Category Archives: You’re losing me…

Barking up the Wrong Tree

This one’s been a long time coming…

The title of the video says it all. “Why Ms Independent can’t find Mr. Right“. There’s the rub; Mr Right isn’t looking for Ms. Independent. He isn’t looking for “Mizz” anything. He is looking for Miss Young, kind, feminine, selfless, and slender. Let’s cut to the tape…

0:05 “Founder of I’m-sick-of-single dot com…”. But… you’re… still… single! Right out of the gate she shows how unqualified she is to give this advice. Why are single women taking advice on marriage from other single women? Come back when you’ve been married for a decade. Maybe then you will have an opinion worth listening to.

0:17 She then shows her true colors with a shout-out to “all my Independent women“. Ladies, quality men do *not* want an “independent woman”. They want a kind, caring, feminine woman who adds value to their life.

0:30 She follows it up with a rambling rant about how women wait on men, with the inference that they shouldn’t have to. Fair point. In a perfect world, women would approach men and ask for the date. I have no problem with that. But they don’t. Why not? Because they don’t want to. Why not? Because women are risk-averse, and rarely, if ever open themselves up to rejection. At risk of sounding sexist, that’s our job.

1:13 “The reason you can’t find Mister Right is not because you’re not beautiful…”. Um, yes it probably is. The sad truth is that most women are attractive enough to marry for about twelve years. Deep down, I think most women understand this, which might explain their stampede for the altar as 30 looms. After that they are attractive enough for commitment-free sex for about another twelve. After that, we’re simply not interested in you anymore, and you have to take what you can get.

1:41 The Scripture reference that she quoted (Proverbs 18:22, in case you were wondering) is disingenuous. She is cherry-picking one verse of scripture and taking it out of context. The flaw in her logic is that she is assuming that every woman is wife material; but there are many verses of scripture that debunk this: for instance  Proverbs 31: “An excellent wife who can find?” confirms that good wives are valuable and RARE. Another is Proverbs 30:20, which speaks to the deceit that so many women practice. This is laugh-out-loud funny; tell women that most men are not husband material and they will enthusiastically agree. But tell them that most of them are not wife material, and one of them will probably get angry enough to run a key down the side of your car.

2:00 “The courage to Flirt First” – Good point. But she fails to point out that the number-one reason why men no longer approach is… other women. Most of us have watched other men’s lives ruined by a vengeful female. Did you really think that #MeToo would not come with unintended consequences?

Also, if you are trying to find a man, get off your phone. I have heard men referring to a woman’s phone as her “digital boyfriend”, and we tend to assume that a “busy” woman with her head buried in her phone is probably checking for hot guys on social media. Husband-material men are not looking for that.

Oh, and “resting bitch face”, as she puts it; is a huge turn-off: if we want a woman who brings joy onto our lives, we’re not crossing the room for a woman who doesn’t know how to smile. Most women want a man who makes her laugh; most men want a woman who brings happiness and joy with her. Show us that you can.

3:00 “Larry the Lame” – aaaand here comes the name-calling. Too often we hear complaints that “Men aren’t masculine anymore”, and now she’s saying that a man who approaches without permission is “Larry the lame”? Make up your mind!

3:20 Then she goes on to say: “I don’t want you to stereotype Larry…” But… you… just… did!

3:30 “Every Larry is lame as it pertains to character” So you can tell a man’s character based solely upon him walking up to you without waiting for an invitation?

4:20: “Gary the Good Guy.. that’s the guy you should be talking to“. I call shenanigans. I used to be that guy. You left us in the friendzone in your early twenties when you went off to have fun. You ignored while you partied their way through your teens and twenties… and only started looking around for him when your looks started to fade. If you want one of these guys, you have to get him early, while you’re young. But you didn’t, did you?

4:50 “You are over online dating” So why were you there? Oh yes, fun and adventures (aka hookups) with hot guys. I rest my case.

