Tech Firms Make Lots of Money Off Your Face—Here’s How

More reason to move forward with the Sparticus Experiment

Tech companies are beginning to use facial recognition software to make your life easier—and to profit from who you are and what you want.

Source: Tech Firms Make Lots of Money Off Your Face—Here’s How | WIRED

Migrating Photos

You may have noticed more (backdated) posts of photos recently, and that is simply because I’ve started to pull my photos from other servers to place them in my own bucket where I (presumably) have control over them. If not real “control”, I at least can retain ownership and IP rights to them.

As I continue to migrate my online existence over to this space, I will be removing photos from the vast databases I have created on other sites and, hopefully, removing access to that data for purposes of identification. I’m not exactly “going dark” per se, but I would prefer not to have a clear-cut topographical map of my face available to marketers (which is, rather clearly, where targeted marketing is headed).

Meanwhile, on social media, I will be replacing tags of me in photos with either tags of cartoons, popular media characters, or even inanimate objects in order to (hopefully) provide enough noise in the recognition algorithms to effectively camouflage myself from automatic recognition.

Maybe this is overly paranoid. Maybe I should start wearing a tinfoil hat. We’ll find out in a few years. Meanwhile, it’ll be a fun experiment!

How To Remove Adobe Update From OSX

Adobe Update is a rather annoying piece of useless code that sits in your menu bar and lets you know that there are no updates for your software (I run CS5 still). There are lots of tutorials on how to disable the notification icon, but nothing–especially from Adobe itself–on how to remove Adobe Update from OSX entirely.

After a good bit of digging, I came across this blog that led me to the answer. He goes into a bit of detail on how the process launcher in OSX works (and it’s a good, short read), and the execution of the underlying code. I certainly recommend taking a few minutes and reading about it so you can apply the principle for other “unnecessary” applications running in background.

What you essentially want to do is open a Terminal session and type the following series of commands:

cd ~/Library/LaunchAgents
launchctl remove basename com.adobe.ARM.* .plist
rm com.adobe.ARM.*

This removes the process’s associated files as well as the entry from the launcher. Conversely, you could simple navigate to the same folder in Finder and delete the files manually, but it leaves the process entry in the launcher–which may or may not be an issue. I did it this way and have not experienced any problems, but your mileage may vary.

Moving to Linux Is Even Better Than One Could Expect

I’ve used Linux off and on for years, as can be evidenced by reading this blog. I converted to the Cult of Mac briefly when I learned that my System 76 laptop could not handle proprietary academic software that I needed for school at the time (I still fight that fight on occasion when I am able to). Microsoft left me sore for many years when my XP Pro upgrade kit stopped working after a routine reformatting, so I tried the aluminum fruit. I still prefer to use a Macbook Pro, but all three major OS environments have their drawbacks. OSX hit its peak at Mavericks (flat design is flat…and ugly), Windows has convinced me to downgrade back to 7 since I can’t properly run my VCR with it, and Linux just doesn’t have the support that I need for everyday work (mostly multimedia production). While I firmly believe that a Linux machine can be best for either everyday computing (see Android) or heavy server-side lifting (see every web server ever), I still subscribe to the old doctrine that Macs are great for production (and not much else) while Windows is great for gaming (and not much else).

Outside of practicality, this article is more about the morality and ethos of Linux, and I whole-heartedly agree with the author on those points. Most of the world’s computers run some flavour of Linux now (thanks to Google), and I’m quite okay with that. I’d just like to see people acknowledge that fact a little more loudly.

Saying goodbye to Apple and Microsoft has never been easier, or so satisfying

Source: I Moved to Linux and It’s Even Better Than I Expected — Backchannel — Medium

How to install the Insignia USB Bluetooth adapter in Windows 7

EDIT 1/16/2017: Commenter Anony Mous (haha, well done) has confirmed that the HP drivers work with the Insignia Bluetooth adapter as well. I have both the Lenovo and the HP copies of the drivers mirrored here.

EDIT 12/29/2016: Commenter Angry Dude has found a mirror for an older driver at Lenovo’s website. Give it a try for now until a proper solution is found.

EDIT 12/13/2016: It seems that Broadcom has pulled the Windows 7 driver for this device. I will investigate and update as I find more information!

This is more for future reference than anything considering it comes with paper instructions to download some software and does not come with a disc. Welcome to the future!

  1. Plug the adapter into a free USB port.
  2. Download the driver and software from
  3. Install the driver and restart the computer when finished.
  4. Profit!

How To Rip a DVD on a Mac

Despite the plethora of freeware available to rip DVDs on a Windows or Linux machine, Mac users have been somewhat cast aside for one reason or another. Most search results direct a user to expensive software that doesn’t even allow for a proper trial before use. Handbrake is a popular freeware video conversion application for Mac (and Windows and Ubuntu) that can also be used to decode and record DVD titles as soft video files with just a little bit of tweaking.

First thing to do is install the latest version of Handbrake. Download the Mac disc image, mount it, and copy the app to your applications folder like you would any other. Launch Handbrake and insert a DVD into your optical drive (assuming you actually have one still). Due to licensing restrictions, Handbrake doesn’t include the proper DVD codecs stock, but will prompt you to download the open-source libdvdcss library. Download and run the package installer, then restart Handbrake.

Now you can open your DVD in Handbrake, choose the title you wish to rip, choose the appropriate settings, and click the “start” button!

If you run into problems, the DVD probably contains some level of copy-protection that will have to be circumvented. A word of warning here: the DMCA specifically prohibits breaking copy-protection, but as a freedom-loving American, I believe that once recorded media is legitimately obtained in any format, then it is within the rights of the owner of that media to convert it to any other format for personal consumption. For more information on the moral and legal implications of the Digital Millennium Copyright Atrocity, click here. In this case, open the DVD Player app, then navigate through the menus until the title you wish to rip is playing. In the menu bar, select “Go”, then “Title”, and note the title with the check mark next to it. Back in Handbrake, select “File” and “Open Source (Title Specific)”. Select your DVD, then enter the title number in the dialog before clicking the “Open Title” button.

There are a lot more settings that drill down into the fine details for each video file to be encoded, but I will leave their explanations to the fine folks at MacWorld who wrote the article on which this tutorial is based. You can read the full article here.