Category Archives: GMG Tech Talk

An Objective Android / apple Product User Gives Apple A Clear Win In This Category…

Disclosure- I’m an iPad owner (which I love), an LG G3 Android cell phone user (which I love), and a Windows PC user (Love Windows 7, Not a Fan Of Windows 8)

A couple of years ago Apple decided to change their charging/data cable to the current lightening cable.  At the time people everywhere who owned previous generation Apple products suddenly were going to have many Apple peripherals  that would be rendered obsolete once they upgraded to the new connection type.  I’m sure that it was a difficult decision but one that Apple designers knew was going to make the connection more stable and secure.

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So now being on my third android phone and this isn’t just android products, it’s more the connection type- every android phone I’ve used within a year of the upgrade the charging cable connection becomes loose and I have to wiggle and place the phone just right and often times it beeps back and forth signaling I have a connection to the charger and then not a connection to the charger and then a connection.  It is maddening and now that I’m on the third phone using this type of connection I see it is not the phone as much as it is the connection type. 

In any case, Apple’s lightening cable is without question a superior form factor.

So there you go from an objective android/apple user.  Has anyone else had similar experiences with micro usb charging cables (the charging cable used for android phones)

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GMG Tech Talk- For Those Of You Who Bought A Chromecast- You’ve Got a free Movie Rental Coming To You

Also you should periodically check the Chromecast offer link here- Chromecast Offers, I’ve redeemed a bunch of stuff for free over the past 6 months. Bookmark that Chromecast Offers link, and check it often, it’s always got more free rewards it seems, every time I click on it.

I think the $35 Chromecast is an absolute steal and no brainer.  95% of my TV viewing for the past year has been Netflix ($9 a month) or Hulu Plus ($9 a month) through the Chromecast dongle.  Much like UBER is revolutionizing the local transportation game, Chromecast and streaming TV is revolutionizing TV viewing.  Chromecast is an absolute monster in what it can do for such little money.

Loves me some Chromecast.  if you don’t have one you can get one on Amazon right now for $32.11 here

So I thought I’d pass on this offer I read about this morning on Google+-

These are the current offers this morning-

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I’ve redeemed the latest free movie rental and the Valentine’s  Day movie rental WITH a $6 Google Play credit.  So the Chromecast I paid $35 for actually after credits is almost free and the offers show up ALL the time.

Such a NO-Brainer.

source: Engadget

Google isn’t just using Chromecast Offers to reward existing users, the company’s also loading it with freebies in an effort to more households to get one. For instance, if you buy a Chromecast from March 20th to April 19th, you’ll get $80 worth of rewards. Namely, three months of subscription to Play Music, one month of Qello Concerts, three months of DramaFever, three months of Sesame Street GO and a free movie rental from Play Movies. While Google has reportedly sold over 10 million streaming sticks last year, having more users means getting more leverage when negotiating with content providers. That, in turn, could lead to bigger rewards or exclusive deals similar to Apple TV’s HBO Now offering.

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GMG Tech Talk- Wireless router recommendations

The wireless router at my mom’s house and sisters house quite simply- stink.  Constantly dropping signal and resetting.

Has anyone upgraded their wireless router and did it make a noticeable difference?

From the very little research I’ve done the newest routers are capable of doing way more throughput than ones available just a couple years ago.

What are your best bang-for-your buck home computer upgrade suggestions?  ram is always cheap, better wireless router, cheap plug and play speakers with subwoofers?

One of the cheapest and best upgrades I did probably over 10 years ago was a sub $50 Cambridge Soundworks speaker upgrade.  Two tiny speakers which sit on either side of my monitor and a subwoofer that sits under my desk.  Literally plug in two wires and the wall outlet and the sound from my desktop PC is at least 10 times better than what you get from a monitor that might have a couple small tinny speakers built in.

Share if you will your experiences with wireless routers or other computer peripherals that dollar for dollar made your system much better.

GMG Blog Stat- In 2014 6,224 Posts Were Created On Good Morning Gloucester

Posting Patterns

In 2014, there were 6,224 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 39,656 posts.

So we are creating just over 17 articles a day, every day throughout the year.