5:05: “Half the guys online report to be more interested in more interested in being a hookup than a husband“. Only half? I’m shocked! So half the guys online dating are looking for a wife? I find that hard to believe. Color me surprised. I always assumed that online dating was a meat market. But any road up, if he wants to be a hookup rather than a husband, he does not consider you wife material, and never did, and is using you for pleasure. There is one simple way to weed them out: Don’t sleep with them! Problem solved.

5:18 “…and many of the other guys online misrepresent themselves…” And women don’t? Social media is rife with pictures of women that were taken ten years, thirty pounds and three babies ago. Or so I’m told. And don’t get me started on make-up, artful poses and filters.

Yeah, men are so deceitful.

6:10: “When I interview bachelors, I axe them What is the worst thing you have ever done to a woman you love?” This is intellectually dishonest and one-sided. It is true that running up her credit cards, impregnating another woman and physical abuse are signs of a low-quality man, but sticking with a man who did that is a sign of a low-quality woman, and she never addresses that. Oh, and while you’re at it, why not “axe” the ladies the same question? Probably because you don’t want to hear the answer. Oh, and stop saying “axe” when you mean “ask”!

7:20: “So although he knows you deserve better…” This is bunk. He knows no such thing.  “You deserve better” is something women routinely say to each other, but men universally understand that you deserve what you can get, and nothing more. Ladies, stop talking about what you (think you) deserve.

She then paints a picture of a shy, awkward woman who would rather put up with a bad, abusive manipulative man than have to start again, then ends with “you won’t be home stressed, you’ll be out with the next”.

It all goes downhill from there.

  • She talks at length about how to approach men, but fails to address how to handle the inevitable rejection that too many of these women will face when the approach men who are not interested in them, or men they “choose” who refuse to “chase”.
  • She talks about men appreciating a woman who is strong, confident and charming (“That’s a man, baby!”) and other “equality” twaddle.
  • She then teaches women to use the same “pick-up” game that women seem to universally demonize when men do it.
  • She talks about her “Bae” (who is obviously *not* her husband).

Ladies, if you are serious about finding a quality husband, here is the Wizard’s advice:

  1. Don’t wait. No, you don’t have time, and anyone who tells you otherwise is lying to you. The average woman has about twelve years of “hot” (attractive enough to marry), followed by about fifty years of “not”, so the decisions she makes during those twelve years are critical. Yes, there are exceptions; no, you’re probably not one of them. The most cursory of observation shows that too many women misuse that almost-magical power to party through their their teens and twenties with Billy Badboy and his friends, then go looking for Gordon Goodguy when she is “ready for marriage” (by an amazing coincidence, this is usually when Billy and his friends lose interest in her). This plan doesn’t work for diligent, disciplined, dutiful, quality men with options; we want your twenties, so don’t come to us at 35 and offer us bad-boy leftovers. When it comes to long-term commitment, we want to be your first choice, not your last resort.
  2. Stay Slim. Women are generally not attracted to men who are short, puny, lazy or broke. This is natural and reasonable. But women are not the ones who have deal-breakers, and top-quality men, like attractive women, can afford to be picky. Such men are generally not attracted to women who are fat, sassy, bold, brassy, bossy, busy, and selfish. For some reason, those same women with a long list of bullet-points of what constitutes “the perfect guy” find this to be unfair.
  3. Be Real. Nothing says “good men stay away” like tattoos, piercings and unnatural hair coloring. The fewer tattoos and piercings you have, the more likely you will be considered to be potential wife material. Yes, we know you don’t like it. No, we don’t care.
  4. Understand your value. These days it seems that women almost universally overestimate their attractiveness; the cute ones think that they are pretty, the pretty ones think they are gorgeous. Maybe it’s social media, broadcast media, or well-meaning friends and family. But whatever the cause, it has become so bad that “six-nine syndrome” – where a girl is above-average but thinks that she is a drop-dead-gorgeous – is a thing. The reason that this is a problem is because it fools women into pursuing men who are not really interested in them, but may choose to use them for pleasure for a while before discarding them and moving on. You have been warned.
  5. Don’t confuse casual sexual interest with marriage interest. To misquote Forrest Gump: “Marriage is like a box of chocolates; all the good ones are gone first“. And if you wait too long, all that’s left will be some half-eaten toffees and the Nougat that nobody wants. In America, the average female loses her virginity at 15. Men will get physical with promiscuous women, but will not marry them. Understand that if he sees you as promiscuous he will not marry you. Nor should he.
  6. Don’t take advice from people who are just as lost as you are. Too many single women take their advice from other single women. Seek out happily married women. Or better yet, listen to your Granny. She knows what she’s talking about.

