Nostalgic Rumblings
The Ramblings of an Old Man

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Hey, AP Radio News - Try a Fact-check? Ok, Gender-check?

Filed under: News, Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 11:39 am

Listen to the enclosed AP Radio News brief, recorded at 11:01 AM this date, at about 2:29 to hear this amazing quote:

…Harper Lee and his “To Kill a Mockingbird” are history…

(Emphasis mine, of course.)

Also, they might want to straighten out whether “author and book-title” is singular or plural; check the weird discrepancy between Steinbeck and Lee. I would have used possessives to force the book’s title to be singular, but I’m not a well-paid news anchor, so what do I know?

(*shrug*) If news organizations can’t get it right, or at least try to get it right, what hope do we have for anyone else? No wonder most kids today can’t string together an agreeing noun and verb…

icon for podpress  AP Radio News, May 30, 2014 11:01 AM [3:00m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Microsoft makes Windows 8.1 mouse-friendly

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 10:42 am

From CNN: Microsoft makes Windows 8.1 mouse-friendly

Am I the only one saying, “What the devil took you so long?”

(FWIW, I will never buy a smartphone or tablet with Windows on it. Who needs the blue screen of death on a mobile device?)

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Why Gmail and other e-mail services aren’t really free

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 2:11 pm

From CNN: Why Gmail and other e-mail services aren’t really free

From the article: “One group of plaintiffs in a recent class-action lawsuit were non-Gmail users who sent messages to Gmail accounts. Google responded that non-Gmail customers had no expectations of privacy when sending e-mails to people who did use the service.”

Which means Google believes it’s ok to profile people who have not agreed to the terms and conditions, simply because they send mail to those who have. Sending email to a Gmail account is allowing Google to violate your privacy, which it maintains you don’t have in the first place. Yipe.

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Mark Zuckerberg ‘confused and frustrated’ by US spying

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 7:22 pm

From BBC News: Mark Zuckerberg ‘confused and frustrated’ by US spying

From the article: “Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has said he has called President Barack Obama to ‘express frustration’ over US digital surveillance.”

Yeah…how dare the government get into his line of work? Only Facebook should be able to gather your private information and make use of it for advertising and profiling purposes!

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Opinion: Do you hate your Internet provider?

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 10:16 pm

From CNN: Opinion: Do you hate your Internet provider?

From the article: “If you travel overseas, you will quickly notice that Web access in much of the developed world is light years ahead of America’s. You may also be irritated to discover that far better Internet is much, much cheaper in other countries.”

Read this opinion piece. Then write your congresscritters.

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Despite Obama’s NSA changes, phone records still collected

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 11:37 am

From CNN: Despite Obama’s NSA changes, phone records still collected

From the article: “Someone will still collect records of the numbers and times of phone calls by every American.”

Someone want to try to convince me that metadata on my telephone calls to my father will somehow aid in protecting national security?

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Connected TVs, fridge used in global cyberattack

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 11:35 am

From CNN: Connected TVs, fridge used in global cyberattack

From the article: “It’s bad enough that we have to fear identity thieves who are trying to scam us with malicious messages sent from PCs. We now must worry about being targeted by our household appliances, as well.”

I’ve been working with computers since the early 1980s, and was on the Internet when only educational and government was allowed there, and I do not understand the purpose of connecting our refrigerators to the Internet.

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How net neutrality fight may change your internet

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 3:53 pm

From CNN: How net neutrality fight may change your internet

From the article: “How would you like to have to pay a fee to be able to stream YouTube videos at full speed? What if you liked downloading music from, say, or Soundcloud, but those sites suddenly became infinitely slower than bigger sites like Amazon or iTunes?”

This could happen…and anyone who thinks the “free market” will prevent it hasn’t been paying attention to the unilateral move by the “Big Six” to monitor your Internet traffic, and provide it to an untrusted third party, MarkMonitor. Trust me, without federal regulations, Internet in the United States will undergo a radical, and detrimental-to-the-consumer, change. While other countries have broadband folks in the U.S. can only envy, ours will get much slower…and more expensive.

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Bitcoins completely fail.

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 11:04 pm

I realize with the dramatic runup on bitcoins I’m supposed to follow the herd and promote the hell out of them. If you’re not sure what a bitcoin is, read this tongue-in-cheek explanation first…go ahead, I’ll wait. Once you have the background, come back and let me tell you why they are an abject failure.

  • They will never be a successful currency. Face it, they are a commodity. Like pork belly futures, they are being used in dramatic wagers so their “value” (cost per bitcoin) undergoes dramatic and consistent swings. It’s impossible to actually depend on them to buy anything, though, since in the hours between when you send the coins from your wallet and they arrive at someone else’s wallet (yes, again regardless of what you’ve heard, it takes hours to get bitcoins from one wallet to another, longer now that the blockchain is becoming so d*mned huge with all the speculation going on), they will have changed in value. And not a little…one heckuva lot. Bitcoins routinely change $50-100 per hour in the exchange rates. Bitcoin “value” is purely speculative.

  • Bitcoins are not “peer-to-peer.” I know that’s one of the talking-points used to describe them, but it’s not true. Bitcoins are actually “peer-pays-miner.” A “miner” is a “super-peer” who solves useless complex calculations to bring these silly things into existence…and miners are the only ones who can validate a transaction in the blockchain. Since fewer and fewer bitcoins can be mined as time goes on, and miners have spent money on their mining equipment and they want to make a profit no matter who they get it from (sound like real-world bankers yet?), it’s been decided (yeah, by miners) that every transaction now requires a transaction fee. So now to move your bitcoins from one wallet to another requires paying tribute to these “super-peers” to pay them to continue hanging around validating the blockchain. This is the functional equivalent of paying a real-world banker to move cash money from one pocket to another.

    And they say bitcoin frees us from unnecessary financial institution fees? Nope, it’s no better than the real-world, and in some ways even more oppressive and less fair.

  • Too many clones. Seems like everyone and their dog is “creating” a new cryptocurrency lately, all hoping to cash in on the insane speculation of the bitcoin market. Almost all of them are clones of bitcoin, with a few trying some slight variation or another, and one supposedly designed as an “envelope” for bitcoin where the company that designed it owns all of the existing “envelopes” (yeah, no way to profit there, right?). It’s a quick grab for scraps, but it adds confusion to everything, and creates speculators who are almost guaranteed to lose money buying and selling these silly things. (I once had a guy so desperate to speculate on virtual money he made an offer to buy a bunch of my free play game tokens on GSN’s website. Nope, not making this up, he wanted to buy game tokens I won by playing Deal of No Deal. Now that’s the definition of dementedly obsessed…)

The bottom line is, if you bought hundreds or thousands of bitcoins when they were worth $12, congratulations, you’re now a millionaire - please feel free to flip a coin or two our way with the QR code over in the sidebar. Everyone else should probably avoid these things like the plague…

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‘I’m the original voice of Siri’

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 11:14 am

From CNN: ‘I’m the original voice of Siri’

From the article: “For the past two years, she’s been a pocket and purse accessory to millions of Americans. She’s starred alongside Samuel L. Jackson and Zooey Deschanel. She’s provided weather forecasts and restaurant tips, been mocked as useless and answered absurd questions about what she’s wearing. She is Siri, Apple’s voice-activated virtual ‘assistant’ introduced to the masses with the iPhone 4S on October 4, 2011.”

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Police: When cable TV breaks, a 911 call is bad

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 9:52 am

From CNN: Police: When cable TV breaks, a 911 call is bad

From the article: “A power outage knocked out cable service Sunday evening in parts of Connecticut, leaving Cablevision customers unable to watch television, including the hit show now in its final season. While most viewers chose to wait for service to be restored, others opted for a far less rational course of action: calling 911.”

Wow. Just wow. This country is losing its collective mind.

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More Shorts not posted to Twitter…

Filed under: General, News — Charlie Summers @ 9:52 pm

More stuff I’m not posting to Twitter…

  • The weather a few weeks ago was amazing; perfect spring days, warm sun, cool air, just extraordinary. Now that summer is here, the temps immediately moved toward the 90-degree mark, with lows overnight in the mid-60’s. But that’s ok…glad to pay for the beauty of a few weeks’ ago with a little warmth. But then temps come back down into the 70’s and low 80’s, cool nights, and awesomeness all over again. Man, I am lovin’ this summer.

  • Ever notice how some people just don’t get it?

  • This constant need for validation is driving me crazy. Subscribers to blogs, BoobTube channels, everywhere you look on the Net people are begging for validation via “likes,” “follows,” or “subscriptions. I must be the anomaly…I’m comfortable in who and what I am. If you enjoy reading what I write here or elsewhere, great! If you don’t, I’m ok with that, too. I don’t need thousands of “followers” or “subscribers” to know I have value. And I sure as heck ain’t gonna ask you to click a “like” button…

    Guess that makes me an odd-ball in today’s 15-min-of-fame society…

  • So was passing through Intercourse, PA (yes, it’s a real town) and at the town limits saw the sign that read, “Formerly Known as Cross Keys.” In what universe is it a good idea to change your name from the latter to the former? One of my wise-beyond-her-years passengers suggested it happened at a time when the entire town council was composed of 15-year-old boys.