40,000-39,656=344

So 344 Posts from now we will have created 40,000 posts total on GMG since inception in late December 2007

344 Posts Divided By An average Of 17 Posts A Day =20

So in about 20 days or so we will bust the 40K Post Cherry.

Nice Work Team!

gmglogohires

Electricity Savings Alternative Home Energy and Comfort Update #7- Cape Ann Chimney and Hearth

If you’ve been following the Electricity Savings and Home Heating and Comfort Series I’ve been doing then here you go with part 7.  We started  in Parts 1 and Part 2 with Next Step Home Energy Assesments in which my mom got over 30 new lightbulbs, electronic thermostats, energy efficient showerheads and powerstrips all for free.  In Part 3 Art Bevilacqua Educates Us about how energy prices are established and how we are paying for Home energy audits and free energy efficient equipment even if we don’t take advantage of the program. Part 6 gave us energy efficiency tips for your washing machine and for snowbirds who leave their homes for sunny climes during the winter.

If you want to take advantage of awesome programs available to you right now for zero out of pocket like my mom did and we spoke about in the first parts of the series then sign up for your own energy efficiency assessment and get a ton of free lightbulbs, power strips, electronic thermostats that will turn down the heat at night or while you’re at work automatically, and efficient showerheads.

SIGN UP HERE-

For those of you who signed up for the Free Home Energy Audit and Free Energy Efficient Lightbulbs and Other Equipment , please leave me a comment on how well it went for you.

Next we go into alternative fuels in a three part sub series filmed at Cape Ann Chimney and Hearth:

Cape Ann Chimney and Hearth is Located at 7 Pond Road Gloucester MA. Phone # 978-283-1119

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Part I of the sub series talks about the different types of products available to heat your home

Updates 1,2 and 3-

Update 3: Electricity Prices

Electricity Update #4: Free Home Energy Assesment With Kevin From Next Step Living

Electricity Update #5: Video Walkthrough- Energy Efficiency Assesment and Free Stuff At Mom’s House

Electricity Update #6 Energy Saving Ideas

For Anyone That Doesn’t Think A Cell Tower In West Gloucester Is A Good Idea- Are You This Person?

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From Gizmodo-

What’s The Strangest Thing You’ve Done to Get Cell Reception?

I’ll confess to standing outside on the furthest corner of a Lanai on my tippytoes holding my iPad over my head to try to upload a post to the blog.

Electricity Update #6 Energy Saving Ideas

Energy Saving Ideas

From Next Step:

What’s the tip that gets the most “wow” response from homeowners?
There’s one that always gets people. Throwing a dry towel in with your wet clothes to reduce drying time. People will seriously gawk at that. I hear a lot of “What? No way!” It really does help your clothes dry faster. When you run a dryer you spend about 50 cents for every hour, so if you cut that down the savings add up.

Seven Ways to Curb Winter Utility Costs While You’re Away

Ready for a winter vacation? If you’re spending your holidays abroad, take 15 minutes before you head out the door to complete these easy energy-saving to-do’s. You might save enough to buy yourself a massage après-ski. Plus, you’ll be more relaxed knowing your home is hibernating safely while you’re away.

  1. Turn down your thermostat. Depending on your home’s insulation, you can set your thermostats lower than usual. We recommend keeping it at a steady 55 degrees while you’re away, cutting your heating bill significantly. (Do keep in mind the hazards of frozen pipes.) Programmable thermostats, which may be installed at no cost during a home energy evaluation, will let you keep the heat low through your vacation but warm things up just in time for your return.If you’ll be away for an extended period, consider turning off the water, draining the pipes and setting the thermostat even lower — but talk to a plumber first.
  2. And your hot water heater (or put it in vacation mode). If your water heater is older than its warranty period, and especially if it’s showing signs of age such as leaks or rust, consider replacing it now to avoid the catastrophe of a ruptured tank while you’re away. Look for an Energy Star® model to save on the substantial cost of hot water, year-round.
  3. Lower and close all your window treatments such as blinds, curtains and drapes, to hold heat in the house. You should also make sure to lock your windows as that will help further eliminate drafts with a tight seal. While you’re considering windows, be sure that they can hold up to the winter chill – double- or triple-pane ones are best.
  4. Add insulation and air sealing. If your home has cracks or gaps that let in drafts, or if your insulation is lacking, there’s no better time to have the structure sealed and give it a warm blanket. You’ll reduce your heating (and cooling) bills year-round, and you’re more likely to avoid freezing pipes; this is especially important if you’ve turned down the thermostats.
  5. Use light timers. If you leave lights on to discourage burglars, put them on timers rather than having them consume electricity 24 hours a day. Save even more power by swapping out your bulbs to high-efficiency bulbs such as CFLs and LEDs, available at low- or no-cost during a home energy evaluation.
  6. Unplug everything you can or put your electronics on smart power strips. These power strips will both turn off your DVR when your TV is off and eliminate electricity leaks from equipment when it’s not in use.
  7. Close the damper on your fireplace, if you have one. When you return from vacation, get in the habit of doing this after each fire, as soon as the ashes are completely cold.

