Congress vs. Facebook: Lack of tech understanding or political language?

Watching C-Span is like watching paint dry or like watching Windows slowly work through several months of updates. I don’t have the patience. So, I listened to a New York Times Podcast and a CBS news story about Zuckersberg’s solo testimony before Congress.

The news folks revealed what I thought would happen. The hearings were like a five hour tech support call. The Senators and Congressman seemed to stumble around trying to get sound-bites in for their constituents. Zuckerberg repeatedly had to say, “We already do that.” or “We already have that.”

Frankly, the poor showing by our elected officials may not demonstrate anything other than Congress’ attempt to make it easy for the U.S. public to understand. C’mon! Senators and Congressmen have substantial staffs who have tech expertise. So. Here you have our elected representatives attempting to ask intelligent questions about a subject with which they seem to be totally ignorant.

EXAMPLES from an Inc story by Minda Zetlin:

1. “Is Twitter the same as what you do?”

South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham (R) asked this as he was seeking to discover if Facebook is a monopoly. “It overlaps with a portion of what we do,” Zuckerberg said.

2. “If I’m emailing within WhatsApp…does that inform your advertisers?”

That question came from Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz (D), who seemed unaware that WhatsApp is a chat–not email–platform. Zuckerberg, manfully resisting any temptation to correct him, simply said that content on WhatsApp would not lead to related ads.

3. “How do you sustain a business model in which users don’t pay for your service?”

This surprising question came from Utah Senator Orrin Hatch (R). Zuckerberg blinked for a moment–he couldn’t believe it either–and then said simply, “Senator we run ads.”

“I see. That’s great.” Hatch responded.

4. “What was Facemash and is it still up and running?”

Missouri Representative Billy Long asked that question, much to Zuckerberg’s embarrassment. If you’ve watched The Social Network, as Long evidently has, you know Facemash was an early Zuckerberg project in which users compared two photos of women and picked which was hotter. But Zuckerberg started Facemash from his dorm room 15 years ago and Harvard shut it down within days.

5. “What if I don’t want to receive [ads for chocolate]?”

Apparently, Florida Senator Bill Nelson (D) is fond of a particular type of chocolate, and having mentioned that fact to some Facebook friends, is now seeing ads for that chocolate. His question might be a good one but it’s one for the entire internet, not just Facebook, as anyone who’s ever shopped for anything online and been dogged by ads for that same item already knows.

Zuckerberg said that users can turn off third-party information within Facebook if they don’t want that info used to select ads for them. But, he added, “even though some people don’t like ads, people really don’t like ads that aren’t relevant.”

6. “My son is dedicated to Instagram so he’d want to be sure I mentioned him while I was here with you.”

That loving parental plug came from Missouri Senator Roy Blunt (R). It was a useful reminder that Zuckerberg is the real star in this roomful of powerful elders. And it wasn’t the only one.

7. “Would you bring some fiber because we don’t have connectivity?”

West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore (R) made this request–some of her state’s rural areas apparently lack broadband. Zuckerberg said there’s a group within Facebook bringing connectivity to rural areas and “we would be happy to follow up with you on that.”

8. “Some people refer to [Peter Thiel’s startup Palantir] as Stanford Analytica. Do you agree?”

Washington Senator Maria Cantwell (D) posed this odd question on her roundabout way to asking whether Cambridge Analytica’s data-gathering was the brainchild of a Palantir employee, as recent media reports have said. There’s no particular reason to think Zuckerberg would know the answer to either of her questions, and he said he didn’t.

9. “Did you know that the Motion Picture Association of America is having problems with piracy and…this is challenging their existence?”

Georgia Representative  Buddy Carter (R) asked this question after first noting the rampant sale of opioids and ivory from endangered elephants over Facebook. Never mind that piracy takes place all over the internet and not just Facebook, or the absurdity of suggesting that it poses an existential threat to the Hollywood movie industry. Zuckerberg merely replied: “Congressman, I believe that has been an issue for a long time.”

Some expert observers said after the hearings were done that Congress could have been a lot harder on Zuckerberg if its members were better informed about how social networks and the internet work. If they were, their questions might have been less entertaining. On the other hand, these are the congressional committees charged with overseeing the web and ensuring all our data is safe there. So we all might be better off.

 —End of content by Minda Zetlin
There you have it. You decide. Is this a problem with Senators and their staffs attempting to create language to communicate with tech/internet ignorant constituents, or just tech/internet ignorance on the part of our elected leaders? I think, perhaps both.

Windows update? No way! I have work to do! Later!

Or. Why is it taking all day to update Windows?

It seems that every time I want to use my Windows 10 computer, I have to wait through an update. For me, it may take only a friggin’ hour. However, for some friends it has taken all day – ALL DAY.  I was there for one of them.

It doesn’t make any difference which update that triggers the update jail-time. You are caught. You are caught because one of those updates that you deferred, won’t. It starts and the computer hangs – or seems to do so.

That’s when I get the call. “The computer is frozen.” It can’t be used and doesn’t respond. This usually happens when Microsoft issues a CRITICAL update. It is fixing one of those vulnerabilities that might get its executives hauled before Congress after regular folks lose their IDs and bank information – not to mention medical data. So, you WILL update! You click on the acknowledgement for the software to update itself. That’s when the sh1t hits the fan. The computer restarts and just sits there – perhaps for hours.

Most of the time, this loss of use – for a day perhaps – is caused by failure to update when the machine wants to update. It doesn’t care what reason you might want to use the computer. 60 Minutes has already left messages for the Microsoft execs and you will update before Congress gets back in session. Of course, I am joking about 60 Minutes and Congress (maybe not that much). However, the point remains, you just have to update when the computer tells you – just after you perform that crucial task that couldn’t wait. If you wait until the next two or three updates go by, then you are what we call in the I.T. business – screwed. The next time, you will be in computer jail, awaiting the update gods to finish their sacrificial ritual with your computer.

SOLUTION – most of the time

If you are using Windows 10, then follow the guidance below. If not and you are using Windows 7, then you must update when you are notified PERIOD! **Exception: If you have business custom software program on your computer, you should stop and call that software vendor. Otherwise, an update may screw up that custom software .

You have to leave your computer on for the following to work.

Boeing hit by WannaCry virus via year-old exploit

Boeing hit by virus, fears it could cripple some jet production

OK. I do understand that it may take awhile and that production systems have to be carefully studied and even replaced before being updated. @Boeing is hit with WannaCry via a year-old vulnerability! Boeing hit by virus, fears it could cripple some jet production

Why you should use a VPN; Vendors that you might want to avoid

Public WiFi, crooks in compromised networks and Internet Service Provider snoops – All of them want your information. And I am not even getting started. You need to protect yourself.

And here are the PC Magazine 2018 VPN reviews!


According to recent research, 26 VPNs out of 115 collect 3 or more important log files which are deeply hidden in their privacy policy.

These include the following “paid” VPNs:

logging policy
Many VPNs still keep logs, one way or another…
  1. PureVPN
  2. HideMyAss
  3. HotSpot Shield
  4. VPN Unlimited
  5. VyprVPN
  6. Astrill
  7. ZoogVPN
  8. Buffered
  9. TigerVPN
  10. Boleh VPN
  11. Anonymizer
  12. IPinator
  14. AnonVPN
  15. FlyVPN
  16. SunVPN
  17. iPredator
  18. HideIP VPN
  19. VPN Gate
  20. HolaVPN
  22. Betternet
  23. Ace VPN
  24. Flow VPN
  25. Freedom-IP
  26. IronSocket

VPN logs

Read more here: