Thursday, December 17, 2015

Christmas LIES (warning Santa spoilers)

Good old Santa.  That pudgy purveyor of unrealistic expectations and capitalism.  A near perfect metaphor for strong central government.  Big red makes promises to the children that we as adults have to come through with.  Then that bum gets the credit (works hard one day a year...sheesh).  Pretty big scam.  We are constantly telling our kids about the value of truth etc, but we start them off with this big whopper.  Like so many lies, there are several facets to them.  Like...

- Jesus' Birthday - The only reason I bring this up at all is the really funny nativity scene where Santa is kneeling and praying at the manger of new baby Jesus.  Yikes.  Well, by any and all counts, we find that Jesus was likely born around the spring time, pretty close to Easter.  Seems like we already have a holiday there and the Pagans were feeling left out with the winter solstice so we have a new birthday there to celebrate. (don't even get me STARTED about the Easter bunny).

- News reports - Lets start with the news.  We all know that journalism has been on a death spiral since the internet, but this problem has been around since there was televised news it seems.  Reports of Santa's whereabouts coming in every 1/2 hour or so are fake, every bit of it.  Everyone knows that the real Santa isn't going to be seen doing his job.  In fact the REAL Santa has some kind of crazy stealth technology or something since there has never been a sighting of any non criminal bearded men standing on any roofs that weren't later apprehended by authorities.

- Santa's Helpers - What a crock.  Santa's imposters is more like it.  There you are at the shopping center looking for Christmas goodies and there he is 'Santa'.  Some are drunker than others, but they are all fakes.  When I was a young believer, I was told that those are Santa's helpers because he didn't have time to be everywhere taking down Christmas wishes, he had to keep an eye on those good for nothing elves so everyone will get their presents.

- Elves - We've all seen elves.  They are blonde, nearly immortal and impervious to temperature changes if Peter Jackson and J.R.R. Tolkien have anything to say about it.  Well it seems these are not the elves we are looking for.  The elves we are talking about here are the tiny elves probably with green hats that make them look like miniature Robin Hoods sans bow.  Because it's WAY out of the realm of possibility to think that Santa, who can zip around the world in 24 hours, can make all of his own toys.  Nope, he has a factory full of indentured servants that are not only expert wood workers, but are masters of knocking off nearly anything that can currently be manufactured in China except for EVEN cheaper.  After all, Santa's givin the stuff away!  Nope, no elves, no factory.  They've been all over the north pole.  no evidence of these little green trouble makers.  Speaking of trouble makers...

- Elf on the shelf -  Whoever came up with this bit of keen suffering should be shot.  What kind of world do we live in where we tell children that clearly inanimate objects suddenly will come to life?  I'll tell you what kind of world.  One where there is NO expectation of privacy!  All this stinking elf is, is a surrogate for the NSA.  Always watching me.  Always reporting on me.  BAH!

- Santa tracker app - Oh great, so the news isn't enough.  We have all kinds of media telling us all kinds of things.  Google Santa Tracker and Santa tracker apps for our phones?!?  Geeze.  Why do we need this technological reinforcement?!?  The rest of it should be plenty.  On the other hand if you don't have him in your technology, kids might get wise and we wouldn't want that.   It's probably tracking your movements anyway.  Just an electronic Elf in your pants.

- Other Santas helpers - You know these more than willing helpers.  Your local independent retailer.  They are the most vested in continuing this farce.  After all, If we didn't have a holiday and a Jolly old man relying on your continued overspending to keep it going how would these partners in advertising crime get into the black every year??? We all know that no parents would ever get their kids anything ever if it weren't for Santa.  Parent's don't even like their kids much.  Oh wait, that's probably a big fat lie too.

- Livestock - Reindeer are really the most used, but they become integral.  It's just not good enough that Santa gets 'round the world in 24 hours.  We have to have an explanation.  You know, something plausible like flying Reindeer.  Then THOSE weren't good enough.  We had to get one with a glowing nose that helped the other flying reindeer see through the bad winter storm (you're telling me it isn't snowing somewhere on the earth every year round December 25?).  For a while stores would get a reindeer to stand there with Santa so that you could get your picture taken with Dasher.  That ends up being more trouble than it's worth so they will just take Santa showing up in his 1975 VW Dasher.

