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Ian Lind • Online daily from Kaaawa, Hawaii

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Takai names transition aide

November 20th, 2014 · No Comments

Congressman-elect Mark Takai has named Brian E. Córdova as transition aide.

Cordova is a 2010 graduate of Seton Hall University. He joined Takai’s 2014 campaign as finance director in February 2014, after a stint as finance director for LaFeria for Congress. He later took over as Takai’s campaign manager.

During the 2012 campaign, he served as a field manager for Friends of John Delaney, and later as a finance assistant for Rob Zerban for Congress. Previously he was a program associate for Missouri Public Interest Research Group, or MoPIRG.

Here’s his self-description from LinkedIn:

I am an experienced campaign professional who is committed to working for good candidates, causes, and organizations. Since 2010, I have worked on nationally targeted races around the country. Excelling in the areas of field and finance, my objective is to continue developing my skills–as well as acquire new ones.

When not involved with campaigns, I enjoy reading, sports, and traveling. In 2011, I spent six months living and working in Spain, an opportunity I relished. Capable, competent, and hard-working, I view any challenge as an opportunity, approaching each with positivity and determination.

Cordova can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

→ No CommentsTags: Education

Throwback Thursday: With an old school friend (1966?)

November 20th, 2014 · No Comments

Here’s another oldie of myself with John McKenzie, an old friend from grade school, probably in the summer of 1966 or 1967.

About 1966
John and I were good friends as kids. Then, as I recall, he went off to Iolani while I attended University High School. We saw each other from time to time during that period, but not often. I remember him as a crazy, wildly imaginative guy who introduced me to Steve Allen by periodically taking off unannounced on one of his riffs. He very seriously wanted to take an old 8mm camera and make a feature movie, going so far as to start writing scripts and fantasizing scenes and angles. I don’t know if he every turned fantasy into reality, because they seemed to mix in his mind. He seemed to ad lib his way through life, in a good way, at least when I caught up with him.

I think this was taken in 1966, after our freshman year in college, but it could have been the following summer. I’m dating that by my shirt (I don’t think I had any long sleeve shirts when I was in high school, so this was later), and I hadn’t yet grown a beard, which followed not too long afterwards. I don’t even remember what school john went off to, nor do I recall how we met up at a party that summer. I’m wondering, though, if he might have attended the University of Washington, where we had a mutual friend or two.

And I can’t ask John, because he died a decade or so ago, if I’m counting correctly.

Perhaps his brother will read this and fill in some of the blanks.

And OMG, where did I get that belt?

→ No CommentsTags: History · Photographs

More trouble with comments

November 19th, 2014 · No Comments

[Issue finally resolved on Thursday. See note #2 at bottom.]

I had a couple of reports from readers who said they were blocked from leaving comments today.

So I reassured them that I would post anything that they wanted to email me. I spoke too soon.

When I went to post the comments, I got the same error message.

Here’s what we saw:

Forbidden

You don’t have permission to access /wordpress/wp-comments-post.php on this server.

Anyway, if you’ve tried to leave a comment and found yourself left out in the cold, you’re not alone. I’ve reported the glitch to my hosting service and am awaiting word back from them.

Update: Problems with comments and mail continue through Thursday while techs at my hosting service try to figure out what went wrong when they replaced some equipment a couple of days ago. Pretty frustrating.

Update #2: The issue was finally resolved late on Thursday. Here’s the brief explanation from tech support.

I found that there was line of code in your .htaccess file blocking the wp-comment.php file. It looks like it was added as part of a security implementation to prevent comment abuse on the site. I have commented this line of code out and it seems to have corrected the issue.

→ No CommentsTags: Blogs · Computers

Google’s Dropcam: Great product or greater threat?

November 19th, 2014 · 1 Comment

After seeing a friend’s Dropcam, an easy to use surveillance camera that can store up to a month’s worth of video in the cloud, I decided to try one out. I consider it a good addition to the SimpliSafe burglar alarm system that I’ve recently installed, an upgrade from my original pair of webcams that have successfully solved two burglaries at our home in the past several years.

