28 July 2013

The Slippery Slope

I've seen this Argument used a lot in recent issues. And I mean, a lot

Not to say that I'm totally innocent of it, I sometimes find myself slipping down it, but I try my best to correct myself if I do find myself engaged in a debate where I've unconsciously deployed it.

What I'm here to talk about today is the prolonged use of the slippery slope.

Conservatives are well known for this one. Lord Tebbit recently so on Gay Marriage

“It would lift my worries about inheritance tax because maybe I’d be allowed to marry my son. Why not? Why shouldn’t a mother marry her daughter? Why shouldn’t two elderly sisters living together marry each other?”

But it's not just the crazies who use it. Everyone uses it, from the Far left to the Far right.

Now if you viewed my last blog, you may notice I used this here image about the UK's proposed internet filter:

This one, to be precise

Now, because David Cameron simply praised this system (Which is probably a good system for those who use it!), the Internet has latched onto this connection and is screaming something about this being part of the proposed system he's put forward. 

I've tried my best to make them see this, but everyone screeches about "BUT HE'LL BLOCK EVERYTHING EVER AND-"

Holy fucking shit everyone. Calm your tits. Listen to what you're saying. This is a perfect example of the Slippery Slope.

Yes, there is evidence that the filter will contain more than just porn, but here's the kicker.
It doesn't include Games, Social Networking or Dating


Let go of this image and use the one from Open Rights Group instead. It's a lot more accurate and not as bad.

It's still a fucking stupid idea, don't get me wrong. 
Just avoid the fucking slippery slope, wudja?

26 July 2013

Cameron and his Shitwall

So yet again, we have yet another internet control policy, disguised with the "Protect the Children" wrapper.

I'm not entirely sure what part of Cam's brain thought this through, to be honest with you.

(If you're not aware, some articles on the topic:

But if you're not in the mood to read through those links.. Basically, "Adult" websites will be blocked at an ISP level in order to prevent children seeing porn. I'd imagine anything with sexual content would immediately get blocked. Which - rightfully so - has wound up everyone and Cam himself has backed down a bit.

I'm taking this moment while he's backing down to throw that last rotten apple at his stupid smug face.

Just look at it.

Attempting to block Adult content on a huge scale like this is obviously going to cause some problems logistically, but I'm not a networking wiz, so I'll refrain from talking about that to prevent myself looking like a massive tit.

The Great Shit Wall of Cameron will block Sexual content, unless you call your ISP and opt-out of the filter.
This seems like a pretty fair practice in theory. In theory being the key phrase there.

Have you ever wanted to just call a random person on the phone and say "Yes, I like to watch porn, just thought I'd let you know!"?
Didn't think so.

Now, it isn't just your typical porn sites getting blocked. It's anything that could contain sexual content.

Reddit's /r/GoneWild could potentially disable reddit by default
Because of the amount of NSFW blogs on Tumblr, that could be gone too

And I'm only just getting started.

My point being, any amount of sites which lots of people use quite innocently will be blocked because a section of the website is used as a NSFW host.

As an example of what Cameron hopes to Implement with his shitwall, here's a system he praised - TalkTalk's "HomeSafe" filter.

See that?
That is what the HomeSafe can filter.

Now obviously, Cam's shitwall won't block all of those by default - otherwise the entire internet will just be blocked. But it's a good example of what Cam doesn't like.

I'm not going to get screechy conspiracy theorist like a lot of people are getting like, screaming about slippery slopes and chinese firewalls.  (Just thought I'd throw that in - Previous few paragraphs felt a bit OTT)

But here's the thing, Dave.
Children are going to see porn. There's no ifs or buts (heh, butts) about it. If a kid accidentally stumbles his way across a "Content Blocked" filter, and then gets it in their head that they want to see this thing, they will find their way around it.

I used to do it in School - When the IT Admin decided to block "Stickdeath.com", we all found a way around it. When they blocked Miniclip, we found a way around it. You couldn't stop us playing or watching silly little flash games in "Computing Club"

But, what about Pornography or Adult content off the internet? Dave already said he would not ban Page 3 from The Sun newspaper

The only time you will see me post gratuitous titties on this blog.

If this isn't adult content, Cam, I don't know what is.

Anyone - and I mean anyone - can buy The Sun. What do you want me to do? Call the police every time I pick up a copy of The Sun?

