“There’s no such thing as paranoid.”

-Hunter S. Thompson


It all started with a new addition to the Safer Surfing page on creating effective and memorable passwords that are different for every site. As I’m describing how to create a password I’m thinking about how irrelevant that is if the passwords are not stored securely by the person receiving them. Or if you’re the victim of a man in the middle attack. Which is when someone pretends to be the web site you’re trying to get to and tricks you into sending them your password.

Certificates and HTTPS are supposed to prevent this but there is some doubt as to how secure the certificate system really is and reports of it being compromised have been around for some time now. We also know now that hardware is being tampered with to make tracing and recording easier. I have to assume any router I use has a back door. I have to hope that only responsible and law abiding folks have keys. But we know that isn’t true.

I’ve run software that can recover deleted files even after the drive had been formatted a half dozen times. My CPU’s random function has been hacked. My cell phone is always on as well as it’s cameras and microphones. Half of it’s software tracks me and  my ISP is required to keep logs of my activities. No big deal, they already hand over personal data for thousands of requests a day by officials without a warrant.

Half the world lies to me for my own good, the other half for theirs.

Still, I’m optimistic.

As the Principia Discordia says: Imposition of Order equals escalation of Chaos.

And that’s always fun.

I’ll start with full disclosure, the story of the murder of the staff and police officers at the offices of Charlie Hebdo got to me. I’ve drawn and published political cartoons. I’ve designed and printed t-shirts with religious icons on them. Some of you may recall the Hang in there Baby Crucifiction. The worst that ever happened to me was an older couple pointing and giggling at me in the grocery check out. The people at Charlie Hebdo were targeted, their lives ended and the lives of everyone around them altered forever. These attacks were over the publishing of cartoons and that is insane. Bat shit crazy kind of insane. But I digress.

Many people around the world responded with a cry of “Je suis Charlie” in support of the people involved, and in support of freedom of expression. Almost as quickly people started replying that they weren’t Charlie Hebdo or that people who supported it had no idea what they were supporting. They point out that Charlie Hebdo published things that would offend a lot of people, they didn’t just target Islam or the Prophet. They also targeted Judaism, Christianity, Jesus and the Pope. Sometimes all at the same time. But that misses the point completely.

Supporting the right of people you agree with to express their views is not support of freedom of speech. It’s supporting the right of your views to be heard. There is only one way to support free speech and that is to support the right of views different from your own to be expressed. People you disagree with, people who offend you as well as people who dislike and disagree with your points of view. This is the bargain we made with each other, we all get to talk.

Supporting the right of Charlie Hebdo to print their cartoons does not mean agreeing with anything they said. It means agreeing that we all have a right to say it.

Je suis Charlie.

Whether or not the end justifies the means has always been a topic of debate. Sophocles, generally considered one of the brighter and more enlightened minds of his time (c 409 BCE), wrote that “‘The end excuses any evil”. The basic philosophy being that if the end result is important enough, it really doesn’t matter how you get there. Or as Bishop Babington wrote in 1583, “The ende good, doeth not by and by make the meanes good.” It reminds me of the political ideology that the electorate will come to realise that the policies are good even if they don’t know it now, so we won’t tell them.

It’s an idea that informs much of the world around us today. Israel is right to defend itself and can do anything in pursuit of that goal. The Palestinians are right to feel abused and are justified in doing anything to end that abuse. The NSA is right to be worried about terrorists and can forgo everything to prevent attacks. Businesses are right to pursue profits, and whatever it takes to maximise them. Political ideologies do have secret agendas that they all believe the people really want, if only they knew it. And it’s basically all bullshit.

The only hope we have of justifying our actions is if they do not follow the actions of those we deem our enemies. The only way we can call ourselves the Good Guys is if we don’t do the things that the Bad Guys do. The things that make them Bad Guys. If you are willing to kill my child to kill me, and I am willing to kill your child to kill you – then what is the difference between us? If a business found someone willing to pay $5 per baby, it would not make the widespread kidnapping of babies in pursuit of profits ok. These things seem pretty self evident if we use babies or kittens, but in this case if it’s true for babies and kittens then it’s true for teenagers and adults as well.

So next time you’re trying to decide how far to go, or if someone else has gone too far – don’t ask if their goal justifies their methods, ask if they’re still Good Guys.

Most traffic to websites and blogs is, at least initially, driven almost entirely by friends and facebook/twitter links. But what if you don’t want them to know? What you do with your watermelon is your own damn business. Enter propagate Blogs.

propagate Blogs offers several levels of discretion for the discriminating blogger:


Blog is not listed, search engines are asked to ignore it. Readers must be approved by the author. Content is password protected.


Blog is not listed, search engines are asked to ignore it. If someone happens to type in www.blogs.propagate.ca/watermelon then it must have been fate. Let them share with fellow aficionados.


Blog is not indexed by propagate.ca however search engines and blogrolls will be pinged when new posts are put online. Anyone typing “+watermelon +firehose +tweezers” in a search engine will find you.


Your blog appears on propagate.ca blog lists, indexes, etc. The overwhelming influence of propagate.ca’s marketing power is focused on your blog. Blog postings also post on Facebook and Twitter. People are talking. Global watermelon shortage follows.


A Thank You

It’s been a while since I moved from my previous hosting company and I couldn’t be happier. If it’s true that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone, it’s also true that you don’t know what you don’t have ’til you do have it.

Now it’s true that I am in the affiliate program with Namecheap.com, but it’s true because they’ve been good to me. And they really are much better than the last guys. Tech support is there to support. Any time I’ve had to call on them, they’ve been quick, helpful and most importantly, whatever I was having trouble with was fixed. The software is up to date. It’s the latest version of php, which is important.

Namecheap.com have been such a pleasure to work with that I broke one of my rules – I’m using the same company as registrar and host. Not that I’m looking but even if some other hosting company one day lures me away with an unbeatable deal, Namecheap.com will remain my registrar. They got me interested in the whole idea again, not just as a way to direct traffic to a site. Usually domain names are a bunchofwordstogether.com and a way to direct you to a website, but sometimes the website is just a way to play with a domain name. I give you The Eyes Closed Club. Tell me that’s not worth $5?

So thank you Namecheap.com, for giving me one more avenue of expression and tom foolery, for reminding me that it’s there. Oh, and for the most excellent and affordable hosting. And your affiliate program.


Need a registrar or host?  Try Namecheap.com.

And Shoreline Prints .ca is back online after a brief vacation. I found a gorgeous theme from One Designs to use. Very minimal and sleek. Perfect for an art gallery style site. I could see navigation getting tricky if the site got too large, but maybe not.  I’ve already saved instructions for linking individual images on the home page to galleries, and only one image per gallery on the main page. Very useful if the site grows to over 4 collections I suspect.

Funny what gets accomplished when I’m not working 6 days a week…

Here is a list of what I consider the essential plugins for Firefox. These are bare minimum, but they will keep you and your computer reasonably safe during most surfing. I’ve made it a permanent page so it can be directly linked to and will be updated.

Suggestions are always welcome.

Safe Surfing