Taking photos of others and posting them online, more controversial now than it used to be

There was a period, maybe mostly the mid 1990’s until maybe 2012, when generally people didn’t mind if other “strangers” photographed them dancing in discos or in other gatherings. That was particularly true in gay discos. The improving social climate was part of it. But as social media got really serious and tagging could happen, that standard of courtesy changed quickly as to what was OK. Of course you normally can’t photograph employees at a private business anyway, but some places did ban photography of guests or customers. A few “white parties” even required turning in cell phones before entry. When I was using Blogger, I did discuss this issue in a few posts on the GLBT blog.

There is an article about this issue by Dalvin Brown in the Wall Street Journal Jan. 23, 2022, “How to Avoid Unwanted Photos on Social Media;
If you spot an unwanted photo of you on your News Feed, there are things you can do”.

He points out that in some countries, notably France, you can go to jail for taking a photo of someone without permission and publishing on line

Also, modern social media has made conflicts of interest in the workplace more likely than it was say in 2000 when blogging in the Web 1.0 world was just getting started and not too many people cared or knew.

Publishing under a pen name: Pros and cons

birth papers 1943

I’ve explained elsewhere that my legal name is John William Boushka, and that my parents gave me the nickname “Bill” when I was born, and that was how I was always known colloquially.

“Bill” sounds secular (based on a simplification of my very English middle name), whereas “John” is the name of at least two important apostles or disciples in the New Testament and sounds more somber.

My father was, in fact, “John Joseph Boushka” (b. 1903 in New Virginia, Iowa) and was often known as “Jack”, again secular, especially as a young man before marriage to my mother in 1940.

Amazon is quite OK with people publishing books under pen names, and there can be specific situations where (in many countries) it may be “dangerous” for your exact identity to be known. In my case, in the 1990s, I wanted to keep some “double-life” separation between income producing work and self-publishing for self-expressive purposes. (That turns out to be a somewhat eventful narrative that I have covered elsewhere.)

One big disadvantage can be that it can be much harder to make a book sell under a pen name unless you are already well-established, and there may be a notion that a pen-name should be a separate business.

Here is an article (March 31, 2021) by Daniel Rosehill on Medium, under a subject called Freelance Writing, “Reasons To Use A Pen Name For Your Amazon Self-Publishing — And Why Not To”.

Robert Brewer also discusses this for Writer’s Digest.

(Posted: Tuesday, January 25, 2022 at 11:30 PM EST by John W. Boushka)

Microsoft Patch and VPN

Andrew Cunningham of Ars Technica reports on an emergency patch today from Microsoft for Windows 10 and 11, based on the patch (that is, update) from Jan 10.

The patch (update) had apparently interfered with VPN in some work-from-home setups necessitated during the pandemic. It is being offered now as an optional updates. People who don’t connect to an office or other network may not need the patch immediately.

(Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2021 at 9:30 AM EST by John W. Boushka)

Owning your own work, don’t take it for granted

Until the late 1990s, about the time “ordinary people” could start broadcasting themselves on the Internet, most stable employed people (or at least many) experienced “double lives”.

A lot of people created intellectual products of value in the workplace; and for about three decades or so, employment in mainframe computing tended to be pretty stable, with benefits (even with unpaid overtime for salaried people, and even without unionization). People often had lives where their families and personal activities, like very meaningful hobbies (like music) were avocational and separate from work.

But you left the job, or particularly got laid off or fired from it, you lost access immediately to the value you had created. This happened to me particularly on December 13, 2001 (93 days after 9/11) when I had my final IT layoff (then at age 58). I got a big severance and could retire and a family backup so it wasn’t as traumatic for me as for a lot of people. But actual access to the body of my work, which was considerable and in a way meaningful, was lost.

But I had written my first DADT book and was well on the way to making myself a minor public figure by my public participation on some issues, especially, at first, gays in the military (based on my own life experiences three decades before).

I’ve had absolute control of my content and its deployment since 1997. But even that attracts anger from the “Left”. Since I don’t need to raise funds or depend on other people or groups, I can give my own views more weight in final policy results. This may seem wrong in terms of the idea of “privilege” and social credit and seems related to critical theory. Although it is not subject to algorithmic manipulation, it still might be seen as a source of dangerous misinformation. That’s one reason for the downsizing of my web presence with many fewer sites in 2022. At one end, my participation in normal political activism for real injustice is eliminated or reduced, and if my behavior is replicated by many, it can hinder social justice and reform as many see it, and tend to encourage a certain soft fascism. At some point, people in my position need to be able to provide for others and see how their activities more directly benefit others.

