Monday, November 28, 2016

Blogger makes change that seems to benefit mobile blogging, but confuses users with more than one blog on an account

Last week (Tuesday, Nov. 22), Google Blogger suddenly made a change where on signon, Blogger takes the self-publisher to the detailed posting listing of only the most recent blog to which the publisher had already added a new post.

The dashboard, listing all blogs, doesn’t seem to have a savable URL (as in Chrome history), but the individual blog posting-lists do have their own.  I found I could get to another blog by doing View, going to my Blogger Profile, then to the blog I want to update, then to Design, then to Posts.  Then you can get the specific URL for your account and that other blog and save it for later reference in a Word dataset on your local hard-drive if you like. But it’s rather inconvenient.

It appears that this change was made mainly to help mobile bloggers (and as far as I know you can do only one blog on mobile). Blogger seems to allow one account to have 100 blogs (source ). I have 16 (the same number as since 2006).

But if someone has more than one, that blogger needs easy access to the master account dasbboard to be restored.

Many bloggers are asking why https is not enabled for custom domains.  The reason seems to be that each custom domain would need its own SSL certificate, which is much more complicated to set up.

On BlueHost, I have four Wordpress domains, and one of these is allowed to have a security certificate.  So all user processing (credit cards or paypal) or any sensitive material needs to be on that one blog.  But there is a newer technique, where blogs become subdomains of one account, so that one SSL certificate can be applied to all of them.  You need separate installs of Wordpress on each subdomain.  I have not tried to do this yet, and I think it’s pretty recent. It may be complicated.

Bloggers with heavy overseas readership in non-democratic countries (and this applies to me) really would benefit from making it easier to do https everywhere for all domain-connected blogs.  But this will take more work on the past of Google, Wordpress, and hosting companies.

I’ve made similar concepts on the Blogger Help Forum today and also said so in th
 e Blogger feedback button.

I still see a cultural trend away from the idea of separate multiple blogs for publishing purposes, to more integrated presence that includes more end-user social interaction with just one site (per publisher).  What makes business sense to service provides like Blogger may well be changing, with or without Trump or network neutrality.

Update: Dec. 3

Another post on the Blogger forum gives a solution. Click on the blog name on the upper left corner (not highlighted, so not apparent), and your other blogs appear.  That worked!

One other problem is that you can't easily see if you have outstanding unmonitored comments on any of your blogs.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Houston Fox anchor fired after her own personal conservative Facebook post

A news presenter in Houston, Scarlett Fakhar, has been fired from Fox 26 in Houston for expressing her own opinions on her own Facebook page, which are said to contradict her responsibility for being objective in public as a journalist.  Here's the NY Daily News story,

The comments apparently had blamed Obama’s presidency for allowing racial tensions to increase (as with Ferguson and BLM).

Here comments on her Fox fan page seem out of touch.  Would Fox delete the conservative comments?  This is Fox, after all.

Her personal page seems now to have been removed. "Heavy" has some more detailed news.
This does sound like the “conflict of interest” page I have often written about.  There can indeed be situations where work precludes expression of personal views even on personal web pages in public mode.  This issue started to surface around 2001 with “employee blogging policies” in some places (even before modern social media had been invented, a development which would take the spotlight off older blogging sites).  Mommy blogger Heather Armstrong became famous after being fired (“dooced”) over her blog in 2002.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

"KYAnonymous" hacker could get more prison time that the rape victims of the crime he exposed (from "conservative" media sources)

Some more conservative members of my Facebook community are reporting on a justice anomaly reported by Russia Today.
Am (Anonymous) "hacker", Deric Lostutter, who plead guilty in federal court in Kentucky to one count conspiracy and one count of making false statements for hacking into a student fan website to expose a rape of an unconscious girl may face more prison time than the rapists, who were apparently sentences as juveniles.  The link is here.   RT has been criticized during the recent “fake news” flap, but I have often used their YouTube videos and most of their stories seem pretty credible.   The IBTimes carries the same story.
The Washington Times, a conservative newspaper site considered credible in the mainstream, has details here.