Misreading Incomprehension

Someone recently bought this fascinating piece to my attention:

Commentary: ‘Be careful using the Bible’

Having read it, I am of the impression that a better title might be “I misunderstood the bible. therefore it can’t be trusted“. As is so often the case with opinion pieces, there was no provision for commentary, so I will add my commentary here…

The Bible continues to be used to oppose women’s work outside the home and female ordination.

And modern feminism pushes those aims as praiseworthy. Choose this day whom you will serve. There is absolutely nothing wrong with women working outside the home, but in a traditional marriage with children, children need their mothers most in the first few years, which means that a working woman who also wants to be a mother has some hard choices to make. For many women, the experience of holding their newborn simplifies that choice. If a woman chooses to hand her children off to someone else and go to work, good luck to her, but there are an awful lot of working mothers out there who wish that they didn’t have to.

As far as female ordination is concerned, I have seen female preachers who obviously have an anointing on them. What I object to is when women are placed in a position of authority over men. “Women are grown, men are made“; and a woman, no matter how well-meaning, cannot teach a man how to be a man. Doubly so for feminists,who want to “reconstruct” men according to their whim — which usually results in weak, “nice” feminized men, with whom that few women want to pair-bond.

In studying the Bible, it is necessary to realize that often God is cited as supporting whatever values are normative at that time in history. Those are “timely” standards — standards valued for a time — but not necessarily “timeless” standards that are applicable for all time and all circumstances.

It is true that much of the bible’s teaching is cultural. while much is sacred. The danger is that we may use our opinions and feelings — or worse, the culture — to decide which is which.

Remember that the Bible affirms Abraham having sexual relations with Hagar, Sarah’s maid, in order to produce his first son, Ishmael

The bible does no such thing. it *informed* us of the event. It also makes it clear that this was Sarah’s idea, not God’s — and her impatience resulted in the Middle East becoming the charnel-house it is today.

Remember King Solomon’s legendary 1,000 wives and concubines. Today we would call Abraham’s and Solomon’s sexual actions adultery, and not condone such actions for the behavior of others.

Once again, the learned Reverend is letting his feelings get in the way. The bible does not glorify Solomon’s myriad wives, it simply informs. Many of those marriages were political alliances — David’s first wife, Michal, was Saul’s daughter. Many others would have been gifts from other kings and chieftains. And Solomon himself owes his existence to one of the most infamous adulteries in recorded history. The bible warns repeatedly against intermarrying with foreign women. Also remember that in those days, there was a chronic man shortage – men died working or fighting, and women who lost their husbands were often left destitute. This is why a younger brother was required by law to marry his older brother’s childless widow and give her children so that she would have a future — conduct that would be considered unacceptable today.

Remember that, in ancient Israel, eating shellfish and wearing clothing of two different fabrics at the same time were called “abominations.” Walking too many paces on the Sabbath was considered sinful. And, it was permissible to make slaves of captured enemies. So much of what was considered sinful or acceptable was simply the norms or standards that were practiced by the majority of the people, but condemned today.