  • Doing a radio show with your daughter is a strange and wonderful thing to do. But it makes you do bizarre things, like grabbing a mic and recording a quick pickup line standing in the kitchen so you can finish the edit before bedtime. And don’t get me started on backtiming…

  • So can anyone explain to me why in today’s movies, super hero costumes are always comprised of huge hunks of rubber? Now even Superman’s shield is three-d molded rubber…makes no sense whatsoever to me.

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Author: Think twice about ‘the Internet’

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 12:12 pm

From CNN: Author: Think twice about ‘the Internet’

From CNN’s interview with Evgeny Morozov, author of the new book “To Save Everything, Click Here” answering why we sell our privacy so cheaply: “The problem is that we don’t say ‘no.’ This marketizaton (sic) of personal information is a big mistake. We need to start seeing privacy as a commons — as some kind of a public good that can get depleted as too many people treat it carelessly or abandon it too eagerly. What is privacy for? This question needs an urgent answer.”

Looks like I have a book to read…

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Random Shorts I would have posted on Twitter…

Filed under: General, News — Charlie Summers @ 7:54 pm

As I mentioned, I’m miffed at Twitter with its determination to control all things timeline, so I’m making a short compilation of things I might have posted there on the spur-of-the-moment:

  • News headling: Eyeball Licking Trend Giving Pinkeye to Japanese Kids. Er…did we really need to be told licking someone’s eyeball was a bad idea?

  • Everyone seems to be putting videos of themselves talking about nothing on YouTube, or worse, showing us video of them playing video games. What the heck is with that…and who is watching all these sorry videos? I mean, I understand the “covers” of music, even if bad, I understand why people would post them. But talking at a webcam in their bedrooms as if they are news commentators or variety show hosts? Giggling while playing video games? No one cares, so stop making these silly things.

  • Dear Johnny Depp: Are there any more of my youthful memories you can make a travesty of? Or have you run out of them now?

  • To those of you asking me for shortcuts in how to tell if a specific Old-Time Radio show is still under copyright or trademark protection - there ain’t one. Contact a lawyer who specializes in United States “intellectual property” (that a recent creation and not anything real, since something non-tangible cannot be “property”) law and pay them to do the research. Anything else, including listening to my opinion, is just plain wrong.

  • Received spam from “IMF OFFICE” - is it wrong of me to immediately think, “Impossible Missions Force?”

  • Speaking of spam, when the subject calls me, “dear,” pretty sure it’s going to get trashed unopened.

  • “John” (with an Indian accent) called me telling me my computers were affecting their servers. This is, of course, a well-known scam, where I am supposed to open up security holes in my computer so the b*stards can take it over and use it as part of a botnet, or charge me hundreds of dollars to fix a non-existant problem. I…um…declined, and finally got to use every four-letter-word in my arsenal against a human instead of the robocalls I generally get. Rather satisfying, actually.

    Guessing “John” won’t be calling me again any time soon.

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I Really Hate Twitter…

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 9:06 pm

Ever since Twitter decided it needed to completely control the “experience” (English translation, “make money from users through advertisements”) they have shut down more and more third-party applications by decimating their API (Application Program Interface; it’s the way an application allows other applications to interface with it) and rigidly controlling everything about the tweets.

I lost the awesome TwitGif that used to be on this page when the v1 API was shut down. There is no more RSS feed for retrieving the Twitter timeline, that too was closed down; and their “rules of the road” say I cannot even re-syndicate my own tweets - so if I post something to Twitter and to this blog, I am apparently committing a violation of my user agreement.

Ah, but they say, “We are providing ‘Embedded Timelines’ so you can add them to your blog!” Baloney…I am massively reluctant to embed Twitter’s embedded monstrosity on here, since it will be tracking you, dear reader, unless you are clever enough to reject cookies and use a proxy or VPN to access these pages. That’s the whole point; Twitter needs to make money, so they need to stomp on every application and business that actually made them what they are today.

Dunno how I’m going to handle this, frankly…it all started with their tracking URIs, and now with the v1 API retired, Twitter is in complete control of d*mned near everything there. I admit to being consistently surprised one group or another hasn’t created a plan for a crowd-sourced replacement, something completely open-sourced and distributed, so no central authority can attempt to “monetize” it while shoving their users into the trash bin of promoted tweets and other bothersome advertisements.

