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Tracking Companies Are The Real Threat To Our Privacy And Congress Is Doing Nothing About These Secondary Surveillance Networks

Congressional “theater” is happening right now and our ‘Congress Critters’ are all seemingly outraged at the privacy violations by Facebook, Google, and all the other tech companies we all use every day. Some even want to break them up as do various Democratic presidential candidates.

But I’d like you to notice that there is not a *peep* from any of them about all the other tracking companies out there, especially ones like Palantir.

Those tracking or “secondary surveillance network” companies are the REAL privacy threats. Literally everything you do digitally is tracked including:

  • Buying anything either online or offline as your credit card data can be purchased by tracking companies and combined with other data
  • Emailing and texting metadata is captured (the content is protected as a warrant is needed to search within an email)
  • Moving around with your smartphone in your pocket provides tracking data of your movements
  • Everything you do (or your devices do automatically) through your internet service provider is tracked now that net neutrality is dead (ISPs can sell your data)
  • Everywhere your face is “recognized” by a camera connected to an increasing number of systems without any regulation since your public persona can be photographed
  • And much more.

Want to See How Bad It Is?

Palantir is one company that has always scared the beejeezus out of me out of me as I’ve personally analyzed this completely opaque and secretive organization. But it wasn’t until I read this article Revealed: This Is Palantir’s Top-Secret User Manual for Cops did I say HOLY SHIT THIS IS BAD!

Turns out Motherboard obtained this Palantir user manual through a public records request, and it gives unprecedented insight into how the company logs and tracks individuals and their system goes far beyond what I ever imagined as a worst-case scenario:

“Palantir is one of the most significant and secretive companies in big data analysis. The company acts as an information management service for Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, corporations like JP Morgan and Airbus, and dozens of other local, state, and federal agencies. It’s been described by scholars as a “secondary surveillance network,” since it extensively catalogs and maps interpersonal relationships between individuals, even those who aren’t suspected of a crime.”

In addition, this article 300 Californian Cities Secretly Have Access to Palantir shows how hard various law enforcement and other agencies are hiding the fact that even use Palantir:

Motherboard obtained documents via public record requests which reveal that the scope of Palantir’s influence in California is significantly larger than previously documented. Payment records indicate that between January 2012 and March 2017, about three hundred cities, collectively home to about 7.9 million people, had access to Palantir’s Gotham service through the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center (NCRIC), which is run through the Department of Homeland Security.

Why use Palantir’s Gotham service instead of licensing the software outright?

Gotham is one of Palantir’s two services, and the other service is Palantir Foundry. These 300 police departments could request data from Palantir, and an NCRIC agent would retrieve this data and provide it to local police. Per this arrangement, none of these departments have to disclose the fact that they have access to Palantir.

Read these articles and go scan the manual and you’ll see that it is trivial for any user of their system — whether directly with Palantir or one of their “service” companies — to obtain a HUGE ARRAY OF PERSONAL DATA on any one of us!

Again, notice how Palantir is not even in the conversation any Congress Critters or presidential candidates are having? Also, where is the mainstream media in all of this?

These secondary surveillance network/tracking companies are already out of control. Congress must act now but they won’t unless you tell them to do so and vote accordingly going forward.

Want to know more and/or take action like I have?

Ask your Congressperson and Senators to pay attention to and regulate these tracking/secondary surveillance network companies:

Why We Didn’t Buy Near the Sea When We Moved to California

Homes along the cliffs of Pacifica are hanging on to time. Some have already been condemned or removed.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

When my wife and I were looking for a home to buy after moving from Minnesota to California just over one year ago, we considered spending more than we wanted to on a home with an ocean view or in a beach community here in Orange County. Most of those homes were far beyond our budget or willingness to spend — especially as we were downsizing as we get closer to entering our “third half of life” — but there were two things that always gave us pause when considering investing quite close to the ocean:

  1. We’d spend A LOT to get a small home in an area packed with people (and cars on the street) and knew that it would feel horrible.
  2. Sea-level rise is going to inundate California coastline and flood many of the areas we’d considered!

So we bought in to an inland development. We’re 14 minutes from Doheny State Beach and 20 minutes from either San Clemente or Laguna Beach, so it’s easy to get our ocean “fix” anytime we want to do so and we do so often. Plus I ensured that we built our new home in a seismically (and wildfire) stable area in order to minimize our risks living in this geologically and dry state.

But sea-level rise is going to be a doozy of a problem for a long time, regardless if you believe in climate change or not (which is probably another post I’ll do at some point).

California Against the Sea

The Los Angeles Times published California Against the Sea this past Sunday and it is a sobering article to say the least, especially these paragraphs in the opening:

THE CALIFORNIA COAST GREW AND PROSPERED during a remarkable moment in history when the sea was at its tamest.

But the mighty Pacific, unbeknownst to all, was nearing its final years of a calm but unusual cycle that had lulled dreaming settlers into a false sense of endless summer.

Elsewhere, Miami has been drowning, Louisiana shrinking, North Carolina’s beaches disappearing like a time lapse with no ending. While other regions grappled with destructive waves and rising seas, the West Coast for decades was spared by a rare confluence of favorable winds and cooler water. This “sea level rise suppression,” as scientists call it, went largely undetected. Blinded from the consequences of a warming planet, Californians kept building right to the water’s edge.

But lines in the sand are meant to shift. In the last 100 years, the sea rose less than 9 inches in California. By the end of this century, the surge could be greater than 9 feet.

Holy cow…9 feet! New research released earlier this year by U.S. Geological Survey scientists showed that:

More than half a million Californians and $150 billion in property are at risk of flooding along the coast by 2100 — equivalent to 6% of the state’s GDP, the study found, and on par with Hurricane Katrina and some of the world’s costliest disasters. The number of people exposed is three times greater than previous models that considered only sea level rise.

Sea Level Rise Viewer

Do you live in California or have friends and family you are concerned about? You might want to use a tool from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) which is pretty sobering if you are like me — someone looking in an area to buy and then realizing it’s 8 feet above sea level and likely to be under water by 2100 — you might want to look elsewhere!

This was a tool I used often so check it out:  [ Go to the Sea Level Rise Viewer ]

Yes, I Believe in UFOs and It Turns Out So Does The U.S. Navy

Ever since I’ve been a kid my fascination with space and the universe has been quite strong. I’ve always paid attention to and that only accelerated when I first watched Carl Sagan’s TV series Cosmos.

Sagan was always teased about his answer to the question: How many galaxies and planets are there? His answer was always “billions and billions” which is, in fact, a best-guess correct answer. Astronomer’s educated estimates are that approximately 100 billion galaxies exist and our own Milky Way galaxy could contain 300 billion stars with a possible 30 billion planets surrounding them!

The University of Cambridge Institute of Astronomy gets a little more detailed than Sagan did in his answer:

In terms of the number of solar systems present in the universe, there are something like 300 billion stars in the Milky Way, so if 10 per cent of them have planets there are around 30 billion planets in our galaxy alone, and there are over 100 billion galaxies in the observable Universe for a total of something in the order of 10^21 (that’s 1 then 21 zeros) planets in the observable Universe.  There is still quite a bit of uncertainty in that number however, and we don’t yet know how many of them would look like our solar system.

So from the time I was a kid until now as an adult, I’ve always believed that it would be quite likely that there could be trillion’s of planets in the universe and therefore very unlikely that ours was the only one in the universe with intelligent life.

Bear with me as I disclose my own UFO encounter, discuss a recent Netflix documentary, and close with the U.S. Navy patenting what is believed by many to be reverse-engineered alien propulsion technology.

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Solar is Still Worth the Investment … But California Utility Pricing is a Mess!

