Bleg — Image Plugin

Since the start of the blog, I had been using “NextGen” photo gallery plug-in and it was great.

Until about a year ago, then they started updating it  and every update made the plug-in less and less usable.
Now it simply doesn’t work.

So, simple request for the WordPress crowd; what is a good replacement?

 

Thanks for your help in advance.

 

 

 

 

Solar Flare Saturday?

Put on your tin foil hats for just a few minutes and check this out:

 

 

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Experts say the combined energy from two recent solar events will arrive at Earth on Saturday, prompting the Space Weather Prediction Center to issue a strong geomagnetic storm watch.

Wait. What kind of watch? Basically, the sun is a giant ball of gas: 92.1% hydrogen and 7.8% helium. Every now and then, it spits out a giant burst of radiation called a coronal mass ejection.

These ejections are sometimes associated with solar flares, the most explosive events in the solar system. The sun has released two ejections in the past two days, and both are linked to solar flares. NASA says the second flare is an X1.6 class, putting it in the most intense category.

The energy from those two ejections is heading toward Earth.

X1.6 class sounds pretty intense; doesn’t it?

Space weather experts aren’t sure what this solar storm will do.

“This is a pretty strong solar storm, and we just won’t know until it gets here” what it will do, said CNN meteorologist Chad Myers.

Earth’s atmosphere usually protects us humans, but you might want to keep a flashlight handy. Solar storms can knock out power, interfere with GPS and radio communications — including those on commercial airliners — and damage satellites.

“People on the ground really don’t have to worry,” said Lika Guhathakurta, a program scientist with NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory. She said solar storms don’t affect humans on the ground, although astronauts could be at risk.

And our technology.

But don’t worry too much. NASA can take steps to protect the crew members on the International Space Station, and satellite operators can turn off sensitive sensors on satellites to mitigate the risk to your smartphones and wi-fi connection. There may be temporary glitches, though, Guhathakurta says.

Of course they barely  mention the possibility of blowing up transformers or affecting just about all the electronic components modern life depends on now.

“FEMA has been notified of these events just in case,” Thomas Berger, director of NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center, said at a Thursday news conference.

On March 13, 1989, a solar storm knocked out power for the entire province of Quebec for 12 hours. Power grids in the United States were affected but didn’t have blackouts. NASA says some satellites tumbled out of control for hours during what’s known as the Quebec Blackout. The space shuttle Discovery was in orbit at the time and had a mysterious sensor problem that went away after the storm, NASA says.

I’m not suggesting everyone head for their bug out locations. Just be aware that it is happening.
It might make sense to take a few precautions; keeping some times turned off, removing batteries from others, watching the news instead of binging out on NetFlix.

If something does happen, well “The chair is against the wall, Charlie is wearing a long coat”.  :)

 

Gmail Hacked

Time to change your password again. A database containing nearly 5 million Gmail user accounts and passwords was leaked on Bitcoin Security, a popular Russian website devoted to the cryptocurrency.

The text file was published on Tuesday night by user tvskit, according to CNews, the Russian news outlet that first broke the story. The leaker claimed that the majority of the accounts belong to users who speak English, Russian, or Spanish, and that approximately 60 percent are active. The passwords not only give access to Gmail, but a slew of other Google services such as Drive and the mobile payment system Google Wallet.

 

One of the major reasons I haven’t gone to digital wallets; all too often the service itself is hacked.

You can verify whether your account was affected by clicking here and entering your gmail address. It’s that simple. You can also enable Google’s 2-step verification by following the company’s easy steps.

International Business Times is cautioning against ‘verifying your account’ though

Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL) users concerned that their own identity might be listed among the stolen usernames are advised to avoid typing their username and password into any website that claims to check if that name has been compromised. Cybercriminals frequently use this kind of method, known as a “honeypot,” to steal even more identities. A number of sites have already appeared to distribute phishing messages under the guise of offering help.

 

 

It’s best to  simply change passwords again. Sigh……now to come up with something I can use but still remember.

Example of Abuse– and Culture

This is an anecdote regarding the abuse of power and responsibility that law enforcement officers have.

The reporting officer alleged that both Ruiz and Glashoff found women’s profiles had been browsing women on dating websites like Tinder, eHarmony, and Match.com while working at the investigations bureau office of the Fairfield Police Department

Court documents allege the officers then used a police-issued computer to look up the women they found appealing in a confidential law enforcement database that connects to the DMV and state and federal records.

 

Now spending time on dating sites instead of solving crimes is a bad problem….but the major concern is the use of the database for personal reasons. This is a great example why registries for anything, especially gun ownership, is a bad idea in my opinion. The ease of abuse is frightening.

What is worse in my view is this:

Court documents go on to say Sgt. Ruiz and Detective Glashoff would perform the searches and have conversations about the dating sites in front of other officers.

The court documents allege another Fairfield officer reported the incidents to his superior back in June.

Emphasis above mine — because consider how long it had probably been happening, how they got the idea that it was okay to even run the searches and why every single officer who knew about it didn’t immediately stop it.

One — just one — officer complained when probably several or more knew about it.

The goal of the Investigation Bureau operates using two divisions: Major Crimes Division and Quality of Life Division.

Major Crimes Division

Major Crimes Division is commanded by a Lieutenant and Sergeant.
The division employs 10 detectives who handle crime in the following catagories:

The division also has a Police Probation Team Unit that addresses juvenile crime and diversion.