(*sigh*) Nothing in this rant really helps much. And I haven’t decided what I’m going to do here about it, other than to promote Twitter as a communications option a whole lot less. I’d appreciate any ideas you might have in the comments area, or use that “Contact the Webmaster” button…I promise anything you send either place will not end up belonging to Twitter… ;)

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Cincinnati Nostalgia Expo Wrap-Up

Filed under: General, Old-Time Radio, News — Charlie Summers @ 12:18 pm

It’s been a week since the first Cincinnati Nostalgia Expo, and I’m still not caught up from the weekend. Everyone I’ve heard from (with the exception of one unpleasant and spiteful little man) had a wonderful time with the panels, the performances, and the fun of getting together and chatting with friends frequently emailed yet seldom seen. The video and photos are below the jump below (hit that “More…” link if you’re on the front page).

During the expo, I posted pics in real-time to my Twitter stream, and I’ve copied those pics here - just click the thumbnail for a larger version. I’ve also stuck a short piece of video down there from the SummersTime Live program Friday afternoon which includes both Bob Hastings, Kate’s buddy from when she was small (and “nice,” as Bob put it!), and Ivan Cury, who I can’t help but think would have killed to have the technology I used to assemble this short video back when he was directing television. Non-linear video editing was just a dream back then.

The weekend was far too short for almost all of us, and if you haven’t visited the Cincinnati area you don’t know how awesome the food choices are…yes, there’s the required selection of chain restaurants (and is the one time of the year I am guaranteed a bag of White Castle burgers!), but there are also great barbeque joints, home-style cooking places, and even Blue Ash Chili, a shop featured on an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives we saw in rerun while we were there that is, from personal experience mind you, excellent! (Look below for a photo of the place with two awesome spokespersons sitting on the wall!)

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NSA’s Verizon Spying Order Specifically Targeted Americans, Not Foreigners

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 1:19 pm

From Forbes: NSA’s Verizon Spying Order Specifically Targeted Americans, Not Foreigners


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The secret to online safety: Lies, random characters, and a password manager | Ars Technica

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 8:39 pm

From Ars Technica: The secret to online safety: Lies, random characters, and a password manager

From the article: “We’re going to focus on how to use a password manager, software that can help you go from passwords like ‘111111′ to ‘6WKBTSkQq8Zn4PtAjmz7′ without making you want to pull out all your hair. For good measure, we’ll talk about how creating fictitious answers to password reset questions e.g. mother’s maiden name can make you even more resistant to hacking.”

I was reading this article thinking, “What took ‘em so long? I’ve been doing all of these things for years now!”

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I know I’m running behind, but…

Filed under: Old-Time Radio, News — Charlie Summers @ 8:42 pm

…it’s really for a good reason, honest. This weekend, we’ll be attending the Cincinnati Nostalgia Expo, where we’ll be schmoozing with the big-wigs of the hobby, stars of radio and television Bob Hastings and Ivan Cury, and Kate will be, as usual, taking center-stage. She will be interviewing Messrs. Cury and Hastings on Friday afternoon for later broadcast on the radio program, and has graciously permitted me to assist her and bask in her reflected glory. Should be great, considering Ivan Cury was once her brother, and Bob Hastings is a friend from wayback. (Her wayback and mine are wildly different things…)

Unfortunately, this means I’m behind in updating this blog, the SummersTime website, and almost everything else. But while we’re at the convention, I will try to frequently update the Twitter account at @CFSummers with comments, pics, and maybe some short videos; if you have a Twitter account, follow me. But if you don’t, you can still go to the Twitter Website and read the comments as I post ‘em. (Honest, best way is to use TweetCaster on a mobile device since the photos will appear in-line, but that’s just a personal opinion…)

Also, depending on what happens and how things go, I may be using my Copy account to share goodies too big for Twitter. Copy is a nifty little dropbox-like cloud storage system that not only lets you back up your important computer stuff but allows you to share, publicly or privately, anything stored there.

And unlike a lot of the systems out there, they are giving for free a 15 Gigabyte storage area (no 2G spaces here!). And if you use this link to sign up:

…you’ll get an extra 5G of space (total of twenty gigabytes!), and we’ll get an extra five, too, so we can share more OTR stuff! Win-win, far as I can tell!

So anywho, forgive the lateness, and hopefully I’ll see you in Cincinnati!

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There’s A Lot Wrong With The Internet Sales Tax Proposal…

Filed under: News — Charlie Summers @ 10:37 pm

From Forbes: There’s A Lot Wrong With The Internet Sales Tax Proposal, So Why Aren’t More People Talking About It?

From the article: “But there’s much more to the proposal – as written – than just fairness. It’s about who benefits and why and what it means for tax policy going forward.”

I can’t imagine allowing a state in which I do not live, and therefore one which has no legal power over me, to initiate an audit. The states, and Congress, have gone way too far this time. Guess we’ll need to write the congresscritters, and see which ones haven’t yet been bought-off by Amazon…

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