Facebook Should Not Be In A Safe Harbor

Opinion

Facebook is currently protected by a legal provision called “safe harbor”. The legal definition is that it gives legal protection from liability under specified conditions.

Safe harbor is necessary for such industries that provide the pipes through which data flows because their only purpose is to link two opposing points with information. They do not create the content, they provide the connections between the send and receive points. They should not be responsible for the content they move through their pipes, thus the safe harbor legal provision. The key point in this is these companies must not create any data content.

The phone company links homes and businesses with voice and computer signal data so does internet service providers. The phone company does not create the content; it just move it from place to place.

Visually think in you mind that this company as a pipe company. Pipe companies should not, normally, be sued for what passes through their pipes.

Facebook creates content and moves content. It does two things at the same time. It is similar to the phone company and also a news paper company. Yet, Facebook uses safe harbor as an excuse not to receive any legal claims against it for the content it creates from its “reporters”.  Facebook’s safe harbor arguments are utterly false and legally stupid at any simple level of common reason. Facebook does move content that they do not create thus hugging the safe harbor protection. But, they do create the content when it is put up to their web site platform. Their web site platform now can be thought of as a newspaper creating content. Private text messages between Facebook members would be a pipe movement but once a member puts up any display of a still image, movie, or pronouncement, then those individuals are Facebook “reporters”. Facebook becomes like a newspaper and the person putting up that type of information is acting like a reporter for a newspaper. In once sense, Facebook is a type of electronic newspaper because it is a vehicle of display, not a pipe.  In fact, Facebook “is a fully fledged news organization on a scale we have never seen”.

https://hbr.org/2011/03/facebook-is-the-largest-news-o

With that type of content, Facebook must act to supervise within a reasonable time to remove such content that offends, creates or transmits disinformation, is inflammatory, libelous, or could suffer legal actions against it. In other words, Facebook must not be protected with the provisions of safe harbor.

The United States currently has offered safe harbor protection for Facebook, allegedly for political reasons.   Some of the Facebook staff are Donald Trump supporters such as Peter Thiel a Facebook Inc. board member.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-11-01/peter-thiel-praises-trump-pledges-to-support-his-2020-campaign

 

Posted May 31, 2019

Cruise To Alaska and Canada Technology Problems

Cruise Line: Princess Cruises
Cruise Ship:
Island Princess
Cruise:
7 Day Alaska – Inside Passage
Cell Phone Service Provider:
T-Mobile
Phone: LG-V30
Date: May 1 to May 8, 2019

I do recommend Princess Cruise 7 Day Alaska – Inside Passage.  This blog post only criticizes some external factors that were a surprise to me.

Our cruse ship does offer Internet service for a fee that I think is quite high.  We decided not to pay for that service.

I am a bit of a news and weather interested person.  At home, I check both news and weather frequently.  The trip to Alaska was wonderful in many ways except for receiving news back in the main states and weather around me and for my next destination.  Weather in Alaska can change quickly and it would be nice to plan how to dress for the day before leaving my cabin.

None of my cell phone weather applications would show up to date weather during our stay in Alaska and Canada.  No weather applications worked while in Vancouver Princess Cruises dock, over 4 hours duration at dock.

None of my cell phone news applications would update and store more current news for most of the trip.  Even when arriving at Vancouver and docked better part of a day my news applications failed.

The Weather Underground application would fail to open and update way more frequently than Yahoo Weather even when back home where there is rock solid Internet.

For most of the trip, lousy e-mail into my cell phone. T-Mobile’s coverage map for Alaska and Canada is way less than the main part of the United States but it does show some coverage in places we traveled. Why then this failure?

For some reason, text messages did work at times.  At the end of the trip I traded texts with friends on board ship while in Vancouver.

Odd:  Starbucks cell phone application did work in Vancouver while weather applications failed.

In Vancouver, about a 15 minutes bus drive from boat dock to airport, I got weather application to work but frequent signal dropouts.

At Vancouver Airport Terminal. Weather applications did function.  But, not NEWS!

Our cruse ship TV failed to provide any weather channel. The only option we could find was to watch the BBC because they show the world weather as part of their news but it is a large over view lacking any detail. There was a channel dedicated to the ship’s course on a map including the current outdoor temperature only at the ship’s current location.

