My Escape From Instagram Extortion

So, I signed up to Instagram to follow people. I gave them my real name, my real email address and no phone number. They seemed perfectly happy with this. I followed a few people (and one furby). I didn’t post anything. It seemed innocuous. Then it started trying to blackmail me with an utterly unacceptable demand to extort my phone number out of me.

(Content warning: Lots of angry swearing below the fold. Proceed at your own discretion.)


November 20, 2019. Daniel, IT, Security, Sensible, Social Media. 1 comment.

Is Huawei Safe?

The Huawei story is infuriating to me because there is no way to tell whether their equipment really is compromised. As far as I know, nobody has actually found any suspicious devices or malicious code hidden in their products. It is just that they seem like they might be corruptible. Trouble is, so do a lot of other companies.

The real issue is to work out how we can trust anything when technology is insanely complicated and we are just stupid, ignorant apes with an inflated sense of our own abilities?


April 27, 2019. IT, Politics, Security, Sensible. Leave a comment.

Smartphone Review

Much to the amusement of many of my colleagues, it is 2019 and I have just got my first ever smartphone at the age of 48 and a bit. I want to talk about this.

Don’t worry. I’m not here to review a smartphone. I am here to review the concept of smartphones from the point of view of somebody who has not drifted along gradually accepting them as normal.


April 21, 2019. Daniel, IT, Sensible, Social Media. 3 comments.

Share The Inanity II

Eight and a half years ago, I linked this fine blog to Facebook and Google Buzz. Both links stopped working soon after and I couldn’t be bothered to fix them. Google Buzz didn’t last long anyway. Facebook is apparently still going though.

Now I haz an Twitter (@DanielRigal1, if anybody is interested), I guess it is time to try this again. The blog is allegedly linked to Twitter now. This should mean that each post gets Tweeted but that nothing on Twitter should affect the blog.


February 2, 2019. Administrivia, Daniel, IT, Social Media. Leave a comment.

I wrote a poem about systemd

I wrote a poem. It is about systemd. It is no longer, and certainly no better, than systemd deserves.

Smells of pee.
Please can it be,
Thrown in the sea?


January 9, 2019. Awful poetry, IT, Silly. Leave a comment.

Do we really do good in IT?

In the IT industry it is common, and very much encouraged, for us to assume that we are doing good for the world. Even we lowly systems administrators, who have to reinstall everything an average of 3.7 times for reasons far to sordid to enter into, imagine ourselves the heroic inheritors of the legacy of Alan Turing. Like we personally won WWII or something. We assume that we are building a brave new world. We don’t spend much time wondering if we actually do good. We certainly don’t spend any time wondering if we do any harm. That’s just those nasty blackhat guys with their hacking and viruses, right? Right? I mean, we are not like those old time doctors who believed the theories of Galen, who never washed their hands and who killed more patients than they cured? Right? Right?

I have my doubts. And so does James Mickens. He worked for Microsoft for 6 years and  is now an associate professor at Harvard. He knows of what he speaks! If you still believe in the transformative power of IT to protect and empower the human race (or if you just want a good laugh at our industry’s expense) then you need to watch this video:

Q: Why Do Keynote Speakers Keep Suggesting That Improving Security Is Possible?
A: Because Keynote Speakers Make Bad Life Decisions and Are Poor Role Models

September 18, 2018. IT, Security, Sensible. Leave a comment.

SEO Speedwagon: Trump News Edition

I’m giving Boris the day off. You know who’s getting it this time?

No! I’m sick of all this Trump News!

Oh come on. You love it really. You want to read all the latest Trump News!

No. I’m fed up with him! Trump is mentally subnormal. He is not only an embarrassment to his country. He is not only an embarrassment to his species. He is an embarrassment to all eukaryotic lifeforms. ELIZA would beat him in a Turing Test.


August 28, 2018. Clownhat SEO, Media, Politics, Silly. Leave a comment.


A friend writes:

Just tried to order a pizza online. Checked out and clicked the payment button only to get a “page not found” page!

Such reports are impossible to investigate unless the user supplies the official HTTP (Heating, Topping, Tracking Pizza) error code. For future reference the codes are as follows:


April 17, 2018. Food, IT, Silly. 1 comment.

Cambridge Ana… Oooh! Squirrel!

Now, I am no great fan of Facebook. I’m pretty sure that the list of things they have done wrong is only going to grow. By the end it will range from the merely dickish to the really quite serious and they do need to answer for the more serious stuff.

Nonetheless, people need to remember that it is not Facebook that is accused of undermining the integrity of elections, and democracy more generally, in multiple nations. In this context at least, Facebook are just some dingbats who were too lazy/stupid to see that they were enabling the real bad guys to do this.

We are in danger of getting distracted here!

People who have knowingly engaged in conspiracies to subvert elections or referenda, whether in their own countries or elsewhere, are among the most dangerous people in the world. We need to see them go to jail for a very long time. We cannot allow them to wriggle out of their responsibilities by diffusing the blame over the internet in general, even if some parts of the internet have been culpably incurious about what their services were actually being used for. Facebook need to sort themselves out but this is not fundamentally about Facebook.


March 30, 2018. IT, Law, Politics, Rigged Polls, Sensible, Social Media. Leave a comment.

My Evil Empire of Counterfeit Cabbage

counterfeit cabbage

“Did somebody say stupid?”

I discover that I have the top Google ranking for the term “Counterfeit Cabbages“.

That’s stupid.


December 5, 2017. Clownhat SEO, Counterfeit cabbages, Links, Money, Silly. 2 comments.

Next Page »