My Ashley Madison

Lady
So Ashley Madison is now a well-known adulterous website, particularly after hackers stole 37 million records on the site participants, and have released that information to the public.


These tens of millions of users seek companionship for loveless or sexless marriages or perhaps are just plain liars and cheaters–who knows? 


But yikes, now everyone knows!


Huffington reports that divorce lawyers are anticipating a deluge of new clients seeking divorces


And BBC reports that two people have already taken their lives in Canada as a result of the release. 


What is incredible as well are the 15,000 people who used their .gov or .mil accounts presumably to hide their infidelity from their spouses, but now are in potentially huge trouble with their government agencies.


I assume that Ashley Madison prided themselves on their discretion in handling their clients accounts, but lo’ and behold the discretion is for naught compliments of some very naughty hackers. 


Privacy is becoming a very lonely and meaningless word whether you are faithful or a cheater–it’s all open fodder on the net. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Skip The Religious Brainwashing

Brainwash

So my wife and I took this picture yesterday of this Spongebob outside a matress store, but which you frequently find at places like a car wash.  


It gets some attention when your driving by. 


This cartoon fellow reminded me of something I heard in a movie trailer recently.


It was about people of faith, but rather than relying on being genuinely thoughtful about their beliefs, instead they adhere to a form of brainwashing, where the people in the community are kept in the fold by closing out any and all outside influences. 


When one of the ladies in the community was asked about this, she replied “You know what someone told me about brainwashing? What’s wrong with a clean brain!”


While I am a huge proponent of devotion and service to G-d, I think that relying on intentionally keeping people sheltered is not the path to G-d. 


Especially for the Jewish people, who are known as the “People of the Book” for their intense learning of the Torah, intellectual pursuit and challenge is a source of true faith.


Of course, there are bad influences in society–addictive drugs, alcohol dependence, indiscriminate sex, violent and deviant people, and more–and we want to keep our families away from these things and safe.  


Interestingly, when someone is free from drugs and alcohol, they often say that they have been “clean” for so many months or years. 


If that is what a “clean brain” is–then that is a positive thing. 


But if a clean brain is truly cutting people off from education and legitimate worldly pursuits just to force them to follow and keep them in state of brainwashing, then that level of a geder (i.e. gate or limitation) is destructive to the person and community. 


Recently, a 30-year woman, Faigy Meyer, “who broke free from the iron-tight grip of her ultra-conservative Hassidic community” and had been shunned by her family, leapt from a rooftop to her death.


The term iron-grip used in the article sounds like a medieval torture device used to force or keep people at bay, and if that is what the “religious” community is doing so-to-say to limit free choice of their members, then that is not honest belief and practice. 


For myself personally, I lived for some years in a highly religious community that despite having many wonderful people and families was for the most part not very accepting of anyone who believed or practiced not exactly like them–there was no room for that. 


One time, the legacy Rabbi on the pulpit (not the current one who is an extremely fine person that I greatly respect) even warned the members to beware of people in their midst who were not true worshippers (and could be a harmful influence). 


In a closed community thinking, one can feel quite alienated and a huge void of spirituality. 


Thank G-d, in our community with the Magen David Sephardic Synagogue, we have found not only a beautiful love of Hashem, but that mixed with acceptance for everyone to come and participate.


Now we actually love to go to synagogue and look forward to it. It has become a central part of our lives (similar in our own way to how it had been for my beloved father). 


Take away the iron-tight grip, the forcing, the brainwashing and fear of the regular outside world, and you have people from many walks of life, intellectual pursuits and experiences come together to seek and worship G-d with a pure and open heart. 


In a way, it is similar to technology: if you have a closed system (not connected to the Internet and the outside), you have a safe tool, but it is very limited as a standalone. Alternatively, hook the computer up to the Internet and while you take some risks browsing the limits of the virtual world, you come away with so much more you can do and richness in the experience. 😉


(Source Photo: Dannielle and Andy Blumenthal)

You’re Probably Not A 10

If I Want Your Opinion
There is a review online for nearly everything…from sources such as Amazon to Yelp, Angie’s List, IMDb, and more. 