- Santa's List - So it's not enough that we have this intruder wandering around our house while we are knocked out, eating our cookies, and scaring our pets.  He's got a list.  A BIG list.  You see, Santa doesn't like all the kids.  Only the good ones.  So Santa's list seems like an innocent enough lie but think about it.  Santa is deciding if you are good or bad enough to get his magic presents.  How is he doing it?  Well he's using his willing stool pigeons the parents or that stinking snitch elf.  So now not only do you have to buy presents and give the credit to the corpulent crimson curmudgeon, but if the kids don't get what they want, Santa heard they were bad and if they put 2 and 2 together, they know Mom and dad turned North Pole's evidence.

- Santa of course - Well the bottom line is this dude and the tales told about him all over the Western world.  Cultures love their mythological icons, but wow, this Santa guy has been all over the place.  Father Christmas, Sint Nicklaas, Kris Kringle he goes by many names, but the one we know in America is the one our Coca Cola bottler gave us.  Of course Santa would drink Coke in America It makes perfect sense.  Ever since, we have counted on that image and that myth to get us through the winter months.  Usually around age 7 or so, we figure out that he's cut from whole cloth, but you are entreated to keep that secret from your younger siblings being the first time you are included as a part of the conspiracy.  I personally never remember thinking that the presents in the morning were from anyone but mom and dad anyway.  But then you enjoy the tradition so much that you take it as your own with your own kids.  Or at least some part of it.

Do I think you should all stop telling these Holiday lies?  No, they make the season fun and honestly, isn't winter hard enough to get through?  Just another subject that tickled my brain is all.  Happy Holidays Merry Christmas Brilliant Hanukkah Festive Kwanza and any other holiday greeting I didn't include.  

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

10 things the internet has completely replaced (or will)

Once again a blog post about the internet.  you know, it was not long ago when we had a lot of other things that used to do, very poorly.  Things that the internet does very well.  On the internet they call it disruptive, which of course was co-opted by suits and is now business speak (If your boss is a business hipster he or she will be able to use it in several sentences without breaking a sweat).  So here is a list of things the internet replaced.

- The Library - You remember the Library, It's that idea that since people can't copy books easily we will house a bunch of books and lend them to friends.  These days that would be called piracy, but that's a different issue.  The biggest reason we have libraries in the US is because people that got obscenely rich in their business life decided that they should probably give back or else God will invent a new level of Hell just for them.  Andrew Carnegie being chief of them made a bunch of houses full of books for all people to borrow a book and read it and bring it back.  I'm sure he felt much better about his overall pursuit of wealth.  Well these days it seems like most of the information you want is just available on the internet gratis.  Between piracy and actual online libraries, it seems like the regular library is just a place where you can access the internet.

- News - I love how the news is now so much more about people saying what they saw instead of Journalism students getting paid for their degrees.  People want news and they go online to their favorite one or two websites that tend to agree with their own world view and whatever news is printed there is the news.  Fox lies?  sure they do.  Why not?  People aren't looking for objectivity anymore, they are looking for people on their side.

- Private Investigators - Ah those lovable old PI's.  Sam Spade, Magnum, Inch High.  All of these folks would go and find people track down dead beats and shake down the local toughs on your behalf.  Now days you can find out nearly anything you want to on someone just using the internet.  Those few people that aren't on the internet somehow?  Yeah, they are visible because they AREN'T on the internet.  PI's I'm sure are alive and well but I'm guessing they are using the internet, and probably sites that you could use yourself.

- Phone calls - Wait, we use cellphones right?  yeah, that's true enough, but many phone calls are placed through the same internet that serves you great applications like skype and chat voice.  If you are going international you are probably using skype.  Ya know who the first users of skype were?  George Jettson and Jane his wife.  Yep.  Video phones were being used and I remember Jane even had a made up face mask that she would use on the video phone when she was called too early in the morning.  Seems like a pretty good idea.