But a Lexington KY television station covers the story about the very recent guilty plea (originally NG) by "KYAnonynous" for the hacking incident here
There is a “” site which he did not set up but which seems to be set up to expose him.  The naming of a site after him, by a third party, sounds like trademark infringement to me. It's a kind of anti-fan site. 

Rolling Stone, which edged near the fake news area with the UVa rape fiasco, has a story about the defendant here
Just a little exposure to this story makes the “fake news” whining from the Left about the election seem strident.  It’s not as fake as the Left thinks. 

Note the 2013 interview with Lostutter by CNN above, where there is a claim of a Fourth Amendment violation, and where Lostutter talks about “weaponizing the media”.  Indeed. 

Wikipedia attribution link for downtown Lexington picture under CCSA 3,0   I was last there in late 1975. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Facebook's plan on fake news attracts criticism and even "fear"; Buzzfeed shows how to report fake news now; a job for me?

Facebook’s plan to clamp down on fake news is already attracting criticism, as in this Bloomberg article.

The company could hire third party contractors or even independent contractors to fact check some items.  It’s even believable that something like that could become a job opportunity for me.

But the big problem will be the “gray areas” with kernels of truth.  Or maybe postings where the user editorializes into gray areas.  Another issue would be how links to amateur blogs would be checked.

 Some of mine expand automatically, and some don’t.  Still another is YouTube video expansions that make questionable claims, or that are from sources considered extremist or biased or “doomsday”.

Buzzfeed has a helpful post on how users can “report” suspicious stories even now.

USA Today's story mentions "third party verification".  I wonder how that would work for posting.

Mark Zuckerberg's own post on Nov. 19 is here.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Trump's election makes the political scientists look at political correctness and identity politics as an area for technical study

Here are a couple more articles on the problems of “political correctness” and “identity politics”.

Scientific American, in a piece, “The Personality of Political Correctness”, by Scott Barry Kaufman, gives the reader a couple of quizzes to identify “egalitarian political correctness” vs. “authoritarian political correctness”.   Egalitarians believe that discourse has to be adjusted to fairly manipulate the perception of suspect classes (hence the world of “trigger warnings” on campuses). Authoritarians need ratification of “how things were meant to be”, as my own mother used to say.

Mark Lilla describes “The End of Identity Liberarlism” for the New York Times.  Call it the end of identity politics, being asked to view people differently based on the groups they belong to,

Monday, November 21, 2016

Could organizing a protest be prosecuted as "economic terrorism"? Trump signals awareness of power grid security issues

A Washington State senator is proposing a law to make it a felony to plan a demonstration that causes “economic disruption” or “jeopardizes lives and property”.  The legislator is Doug Ericksen, a Trump supporter, and apparently he wants a similar federal law, story on “The Hill” here.

The news story considered this to be a bill against “economic terrorism”.

Electronic Frontier Foundation today tweeted that the bill could jail people as felons merely for protesting. Petitions are being developed.

The protests under consideration seem to have to do with the oil and gas pipelines (about which there were major protests in North Dakota last night, with ice water hoses used against protestors), and probably the sovereign citizen’s movements.

For the record, I’ll link to a Wall Street Journal story about what Trump said today he would do on Day 1.  Obamacare and the Wall were not on the list. Trump mentioned cybersecurity and “other threats” to infrastructure, which seem to be a veiled reference to solar storms and EMP, and proposals to decentralize electric grids (Taylor Wilson) foe security and resilience.  I have tweeted this concern to Trump’s team.  Maybe they actually listened.

Picture: Wikipediam by JGkatz|Jeffrey G. Katz - Own work, CC BY 3.0, Link

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Open source project called "FiB" will help Facebook users counter fake news

Some college students have developed a plug-in for Facebook to help users spot “fake news” and provide alternative sources.  It is to be called “FiB”.

A Washington Post story by Colby Itkowitz gives illustrations as to how it works.

The project is “open source” on Dev Post here.

Gullibility seems to be the biggest on the alt right.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Electronic Frontier Foundation holds important Live Discussion on digital rights in a Trump administration

Electronic Frontier Foundation held a Live Discussion today, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016, on the Election’s Effect on Digital Rights,link. It was conducted by International Director Danny O’Brien and activism director Rainey Reitman, in San Francisco.