There were reasons for those practices. The bible calls eating pork “unclean”. Today, we call it “trichinosis”. Whatever you choose to call it, it wasn’t good for you.

Sadly, that practice has not changed. As a child, I was not allowed to have playing cards in our house. Dancing and even going to the movies were frowned upon, and drinking alcoholic beverages was not allowed. I was told that Jesus and his disciples drank only grape juice!

And millions of parents tell their children about Santa. So you were misled. How sad. And now you are returning the favor by mis-leading us?

That brings us to a question sharply dividing the Christian community in our time: How are we to think about and act toward the LGBTQ community? We know that the majority of Americans do not oppose homosexual relations, yet others believe that while every person is a child of God, homosexual behavior is a choice and is sinful, and marriage is only to be affirmed when between a man and a woman. A key question for me is: Is that position simply an expression of ancient and current cultural norms, or is that the timeless moral position, sanctioned by God?

Ah… now we get to the meat of the matter. I was wondering how long it would be before homosexuality reared its head. One of my favorite verses in the bible is “everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial”, so let’s start with that.

Likewise, most scientists and psychologists of today believe that same-gender orientation is not a matter of choice.

Science isn’t about what you “believe”, it is what you can prove. Science based on “belief” — consensus — looks a lot like religion. In related news, And psychologists are currently trying to convince us that masculinity is a disease. So I would not place much stock in what “scientists and psychologists believe”.

Let’s go a bit deeper into the issue of morality. How do we distinguish between values that are “timely” — those that are affirmed as norms by the majority of people at one time in history, but are changed or updated in another generation because of new understandings, and the values that are “timeless” and applicable in all situations and at all times in history? What is an eternal value? Here is where the Bible, taken as a whole and seen in its depths, can guide us.

What you do is read the text with an open mind. What you don’t do is go running to your feelings and feminist doctrine in search of a solution.

Why oppose slavery and segregation? Because they are hurtful. Why do the Ten Commandments forbid murder, stealing, lying, adultery and coveting? Because they are hurtful. On the other hand, what is hurtful about playing cards, dancing or having a glass of wine with a meal?

Tell that to someone who has had to live with the consequences of gambling and alcoholism. The bible also says “do not do anything that causes your brother to stumble.”. Oh, and you just proved my previous point. The difference between what is sacred and what is cultural is often obvious. The real problem comes when you run into something you don’t like, which is what we are seeing here.

If a person is born with a same-gender orientation, why must they be prohibited from having an intimate relationship with another person, forced into isolation and loneliness, just because many people unfairly oppose that? The fact that some Christians do not approve does not make such a relationship hurtful.

“Born with”? I call shenanigans. A predisposition towards homosexual behavior cannot, by definition, be biologically derived, since reproduction only happens as a result of a heterosexual coupling. A small number of people are born with hormonal imbalances that may predispose them to same-sex attraction, but they are rare, anomalous, and worthy of special treatment. What we should not be doing is allowing a tiny minority of edge-cases to forcibly steer the culture. In my opinion, the vast majority are created behaviorally.

Why not have the same moral standards for same-gender relationships as for heterosexual relationships: no promiscuity, no coercion, no insensitivity. Instead, seek commitment, faithfulness, mutual sensitivity, caring and support. Who does that hurt? Instead, it treats all people as persons of equal worth, as children of God, and encouraged to enjoy mutually affirming, intimate, helpful relationships with others.

No reasonable person believes that God hates gays. But there is no evidence that he made them. However, it must be said that there is nowhere in the bible where homosexuality is affirmed or seen as morally praiseworthy (unlike, for instance, prostitution), or is described as anything less than a sin, If you choose to live that life, that’s your choice. I am not mad with you, but you don’t answer to me.

To “love your neighbor” is to do the helpful thing and to avoid doing the hurtful thing, even when cultural conditioning makes that uncomfortable. Helping, not hurting, looks and sounds like Jesus to me.