- Local Access Cable - Back in the 80's when cable TV companies started becoming a thing because some people couldn't get their antenna high enough to get the local TV stations, another idea started coming to the fore.  Local Access or public tv.  Not public tv like PBS, but public like just some guy that gets free time on a particular channel to put up nearly anything they feel like.  Well now thanks to our friendly internet that's called YouTube and anyone can put up nearly anything.  It's even easier.

- Your Doctor - Surely you are kidding Mark, the internet isn't replacing your doctor right?  Well no, but how many people go to the internet first when they notice that green rash on their left forearm along with a mysterious 11th finger?  All of them.  Not only that, but you can order a lot of the same tests that your local super expensive clinic will run on you, for your own use.  You might have to buy in bulk but you can administer your own strep test just as easily as the clinic.  So maybe I'm stretching it a bit, but still a lot of the low end maladies are taken care of on line.

- Maps -  I remember driving across the country from city to city.  You'd get the map from the car rental place and then you would drive to the city you were aiming for.  It was kind of a skill to have the general direction and be able to find your way to your next destination with only a few stops along the way.  Fancy people would buy a regional Rand McNally road map.  It would contain all the information you needed to get through the streets to your destination.  After a while we got maps on compact disc and we made itineraries based on them.  They were amazing.  you would actually see where your home address was and it would print out instructions for you.  This made a transition to the WEB.  Finally it ended up on the cellphone which uses the Internet.  I think the only map people use anymore are the big directories at the mall.

- The Mall - I remember that everyone would go to the mall to buy nearly everything they needed that wasn't groceries.  It was great!  My first job was at the mall.  I was the weekend janitor.  Which basically meant while my friends were hanging out at the mall, I was cleaning up after them.   Well now thanks to the internet, you do most of your shopping online.  No more going anywhere, the stuff you want comes to you.  Sure people still go to the store, but more for convenience than anything else.

- Know it all's - There was a time when the guy with a great memory was really something.  Seems like that guy knew everything.  Well now that guy is the internet.   His name is Google.  That google guy knows nearly everything.  In fact, if you look up "box of my stuff" (not many people do) You'll see my blog quite possibly still at the top of the list and a few other references to boxes.  If you don't know what Google is, you are some kind of strange Luddite and I have no idea how you are reading this blog.

- Mail - You would think that the postal service is no longer necessary.  Not so!  Every Christmas, the Postal service roars back into existence.  No longer just a shill for junk and the IRS.  Every year the USPS gets on it's knees and thanks it's maker that Christmas cards are still best sent in meat space and not on that uncaring area called the Internet.  E-mail.  As far as the post office is concerned; the E stands for Eviscerating.  You can go to and email them from there if you want to offer your condolences.


- Casino's - Time was, you wanted to make a wager, you had to do it in a legal establishment where gambling was legal.  This was LasVegas or later Atlantic City.  Later, casinos sprung up everywhere except Hawaii and Utah, because Native Americans realized that they can probably take money just as easy as states do.  Well now the internet is fighting a war to be the new place to gamble.  Your own home.  If you are a compulsive gambler, how scary is this?  On the other hand if you found gambling a diversion and a destination, you will still tend to want to go on a road trip for the spectacle.  But if you are looking for some action, it's just a keystroke away.

There we have it.  Another list.  Nobody is more surprised than I am.

Monday, November 16, 2015

10 things overheard at the Antiques Roadshow

I love the Antiques Roadshow.  It's a terrific show where people from all walks of life bring their junk in and see if it's worth anything.  It seems that there are 3 levels of value at the Antiques roadshow.  A life chainging amount of money (new house or better), A Car changing amount of money, or a debt changing amount of money (doesn't get you more than a paid off credit card).  After quite a while of watching this show, I've decided that there are about 10 things you see regularly on the show.  here they are.

- Provenance - Before the antiques road show the average person thought Provenance might be the capital of Rhode Island.  Now anyone watching public TV knows about Provenance and how it's important that you not only have the signature of the artist etc, but better if you get a handwritten note that is signed dated and reviewed by a notary.  Other terms that fit this category are patina and foxing.

- Well I guess I won't put my used fireplace matches in it anymore - When something that looks like a bit of melted glass that turns out to be something from the Ming Dynasty this will sometimes be said.  Now usually this phrase or something like it is the good natured visitor's attempt at humor.  Generally the expert will then parrot the phrase and say 'Well he he he no, you shouldn't do that'  and a good time was had by all.