But what you may not realize is that the knife cuts both ways…you are not only the reviewer, but the subject of reviews.



And if you’re not all that…then everyone can know it!



The New York Times has an opinion piece by Delia Ephron about how reports cards are no longer just for kids, and that they are “for the rest of my life…[and] this is going on your permanent record.”



From cabbies that won’t pick you up because you’ve been rated a bad fare to your therapist that says you can’t stop obsessing, restaurants that complain you refused to pay for the chopped liver, and the department store says you wasted their salesperson’s time and then bought online, and even your Rabbi says you haven’t been giving enough to the synagogue lately. 



People hear things, post things, and can access their records online…your life is not private, and who you are at least in other peoples opinion is just an easy search away. 



In Tweets, Blogs, on Facebook, and even in companies customer records, you have a personal review and rating waiting for discovery.



Your review might be good, but then again…you are not always at your finest moments and these get captured in databases and on social media.



Data mining or exfiltration of your personal information is your public enemy #1.



Of course, you’d like to think (or wish) that you’re brand is a 10, but not everyone loves you that way your mother does.  



Too bad you can’t tell them, “If I want your opinion, I’ll ask for it”–either way, your gonna hear what people think of you loud and clear. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Robots Reach The Clouds

Robot 3
So robots have reached the clouds before many of our government agencies have–who would’ve thought?

 

Bloomberg Businessweek reports how robotic activities are being stored in the cloud and are then accessible to other robots to learn from and repeat as necessary.

 

The “cloud servers essentially [are] a shared brain” where memories and experiences are uploaded and accessed by other robots with a need to know the same thing.

 

The cloud is the means of transfer learning from one robot to the other.

 

It serves like a master neural network where the Internet provides the how-to for everything from serving juice to patients in a hospital to functioning as autonomous warbots in battle.

 

Like the Borg on Star Trek with a collective brain, the cloud may become the mastermind for everything from day-to-day functioning to taking over the species of the universe.

 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Healthcare Where You Need It

Great new medical examination device from Tyto Care.

Handheld, mobile, cloud-based solution for performing a basic medical examination, anywhere–either remotely guided by an online physician or using the 3D avatar on the device itself for conducting a self-examination.

The device looks like the one in the doctors office that checks your ears, but it also has sensors to listen to your heart and lungs, and for viewing your eyes, throat, and skin, and for taking your temperature.

The results can be read by the end-user or sent to a physician for review and diagnosis.

When your not feeling well or aren’t sure what’s wrong–isn’t great to have the convenience to have your vitals checked from wherever you are and the self-sufficiency to even get and see your own basic medical stats.

In a time where we are under more stress to get adequate medical care due to families made up of dual working parents, jobs that are 24/7, and a declining ratio of medical professionals to patients–the Tyto seems like a breakthrough that can help us get checked and get help, anytime and place.

Now, we just need to get our medical practitioners online and in regular remote communication with their patients–so the traditional office visit and emergency room aren’t the only options for being seen. 😉

UNSOCIAL Social Media

This video is absolutely fantastic.

Congratulations to Gary Turk for hitting the nail on the head here.

And thank you to my daughter, Michelle, for sharing this with me.

Smartphones, dumb people.
Easier to connect with people, but we spend more time alone.
Be there in the moment.
Give your love, not your like.
Look up from your phone, shut down your display.

Part of me just wants to say that Social Media is one of THE biggest wastes of our time…REALLY!

Another part of me, believes in some aspects of it for information sharing, collaboration, and being a greater influence.

But Social Computing is NOT a replacement for genuine human interaction, which is too OFTEN what it has become.

I applaud my daughters, for at times, disconnecting their Facebook accounts to read, spend time with friends, and do other activities.

We’ve lost too much of ourselves to an escapist virtual reality–where it’s easier to HIDE behind a screen, then be there in the flesh facing the challenges that we must.

There are great aspects to being online–it’s been a true information revolution–but the computer needs to SERVE the human master, and not the other way around. 😉

Six Internet Creepoids To Beware Of

Six Internet Creepoids To Beware Of

There are a lot of basket cases out there–both in the physical world and in the virtual one.

