I’VE GOT NOTHING AGAINST GOD

Some of us don’t have a news service per se running on our device, computer, tablet, telephone, whatever. I am one of those people. It took a long time for me to me to untether from the constant background chatter of news and breathless headlines. Especially difficult having a husband who was one of those guys who stood in front of the camera announcing the latest calamity, crises, act of God, murder-du-jour, scandal, whatever.

He too has largely detached from the constant barrage of what passes for news in 2015. Instead of rejecting all news, he has redefined it. Baseball is news. Movies, books, plays, and television shows are news. The rest is noise. When elections roll around, we begin to follow the political news. And we vote. Even in local elections.

Otherwise, news is one more way the world raises our blood pressure and ruins a good night’s sleep.

But wait! I pop in and out of Facebook, so that is my news. So in the spirit of the prompt of the day, here’s the third headline from my Facebook feed:

got nothing against God

I don’t think I have much to add to the sentiment. I didn’t post it myself, so don’t go weird on me. You asked, I delivered.

Take it for what it’s worth. Ponder it. Consider the underlying meaning. Whether or not it fits your idea of reality, your relationship with the religious element in the politics of the region in which you live.

Get back to me on that. My work here is finished.


Ripped from the Headlines

Click to whatever website you visit most frequently to get news. Find the third headline on the page. Make sure that headline is in your post.

NET NEUTRALITY BECOMES THE LAW OF THE LAND| ZDNET

Kindle and iPad

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted today to accept FCC chairman Tom Wheeler’s proposal that the Commission “use its Title II authority to implement and enforce open Internet protections.” Or, to put it in plain English, your ISP must provide equal broadband access to you or any site — Amazon, Netflix, etc. — without slowing down or speeding up sites for additional fees.

As expected, the vote to treat ISPs as common carriers passed by a party line vote of three Democrats over the two Republicans. Under this regulation, broadband Internet services will be governed by Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended by the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Mobile broadband vendors, such as 4G providers AT&T, Sprint and Verizon Wireless will also be regulated as common carriers based on Title III of the Communications Act. It should also be noted that since Wheeler made his proposal, the FCC has redefined broadband as delivering at least 25-Megabits per second (Mbps).

The Republicans claimed that the FCC was over-reaching its authority by putting in a secret Obama plan for net neutrality. Wheeler dismissed this as nonsense in his final speech. He summed up, “This is the FCC using all the tools in our toolbox to protect innovators and consumers; to ban paid prioritization, the so-called fast lane. [This] will not divide the Internet into haves and have-nots.”

Source: www.zdnet.com

This is something which affects all of us. It appears we finally have a victory. Let’s hope this is the last we hear of it!

See on Scoop.itIn and About the News

OO-BLA-DI, OO-BLA-DA

No news is not good news. It’s just no news.

We are in a slow news period. It’s not as if nothing is going on. It’s just that nothing is going on in which anyone is especially interested.

2014’s elections were the usual vicious, contentious, nasty business. We used to get outraged, upset, furious about elections. Now, they come. They go. Everything changes, but nothing is different. This time, when the elections ended, it got quiet in a hurry. Bring on Christmas.

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The holidays came and went. All through February, the weather (pardon the pun) has been the hot topic. And who Prince Harry is (or isn’t) dating. “Deflategate” is being beaten to death on the sports networks, but is anyone listening? Do we care? As memories of the Super Bowl fade, spring training begins. Can the Sox pull themselves out of the tank? Is there hope for 2015? That’s the most interesting question on the news horizon.

We’ve had a lot of snow.

snow window poster february 2015

I’m sure a national calamity was predicted for this year, but I forget what it was. Rumors to the contrary notwithstanding, the sky isn’t falling, unless that’s really what all that white stuff is … the sky falling, I mean.

72-Dirty-Snow_09

So there are no fresh disasters. Whichever huge controversies were with us last year and the year before are still lurking, along with a few tired, sleazy scandals. It’s the same old, same old. Back to the everyday struggles of a tired population hoping things will get better and suspecting they won’t. A new year is rolling along. Oo-bla-di, oo-bla-da.

BLIZZARD!!

Living in New England, in the heart of winter, there’s nothing unusual about a storm on the way. Apparently what’s unusual about this one is its magnitude. It’s supposed to be really big. How big?

blizzard 2015 map

Huge. Stretching up and down the entire coast and way out to sea. That is, until it comes ashore, something it is in the process of doing right now. They have cancelled school throughout New England for the next three days. Children are rejoicing throughout the region, but their parents are not quite as thrilled.