- The build up - This is where the professional has lost sight of what may be leading the visitor on about the value of their item.  They start out by saying things like 'well this is a fantastic example of...' and 'We've never seen one of these in this kind of condition.  One minute later will see the visitor with a big grin and a bit of drool in the corner of their mouth.  The example plays something like this:

...This is one of the best examples of early matchbook covers that we've ever seen.  In fact the co co club of Hoboken New Jersey went up in flames in 1890 and nobody thought any of the matchbooks had survived.  You have not only the matchbook but all of the matches in tact and stuck to the strike board with the original glue.  This really is an incredible find and a bit of history of New Jersey...

Then they hear that this book of matches from the coco club in New Jersey is worth 20 dollars.  That crestfallen look says it all.  It's even better when the expert continues to go on about how great it is that they have seen this great find even as the value is sadly scrolling across the bottom of the screen with that magic sparkle effect that only 5 minutes prior was being used to display the price of a native American pot worth 120k.

- I'm worth more than this - So the expert is looking at your felt sad clown faces.  Yes it's a collector item, but yack.  Well as an expert in sad clown paintings you are going to give it your all.  Some experts at the ARS don't get a lot of screen time so when that rare clown painting shows up, you can bet they are going to flog that painting for all it's worth!  They go on and on about this bit of artistic fluff that will end up being worth 200 dollars if it's the best one, but by gum that expert is going to get their 15 minutes of fame.  Stinking Keno brothers shouldn't have ALL the screen time.

- Do you have any idea of it's value? - You'll hear this all program long.  over and over.  Do you have any idea of it's value?  The answer will nearly always be 'No idea at all' followed by a low-ball that couldn't possibly be it's value.  The answers that do not follow this pattern will be 'Well we had it appraised X years ago and I think it was worth Y'.  Where Y is another low-ball estimate.  Often the visitor thinks that by playing dumb they will get a better price out of the current expert on the spot than from the pawn shop they had taken it to a week earlier.

- This damage does ____ to the value - This is such a curve ball.  You have a painting or a statue that has some discoloration or a broken bit on the corner.  sometimes, the damage has brought this from a 400,000 piece of art to a 4,000 piece of junk (relatively).  it's a shame really.  and other times they say 'Yes the arm is missing from this figure, but It shouldn't affect the value.  This is the experts way of playing with the visitor, and the viewer alike.  How can damage ever be inconsequential?  Well watch ARS and you'll see just how often it doesn't mean a thing and how often it was the difference between early retirement and 'Welcome to Walmart'.

- Well I got this at a garage sale for 5 dollars - This is the regular saw given by people hoping to show that they have a natural eye for value.  Often similar phrases are 'I just fell in love with it' and 'It caught my eye and I couldn't leave without it!' or the popular 'Well I saw it in a dumpster next to a bio-hazard container and I thought it might be worth something'   They all mean the same thing.  I think my mutant ability is being able to see a fantastic value in the midst of garbage.

- I know more about this thing than you do! - Once in a while the zig will zag and the person bringing in the piece not only knows it's value, but has had it appraised over and over.  The ONLY reason they have brought their treasure to the Antiques roadshow is to BRAG.  The expert goes on a bit and then the visitor rolls into the entire provenance but will stop short of the estimate.  They of course want to see what the value will be in case its quite a bit higher and they can go back home and brag some more.

- It will stay in the family - This is visitor code for 'Well that wasn't worth nearly what I though it was'  They want to be gracious about the value, but they don't want to give it away that really they were hoping this meant retirement and not a new roof on the house.  Along with this you may here 'well isn't that nice' and 'Oh that's something'  But you can see in their eyes that this wasn't NEAR what they hoped it would be.  And for some reason, that usually makes me happy.  Call it one of my numerous character flaws.

- Louis Comfort Tiffany - Often, you will hear about a Tiffany vase or lamp.  But when the expert talks about it, they will only ever use the entire name.  Because you wouldn't want to confuse the piece with something by the dubious Louis Slackjaw Tiffany.  Other people you don't want to confuse with their more famous counter parts are Rembrandt van Rind and Fred Lloyd Wright and Mark Walberg.

