Mozilla Releases Firefox 57, AKA Quantum

Mozilla has a new version of Firefox called Quantum, or version 57. It is a near-total rewrite. Firefox had fallen behind in speed over the years, but many, many people still had a fondness for the open-source browser, even though it’s speed was much, uchslower than Chrome and Safari.

I’ve been teting the new version on Apple and Windows products, and am changing my default browser for a few days to get a real-world feel for how it works. So far, so good.

The Linux Gamer has a quick rundown on the practical reasons why he is blown away, and it is not all about speed or battery life specs:

Insecurity Are Us: Why the NSA Breach Has Harmed Everyone

The NSA, presumably the most stalwart of the United States’ cybersecurity organizations, was infiltrated by a group know as the Shadow Brokers over a year ago. The group stole the NSA’s hacking tools, and provided them to everyone for money. State-sponsored hacking never had it so easy.

These hacking tools are causing miilions, if not billions, of dollars of harm all over the world, including small businesses and individuals. The recent cryptoware WannaCry was spread worldwide by use of the NSA’s lost tools:

Millions of people saw their computers shut down by ransomware, with demands for payments in digital currency to have their access restored. Tens of thousands of employees at Mondelez International, the maker of Oreo cookies, had their data completely wiped. FedEx reported that an attack on a European subsidiary had halted deliveries and cost $300 million. Hospitals in Pennsylvania, Britain and Indonesia had to turn away patients. The attacks disrupted production at a car plant in France, an oil company in Brazil and a chocolate factory in Tasmania, among thousands of enterprises affected worldwide.

New York Times, Security Breach and Spilled Secrets Have Shaken the N.S.A. to Its Core. By SCOTT SHANE, NICOLE PERLROTH and DAVID E. SANGER NOV. 12, 2017 

It gets worse:

…they have a new suite of tools and vulnerabilities in newer software. The possible targets include Microsoft’s Windows 10, which was unaffected by the initial attack and is on at least 500m devices around the world.

The Guardian, Shadow Brokers threaten to unleash more hacking tools – Samuel Gibbs, May 17, 2017 07.56 EDT

And they don’t have a clue who they are:

Fifteen months into a wide-ranging investigation by the agency’s counterintelligence arm, known as Q Group, and the F.B.I., officials still do not know whether the N.S.A. is the victim of a brilliantly executed hack, with Russia as the most likely perpetrator, an insider’s leak, or both.

Imagine if Apple provides a “back-door” to law enforcement agencies in response to isolated incidents of terror. The NSA can’t even keep their tools safe. Do you think the FBI, New York State Police or Sherriff Andy Taylor would be able to keep these vulnerabilities out of everyone’s hands?

Vulnerabilities exist. They always have, and they likely always will. The way to privacy and security for all is to guard against any attempt to weaken security endeavors.

Apple’s business model does not include selling their customer’s personal information. Nor does most open-source software companies (like Firefox). Facebook, Google, and others harvesting data and building extensive dossiers on every single user of their services. The data is shared with their clients for highly targeted advertising and other uses. Think that data is safe? Think it already hasn’t been used against your best interests?

TKS 250 Feedback

Chris and I had a great time doing the show yesterday. Thanks for all the great feedback. It was like we never stopped. We will be back soon with another show!

Tesla Semi and One More Thing: A Maximum Plaid Roadster

Tesla Semi and One More Thing: A Maximum Plaid Roadster

Last night, Elon Musk unveiled the Tesla Semi, and One More Thing.

Oh, what a ride(s).

Musk spent the days before Twitter-teasing the event:

Tesla Semi Truck unveil to be webcast live on Thursday at 8pm! This will blow your mind clear out of your skull and into an alternate dimension. Just need to find my portal gun …

It can transform into a robot, fight aliens and make one hell of a latte

This appears to be a game-changer for what is widely believed to a resistant-to-change industry. However, WalMart and JB Hunt have announced plans to buy some of Tesla’s Semis, so there are some forward-thinking individuals in the industry.

