M Thomas Apple Author Page

Science fiction, actual science, history, and personal ranting about life, the universe, and everything

US phones come with preinstalled Chinese malware

January 9, 2020
MThomas

One of the pre-installed apps, which looks and operates as a wireless update program, automatically installs more apps without user consent, according to Malwarebytes.

And it appears to be a variant of Adups, malware previously traced to China, which transmits text, call-location and app data to a Chinese server every 72 hours.

China is so far ahead of the US in terms of hacking and spyware. And this is only the stuff that they didn’t even bother hiding…

Btw the image used is a repeat from a 2018 article about Lebanon-based spyware installed on phones in five different countries.

Missile strikes are distractions. The next war will be online.

www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-51054901

A brief rant about Netflix: No, that’s NOT what “original” means

August 6, 2019
MThomas

IMG_7075

This is not a complaint about Netflix in general (well, not necessarily, but anyway). Without Netflix, I might have gone, shall we say, a little…

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…this past winter. I’ve been working temporarily in Montréal, several thousands miles of miles apart from my family, and being able to watch movies and older TV shows has been a great escape from the depressing monotony of single life.

But I feel the need to tell Netflix that I do not appreciate their use of the word “original.” Continue Reading

Indie writers, Amazon is not your friend

June 26, 2019
MThomas

Amazon fakes

As if writers hadn’t already figured this out, Amazon really couldn’t care less about the books of yours they sell.

Notice I didn’t write “the books they sell for you.” Because they’re obviously not interested in you making any money. Not when they can allow random “companies” to download your manuscript, slap on their own label, and market it again as a “third party.”

 

Amazon takes a hands-off approach to what goes on in its bookstore, never checking the authenticity, much less the quality, of what it sells. It does not oversee the sellers who have flocked to its site in any organized way.

 

Naturally, the reason is that Amazon can’t be bothered policing illegal copies and illegal sales, since, in their minds, all’s fair in the Wild West of the Net.

fake!!

Even the technically legal copies that are for sale are often copies acquired from people who received copies for review. Which is why I no longer give out books for review (also, services like Goodreads started charging for the privilege of random strangers to steal your book and sell it to a third party).

AT-3rdparties.png

NONE of these “companies” wrote my book, and I did not give permission to ANY of them to resell my book. So why do they get to sell it for up to four times the price I set? Because Amazon doesn’t bother and couldn’t care less.

I used to wonder why my books often appeared in the “available from a third party” menu, with prices varying from twice to even five times the original amount. And why none of the “sales” from these copies showed up in my account. The answer is, of course, Amazon doesn’t really care who gets the royalty as long as they get their cut of the sale.

But we’re trapped, aren’t we? We can scream “fake!” and “unfair!” until we’re blue in the face. In the end, Amazon has grown in power to the extent that the entire world relies on it as a global distributor of, well, pretty much everything.

Except, of course, Amazon, itself, can’t be bothered shipping its own products these days. (More on that in a later post.)

Which is why I’ve started to port my books into other platforms such as Smashwords — but they’re all digital. It’s a shame, because I enjoy (and prefer) reading paper copies of books. But I know I will never be able to stop the Amazon Pirates from stealing my work and my friends’ work.

Shame on Amazon. And shame on all of us for going along with the system.

www.nytimes.com/2019/06/23/technology/amazon-domination-bookstore-books.html

Just Because You’re Not Paranoid Doesn’t Mean They’re Not Tracking You…

June 15, 2019
MThomas

Most people aren’t aware they are being watched with beacons, but the “beacosystem” tracks millions of people every day. Beacons are placed at airports, malls, subways, buses, taxis, sporting arenas, gyms, hotels, hospitals, music festivals, cinemas and museums, and even on billboards.

Big Brother is Watching…and Sending You Ads. And Ads. And Ads…

What’s in a name? That which we call…

September 12, 2018
MThomas

rosebyanothernameOne thing I have struggled with while uncovering my family’s complicated past is the lack of consistency in naming conventions before the digital age.

In the Information Age, if you type in your name or ID with a single letter missing or out of place, your application gets rejected by whatever online program it is you’re trying to get access to. We all have numbers assigned to us—social security numbers, student numbers, worker numbers, case numbers, credit card numbers, you name it.

The past?

Thhppt. What’s a number? What’s a name? That which we would call a rose… Continue Reading

Why I’m leaving Facebook (and why you should, too)

April 28, 2018
MThomas

facebookAbout ten days ago, I started a countdown on my Facebook “wall.”

Some of my “friends” asked if I was going to send something into space.

When I “commented” that I was leaving Facebook as of May 1st, they begged me not to.

The system will police itself, they argued. User complaints and the #deletefacebook movement/backlash would force Zuckerberg & Co. to change their policies.

Hardly. Instead, they’re doubling down.

In fact, Facebook has been terrified for years that its users would eventually find out that  it’s nothing more than an online marketing tool for greedy companies – and that Facebook has sold them out.

It took me a while, but finally I decided enough was enough.

I’m leaving Facebook. Here are a few reasons why I hope you will, as well.

Continue Reading

Technology and control: The Eye in the Sky/I

March 25, 2018
MThomas

It’s been a few days now since the “big reveal” that a social science researcher sold information from 50,000,000 Facebook users to a third party company (which used said info for various campaign purposes, but that’s another topic for another blog….).

Somehow, we all managed to be surprised by this. What about our right to privacy? How dare our personal information be used without our permission!

How did we all get so naïve about technology and its control over us?

Continue Reading

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