But what makes this filter even more infuriating is that it was recently revealed that Chinese IT security company Huawei is in charge of TalkTalk's HomeSafe filter.

The USA and Canada have both expressed desire to never use this company due to it's "alleged" links to the Chinese Government. (The USA no longer has room to criticise because of its recent NSA widespread spying scandal)

But here's the kicker. This filter, while is currently Opt-in (And any ISP can set a filter if you call up and ask for one!) has traffic filtered through Huawei's systems anyway!

Customers who do not want filtering still have their traffic routed through the system, but matches to Huawei's database are dismissed rather than acted upon

So if some nosy techie at Huawei wanted to have a peek at what you were looking at, even if you weren't filtered, he could probably have a look at it anyway.

So here's my open letter to David Cameron, The Daily Mail and anyone who thinks that this Widespread mandatory filter is a great idea:

I appreciate that you are concerned about children and their activities on the internet, but blocking the entire country's internet into an opt-out system is a terrible idea, but logistically, this is a fucking terrible idea.

Children are destructively curious, and incredibly quick to learn creatures, (As well as bloody invincible) - If they can't get to the page they want, they will go to a proxy and get at it anyway. And if they can't get at those, they will go for TOR. And you do not want your children on TOR. While it can be used to browse the Internet anonymously,  It's also pretty much the only way to get into the "Dark Net" (Which sounds fucking hilarious to me - Like some kind of Nega-Internet) but it's actually a hive of villainy. Drugs, Slaves, Hit contracts.. you name it, it's on there.

The easiest way to stop kids getting at porn? Set up your own god damned Parental Control systems and just watch your kids when they're on the computer. We're not a babysitting service!

25 July 2013

Payday Loans

Two posts in one day, I spoil you.
Anyway, this one comes from the core. There's nothing I know more than about Payday Loans.

Payday loans are a scam. I'm not just saying that because of the absurd APR.
The APR on a payday loan is irrelevant. It's only at 32145% because they are a short-term loan. Imagine setting an APR of 17% on what is a typical 1 month loan of, say, £100. That's £17 per year. Which is about £1.20-odd per month.

Charging £1.20 interest on a short term loan is not viable for a business. As absolutely abhorrent these businesses are, it's not an evil thing to be charging this much interest. A convenience charge, I tend to call it.

Anyway, I'm not here to defend them, it's just that I tend to see a lot of articles bashing them, then hooking onto the APR as a point.

While it's true that companies providing these loans have a lot of happy customers who can pay back no problem and carry on without borrowing more, there are lots (including myself) who fell into the spiral of borrowing more because money got low again toward the end of the month.

If you are on Minimum wage or thereabouts DO NOT GET A LOAN LIKE THIS! 
You might think "Oh, the interest is fine, I can pay that back no worries." Think a little ahead. I was an idiot and didn't.

I spiraled out of control, and only a few months ago, I decided to seek help to pay these companies back.
I ended up borrowing from 5 lenders, all at around £500 each. I'd maxed a credit card and I'd hit my credit limit, my history was poor (I can't get much lower on the scale, so banks were turning me down for a more reasonable long-term loan.)

When you can't pay them back - your lack of money does not matter. You might be totally broke, but it doesn't matter. "Give us that money or we double your interest" they always said. This is how I ended up borrowing from multiple companies. Borrowing from one to pay another. It's a vicious cycle you cannot escape.

Sure, that "Money within 10 minutes" might tempt you, but be honest with yourself. Do you NEED that thing? Can it wait until your actual payday? If you can wait, for god's sake - WAIT - It's not worth the potential stress these shits can cause.

These companies chase you down. They only turn nice when you actually seek help (In my case, I went to a debt management and consolidation company).
Now I get at least 7-8 e-mails in a week offering 10-20% off the total amount I owe if I pay it back right there and then.

It's nice that they only start thinking of those in serious trouble once they've actually gone to get help. Talk about throwing a lifebelt to a guy already in the rescue boat.

24 July 2013

"Sneaky Hate Spiral"

(Hello to Blogger! I've moving from Tumblr to Blogger because of a more "reader" friendly environment. :) )
Hat Tip to Allie Brosh for this one: http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.co.uk/2010/05/sneaky-hate-spiral.html - She’s awesome!
I usually end up with at least one per summer, and I thought I’d got away with it this year. (It got so bad pre-2011 and actually thought I had Summer SAD but that was just circumstance.)
I had one last night. It started quite innocently. I hit snooze one too many times because getting me out of bed is akin to performing a miracle. So, I didn’t have time for a shower, and if anyone has been following the news, you’ll know that Britain has been under Heatwave conditions for the last 2 weeks.
So I was a stinky-butt from the get-go. Deodorant shower is go. Gross, I know, but for the first time in months, I was up early because of some training I had to be at at work. I’m nocturnal, so I wasn’t in the best of moods. I’d also only slept for 4 hours because of the heat.
Now, because I’ve had quite the busy month this month, my car is low on petrol.. And I’m out of cash. Rather than risking running out of petrol on my way to work and getting stuck on a road, I've opted to walk to work this week, which I don’t mind - I need to lose some weight anyway and I don’t mind the walk!
What I do mind, however, is the weather being muggy as hell (Honest, I checked the weather when I got to work - 97% humidity) and it was still warm (20C - which is about 77F) which wouldn’t have been too bad for a nice t-shirt and shorts walk, I guess. Unfortunately, It was also raining
I didn’t want to turn up to this seminar looking like someone threw me into a river, So I donned my waterproof jacket and jeans and headed out into the furnace
I hadn’t even walked a mile and I was already drenched in sweat, my bag hanging off my back feeling more and more like a stupid anchor. I just wanted to take off my jacket and t-shirt, lie down in a puddle and let the rain cool me off. But no - I was already running late. I carried on. 
I got to work, I might as well have just walked without the jacket with the amount of sweat coming off me.
So here’s the situation so far:
I’ve woken up late, I fucking stink, I’ve walked 4 miles in godawful heat and humidity, got to work late, my entire body is damp through sweat and I’m causing the building to need a fumigation - and I’ve only been awake an hour. Not a great start. Worst of it over, right?
Nope. Not in the slightest.
As I sit down in the seminar room, I can sense people trying to avoid me. Fair ‘nuff, I’d probably avoid me right now anyway. No offense gang. Feel free to throw potpourri at me.
So after a total of 6 hours of listening to a guy talk on about stuff we don’t even need in our job role (I was verging on passing out due to a combination of heat, boredom and lack of sleep) We got out and I went to chat to my best pal who works in another department. 
I got a lift home from another pal in another department, which was good. I definitely would not have made it home. I hopped out of the car a few streets early so he wouldn’t have to make a diversion. As I was walking toward home, a car drove through a puddle and soaked me. Motherfucker!
After eating, I immediately dived into the shower. So good.
I fought with my hair and ripped half of it out again because of all the knots in my hair that just happen.
I got back to my desk to find some horrible personal news which I shall not divulge here. This was my tipping point. This is the event that I could do nothing to prevent. There was nothing I could do to help. I sat there, fuming to myself and checked other websites before I just went to vent my frustrations on video games 
(If you must know, I went to play Dishonoured and instead of a sneaky style, I just went mental and stabbed everyone like a madman)
I got a call from another friend. “Hey dude, any chance of a lift?" 
Yes! Finally, A little drive I can have to get my frustrations out! I pulled £10 out of my super-emergency fund, and hopped into my car and turned the key. Ch-chug went the engine.
The Battery was fucking dead. I was a massive idiot a few days ago and left my car door ever so slightly open, leaving the cab light on the entire time.
I screamed and headbutted the steering wheel. A long, loud, satisfying Hooooooooooonk echoed down the street. This is it, the day I snap. I sat there for a moment. “It’s happening again. The Sneaky Hate Spiral has arrived."
After a few failed attempts of giving it a jump start with the sister’s car, We gave up and I sat in the passenger seat while we went to pick them up.
And then the highlight of the day. Despite me not using my car, my friend gave my sister the petrol money she needed, and then just gave me £10 because she “Knew what it was like to be skint"
I would have kissed her if my friend - her boyfriend - wouldn’t have probably smacked me in the mouth.
Sure, people have way worse days than me on a day-to-day basis. But there were just so many little annoyances building up into one hate filled, rage driven screamfest while I was sat in the car. 
Think of this gif, but it was in a car instead.

It's Pride Month!

It's June! It's Pride Month! Aaaand Gatekeeping is a thing, apparently. If I hear/see one more person post about how Asexuality is...