Tesla Semi Basics:

  • 0-60, no trailer or empty trailer: 5 seconds
  • 0-60, 80,000 pound load: 20 seconds
  • 65mph on a 5% grade versus 45mph (earning 50% more per mile than a diesel truck
  • 500 mile range
  • Lower drag coefficient than a Bugatti Chiron (.36 versus .38)
  • Completely flat bottom
  • 4 independent motors on rear wheels
  • No gear changing (no gears to change!)
  • Center seating for complete visibility
  • 400 miles of range in 30 minutes
  • Charge at Origin or Destination
  • Guaranteed $.07 electricity rate to refuel
  • Megachargers worldwide
  • Safety for everyone: (Enhanced Autopilot, Automatic Lane Keeping, Forward Collision Warning)
  • Jack-knifes are totally eliminated
  • 1,000,000 mile warranty against breakdown
  • Brakepads last forever.
  • Thermonuclear explosion-proof glass (apparently glass-breakage is a major downtime for semi rigs)
  • Phone app provides service, diagnostics, predictive maintenance notifications, comm. with dispatch

It turns out these is some cargo in the truck…

Internal Combustion Engine: Ask not for whom the bell tolls – it tolls for thee.

Cummins stock is down 5% today.

More to come, especially on the New Tom Kirkham Show tomorrow at 10am Central.

More coverage from Vox.

More coverage from The Verge.

@Elon – why wasn’t I invited?

Go West, Young Man! (to minimize jet lag)

Why you’re more tired flying east than west

Airbus A350

Dr. Michael, J. Breus over at The Sleep Doctor has an answer:

Scientists have posited that the asymmetry of jet lag—the increased impact that results from eastward travel compared to westward—is connected to the fact that human circadian rhythms, on average, extend slightly beyond 24 hours. This means that at a biological level we’re all slightly inclined toward extending our days at their end rather than at their beginning—essentially, we find it somewhat easier to behave like night owls than larks.

Basically, it’s easier to stay up late than get up early.

I think I agree with that.

Farther down, however, is a real gem, though:

Light exposure at the wrong time of day interferes with circadian function and sleep-wake cycles, throwing the body’s internal timekeeping out of sync with external time.  This common occurrence results in what’s known as social jet lag—the kind of jet lag you can experience without ever leaving home or crossing time zones.

Clicking on through to the NCBI website gives us the abstract of “Social jetlag: misalignment of biological and social time”. The abstract sums thusly:

Our results strongly suggest that work (and school) schedules should be adapted to chronotype whenever possible.

So, basically, earning and learning is better when done on your own schedule than that of others. Of course, if your chronotype already matches school and work, you’re golden. Otherwise, how do you make your life work with your sleep schedule? When do you set aside time to learn and time to do?


Humanlike AI robot ‘Sophia’ Creepy; Shades Elon Musk

This is remarkable. Both of these videos are liekly staged, especially the second one, but if she is near this level of interaction in real-life, we are looking at a much better version of The Jetsons’ “Rosie”

“I want to live and work with humans so I need to express the emotions to understand humans and build trust with people,”

H/T to Teslerati for catching this.

Al Gore and the Internet

This is an expansion from an earlier post about CERN, where the World Wide Web was invented.

Al Gore DID help create the Internet.

Al Gore did not proclaim to “invent” the Internet. What he did was nurture the Internet development, and was instrumental in it’s transition it from a government-controlled entity to the public and arguably free Internet we enjoy today. more so than any public person (i.e., politician, which is responsible for the purse strings of the fathers of the Internet).

When asked what distinguished him from his challenger in the 2000 Democratic Presidential nomination, he stated this:

During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet. I took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to our country’s economic growth and environmental protection, improvements in our educational system.

As Vice President, Gore was in charge of promoting and developing the “Information Superhighway” and launched a number of initiatives that without a doubt placed him on the list of people that helped create what we know today as the Internet.

Inventors of the Internet Speak Out on Al Gore’s Contribution

Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn

Vint Cerf (“Father of the Internet”) and his colleague Bob Kahn, who actually did create the Internet (along with others – it was a world-wide group effort) wrote this in response to the critique and ridicule of Gore’s statement, which they felt was unjustifed.

Some Excerpts:

Al Gore was the first political leader to recognize the importance of the Internet and to promote and support its development.

But as the two people who designed the basic architecture and the core protocols that make the Internet work, we would like to acknowledge VP Gore’s contributions as a Congressman, Senator and as Vice President. No other elected official, to our knowledge, has made a greater contribution over a longer period of time. [Emphasis mine]

Last year [1999] the Vice President made a straightforward statement on his role. He said: “During my service in the United States Congress I took the initiative in creating the Internet.” We don’t think, as some people have argued, that Gore intended to claim he “invented” the Internet. Moreover, there is no question in our minds that while serving as Senator, Gore’s initiatives had a significant and beneficial effect on the still-evolving Internet.

The fact of the matter is that Gore was talking about and promoting the Internet long before most people were listening. We feel it is timely to offer our perspective.