The New York Times today has an article by Henry Alford about people who act or are mainly just perceived as creepy online.

He gives examples of people who take out their smartphones (with cameras) in the locker room, who show their online photos and whoops there’s an indecent doozie, who mistakenly send a critical email to the wrong person or distribution list, who say the wrong thing online because of autocorrect or autofill, and who act the detective looking up too much information about others.

At the end, Alford calls for “more tolerance toward the gaffe-makers.”

And while we should be good people and forgive genuine mistakes, some things are not accidents and deserve the seal of “ick!”

Here’s the list of 6 Internet Creepoids to seriously beware of:

1) Overly Cyber Friendly or Familiar: People who chat, text, email, or comment in a way that portrays an inappropriate knowing or intimacy with others.

2) Cyber Stalkers: Those who unsolicitedly and unwanted or obsessively follow, friend, monitor, or harass others on the Internet.

3) Internet Trolls: Individuals who giddily sow discord with argumentative, inflammatory or extraneous messages online narcissistically or just to be jerks.

4) Cyber Exhibitionists or Voyeurs: People who inappropriately or compulsively expose themselves or watch others naked or engaged in sexual activity online.

5) Cyber Impersonators or Identity Thieves: Those who falsify their identities by exaggerating or masking their true selves, pretend to be someone else, or otherwise steal someone’s online identity.

6) Cyber Freaks: Individuals who behave online in extreme unusual, unexpected, and frightening ways.

So while some things are innocent or accidentally creepy from otherwise nice and decent people, other actions are genuinely such from the real online creepoids. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

There’s No Line In Online

There's No Line In Online

I loved the article in the Wall Street Journal By Andy Kessler.

Kessler’s point is that technology is all about convenience.

The way I put it is that online, there is no line!

With technology, we can do things proverbially–better, faster, cheaper.

But so much of technology really is about doing things with the utmost convenience–that means that rather then spend time hunting or gathering, searching or shopping, traveling or transacting, gaming or gambling, we can go online and in Internet speed it’s done!

The beauty of the Internet and technology is that there is no queue, no lines, no waiting–just lots of convenience mainly with point and click.

I couldn’t hate lines more–hate wasting time–hate doing stupid things that have no real meaning–>time is absolutely precious!

We are mortal and one day, time stops for all of us, so we better use what we have well–use it wisely, not wastefully.

When we have convenience from technology, we have to spend less time on the mundane and have more time to do the things we really enjoy or that can grow us.

So get the doldrums done quickly online, and spend more time with family and friends, on fitness, pursing spiritual matters, and even learning the secrets of the universe–and then blogging about them.

Technology is a convenience and a true G-dsend. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Google Fiber 4 The Nation’s Capital

Google Fiber 4 The Nation's Capital

How About Google Fiber for Washington, D.C.?

– Lead, by example, the rest of the nation forward.

– Speed up the functioning of the government.

– Helpful for Emergency Management

– The Patriotic thing to do! 😉

All Opinions my own.

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Cameron Yee, & no idea why it’s in Spanish, but I like it!)

Can You Trust Social Media?

Can You Trust Social Media?

Interesting article in BBC about a project underway to develop a system that will rate information on the Internet as trustworthy or not.

Considering how quickly we get information from the Net and how easy it is to start crazy rumors, manipulate financial investors, or even cause a near panic, it would be good to know whether the source is legitimate and the information has been validated.

Are we simply getting someone mouthing off on their opinions or what they think may happen or perhaps they are unknowingly spreading false information (misinformation) or even purposely doing it (disinformation)?

Depending how the Internet is being used–someone may be trying to get the real word out to you (e.g. from dissidents in repressive regimes) or they may be manipulating you (e.g. hackers, criminals, or even terrorists).

To have a reliable system that tells us if information being promulgated is good or not could add some credibility and security online.

What if that system though itself is hacked? Then lies can perhaps be “verified” as truth and truth can be discredited as falsehood.

The Internet is dangerous terrain, and as in the life in general, it is best to take a cautious approach to verify source and message.

The next cyber or kinetic attack may start not with someone bringing down the Internet, but rather with using it to sow confusion and disarm the masses with chaos. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)