the research and put the post together, so if you enjoyed the post definitely use the links, like the article, spread the word. Till next time…

Be Well.

Stan Lee and the Hollywood Reporter

‘Growing old is no way, to stop being young’

—anon

 

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/features/stan-lee-needs-a-hero-elder-abuse-claims-a-battle-aging-marvel-creator-1101229

Stan Lee Needs a Hero: Elder Abuse Claims and a Battle Over the Aging Marvel Creator

We are all of us the culmination of the people and influences that shaped us.

Those moments brief and bright that taught us either to dream, or not to.

As an introverted kid, writers were always that gateway to that better world for me, what Lincoln called the better Angels of our nature.

There would be Baldwin and Bradbury and Asimov and Poe and Ellison, but the first writer that really lifted the ceiling of this world for me, who really said ‘here be marvels, join us’ was Stan Lee. Not so much as writer, because when I started in this four color hobby, the writers were Giffen and Kraft and and Moench and Claremont; however Stan Lee as Editor, and cheerleader, and Guide, he was very much an Affable, super excited Rod Serling, but rather than introducing you to the bizarre, he was introducing you to the wondrous.

A lot of people in an effort, I’ve said this before, to build up an artist who didn’t perhaps get as much accolades as he could, made a practice of trying to underplay and tear down Stan Lee.

Here’s the thing,  Stan Lee doesn’t get enough praise for what he did. He when NO ONE ELSE was championing the creators of these comics, when the publishers barely wanted you to know who created these books and wanted it to be a faceless assembly line process, Stan Lee was the man who championed, and nicknamed, and personalized these creators for us. In so doing he created a family, and invited all his readers to identify, and be excited by the work. Often the books which were okay or good, were made grand just by the share fervor and excitement that Stan imparted to you, the reader.

 

Growing up in the often unforgiving streets of a major city, it is easy to fall through the cracks, and go the wrong way. Two loving parents helped, a few good friends, crazy siblings, but a lot of what you become, a lot of your value, is defined in the private conversations that define your inner world.

 

That was defined by quite a few influences of film, music, comedy, writing, but if I am honest, one of the bigger influences is the childish four star values of comics, of right and wrong, and True Believers. The Alliterative, fun, bombastic, no-limits language and vivacity of Stan Lee, leapt off the page and helped by fits and starts to make me a kid who dreamed and smiled and knew no limits.

Decades removed from that kid, the man I am, the good in that man, the poetic and hopeful, owes a debt to quite a few people, and Stan Lee is one of those people.

I consider him a hero. Deserving here in his twilight years of all the fame and adoration and joy, earned in a career bringing joy, first to kids through comics, and then spending his later years pursuing getting these modern myths taken seriously and embraced by cinema and the larger world.

He has done that. Not easily and not alone, but with a lion-share of the work as spokesman for comics, on his shoulder, he has done it.

He has fought the long road culminating in Billion Dollar Marvel movies, and new Disney Superhero Themed Amusement parks, he had a dream, long before anyone believed in it, and he through many setbacks, has manifested that dream.

Here in 2018, should be the happiest of his years, a reward of a singular life, and faith confirmed.

So the Hollywood Reporter article comes as a blow.

My God, that you should go through life, and give, and love, and hope, and endure, only in the final hour, to have it all ripped from you, by the greedy, and the venal, to have it all besmirched. And that the horror should come from those who should ease your days, is an injustice too great to bear. That a man who recently lost the love of his live, should now, if the Hollywood Reporter article is correct, have to endure abuse and the loss of his liberty is evil beyond anything even comics has written about.

I don’t know how this can be made right.

Especially if tales of a Stan Lee that has been systematically isolated from any potential defenders, is true,

It is a horrible article.  But too important of an article not too be read:

 

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/features/stan-lee-needs-a-hero-elder-abuse-claims-a-battle-aging-marvel-creator-1101229

 

Stan Lee believed in dreams, not too much removed from the ‘Idea Space’ of Moore or Morrison, a place where good thoughts could make good lives. I’ll ask you, wherever you are reading this, to spare a minute in offering Stan Lee, your best thoughts.

My thought, if thoughts may manifest, would be for the man who believed that ‘with great Power comes Great Responsibility’, and instilled that mantra in generations of kids, is protected by the power of the State of California.  That these allegations of abuse and coercion be looked into, and if found true Stan be immediately removed from the suspect situation, or the negative elements removed, and Stan appointed medical and legal and security protection to assist him in seeing after his needs without duress.

For a man who gave so many of us great victories, and helped us believe in heroes, there must be a way to get him his victory, and maybe for once be the hero to the hero-maker.

 

If you have any thoughts to add, please do.

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Tech Tips!

Using Windows 7 or Windows 8 or Windows 10 or OS X and a bit frustrated? If not and completely satisfied, then ignore this post. However if not…

Give Linux a try.

At work I support Windows and Mac machines.

At home I use exclusively Linux for the last decade or so, and it has only gotten exponentially better in that period, till today Microsoft is incorporating Linux pieces into their newest versions of Windows, including giving away Windows 10 for free and collusion with hardware vendors in an attempt to make using Linux more difficult.

And despite all that… Linux Distros just keep getting better.

It’s fun. It’s loaded with apps and utilities and the ability to download same for free.

There are tons of tutorials to help you every step of the way.

And did I mention it was fun. 🙂

Now the biggest thing about Linux on the laptop/desktop is which version do you choose.

