It’s not just Facebook

facebook-banDeactivating or deleting Facebook accounts is all the rage.

If you’re considering abandoning Mr Zuckerberg’s money machine for security reasons, perhaps you should broaden your target. After killing Facebook, you’d better review the other organisations that are tracking you, selling their data about you, and controlling what information you receive and what you don’t..

Here are a few

  • Your credit card company. Most of us pay our balance in full and incur no interest. How do you think the banks make it worth their while?
  • Charge cards. Same deal.
  • Your hire-purchase financers and other creditors.
  • Your supermarket or department store loyalty card.  Do you think they really want to give you a discount for nothing in return.
  • Google Search, Google Mail, and most other “free” search and mail facilities.
  • Apps on your phone and tablet, especially the free ones.
  • Computer programs.
  • Your online, newspaper, and magazine subscriptions.
  • Your web browser. You really need to know about “cookies”, and how to counter them. I’ve explained about them here.
  • Your frequent flyer program.

Delete Facebook if you feel so inclined, but remember that despite Mr Zuckerberg’s assurances, all your previous ravings on and embarrassing photos are still there and anybody with the right skills or contacts can find them until the end of time. Or nearly.

There’s a nuisance value in dumping Facebook; info on your favourite café, for instance, may be only available on Facebook. I have a very useful local residents’ group with thousands of members which is excellent for finding local services.

You can remain on Facebook until something better comes along without bringing on Armageddon. Just be careful about what you post. Bear in mind that it’s there forever, that your granny and your potential employers can see it, and that smart algorithms on powerful computers are figuring out everything about you: your food preferences, your wealth (or lack of it), your racial, religious, and cultural biases, and your political leanings.

The bottom line

  • If it’s a free service, ask yourself how they make money. Usually, lots of money.
  • If you wouldn’t put your writing or image on an open postcard, don’t post it online. Don’t even type it into a keyboard for that matter.
  • Nothing stored digitally is guaranteed to be private forever.
  • Be careful what you click on.
  • I repeat, follow the money.

If I delete my Facebook account, it won’t be because of security worries, but because nobody give’s a rat’s arse about what I have to say.

The tail’s preparing to wag the dog

Mixed Member Proportional Representation (MMP) is a vast improvement over our old First Past the Post voting system. Sections of the community who were marginalised under First Past the Post now have a voice. That’s certainly true of Maori, the Greens, and Winston First’s indefatigable blue rinse brigade.
To a degree it’s a good thing.

How long before it becomes an anchor around the legislative neck and makes government impossible?

Where will it all end?

Somebody tell me what to do

I’d like a Gray Power Party to boost my New Zealand Superannuation. What about a Kate Sheppard Ladies’ Party with a persondate to banish manholes to Personchuria. Can we do without a Jockstrap Party to declare the Rugby World Cup ours as of right? There’s definitely a need for a Petrolheads’ Party for the promotion of phallic exhaust pipes for the under-endowed, and a Wouldn’t Work in an Iron Lung Party for the equitable redistribution of filthy capitalistic gains.

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Top choice for note taking software

Evernote logo

If you have random data scattered around your computer, a digital scrapbook of clippings, recipes, scanned receipts, reference data, web clippings… stuff that you squirrel away because maybe you’ll need it one day then Evernote is your friend.

I’ve been testing a number of other similar programs but, bang for buck, Evernote is still my #1 choice.

It’s come into a bit of flack recently because the company have changed the rules for the free version, and changed the pricing structure. We’ll cover that later in this post.

Evernote makes filing and quickly retrieving your data easy. Your notes, files and images are saved to your computers’ hard drives and simultaneously to Evernote’s own servers. Its main raison d’etre is quick and easy location of those data. You have the advantages of online storage, instant powerful search capability, and automatic synchronization between your computers, tablets, and smartphones and between them and the cloud.
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You’ve Been Trumped

The more I learn about the 0.1%, the more I’ve come to appreciate the motivation of those who manned the guillotines during the nastiest of revolutions.

It’s unfortunate that the new regimes invariably turn out to be at least as despicable as the old. Let’s hope that after the coming cleanout we can do better.

This exposé shows how the abominable Donald Trump built a couple of golf courses for the super-rich and destroyed a Scottish rural community in the process. He had the enthusiastic support of local big business, local government, and even the Scottish National Party

It will have you contemplating reaching for a pitchfork.

This Vimeo video won’t play on my Fridge Door; just click on the blue button below, and watch it on Vimeo’s website:

YOU’VE BEEN TRUMPED from Montrose Pictures on Vimeo.

Chocolate Pots de Crème

The best dessert in the world – honest

Chocolate Pots de Crème

Chocolate Pots de Crème - wow

Most rich pots de crème recipes contain lethal quantities of cream and egg yolks. this one doesn’t. Although the coconut milk used in this recipe is richly endowed with cholesterol and saturated fat it’s not the long-chain-molecule saturated fat found in animal products and it’s nowhere near as guilt-inducing.

