The Closing of the Internet Frontier

Historians generally agree that 1890 marked the end of the American frontier – the age of the Wild West was over. There was nowhere to go where somebody had not gone before.

2019 will go down as the year the internet frontier ended.  Corporate and government entities have now taken over complete control of the internet. It really was inevitable, just a matter of when. 

In the early days, people scoffed at the potential power of the internet to change society and culture. Now the internet is a tool to gather information on six billion people and modify their behavior and control public opinion and sell them things they didn’t know they needed.

This website has been in anachronism. There’s no profit motive, and no corporate entity wanting to monetize your eyeballs.   There is no venture capital fund hoping to launch an IPO – just one person spending 15 years of his life creating something that other people might find useful.

I indicated a while back that the EU’s GDPR could spell the end of this website, and possibly much more than that. Undoubtedly you’re noticing an increased insistence that websites must ask you for your consent before adding tracking information in a cookie.

Linode, my web hosting company, really has no alternative but to comply with these laws. They have set up a website with page after page the legal isms and the sample documents to comply with the European data privacy rights law.

But that is not the end of it. They also informed me that California is also implementing privacy laws similar to the gdpr then apply to servers located in California, and  visitors from California.  LINode offers the advice that one way to deal with this is to block IP addresses in California from accessing your website. I have no idea how one could possibly do that.

It is probable that this will trigger a growth industry of consulting firms who will test your website for compliance, and threaten you with punishment unless you hire them to conform to these regulations – kind of like when law firms hire people in wheelchairs to go test retail stores for compliance with the Americans with disability act, then file a lawsuit if they find some aisle that is too narrow for the wheelchair.

Given the decrease in interest in the directory, and my declining personal situation, this is no longer a battle I’m willing to fight.   I should probably arrange a final download of the website, and stop the web server before December 31st.   Everything is virtual anyhow, so it can continue to exist offline in the cloud until I decide a more permanent fate for it.


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24 Responses to The Closing of the Internet Frontier

  1. TheChairman says:

    Oh, where to begin? I could go in 10 different directions on the issue. Tim Berners Lee is 10-15 years late with his manifesto to fix the web. The fact that Google's parent company is named 'Alphabet' offers a hint; totally in cahoots with CIA, NSA, FBI, etc.

    The 'end' began in 2000-2002 with the '' implosion. That was a partially engineered collapse by the powers of which you speak… ever notice how quickly the "Web 2.0" UGC (user generated content) sites filled the void? MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and all the other 'socialist' media which enticed the masses online.

    News outlets down-played the activities of Google, Yahoo, and other search-engines in China… where they quietly perfected their filtering and silent censorship, and then brought those algorithms back to the 'free' world and slipped them into our 'results'.

    Zuckerberg, Page, Brin, etal are called up to Congress to 'answer for their sins', but disappear into the cloud again after being asked some softball questions and lying. Then, We the People are warned of social credit scores, kept by FB, Google, etc.

    The U.S. gov't, Apple, Intel, Motorola, etc permitted a massive technology transfer to China over the past 20-30 years, to the detriment of nearly every American citizen.

    Smartphones drove the final nail into the coffin. A perpetually connected surveillance device reporting your location, contacts, purchases, and movement down to the micro-second. Front/rear cameras and noise cancelling microphones recording it all in 4k.

    IF the above wasn't enough, now some Congress-critters seek to force Apple to create a backdoor in iOS encryption because FBI and law enforcement "are hampered by it".

    Brave New World met 1984, so Atlas Shrugged.

    • Fred Stiening says:

      The "web" evolved far away from the original intent. The notion that devices decide formatting based on their abilities was replaced by people wanting to do phototypesetting, where the server demands the browser conform to its requirements. CSS started to replace HTML.

      Then Netscape polluted the world with Javascript, turning loose the browser to have to parse 10s of thousands of lines of code, so ads could infinitely be loaded as you try to find the bottom of the page.

      Yahoo (now owned by Verizon) informed me today that If I do not consent to exhaustive tracking by third parties, I can no longer use their services. I refused to accept that, but it let me in anyhow. Was it a bluff? Or did they take my No as a Yes? I don't care, but did want to see the consequences. This a violation of GPDR. You cannot deny services if the user refuses consent, unless it is required to use the service. As an example, I can require consent if you want to post on the blog to tie your comment to you, but I cannot block you from reading the blog. The regulations on consent fill 200 pages.