Distrowatch which has just celebrated its 15th anniversary, is the best place to learn about and find new Linux Distributions.

Two good ones they have recently covered are:

Gentoo Linux’s new LIVE DVD is a great place to start (The livedvd-x86-amd64-32ul-20160514 ISO which will work on 32-bit x86 or 64-bit x86_64 systems)
http://distrowatch.com/?newsid=09415

and

Debian
http://distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=debian

Use the links to try them!

Now, I do think it is a shame that hardware vendors are releasing new laptops, that while they give us a slimmer size, do so at the expense of DVD/CD players and more importantly longevity and stability. I’ve had the chance to support these newer laptops that are coming out and they are almost across the board, ready to fail in the first year.

It’s close to criminal.

In a future update I’ll review some newer laptops that are still worth your money, but honestly get yourself an older generation Dell Latitude 6430 ATG series, wipe it and put Linux on it, and you have yourself a tank in the form of a computer that will last you years. Like a tank it’s not slim and it’s not the lightest, but hey that’s what your tablet is for. However for getting down to work, it is a reliable desktop replacement (particularly when using Linux) in a portable size.

Now that we have the basic of what you should be using, here are today’s tweaks!

Firefox version 46.0.1 is out and I probably do not have to sell anyone on using this browser.

However two features that do not come activated out of the gate that you may find useful are:

1/ The DO NOT TRACK ME feature

https://www.bestvpn.com/blog/8499/make-firefox-secure-using-aboutconfig/

and

2/ Block Tracking Attempts

Mozilla launches Tracking Protection feature in Firefox Nightly

And beyond those helpful tips, the biggest tip I can give you for security while surfing the web, keep Javascript disabled for all but trusted sites.

Your webmail, bank, paypal, school site, vendors you buy from. Firefox has an exception list you can use to just give Javascript access to those sites you trust, and the rest you let eat cake. Makes a huge difference in your browser’s vulnerability, by closing down the default attack vendor of giving everyone javascript/programming control of your browser.

If you have found this post helpful, pay it forward by supporting the Electronic Freedom Frontier and becoming a card carrying member.

https://www.eff.org/

If you use the internet, whether via desktop, laptop, tablet, or your refrigerator, these are the guys and gals fighting to keep your digital and therefore physical world, just a little more free.

I’ve been supporting them for three years now, and it’s every year some of the best money I donate. These people are Daniel’s fighting in numerous Lion’s Dens. They are doing noble work.

You can view and support them here:

https://www.eff.org/

Well that’s all for today’s Tech Tips!

Website of the Day: https://www.whatismybrowser.com/

Try it both with and without Javascript turned on and you will see a drastic difference.

Thanks for reading and safe computing!

Two Chills


I saw two things yesterday that gave me chills.

One happened early in the day when I was traveling through the east coast of the United States. I was driving and I looked up and I saw it, and it undoubtedly saw me.

How could it not? That is what it is designed to do.

It was the stuff of fiction, of dream, and perhaps more truly… nightmare, made real, made concrete… made manifest.

In fiction you would have called it perhaps the Eye of Sauron, if Tolkien’s lore holds sway, or perhaps Big Brother, if Orwellian references are not lost on a world moving dangerously sideways. But in fact it was more amazing and horrific than both those references.

We sometimes do not realize we live in the future, are the future that endured, of a bloody and brutal 20th century, and while that is not the future yet, of flying cars and jet packs and conversing with aliens, the future we are living,… of cloning, and test tube babies, and sexual reassignment, and genetic modifications, and decision making machines designed to kill men, and engineered diseases, and ethnic cleansings, and endless wars, and information super-highway, and super social media, and entertainment systems in most homes that are one code-write away from being constant surveillance and data gathering/marketing tools, this future is as miraculous and as horrifying as any scifi tale of invasion.

It is more terrifying. Because the future we live in is plagued with countless terrors, we are not so lucky as to have a single bogeyman. No… our corporate-beholden governments create countless destroyers of man’s liberties and mankind’s lives, not just one.

I was driving and I saw something that should never float above an American city, or any city, floating there. I saw the Eye of Sauron, I say again, because it sounds romantic, but more… because it feels most true.

I saw this:

FIRST LOOK

And it is a sight that I fear that all of us will be seeing, if we do not with all oppose it. For all the talk of not abusing the rights of the people, the fact is, that is what the blimp is designed to do, its very existence over American cities is an affront to the idea of a government of the people. What I saw in the sky yesterday was Ferguson and Palestine writ large, it is a show of force, it is the act of an occupying army.

Too much to make of it? I fear its existence is proof that we have made too little of our liberties. And time is running out to make more.

And what was the 2nd thing that gave me chills? That night I watched Lawrence Olivier and Gregory Peck give blistering performances in a movie that in 1978, almost 40 years ago, was the height of fantasy, but today feels as close as the next news cycle. I’m talking about THE BOYS FROM BRAZIL.

Between facts that feel like fictions and fictions that feel like facts, the ground feels precarious, and the watchful skies… deserving of being watched.

Perhaps we should watch… together.

ANOTHER Java vulnerability puts 1 billion users at risk?!!!

Courtesy of Computer World, on the heels of a recently released patch to address a vulnerability in Java 7, a new even more serious flaw has been found affecting users of Java versions 5,6, and 7.

Read the whole article here.

But in short, if you don’t need Java on your computer, now may be a good time to disable or uninstall it.