EFF has a check list of problems tech companies need to fix, “before it’s too late”, here

The biggest concern expressed in the discussion was that tech companies have built up a “honeypot” of personal data that a Trump administration could coerce from companies, or even try to force tech workers to mine with spyware.

O'Brien also expressed an abstract concern, with no details, about the likely loss of network neutrality, which I discussed on my Net Neutrality blog on Nov. 11.  Note the concern over the possibility of providers charging publishers to access their networks, which gets discussed there in comments with respect to porn (on a Washington Post article).  There is concern over conflicts of interest in ownership arrangements and mergers between tech companies and content or media providers, as well as effective government-sanctioned monopoly in some cities. Libertarians see more competition as the alternative to net neutrality.  Consumers and some small businesses do benefit from "legitimate" access speed premium for-pay services sometimes.  

I did submit two questions, but the panel did not take up the fake news issue or censorship or downstream liability.  The discussion did mention the threats by Trump (and even Clinton) last December to shut down some parts of the Internet to cut off ISIS recruiting.  But there is a general sense that a lot of people are willing to give up freedom over “Russian roulette” theories of existential threats to safety.


But EFF issued a white paper on censorship by social media companies today (see Book Reviews blog). 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Facebook, Google have to take a stand on fake news

Although I’ve covered this somewhat on my newer Wordpress blogs, I wanted to mention that both Facebook and Google are responding to criticism that the viral “fake news” distributed widely on their platforms could have affected the elections and fed gullibility by many voters.  Elizabeth Dwoskin, Caitlin Dewey, and Craig Timberg report in the Washington Post here

Google has an issue with search engine placement, which it is always tweaking (and, no, it doesn’t pay to buy “optimization” services from quasi-spammers) – we all heard the story about Trump’s wining the popular vote.  And it will soon effectively ban websites that sponsor “fake news” from displaying its ads.

But for both companies it’s pretty hard to tell what is ‘fake”.  A lot of commentary is “Opinion” (like, there is an “opinion rule” in common defamation law).  Yup, claims that Barack Obama is (subjunctive mood) a Muslim, are fake news.  But a lot of it is hard to tell. 

The measures don’t seem to target amateur sites specifically.

There is a general impression that “Google” users are politically more in the middle (more or less like Hillary Clinton), and that heavy Facebook users migrate to the extremes. 

Blogger, by the way, has a discussion (“mystagogy”) of the psychology of people drawn to extremist positions.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

DC television station presents warnings story about parental responsibility for child's Internet use

WJLA’s “7 On You Side” feature in Washington FC reports on parental liability for a child’s use of social media accounts or other cellular or conventional Internet connections.

A child, with an iPad or tablet. ran up $13000 in debt on a Google Play account through a combination of circumstances that led to the sudden credit card charges not being declined as they usually should have been.  It appears that finally the debt will be waived.  
Before (Oct. 24) I’ve noted the possibility of downstream liability if others in one’s household (even a boarder or roommate) misuse one’s broadband Internet connection, for copyright infringement (usually through P2P), promotion of terror or even child pornography.  It’s also possible (although rare – there have been arrests in New York State and Florida with eventual dropping of charges) for liability to happen for “drive-by” use outside, which is one reason why home routers should use the highest security settings.  Presumptive responsibility starts with the owner of an account with a router.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Wisconsin professor explores class resentment in terms of deservedness

Jeff Guo, of the Washington Post, has an interesting interview with Professor Kathy Cramer, author of “The Politics of Resentment”, in explaining how voters behaved in swing states in electing Donald Trump.

Cramer talks a lot about resentment of “elitism”, of people in working classes resenting people “in higher stations in life” with jobs that seem less regimented and physically challenging.  She says voters wonder how she can spend her time driving all over the state of Wisconsin when her job is in Madison. This was a value system I fought over with my own father when growing up! The term "deserving" comes up.  This sounds a little bit like "right-sizing".