Support public TV.  It's fun.

Monday, November 2, 2015

10 Pretty good ways to die

Death.  I've broached the subject before. It's when we go to the next step in our life's journey.  Oddly enough science has a fairly hard time determining if something is alive.  Suffice it to say that death is something we spend the better part of our life ignoring except of course during Halloween.  We glamorize death in movies and usually use it to make the plot of any story more interesting.  Death is commonly a subject if not a prop in most of the stories we tell.  Death is the only thing we will all experience in different ways, but we will experience it.  Unless of course you don't believe in an afterlife in which case we won't technically experience it because we won't be there when it finishes.  I don't claim any actual knowledge of these ways to go, it is just my assumption that these ways to die would have the most going for them as far as choice of ways to die goes.  These are the ways that probably aren't bad.  Please understand these aren't the ways that would be very good to go from the survivors point of view, that would be a different list.  Suffice it to say, this list is fairly dark.  If that's not your particular flavor of skittles, please feel free to move on, I'll be back in 15 days or so.

- Chute doesn't open - The big fall.  Everyone told you about how many more people die each year in car accidents and there you are looking at your rip cord like it's left over pasta.  You can panic and that will get you past a few feet, but after that you are still falling and there isn't much else you can do.  What makes this a good way to go is that it's fairly quick and pretty certain.  Also I often wonder that if there is an afterlife what does everyone have in common?  How they died.  People will swap tales of consumption and shark bites and you will mention that you have fallen out of an airplane to your death willingly and expected to survive.  Most of the people you talk to will be amazed.

- Thrill ride accident - File this under ironic deaths.  These rides are only supposed to scare you 1/2 to death.  Sure it's rare, but I'm sure it happens.  Also the amount of settlement money your surviving relatives will get will be pretty thrilling.

- End of the world - Well, at least we can all go together.  The one nice thing about a catastrophic event like a meteor the size of a city, is it's pretty quick and you don't have to worry about those you leave behind because they will be coming with.

- Pharmaceutical problem - The world of big pharma is an exciting one.  First they were going to cure the world with science!  Now they are just going to treat the world with even more science.  Why?  Well money of course.  So when you take that regimen of treatments and it happens to make you grow another arm or something, you end up having a bad ending, but your family once again will benefit greatly.  When you get money from a lawsuit like this, it comes to you tax free, so that's nice to.  Hey, if you've got to go, it's nice to know your family is taken care of.

- Carbon Monoxide Poisoning - This isn't so bad as long as you don't mind a tired headache.  You get really tired, get a pretty good headache, and then you go out.  Lots of people suffer headaches all the time so that really won't be such a bad thing.

- Plane Crash - Like Chute doesn't open and Thrill ride accident, the reason it's nice to die of Plane crash is it's pretty exciting as well and there are not very many survivors at all.  Why is that nice?  because this is about the good ways to DIE, not survive.  Plane crashes don't give you a lot of chances to survive and they are drastic and fast on impact.  All of those equal a lot of terror but not much pain.  Sure terror isn't going to be fun, but I'd rather have some terror and no pain v.s. the opposite.

- Heart Arrhythmia - This is the way my own dad went.  A lifetime of eating whatever he wanted and diminishing exercise in old age gave him this good way out.  It's like a heart attack, but the heart just stops.  It's like a switch turning off.  No real warning, just one moment there you are, and the next there you were.  This isn't a great way to go for your surviving relatives because it's so mysterious.  You wonder how it happened, what caused it.  Well when what causes your death is unhealthy behavior over time it's not much of a mystery, it's more of a waiting game.  The reason it's a good way to go is it's quick and painless.

- Hit directly by a high speed train - This one is a suicide favorite in Japan and other countries with high speed trains.  There is no time between impact and your demise.  You just cause the people on the train to be delayed as they are moved to a train that doesn't need maintenance/cleaning.