Blizzard-Warning-graphic

The threat of hurricane force winds combined with massive snow accumulations makes most adults anxious. Or worse. It doesn’t matter how well prepared you are. Past a certain point, it’s not up to you. What will be, will be and you’ll just have to ride it out.

power outage warnings

I don’t remember so many super storms in the past. They happened, it’s true, but not storms the size of a continent. Not storm that affected most of the country at the same time. You can be as deep in denial as you like, but our weather has gotten weird, wild, and a bit frightening. We can argue as much as we like about whose fault it is, but it’s hard to ignore the evidence.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It is snowing as I write this. Not as hard as it probably will later in the evening, but the roads are already slippery. It’s the layer on top of the layer that was left from a few days ago. That’s the way it goes here. Each snow becomes the ice layer under the next until eventually, the pavement is a distant memory.

Assuming I can get one of the doors open tomorrow, I’ll take some pictures. Very white pictures. I’m sure they will be beautiful.

LIFE HAPPENS

I have a project which is going to suck up a lot of my life for the next 5 or 6 weeks. It’s not a bad thing. It’s actually a cool thing, but if I tell you what it is, I will have to kill you. Or me.

So, there’s a strong probability I won’t be able to post as often as I have been. I’ll try to continue to post something every day — even if it is short . I’ll grab whatever time I can.

top secret

I am bowing to reality. Conceding I can’t do everything. Some things can’t be hurried and this is one of those things. Since something’s gotta give, I’d rather it not be me. I have a project with a deadline. A lot to do and it will chew up my days.

I can’t tell you what it is. I apologize for being mysterious, but I’m not allowed. You are free to use your imagination in trying to figure out what I’m doing. Whatever you think, the reality is mundane, unromantic, not at all bizarre. But fun.

Hint: It does not involve the government, espionage,  or extraterrestrials.

Hint 2: I am not writing a book.

Hint 3: There’s (almost) no writing involved. No photography at all.

Hint 4: I’m not getting paid for it.

If by some remote chance, you actually figure out what I’m doing, I’ll email you directly to congratulate you. But you won’t guess.

Even after I’m done, I won’t be able to tell you more than I’m finished with the project. Until next year.

GLORIA MUNDI! NEW ROUTER, NOT SICK!

Our intermittent connection problem went critical. We had been having connection issues since before Christmas, but I thought it was an outside problem. Charter being Charter, as it were.

netgear ac750 router

It took a bit of tracking down, but eventually, we realized that the old Linksys was in its sixth year, which for computer gear so critical to everything we use, is ancient. And it was failing.

Charter has been ramping up their broadband speed for the past year, so I knew it was likely the old router couldn’t handle the higher speed. But it was more than that. It was not broadcasting a strong enough signal. Diagnosis: Tired old router needs replacement and honorable retirement.

Amazon isn’t cheaper for everything, but for electronics, they usually have the best prices and selection. If you have Amazon Prime, they are offer the fastest delivery at no charge.

I’m a real fan of Amazon. They honor their promises. If you don’t get your package, they send another. If the product doesn’t work, they refund your money or send a replacement — your choice. They are nice when you call with a problem. Rather than go over to our local Best Buy or Walmart, we went online.

We were right. Amazon had great prices on a huge selection of routers. There were so many to choose from … and the technology has changed so much since the last time we installed a router … most of our time was spent trying to figure out what the descriptions meant, and which router was the right one for our house.

Owen said NetGear was easiest to install. Even though we’d been using Linksys for so many years. Since he was doing the installation, I saw no reason to argue the point.

We settled on NETGEAR AC750 Dual Band Wi-Fi Gigabit Router (R6050). At $81.99 plus tax, with free 2-day shipping, it seemed likely to do the job. We ordered it Saturday and surprise! It arrived this morning, Monday. No, I didn’t pay extra for speedy shipping. Amazon is very fast.

It’s installed. It took about an hour, including some hassling with the wireless printer and some more hassling with the Roku. There’s one more Roku in the bedroom I will have to reset plus three Kindles. Owen’s has hooked up his laptop and tablet. My three computers and Garry’s two are also up and running.

Do you think we have enough wireless stuff around here?

The router works really well. No dead spots in the house anymore! Not one, not anywhere. Finally, we have full coverage through both floors and in every room.

What could NetGear do to improve the experience? Provide better instructions!

Every problem we encountered was not a problem. It was just something for which no instructions or explanation is provided. I know everyone thinks tech writers are obsolete. I AM a tech writer. But seriously, folks. How much could it cost to hire a tech writer for a couple of days to write proper, English-language instructions? We work cheap!

Reading through reviews on Amazon, I’m betting 90% of the complaints were failures to understand what to do. Better instructions would solve the problem.

Can you say “Happy Ending?” Sometimes, things work out better than you expect. This is one of those times!

IT MUST BE TRUE … I SAW IT ON THE NEWS

INTRODUCTION BY GARRY ARMSTRONG:

I remember discussions about news coverage more than 50 years ago.  My college radio colleagues and I thought the mainstream media outlets were sellouts, ignoring the real stories and covering their collective butts with government propaganda. Some of us vowed to seek employment with the CBC, The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation where we would have a greater chance to tell the truth.

skydivingLuck intervened and I landed a job with ABC Network News as a 20 something. ABC, coincidentally, was revamping its national and international news format. They wanted new blood. We were encouraged to be fresh and innovative. Newbie newsies like me leapfrogged over veterans from the advent of radio and TV news.

