Tech only a President could love

I bet with a new Monday/Thursday schedule, and the touted “inauguration to end all inaugurations” now over, the first Monday post I make would be about that.  Well, I’m a geek, and an introvert, so I need time to process the circus from this past weekend.

Given that all the attention has been on the inauguration, I was extremely happy to see an article published on the Presidents use of his smartphone late last week.  Trump currently uses a commercially available Android device that became a massive national security threat once he became President.  Any device the President uses that is connected to the Internet and not behind the government’s network firewalls is an opportunity for information to leak into the world and undermine his and most likely our countries security.

The question of what phone a president carries — and what he or she does with it — is a serious matter of national security.

Take a president who likes to make policy announcements on Twitter at three in the morning and the matter becomes even more urgent.

After all, when Donald Trump tweets, the stock market shifts. If someone were to read what he was preparing to tweet by breaking into his smartphone and using keylogging software, even with just a 30-second head start, it could make some people very rich and potentially cause serious damage to the national economy.

SOURCE:  For the sake of national security, Donald Trump needs to trade in his cellphone

Considering that my current phone is encrypted, requires a pin to even boot the phone before the system is unencrypted AND requires both a pin and fingerprint to unlock, I consider my device to be relatively secure.  If this same phone were in the hands of Trump right now, and a state sponsored attacker knew what it was, they could most likely crack through all that security relatively quickly.  There is hardware in the phone that I don’t have control over and therefore, is vulnerable to an attack that I’d never knew happened until it was too late.

Despite having access to some of the best technology out there, President Barack Obama still uses a Blackberry.

According to the New York Times, Obama “carries a specially modified, highly secure” Blackberry, despite the fact that many White House aides now use iPhones.

SOURCE:  Obama Still Uses a Blackberry

I’m sorry, but there is something wrong with the most powerful person in the United States still using a Blackberry.  It’s irrelevant that it’s a specially modified version that is highly secure.  Don’t take my displeasure as negative though, I loved my Blackberry and if they were still a relevant company, I’d still be carrying one.  The technology being used at the White House should be the best in the world in my opinion and there is no excuse for it not to be.

Trump, 70, rarely uses a computer and sifts through stacks of newspapers, magazines and printed articles to read the news. He panned candidates’ reliance on data and technology in presidential campaigns, preferring to make decisions in part based on the reaction from audiences at his rallies. While Trump’s tweetstorms are already legendary, he utters some of his messages out loud and leaves the actual typing to aides.

SOURCE:  Obama boosted White House technology; Trump sees risks

No offense to the older generation out there reading this, because you’re reading this from a computer and already light years ahead of Trump in the use of technology.  I actually respect that you do a lot more than I can ever put into words.  I don’t see how Trump, not using a computer, will be able to continue his tweetstorms when his smart phone is locked down like Obama’s was.  Trump doesn’t have a choice here as, by law, he has to accept the technology and protection given to him by Secret Service, White House Communications, and Dept of Homeland Security.  To continue using Twitter, it will have to be with a laptop/desktop until a suitable compromise can potentially be made.  As much as I like to see his ranting at 3am being done from the gold toilet he no doubt brought with him to the White House, as President, there is a certain level of individual composure expected from the world stage.

Sean Spicer, named the White House Press Secretary on Dec 22nd and White House Communications Director on Dec 24th, has his hands full with President Trump.  Who knows, with an unorthodox President, there may be some radical changes to how the Office is handled going forward.  Trump’s lean towards anti-technology in favor of human couriers doesn’t give this geek a warm fuzzy feeling on the inside.  I’ve discovered that the loudest and strongest supporters of technology (and the Internet) are usually the ones that have never used and therefore don’t understand.  I see that as sort of screaming about climate change and having a coal fired furnace in your house, a bit of an oxymoronic hypocrite.

We’re only in the third day of the next four years.  What happens is literally in the head of Trump, cooking, ready to be served to the American people.  Should we close our eyes while going over the first drop on the roller coaster or throw our hands up in the air and scream?

Self-imposed technology limits

I know I’m spending too much time writing and reading.  Having been here before in the past, I know that things like work, life and relationships start suffering in favor of writing and spending time reading articles.  With that said, I’ve decided to put some restrictions on myself to help alleviate any problems before they’re actually problems.

Post Limits

Starting this Thursday, I’m going to publish a post every Monday and Thursday.  Thursday’s post will be the regular Three Things Thursday and Monday’s post will be something related to whatever fired me up or I found interesting from the week before.  I can take a few hours on the weekend to concentrate the post instead of having 3-5 posts only partially done at any given time.

Reading Hours

Feeling that reading blogs has started to take more and more of my free time, I’m scheduling 1-hour blocks on various days through the week to read and comment on blogs.  It will be a fundamental shift in what I’ve been doing the last several months and comments will be made only when I have something substantive to add; otherwise a simple “Like” will be made after reading something.