      The internet has rapidly been moving away from the web to apps, like Tunein and iHeartRadio. There is no transparency about what an app actually does when you start it, other than Apple AppStore or Google Play screen for dangerous content, like an app that does not give a revenue cut to Apple.

      • TheChairman says:

        One of the tactics I use –to view sites which protest my usage of AdBlocker– is to continually hit 'reload' and then quickly hit 'stop' to halt the loading of the script… eventually, my timing is just right, and the interstitial pop-up fails to load, revealing the underlying page content. If I want to see past a Jscript/block, I put Firefox into developer mode, and dissect the page source.

        I've been on a rant about smartphones because the time has come to decommission our Blackberry phones. Carriers are turning off 2G & 3G and forcing U.S. consumers onto LTE… obsoleting flip-phones and Blackberry OS, etc. Not happy.

        Last week I ordered an Android phone to see what all the buzz was about. After only one day, I could no longer tolerate the relentless intrusiveness of Googledroid. Many 'features' have 3 or more software switches hidden in different menus. Disabling location-tracking or removing certain Google apps is verboten. The interface is weak and clunky, hardly what I expected from a 'mature' OS. After only 48 hours, I removed my SIM card, reset the phone, and returned it to Amazon… and turned my eye towards Apple.

        After a lot of research on iPhone models, I ordered a 6s. It's the oldest model still supported by the latest iOS (13.3). This will be my first Apple product since buying a Powerbook G3 in 2000. It arrives tomorrow. At least I know the interface will be usable.

        • CC1s121LrBGT says:

          Check out AdNausem -

          It does block some ads, but for many it requests the ad from the site and then renders it as "invisible" in your browser so that you don't need to hit the "stop" button.

          The FAQ says :
          "There is no business model behind AdNauseam. It is simply an attempt by concerned individuals to address abuses against users by powerful corporate entities. The software is and will remain free and open-source and will never surreptitiously collect data on users."

      • CC1s121LrBGT says:

        Many / most / nearly all apps want permission to copy your Contacts. Others demand access to your photos. Still others have been found by Google and Apple to be copying data for which they did not ask permission.

        You could deny access to content by requiring an account for people to access it. It only works to a point. There have been recent prosecutions of vendors accessing DISH TV channels and then streaming them over the internet to people who subscribe to them rather than to DISH TV.

        Information wants to flow.

        • TheChairman says:

          I took a look at AdNauseum. We don't really use any smartphone apps, per se… mostly phone calls, texting, and some media streams. Both of us are professionals working from home. We'd be fine with 2G/3G for cell service (calls/text), but those are being phased-out to push users into LTE & 5G. More phone$, more GB$.

          The thing is, both Android and iOS are far more 'promiscuous' than Blackberry OS. Androids & iPhones are not satisfied with just -your- WiFi SSID… they are constantly seeking & logging -all- WiFi SSID's and HotSpots within range, then probing and mapping those networks and reporting it all to their Mothership. Any device passing nearby may be poking & prodding your WiFi network and devices, not to mention NFC and cell signals. So, I'm preparing to dust off my Unix hat to embark on a long-overdue restructuring of our home office network and implement a DNS 'sinkhole', among other defenses. i.e. Intercept at the gateway/router first, not the browser. I don't expect to win, just to mitigate…

          The iPhone arrived yesterday. We definitely like the nice interface, as compared to Android. I immediately began disabling app notification & app location toggles. Will spend a few hours going over iOS usage, settings, and app configuration before installing the SIM card.

          • Fred Stiening says:

            Make sure the camera app has location services disabled, but in the end it is still just software.

            • TheChairman says:

              First thing I did was turn off all location services and mic/camera app access, to the extent possible… covered the 'selfie' cam. I intend to jailbreak the phone if we keep it.

  2. Fred Stiening says:

    I do not know if it is targeted harassment because of the new blog name, or a more general escalation by hackers (possibly government entities), but for the past month, I have probably received 10 attacks a day – either attempting to download passwords, or SQL injection attempts. Most of them are coming from large inexpensive web farms with inadequate screening of clients. My sense is the attacks are coming from China.