Our solar was turned on around 9am PDT on Wednesday, June 26, 2019. In our first week of solar production we have generated 294.37 killowatt hours (kWh). (I subtracted the energy generated on this eighth day morning as I write this post).

Several people asked me for an update on how solar is working out for us. Turns out it is right on track!

  • Our is a 6.60 kW system with an estimated year 1 production of 10,380 kWh
  • The projection on how many killowatt hours we will consume in a year is approximately 8,600 kWh
  • Which will leave us with a “credit” or excess production of 1,780 kWhs.

Though I won’t really know what a year looks like until June 25, 2020, suffice to say I’ve run a few numbers:

  • This is just about the most perfect time of the year to generate power. My average per day for our first week has been 42.05 kWh of solar generation and we will have at least 3-4 more months of near-daily full sun.
  • With climate change the weather is an unknown, especially since southern California experienced an unusual number of overcast and rainy days this winter. Therefore my assumption is a full year’s daily solar generation will average 30 kWh.
  • Total generation would then reach 10,950 kWh in a year, a full 570 kWh above the solar installer’s estimate of 10,380 kWh.

THE COMPLEXITY OF CALIFORNIA UTILITY PRICING

Holy crap are the variables involved in solar generation pricing difficult to maneuver! From a guy who moved here from Minnesota just over one year ago — where electricity is cheap (we were paying $ .117 per kWh around-the-clock with Xcel Energy in MN) — paying anywhere from $ .24 at Off-Peak times to $ .54 per kWh during Peak usage hours is OUTRAGEOUSLY EXPENSIVE!

San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), the most expensive electricity in the USA, has a myriad of plans that I researched before installing solar:

  1. A Standard Plan with three tiers depending upon usage (and this plan is going away).
  2. Time-of-Use Plans which have Peak, Off-Peak, and Super Off-Peak rates.
  3. Electric Vehicle Plans which let you charge your vehicle cheaply.
  4. Net Energy Metering Options (NEM) which is what one is placed on when you install solar (which is the plan I’m on now).
  5. EcoChoice and EcoShare which essentially enables one to offset carbon generation if one cannot afford solar.
  6. Level Pay Program is a balancing out of payments for those on a tight budget.

I’m stuck on the fourth one down for now (NEM) so I thought this plan should be pretty straightforward though, right? California wants homeowners to invest in solar, right?

Then I had to figure out what I was going to actually be saving with solar. OMG … it got even more complex … but I’ll try to make it simpler since I had my initial choice for a plan foisted upon me by SDG&E (the Net Energy Metering or NEM plan).

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My Kids’ Technology Adventures Began With An Alien Named Cosmic Osmo

When my first-born daughter Liz was a toddler, I was hoping I’d be able to guide her towards becoming a techie. No pushing and no pressure was what I tried to achieve. Instead I tried to be a coach to her, gently showing her how stuff worked while striving to make it fun.

One of the ways I introduced her to technology was through games. There was a HyperCard ‘stack’ game — released at MacWorld in 1989, which I bought there, called Cosmic Osmo — and we played it often. She was always delighted to play it and asked to do so whenever I was on my Mac SE/30.

HyperCard was amazing and I learned how to build my own stacks. I built one with sounds I created in SoundEdit, and when any button on the stack was clicked, it would play that sound. I loaded as many funny sounds as I could find (along with the ones I recorded myself, including my daughter’s own voice) and she LOVED clicking on the buttons to trigger the sounds!

Fast forward to today and she definitely became very technically astute. She worked for the Apple Store for five years during college and just afterwards, at Best Buy (where she moved to corporate in to human resources), and every time I’m with her I learn some new tip or trick with my iPhone. The best part is that she grasps technology instantly and I hope I had some influence on her in this way.