Be careful when you put words into the mouth of Jesus, who said such feel-good gems as “God made male and female… therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife” (Matthew 19:4). The same Jesus who said “Let the dead bury their dead” and “You will always have the poor“, and ran the officially licensed traders out of t he temple with a whip. . does that sound like “fluffy hippie boyfriend Jesus” to you?

Bottom line: There is a big difference between tolerance and affirmation; telling people that God loves them is praiseworthy. Telling people that God approves of something without any supporting evidence may not be “helping” them.

Some Exclusions Apply

Got this in my email this morning:

 

Every “eligible” title was at least $9.99

To quote Dilbert: “Gaaaah

When “Affordable” ain’t

Before Obamacare became law, my employer offered three plans: HMO, PPO and High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP). I opted for PPO, which had a combined deductible/copay/coinsurance of $1000/year per person.

The year the act became law, HMO and PPO options were taken off the table, and we were offered the option of HDHP, which had a combined deductible/copay/coinsurance of $5000/year per person. They took great care in repeatedly telling us that this decision had nothing to do with Obamacare, but was to do with “the higher costs of health insurance”, while ignoring the fact that the single biggest changes in the the cost of healthcare was the increased costs to health Insurance mandated by the new law.

“Pull the other one, it’s got bells on it”.


My lady has multiple allergies and several other health issues, which require several expensive (up to $300/month *each*) drugs. Before Obamacare, I had to find $1000/year to pay for these. At about the cost of a high-end cellphone plan, this was annoying, but bearable. Under HDHP, however, I paid the first $2500 of all medical costs which we usually burned through by March and then 20% of all subsequent costs until we had spent another $2500, which happened around September. For the last three months of the year, however, all health costs were covered at 100%.

This led to an interesting interlude a few years ago: I was picking up her drugs and when the pharmacist told me that there was no charge, the fellow behind me said “Free drugs? How do I get some of that?“. I riposted with: “Easy. Just spend five thousand dollars“, to which he replied “Forget I asked.”.

So for me, Obamacare translates directly to a four-thousand-dollar-per-year pay cut – and that’s just for her; if I get sick, that’s another five grand I’ll have to find. this is why I flatly refuse to refer to it as the “Affordable Care Act.” I think it’s the height of understatement to say that I’m not a fan.


Obamacare is not all bad news; two good things came out of it were The removal of coverage limits was a good thing, and Health Insurance companies could now no longer deny coverage on the basis of Pre-existing conditions. However, both of these changes increased the exposure of Insurance Companies, and those costs were passed on to the Customer – Mr. and Mrs. You-and-me. But the biggest insult about Obamacare was the ridiculous Supreme Court decision that effectively made purchasing healthcare mandatory; a mandate that has since been overturned by Executive Order, and rightly so, in my opinion.

The Healthcare system in the USA used to be a perfect example of capitalism in action; It takes about a million dollars and twelve years to train a doctor about the same as a fighter pilot. Unlike the Air Force, however, the Physicians train themselves at their own expense, so it makes sense that they should set the value of their services. As an aside, this is tempered by the fact that the AMA and licensing authorities effectively conspire to restrict the supply of doctors, which keeps prices high. This seems to be working; there are, for example, plenty of unemployed attorneys, but the unemployment rate of qualified and licensed physicians is effectively zero, and an M.D. is often perceived, rightly or wrongly, as a license to print money.


The problem with Obamacare is that it attempts to mix the worst of Capitalist and Socialized systems while getting the best of neither, and ends up being less than the less than the sum of its parts. The young were forced to pay for coverage that they did not want, in order to subsidize the unemployed, the itinerant, and the poor. The quasi-free-market Health Exchanges, while a good idea in theory, have not worked out well in practice; prices have spiraled in recent years, and many insurance providers have left the business or gone out of business.

