They’ll be Watching Your Every Move (DNS)

I have it from a manager (who wishes to remain anonymous) at one of the largest global ISPs, that the Federal Government will be paying millions of dollars for the company to collect and provide the source IP address and domain name for every DNS lookup that occurs on the public Internet.

Every time you access, say,, your browser makes a DNS (Domain Name System) request to get the current IP address for the domain you’re requesting. Beginning in May, according to my source, that information will be collected and transmitted to the Feds, who will merge it with other data, such as who is paying for your IP address, and how they paid it. Other information it will be merged with will include your Facebook information, all the information Google collects, the emails you’ve sent and received, the porn sites you’ve visited, the proxies you’ve used to attempt to remain anonymous, and so on.

In short, the Feds already know more about you than you do. Soon they will know EVERYTHING about you. You can expect the IRS to knock on your door requesting pennies, or fractions of cents, for unreported transactions and the like in the near future (somebody has to pay for all the greed and corruption in government: why not you?).

My question remains: when will the public have had enough? A dysfunctional government that can’t even balance the budget has squandered bazillions of YOUR (our) dollars to wire you, your body, and your mind for sound and HD video. It’s not a healthy way to live, and no one with a shred of self-respect should be accepting this status quo.

Bon Voyage, Dick Clark

One of the less delightful things about aging is seeing the population of your friends and acquaintances dwindle. I hereby mourn the loss of Dick Clark, one of those whom we feared might be immortal, but turned out to be mortal after all.

I made my acquaintance with Dick on the set of the “$10,000 Pyramid” game show at a decrepit old ABC studio on, I believe it was 57th street, in NYC back in the 1980’s. I was an engineer at ABC at the time. The cameras and studio equipment were on their last legs. The studio was dusty and dirty, as was the set. The set had cobwebs and scuff marks all over it. The set was drenched in light so bright you had to struggle to avoid squinting. The effect of all that light was to wash away the scuff marks, cobwebs, dust, and flaws in the images produced by the dottering cameras. Unfortunately, it also washed away the color and features of the caucasian faces that populated the stage, so Dick and the contestants wore a fair amount of makeup so they would look normal under all that light.

Dick was relaxed, and looking some 20 or more years younger than he was. Close up, and not viewed through the camera, TV pancake makeup doesn’t hide much, rather it tends to accentuate imperfections. Dick had a perfect smile, real hair, and looked 30 even though he was in his 50’s at that time. No wrinkles were evident. It was truly amazing. I thought “the rumors are true; he’s immortal”. I wondered how old he really was… hundreds, thousands, millions of years?

The folks in the control room weren’t so relaxed. They didn’t like being stuck in such an old, out-of-date studio, and they wanted to get out of there. A technical problem that was beyond their responsibility needed fixing. As I took care of it, Dick chatted with the contestants, technicians, and me in the same, casual and engaging way he did on-camera. Neither his surroundings, not the technical problems seemed to have any effect on his sunny disposition. I wrapped up my work there, and approached him to say goodbye. “It was so nice to meet you” I said. He looked me dead in the eye like it was a TV camera, smiled, and said “nice to meet you too, and thanks for coming down to take care of us!”. His response was totally genuine. I made it a point to occasionally drop by and say hello or exchange a wave and a smile.

People like Dick Clark was are a minority in the TV business. Far too many, who I will not name here, are temperamental, obnoxious, rude, impatient, and/or spoiled.

Goodbye, Dick. I’m glad I met you briefly while you were in this world.


Malicious Blog Comment Spam

It never ceases to amaze me the amount of effort that is put into spamming, when the results are so statistically low. Every day we get hundreds of poorly crafted comments to this blog posted by bots in the hopes of having a web link appear. It’s SEO (Search Engine Optimization) spam that’s done in hopes of raising ranking on Google and the like. Google, for the most part, ignores this stuff, so the people doing it are a pretty ignorant lot. As are most spammers. After all, if they had some brains, they’d be making more money with less work, and not defecating where they live.

Today we found a much darker form of comment spam. It is malicious. It is a list of obscene words, links to child pornography sites, and the like that would trash the Google and other online reputations if it appeared on the site.

That’s the price of publishing a blog. If you want to maintain any kind of reputation, you have to manually moderate all comments. You can’t simply block IPs because there are zillions of spammers, and not all in the third world. We have logged hundreds in Los Angeles, for example. And so, spammers create jobs for comment moderators. There’s a duality operative here. For each badness of the spammers, a relative goodness manifests to counter it. Cat and mouse. Good cop, bad cop. White hat, black hat. Oh the wonder of the human race! Makes you wonder…