Here is a video from 1989 where we are in my home office, she is sitting on my desk, and we talk about “Osmo” and I record her voice with SoundEdit:

Alex Begins His Technology Adventure

In 1994 our son Alex was born and he took technology like a duck to water. For him it was all about play, which fit perfectly in to my goal extending to him when it came to making the use of technology fun.

By this time Liz was well on her way toward her belief that technology was a seamless and integral part of our lives. She became a patient and encouraging tech-coach to her little brother. He wasn’t much interested in what Mom or Dad had to say about tech, but rather he watched, listened and allowed himself to be guided by his big sister. It was fun to watch!

In 1998 I was working at Apple in the business group after Steve Jobs came back, and had the chance to bring home the first iMac introduced and it had some built-in games, like the one they loved called Nanosaur.

Here’s a fun video of my kids using that first iMac at Thanksgiving, about three months after it was introduced:

We Have Come A LONG Way With Technology!

1) Holy buckets has technology advanced! When I watch these videos above (and the one below) and think about SoundEdit and a Mac SE/30, it’s just stunning how far we’ve come with computing technology, graphics, gameplay, sound, animation, and so much more.

Want to see what Liz and I experienced playing Cosmic Osmo on a Macintosh SE/30 with a 9″ screen? Here is a video of Cosmic Osmo’s click-to-trigger interface in HyperCard:

2) By the way, somehow I missed this Ars Technica article (30-plus years of HyperCard, the missing link to the Web) on May 25, 2019, but thought I’d add it to this post. In that article I learned about a way to goof around with HyperCard — this time by downloading Steam for your PC, Mac or Linux computer and actually introduced in 2010 — and, once you’ve installed it, you can load up an instance of HyperCard here.

Make Technology Fun

Whenever I’m asked about kids using technology too much, not enough, how to make it fun or educational, I always coach parents to limit screen time, always keep an eye on their kid’s use of tech, but most importantly make the use of it fun!

Having phones that are dozens of times more powerful than that previously mentioned Mac SE/30 and original iMac — along with Internet of Things devices that are inserting themselves in all parts of our lives — we all need to keep vigilant about how we use it. If you haven’t watched the Cosmic Osmo video above, view it now and see how laid-back, at-ease, and fun Cosmic Osmo is having with his out-of-this-world technology use. There’s a lesson there for all of us.  😉

Watch the Net Neutrality Senate Livestream on June 11th

Since I care (as we all should) about privacy, security, government surveillance, third-party trackers, and all the other downsides that have already happened to this thing we love called the internet, WE ALL need to stand up and make our voices heard about the recent bill passage to gut net neutrality. That's why I just donated (and have continued to donate) to the Fight for the Future cause and will be watching the livestream next Tuesday, June 11th, to see what is happening and to leverage social media to bring attention to it.

What’s happening?

One year ago, Big Cable’s dream came true: they killed net neutrality, giving ISPs like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T control over what we see and do online. Millions of people demanded that Congress restore net neutrality. In response, the House of Representatives passed the landmark Save the Internet Act. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — who has taken over $1 million in campaign donations from Big Cable — is refusing to allow his branch of Congress to vote on this popular bill. So on June 11th, net neutrality supporters in the Senate will try to force a vote using a procedure called “Unanimous Consent.”

How can you help?

We’re organizing an epic livestream so that millions of everyday people just like you can watch their lawmakers, and hold their lawmakers accountable for their actions … or inaction. Fill out the form above and tell Congress why you support net neutrality. We'll make sure your comment gets hand-delivered to Congress, and we'll be reading our favorite comments during the livestream on June 11th. You can also spread the word on social media to make sure everyone knows what's happening.

Watch the livestream on June 11th

[UPDATED] There is a Dangerous Problem with the Honda Clarity

UPDATE July 23, 2019
This problem has not yet reappeared, even with my personal testing. I was close to zero on a Palm Springs-hot day (was 108º F) and the engine raced when at 0 battery, but I didn’t lose power. I’ve been working with American Honda’s customer support for a few weeks now. They kept steering me back to the dealership but they have found nothing. The Clarity does not log any data so I purchased an OBD II connector with an iPhone app, so am keeping an eye on any aborrent behaviors (like the check engine light coming on and staying on for 36 miles but no errors were seen). Will update again if need-be.