The AP News application updated very slowly.  I must keep the application open for AP to receive updates, it seems.  When in the air and no Internet, the full story text is missing.  This application sucks for later reading almost as bad as all the other news applications.  The New York Times would still not updating, a near total waste.

Weather Underground application started showing temperatures for locations but no expanded weather information.

The New York Times cell phone application fails to show last stories but shows white screen.  Once it updated with few days old stories and then removed them for much older stories.  Really weird and stupid.

At the end of our trip and at the Portland Oregon Airport, I was finally able to sync my Fitbit Ionic to my cell phone Fitbit application and then the Ionic now showed the correct time!!!  So for most of the trip, my Fitbit Ionic showed the incorrect time by one hour because we moved into another time zone. Why the Ionic fails to synchronize to the cell phone application time by Bluetooth is really stupid.

Portland Oregon Airport provided good cell phone connectivity.

Note:  The cruse ships are made of thick steel and as such are really shielded from cell tower signals.  The further inside you go into the ship the chance of receiving any cell phone signal is minute.   It is my guess that one may need to go outside those shield confines to increase your chance to get good phone service.  We did, at times, walk on outside decks but it was very, very, cold to do so.

Solution:  Because the weather in Alaska can change and my cell phone weather applications failed me and day trips are away from getting to needed change of clothing, I decided to take along a comfortable, rather small, back pack made by Eagle Creek (no longer made).  It has enough space for a rain jacket or pack able jacket and two side pouches for umbrellas and water bottles and a back pouch for snacks and first aid kit.

Summary: Once home I realized that not much had taken place in the United States for the week we were out of touch with the news. The ship did provide free TV in our rooms with a good selection of news channels. Problem is, I spend so little time in my cabin. I rather read the news in the dinning rooms. As for weather, absolutely no provided information from the ship and my cell phone.  My cell phone, T-Moblie service provider, really was quite awful in Alaska and even in larger cities of Canada, such as Vancouver. It was not until I got into Washington and Oregon that it provided good service.

 

Posted May 11, 2019

Choosing Which Multiple Home Wi-Fi Access Point To Use May Be Important.

I have two wireless access points in my home.  The main access, Apple Time Capsule, shows 12 Wi-Fi devices connected.  That Time Capsule gets our cable signal directly.  The second access point, Apple Airport Express, only had one Wi-Fi device connected and gets it’s signal from an Ethernet feed from our router.  Both my wife in the kitchen and I in the dinning room were watching the 2018 FIFA World Soccer match using Spectrum Live TV application.  That application is excellent!  Her computer was connected to the primary access by Wi-Fi.  I could hear both computers at the same time when I entered the kitchen door, which is half way between the two computers.  They were not in sync.  The delay factor was huge, way over 10 seconds.  My computer was way behind my wife’s in delay of audio and video.  I then looked to see which access point my computer was using.  It was the same as my wife.  We have a second access point, an Apple Airport Express being fed Ethernet from our router.  That device had only one device connected to it.  I changed to this second access point and now my audio and video was way ahead of the computer in the kitchen.  The lesson for me is that the choice of Wi-Fi access point is important.  I also hope that the buffer errors, picture and audio stopping, will diminish.

Still unknown are the factors that make up the sync errors.  Is it that one device has to service twelve devices while the other only services one device?  Is the Apple Time Capsule electronically slower due to it’s more extensive electronics?

Posted July 15, 2018

Charter Spectrum Review

Charter Spectrum has our cable TV service for our city. I have no issues with any of the people who came to our house to troubleshoot issues. I do despise this utility for their corporate business plan for the following reasons:

  • They refuse to finish fiber optic cables to the homes. They do have fiber optics runs within a quarter of a mile. To finish fiber optic runs to the homes would cost them a lot of money.
  • Their TV packages are way too expensive. You are forced to pay for channels never used.
  • They move their channels out of the channel range that most modern TV sets can automatically find. In this way, the utility can charge a rental on their tuners. The few TV channels that a television set can pick up are quite awful.  One might expect that all the local TV channels should be picked up without a cable box so that low income people could better afford the service.
  • I find their Internet speeds to fluctuate during the day. When the schools are out and the children get home it seems that our Internet speeds drop. I watch television on my laptop using Spectrum TV application which is pretty wonderful when it works. Problem is that the visual and audio stops for significant periods of time.  (Note: I have two wireless access points in my home.  The main access, Apple Time Capsule, shows 12 devices connected.  The second access point, Apple Airport Express, only had one device connected.  I found that by connecting to the second device, the access speed was faster and way less buffering.)
  • From time to time, this utility has major service interruptions. I expect this. What is not normal is to loose computer servers so you can not log into their Internet TV service. This happened during the World Cup Soccer game June 26, 2018.  I am a blogger and spend a lot of time watching news on my laptop using Spectrum TV web site which is quite good.  Problem for me is the frequent “Buffering” incidents when the visual and audio stop for long periods of time.
  • When the company was Time Warner and I went to their local branch offices to talk over an issue, I frequently came away with a special deal or package that I did not know about. The people in the office seemed to have the attitude of wanting to help. When they changed to Spectrum, the store location changed and the whole operation became cold and impersonal.
  • I occasionally like to view news and sports away from my home. My cell phone provider is T-Mobile. I pay for unlimited data. The Comcast Spectrum cell phone application is near perfect in how it functions but, in my opinion, flawed for it’s offerings and this is my complaint. I expect that I should be provided important channels away from my home but NO. Let me show the deficiencies:News category
    Weather Channel (I am ok with that)
    Fox “News” (Right wing propaganda, I despise Fox)
    CSPAN (OK but boring)
    Fox “News” (Administration propaganda)
    Fox Business (Why all these FOX channels?)
    BBC (I am ok with that)
    Weather Channel
    CSPAN. (Why two CSPAN channels?)Sports category during the FIFA World Cup utterly failed to offer coverage in English.Broadcasters category offered no stations at all. Our local channel that offered FIFA World Cup, was a Fox station, which if turned on, would be perfect for viewing.If a local important news event or disaster takes place, I should be able to view all local broadcaster stations to get more information. So why not?

    The cell phone message that shows at the bottom of my screen is “Connect to In-home WiFi for More” which is a rather lame attempt to explain why so many important channels can not be viewed away from WiFi. But, why the alleged flawed and awful channels that are offered?

    It seems that Comcast favors right wing US politics with only Fox “news” channels.

    It seems that Comcast has no clue that they might have a responsibility to serve their customers more completely and for this failed business model and apparent lack of ethics, I despise them for their long list of alleged deficiencies.

I strongly recommend that our city try to get rid of Spectrum, if they can, and provide TV and Internet service as a city utility.

(Posted June 26, 2018)
(Updated June 30,2018)

Sirius XM Satellite Radio

Our family purchased a new car 2016. One of the many options was to activate Sirius XM Radio service from satellites into our car radio. I paid $136.54 for one year. I share the car with my daughter. She never would listen to Sirius. I would, occasionally, when she was not in the car but the advertisements were really annoying. I enjoyed listening to my podcasts transmitted to the car radio using Bluetooth signals from my cell phone which has the added benefit of no commercials. When my subscription ran out December 2017, I looked at my Sirius account on-line and found they wanted to charge me $286 for the next year. Yikes.  I also found out that my first subscription had an auto renewal clause. I called December 7 to cancel. I get an e-mail stating that I need to pay my bill because my credit card had changed and I need to submit payment. I called again to cancel. I was routed to a second person (the closer) that ultimately offered me $138.10 for the next year after I told him their product was way too expensive and I would not pay any more. I was ready to say “yes”.  BUT, I had to agree over the phone. I refused. I did not trust him. I do not trust Sirius. I wanted a proposal to be sent to me by e-mail so I would have proof of what I was told over the phone. He refused. I had to repeatedly say I want the account cancelled. I could not believe he would not take cancel for an answer. Here are some more issues that were annoying:

  • Their phone service quality is not very good. I found it difficult to understand everyone I talked to through their phone service.
  • I do not like auto payment. All the bills I pay are not auto payment. This company seems to fail on this count.
  • I will not make any binding agreement over the phone. I insist upon seeing the terms in writing and possessing my copy prior to any agreement.  They would not agree to this requirement.
  • I did NOT get any warning that they did not get payment until after I called them the morning of December 7, 2017 at 8:16am. They then sent me a warning as an e-mail at 8:59am, same day, 43 minutes after I called to cancel.
  • Sirius Radio is a good product but the business model is flawed, in my opinion.  They fail to offer their product at a reasonable cost but instead seem to inflate to what the market will bear.
  • Sirius Radio on line Internet web site that allows you to view your account is not very good, in my opinion.   It just offers you a singular option to pay their top annual fee.
  • A number of their business practices, which I group together as pressure to buy, really turn me off which is my PRIMARY reason I decided to cancel. This is rather sad for Sirius and me. We came close to closing the purchase except for their pressure tactics.

I typically make a recommendation, of yes or no, at the end of my product reviews. I think this product should be measured by you.  I think the Sirius Radio works for some people.  It did not for me.  It may be worth your consideration.

JayBird X2 Wireless Bluetooth Headset Problem Solved.

I purchased a JayBird X2 headset for about $180 in 2016.  After using them for no more than 20 times, the device failed.  It would ONLY power on just after taking the headset off the charger.  I had been turning the headset ON and OFF each time I needed it.  My son came up with the solution.  He told me to keep the headset ON all the time!  In short, this was the near perfect solution.  He said the battery drain was minimal, so why not keep them ON all the time?  I just carried the headset around until I needed it and linked it to my cell phone. This worked very well for me as I only use the headsets when I go to the gym or take a walk outside with my wife and friends on the weekend.  Soon as I get home with, I put the headsets back on the charger.

This was not a perfect solution because the JayBird would disconnect from my Samsung Galaxy S5 some times.  I never had a disconnect problem between the phone and our RAV4 car so I suspect the headsets were at fault.  If you have this problem, just go to your phone Settings and select Bluetooth.  Make sure that Bluetooth is turned ON.  Look at the Paired Devices list and you should see Jaybird X2.   Finger select that device but not the gear symbol to the right.  By finger tapping that headset you are telling the phone to pair up to the headset.

CAUTION: I found that I had to turn Bluetooth OFF on my cell phone to get the phone speaker and microphone to work without the Jaybird.  The reason is that the phone expects all communications to take place through that Jaybird if the phone and headset are paired. The phone speaker and microphone will be turned off.  If you are NOT using the Jaybird, the phone will act dead if Bluetooth is ON.  Just turn Bluetooth off and the normal phone audio should work.  To make this all simple, just go to the phone and turn Bluetooth ON when using the headsets and OFF when not.

Update:  2018 I switched to an LG V30 cell phone.  The Jaybird X2 also shows problems connecting to my new cell phone.  It times, I need to turn off my cell phone Bluetooth and/or turn off and on my cell phone to get the headsets to connect.  This process is a pain.

Update:  I typically leave my Jaybird X2 headsets sitting behind my neck.  One day I completely forgot to take care of them and they ended up in my wash.  The headsets were washed and dried.  When I removed them from the dryer they worked!  The only down side was that the foam ear attachments that slip on each ear piece dissolved.

Revised April 7, 2018

How Good Is Your Internet Provider?

Internet Health Test

This test measures whether interconnection points are experiencing problems. It runs speed measurements from your (the test user’s) ISP, across multiple interconnection points, thus detecting any degraded performance.  This test also, over time, will tell you how good or bad your Internet company is performing.

The more data that is gathered from these tests (the more times you and your friends run the test) the more Battle For the Net and other Net Neutrality advocates will be able to identify interconnection congestion, and work to stop your ISP from throttling your access to content and services hosted off of their network.

Updated April 7, 2018

Husky 3200 Lumen Multi-Directional LED Work Light Review

I had to do a some room remodel and needed a good portable work light.  I wanted the following features:

  • Powerful light source.
  • Easy to move the unit around.
  • Good light spread so lots of wall space would be lit.
  • Collapsible to a manageable size for movement and storage.
  • Low heat generation so the work space would not become any more uncomfortable from heat emanating from the light source.  I had up to now used tungsten halogen lights and the rooms would really get warm.
  • Low power use.  This became a feature after my choice was made.  I came to realize that in emergencies, this light could offer a reasonable light source from battery or generator.