  3. Parrott says:

    I loath these regulations on the interwebs. Who is watching the so called darkweb? are they doing tracking cookies?
    yeah I see those email messages in my companies corporate support email to hire so and so to fix your website. Spam. so annoying
    Pelosi is spam, Bloomburg is spam , EPA is spam. NFL is spam.
    Merry Christmas my friends.
    I hope for the best for you and your families and that 2020 is way better than 2019 was. Best wishes,

  4. Fred Stiening says:

    The blog is still reachable for those already here

    • prboylan says:

      Thank you! Even though I'm too busy to regularly contribute, I enjoy dropping by from time to time to see what has caught your attention to write about. Best wishes for 2020, -Phil (thankfully residing in Georgia instead of California)

  5. Parrott says:

    well I guess it was bound to happen. End of an era, 'the polls' LOL. They were great.
    Ilhan Omar (D) MN, also known as 'ball of hate', would have been great for the Polls.

    How else will I get my news ? John B Wells news site? 2020 is pretty wild, didn't think I would make it this far.
    Best regards everyone !

    • TheChairman says:

      Hey Parrott: a belated Happy 2020 to you, Fred, and the other SRG loyalists.

      The web has indeed been transformed from uncensored free-enterprise for everyone, to accommodating the big 4 (aptly called the FANGs) and gov't.

      You can always tune to Radio Havana via SW; it often tends to be more factual than the coordinated daily blitzkrieg of 'Newspeak' presented here in the U.S.

  6. Fred Stiening says:

    I finally got around to making my Windows machine functional again. Some of you may remember that for a time I was actually running the website from the condominium I used to live in.

    I think I successfully downloaded at least the most important parts of the web server, albeit for no obvious purpose.

    I just read a news report that iHeartRadio has had massive layoffs and will be replacing local people with automation and artificial intelligence. The roller coaster is going over the last bump. Nobody cares.

    • TheChairman says:

      Hi Fred, hope you're both doing well. So which version of Windows did you install to revive the machine? Or did you put Fedora on it?

      I'm curious because several YouTube channels are peddling fear and telling people to "update to Windows 10 because Windows 7 has expired". Reading thru the comments of some videos, I see a lot of people (particularly 'seniors') taking the bait and then promptly having problems. Moreover, a security flaw (in Windows 10) was revealed on Jan 14, and used to spoof NSA on Jan 15.

      Still using Windows 7 here, no plans to update in the foreseeable future.

      I'll keep an ear on the local iHeart stations here in AZ for any changes…

      • Fred Stiening says:

        Nothing that dramatic. I just use PCs so little, it sat on my table here in the apartment for 6 months, not plugged in. With the divorce, I am going to need the ability to fax and scan documents.

        The internet situation is not ideal. We have "spectrum community", where the entire building is covered with a mesh of routers all sharing the same SSID and encryption password. Which router you connect to is somewhat random. MAC-ID filtering is turned on, so keyboardless devices like smart devices and printers require entering their macids. Last test I ran, it was getting 6 MB/second.

        I have not changed anything – machine is dual booting Windows XP and Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, but with no Ethernet availability, the Ubuntu is useless. Back at the Condo, T-Mobile's fixed wireless is available, but I no longer live there, and there is zero chance I will move back.

        My future ex-wife has been unable to verbalize what she wants, so a judge is now involved. Her lawyer has about 45 days to state her demands. As you all know, we met because of the website. One of my disappointments was that after we were married, she lost all interest in even reading the blog. While she is terrified at the thought that people will find out I left her, there is zero chance she will ever read the blog.

        When I was in Boy Scouts, I remember being taught that if you see a person drowning, don't jump in the water with them, as they will likely drown you too. You toss them a rope or something that floats. It is a lesson to pay attention to.

        I am living by myself, back to doing my own cooking, laundry, and the things I was competent to do for myself for 45 years. I was not marrying a housekeeper or home health aid or wanting a mother to make me eat carrots. No chance I will go down that path again.

        Last year, my brother's wife died. Now that he is alone, our contacts are getting more friendly. Outliving people that were important in your life sucks, but better than the alternative. When Barack Obama was elected, I was sure I would not survive through his first term. Now I have the prospect of seeing President Pence being sworn in next January.

        • TheChairman says:

          My apologies Fred, I wasn't aware of the situation. I've only been here sporadically these past 12 months; if you mentioned it in a post last year, I missed it. I'm sorry.