My wife and I had a terrifying loss of power in our new 2019 Honda Clarity yesterday AND we were in rush hour traffic on CA-73 (a toll-road that runs from Newport Beach to I-5 in Laguna Niguel, California) driving along at 70MPH.

Here is what happened and how we discovered afterwards that this is an isolated, but seemingly common, quite dangerous issue with the Honda Clarity PHEV.

LOSS OF POWER IN RUSH-HOUR TRAFFIC

It’s late afternoon yesterday (May 31, 2019) and we are headed home from an appointment up in Huntington Beach, CA. We are driving on CA-73 in the Clarity’s HV Mode. When the battery drops to two bars — the baseline where the car’s computer stops the drainage from the battery to power the car — the engine is supposed to kick-in but it began REVVING and then lost ALL POWER.

Since we were going up a hill, the Clarity immediately dropped from 70mph to 40mph in seconds and kept dropping. Pushing the accelerator to the floor did nothing except redline the engine and it gave NO POWER TO THE WHEELS TO MAKE THE CAR GO.

Due to the rush-hour traffic on all sides (and cars coming up behind us at 70mph or greater), we *barely* are able to make it to the shoulder with cars honking and speeding around us! It was a truly terrifying experience. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get the car to power itself. I had to turn the car off, then back on, put it in “Sport” mode, and then we were able to drive it like it should work when the battery is depleted.

Just so you know, the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid has 3 modes: ECON, Sport and HV. ECON is battery-only. Sport is what you’d expect: it uses the battery and ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) to power the car simultaneously. HV mode uses the engine and the electric motor to power the Clarity as efficiently as possible in order to achieve the highest possible MPG.

In seconds I was switching between these modes in an attempt to get SOME power to safely get the car to the shoulder. My wife suggested turning on the hazard flashers which I did, and fortunately several cars slowed down so we could coast over to the side of the road and turn the car off.

After the adrenaline rush subsided, I was stumped that the car wasn’t smart enough to either warn me or, more importantly, to simply self-correct and not put us in to such a dangerous situation.

FOUND OUT I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE

Returning home, I find DOZENS of postings showing this is an issue many people have experienced. I concur with most that this is a DANGEROUS situation and HONDA HAS BEEN SILENT on this major issue.

CAR COMPLAINTS
I’ve found about 15 places where people have described the exact issue we experienced, but some also discuss other situations where the car had this revving-no-power problem (revving is also euphemistically called “angry bees”) even without a depleted battery. At CarComplaints.com there are several, including many like these:

January 15, 2019: “3 days after purchase I was driving on an interstate when the car suddenly lost all power. I managed to pull to a slow lane but the lack of power continued for another 5 minutes. It had been running on battery just prior and I had 2 bars of power left. The outside temperature was about 15 degrees. The internal combustion engine began to race but only began to give adequate power to the wheels after 5 minutes. A terrifying experience. Honda checked out the car and said nothing was wrong. I am hearing of other cases being reported like mine.”

Steve Borsch note: This is what happened to us, but the outside temperature was approximately 67 degrees. In the next two CarComplaint’s posts I’ve bolded specific items of note:

January 09, 2019: “Car revs up when driving down the highway but drops speed to 10mph. It has done this 2 times once in town and once on US-23 while driving 70mph. There are several complaints about the car doing the same thing to other Clarity owners and this is a highly dangerous situation that Honda should take care of! Reineke Honda in Findlay Ohio had my car for about 3 weeks and while test driving it the car did the same thing for the service manager Mike Stevens. They took a control box off a brand new Clarity per Honda’s suggestion and I am driving the car and had no new problems so far. They were not sure this would fix the issue but so far it hasn’t happened again. This is a dangerous failure in the car and I am lucky I wasn’t driving in Columbus, Ohio the 2nd time the car did it or I would have been rear ended! Honda needs to make sure this problem is fixed!!!”