Daily/Weekly Digests

Most of the blogs I follow email me as posts are published.  It was fine when I only followed 10-20 blogs, but now I’m following almost 100 of them and it takes a large amount of time to work through 200 emails in my inbox sometimes.  Starting this weekend, I’m going to be switching to daily/weekly digest emails so that all posts from an author are consolidated in one email per day or week depending on frequencies.  What this means is that “Likes” and comments will come in groups rather than trickle in as they have been.

Twitter

Since deleting my Facebook account, my Twitter use has increased steadily over the last several weeks.  I still have not decided how I’m going to limit my use of Twitter as I’ve been using it more and more as a news aggregator and following publications rather than people.  I may decide that it doesn’t require limits, just simply turning off the notification on my phone/desktop app may be all that is required.  More thought on this is needed.

Suggestions

I’m open to suggestions that might help and open to hearing what has worked or not worked for you.  I know I’m not the only one that has had this issue and been forced to make some changes to their technology consumption.  Thankfully I’ve caught it in time as it hasn’t affected anything too serious yet.

There’s a news source for everyone

In my search for better news sources in the sea of leftist, rightist, moderate, etc., I have discovered that the news you read is typically aligned with your belief of what resonates as truth. Having had several interactions with people on Twitter lately, I’ve found a very disturbing trend that I think is part of the problem. There are several people who have now blocked me on Twitter after accusing me of being a troll. Whether I’m a troll or not remains to be seen, it meant something different back in the day when I did online gaming. A troll on Twitter seems to be a person that disagrees with your viewpoint or opinion. Oh, were you waiting for a more detailed description or definition? Yeah, me too. My experience is that it has now become impossible to have a debate on Twitter with someone else since it has now become so easy to filter and block out anything or anyone that makes your opinion questionable. No wonder the online space has become so polarized and divisive.

Taking sources of news out of the picture for this paragraph, it would appear to me that a rogue report or stray tweet that seems legit based on the number of retweets and likes will often be taken as fact. Upon further scrutiny though, the report or stray tweet doesn’t hold up and replying as such to the originator of said tweet gets probably one or two volleys before you’re called a troll and summarily blocked. How can that be considered anything other than seeing the world through your own set of rose-colored glasses? Everything requires scrutiny, checking, re-checking. The scientific method is applicable to almost everything in that you can pose a hypothesis, develop a theory, test it, and repeat as often as needed. I ask myself the question “is this real?” as many times as articles and tweets I read. Two or three verifiable sources with multiple facts to back those sources, then checking the facts further generally will yield results that can be trusted. This of course takes time and patience, and as we all are aware, both are in short supply for the majority of the American public.

Now, turning the sites onto the news sources (mainstream media), there is a news source for every walk of life. News is published when there are people to consume it. A site like CounterPunch.org leans right. New York Times and Washington Post leans left. The truth I’ve discovered is that there isn’t any unbiased, non-left, non-right news source out there. They’re all slanted one way or another based on the audience they’re publishing the news for. If you’re aware of a news source that isn’t biased in any way, please share as I’m looking for something that is literally just the facts. As most of my news is typically op-ed’s, I have to take large swaths of time to make sure that what I’m reading is the truth. To share or not to share, that is the question?

No one is really right, or wrong. Technology has created this ideology of an information island. You surround yourself with people that think, feel, and express themselves in the same way. You congregate in blogs, forum groups, Twitter feeds and share news with each other that reinforces the beliefs of the group; in other words, self-reinforcing group-think. Those of us who find their way onto your information island that aren’t cut from the same grain, an anomaly in the matrix, a sneaker in a closet of wing tips; are properly dismissed and thrown to the sharks to find another information island to invade. What we’ve lost the ability to recognize is that in order to grow and learn as a people, we need to question the norm and listen to others that don’t agree with us. The founding fathers, I’m sure, had their detractors and enemies, but they persisted by working together to create the Declaration of Independence; eventually signed by everyone. Abraham Lincoln pushed The Emancipation Proclamation at a time when a war was being waged over the very subject of slavery. I know he had his detractors and enemies, but persisted by finding solutions that forced compromise on all sides for the greater good. The trend to reject a different idea or opinion because technology makes it easy is extremely troubling to me and something I make every attempt not to get sucked into.

I’m proud to follow In Saner Thought and John Liming’s Blog because they both have opinions, views, and ideas that more often than not differ from my own. Regardless of whether I choose to alter my view or not, I’m thankful for the opportunity to offer my own comments, receive comments in return, and in some cases we agree to disagree. That’s OK. We’re entitled to have disagreements and differences, that is truly what makes us such a remarkable species. No one is threatened, no one is fighting. Amazing what adults can accomplish when their minds are open enough to accept that we’re all different in our own ways. The news should be straight facts, like it used to be, so that we can discuss our views and opinions in a healthy manner without the threat of violence. That’s something we’ve started to lose on a scary scale.