The unit I chose was a Husky 3200 Lumen Multi – Directional LED Work light.  Husky Product number: 1001 713 235

I have been very happy with this device.  Here are some surprises:

  • I found that I could more easily see the texture coat shooting spray if I positioned the light off to one side of the my texture gun or position the light low when shooting the ceiling so I could see the spray pattern.
  • The three LED panels which can be swung around to best point the light is an incredible clever feature.   I tend to move the two side LED panels around each time I re-position the light to customize where I want the light to fall.
  • I could put this light into a tight space (see image below).

Image shows the light head illuminated and all three panels.
Image shows the light head turned on. Note that the two side LED panels swing back and forth from the main panel.

 

 

This image shows the work light extended to its full upward height. The image also shows the tripod at the bottom and the vertiacal three section stand which can be adjusted from two adjustment knobs.
This image shows the light fully extended to its tallest height. Note there are three stand sections and two stand adjustment knobs shown in red color.

The image shows the light head upon the collapsed stand but the stand legs are still extended to hold the light upward. The two LED side panels have been swung around toward the center panel to effectivly close the light from damage.
This image shows how the two side LED panels fold in toward the main panel to make a stored brick like solution to protect the LED light panels.

This image shows the light having its tripod partially collapsed against a bathroom corner and with the light stand fully drawn down so the light is as low to the floor as possible. The light is turned on and you can see the light pattern of the two side panels brighten two walls.
This image shows this light instrument being used in a very small space. In this cases, the light was used to offer light into a very small bathroom for painting.

 Update: April 7, 2018.  I have come to realize that this is not a light for professional use but rather for home owners that take good care when using their equipment.  My major complaint is the column locks and the tripod.  The column locks are, at times, difficult to lock and unlock.  Never use a wrench on those plastic locks.  The tripod is often times a pain to deploy and retract.  I have read reviews for this light and there is probably a much better unit to consider. that being PowerSmith.

Updated: April 7, 2018
Updated: March 6, 2019.  The following web page timed out:  http://www.homedepot.com/p/Husky-3200-Lumens-Batm.  New web page: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Husky-3200-Lumen-Multi-Directional-LED-Tripod-Work-Light-DE007/206839059

Some Tips To Enhance Malibu Lights For Halloween

Here are some tips to consider for lighting your Halloween lawn decorations.

  • Put a carved pumpkin over a light.  Many stores sell plastic pumpkins that you can carve out.  Just add a large enough hole at the bottom of the pumpkin so it can be placed over a Malibu light.

A very old Malibu light fixture model 8301-9300-01 which had bad electrical connector is shown hard wired to a main power line and a plastic pumpkin ready to be placed over the fixture.
A very old Malibu light fixture model 8301-9300-01 which had bad electrical connector is shown hard wired to a main power line and a plastic pumpkin ready to be placed over the fixture.

The image below shows the results viewed at night.

Plastic carved pumpkin was placed over Malibu light.
Plastic carved pumpkin was placed over Malibu light.

 

  • Add color to some of your Malibu Lights.

Malibu-Filters

In the image above is the Malibu filter kit I purchased.

 

Malibu-Glass-Color-Filters-usedAs you can see in the image above, the Malibu blue glass filter fits perfectly into the 8301-9300-01 light fixture.  I just laid the glass filter on top of the bulb.  When I screwed in the top of the light fixture, the filter was held in place.

 

8301-9300-01-with-black-wrap-painted-whiteIn the above image is a Malibu 8301-9300-01 light fixture with Black Wrap.  Black Wrap is a professional black aluminum foil that is used by professional lighting people to block light.  I put it partially around the lamp so the light is directed only to the Halloween decoration.  I painted the inside of the Black Wrap with white paint to make more light goes toward the decoration.  When Halloween is over, I only need to slip the Black Wrap off the light and I end up with perfect driveway parking lights along the side of my driveway.

Below is another example where I put glass filters into Malibu spot instruments.

Color-glass-filters-from-subject-perspective In the image above, you can see how powerful the color light comes out.   In the image below, you can see the results as seen at night.

 

Color-Glass-Filters-results