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2/8/2016 - Link: "Error 53" on iPhones
7/12/2015 - The "Internet of Things" and "Pervasive Computing": Some of the Worst Ideas Ever
5/3/2015 - Evil Toilets for Cats (I Wish This Was Just a Joke)

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Link: "Error 53" on iPhones
Monday, February 8th, 2016
15:03:17 GMT


Yet another reason not to buy Apple products:

‘Error 53’ fury mounts as Apple software update threatens to kill your iPhone 6

(From The Guardian, Feb. 5, 2016.)


Additions, 10:11 AM/10:24 AM/10:40 AM/12:26 PM EDT. Perhaps the error only affects people upgrading to the latest iOS who had their phones repaired by non-Apple repairers, or whose phones were damaged.

(Addition, 3:31 PM EDT. Looks like "Error 53" might happen in other circumstances, too. I found an article which says "The iPhone 6 Plus in question had never been taken apart, damaged, or otherwise compromised, and the mystery surrounding why it and others like it had been hit with Error 53 remains.")


If anyone is unfortunate enough to have an iPhone - I suggest backing up any important data, so you can avoid potential data loss.

Also, perhaps it might be a good idea to copy all your files contained in any Apple product onto things that aren't Apple products.

Because who knows what Apple might do next? What if they add something like "Error 53" to MacOS too?

Maybe Apple is too big and rich to even really care about their customers at all anymore.

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The "Internet of Things" and "Pervasive Computing": Some of the Worst Ideas Ever
Sunday, July 12th, 2015
16:58:06 GMT


The "Internet of Things" and "pervasive computing" are concepts which I find creepy, foolish, and dangerously naive.

(Additions, Sept. 1, 2016, 5:03 AM/6:35 AM/10:45 AM EDT, etc. In retrospect, that wording seems like quite an understatement! Much of this wrecknology is creating more and more chances for accidents and other catastrophes to happen.

Nowadays, software can not only crash your computer - it can crash your car!

The many defects of software are having more and more severe effects on the physical world, simply because too many people have been naive (or ill-intentioned) enough to put real-world objects such as cars, medical equipment, smoke alarms, door locks, voting machines, and so on, under the control of software.

So many problems could be avoided simply by relying on purely mechanical things, instead of electronic, computerized, or internet-connected things.

Thanks to Umair Haque for writing this great article about wrecknology (which is where I first noticed that word), and many other great articles.

End of additions.)


Putting internet capabilities (or even just computers/software without internet) into things that don't really need them (like cars, phones, and common household appliances) might make those things vulnerable to computer glitches, viruses, hacking/cracking, invasions of privacy, and despicable corporate practices such as companies making their own products impossible to repair by keeping all the software/computer hardware closed source and proprietary, and withholding tools, parts, and repair information. (And at least one company even went to such lengths as using non-standard screws which standard screwdrivers can't remove.)

Here's a page from ifixit.org about the right to repair, and some of the ways that right is being threatened.


And here are some articles about some even worse ways closed-source, proprietary software and hardware are being abused:

From the Daily Mail, Sept. 24, 2014: Driver nearly crashes when her car suddenly shut down on a busy interstate because auto lender hit remote kill switch when she missed a payment

From the New York Times, Sept. 24, 2014: Miss a Payment? Good Luck Moving That Car

From Wired.com, Apr. 21, 2015: We Can’t Let John Deere Destroy the Very Idea of Ownership


In these cases, I actually don't think having only free (as in freedom), libre, open source software or computerized devices in cars, tractors, etc. would fix everything. That might help stop some bad things - but, I'd still be worried that even libre software and computerized devices also could be vulnerable to glitches, malicious hacking/cracking, invasions of privacy, viruses, or corporate rubbish. (Unfortunately, software or hardware being under a libre license doesn't automatically mean that the software or hardware is great, well-designed, secure, and harmless.)

So, I'd actually much rather have a traditional purely mechanical car (or tractor, if I wanted a tractor) with no computers, computerized devices, or software at all. Or at least no computers/computerized devices/software connected to systems that can do dangerous things like shut your car down, jam your steering wheel or brakes, or unlock and open your doors.




(Addition, Aug. 9, 2015, 1:19 AM EDT: Here are a couple more recent scary articles I found:

From Wired.com, July 21, 2015: Hackers Remotely Kill a Jeep on the Highway—With Me in It

From Wired.com, July 24, 2015: After Jeep Hack, Chrysler Recalls 1.4M Vehicles for Bug Fix

End of addition, except some slight wording changes below.)




(Additions, Sept. 1, 2016, 7:55 AM EDT, etc.: I was very saddened to find out today that the actor Anton Yelchin died possibly because of the "e-shift transmission" in his Jeep Grand Cherokee, which was involved in a recall. He was only 27.

From BBC.com, June 20, 2016: Anton Yelchin, Star Trek's Chekov, killed by his own car

From Autoweek.com, June 20, 2016: Was Anton Yelchin's death caused by a recalled shifter?