It wasn’t until I placed the order that I started noticing the articles pointing out how creepy it is that Dropcam’s huge data centers capturing video feeds of the lives of thousands–eventually millions–of customers are part of Google’s growing universe of Big Data. The search giant’s Nest Labs subsidiary paid $555 million to purchase Dropcam earlier this year.

Fromn re/code:

How do you convince regular people to buy Google-owned monitoring gadgets and install them in their homes?

First, don’t mention Google in your nationally televised ads.

Next, make those ads pretty funny.

That’s the strategy Google’s Nest is taking in TV ads — its first campaign — that started running today for its connected thermostat, its connected smoke alarm and its Dropcam monitors.

I’m on the fence about the need for any of these things in my home, but I do appreciate the tack Nest is taking here: Yes, it’s at least a tiny bit weird to put these things into your home. But they’re also cool. And you’re cool, for getting why they’re weird and cool.

When Google’s purchase of Dropcam was first announced, a Forbes column called it “a Privacy Nightmare.”

Another has said it appears to be part of a global spy scheme, according to Investors.com.

A prominent Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) critic says the company’s acquisition of webcam maker Dropcam is part of a nefarious plot by the search giant to expand its spying on consumers from online into the physical world.
In a blog post late Tuesday, Scott Cleland, president of research consulting firm Precursor, said Google’s $555 million purchase of Dropcam “fits into Google’s plans for a new ubiquitous physical surveillance network that will complement and leverage its existing virtual surveillance network.”

Wired asked, “Should We Trust Google With Our Smart Homes?

The threat is two-fold. First, because it controls such an enormous amount of data about the world’s people, Google becomes a “honey pot” for the NSA and other entities that can go beyond retrieving information via subpoena and National Security Letter and actually hack into Google’s systems, as recent revelations from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden have shown. And second, you can never be sure how Google will use your personal data. As Meiri points out, Google has already said, in a letter to SEC, that it plans on delivering ads to thermostats and other connected devices.

“Say goodbye to privacy forever,” says another critic writing in pandodaily.

Google might be taking our Surveillance Valley nickname too seriously. The Information reports that the company has expressed interest in acquiring Dropcam, the home security startup that offers an Internet-connected surveillance camera, through the Nest division it acquired for $3.2 billion in January. If that acquisition happens, Google will have traded its metaphorical all-seeing eye for something a bit more literal — and maybe a little terrifying.

I shouldn’t have to explain why budding interest in security cameras from a company whose entire business model revolves around the systematic degradation of individual privacy is a bad thing, but I’ll give it a shot anyway. Google’s future depends on new and exciting ways to get advertisements in front of consumers. Serving those advertisements requires the collection of increasing amounts of information, which creates a never-ending cycle of data vacuuming.

So I’m reading all of these dire prognostications, while testing out the Dropcam and finding that it works like a charm, just as promised. It watches and listens to everything going on in a large part of our house, alerts me of unusual activity wherever I happen to be, and stores the video & audio for future reference.

Should I be enthusiastic? Or scared? I’m not sure.

→ 1 CommentTags: Business · Consumer issues · Politics · Tech

A traveler’s tale

November 18th, 2014 · 3 Comments

A beautiful story, wonderfully told by Palestinian-American poet Naomi Shihab Nye (“Gate A-4“) from David Kanigan’s “Live & Learn” blog.

Wandering around the Albuquerque Airport Terminal, after learning my flight had been delayed four hours, I heard an announcement: “If anyone in the vicinity of Gate A-4 understands any Arabic, please come to the gate immediately.” Well— one pauses these days. Gate A-4 was my own gate. I went there.

An older woman in full traditional Palestinian embroidered dress, just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing. “Help,” said the flight agent. “Talk to her . What is her problem? We told her the flight was going to be late and she did this.”

You know that airport scenes don’t always turn out well.

This one did.

Just click the link and read on.

→ 3 CommentsTags: General