If you want to take advantage of awesome programs available to you right now for zero out of pocket then watch the video and sign up for your own energy efficiency assessment and get a ton of free lightbulbs, power strips, electronic thermostats that will turn down the heat at night or while you’re at work automatically, and efficient showerheads.

SIGN UP HERE-

My mom got-

Over thirty free lightbulbs that use 10 watts vs 65 watts, free energy efficient shower heads, power strips and a whole report detailing more steps she can take to save even more.  If you are planning to insulate your house and put in more efficient heating systems there’s even more free stuff  and zero percent financing for more intense things.

if you love your husband you’ll get him merino wool heavyweight socks

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Listen I know socks, right after ties and underwear are about the least sexy gift you can give your husband.  But if your husband goes outdoors at all in the winter and only owns cotton socks then he will forever be grateful to you for introducing him to the luxurious warmth and comfort of merino wool socks.  They’re all I wear year round, heavyweight in the late fall/winter and lighter weight low cut in the summer.

It is one of the most often overlooked and lowest cost options for keeping yourself warm in the winter and ever since I discovered the comfort that merino wool provides and the moisture wicking that natural fiber provides once he tries them, he will never look back.

See, cotton socks in the winter are the absolute worst things you can wear.  Once your feet sweat even a little, cotton keeps that moisture close to your feet and provides a direct conduit of cold to your body.  In the exact opposite way, merino wool wicks that moisture away and merino wool is the softest wool which provides 100% comfort and 0% itch that other kinds of wool have.

Right now Sierra trading post has these Woolrich Big wooly rag socks made out of merino wool that are normally $16 a pair on sale for $7.87 once you click through to the coupon.  a steal and a guaranteed thank you from your husband if he doesn’t already know about merino wool socks and has been wearing cotton socks for years.  Click to buy ‘em on sale here for $7.87 at Sierra Trading Post

Don’t Think,- Just Buy This Ridiculous Camera Buy

Anyone That Follows The Blog Knows I’m A Sony Fan and this camera that less than a year ago was $600 can be bought right now for $298.

It is actually two newer versions of the camera that I use and paid full price for and would buy all over again at that same full price because they are THAT GOOD.  At $298 IT’S A STUPID RIDICULOUS DEAL.  YOU’RE GETTING A DSLR QUALITY CAMERA BRAND NEW FOR THE PRICE OF A POINT AND SHOOT.

Get it on amazon for a gift or for yourself and thank me later.  BTW, Amazon has the very best return policy out there for electronics so buy it with confidence!

Click for the deal-

Sony Alpha a5000 Interchangeable Lens Camera with 16-50mm OSS Lens (Black)

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The same camera that I use but was two generations older captured these images-

Google Search Is The Monster In It’s Space and No-One Else Is Even Close

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This is a snapshot of which search engines were used to find GMG on Monday Nov, 11, 2014.

As you can see Google Search is far and away the most widely used by a mile.  Microsoft’s Bing may have some cool features but wow the disparity between Google’s Search and everything else is just astounding.

Way down on the list from there in the list of referrers to GMG but still relevant every single day is Facebook.  Twitter is barely a blip compared to Facebook.