Anton Yelchin's parents are suing the car companies involved. I hope justice will be done.

From DailyMail.co.uk, Aug. 2, 2016: Anton Yelchin's parents sob revealing their son was sent a recall notice for his Jeep a week AFTER he was crushed to death as they talk about their lawsuit against its manufacturer


Many other people have also had accidents and injuries:

From Consumerist.com, Feb. 8, 2016: More Than 100 Crashes Caused By Confusing Jeep, Chrysler, Dodge Gear Shifters


And yes, the "e-shift transmission" apparently is controlled by software:

From CNN.com, June 22, 2016: Fix ready for Jeep gear shift problem that killed Anton Yelchin

But how can anyone know for sure if the software is truly fixed and now glitch-free? And how can anyone be sure the software is unhackable/uncrackable? If that software gets hacked/cracked, or infected by a virus, or otherwise corrupted, people's lives could literally be at stake!


Car companies of the world, please stop putting literal wrecknology into your vehicles!

I don't know much about cars, but I can't imagine that old-fashioned purely mechanical transmissions have anything like those problems.

End of additions.)




(Addition, Feb. 11, 2016, 12:47 PM EST: Another scary car-related article:

From PBS.org, Feb. 10, 2016: Google’s Self-Driving Car May Soon Be Considered a Legal Driver

Some scary quotes from that article:

"The recommendation suggests that the U.S. government might allow Google to build marketable self-driving cars that don’t include steering wheels, pedals, or any other human-operated feature."

[...]

[...] 'the NHTSA letter said that Google expressed concern “that providing human occupants of the vehicle with mechanisms to control things like steering, acceleration, braking… could be detrimental to safety because the human occupants could attempt to override the (self-driving system’s) decisions.”'

End of quotes.

So, I guess if the "self-driving" car's software goes haywire or gets hacked, any unfortunate people inside the car might have no way to take control of the car. :-(

End of addition.)




(Addition, Sept. 24, 2015, 2:30 PM EDT: The recent Volkswagen scandal reputedly involves deceptive software:

From NYTimes.com, Sept. 22, 2015: Volkswagen Says 11 Million Cars Worldwide Are Affected in Diesel Deception

End of addition.)


(Addition, Oct. 25, 2016, 3:06 PM EDT: Some good news related to the Volkswagen scandal:

The largest auto-scandal settlement in U.S. history was just approved. VW buybacks start soon
From Oct. 25, 2016 on LATimes.com

If you have an affected car, you might be able to sell it back to Volkswagen. Having them modify the defective car is also an option, but I would have a hard time trusting Volkswagen to fix it correctly. Though I wouldn't trust anyone else to be able to fix it either, because I think putting software in important systems in cars is an inherently bad idea.

Hopefully this settlement will cause all car companies to be more wary of ruining their products by adding software to them.)




(Additions, Oct. 20, 2015, 1:26 PM EDT, etc. Yesterday evening at about 8:08 PM EDT during the TV show Gotham on Fox, I saw a TV ad for Nest.com, and I was particularly dismayed when the ad appeared to show a smoke alarm being turned off with a mobile phone.

Smoke alarms seem to me like yet another thing that should never be designed to be controlled by something potentially hackable, infectable by a virus, or vulnerable to software/computer glitches.


Also, here's a very worrying blog post, mainly about malware-infected routers, and people's stuff getting infected soon after connecting to such a router, and other related problems or potential problems:

From CodingHorror.com, Aug. 8, 2015: Welcome to The Internet of Compromised Things

I always thought connecting computers or devices to random routers, or even known and (mistakenly) trusted routers, might somehow be more dangerous than most people suspect.

End of additions.)




Also, here are some articles about spyware which some companies are actually selling for use on so-called "smart" phones and computers:

From The Guardian, Feb. 28, 2015: Spyware and malware availability sparks surge in internet stalking

From The Guardian, Jan. 25, 2015: Spyware and smartphones

From NPR, Sept. 21, 2014: Smartphones Are Used To Stalk, Control Domestic Abuse Victims


Even people who don't have their own personal stalker or domestic abuser to worry about probably ought to worry about what various unethical corporations are doing behind all our backs (or right under our noses).

And we'd likely be at least a little better off using hopefully safer and more secure free (as in freedom), libre, open source alternatives to closed source, proprietary software and devices.

Or, best of all in many cases would be to use softwareless and computerless things.


We not only need free (as in freedom) software and hardware, but the freedom to not have software and computers in every d*mn thing.


Click this link to display the blog comment thread hosted at the Eryss.Com Forum:

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Evil Toilets for Cats
Sunday, May 3rd, 2015
00:09:02 GMT


I Wish This Was Just a Joke

Unfortunately, it appears my evil toilets satire is now partially a reality - for cats.


An article from ifixit.org:

DRM Kitty Litter: The Only Thing Stupider than DRM Coffee


I wish this was just a joke!

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