Saturday, November 12, 2016

David Brooks applies Rosenfels polarity theory to political movements

David Brooks has “gone Rosenfels” so to speak with his analysis of the political climate in the country in explaining Donald Trump’s shocking (but now more understandable) upset of the Electoral vote in the presidential election.

“The View from Trump Tower” presents the Republicans now as “individualist, closed” and the Democrats as “social, closed”.  He wants a progressive party that is “social open” but the Libertarian party would be described as “individual, open”.   Brooks thinks that the Democratic party will stumble into its own kind of racism out of identity politics, trigger warnings, and political correctness.

But the “closed” polity marker would hint at the idea of localism, tribalism, of people being expected to learn to “take care of their own” before interacting outside of their own groups (April 30).

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Trump's win seems an attack on elitism and intellectual arrogance

I went to two places in Arlington last night, and I gradually came to accept the idea that Donald Trump was likely to win.  This was apparent by probably 10 PM as Florida went south, and as Clinton seemed unable to hold leads in any key states.  Her performance was like that of a baseball team dropping four one run games in a row on the road in a four game sweep, some of them to walkoffs.  Despite all her movie and music stars, Hillary didn’t seem to have a bullpen.

I think there is something to be said for the idea that one of the biggest problems for the Democrats was intellectual arrogance, for example Thomas Frank’s piece in the Guardian.

I think that Trump supporters (the “basket of deplorables”) as well as Trump himself represent (with some irony, given Trump’s pride and wealth) an attack on elitism.  Last night, I wrote this on Facebook before finally retiring:

“The most striking motive behind Donald Trump's supporters was their anti-elitism. And emotion, and anti-intellectualism, and anti-rationalism. And denial. For me personally, that's the most dangerous part of it.

“I remember this sort of thing from my journey through Army Basic in 1968.

“It took an elitist, however, to pull it off. There's always hypocrisy and irony.

“There are times when others knock, and want me to make them OK, even with unwelcome personal attention.. I can refuse. That is my right. But to hunker down and refuse to deal with need in others repeatedly, is to invite aggression from others upon myself, which I may not recover from, or which may force me to become someone else than I want to be, This is all about resilience.

Initial reactions of the impact of Trump on the LGBTQ community are mixed, but they may not be as detrimental as many fear.  I’ll cover that soon on my GLBT blog.

I’m personally much more concerned about the free speech issue, as I outlined Monday where I explained how citizen journalism could get almost put out of business (Wordpress link toward the end of yesterday’s post). Much of this depends on how one views certain national security vulnerabilities online and how one views civil liberties relative to the group when leadership shows more “tribal” thinking and when there is a subsumed moral hazard about the permissive legal climate that facilitates abuse of free speech by an enemy. .

As I noted on Wordpress, I would be particularly concerned about the future of Section 230 under Trump (DMCA less so).   And websites could be required to provide financial accounting and “carry their own freight”, or have to make risk indemnification security deposits.

Trump’s own Facebook page says on “Civil Liberties”:

Scrutinize social media of those seeking to enter the US, and limit the ability of ISIS to use the internet to spread terrorism.

He also says “When it comes to the balancing security and privacy, we should err on the side of security.”

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

I voted and took no chances: Election Day musings (citizen journalism could beat risk if Trump wins)

After the cleaning crew (which showed up before breakfast as I got up) left, I went right out and voted in Arlington, VA.  The line was moderate, but it took only about fifteen minutes, voting at 10 AM.

As I’ve covered before, I worked as an Election Judge (an 18 hour day) three times, the most recent being in 2007.

Now, the election workstation PC’s with Windows XP are gone, and we’re back to paper ballots with blue (pun) ink, marking “x”’s.  But the validation of voter registration is online, reading the strip on your driver’s license.

I saw no police cars (I had expected to see at least one).  I had no trouble parking,

I took no chances.  I would normally vote Libertarian (the Aleppo gaffe is a problem).  I voted for Hillary.  What if Virginia is close (less than 100 votes) and then the electoral college is close?

I even looked at the ballot two or three times before feeding it to the machine.

There is a scenario where neither candidate gets 270, and the election goes into the House on Jan. 3.
 If LDS member Evan McMullin won Utah, the House could choose him as president.  McMullin is said to be fairly light on the social issues and traditionally conservative on foreign policy and economics, which is what a lot of people want.