Updated for discussion: Is Desktop Computing That Insignificant That Barely Any Tech Sites Do Desktop reviews Any More?

I have three or four nerdy/techy/gadgety websites that I check out every day to keep on top of the latest technology.

http://www.engadget.com/

http://gizmodo.com/

http://www.cnet.com/

I guess more folks spend money on mobile phones and tablets because that’s 90% of what they cover.  I cannot tell you the last time I saw a review on a desktop computer but there has to be a little more than zero people still buying desktops, no?

I prefer creating content for the blog on my desktop wayyyyyy more than I do on my cell phone, laptop or tablet.

The limitations of small screens, less computing power and weaker applications make desktops so much more convenient to work on.

But I’m not sure why they get ZERO love on the tech websites.   Does anyone else feel the same way?

Do you even consider buying a desktop any more?  If so, where do you get your desktop computer info and what tech websites do you read on the regular?

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See, I’m not sure if they are dying or just not being reported about.
My theory from a while back when tablet’s started to take off was that most teens will probably end up with tablets and be happy to simply consume content on them.  Because they are just fine using tablets and cell phones for info they don’t feel the need or can’t justify the purchase of a more powerful desktop computer and hence don’t get into the creative side of computing as much.

I guess what I’m wondering is if the complete lack of desktop computing coverage is warranted.  Is virtually no-one buying desktop computers any more?
I understand that tablets and cell phones are way more prevalent among teens and I get the obvious portability advantages of a laptop, but don’t working people and creatives still buy more bang for your buck and more powerful desktops?

Again I’ll go back to the main point- are there so few people buying desktop computers that they warrant virtually zero tech coverage?

I feel like that because there’s basically no one out there doing it that someone could carve out a niche with a desktop review site.  That’s how far away from desktop computing we’ve got in my mind.  That it would actually be considered a niche category in tech media coverage.

OK So I’ve Had My Windows 8 Touchscreen Laptop For Well Over A Year Now. Anybody wanna Guess How Many Times I’ve Touched The Screen?

Am I alone on this?

I feel like Microsoft built Windows 8 thinking that every device needed to be used in the same way- a desktop, laptop, tablet and smartphone.  I don’t hate Windows 8 as much as when it first came out but I boot directly to the desktop now and avoid the metro UI at all costs.  All the laptops you buy now for Windows 8 are touchscreen.  Guess what?  I don’t want a touch screen laptop.  Sure, that’s alright for a tablet where you’re using it to mainly consume content but for a laptop or desktop where you are manipulating images and editing movies, I want real work tools which include a mouse and not a touch screen.

I haven’t touched the damn screen on my Windows 8 laptop unless it was inadvertently.   Am I alone on this?  Those of you with windows Laptops equipped with touchscreens, do you use the touch screen?  I’m not talking about tablets now, I’m talking about a touch screen enabled laptop.

The issue as I see it and I’ve said this from the first time I booted up a Windows 8 machine was that they dumbed down the laptop experience so it would integrate more seamlessly with the mobile and tablet platforms.  I would have preferred that they left the desktop operating  to be all out productive and powerful for content creators rather than dumbing it down for the tablet marketplace of media consumers.

Over a year in with Windows 8, given the chance I’d opt for a Windows 7 machine.  My favorite place to create content and edit for the blog is still on my desktop Windows 7 machine and it’s by a mile.  I can do things way more efficiently than any of the other devices or operating systems.

There’s talk of Windows 9 coming out soon, hopefully it will be closer to Windows 7 than Windows 8.

Hyperlapse

My daughter Liv’s new beau, Matt, took this very fun timelapse with the new phone app, HYPERLAPSE, while they were bike riding on Mount Pleasant Street.

Hyperlapse takes only a moment to install and you are instantly brought to the record screen. The phone can be held vertically or horizontally. After recording, you are given multiple choices by which to speed up the footage, from 1x to 12x and each can be previewed. After you’ve decided on the speed check the green checkmark. Your video will be automatically saved to your camera roll and you’ll have the option to share it on Facebook or Instagram

A note of caution-be careful how you save the footage. I took a terrific Hyperlapse at Captain Joes and it was unfortunately saved in real time. I am not sure how that happened and hope it was my error and not a kink in the app.