- Ground 0 of anything that has a ground 0 - Similar to the End of the world the best thing about Ground 0 is that it fast as well as very unique.  Nuclear if man made, Probably Volcanic if Mother nature is playing her hand.  In either case, pain will probably be there to some extent as I suspect you will be melting, but it will really be quick if any of the military test footage is an indicator.  The blast itself will be enough to turn out all of the lights.  Everything else is for those people beyond a 10 mile radius.  People that live far enough away show up on this lists opposite.  Very bad way to survive.

- Fast Illness - Best way to go for everyone.  You know you are going to die, and now you are given a relative clock for how fast it's going to be.  The reason this is nice is that you get to take care of all of your affairs before you go.  Move money around, avoid taxes for your loved one, get everything taken care of so you leave with a clean house.  What is that fast illness you ask?  I'm not sure.  It's the kind where the Doctor says 'I won't sugar coat this, you have 3 weeks to live'.  There has to be a few of them that science doesn't have a 'treatment' where they keep you on the hook for the drugs for as long as you can draw breath.

Well, I'd invite you to try to keep on not dying, if for no other reason, I can use all the readers I can get.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

10 Personal rules for the Internet

Back in the day, there was no internet.  Being on a computer meant trading disks and installing programs and the most widely used word processor in the world had a blue background and straight up text.  The concept of the internet or a network of interconnected computers was more or less science fiction.  We all thought it was possible, but we didn't really know how.  Thanks to the US government for giving us the framework for the internet and industry for embracing it, now we have communication on a incomprehensible level.  When I say incomprehensible, what I mean is that we more or less don't have the capacity to understand it beyond what it means to us individually.  The internet to each of us is our email and our social media sites and youtube.  That's about it.  Some of us use it for more than that, but not much.  The rest of what the internet is doing in the background, that we don't pay attention to, is really big and has to do with all of us.  When Edward Snowden released the NSA documents on what they were doing with our information it started with a bang and fell down to a whimper.  The problem wasn't that it was very serious what the NSA and other 'alphabet' organizations were doing, the problem was that there was so much information there that the public at large was too impatient to pay attention for a long period of time and the information gets to be so overwhelming everyone just assumes that it's what we have to deal with.  Of course it's not true, but the NSA is the benefactor of our own intellectual sloth.  Well all of that being said, I've devised a list of 10 rules I try to follow when using the internet and my computer.  You might like some of them.

- Incognito for travel/purchases - This isn't a rule as much as it is good advice.  Incognito mode is a way for your browser to not keep history or leave cookies for where you are browsing.  The benefit to this is that some industries know that you will use your browser to shop for lowest price for whatever it is you are looking for and will attempt to find and use cookies you get from other websites.  Example.  You are looking for a plane ticket to Otumwa Iowa.  You go to a travel site and search for your best deal of a ticket.  It looks ok, but not quite what you were looking for.  You go to the next site and the prices seem strangely familiar even though you are looking at other airlines.  The more sites you look at the less competitive they appear to be.  Every price seems to be within 20 dollars or so of the others.  That's because they are looking at your cookies to see what you've been looking at and are making sure they stay competitive but aren't giving away the store.  If you turn off the cookies via incognito mode, every site will assume their site is your first visit and will have to give you a price they hope will keep you from looking further.  This of course is just an example.  I couldn't tell you if that's the way that specific industry works, but I know that each website has the capability to look at what you've been doing to adjust their advertising so when you are shopping, be a secret shopper.

- 2 factor as much as possible - This is the world of passwords and password management.  2 factor is the process of establishing 2 separate verification's that make it virtually impossible for someone to hack your account.  The most simple example is when a website asks you for your password and then asks you to enter the code that they will text your phone.  That second verification makes it very difficult for anyone to be able to assume your identity for that website.  In the world of hacking nothing is impossible, but it doesn't mean you should make it easy for them.

- open source for a better tomorrow - Are you looking for software that will let you do things like create a spreadsheet?  Draw a wireframe?  Nearly anything you need software for has an open source counterpart.  What is open source you may ask?  Open source is generally software that does not cost anything AND will allow you all or limited use right for the software code.  That means if you are of a mind you could change the software for your own use.  You don't get to change the open source software without going through a community that maintains the codebase.  For the rest of us, open source software has a couple of advantages over private software.  The code is evaluated in public for weaknesses and flaws.  This means that the more people that look at it, the better the code gets.  All that and the code is free.  The best way to find open source software is of course to use your favorite search engine search for open source and the software you would like. The other good search terms would be 'open source alternative microsoft word' to search for a microsoft word open source alternative.  There are lots of them.  Don't like windows?  Linux is free, and surprisingly easy to use.  Drawing?  Database?  Chat?  You name it, open source has it.