The late 60’s, 70’s and 80’s were the new “golden era” for broadcast news. We had access to newsmakers in the highest places. We were emboldened to take chances even when threatened by power brokers. I always worked in the moment, never fearing the consequences of political windmills I might tilt.

It was a Camelot period for those of us who sought to report the truth. Then everything began to change.

Fast forward ahead to today and the proliferation of 24 hour cable news and social media. Camelot is dead. News — local and network — is controlled by corporate entertainment divisions.

Newbie newsies today don’t have the support or access I did half a century ago, but they still have a bully pulpit and should use it — if they have the courage and conviction to try to create change.

AND NOW, THE NEWS …

My husband was a news guy for more than 40 years. For 32 of those years, he was a reporter. You could watch him on television pretty much every day.

He covered breaking news. Murder, fires, disasters. Blizzards, hurricanes, politics. Riots. Court cases. Wherever something was happening, there he was. I knew the news from both sides. How it was made, how come some stories got on the air and others did not. What made a story “hot” and why. I have no illusions about the accuracy of media, but I also know how hard reporters work. How little the public appreciates the enormous amount of work that goes into one of those little reports you see every night.

96-StudioWide-Vert-34

Reporters don’t usually get to choose what to report. They can enterprise projects. Maybe get to do something they think is worthwhile. A reporter can request to be put on a particular story.

In the end, reporters are employees. They have bosses. They go where they are sent. If they don’t follow orders, they won’t be working long.

Like every other profession. Unless you own the company, you do your job. It’s not like the movies. Once upon a time reporters had more freedom to investigate, but not in recent decades.

Today, news is entertainment. It wasn’t always. Back in “the day,” it was public service. Maybe someday, it will be again. For now, though, the news has to make money. For television station owners, corporate and local owners. Sponsors. Advertisers.

Hopefully this isn’t a surprise to anyone. You all knew this, right?

This is not to say that reporters don’t work their butts off to do the best job they can. Some don’t, but most do. It’s a rough world. Highly competitive, long hours. Much of the time spent racing the clock through rain, wind, sleet, and bad traffic. Seeing the worst stuff imaginable. Murder, mayhem, and human  misery is the bread and butter of news.

Living with a reporter has not made me less skeptical of media than the average citizen. I know how little and how much I can trust what I see and hear. “Incompetent” media is that way because news directors think that’s what you want. If you want it, you will watch it . It will have high ratings which will sell advertising minutes. It’s all about the bottom line. News is a business. Big business. Not a holy cause.

We expect a lot from reporters. We expect them to be better than us. To be fairer. To search for the truth on our behalf. We hold them to a higher standard than we hold ourselves because …

Well, because …

75-Emmy-3Okay, why do we feel that way? We don’t necessary seek the truth. Many of us choose to believe obvious lies and don’t ever check to see if there’s any evidence to support our position.

Reporters are people, some better than others. We are all responsible for seeking truth. If you believe in God, then you believe He gave us free will to figure out stuff. To not believe the snake.

If you don’t believe in God, then you still believe in free will … and that we should not believe the snake oil salesmen.

Nobody could get away with making stuff up, and presenting it as truth (and news) if we were not eager to believe it.

In the end, we will only get accountability and accuracy from media if we demand it.  As long as corporate owners believe their audience wants rumor, innuendo, and outright lies … and will believe anything without corroboration or concern for truth? That’s exactly what they provide.

SICK ROUTER, GLORIA MUNDI

Our intermittent connection problem just went critical. We’ve been having off and on connection issues since before Christmas, but I thought it was an outside problem.

75-ModemAndRouter-30

Today, when no one in the house could stay connected and some of us could not connect at all, I realized we have a problem. It doesn’t appear to be the modem and the computers are fine.

The router is apparently failing. I don’t know how old it is, but it’s probably a few years old. I don’t remember when we installed it. One way or the other, in computer years, it’s ancient.

Charter has been ramping up their broadband speed. It’s possible — maybe probable — the router can’t handle the higher speed. In any case, the router is surely due for replacement. It’s one of those things we don’t replace until it stops working. Otherwise, it’s easier to just let it be. No one ever wants to crawl around in my office plugging and unplugging cables, and configuring equipment.

Tomorrow, we’ll buy a new router. It’s Owen’s day off, so he will hook it up. It’s a pain in the butt, but not the end of the world.

I don’t know if I’ll be able to get back online until we replace it. It’s been difficult and getting worse. In case I can’t get online for a while, not to worry.

The router is sick. Garry and I are fine!