Sunday

Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative Pledges To Eradicate Disease

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, pediatrician Priscilla Chan, are using their fortune to try to eradicate disease. To that end, they will spend $3 billion over the next ten years to foster technology and research into finding cures. 
Chan acknowledged that the organization’s goal is extreme, but she said she very much believes in it, tearing up at one point during her speech. “This doesn’t mean no one will get sick,” she said. “But it does mean that our children and their children should get sick a lot less.”
They join with several other tech titans - like Bill and Melinda Gates (Bill Gates of Microsoft fame) - who have given or continue to give away much of their fortune toward philanthropic ventures.



The November Elections Will Be Ugly

Warning, commentary ahead...

It's going to be an ugly Presidential election in November. 

Both sides are rabidly opposed to the other at a visceral level, and to be perfectly honest, I have been appalled at the coordinated level of vitriol directed at Donald Trump from, well, everyone: Democrats, national and international press, and from almost everyone in the entertainment industry.

No matter what you may think of his platform, the coverage thus far smacks of a monumental hatchet job - and I assure you I am not a Alex Jones-type conspiracy theorist. While I confess I dislike Sen Clinton (I have no ill will towards her, but I feel she is representative of the worst kind of career politician), the one-sided way things are being presented to the public is shameful.

And of course the specter of election fraud is looming, where I can foresee bitter arguments from all regardless of the result of the vote. Electronic voting systems have been shown to be quite hackable, and the possibility of some state-sponsored malarky seems real.

In the end, no matter who is elected, they will be inheriting a poisonous environment of growing racial strife and pending monetary disaster (have you looked at our national debt recently?). 

Regarding the job of US President itself, to paraphrase maid Idella from "Driving Miss Daisy"; "I wouldn't want that job if the sweet Lord Jesus came down Himself and asked me".

You will be glad to know this will be my last rant along these lines, I have tried hard not to pontificate, and I think I have only made a couple of actual "political" posts this year. 

So fear not, and vote your conscience.

Saturday

Yahoo! Hack Should Prod You Into Changing Other Passwords Too

If the current Yahoo! hack (where hundreds of millions of accounts were exposed by "state-sponsored" hackers) does anything, it probably serves as a good reminder to change your Yahoo! (and other) passwords asap. 

The thing is, many of us re-use passwords among different website. Human nature and computer security are often at loggerheads, and once someone gets access to one account, they can often get clues to allow them to get into others - particularly if you use "kitten123!" as your password for all your email accounts...

In my case, Yahoo! mail was my first email account, and I have it set up as a recovery email address for a couple of other non-Yahoo! accounts. That has changed in the last couple of days, and so have many of my passwords.



Say Bonjour To The Allo App

Google's new Allo app is available now for Android devices. It's a new messaging app, with some features not available in "normal" messaging software. Personally, much of it seems a bit gimmicky, although it does provided a "self destructing" message option, if you feel the need for that sort of thing.

In any case, I Love Free Software has a nice overview of using Allo here, and it's worth a look if you are at all interested in getting started with the new app.

...and is it my imagination, or does that sound a lot like Will "Fresh Prince" Smith in the short video below?



Faux Skylight Is A Bright Idea

Skylights are a nice feature in a home - and while we humans seem to respond well to natural light, it's nice to be able to get that minus the bugs and some of the other disadvantage of actually being outside for extended periods.

Short of tearing a hole in the roof and installing an actual skylight, there is also an intriguing option from Italian company CoeLux in the form of an artificial skylight that looks and acts for all the world like the real thing. How? Well, they are not saying, other than that nano technology is involved (and one gets the impression it's not cheap) but it looks great.