- Nothing replaces local backups - Lately you are hearing about the 'cloud'  for backing up your files.  I have nothing against online backups, but what happens if somehow you are not allowed to access your cloud files?  You still need to have local backups.  Getting a couple of inexpensive hard drives that you can back up your data files onto in rotation is really as much as you need.  Some people advocate keeping a drive in a safe deposit box and a drive at home and one more drive that you are doing your backups on.  every week or so you rotate the drives so your backups are never more than a week old.  I believe that all you really need is 2 drives, one in your office and one in the garage.  Yes natural disaster could take both drives out, but I submit that if that's the case, you have bigger fish to fry.

- You might forget, but the Internet will remember - Once again with social media, but the internet in general.  There is no real such thing as privacy.  Between hackers and governments, everything you do is very likely to be public information at some point.  Behave that way.  If you are on social media, watch what you say.  Businesses are not above looking at everything you do online to see if you are a 'right fit'.  Of course you are not ashamed of what you have posted on the other hand you might be.  Just be careful out there, on the internet, you ALWAYS leave a lasting impression.

- Avoid your ISP through proxy.  Tired of your Service provider snooping what you are doing?  If you don't know what I'm talking about, your ISP (internet service provider) is Comcast, Qwest, etc.  If a company is providing your internet, they basically have the ability to look at anything that you are doing online.  If you don't like their eyes, you can search online for High Speed proxy.  What a proxy service does is provides a secure gateway that goes through your ISP to another address and behaves as though you are originating from there.  Yes, who you use as your proxy service can then see what you are up to, but it's not your ISP.

- Mostly they just want your money - Remember, they are tracking you so they can get your money.  That's not all bad.  As capitalist consumers, we have an innate sense of ads and what they mean.  From gradeschool, we are taught how media advertisements manipulate us into favoring one product over another.  The internet plays no small role in this now.  Before you put your luddite hat on and leave the interwebs forever think of this.  Never before has advertising had the power to focus only on things you want.  I don't mind that at all...usually.

- Your friends friends are thieves - Social media time again.  This has to do with your vacations.  When you are going out of town or just across town to an event.  People have a natural tendency to post what they are doing on line so their friends can see what they are up to.  Well, if your friends can see it, it's likely that their friends can see it.  Your friends picked you as one of their friends.  That's because they have good taste.  Those other people your friends have as friends?  They are at best hangers on looking for some kind of connection to humanity, at worst they are con artists looking to take advantage of all of your friends friends.  That means you.  They see that you are out for a grand night out, they understand that you are probably not going to have anyone in the house for the next 3 hours or so.  That's more than enough time to take the best stuff out of your house.  So, if you have homeowners insurance, right now, before you do much else, take that fancy cellphone and video your various rooms in your house and catalog some of your more irreplaceable treasures.  Do that every so often and you will be prepared to make an accurate claim when insurance is paying you off.

- LastPass is your friend.  - LastPass is a password manager that works specifically with your online accounts.  It remembers your passwords for you and puts them into websites as they request them.  It's fairly easy to use and then you only have to remember your one password for getting to LastPass.  When you do it that way, you can store longer and more complicated passwords instead of the fort knox of passwords 1234.  Once you have that, make sure your password to LastPass is VERY long.  It's the only one you'll have to remember.

- Never 'win' other peoples posts - You are on your favorite social media and you see some post you don't agree with.  You decide to log your displeasure.  That's fine.  The poster then rebuts your well worded dissent with points of their own.  Unless you have something genuinely new to offer the discussion.  Do not reply.  Do not try to win the post by having the last word.  It's rude.  You want to further the argument, make you own post and see how people react to your thoughts.  Don't cook your barbecue on someone else's grill.

Well, there it is.  My internet rules and advice.