Quality of Life Division

Quality of Life Division is commanded by a Lieutenant and two Sergeants (Gang Unit and Narcotics Unit).
The division uses several units to address crime in the community:

How many officers knew about their activities? We’ll never know– and isn’t that a problem also — but it was probably more than 1….probably half a dozen or more. How many officers have done the same or related invasion of privacy? We won’t know and isn’t that another problem.

 

And isn’t this just lovely?

If the allegations are found true, the officers could face felony criminal charges.

Both officers remain assigned to their regular duties.

Yeah— facing the possibility of felony charges and still working — able to access the same databases….doesn’t that just thrill everyone?

And this is a relatively passive abuse; what happens when the police have other tools available to them?

 

The deputy police chief in Dallas told Fox News over the weekend that Americans had the misperception that police forces were over-militarized because departments had not painted armored vehicles blue.

During an interview about the unrest after Michael Brown’s killing in Ferguson, Fox News host Jeanine Pirro pointed out to Dallas Deputy Police Chief Malik Aziz that “the perceived militarization is a problem.”

Aziz argued, however, that police departments were not over-militarized, and that people were more concerned about the misapplication of military equipment that was procured through Department of Defense programs.

“There are a lot of applications for it,” he insisted. “What is catching so much attention is the misapplication or the misuse or the deployment of it. And I’ve heard that from around the United States.”

 

The equipment used in policing is an issue; the way it is used is an even greater problem. Deputy Police Chief Aziz is correct in that aspect. So what does he offer as a solution?

But Aziz said that local police department still needed to solve the problem of “misuse or misapplication.”

“And that comes with training,” he continued. “We’re going to have to train police departments to respond. We’re going to have to train leaders, chiefs of police to respond better for leadership and command decisions. And that way, people won’t feel like they don’t have any value or equity in the system when it looks like a war zone.”

Training — professionals involved with resolving problems well recognize how vacant and nearly worthless that answer truly is. We need to train officers in ethics, morality, not breaking the procedures and policies??

That is the solution???

So Deputy Police Chief Aziz just what is the correct training needed to deploy sniper rifles to cover a peaceful protest? What is the correct training need to roll out Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles during riots — making sure the paint scheme is correct?

There has to be a better answer.

 

 

 

 

Limits of Cameras

Great story on WFAA today about a homeowner using a camera to protect his property.

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But note some of the issues —

First

The alarm stopped the burglary but not the break in ! The homeowner still had an expensive repair bill.

Second

It’s an upscale North Dallas neighborhood.  And apparently it’s good prey for thieves.

Yeah, so much for ‘you only need self defense if you live in a bad area.  And make no mistake, the camera (to some extent) and the alarm are self defense measures. They are just passive measures that a person living in a good neighborhood can afford. The technology is not cheap — the camera is $199 for the top model and cloud storage is $99 (for 7 days) or $299 (for 30 days) a year.

Third

Even with the notification, even with the alarm company — the police did not arrive in time to catch the criminal !! He and his possible partner are still out there. And now, thanks to the photos, probably moving to other areas to avoid being recognized.

Fourth -

Even with all the mug shots, the facial recognition software, the databases, etc —

As of Wednesday night, Dallas police had not identified the suspect, but investigators said they are working good leads.

That’s right. With great images available, with clear evidence that this person committed a crime; police still don’t know who he is.

This type of technology is great and will probably, eventually, lead to his arrest and definitely will help his conviction. Unless he plea bargains out but that is another post.

I support and encourage folks to use surveillance cameras and alarms if they can afford them. Proper lighting and securing fences are also great ideas. Just recognize they will not stop everyone.

 

 

Please join the discussion.

Seems About Right….

….but fails to mentions it has be changed every 8.1 days and you can’t use any of your last 187 passwords.

 

 

Government Getting It Wrong – Again

One of the thing that perplexes me about the anti-rights cultists proposals is how often they call for the government to step up and take charge of everything.

President Obama’s call for the government to share more information regarding background checks really has me worried in light of this news report.

A digital chart used by the minesweeper Guardian to navigate Philippine waters misplaced the location of a reef by about eight nautical miles, and may have been a significant factor when the ship drove hard aground on the reef on Jan. 17.

The Guardian drove onto Tubbataha Reef in the Sulu Sea around 2:25 a.m. on Jan. 17 (some sources cite a date of Jan. 16, since that was the date in Washington, D.C. when the incident occurred). The reef is about 80 miles east-southeast of Palawan Island.

Now, I know you may be wondering why a ship running aground is cause for concern; after all ships have been doing that for centuries, right?
Let’s look at a possible (highly probable) root cause of the incident.

The Digital Nautical Charts (DNC) used by the Guardian and most Navy ships are produced by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), a largely secret organization headquartered in Springfield,Va.

The DNC charts come in several versions. “General” and “coastal” versions are used in open areas such as the Sulu Sea, and “approach” and “harbor” versions are used for operating in and around harbors. According to an NGA memo sent to the Navy on Jan. 18, the error was in the coastal DNC, apparently in use on board the Guardian at the time of the grounding.

The general DNC and hardcopy charts show the reef’s location correctly, NGA said. (Emphasis mine – Bob)

This isn’t a case of communication being garbled between two different agencies. This is a government agency making a profound mistake — and it going undetected until now — on what should be a fundamental and routine element of their job !
It isn’t like the reef was wrong on every map in the world – they knew exactly were it was and still produced digital maps that got it wrong.

Does this give you confidence they will do any better if they are further involved with our 2nd Amendment rights?