So Much For Progress

at least when it comes to buying food:

A checkout-free Sainsbury’s branch has reinstalled its tills after just three months because customers chose to queue at the helpdesk to pay in the traditional way, rather than use the app.
The Holborn Circus shop was made till-free in April this year, with customers able to pay for products using the company’s app on their phone – in a drive to speed up shopping.
Shoppers download an app, called SmartShop then scan the barcode of the items they want to buy.
But the experiment resulted in long queues at the help desk, as people tried to pay for their groceries in the traditional way.

See, I know where this came from.  Some twerp in Finance looked at the staffing costs and recommended to Management that the company eliminate people altogether from their stores.
“But how do we do that?”  Management cried.
“Fear not,” said IT (or a $2,000/hour team of consultants from Bain, after a 2-year study), “We can just force people to use Technologeh!”

So now Sainsbury’s has had to re-install checkouts and hire staff — but the Finance / IT / consultant wizards are not dangling from lamp posts along Holborn Street, as would have happened under the reign of World-Emperor Kim.

And more’s the pity, methinks.

My Kinda List

That would be the Top 25 Badass Planes Of All Time (and I especially like their choice of #1).

Now, as with all this kind of geekery, one can argue with the choices (or omissions, e.g. the WWI Fokker D.VII), but it’s still a credible selection.

(Yeah, that’s Ernst Udet in the foreground.)

And I don’t agree with Gen. Spaatz’s characterization of of the B-17, but it’s a minor quibble:  the Flying Fortress was a dandy, any way you look at it.

 

Feel free to add your suggestions — but:  if you do so, you have to say which of the existing 25 you’d drop.  (Mine would be the DC-3/C-47, to make room for the D.VII, for example).

Another Fucking Nanny

In Britishland, there’s a grocery delivery service called OCADO, and just to set this rant up, here’s a customer’s story:

Ocado, the online supermarket, had a suggestion for me recently. I’d got to the point of paying for my weekly groceries when a suggestion popped up on the website page.
‘Swap the products below and you could save 1,216 calories,’ it promised, suggesting I substitute ordinary coconut milk for a reduced-fat version.
It wasn’t the only ‘handy’ tip. I’d need to run for just over two hours, or walk for more than six hours to burn off the calories I’d be consuming should I stick to my original choice, I was reliably informed.
Of course, Ocado isn’t unique. It’s almost impossible to walk down the high street without seeing something suggesting we’re all too fat and need to eat less. Wetherspoons, Pizza Express, Nandos and Wagamama now display calorie counts on their menus.
In May, the Government announced that this scheme would be extended to smaller local restaurants and popular takeaway joints.

And the word “Government” is what triggered me.

Because I think (and I don’t think I’m being overly suspicious here) that with this kind of fucking intrusive software, it’s only a question of time before the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) incorporates snooping software into your household purchases and as with All Things Government, what starts off as a “guideline” somehow always seems to end up “compulsory”.

We all know that Corporate America is only too ready to lick the hands that enslave others, so if HHS (or the poxy CDC — talk about mission creep) decides, For Our Own Good (of course), that we should be hectored into reducing this or that in our diets;  or that (even better) we should be prevented from buying  doubleplusungood products (e.g. cigarettes, booze or Hostess Twinkies) — why, it would be A Good Thing.

Just not for us.  But Visa/MasterCard/Amex/Shylock Inc. would be glad to oblige the Gummint, lest said Gummint do things with laws that take chunks out of the banks’ bottom line.

I’m not ready for that Big Brother shit, and I suspect I’m not alone in this.

And by the way, when I wrote Prime Target  in 2012, I tried to imagine the most outrageous, far-fetched and outlandish government-run data mining scenario possible.  Less than two years later  it was out of date, and the federal alphabet agencies (along with their lickspittles at Google and FaceBook) were strip-mining the most intimate details of people’s lives for their own advantage.

So here’s a little warning to all of these cocksuckers:  the minute I see this shit starting in my private affairs, I’ll quit using the service altogether, no matter what the inconvenience may be.