If you don’t like the flavour of coconut, never fear, you can’t taste it in this dish.

Unless you’re one of the ten people on the planet who suffer the great misfortune of being chocolate haters, I guarantee you’ll love this. I found the original—proclaimed as the best dessert in the world—at but that link is now broken. This divine dish deserves to be recorded for posterity, so here’s One Wild Kiwi’s version:

  • 1× 400g (14 oz) can of full fat coconut milk.
  • 140g (5oz) of dark chocolate.
    • This is where you have some control over the final result:
    • you can increase the amount for a richer result;
    • the sweetness of the chocolate should be chosen to taste;
    • you should choose a good quality high cocoa content chocolate, definitely not budget cooking chocolate—I tried it and it was awful. I found Cadbury’s 70% cocoa Old Gold to be perfect but if you find this is too bitter, next time go for something a little sweeter.
  • 2 Tbsp (30ml) honey (if you can locate it, agave nectar is an excellent alternative to honey).
  • ½  tsp (2.5ml) vanilla essence.
  • a pinch of cinnamon.
  • a pinch of nutmeg.


Don’t go feeling guilty. Dark chocolate is a superfood. It’s choc full 🙂 of antioxidants and will help you live for MegaYonks. Give or take.

Full fat coconut maybe not so great but who wants to live forever?

  1. Break the chocolate up into pieces, put it into a food processor or a bowl along with the honey (or agave nectar), vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon—don’t process it yet!—just wait…
  2. Bring the coconut milk up to a simmer on the stove, and then pour it over the ingredients in the food processor
  3. Blend everything together in the food processor (I use a stick mixer in a bowl—less cleaning up) until smooth and creamy, pour into small ramekins, sherry glasses or coffee cups and chill for about 5 hours until firm and creamy.

I’m a sucker for desserts with chocolate and cream. The good news here is that this is so rich and satisfying that a small serving is sufficient even for a weak sinner such as myself and it’s so delicious and luxuriously smooth that the addition of extras like whipped cream is just gilding the lily. Not at all necessary.

Makes 6 servings.

Go for it!

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The consequences of growth

Professor Albert Bartlett:
“The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.”

Millions of people have watched an old guy talking about arithmetic on Youtube. What’s the big deal?

If you believe that science and technology can and will fix all the ills of the world and that we can burn oil and coal to our hearts’ content you need to watch this. It’s not speculation, it’s incontrovertible fact based on fundamental arithmetic.

If you Google “The most important video you’ll ever see” this is what you’ll find:

It’s low definition, but it’s interesting, well structured, and important. Professor Bartlett’s inarguable conclusions are relevant to every person on the planet and most particularly to those of us in the developed world.

Sadly, Dr Bartlett died on September 7, 2013

If everyone understood the easily grasped basic principles of exponential growth and its consequences we’d be living in a better world. Particularly disturbing in Professor Bartlett’s talk are the asinine and incredible views of influential people who believe that basic arithmetic and the laws of physics aren’t applicable in their patch.

It will help you to understand compound interest too. 🙂

Cloud storage

cloud icon

No such thing as a free lunch?

There is when it comes to your data security.

Until quite recently, if you wished to back up your valuable data without cashing in the family jewels, extra storage drives were the logical choice of medium.

The quandary

The question when backing up to extra internal or external hard drives is where to draw the line. If your main computer hard drive crashes a backup is invaluable, but if you only have one backup drive it can be stolen in a burglary or destroyed in a fire along with your computer. So for total peace of mind you really need two and one should be kept at a remote location. That means regular exchanging of drives, loss of data created since the last backup, and an administrative hassle we could live without.

Do you use more than one computer?

Data management is further complicated if you need to synchronize your files on two or more computers. There is excellent software for this. Microsoft’s free SyncToy and the excellent SyncBack SE are two very good sync utilities.

But running these programs is yet another job that we can do without. If you flip back and forth between your laptop and desktop, or between home and work, it’s a never ending task.

Enter the cloud

An extra hard drive is invaluable at home or in the office. I wouldn’t be without one for backing up my whole system with imaging software, but recently the game has changed for data files. There are services popping up like spring daffodils all over the place clamouring to back up your data files on somebody else’s hard drive in the “Cloudi.e. on a remote Internet site.
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Control Facebook news feed

So your Facebook friend has 5,000 other friends and uses their news page like a supercharged Twitter feed. 500 posts a day telling you what a great muffin they had with their morning coffee and the colour of their new underpants.

Wisdom is the reward you get for a life time of listening when you’d have preferred to talk.

Doug Larsen

Or your granddad posts all sorts of serious shit but you just want to gossip. 🙂

You can unfriend the perpetrator but you’re a sensitive soul and you don’t want to hurt his feelings.

What to do?

Easy. Stop their news feed appearing on your home page.

Hover your mouse cursor over their name on a newsfeed item, then hover over the “Friends” button. Click on “show in news feed” to toggle the setting on or off.

Toggle news feed from Facebook friend