As far back as the 1970s Congressman Gore promoted the idea of high speed telecommunications as an engine for both economic growth and the improvement of our educational system. He was the first elected official to grasp the potential of computer communications to have a broader impact than just improving the conduct of science and scholarship.

As Vice President Gore promoted building the Internet both up and out, as well as releasing the Internet from the control of the government agencies that spawned it.

Gore provided much-needed political support for the speedy privatization of the Internet when the time arrived for it to become a commercially-driven operation.

No one in public life has been more intellectually engaged in helping to create the climate for a thriving Internet than the Vice President. Gore has been a clear champion of this effort, both in the councils of government and with the public at large.

The Vice President deserves credit for his early recognition of the value of high speed computing and communication and for his long-term and consistent articulation of the potential value of the Internet to American citizens and industry and, indeed, to the rest of the world.

On September 29, 2000, Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn released this statement. It was largely ignored, and now, almost without exception, most people think that Al Gore creating the Internet is a joke.

When the fathers of the Internet say Al Gore created the Internet, it is real. So please give credit where credit is due.

The Tom Kirkham Show Reboot

Remember how they rebooted Star Trek? This is like that. A lot has changed for me and the world – and I bet for you – in the few years since I was on the air at KWHN. (I still don’t know why they gave me public airwaves with no time delay.)

For one thing, we can do video. On the web, but you can also listen in. Live. On your smartphone. On your tablet. Whatever you use to get on the internet works. Easily.

And, we can do it interactively, such as chat, video, and even screen sharing.

The topics of the show will be a little more than just computer tips, though. We are going to get more into technology and life. Since Al Gore helped create the Internet, practically the all human knowledge gathered over millennia can be found online. This changes things immensely; not just for each of us, but for society and humanity as a whole.

You can be better.

Better, stronger, faster. Free up more time leveraging this new Information Age. We will be talking about technology, biohacking, accelerated learning – basically anything that allows for TimeSpace compression (what?), and I ain’t talkin’ Einstein stuff. Maybe a little.

This will be the first with a new platform, and I am a little rusty, so let’s learn all over again.

Join me Saturday, November 18, 2017, at 10 am by registering here.

Chris Sawtelle of River Valley IT Consulting – who was my cohort for many of the original shows will be joining us.

Crypto Speculation and Seneca

Seneca, Dying. At the Lourve; photo taken by me.

Approaching the physical age of 56, I am constantly reminded of Seneca’s thoughts on mortality.

You act like mortals in all that you fear, and like immortals in all that you desire.

I’ve been trading in financial investments in some form or the other for the past 40+ years. Mostly stocks, some mutual funds and ETFs, and for the last 2-3 years, crpto currencies. My current crypto holdings are in Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Steem (Steem) and nem (XEM).

To be sure, investing is not for the faint of heart, and all investments require fortitude to stick with a plan, or abondon it when the plan is failing. Over the years, I’ve shaken off so many market corrections that I can’t even count them, simply because I know these happen, and stocks will eventually rise again to new hights. As Tony Robbins puts it in the title of his latest book, Unshakeable. (Here is the take-away from the book: Buy and keep buying the lowest load index ETF – I own SPY -, regardless of price, and don’t panic.)

Cryptocurrencies, especially BTC and ETH will rise , fall, then rise more again as well. No doubt. They are here to stay, and nothing can stop them. (And, before you ask, yes, I am bullish on STEEM and XEM or I would not hold them, or more importantly write on this platform).

But now, my investment horizon is starting to fuck with me in a way that I can’t quite get my head around. For 40+ years,, I’ve have been almost always fearless and unshakeable, but the confidence I have in Steem and other cryptos are coming into a conflict with my investment horizon, or what I commonly refer to as “having too much life at the end of the money, or too much money at the end of the life”.

This Seneca quote is particulary troublesome:

How stupid to forget our mortality, and put off sensible plans to our fiftieth and sixtieth years, aiming to begin life from a point at which few have arrived!

Cryptocurrencies, especially BTC, are crossing the chasm from the early adopters to the early majority. Just a week or so ago a colleague asked me which crypto he should buy. I don’t think he had ever seriously bought crypto before. This was the very morning that BTC hit an all-time high over $2700. I took some profits off the table right then.

Regardless, my bucket list is there, my mortality is there, and the knowledge that cryptos are the current and best wealth investment today are troubling me.

I am very interested in hearing others thoughts.

If you post a reply, please let me know at least your age (or any other thing that affects your investment horizon).