I, for one, would like to see Obamacare repealed. But it will not be until something better is offered. And by “better”, I mean that “nobody loses any coverage that they currently have”, that simply won’t happen. This is in accordance with Prang’s Law of Freebies, which goes as follows:

Once someone has gotten used to free stuff, they will never voluntarily give it up, and will fight tooth-and-nail to keep it

A digital book-burning

I recently meandered across a story called “Alex Jones will never abandon deranged propaganda, that’s why Twitter needs to ban him“. As is often the case for opinion pieces, comments to the piece were neither requested nor required. So here we go…


If untruthfulness was the basis of censorship, half of the liberal media would be in jail. Sadly, there are no laws in this country against mendacious libel as there are in the United Kingdom

Every week the tabloids disgorge a fresh cargo of sex, lies and fanciful tales at supermarket checkouts throughout the land, and nobody seems to get upset. While I voted for Trump in the last election (and I called it five months out) I am not a fan of Alex Jones. I find him to be a blowhard. I have never been a fan of either Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck, though I have agreed with some of their ideas, principles and positions. By the same token, I find Michael Moore to be a delusional blob of feel-good socialism. But they all have every right to speak, write, make movies, and do their thing. And I would oppose any attempt to censor or silence any of them.

Last time I looked, Ignorance wasn’t a crime. If it were, the Bernie-Sanders socialists would be up on charges for failure to understand basic mathematics.

Close but no Cigar, bucko. While you are absolutely correct in saying that Twitter/Google/FakesBook et al are private organizations who can do as they please, that is not the point. The point is that these organizations are blatantly practicing partisan politics while pretending to be politically neutral. To quote Judge Judy Scheindlin: “Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining”

Another true-but-disingenuous statement. First up, the left increasingly uses “Hate” as a catch-all phrase for “criticism that I don’t like“, in the same way that they use Alt-Right to describe “someone I want to describe as a Nazi/Fascist/Racist/White supremacist, but can’t use those terms without looking like an intellectually dishonest idiot“. Most sensible people define “Hate speech” as something along the lines of “Any speech that calls for harm to another person”. By this definition, Maxine Waters’ call to harass Trump’s Staff in public is hate speech, as are the consistent calls to assassinate President Trump. Kathy Griffin’s infamous photo stunt may be a form of hate speech. No liberal media outrage in either case. Liberals, your political slip is showing.
Secondly, the NFL’s decision to ban players from any kind of political grandstanding is right and reasonable; the players are paid to play ball, and the League, who pays their salaries, can do as they please. If players want to play politics, they are more than welcome to do so on their own time. If I walk into a Starbucks wearing a MAGA hat, I should be treated the same way as anyone else. However, if I work there, my employers have the right to require me to remove it or leave. The bottom like here is the same: Don’t mix politics and business.

There’s the H-word again. Whenever you see that word, substitute “WAAAAH! SOMEBODY SAID SOMETHING I DIDN’T LIKE!” Sunlight is the best disinfectant. Let them speak, and let the chips fall where they may.

If there’s one thing that the last few Administrations have taught us, it is that a power that is given to one president is inherited by the next one. That which is created by the stroke of a pen can be destroyed by the stroke of a pen. The use of censorship to silence your opposition may one day blow up in your face.


He’s hitting all the buzzwords here. These people use cellphones and Postal serviced to communicate. Want to ban those as well? And what about the ISIS Recruiters on Social Media, are they being shut down with the same alacrity? Why is “Kill all white men” perfectly acceptable speech, but substituting the word “Black” is somehow racist?

This is just plain dishonest. Is the Post Office answerable for letter-bombs? Is the phone system legally responsible for wire fraud? Of course not. Is Facebook responsible for every DuckFace Selfie? So why is Twitter being held responsible for every tweet? And what, pray tell, is “real fake news”?


I am a firm believer in free speech, as long as it does not infringe upon anyone else’s rights. But that includes speech that I may disagree with. No one has a right to not be offended or outraged. If I don’t like it, I can spend my time, attention, and dollars elsewhere. Twitter has a competitor — Gab.Ai — and a lot of Conservatives, both reasonable and crazy – have moved there.