As for Trump, yes, his behavior disqualifies him.  He did articulate some necessary ideas about national security and corruption.  His oldest son (who is 38) has the same knowledge base and none of dad’s narcissism, and actually could be safer for the country as president!    I can imagine journalists who could make good “moderate” presidents (Anderson Cooper, or Vox’s technology guru Tim Lee, who is just 36).  They certainly know enough to do the job.   Given Reagan’s example, could entertainers?  Election Day is Reid Ewing’s 28th birthday – seven years shy of the requirement –  Reid lives and goes to college in Utah. .  Besides having one of the most artistically fascinating Twitter feeds ever – his parents both sound like good fits – Dad is a college professor.  There are plenty of people who “know enough” in business who would work – Mark Cuban, Tim Cook.  Jimmy Fallon wants to be “vice-president”.

But you see where I am headed – we don’t attract the right people to run for office anymore.
One of the best articles on what is likely to happen tonight is here.

Journalism as a profession or avocation is in trepidation over the idea of a Trump for president. I posted an article on Trump’s potential threat to citizen journalism yesterday on Wordpress. And note Tim Lee’s article on how Facebook is undermining public confidence in journalism, an article with a buff picture of Mark Zuckerberg, 

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Social media "influencers"

No, I don’t get hired to pimp one particular line of consumer goods.  But a whole class of bloggers (whom Blogtyrant would admire) do so, according to a front page story by Sarah Halzack in the Washington Post Thursday, November 3, “How social media became a money press for ‘influencers”.  The marketing follows Instagram and even Sanpchat chains (even though Snapchat posts don’t stay up).

Sales professionals (like Fredrik Eklund in “The Sell”, books, May 26, 2015) have said before that Instagram is more useful than Facebook and Twitter, and many of people are reached on Snapchat..

I do get review copy books and films to be reviewed all the time, however, so I am on the fringe of what Halzack sees as a consumer “influencer.”  For better or worse, I am more of a political influencer.

Friday, November 04, 2016

Rolling Stone, and reporter, found liable in Charlottesville defamation trial; amount not yet set.

Rolling Stone has been found liable for defamation by a federal civil jury in Charlottesville Va in the suit filed by Dean Nicole Eramo.   The CNN story is by Julia Horowitz.  Lauren Berg has a story for the Charlottesville Daily Progress.
The magazine was found liable, including the republication of the article with notes, a finding which is seen as troubling by some journalism professors.

The original reporter and publisher Sabrina Rubin Erdely, was found “originally” liable.  The story was viewed as “preconceived.”  But Eramo had to achieve a high standard, of showing malice or reckless disregard for the truth, for a public figure.

The CNN article asks how the reporter will write again, but the magazine stands behind her.

Columbia Journalism Review found the incident a “failure that was avoidable”.
The ruling seemed to include the idea that propagating defaming material to a larger audience than before adds to the offense.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Sharing economy "bnb" property owners must follow public accommodation discrimination laws when offering rentals online

NBCWashington has reported on a flurry of lawsuits against people advertising their homes or condos for temporary rental on Airbnb or Homeaway, for writing in their ads that they do not accept (or that they discourage) families with children.

The suits seem to come from a group called “Social Justice Law Collective

The suits can be initiated by “testers” and seem to offer a theory of offense or injury based on discrimination.  The plaintiff need not have actually rented.

In theory, it would sound as if suits could happen for other discrimination (same-sex couples).

It seems that even short term rentals in private homes are viewed as “public accomodations” and must follow the Fair Housing Law to the letter.

There is a philosophical policy debate over whether “sharing economy” participants have to be held to the same standards as large franchised companies.  Libertarians would say no.  But others would say that de facto discrimination will inevitably develop.

NBC4 also has a link on insurance issues for people who rent their homes temporarily through home-sharing, although I wonder if this could cover hosting people in crises (like asylum seekers) -- seems to need investigation.

Fox5 in DC is reporting on a story as to whether callers to Uber with ethnic sounding names have longer wait times.