February 09, 2019: “On approx 6 occasions, when EV power is used up, the car switches to ICE mode with issues. When traveling up hill, it feels like the transmission is not engaging. The vehicle losses power, and does not accelerate. The ICE revs extremely high without speed gain. Have also experienced a downhill situation with nearly full EV in EV mode. Vehicle feels like it disengages drivetrain. When pressing the accelerator, there was no response. One feels helpless when this occurs. Most of the time, the car had switches from EV to HV automatically, without issue. But, the above phenomena has happened 6 times in the last year this is unsafe. The vehicle was sold as an EV, with a gas engine to take over when EV runs out. At no time was there any explanation regarding potential situations that would cause the vehicle to become unsafe and lose power. One should not have to ensure reserve EV power for potential power loss situations. When these situations have occurred, upon shutting off the car and exiting, there is a strong smell of burning rubber and other material similar to transmission and brakes, or hot metal. Clearly something is overheating, and if the vehicle was not shutdown and allowed to cool, a reasonable person might conclude that significant damage to the engine, electric motors, EV battery, or transmission would take place. I am no longer driving the vehicle as a pure EV for city driving. The fear of power loss without control is extremely upsetting, and consequently, not getting the value of vehicle. My spouse will not drive the vehicle as driver or passenger if the trip is to exceed 20 miles in one direction. My gas savings has dropped considerably as I am unable to risk running out of EV before my trip ends. This vehicle has been taken to the dealer 3 times, and inspected by Honda of America. They deny there is anything wrong with the vehicle.

WHAT’S NEXT, HONDA?

What do I do next? More importantly, what do YOU do next, Honda? Almost all postings I’ve read say that dealer investigations turn up nothing and are a waste of time. I suspect it’s because the fundamental software code is at fault, something a dealer cannot fix.

HONDA: This is clearly a software issue since the switchover from HV Mode’s battery/engine, to only the engine, does not happen correctly. You must fix this before someone (or multiple people) die in a horrific crash and you are found to be at fault for not addressing this issue.

WHERE IT HAPPENED: Here is where it happened to us yesterday — we were headed southbound on CA-73 up a hill and the ‘shoulder’ we had to pull over on was on a bridge over El Toro Road, with cars racing by at top speed:

WHY A TWEET AND THIS POST: The primary reason I tweeted Honda today and am writing this post (and will tweet it too), is to document what happened, where it happened, and to have an audit trail in case something happens to me or my family while driving this car … or Honda does nothing to fix this issue and puts an unknown number of Clarity PHEV owners in continued jeopardy.

ProtonMail Continues To Be The Safest, Most Secure, and Private Email Provider

Last evening I saw this article link from Steiger Legal, on a blog run by Swiss lawyer Martin Steiger, in which he published a damning allegation that my beloved ProtonMail, the end-to-end encrypted email provider, was:

Email service provider ProtonMail, based in Switzerland, offers assistance for real-time surveillance: Voluntarily!

Steiger goes on with writing a factually incorrect article about ProtonMail on his blog, alleging, among other things, that “ProtonMail voluntarily offers assistance for real-time surveillance.

Fortunately ProtonMail responded with, in part, this clear statement:

So that there can be no ambiguity: ProtonMail does not voluntarily offer assistance as alleged. We only do so when ordered by a Swiss court or prosecutor, as we are obligated to follow the law in all criminal cases. Furthermore, ProtonMail’s end-to-end encryption means we cannot be forced by a court to provide unencrypted message contents.