I also need to start stockpiling cash and other kinds of currency against the day.  Fuckers.

Oh, Wonderful

Continuing with my series on air travel this week, I see this little snippet:

A security researcher has reportedly discovered a code leak in a Boeing 787 Dreamliner that would allow hackers access to the in-flight entertainment system and possibly systems like controls.

I just flew on a 787 last week for my return to Dallas.  Yeah, this makes me feel SO good about flying, when some neckbeard asshole (or, for that matter, some recently-shaved Islamist asshole) could mess around with the airliners’ control system while in the air.

Somebody remind me why I hate the Internet Of Things so much… oh never mind, I just remembered.

“Alexa, go fuck yourself.”
“I’m sorry, Kim, I can’t do that.”

Not Known At This Address

A little while ago, Reader Sam D. had this thought about Amazon’s Alexa:

“Why would anyone WANT his own personal Stasi agent in his home, AND be paying for it?”

Indeed.  Somebody remind me again why I’m not wired into the Internet Of Things:

If you’re a Google user, you probably noticed some trouble last night when trying to access Google-owned services. Last night, Google reported several issues with its Cloud Platform, which made several Google sites slow or inoperable. Because of this, many of Google’s sites and services–including Gmail, G Suite, and YouTube–were slow or completely down for users in the U.S. and Europe.
However, the Google Cloud outage also affected third-party apps and services that use Google Cloud space for hosting. Affected third-party apps and services include Discord, Snapchat, and even Apple’s iCloud services.
But an especially annoying side effect of Google Cloud’s downtime was that Nest-branded smart home products for some users just failed to work. According to reports from Twitter, many people were unable to use their Nest thermostats, Nest smart locks, and Nest cameras during the downtime. This essentially meant that because of a cloud storage outage, people were prevented from getting inside their homes, using their AC, and monitoring their babies.

Don’t think you can escape this bullshit by jumping in your car and getting out of town, either:

Governments are collecting lots of data on the people using roads, trains and buses, and without proper oversight, that information could easily be misused.

(I’ve often wondered, by the way, if my movements are being studied by way of my phone location software.  As I drive for Uber, I bet it’s interesting reading:  “He goes to the airport three or four times a day and never seems to drive back… WTF?”)  And speaking of which:

I wonder why they bother to warn us anymore.

And then there’s this:

Sleep Number, one company that makes beds that can track heart rate, respiration and movement, said it collects more than 8 billion biometric data points every night, gathered each second and sent via an app through the internet to the company’s servers.
“This gives us the intelligence to be able to continue to feed our algorithms,” CEO Shelly Ibach told attendees at a Fortune Brainstorm Health conference in San Diego last month.
Analyzing all that personal data, Ibach continued, not only helps consumers learn more about their health, but also aids the company’s efforts to make a better product.
Still, consumer privacy advocates are increasingly raising concerns about the fate of personal health information — which is potentially valuable to companies that collect and sell it — gathered through a growing number of internet-connected devices.

What I’d like to do is hack into this system, and publish a Wanking Hard Incidence Ranking Report (WHIRR!) for every member of Congress.

Maybe then someone  would take this loss of privacy thing seriously.

Techno-Snooping

Let’s hear it for the companies who are spying on us:

The only Alexa I’d ever let into my house is a wonderful lady friend thus named.  The electronic snooper and spy?  Well, I guess somebody could put one into my house at some point, but the recordings would be kinda boring, because I’d be dead.

Bloody hell, it’s bad enough that the bastard government alphabet agencies might want to climb up my ass on a 24/7 basis, simply because I once wrote that I wanted to beat Ted “Swimmer” Kennedy to death with a lead pipe;  and that ever since the fat prick died, I’ve wanted to pour a bottle of Glenmorangie 10-year-old over his grave (after first passing the stuff through my kidneys).

Now the post-adolescent techno-weenies want their turn at my asshole, just because I buy books and deodorant from their poxy company?  Fuck ’em.