Bottom Line: The author is trying to suggest that Twitter can and should be some kind of digital safe space. Even if that were feasible, it would be an extremely bad idea.

Why ebay does not care about security

The Past

I have been on eBay since 1997.

For the past ten years, I have been using two-factor authentication to protect my eBay, Paypal and other accounts.

It started with the Paypal Security Key, also affectionately known as the “Paypal Football” because of its shape.

Introduced in 2007, the football is a $5 hardware device that displays a quasi-random six-digit number when the button is pressed. The code changes every thirty seconds and makes it impossible to get into your Paypal account without the “Football”, which lived on my Key-ring and went everywhere with me. When eBay bought Paypal, the football could be used to protect access to my eBay account as well.

Four years went by. The battery in the football ran down, and the device fell to pieces when I tried to replace it. Alarmingly, eBay no longer offered the “Football”, offering instead A Credit-Card device that fulfilled the same function at the somewhat higher price of $30.Getting the feeling that eBay was trying to turn a profit out of (in)security, I looked elsewhere… and found the Yubikey VIP.

I had been using a Yubikey in the past to protect, among other things, my Gmail account (The epic Hack of the famous Wired Journalist Mat Honen, could have been thwarted, by his own admission, had he done the same). Now the good folks at Yubico were offing a Yubikey that also doubled as a Verisign VIP key (the technology that PayPal used in the football). I purchased one and have used it ever since. I am still using it to this day.

The Present

I got the following email from them yesterday.

Let me be clear: This is a really, really bad idea for a whole bunch of reasons. Let me enumerate a few:

  1. Texting is insecure. SMS is not encrypted, and SMS messages can be readily intercepted with the right equipment. Using SMS as a one-off mechanism to sign up for something is not too bad, but sending out a text every time you want to log in is a really bad idea.
  2. Not everybody has a texting plan. I am on Verizon’s ancient (not offered since 2012) un-capped, un-throttled, un-limited data plan. Verizon charges extra for text messages, so I have disabled text messaging.
  3. My phone is not always available. I may be able to take a call. I may be in a meeting. I may be in a basement or out of coverage. I may be overseas.
  4. I purposefully purchased serious securityand now eBay are replacing it with something that is less secure.

In an age where websites are becoming more and more secure, this is a retrograde step. So why did eBay do this astoundingly bone-headed thing?

  1. Money. It is my understanding that eBay have to pay Verisign to use this system, while a text message/voice system would be far cheaper.
  2. Support: Security, it is said, is the enemy of convenience. The previous system had some potential shortcomings that allowed users to easily revert to less secure options (“secret questions”, etc) if they didn’t have their hardware token with them. A properly-designed secure system would make it impossible to turn off two-factor authentication without extended vetting… which means hiring Customer Service people to establish the identity of the customer. Given the choice between “good” security and “CHEAP” security, it is hardly surprising that eBay went with the “less-good-but-dirt-cheap” option.

So what *should* ebay be doing?

  • If it ain’t broke… offer the $5 footballs again, or admit that you don’t know or care about security.
  • Use a known and trusted out-of-band key-generation system: If you don’t want to pay Verisign, use the Google Authenticator system, which runs in software, and is already trusted with Google, WordPress, DropBox and others who apparently care about security more than you do.
  • Roll your own like Blizzard and others. The technology is tried and trusted. Just do it.

But what if…What if the user cannot, for one reason or another, use the second factor? In addition, it should be possible to allow the users print out a set of recovery codes to use when the second factor is unavailable. Talk to Google about this; they obviously know something you don’t.

Don’t! Stop!

When booking a flight recently, I made the mistake of giving the airline my phone number. This is what happened:

  • First, they tell me to reply STOP to cancel.
  • Then when I do, they tell me to reply STOP * to cancel.
  • Then they tell me that I am opted out.
  • Then they tell me that they are sending messages again.

Good Grief!

Christmas in… August?

Just got this in my email:

 

My coverage does not run out until the end of the year, but they are trying to get me to pay up now; more than four months before the bill is due.

*SIGH*… They do this every year.

Vega Conflict – Afore Ye Go

Ten things that Kixeye should do before Tier 7

  1. Coin spend confirmation. Yes, I know that you’ve already decided that this is somehow “good for the players” (i.e., good for Kixeye), but I respectfully disagree. To put this into perspective, I haven’t purchased any coins in nearly a year. This is the reason why.
  2. Rebalance I: Reduce the “price” of Tier 4 items. Particularly VSec, which is currently more expensive than Xeno. Wassup wid dat?
  3. Rebalance II: Reduce refit times or implement a refit bay. Three days to install a single I-wave (Infernal Wave Driver) III which is hopelessly outclassed by Xeno everything? Ten days to install a top-end drive to a Javelin Jumpship? Are you joking me? Five days to build a naked Xeno ship is not bad, but up to two weeks to put weapons on it is a little bit much, don’t you think?
  4. Rebalance III: The pattern drop rate of Xeno Crafting is a joke. When you have more than a hundred cores and no patterns, something is obviously rotten in the state of Vega.
  5. Bug-fix I: Fix the “to-the-bottom” bug. Start the game. Remove a ship and put it back in, then try to add a ship to any other fleet. Once the “Recent Hulls” list is empty, you end up at the bottom of the “all hulls” list. This is a major pain on mobile, since we don’t have a scroll bar and have to manually scroll all the way back to the top.
  6. Bug-fix II: Fix the “No-avatar-on-Mobile” bug. Every time I play on mobile, my avatar gets reset to generic. It can only be reset on Steam…
  7. Bug-fix III: Fix the sort-order-faction bug. Sometimes the sort order of the hull selector gets changed to “Factions”. This was introduced when “sort-by-Faction” became an option.
  8. Fix the Black Market: The BM was once the most exciting part of the game; proceed to a planet, often running a blockade, to dock with a station, where you could trade your hard-earned Blood Amber for some excellent deals, including instant Mk II upgrade tokens. While you’re at it, make all resistors reusable. We paid dearly in Blood (Amber) for them, we shouldn’t lose them when we refit because Kixeye changed the Meta of the game (as they have already done, at least twice). These days, it is more of the “Coin Market” and the content hasn’t changed much in the past year; Dread/Komodo/Venom again? Give me a break…
  9. Make Blood Amber Great Again: Over the past year, the value of Blood Amber has been reduced. There is nothing that Blood Amber can buy that Coins can’t buy more cheaply. Kixeye values your Daily Missions at about ten cents.That’s how much Kixeye values the players; think about that.
  10. New daily missions: Same old, same old. Nuff said.

Google Goes Googly

I’ve been a “fan” of Google for more than ten years. However, they just did something that made me feel very uncomfortable.

They recently updated their YouTube App, but when I went to The Android Market Google Play store I was confronted with the following horror-show:

That’s a bloody awful lot of permissions!

Why all the new permissions? Why does YouTube need access to my contents (which they already own) device info (which they already know) and Contacts (which they already store)?

But wait! There’s more! A few days later they replaced the “Not Now” link (why not a button?) on the nag screen nag screen with a thirty-second countdown timer:

Update Or else

This screen comes up every time the app is started, which is extremely annoying, Google are playing hardball in their attempt to get you to get you to upgrade… and sign away a load of your personal information for which they have no clearly explained need.

Unlike most users, I do not use my main account to watch YouTube, so it doesn’t affect me. Instead, I use a secondary account with no Contacts for them to scarf, so updating is no big deal for me. I advise other users to do the same. But it is enough to make one wonder…

Google, what on Earth are you playing at?