That’s crystal clear in my view. Just to restate that last sentence, even if a prosecutor was able to scrape metadata about which user emailed to another person(s), the contents of the email could not be decrypted by ProtonMail and provided (and a government or intelligence service could not as well without massive computing power and a lot of time!

Unfortunately I had seen this article but not ProtonMail’s rebuttal before emailing their support and tweeting it to @ProtonMail, they responded to my tweet:

Hi Steve, these allegations are false, and have also been refuted by the Swiss public prosecutor earlier this week. We have responded on our blog here with more details: https://t.co/xdz2xfF4pu

— ProtonMail (@ProtonMail) May 31, 2019

I then responded and apologized for being rash and not investigating fully before tweeting:

Thank you for the clarification! Had not yet read the HN thread nor your post. Should have gone there first … apologies for that.

Note: With all the recent breaches and revelations that mobile apps are “phoning home” with metadata, my paranoia is accelerating. https://t.co/7XAkEEKD8B

— Steve Borsch (@sborsch) May 31, 2019

The “recent breaches” and “phoning home” items I referred to in my reply to ProtonMail were:

  • Washington Post article about how their privacy experiment showed 5,400 hidden app trackers guzzled our data — in a single week on the reporter’s iPhone.

Is it no wonder I rushed-to-judgement for a secure email service I rely upon to keep my emails to family and friends — and the PDFs, Word docs, and Excel spreadsheets with vital data in them — secure from prying eyes?

Thank you, ProtonMail team, for helping to keep us safe and secure!

Picked Up My New 2019 Honda Clarity Yesterday. Could This Car Be My Best Purchase Ever?

After coming back from our Memorial Day weekend adventure in Palm Springs yesterday morning, I headed over to Rancho Santa Margarita Honda to check out the colors that the Honda Clarity comes in. Though I’d pretty much decided on the Modern Steel Metallic (a dark gray) they had a silver with black interior and a green with tan interior on the lot.

I bought the green with tan interior, a green they call Moonlit Forest Pearl. “Oh, how romantic,” I thought sarcastically. But it was the color my wife, Michelle Lamb, said she loved weeks ago when we first test-drove a Clarity, but which I rejected because of the tan interior and its tendency to get filthy quickly. Since Michelle does color specification for major companies (including automotive) I trust her judgement. Plus I did love the color too!’

I’ll reiterate what I said in this post 10 days ago about why I made the decision to buy this car and what a great deal I got on it:

  • Honda Clarity EV: This is the car. It is SO much more comfortable than either the Hyundai Kona or Tesla Model 3. We opted for the Touring trim (better sound system; leather seats; etc.). Though the EV range is only 47 miles, that will cover our day-to-day driving. For longer trips the Clarity’s Hybrid Mode — where the battery augments the gas use for longer trips with EPA rating of 110MPGe — means we’ll have 90% of our use on electric, and the rest with excellent gas mileage (when the battery is depleted, the combined city/highway MPG = 42).
    • Sticker price for the Touring trim = $37,520
    • My price after $6,000 Honda discount = $30,861 (offer details)
    • Federal tax rebate = $7,500
    • Effective car cost = $23,361 (plus tax, license, registration, etc.)

Of course I drove it around a bunch last evening, came home and sat in the car reading the manual, setting up the Homelink garage door opener, and downloading the HondaLink app and configuring it. Yes, I think this will shape up to be my best purchase ever (well … at least my best car purchase yet!). I’ll post something in a few months after I have more time with the car.

NSA Loses Control of THEIR Hacking Software and Apple’s Tim Cook Was 100% Right

Remember when Apple’s Tim Cook wouldn’t put in a backdoor to iOS so the FBI could gain access to the San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone? THIS IS WHY!

If the NSA can’t control software as destructive as this, how can any government guarantee a compromised operating system won’t get in to the wild? (One guess: they cannot and Tim Cook was 100% right).

Read this article in The New York Times as it tells the story of the NSA’s software loss well.

We must have end-to-end encryption on our devices. Period.

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