 

If you ever thought of doing a podcast- the App I produce mine on is now Half Off On iTunes

I can’t even explain how awesome BossJock is for recording, editing and exporting podcast files.  I paid $10 for it.  It was the most expensive app I’ve ever bought and truth be told after having used it and seeing just how incredibly useful it is I would pay five times that amount if I had to replace it because it’s that good.  It is for Apple iOS devices.

Right now it’s on sale for half off in the iTunes store. That’s $4.99 and that my friends is a steal if you are doing any type of podcasting.

Here’s the link-

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A great tutorial demonstrating just how easy it is-

Here’s my demo too-

If you like GMG, you’d better tell the FCC

I’m not kidding.  The FCC is seriously considering new rules that would allow Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to slow down content from GMG and speed up content from someone else, who’s willing to pay extra to have their content delivered faster.  So, for example, if a large media company (e.g., AOL, Time Warner, Comcast, Universal) wanted to start a local blog, it could pay your ISP to have its content delivered faster and have GMG’s content slowed down.  Now if you don’t think ISPs would intentionally slow things down, watch this very funny, and insightful piece by John Oliver:

Lots of people have already commented — so many that the FCC site crashed last week.  Technically, the deadline for the first round of public comments is over, but there’s another round and you can still comment here.

Not convinced?  Watch this more in-depth New York Times piece on Net Neutrality.

I don’t usually make political posts on GMG, but this issue affects the blog itself, so I figure it’s time to take some action.

 

Gloucester’s New Cruise Ship Gets a New Website

In case you haven’t noticed, Gloucester now has its very own resident cruise ship, The Beauport Princess.  And what a beauty it is!  If you haven’t yet been aboard, this would be a good week to check it out because they’re offering “special introductory pricing.”  And on Friday, June 13, we’re producing a concert cruise featuring The Toasters (on their 2014 world tour) with a special reunion of Mile 21.  Tickets include the concert, Gloucester Harbor cruise and a party buffet featuring Seaport Grille’s world famous lobster rolls!  Get tickets here.

This week we launched a new website for Beauport Princess (see here).  And we built it using a “responsive design” (just like we did for The Cave — see our post about that here), which means it optimizes the viewing experience for what ever device you’re using: computer, tablet or phone.  For example, here’s what it looks like on a computer:

BPScreenshot

BPScreenshotPHONE

 

Here’s what it looks like on a smart-phone.  Notice the menu is optional.  It will automatically drop down when you tap on the menu icon (at the right of the bar with the word HOME in it).

Many other things have changed as well.  And if you turn your phone sideways it will change again — automatically.

If you tap the phone number at the top-right, your phone will automatically initiate a call to book a cruise.

This new website also works beautifully on an iPad and any tablet.

And best of all, the new website uses the same exact HTML code and content (photos, writing, graphics, cruise list, etc.) to display on the phone, tablet and computer.  (You can read a more detailed explanation of why you should build your next website using this type of responsive design here.)

Check out the new Beauport Princess website on all of your devices and see how it looks.

But don’t let that be a substitute for getting aboard.  How many people can say they live in a town with a cruise ship they can go on for an evening any time they like!

Big City Concert Sound just down the road in Beverly

John Coretto (right) tuning the new system from Orchestra Center, Row F, seat 5.  See the Meyer Arrays on either side of the stage

John Coretto (right) tuning the new system from Orchestra Center, Row F, seat 5. See the Meyer Arrays on either side of the stage

Meyer M'elodie curvilinear array up close

Meyer M’elodie curvilinear array up close

John Coretto from WHB Concert Production tuning the new system.  He took that laptop all over the orchestra and balcony to make sure the sound is perfect in every seat!

John Coretto from WHB Concert Production tuning the new system. He took that laptop all over the orchestra and balcony to make sure the sound is perfect in every seat at The Larcom Theatre!

Our new digidesign SC-48 console

Our new digidesign SC-48 console

See how the Meyer 600-HP sub-woofers disappear next to the stairs.   Still good seats left in the Balcony where this picture was taken.