          Keep rebuilding ties with your brother, especially if the conversation is supportive, friendly, and non-toxic…

          With regard to an internet connection for your PC, I've been using a nice little WiFi adapter (USB 2.0) which works on Linux and Windows XP, 7, 8, 10.

          Model #: TL-WN722N (made by TP-Link).

          Some Ubuntu users indicate it works plug-n-play, but others had to jump through some installation hoops.

          Here's a link to steps for installing on Ubuntu 14.04:

          The 'Alfa' brand WiFi adapters are also well regarded.

          • Fred Stiening says:

            My sense from the cryptic things I read at the time was that the linux open source mentality collided with a vendor who had patent rights. I tried a little bit, but it was not worth it to ststartrt installing stuff from dubious sources.

          • Fred Stiening says:

            I posted an explanation but then pulled it back at Countess' s request. I offered to pay to move her where her concerns about her safety could be addressed, but after her attorney agreed to my offer, she backed away, so I feel free to explain more.

            So at this point, I am paying all the expenses of the condo (except eletricity) and she neither will agree to move out or to work with me to list it for sale. The only logical explanation is she hopes I die. She spoke in the past about friends in New Jersey who suckered old men into marrying them. She did not even hide her motives. She is a good Christian, however. She prays that God will show mercy on me for what I have done. I made it clear in hour one of our first conversation that I was not a Christian and never would become one. I do not believe in her God.

        • TheChairman says:

          Fred, regarding my suggestion for the TL-WN722N: according to recent Amazon reviews, it seems TP-Link changed the chipset on later versions. Caveat emptor.

          You want to find version 1.0 or 1.1 (Atheros chip) of the adapter to ensure functionality. I have 1.0 and it's been flawless. Probably best to avoid v3… Alfa might be better.

    • Parrott says:

      Killer. WMAL closed their old link to the stream avoiding pop-ads, It worked like a champ for years, It had 'citidel' in the address. won't hurt anything to post it, It doesn't work,
      That worked like a champ for years with VLC.

      Chairman, I have a windows 7 PC that's acting the 'squirrel' . It has a black screen now and says my version of '7' (original from Dell) is not genuine. LOL Pure Bravo Sierra. The problem is that windows sucks.
      A couple of my colleagues here at work have the same issue with their computers. Good computer, bad OS.

      well, if this job falls through, I am going to join the merchant marine and work on a 'Laker' . I took the test and passed. I know starboard side, 'right' 'green light side', and Port, 'Left', red color. I learned tying knots in Scouts.
      yeah I know I would last three weeks and fall over from a heart attack or overboard, at least that water would freeze your ass quick. no lingering.

      Fred, best wishes for your situation. I apologize for being absent and not a good friend in listening or being around.
      I had been away last fall , on a project in Cockeysville MD. that Finally recently finished up. I had to get away after my cat died last fall, and signed onto a project to get me out of my home office. It sucked too.
      So sorry to hear it didn't work out with countess. You all seemed so happy going to Dunn NC and watching trains.
      Trains suck now. They run 15,000 foot behemoths that have distributed power and NS puts just enough HP to get them over the road. Like 3/4 a horsepower per ton. Hard to start, hard to keep moving, hard to stop. idiots.
      Speaking of family, Eh, my parents don't talk to me anymore, if you don't do something specifically the way they like,,,,, eh, just move on, right ?
      Let my brother deal with them.
      Best regards guys, Ground hog day will be here soon

      • TheChairman says:

        Hey Parrott! I was wondering when we might hear from you.

        That Windows 7 problem is rather common with OEM installs, you need to remove a patch or two (KB971033 is one) and then do a few steps to reactivate the license key. Google or Bing it.

        I'm in the other 'boat'; I'd like to talk to my dad, but I don't know where he's living (long story, involving toxic 'family').

        Are you serious about lake freighters? Our neighbor worked on a freighter out of Rogers City, MI. He said it was okay, not too busy until the ship enters a port to load or unload. The newer freighters are big, over 1,000 feet long. Quite a sight to see.

        Lakes are at record levels, we lost 25 feet of shoreline in 2019. It's eroding the base of the bluff where our house sits. We're in Arizona for winter, so can't monitor what's happening with it.

        Happy Brexit Day!

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