(Posted: Sunday, January 23, 2022 at 9 PM EDT)

My 1998 lecture on my first DADT book (at Hamline University)

I wanted to offer here a 1998 lecture I gave on my first book at Hamline University in St. Paul, MN. I had moved to Minneapolis at the start of September 1997, which I have discussed in other places.

The embedded video runs one hour but has an intermission for the Libertarian Party of Minnesota. It was presented on a cable channel in Minneapolis in March 1998..

Two remarks about the second half.

One is that if I had it to do over, I would talk about the Second Amendment specifically, and whether it is an “individual right” in an absolute sense (Heller case in DC).  You can subsume it as part of property rights or self-ownership, as there needs to be a fundamental right to defend one’s property of life. Of course, this is difficult today given many recent events.

The entire speech lays bare the culture wars over group rights, systemic racism, and the like.

Also the idea of self-defense as a fundamental right should have been discussed in my 1998 “Our Fundamental Rights” booklet.

When mentioning copyright in the second half, I should have noted that facts themselves cannot be copyrighted.

(Update: Thursday Feb. 3, 11 PM EST: The portion that connects my William and Mary expulsion in Nov. 1961 to the debate over gays in the military and “don’t ask don’t tell” appears from 42:34 and 49:40, about 7 minutes.)

(Posted: Thursday, January 20, 2021 at 11:30 PM by Joh W. Boushka)

Security flaw found in Safari

Many tech websites today are reporting a flaw in the Apple Safari web browser which allows it to open databases other than one controlled by a particular wesbite. The vulnerability would allow an attacker to look at Google account activity unknown to the visitor.

For example Lifehacker reports the problem here in an article today by Jake Peterson. It refers to a test site called Safari Leaks from FingerprintJS. If you go to that site, Trend Micro will block the site as dangerous (I guess it allows you to experiment).

Here is a similar story on Jioforme by Adam Bairstow.

The articles encourage users to be cautious using Safari right now on any Mac, either iOS on a smart phone or even on a MacBook.

(Posted Wednesday, January 9, 2019 at 6 PM by John W Boushka)

Substitute teachers walk out in “day of absence” when needed to keep schools open

I used to work as a substitute teacher (2004-2007) and also grader, in northern Virginia. I’ve covered my controversial experiences in other posts before.

Substitute teachers did not need to have teaching licenses in Virginia, which was a surprise when I moved back to Virginia from Minnesota (which did) in 2003. It appears that Maryland does not, and the DC website says at the end that Washington DC does not (for the lower paid positions).

So I was somewhat impressed by the story of a DC subs “day of absence” in WJLA7.

True, pay is an issue. And now, subs have an issue with dealing with child safety with respect to public health (coronavirus) and, based on incidents around the country for the past decade and more, safety.

It’s all ironic to me, to say the least.

(Posted: Saturday, January 15, 2022 by John W. Boushka)

Annoying ads on Weather.com

annoying ad for a long expired service

A couple days ago, when I was in weather.com (run by IBM, I thought), and I was trying to get the 10-day forecast for my location, I kept getting served an ad regarding the expiration of my McAfee services (that happened 15 years ago on another computer, as I went to other products (Webroot, for a long time). Now I have Trend Micro. But the best product tends to change every year. You have to keep up with it. (I’ve had Kaspersky before, but it is too connected to Vladimir Putin’s hairless-chested horseback rides.)

I was only able to get the ad to go away by blocking the ad site altogether.

(Posted: Thursday, January 13, 2022 at 11 PM EST, by John W. Boushka)

Technical Issue installing Jetpack 10.5 on some sites

Today, on each of my four WordPress blogs as well as on this one, I was invited to install Jetpack 10.5 as a plugin upgrade.

On this one this upgrade seemed to hang and spin, and when I tried to go to the site again I got interrupted with an “under maintenance” message.

About five minutes later it had finished and the site was available.

On the other four WordPress blogs on another host, I got a fatal error immediately and an email informing of a technical issue. But when I went back into the control panel each time, it had done the update and Jetpack 10.5 had been installed OK.

(Posted: Tuesday, January 11, 2022 at 10 PM ESR)