See how the Meyer 600-HP sub-woofers disappear next to the stairs. Still good seats left in the Balcony where this picture was taken.  Get them here!

Since we discovered the Larcom Theatre and produced our first concert there a year ago this weekend, Gloucester’s singer/ songwriter / multi-instrumentalist and ace sound man, Will Hunt has brought in his gear and, together with Bradley Royds, they’ve mixed our shows to wide acclaim (see a review here).

But Will’s kinda busy and needs his gear for other concerts, like The Nines @ Gloucester’s UU Meetinghouse and The Toasters Concert Cruise.  So we realized it was time to get new gear appropriate for the 550 seat theatre that we don’t have to keep moving in and out.

And we figured, if we’re going do it, we might as well do it right.

On Wednesday, Jon Coretto and his crew from WHB Concert Production (the people who revamped the sound at Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom) installed the top of the line: Meyer M’elodie curvilinear array loudspeakers with 600-HP sub-woofers and Galileo system processor, Digidesign SC-48 console and 6 JBL VP 7212 MDP stage monitors.

Plus we have a 56 channel snake splitter for bands that want to make studio quality live recordings or simply MUST have their monitors mixed on stage.

Now if you don’t much care about all that techno-babble, just know this: IT SOUNDS AMAZING!

And you can hear it tomorrow night when Gracie Curran takes the stage with Roomful of Blues Horns and Lydia Warren Band opening.

Seats are still available.  The best ones are in the balcony.  Get them here.

Say “Hi” to Will, who will be working there tomorrow along with Bill Winn (who wrote the book on sound … literally).

Feel free to thank them for the excellent job they do making sure the sound is perfect in every seat!

Having some fun with a radio ad and Adobe Premiere

Now we often fast forward through TV commercials or change the car radio station when an ad come on, but once in a while somebody crafts such a good radio spot that you can’t help but listen.  That’s what our friends Aurelia Nelson & Jay Foss at Northshore 104.9 did this week and I was so inspired when I heard it that I decided to pop into Adobe Premiere and have some fun.  This is what came out:

And by the way, there are still good seats left to what could be your last chance to see these young, rising blues stars before they break into big venues.  Get them here.

Here’s your chance to tell the Government what you think of them spying on you

Normally I write about music in this blog.  But this is a blog — and the fact that you’re reading this post has most likely just been logged into an N.S.A. database, along with lots of other info about what you’ve been doing just now, including where you are, every email you’ve just sent and read, what other websites, photos and blogs you’ve just visited, all the texts and phone calls you’ve made today, and so on and so on . . .  Does this make you a tad uneasy?  It should.  So here’s a chance to do something about it.  Perhaps I’m being optimistic (I’ve been accused of that before)  but I’ll bet Congress and the White House are a little worried about what we all think of their rampant invasion of our privacy.  That’s why they’re asking us what we think — and it’s why they’re trying to deflect our fear of them and point that fear toward technology itself.  Watch this video of former Clinton Chief of Staff, John Podesta as he tries to do just that:

Don’t let them get away with it.  Go here and fill out the survey.  Be sure to put something in their comment field labeled, “Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about your thoughts on this issue?”  Be bold and don’t worry; it won’t increase the government’s surveillance of your actions.  There’s really nothing more they can do that isn’t already being done.  Here’s an excerpt of what I put in:

I found Councelor Podesta’s remarks a clever, but thinly veiled attempt to shift focus from our government’s vast and terrifying overreach to fear of technology in general.  Technology isn’t the problem.  The problem, revealed by Edward Snowden (whom I firmly believe will go down in history as one of America’s greatest modern heroes — on par with Martin Luther King) is that our leaders, including President Obama, have flouted the Constitution they swore to uphold and continue to conduct an insidious invasion of our privacy in the name of security. 
 
This situation seems upside down to me.  We let large companies collect vast amounts of data on us in return for the convenience of making phone calls, searching the Internet, communicating via email, text, etc. What we need is a government who protects our privacy by ensuring those companies keep that data secret and secure and don’t misuse it. Instead, what we’ve got is a government who secretly demands that those companies turn our private data over to them and then forbids those companies from telling us they’ve done so.
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